Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I was perusing some magazines over at Google books and came across these ads. The are mostly from Popular Science and Baseball Digest.

Please do remember that we celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas, not just observe the traditions of Santa, presents, food and family. Although those things don't hurt. Enjoy.








Thursday, December 10, 2009

A day in the life...

Our PC died. We had mighty winds and the power was flickering at home. That is not good. It did something really bad and some Windows boot files got corrupted. I've tried to restore them, but it still isn't working.

And the legs of our kitchen table are going bad. Not the legs themselves, but where the bolts that hold them on. The insert nuts are made of cheap metal and are falling apart. A trip to the big orange hardware store sort of helped, but not really. The next day, a trip to the big blue hardware store got me on track. Two legs have now been fixed, I might try to fix the other two over the Christmas break.

I need to go and tune the piano at church. It is difficult to keep the temperature and humidity constant in a large room that is only used for about eight hours per week. My tuner broke about a month ago and I haven't replaced it.

With the heavy rain that we had the last few days, Caroline's school system closed due to flooding. Her school is fine, but the school system covers the whole county. So Angie and I split up Caroline duties yesterday. It is tough when the day gets fractured.

And I did something to my left foot. I can't describe it, but it isn't comfortable to walk on. Resting last night seemed to help. I might have pulled something or stretched it in the wrong way.

All this to say that I've had better weeks.

Then, this morning, I received an email from church updating us on one of the missionaries that we support. I share it here, reminding me that my problems and issues are minor and that we serve God that can do more than we can imagine.

Written by Jesse Pryor, Missionary in Papua New Guinea...
It has been an exhausting week. Dealing with the logistics and technical aspects of the optometrist surgeon’s visit has been a borderline nightmare. Not only is getting to Samban rough, but once here, you have the knowledge that whatever you do not have with you means that it is going to be impossible to get it in time. So we had been planning for two or three months, but it just didn't seem like enough time. All the traveling was worked out. All the technical issues were discussed and planned for, so everything should be alright, or should be manageable.

It ended up that the traveling was the easy part. Picking up the doctor and his two nurses, traveling over road, and then by canoe went off without a hitch. The first morning here the doctor realized that our facilities lacked two things that he needed. One was an operating table (the right length, width, and height). He also needed a table that would serve as a microscope stand. With a few pieces of timber and some odds and ends of plywood, by 1 pm, he was ready for his first patient.

The generator of ours was running fine. The fan to cool the microscope was going fine. Two patients into the day the generator started having power surges. What's going on? Fortunately, we had a UPS for the microscope, so it wasn't damaged. I cleaned the air filter and then the fuel filter. The fuel filter had so much water in it that it was shutting down the operation of the generator. The bad thing is that we only had the one drum of fuel, so however bad the fuel was, it was all we had. So, this meant that basically every hour (with the generator still running), I would quickly take the fuel filter cup off, empty the water out, clean it and get it back on before the motor shut off due to the lack of fuel. There was a little pressure involved, but fortunately the UPS also had battery back up so if the generator shut down, I still had five minutes of power before the microscope shut down. I forgot to mention that he had patients on the operating table (literally under the knife) while all this was going on.

The doctor operated on 16 people over the course of 3 days. Seven of these people had one eye done the first and second day, and then the second eye on the third day. Of these 16 people, 5 or 6 of them have basically been blind for the last 3 or 4 years or so. All of the patients were having cataracts removed. There’s something about the UV rays here in the tropics that makes cataract problems an issue. The second morning before operations started the doctor would remove the eye patch and check the eye he had operated on the previous day. Those that had no vision would stare in shock, and then be in utter elation when they could "see" again.

One old man literally sang all the way home. He had been led from his house to the clinic. That day he led the pack as he left the clinic. On the day of the operation on his second eye, he didn't even wait for those to escort him. He was walking as soon as first light hit, so he could be first in line for the operations. Saturday he had his patch removed and he had the use of both eyes. To paraphrase what he said, "That's it. I'll never be found sitting again. My children and grandchildren are going to have a full time job trying to find me. No more sitting in the house for me."

I have other stories about comments and reactions of these patients. All of them are priceless. Yes, I'm exhausted, but I'm absolutely thrilled for these 16 people who have had sight restored. During all these operations, besides fuel problems, the fan that was to cool the microscope burned up. Fortunately we had a second fan. If the doctor doesn't have the microscope, he can't operate. If the fan doesn't cool the microscope, it will not run. So we were glad that we had the two fans. The second fan burned up as well, but only halfway through the operation on the last eye. For some reason the UPS caused the generator to have power spikes (which have not stopped even after we are no longer using the UPS). The generator is what we use to power the electronics (like this computer) in our house and other equipment to do our work here in PNG. All this is fixable.

