jpg never thought we would survive the martian month of march, but here we are at april .... april showers and april flowers ..... i'll start off this morning reminding myself about heart health (thank you Catherine for this important info):

  • The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  • The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  • The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  • The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  • The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

jpg Ghost of Bigfoot

folks up here tell of a large furry creature that was killed over a hundred years ago, right about the spot this house was built on (1940's). the legend says that it still haunts the area at night, its restless soul looking for peace.

well i never believe in stuff like that, so i set up my infrared camera last week (at night) thinking to photograph space-aliens .... well the space-aliens only came out in the day, but i discovered that "some things" only come out at night.... jpgin this case, it was The Ghost of Bigfoot.

the local librarian produced a sketch made of this creature back in the 1890's ... yep ... that's it alright ..... i can barely imagine what the rest of this month has in store for us.

(i just put out some carrots for it to eat if it comes back again tonight.)

Speaking of "Dead" ...

slattery's was dead last night .... maybe 4 tables taken in the whole place .... JB and me swapped pond stories and gardening tips, i gave him the birdhouse (best one ever) and promised to return (someday) his tools that i still have.

(he gave up drinking wine for Lent, i gave up Lent for drinking wine.)

Pat didnt like D's tatoo (neither did Barbara or Jane) .... i think it is wicked wicked cute.


"i blog, therefore, i am."

Home Depot Sucks .... Again

the best thing about Home Depot is that it gives me stuff to complain about. i had not been in there for years, until this morning (later for that) ..... years ago i bought a lawn mower from them, and when it came time to replace the blade, i went there, interrupted the 3 sales guys who were talking sports and got annoyed that i was there, and then promptly told me "we don't carry blades for that mower" .... "but i bought the lawn mower here" ... "yeh, but we don't carry blades for that mower". ..... that was the last time i spent money at Home Depot.

today, i went back to get a replacement blade for the mitre saw i bought there a long long time ago .... they still sell that same saw, but ....

you guessed it .... "we don't carry blades for that saw".... "but i bought the saw here"

" ..... yeh, but we don't carry blades for that saw .... maybe the desk can special order it for you."

i was on the way out, but i thought "you know, talking to their help desk might add another layer of enchantment to this story."

the guy at the "customer service" (i snicker) desk says they consider the blade to be a "part" of the saw and they don't stock parts for any equipment. i reminded him that a saw blade is an expendable part and they have lots of circular saw blades and hack saw blades hanging up, at which point he ran out of brain capacity and just stared blankly over my shoulder..... i could see little sparks sputtering in his eyes, as his brain wiring, never having faced such a dilemma, short circuited. ( the poor fool..... this was definitely worth the trip to the help desk.)

of course i left with no saw blade (poor fool), but i did get another Home Depot tale.

Movie Stop (used DVD's)

dropped $37 on Horror of Dracula, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Mummy, Attack of the Clones, War of the Worlds.

when it first came out (1957?) Horror of Dracula scared the utter living shytt out of me and everyone else..... it was the best production of any Dracula .... very British in style, which added to its credibility (these right proper gents actually believed there was a vampire!).

was it a scary last night on my TV ? .... well, i am 50 years older now ... not much scares me any more..... but it's fun to watch.

The Mummy (1960's) sucked. War of the Worlds will always be absolutely great. JarJarBinks ruined Attack of the Clones (an otherwise decent movie.... first ever shot totally in digital).

I Am Smiling (1989)


July 1990



Reaching the end of a job interview, the human resources person asked a young engineer fresh out of MIT what kind of a salary he was looking for.

"In the neighborhood of $140,000 a year, depending on the benefits package."

"Well, what would you say to a package of 5-weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every 2 years - say, a red Corvette?"

"Wow! Are you kidding?"

"Well, yeah I am, but shytt ..... you started it."

No Joke

i needed a new pond filter box (it's a long long story). couldn't find one that was perfect, so i made one that is perfect... over there on the right.





April.05.2009 ..... From this Morning's NY Times ...