I don't know about you, but in our family the countdown for Christmas has begun (especially for the 3 kids). For some reason I've always found it really easy to have the Scrooge mentality around Christmas. So here I sit writing this email with no fan, so I'm sweating just typing. The washing machine won't pump out water on its own, so every few minutes I'm having to get up to pump out the water for it. We've also got a lot to do because the plane is coming tomorrow and we are headed into town for some shopping for supplies and to get some literacy material printed. It would be really easy to focus on the bad. When things break down out here, it is a waiting period before we can either get parts, or replace it. Sometimes replacing things has to wait until funds are available.

However, if you gave us (Karie and me) the choice between two fans, a washing machine that worked properly, or 16 people with restored sight, I think you know what the choice would be. Those 16 people have been dealing with poor sight for years, and it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself because you can't turn on a fan. We can replace fans, we can get a new washing machine, maybe not when we want to, but those types of things are replaceable. To have the ability to change someone’s life through restored vision? That is irreplaceable.

All these things I’ve mentioned remind me of the fact that over 2000 years ago an event took place in history that changed the course of human history, yet so many people are blind to the fact of what a magnificent change took place. How simple it is to restore physical sight for a doctor who is skilled and has the right tools. How hard it is to change the attitudes of those who don't care to see what God did so many years ago, and does every day. It's easy to focus on what is not right in the world. It is easy to see the defeats close at hand. Yet the victory that is in our future, because of what was done so many years ago, is so much greater than what we have to deal with right now.

Our little world here in Samban can now see a little clearer because of what one doctor did. Hopefully, we can see the greater vision of what Christmas means through the gift of God's Son.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

2009 Fantasy of Trees

East Tennessee Children's Hospital put on their 25th annual Fantasy of Trees.

One of our friends at ETCH was able to get us some complimentary tickets to the Festival so I took Edison and Caroline to the fun.

I took about 160 photos, so I'm not going to bore you with all of them. Really. Here's the best of them...

Caroline waffled about seeing the big man. But, simple distractions and about a 20 minute wait in line and we were next. When I asked her what she was going to ask of Santa, her reply was, "Paper. Crayons. Markers. Pupcake. No pie. Cake. A doctor's kit."

Now, this was not a pure quote, but more single word answers to prompts. She did fine meeting Santa, posed for the photographers (both the official one and me) and then I collected her. We thanked Santa, wished him a Merry Christmas and started to walk to the digital photo selection area. She turned back towards Santa and said, "Paper." I guess that she forgot to let him know her wish list or he didn't ask.

It reminded me of the scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie tells Santa that he wants a football and then realizes that he should tell him exactly what he wants...


The Fantasy of Trees Santa was much nicer.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving TV shows

I've been waiting years for this episode of Cheers to show up.

Thanksgiving Orphans

This is the one where the cast all get together at Carla's place and a food fight breaks out. I saw part of it in 1986, but not all of it. WGN is showing it.

Other favorite Thanksgiving themed TV episodes are the ones from Everybody Loves Raymond. The tofurkey and the fish episodes. The Bob Newhart Show where Emily goes off and leaves Bob and the boys with some liquor and football.

On Thanksgiving day, I enjoy a smattering of parades and football.

Keep the turkey moist and the remote close by.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weather Girl

Caroline went on her first kindergarten Field Trip today. Her class went to WATE, the local ABC affiliate, where they toured the facilities and got to play on the set. Below is meteorologist Ken Weathers giving her some assistance.


And then she's flying solo.

The kids had fun and rounded out the morning with a stop at Burger King for some chicken and fry-fries.

Thanks to Diane H. for the photos. More photos can be found on Facebook.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Catch up

It seems that I've been neglecting this blog. I have, I guess.

To make up for it, I give you an image that I found over at FreakingNews.com...
John Cleese
I also share a wonderful episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour...



While I was sick this last week I had a chance to watch this. I'm a big Bob Newhart fan, and an Alfred Hitchcock fan. When these two worlds collided, I'm a double winner. Take 50 minutes from your day and watch this.

I was able to read some more of A Colossal Hoax by Scott Tribble. It is a very well researched book.

We celebrated Edison's 15th birthday on Saturday and Sunday. Ah, boys will be boys. Angie has a much better description of the weekend's events over at her blog.

I worked on a few PCs for some friends. Mostly updates and cleaning out cruft. I fought with a Vista laptop that did not want to give up the administrative password. I was finally able to use a tool that cleared the password. Bingo. Now to finish cleaning and tweaking.

There. I'm caught up. Probably not, but that's what you're getting for now.

Friday, October 30, 2009

TriJangle Interview, part 3 - Pierce Pettis

This is the third and last of the three drive-by interviews with the main participants of the upcoming "Songwriters in the Round" show that will be held on Saturday, November 14. Three outstanding musicians and songsmiths will come together for an evening of good music at the Westridge Auditorium Theater in Elgin, Illinois.

Pierce Pettis, Pat Terry and John Austin are the featured artists. In case you missed it, the interview with Pat Terry can be found here. The interview with John Austin can be found here.

Pierce Pettis was the last to respond to the questions, so I'll finish up with him.


Q: What guitar are you playing the most these days?
Lowden J25, Avalon "Legacy"

Q: What are you actively listening to?
My daughter, Grace's CD

Q: What music is inspiring you?
My daughter, Grace's CD

Q: Yes, this is your typical, what's in the CD player, ipod, etc...
wires and stuff

Q: In a sentence or two, what did you take away from working with Mark Heard?
Some of his silverware . . . but seriously, folks. Mark was the funniest and most honest person I've even known. He was serious about his work, rather than himself --reversing the usual trend.

For more info about Pierce, please visit his website, PiercePettis.com.

My connection to Pierce Pettis...

Hmmm... I really don't have one. Sort of, but with his music. It was probably the late fall or early winter of 1990. Angie and I were in a Chicago area mall, walking through a store. The CD player was playing Pierce's version of 'In The Bleak Midwinter.' I think we stopped all shopping and stood and just listened to it. After the song finished, we found out which CD it was on (Windham Hill's, "A Winter's Solstice, Vol. III"). We immediately bought it. Today, when I told Angie that Pierce had responded to the interview questions she said, "Oh, I can't wait until we start playing Christmas music. 'In The Bleak Midwinter' is the first song I want to play." I agreed. I think I'll be pulling the Christmas music out this weekend.

Ticket information can be found at TriJangle.com.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Newspaper Ads

This came from a copy of the North Countryman, as supplied by the Northern New York Library Network Digital Newspaper project. It is either from 1964 or 1965.


Going back a few decades I found this advertisement from the North Countryman from 1933.



Boo!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TriJangle interview, part 2 - John Austin

This is the second of three drive-by interviews with the main participants of the upcoming "Songwriters in the Round" show that will be held on Saturday, November 14. Three outstanding musicians and songsmiths will come together for an evening of good music at the Westridge Auditorium Theater in Elgin, Illinois.

Pierce Pettis, Pat Terry and John Austin are the featured artists. In case you missed it, the interview with Pat Terry can be found here.

John Austin was the second to respond to the questions, so he goes next.


Q: What guitar are you playing the most these days?
I play a Taylor 514-C that Doug White presented to me as a gift back in the mid 1990s, after the Takamine Santa Fe that I'd bought from Bill Mallonee was broken into pieces when it was run over by an airplane. (I bought the guitar from Bill after my beloved 1970 Guild D-25 was stolen.) I was drawn to the Taylor 514-C because it had a darker tone than the other Taylors that were out at the time. It's aging nicely!

Q: What are you actively listening to? What music is inspiring you?
I would echo Pat Terry's list. Honestly, I'm not listening to much music right now -- except for some old 78s from the early 20th Century that I sometimes play on my late grandmother's Victrola (which is almost the antithesis of an iPod). Some are from the 1910s and feature really cool Hawaiian guitar parts. Unfortunately there is still something wrong with one of the Victrola springs and half way through a song I have to get up from the sofa and start cranking the thing again.

But, in general, I'm inspired by artists who have a body of work; I've never really been inspired by new artists. The more dead they are, the better! Willy Deville, who died earlier this year, was a great, under appreciated singer/songwriter. Warren Zevon died a while ago, but I like the two records he did before he was diagnosed with cancer: "Life'll Kill Ya" and "My Ride's Here" (much of which he wrote with the also now dead Hunter S. Thompson). I like the Ray Davies song "Working Man's Cafe", and "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap. As far as the current state of the music industry goes...I find the songs and attitude of Charlie Peacock inspiring. (And he's very much alive!)

Q: In a sentence or two, what did you take away from working with Mark Heard?
Capturing good music is a lot like collecting butterflies or bottling bees. And the secret to not sinking under is in having a good sense of humor -- you've got to hold onto that for as long as you can.

For more info about John, please visit his website, OfficialJohnAustin.com.

My connection to John Austin...

In the late 1980s and early 1990s I was involved with Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois. I don't remember the sequence of events, but a new church plant was being started in Chicago. Services were to be held in a nightclub. John was asked to play and I was asked to play with John. We opened the first service with David Bowie's "A Space Oddity." Major Tom and all that. I'm assuming that Doug had his hand in this somehow or another.