On Friday... the unemployment rate spiked in March, to 8.5 percent, a 25-year high. .... The ranks of the unemployed now stand at 13.2 million.

There is no longer any doubt that the current recession will be the longest yet in America since World War II.

....The questions now are how much longer the recession will be and how much worse it will get. Measured by the labor market, the answer to both questions is "a lot."

I've been saying, it will take 8-12 years to pull out of this depression (make that Depression).

On "Gay Rights"

this week, the Iowa Supreme Court brought this issue back to the media's top page (and my attention), and it occured to me that i never actually stated my feelings on this topic, so ....

any person who acts to inhibit or limit the legal rights or the well-being of another person or other people, because of their sexuality, should be processed through a wood chipper and fed to pigs.

(meaning no offense to pigs.)

additionally (in a more personal tone)... people who just don't like other people due solely their sexuality, should not have their heads removed from their asses, because that is exactly where their heads belong.

Magical Realism

i am reading "one hundred years of solitude", by a south american writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. i never read anything like it before, as it winds simple events in common peoples' lives in and out of events that are just fantastic, and it does so in the most off-hamded, matter of fact way. it is very fascinating to read, and i do so a little each day, but it is a completely new form of novel to me.

so i am cruising the web and i find that Senior Marquez created this style of "magical realism", and in fact won the Nobel prize in literature.

so ... this craziness has a name .... "magical realism"..... too cool.

The term magic realism, originally applied in the 1920s to a school of painters, is used to describe the prose fiction of Jorge Luis Borges in Argentina, as well as the work of writers such as Gabriel García Márquez in Colombia, Gunter Grass in Germany, and John Fowles in England. These writers interweave, in an ever-shifting pattern, a sharply etched realism in representing ordinary events and descriptive details together with fantastic and dreamlike elements, as well as with materials derived from myth and fairy tales.

From the NY Times, April.07.2009

...even if the recession miraculously ended tomorrow, economists estimate that at least three years would pass before full employment returned and output rose enough for the economy to operate at full throttle.

The mathematics are daunting. The shortfall is running at more than $1 trillion in annual sales and other transactions. Only once since the Great Depression has there been such a severe loss of output - in the 1981-82 recession - and after that downturn, it was seven years before the economy regained the lost production.

From Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of beleaguered U.S. automaker General Motors Corp fell more than 7 percent to $2.10 -- a session low -- after a source familiar with the company's plans told Reuters it was in "intense" and "earnest" preparations for a possible bankruptcy filing.

Toxic Waste Disposal

Tim Geithner, the US Treasury secretary, has proposed a plan for the US gov't (the taxpayers) to guarantee the value of investments known to be utterly worthless. These are the toxic "investments" (they are and always were truly financial deceptions) that brought the global economy to a cascading avalanche.

His plan is to allow financial institutions to re-package these (mostly) worthless investments and offer them for sale at auctions, where the US taxpayer will guarantee that they will pay to the buyers any losses they may incur should (when) the value of the investments decline (which they will as soon as people snap out of the financial fantasy world they are in and face reality).

This is the most perfect scam .... people with billions who can buy these things will now get even richer because we taxpayers guarantee to pay them whatever bullshytt value they bought them for !! .... if they OVERBID and pay 5X what these things are worth, WE will pay them that amount even when the investments crash!

Example (based on the proposed plan): a rich guy buys $10M of these know-to-be-garbage investments, with only $750,000 of his own money (this he can do). The US taxpayers will put up the other $9,250,000 and be an equal partner with the rich guy (but they threw in 12× more than he did!!), AND, if the investment tanks and becomes worth only $5M (not the $10M he paid for it), he gets half of the $5M and the taxpayers get the other half.

THINK ABOUT THAT .... he invested $750,000, the deal went bad, but he walked away with $2,500,000. The taxpayers invested $9,250,000 and they walk away with $2,500,000.

The rich guy who bought the garbage made 333% on his investment (AND IT WAS A DISASTER) while the taxpayers lost $6,750,000.

Obama .... get on top of this bullshytt now!!! .... Geithner is shaping up to be a big mistake.