Ticket information can be found at TriJangle.com.

Monday, October 26, 2009

TriJangle interview, part 1 - Pat Terry

My friend, Doug, is producing a show. On Saturday, November 14, three outstanding musicians and songwriters will come together for an evening of good music at the Westridge Auditorium Theater in Elgin, Illinois.

Pierce Pettis, Pat Terry and John Austin are the "Songwriters in the Round".

I asked Doug if I could do a short interview with each of them. I tossed out three questions, one for the gearheads, the second one as the obligatory question (and I told Doug I wouldn't use: If you were a tree...), and the third one as the thread that runs through all three of their lives.

Pat Terry was the first to respond to the questions, so I'll post his first...


Q: What guitar are you playing the most these days?
My favorite guitar is still my 1970 Martin D28, which I bought brand new and have used on every project I've done since then.
Q: What are you actively listening to? What music is inspiring you?
I've been listening to Wilco, Rosanne Cash, Johnny Winter, and Leonard Cohen... and of course, there's always some Lennon/McCartney thrown in for good measure.
Q: In a sentence or two, what did you take away from working with Mark Heard?
Mark always drove home the importance of doing whatever was vital and real to me at the time. In the end, I think as songwriters that's all we have to offer.

For more info about Pat Terry, please visit his website, PatTerryOnline.com. His Q&A section has a lot more questions and his answers are more in-depth, but I specifically didn't want the guys to spend hours answering my questions. This was to be more of a drive-by interview.

My connection to Pat Terry...

Pat (along with James Dean Hicks and Roger Murrah) wrote the song, National Working Woman's Holiday. Sammy Kershaw recorded it in 1994, where it made it to the #2 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart. Sammy's current keyboard player is Steve Farmer. I went to high school with Steve and were in a number of bands together, both legit and pick-up bands. So, it is almost like Pat and I are old buddies.

Ticket information can be found at TriJangle.com.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blackberry fusion

Yes, Angie did buy this at the store a few weeks ago. But I'm talking about the new cell phones that Angie and I have.
Blackberry 8330 Curve

Okay, I started this post back in September. You can see that I'm up on my blogging. Actually, I've been rather busy, with Buddy Walk, football games, life in general.

We decided at the end of August to hop on the "phone as a data device" train. We had some bar phones that we got from Sprint. They worked well, but we cut out texting from the plan. Didn't need it back then. With Edison in football and a different church schedule that Angie or myself (he's a teen, don't you know), we opted for the Family Data plan. More minutes, no extra cost for all the data and texting one could want.

The Blackberrys work well. Until this Wednesday morning. I got the "JVM error 102" on mine and it wouldn't boot. I spoke with Sprint technical service. Three technicians and 35 minutes later they replied with, "Yes, we're aware of that error. No, we don't know what causes it. No, we don't know how to fix it. Please take it to a Sprint service center for repair or replacement. Oh, you don't have insurance on the device, so you'll probably have to buy a new one. Good luck with that."

Actually, they were kind and helpful. I selected the Sprint store in west Knoxville, signed up for an appointment (online) and headed out the next morning.

About 25 minutes after my arrival, I had a new Blackberry in hand, already activated. I was fortunate to have backed up my old one the night before it died. Weekly backups are now going to be standard operating procedure.

Edison also got a new cell phone. I've forgotten the model, but it is centered around texting. He likes it. He likes it so much that he got in trouble for using it. The details don't matter, but the phone was just returned to him last evening. I think that he learned his lesson.

So, text me if you want to. Although the Blackberry has a QWERTY keyboard, my thumbs don't move very fast. Don't hold your breath waiting for me to reply.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mad Skills

This is a screen capture of one of the most viewed photos from Yahoo! News.

The text on the side says:
An Indian army soldier displays his skills on the sidelines of the Polo Season 2009 in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009. The Hyderabad Polo season began Sept.14 and ends Sept.29. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

I'm sorry? Exactly what skills are those? And why at a polo match? I know that the matches themselves can be a bit a bit rough, but the image I have in my mind of polo is rather upper class, starched shirts and champagne. Not burning petrol and three cans of silver spray paint.

Friday, September 18, 2009

North! Or Be Eaten - a review

"Pencils down." That is a phrase that I heard often in school. The time for the test was over. The teacher's pet would walk about and collect them to be graded. It didn't matter if you were actually finished with the test. The time was up.

I have been watching the calendar slip by at a very fast pace this last month. I just heard the teacher say, "Pencils down." My time was up. My review was due.

I did not finish reading the wonderfully written North! Or Be Eaten. But I read enough of it to form some opinions and I gather them here.