→→ If you want to read the full-blown intellectual opinion on this topic, go over to The Brookings Institute's page.

draculaWhy Dracula? ........ Why Now?

last month, it was space aliens. last week it was the ghost of bigfoot. this morning it was the US Treasury Secretary's plan to subsidize taxpayer ripoffs, then there was my weekly JA class, and tonight..... i just can't get a break here..... a knock on the door, i am thinking "the ghost of bigfoot knocks on doors?"

.... no, it's worse than that.

"hey, Deb .... it's for you ! "

jpg from L .... Matthew got himself a mild (i hope) concussion

2am just got home from hospital with M. mild concussion from bball to the head Monday night. Doing okay, just feeling queasy and a little lightheaded. Going to bed. L

(he may be ugly ... ummm make that VERY ugly ..... but we still love him and hope he gets better soon.)

A Month of Full Moons

March (space-alien month) sent a shiver through me, especially at the end, when the Creature showed up in my pond. Then in early April, there was the Ghost of Bigfoot, then Dracula knocks on the door (happily it was for D and I didn't have to deal with him).

Why? ... Why? .... then I remembered my camera.... i set it up to take pictures every night at 2AM ... when I looked at the latest batch of images, these weird events became clear to me.

every night for the past month or so, we have had a Full Moon and the moon is in exactly the same spot at 2AM every night ..... this is unprecedented in the history of astronomy (i checked You-tube, Digg, FacePage, even NASCAR).

there is something extremely unusual happening here at
42 °31' 30" N / 71° 45' 37" W

why we die ...

that's a polish kielbasa wrapped in beans and onions and sprayed with marginally legal food simulations. true, i did eat it (and another one like it), and true i will lament my wicked fortune to Debbie throughout the night, but if she really cared about me, she would have stayed home from work and stopped me from eating such toxic substances.

'tis her fault i suffer thus.

jpg decrease your productivity, and mesmerize yourself into hazy-eyed oblivion .... spin a top.

it's like eating popcorn .... can't stop doing it!

even more fun .... make your own spinning top (and base to keep it from flying off your desk ) !

jpgyou could get arrested being this handsome on your birthday .... Jacob is the big 5.00 this week .

next week he will be 5.019, next month he will be 5.077 .... i have it all plotted up on graph paper ..... but anyway you work the numbers, he is a seriously handsome dude.

(so why are there 9 candles on his cake?)

A lethal car chase and an obscene gesture

the TV "news" (i laugh) showed a police chase that was a pretty harrowing event. the crazy driver had to be loaded on something.... police cars all over the place, multiple crashes, the cops risked themselves quite a bit to stop this guy.... lots of police car bumping to spin him around or knock him off the road .... but he endured just incredibly. the danger was obvious and real..... all recorded on TV.

at one point he flashes "The Finger" out his car window while his car is speeding the wrong way down a highway.

and someone in the TV office decided it was necessary to "sparkle-out" his hand from the image so as not to show The Finger and offend the sensitivities of their viewers.

my brain went into static discharge at that point ..... flashing The Finger is more offensive to viewers than showing them this life-risking highway insanity under the influence of drugs? ..... the irony is that i am much more offended by TV editing / censoring the video "for me" than i am by watching the driver flash The Finger!

hey, Dave ... it's TV .... push the red OFF button off.

okay .... let's see what Tom and Jerry are up to.....

Loretta's New Web Page (April.12.2009)

L has started up her doula web page ! (at last !!)

Emma, Emma .... please come out of your shell....

jpgone of our guests for easter dinner yesterday was my niece Emma, who is painfully quiet and shy (when she is asleep). never at a loss for imagination, she rushes outside with the ukelele and serenades the passing traffic, and i have a short movie file that is going to be worth millions when she gets her first Grammy award decades from now..... i'll call it "Emma, the lost videos".

jpgelise shows emma some cool youtube videos over the cell phone. (your'e not still using a computer to do that are you .... how outdated is that ?)

jpgFrom St. John's Apocalypse...

He shall cometh to them in dark robes, like a spirit in a dream, and He shall say to them.... "Payeth me or Perish Ye"...... and they shall payeth him much, and wail and wring their hands with grief.

And He shall cometh again in the future years, always on the 15th day of the 4th month to collect His woeful due.

(i paid my taxes today.)

footnote: i checked some numbers .... the president's tax came out to 32% of family income (which in his case was $2.66M).

jpg way back, i wrote a toolbar to unclutter my desktop and buttonize the top 3 utilities that i run all the time. it was a neat idea at first, that is now getting bloated with a button for nearly every utility on my laptop.... this is the life cycle of all software ...."better and better", we think. unfortunately i am too attached to using it ..... it now has a life of its own and must be fed..... today i added a button for abiword, a neat little word processor.

the image on the left is actually ¼-size.

getting around in Italy .... i'm thinking rented Ducati's ...


From The Christian Science Monitor (dated March.31.2009)

April.16.2009: as there are so many statements about the current cost of the bailout, i checked the CSM for their numbers (probably the only set of numbers i will believe)....

Cash commitments made by the US government to its main bailout efforts - the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), various Federal Reserve Board programs, and some others - have now reached at least $2.98 trillion ....

It does not account for the $750 billion cushion against possible future bailouts that Mr. Obama included in his fiscal year 2010 budget request.

The $2.98 trillion figure represents tax dollars that are committed to bailout operations, not money that has been appropriated and spent.

The TARP - the original financial rescue fund, passed last year after great effort by the Bush administration - is almost out of money. The Treasury has announced plans for about $667 billion of its $750 billion in TARP funds. About $300 billion of the $667 billion has already been sent to participating banks.

My footnote: As of 5 seconds ago, the dollars already spent on the War to Free Iraq is at $6.6 trillion, not including the medical benefits to be paid to our war veterans over the next few decades or the "reconstruction" money the US will spend in Iraq.

Osama Bin Laden, who has been living in the Sheraton Americana Hotel in Pakistan for 7 years now posted thanks to the American people, on his web page, for attacking Iraq and leaving him alone. If he can do anything to help in this US financial crisis, well he'd like to help, but ..... his money is tied up right now in high explosive he is purchasing from various US manufacturers who will sell the stuff to anyone for a buck (and get away with it).

A Good Man

i put some stuff out on the curb for FREE today (4 iron firewood racks), and a guy stopped in 2 seconds and we chatted and he took 2 of them and left. later on, i'm pulling weeds (talking to myself) and look up and some guy, close to 7 feet tall, with a beard and a harley davidson shirt and more than a few tatoos is standing 10 feet from me ..... shytt, you scared me..... sorry i called you but looked like you didnt hear me .... yeh, i'm deaf, what's up?.... i saw the other guy take 2 of your racks and i was wondering if he also wanted the other 2 .... umm, no he took what he wanted .... okay, can i take those 2? ..... (the electric circuits in my brain are sparking - here's a guy that looks like he kills people for laughs asking politely if it was okay if he took the 2 remaining racks that were clearly marked FREE) ..... yes sir, you're a good man for asking, most people would've just helped themselves..... i just wanted to be sure ..... they're yours, have a good day today ..... yeh, you too.

(recalling Deb's tattoo party, i'm starting to think that ugly people with tattoos are the nicest people you'll ever meet!)

an invisible man

jpgHG Wells wrote a story, and several movies have been made about an invisible man. possibly the best known of these is the 1933 classic starring claude rains. i happened to watch it last night while D was at work. it's kind of a spooky story..... then, a little after 9PM, i heard the door open and shouted "hi, honey" thinking D was home .... no answer.... i get up and find the kitchen door wide open and no one is there.

i knew immediately who it was, and ran upstairs to get the camera and i was lucky enough to capture this first digital image of the invisible man as he came up the stairs.

he heard the camera shutter click and ran out of the house (at least i think he did because .... he's invisible and it's hard to see what he's doing sometimes).

anyway, D came home and i showed her the picture and she says ....
"no, i've never seen that guy before".

technology allows us to achieve ...
higher levels of stupidity

The Alfred Award
for a
Notable Achievement in Stupidity


goes to ....