North! Or Be Eaten is the second book in the Wingfeather Saga. I don't know if the Saga is a trilogy. Surely it must be, for it is a fantasy story. (Oh, be quiet Mr. Lewis. You, too, Mr. Jordan.)

One of the problems when one starts to read a Saga from the middle is that one doesn't really know what's going on. I caught on soon enough, but I probably should have read book one (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness) first.

The author, Andrew Peterson, paints on a wide open canvas with his brush and colors. The central characters, Janner, Tink and Leeli Igiby, travel with their family and friends towards the Ice Prairies to the North. They are outrunning the Fangs of Dang and trolls. Hence, the title of the book.

There is action in each chapter, suspense in every other chapter, wonderful word pictures on each page. Describing the sea dragons that Janner encounters ...
They were as beautiful as they were fearsome. Their bodies shimmered with metallic scales that swirled with color. The dragon closest to him glittered orange and gold, like the strikes of a thousand matchsticks, but its winglike fins cycled between shades of blue.

Oskar is the character I identified with most. The bookseller was more of a booklover. One that cherished the pages between the covers. I think that Oskar would have liked to have read this book.

I sometimes heard another phrase in school. "Pencils down. It is time for recess."

My recess will be finishing North! Or Be Eaten. A time to set my busy schedule aside and relax without care.

Find a copy of this book. Better yet, find a copy of the first book. Read it. And then find and read this one. Be taken to another place.




North! Or Be Eaten
Written and Illustrated by Andrew Peterson
Published by WaterBrook Press in 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7387-0

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Good Food in Nashville

Sometimes pictures just say things more clearly than words. But I'll add captions. They don't count.

Noshville. Our favorite eating joint in the Nashville area.

Monte Cristo. Mark.

Hamburger. Plain. Caroline. (or, as she calls it, Hurburger.)


Reuben. Angie.

Tennessee Club. Edison.

Knish. Angie.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

She Said Yes

Twenty years ago today, Angie said "yes" when I asked her to marry me.

Well, not exactly. It was lots of tears, nodding, shaking, etc. I finally had to ask her if that meant yes. She finally said yes.

Thank you, Angie.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Random

Edison wanders around saying, "That's so random."

Following his cue, I'm going to share a few random things with you.
Well, that should do it for now.

Have fun exploring. Randomly.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oops!

According to an AP story...
An Oscar Meyer Wienermobile crashed into the home and outdoor deck of Nick Krupp in Racine, Wis. on Friday morning, July 17, 2009. According to a witness, the vehicle was parked in the driveway. The driver lurched the vehicle forward instead of backing out of the driveway, hitting Krupp's deck and cracking the foundation of his house.

Monday, July 06, 2009

From the Archives


I have heard / read a few stories lately that deal with materials from the archives and I want to share them.

The Codex Sinaiticus has been digitized. This is the world's oldest Christian Bible.

An original copy of the Declaration of Independence was recently discovered in the British National Archives. Here's a link to the NPR story.

And finally, the Archives and Special Collections of Wheaton College have a blog, ReCollections. Fascinating tidbits from their holdings.

Now, stop living for today. Go back and live in the past.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

My brother said it much better than I ever could have.

I said some stuff. Mine, though important, seems almost superficial. His is much more real.

This is not a "Dad loved you best" Smothers Brothers take off. Steve just hit the nail on the head. With the hammer he stole from dad.

Steve, we're both winners in this game. Except that it isn't a game.

Dad, thank you for your leadership, your faithfulness to mom, to the family and to God. Thank you.

Happy Father's Day.

Monday, June 08, 2009

More New Math

I like Car Talk on NPR. The guys opened yesterday's show with a nod to MoreNewMath.com.

The people behind MNM use mathematical equations to define words. It is easier if you just go and look.

Well, here's one before you go...

Pirate = Thief + Boat + Bandana - Leg

Enjoy.

Friday, June 05, 2009

What I've been up to lately


Last weekend the family and I went to Michigan (via Chicagoland). Here are some of the things we saw...

A pair of very dedicated NASCAR fans. I guess they like Mark Martin. Or something. I would have picked another driver, I think. This is at a cemetery just southeast of Indianapolis.



Another gravestone just down the way. I'm not up on my chemistry. A little help?


We stopped in Homewood, IL, for Aurelio's Pizza with some of Angie's High School classmates. No, I don't remember all of their names.


Later that night we drove to Battle Creek, MI, for a few hours sleep before heading out to Owosso, MI. Our nephew, Daniel, graduated from High School. Daniel is on the right.



Coming back, somewhere in Ohio, we stopped for gas. This American Iron Horse was on the other side of the pump. I talked to the rider and he was kind enough to let me take a few photos.