People who
while they are driving.


it is a perfect morning out on the porch .... Zach is snoring, i am drinking coffee, D is sleeping upstairs.
some of the yellow finches and red cardinals are around, but disappear when i grab the camera.... so be it.

jpg jpg

have been leaving the coleus plants on the porch before i move them outside .... considering they spent the winter in the basement, they are doing great .... even started some new cuttings from them.

aha! ... at least i got a shot of the finches!

D is awake .... M and i are going to the diner for our sunday breakfast.

you know you're old when .....


...your grandson pitches like Nolan Ryan !

(no, i am not skiing !!)

The Dream Diner, Shopping, and Po Teeko's Cave

D and i had breakfast at the Dream Diner. D went for the sweet potato pancakes, i had the more health-oriented plate of poached eggs on corned beef hash, home fries and toast. then she went shoe shopping. it's hard to buy new shoes when you already have more styles than the store has !!, but then you can never have too many pairs of rocket-dogs, can you? then we hit the book store (my to-read pile is now taller than i am !).

came home, D crashed and i re-wrote the first paragraphs of Po Teeko's Cave (for the 10th time !) . it is pretty much finished at this point ....... except for the "missing 100 years", that i blew off in one sentence !

JA "Job Shadow Day"

this year's junior achievement "job shadow day" took my students around fitchburg state college, and i expected it to be a disaster (as usual, and happily, i was wrong). my 12-20 kids (depending on the day) are not what i call "school oriented" or "career oriented" or even "life oriented"...... then again, was i at 13? .... no m'am i was not.

i've been telling them in class that college is not like middle school, or high school, or work .... college is the best time you will ever have (which actually is a depressing fact when you look back on it, but an elating fact when you look forward to it!).

my group luckily had a major tour of the campus, and we saw volley ball players, basketball players, swimmers, joggers, hangers-outers in the cafe'(s) and on the lawn(s) ..... "hey.... this is college?..... sign me up!"

From the NY Times, Apr.23.2009

this is and extremely insightful Op-Ed from a former FBI interrogator..... well worth the reading.

they're out in the daylight now...

jpg as this is monsters-around-the-house month, after raking up the yard, i grabbed a camera to see if i could catch one prowling around...... no luck in the basement..... nothing on the first floor, then .... as i am checking the bedrooms on the second floor..... there he was in the window .... (shytt, didn't he die in that last movie with the villagers and igor?).

"when you're finished snooping around, put the frkin' ladder back, will ya?


"Hey Boss, did you send for a helicopter?"


"Please .... not now..... I have a headache."


Pakistan has 50 fully-functional nuclear warheads. These are scattered about the country; a country that is fragmented into uncontrolled areas and is being taken over by the Taliban, because the US is bogged down in the wrong war (Iraq) and has been ignoring the real global peace threat (Afganistan / Pakistan).

Osama bin Laden has been living in that area, untouched for 7 years !!!

Pakistan is now on the verge of collapse, as the Taliban are sweeping through regions and seizing control. Ultimately, they will have control of those 50 nuclear warheads (to be delivered by boat or train or airplane to whatever target they desire and then detonated).

from Time/CNN :
The move by Taliban-backed militants into the Buner district of northwestern Pakistan, closer than ever to Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, have prompted concerns both within the country and abroad that the nuclear-armed nation of 165 million is on the verge of inexorable collapse.

from the Christian Science Monitor: The failure of Pakistani political leadership to stem the Taliban's tide now brings Washington's 3 a.m. wake-up call - nuclear weapons in the hands of extremists - closer than ever to becoming reality.

jpg jpg

all the other plants are just beginning to start their leaves ... this azalea is out there in full bloom .... considering it took 10 years to decide if it wanted to live or die, it's doing pretty at the moment, and has attracted every bumble bee (the good bees!) in town.


The Second "Alfred" this Month !!!

Never before have we had two "Alfred's" in the same month, but this event truly deserves the award....

The Alfred Award
for a
Notable Achievement in Stupidity


goes to ....