We arrived home very early on Monday morning. Just enough time to unpack and catch some shuteye before attending Caroline's end of pre-school program. She'll attend a few weeks of summer school and then she'll be attending kindergarten.

Angie and I spent part of Monday crafting a to-do list of around the house projects. I've cleaned the gutters and tonight I put up the new light in the kitchen...

Before


After

We're still catching up on our sleep and a few TV programs that we missed. Okay, one. In Plain Sight. Good writing.

So, I'm off to bed with dreams of another item crossed off of the to-do list.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Overheard

This is a transcript of a meeting that purportedly came from the office of Mr. Bud Selig.  I have not been able to verify any of it, nor do I know who else was present.
 
Okay, boys. The Montreal Expos. Poor attendance. What can we do about them?

Yeah, I know they were the first expansion team in Canada. But they haven’t won anything. And should they get hot again, like they were in 1994, we can’t afford another strike to crush them. It wouldn’t be good for the major market teams.

Besides, they’ve already done their part. The produced Carter, Raines and Dawson. It’s time to shut them down.

(unintelligible) 

What? We can’t just yank their franchise? Why not? I’m commissioner.

Okay, let’s play monopoly. No, not the Parker Bros. game. Real stuff. Let’s buy them. Get Loria on the phone. Have him move their management to Florida. Leave the team in Montreal. That’ll teach ‘em.

(phone rings)

Oh, crud. The Twins are on the other line. Seems that they have to play at the Humpdome. We like symmetry, and that will leave us with an odd number of teams.

We’ve got to keep them around for a while. What to do? What to do?

Let’s put the team in a better park. Hmm… Where to put them? What about Puerto Rico? I know a lot of their fans will visit them there. Not. Even if they don’t get more attendance, the ballpark down there is smaller and it will look like there are more fans because there are less seats. And San Juan is warm all year. In Montreal the fans come to the Parc Jarry in parkas in July.

(unintelligible) 

What? They moved out of Parc Jarry? When? After the Olympics? What Olympics? Why doesn’t anyone let me in on these things? Crud.

Any chance we can sneak a grinder into Cooperstown? That @#$%& Carter was inducted wearing an Expos cap. Spraypaint? Hey, call that punkrockpainter guy. Maybe he can create new postcards with any other logo. We must erase the memory of the Expos from the collective minds and history books of baseball.

Cattle. That’s all the fans are. Cattle. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting some sort of assurance that the baseball card companies will verify any game used material that they put on cards. Distance ourselves from that one, too.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This is an ad from the Plattsburgh Daily Press, May of 1940.

Remember Mother this Sunday! Here are things she loves and never has enough of.

Like I want to go and buy her some "Fine Quality Heavy Rayon Panties." But it is a good price. The Hershey's syrup. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Day is Complete

Yes, the Weekly World News has been added by Google Books.


Actually, my week is complete because I have a wonderful wife, two beautiful children and a job.

This is just the icing on that cake.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Carols

From the April 4, 1929 issue of the Plattsburgh Sentinel...


The rest of the story can be found here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Computer woes

The desktop PC went flaky on Saturday.  We had a power failure.  I had to reset the power strip.  And even then it didn't want to turn on.  Finally it did.  But things weren't quite right.

Lately, our ISP (Charter Communications) has been goofy.  The cable TV works well.  But it appears that the DNS isn't working correctly for Charter.  This was confirmed to me by one of my coworkers today.

After spending a half hour on the phone with Charter's tech support, and getting nowhere, I did some searching on my own.  It seems that OpenDNS could be an answer for us.

Use OpenDNS


They not only do the right thing with regards to Domain Name Service, they also allow you to filter content and perform customization for your network.

That's all for now. I'm back to getting the router going.

Girl's gotta have a grill

Bought a new grill last night...Lots of shiny stainless steel. It was on sale at Lowes. Tonight we grill.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life On Mars



Normally I don't shill for TV shows. But this one has captured me so much that I'm willing to do that.

A policeman, Sam Tyler, is involved in an auto accident in 2008. When he wakes up he is in 1973.

The beginning of last night's episode was some of the best television production that I've seen in a long time. No, I can't describe it. Well, I could, but if you haven't seen it, my description would take away from the actual show. I don't want to ruin it at all.

Next Wednesday night is the series finale. I'm not one of those who will sign a petition to keep it on the air. I think that ABC and the producers did a the right thing in keeping it to a single season.

I like period pieces. I like time-travel quandaries. I like good acting and smart writing. I like this show.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Refi Day

Today Angie and I started the refinance phase on our house. I won't go into all the details but to say that we've been on a 20 year mortgage for two years. We refinanced for a 20 year note, but the reduced interest rate means that we'll be paying less each month and over the next two decades we'll have paid less than we would have on the remaining 18 years.

We've been talking with our mortgage guy, Fred, for the last month or so. He locked in the rate. Then I had to go to northern NY. Then he had a vacation scheduled. Today was the day for the first round of signing papers. We had to provide bank statements, W-2s and pay stubs.

I had them all. Except for the 2008 W-2s. I found this out about 15 minutes before the meeting. Racing home, I called Angie to let her know that I might be a few minutes late, but it would be okay, because I knew where the papers were.

No I didn't. I looked where they should be. Then the place where they should be if they weren't in the first place. And then the third place. I retraced my steps, turning on all lights and opening the blinds.

Not finding them and already ten minutes late for the meeting about five miles from the house, I called Fred. He explained that it would be just fine to get them to him later.

I felt sick to my stomach and wanted to cry. Yes, that bad.

We signed the papers and returned to work. Angie assured me that we'd find them. I wasn't so sure.

Work was tough this afternoon. Mostly because I was ill about not knowing where our tax info was.

After getting home, I found the papers in the fourth place they should have been. Now I need to scan them and email them to Fred.

That'll teach me to get organized.

Yeah, right.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm back

The trip to the North Country was nice.  Grammy's death was final, but not sudden.  The love that our family (both real relatives and family friends) showed was overwhelming.

The weather wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.

I won't take you day by day or meal by meal, but the days were long and the meals were good, from Rambach's Bakery to The Great Adirondack Soup Kitchen.


I saw Kite Skiing and Maple Sugaring.  I enjoyed laughter and endured tears.  I was with my family and I missed my family.


I know why I miss the North Country.  I also know why I'll probably never live there again.

But it was good to be there.  For many reasons.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Another one called home

I received a call very early this morning from the night nurse at the nursing home where my grandmother was staying. Connie was calling to let me know that Effie had passed away.

I haven't found the words to express myself, so I'll use the easy way out. Here's a blog entry about her from last year.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Font testing

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Friday, February 13, 2009

My fortnight visit

I realize that I have been neglecting to post on this blog. I've been spending my time and blogging efforts over at the new blog.

This morning, while getting ready for work, we got to listen to the interview with That Chick on Star 102, a local radio station. She's written a book and was hilarious on the radio. Caroline wanted to play basketball, but Angie was listening to the interview in the living room, where we keep the basketball goal. We were in the bedroom.

So, I taught her how to twiddle her thumbs. She doesn't quite get it, but laughs very hard when I do it. Silly girl.

Caroline does not have school today. Edison has a half day. They are both off on Monday. Seems like we just went through this.

We're going out to dinner tonight with my in-laws. If I haven't mentioned it before, I'm one of the luckiest men in the world. I've got a great wife, two wonderful kids and in-laws that are extremely easy to get along with. We even like each other. Go figure.

So, that's enough filler. See you in two weeks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Catch up

It has been a few weeks since I last posted.  So, I'd better do a catch up post.

Last week our church was promoting a week of unpluggedness.  Staying away from electronic things to spend more time doing things with one's family, reading, things like that.  Well, we did okay.  For those of you who read Angie's blog I won't repeat it all.  For those of you who don't, well, you should.

I finished reading Steve Martin's autobiography, Born Standing Up.  A nice read.  Then I started in on a baseball book, The Last Nine Innings.  It is a look at game 7 of the 2001 World Series.  Very interesting.

I've also been spending some time looking at baseball card blogs and interacting with them.  Yes, a bunch of nuts, but a nice bunch of nuts.

I started another blog on that subject.  Mark's Ephemera.  No, it won't be everyone's cup of tea but that's okay.

The cold snap has passed and the rains are back.  Caroline is wanting more stories told to her.  Now they are to be of the Noggin type.  "Tell me a story about the Backyardigans.  About Max and Ruby.  About Diego.  About Yo Gabba Gabba."  So, I do.

That's what I know from here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Symphony Night - rewind

This is a review/summary of the Knoxville Symphony Blogger's Night. In reading the other blog entries about Thursday night's concert, I'm kicking myself. If I had posted first, then they'd look foolish for using the same adjectives that I did. But I didn't post first. I'm well after the fact. So...

It was awesome. The venue, the selections, the performers, the conducting, the guest artist, the post-concert reception, everything. Awesome.

Really, it was.

Let's start at the end and work towards the front. Angie and I walked out with a reporter from City View magazine. She was there covering the blogging side of the event.

We left the reception room after all the other geeks bloggers had departed. Wine and cheese were served. I know nothing of wine and I avoided the cheese, mostly because it said, "Chili Lime, hand rubbed." I don't know what that means, nor do I want to.