The team of morons
who flew Airforce One
and a fighter chase plane
at low altitude
over the Statue of Liberty
and lower Manhattan.

On Being Retired

someone (who is about my age, but is still working) asked me what you do when you're retired. this was a person (much like my previous self) who considers that life = business work, and the end of business work = end of life, and that having "nothing to do" is the worst possible event a living person could encounter.

so .... here is a list of things you could do, if you didn't have to go to work 8-10 hours each day....

read all the books you should have been reading all your life, write a book, take piano lessons, play mini-golf, volunteer at your church / hospital / school / elderly home, go for hikes, jpgtake a bike ride, buy a kayak, go roller skating or bowling, watch birds, go fishing, take a photography course, take an Italian class, or a French cooking class, make clay pottery and handmade coffee cups (make me one!), knit winter hats for everyone, plant flowers in pots all year round,


learn to paint like VanGogh or write poetry like Robert Burns or write drama like F.Scott Fitzgerald, take a woodworking class and make a chair, learn how to weld and make garden ornaments, restore a 1956 Porsche 356 speedster, build a radio-controlled (RC) airplane / car / helicopter / boat, build a kite from scratch ..... make your own set of golf clubs, open a hot dog and rootbeer stand, make wine or png beer in your basement, join a amateur acting group, help out with Girl / Boy Scouts, write a magazine article about the greatest diners in your area, help out the after-school reading program in your town, volunteer for meals-on-wheels, mow old peoples' lawns for free, teach a class at the local community college, take a flying lesson, skydive, scuba dive, go snorkelling, collect sea shells and make a lamp out of them, make me a fancy new hickory walking cane ...........

but most importantly .... stop evaluating yourself (your "value as a person") by what some business expects of you, give 'em 2 weeks notice and kick-start your new life, my old friend.

LL Bean

i don't buy lots of LL Bean stuff (it's not cheap), but what i have bought is really great quality. because of a jpgmagazine ad i just happen to read (over there on the left), i am reminded that years ago, i was in the LL Bean store up in Maine. i am on line, buying my goods. some guy is at the next counter and shows them this shirt he has in his hands .... the thing is worn out from obviously many years of good use, but the zipper is now broke, and he wants a replacement for free (my brain is screaming with laughter.... this is his idea of a joke, right?) ..... nope..... the desk clerk doesn't miss a heart beat to tell him to get himself a new one, and go home happy (and so he does).

i quit JA today, as follows ....

Hi Bob, Lisa

I am going to end my JA volunteer work after this class ends (in a few weeks). My hearing has deteriorated significantly and I cannot hear what the kids are asking me, even with hearing aids, and it is a major deterrent to my effectiveness. I am just not getting the lessons across, and the kids gets really frustrated and distracted easily, and loose focus. I also cannot hear Mrs. Leblanc when she is talking to them, so I pretty much am lost in my own classroom (!).

I have enjoyed the experience, but have to face reality.



Invisible Me

after much exhaustive chemical research, as shown in this photo sequence, i have joined the realm of monsters, creatures, spirits and ghosts by making myself invisible. i discovered that just the right mixture of bug spray, unscented baby oil, non-astringent mouthwash, italian (Tuscany) chianti, and orange-flavored Pez (some of these are applied to the scalp, some are taken internally) make me disappear.

jpg jpg jpg jpg

i know this works, because i haven't seen me since last thursday.

Another Victim of Monster Month

i heard a scream .... ran upstairs .... Deb's gone..... all that's left is a trail of wet footsteps to the pond out back. the security camera snapped this image....


that poor, poor creature has no idea what he's got himself into !

we (some of us anyway) survived another monster month....
but we know they're watching ... waiting ..... eternally ....



Person of the Month, Susan Boyle


Ms. Boyle taught the whole world a lesson last week,
singing one song for a talent show audition.


possibly the most wonderful thing about getting older
is that you don't take yourself so seriously anymore.

(possibly the worst thing about getting older is
no one else takes you seriously anymore.)

Index of My Journal Pages

The Names of 4000 Dead US Soldiers