We mingled with the other guests, Maestro Richman and Ms. Perlman, the featured artist. I was bold enough to ask them each for their autographs on my ticket stub. 


It was difficult to hold any depth of conversation because of the constant interruption for photo ops and hand shaking.

Now, mind you, this was at the end of a very long day for the conductor and pianist. Ms. Perlman had a bit of a head cold and was very gracious to attend the small party.

We met other bloggers and most of their names have left my head already. Frank. And Frank's blogfather. And Noah. And Noah's dad. Of course, That Chick and her trouper of a husband, Jason. He's an honorary blogger. He is quoted quite often. And KSO's own blogger, Katie. Then there was a gentleman that I took some photos for, but I can't for the life of me remember his name.

Kudos go to Stephanie Burdette for helping organize the evening and get all of the bloggers together.

After the final number, the Mendelssohn, completed we descended into the depths of the Tennessee Theatre. Beautiful building. On the inside. Nice on the outside, but beautiful on the inside. It was recently (in the last few years) renovated. The seats were comfy. I was very tempted to let my eyes close and let the music wash over me.

The intermission came between the Mozart concerto and the Mendelssohn symphony. Ms. Perlman was the pianist for the Mozart. I was not at all familiar with that piece. I think that it helps a concert goer to know the music, but this time I just listened and watched. Her style was extremely fluid. Her hands were the same. Lilting, graceful. And she had on some shiny silver shoes. It went with the flowing outfit that she was wearing. Normally a performer wears something staid and black. That's staid, not stained. Ms. Perlman's outfit had flowing arms and she looked like she was going out to a nice cocktail party. It worked for her.

Before she came out to the stage, Maestro Richman introduced her. His microphone wasn't working. The concert goers seemed to have no trouble letting him know that. Unruly visigoths. It wasn't on because the sound guy was also a stage hand. He was helping strike the set from the first piece, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto Number Three.

The musicians worked well together. Musically there were parts of it that were almost like the game of Hot Potato, but not so frantic. It couldn't be. Over half of them were wearing tuxedos. You can't play Hot Potato in a tux. It isn't proper. One has to gently pass the foil wrapped vegetable to the next person, not just throw it in the air. That's what they did with the concerto. They passed the figure from one player to the next. It was seamless. I think that the continuo player got stuck with it at the end of the first movement because she ended up playing the second movement by herself.

Before the small ensemble took the stage, there was much tuning and warming up. Typical musicians. No, wait. Most of the musicians that I know don't take time to do those things.

Jason and Stephanie were seated in the row just ahead of us. I guess they got the good seats. Actually, all the seats at the Tennessee are good seats.

The program actually started at about 7pm, when Maestro Richman took the stage for a chat, letting the concert goers in on some of the stories behind the music. He told us what to listen for, why Mendelssohn wrote the way he did (he studied Bach intimately). He invited Ms. Perlman out to talk about the Mozart concerto. Then a bit of question and answer. Yes, she has a family and stays in touch with them when she's on the road. She has a head cold. No, she's never recorded with her father (Itzhak Perlman, not Ron).

We arrived at about 6:45pm after a dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. I dropped Angie off at the front door while I parked at the State Street Parking Garage.

And that's the evening.

Summary: Top three things I liked about the evening...
  1. Watching the orchestra respond to Maestro Richman's conducting.
  2. Meeting other 'normal' people. People that enjoy music and life. And blogging.
  3. Having the opportunity to enjoy a world class artist, Ms. Navah Perlman.
Awesome.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another day, another motor coupling

Our washing machine started to make some strange noises last week. Moving it to do some cleaning resulted in the discovery of a small pile of shaved rubber. A search on the web produced the answer. The direct drive appliance had worn out the motor coupling. It was a $10 part at the appliance parts store. About an hour and fifteen minutes later, the beast is back together and washing a load of dark clothes.

I'm rather proud of myself. Only a few bruised knuckles. We saved the cost of a service call and I was reminded that I can actually perform mechanical repairs.

Who'da thunk?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Symphony night

In about a week and a half Angie and I will be attending the Knoxville Symphony as part of their Blogger's Night. I first heard of it through a post at Byron Chesney's Knoxville Trivia Blog. Byron picked it up from a Frank Murphy post.

It has been several years since I've been to the symphony. Mind you, I like classical music. I've played many concerts, from grade school through college and beyond. The KSO will be playing some Bach, Mozart and Mendelssohn. The pianist, Navah Perlman, will be the featured artist.

It baffles me how the beautiful Navah Perlman

can be the daughter of Rhea Perlman
and Ron Perlman

I jest. I'm sure that it will be a good night.