went scouting around the abandoned Crocker steam plant for a photo . . . they created a "nature trail" (!) around the old place . . . it's not so safe - you can easily get into the buildings and climb up rusted old ladders and get into some serious trouble if you desire to . . . strangely there were couples strolling about as if it were a garden (?) . . . i got a few shots in the horrid light and had to work some magic to get the feeling i wanted with this one.

Stereo ? Photos

if you stare at the image(s) below and cross your eyes and relax . . . you should see a 3d image if you cross just right and your face is the right distance from your screen and . . . and . . . and . . . let's try it, shall we ?


or . . . adding yet another level of excitement . . .


jpgDealin' in Dirt

Deb is working all day today, with a Texas sore throat, poor girl.

and, you didn't ask, what am i doing? . . . i am screening rocks (on the left) out of my compost pile (on the right) . . . good, humbling, dirty, physical labor . . .
(cleanses the soul of guilt that my poor wife has to work today).

The Easter Egg

we are off to russ & fran's for dinner today. . . full report after the break. . . jpg


that's elise there with debbie . . . emma did not want her picture taken and kept making funny faces, so she is not here


that's elise again . . acting like a "don't take my picture" movie star.


not much of a report i guess . . .


today was beautiful and i dug (digged ?) in dirt for hours and hours, tidying up my staging area, compost bin, behind the shed, woodpile . . . much better to be outside in dirt and nice weather than inside and clean in the winter. . . Spring is here for sure.

i am ever so glad that i lived long enough to slow down and see the flowers bloom in slow motion. . . the azaleas are just starting to blossom.


D loves the Twilight series of movies and books, so i must be careful in my wording here.
I will say, with due elegance,
"Twilight just ain't my cup of coffee.".

Is CNN Dead?
Is The NY Times Insane?

The NY Times (one of my trusted news sources (stop snickering) posted an OP-ED today regarding how CNN should move to save itself from further collapse (it's collapsing financially).

The NY Times (seriously) suggest moving away from objective news reporting toward opinion / commentary programs . . . why? . . . because the people who watch TV don't watch objective news programs, they tune into commentary & opinion programs.

Let me catch my breath here . . . the NYT is editorializing that TV "news" shows should degrade themselves to the level of the stupidest mass of people who watch TV so the shows can get higher viewer ratings. . . ?

So . . . who then would actually report the unbiased, unopinionated news?

Taxes are due

what's worse for the US . . . spend and tax (Democrats) or spend and borrow, then let the next guy tax to pay your debt off (Republicans)?


Artful Photos

i collected some of the photos i have posted at various times over in the Leica forum, and gave them their own web page here:

Dave's Artsy Photos

Today, by the way, I am 23,785 days old . . . (if anyone asks).

It's not going to be so bad (maybe)

in an era of gloom and doom about the US, here are some nice thoughts from NYTimes OP-ED department . .

Over the next 40 years, demographers estimate that the U.S. population will surge by an additional 100 million people, to 400 million over all. The population will be enterprising and relatively young. In 2050, only a quarter will be over 60, compared with 31 percent in China and 41 percent in Japan.

In addition, the U.S. remains a magnet for immigrants. Global attitudes about immigration are diverging, and the U.S. is among the best at assimilating them (while China is exceptionally poor). As a result, half the world's skilled immigrants come to the U.S. As Kotkin notes, between 1990 and 2005, immigrants started a quarter of the new venture-backed public companies.

The United States already measures at the top or close to the top of nearly every global measure of economic competitiveness. A comprehensive 2008 Rand Corporation study found that the U.S. leads the world in scientific and technological development. The U.S. now accounts for a third of the world's research-and-development spending. Partly as a result, the average American worker is nearly 10 times more productive than the average Chinese worker . . .

. . . . Over the last 10 years, 60 percent of Americans made more than $100,000 in at least one of those years, and 40 percent had incomes that high for at least three.

In sum, the U.S. is on the verge of a demographic, economic and social revival, built on its historic strengths. The U.S. has always been good at disruptive change. It's always excelled at decentralized community-building. It's always had that moral materialism that creates meaning-rich products. Surely a country with this much going for it is not going to wait around passively and let a rotten political culture drag it down.

here's what pisses me off about motorcycles.
i don't have one (though i did at various times).

png here's what pisses me off about tatoos.

i don't have one.

here's what pisses me off about lives.
i don't have one.

at some point, a guy's gotta step up to the bar and fix what's wrong with his motorcycles, tatoos and lives (or the lack of those things). . . . right?

a special and unusual event . . .

so . . . today i am on the line at the grocery, and the lady behind me says "didn't Mrs. Kegel suck as a teacher", and a guy over in the next line spins around and says "shytt, didn't she ? ", then the cash register clerk chimes in with "jees, you guys had her too? . . . she was the worst POS teacher i ever had", then the security guard added " oh did i hate her", and by then most of the people in the store were doing group hugs hoping to overcome the emotional damage done by the infamous Mrs. K . . . and so, having had Mrs. Kegel for an 8th grade english teacher, i had to agree that she was an utterly worthless teacher.

"why?", you may ask . . . well . . let me explain . . . .

Mrs. K wore these sponge sole sneaker shoes that went ffft-ffft when she walked and they also sucked up any puddles she happened to walk through "ffft-ffft" . . . . so we called them her puddle-sucker shoes . . . but that's not why she sucked.

she sucked because one day, in class full of 12 & 13 year olds kids, she was ranting about how all the stupid people she knew were sensitive to the weather and were happy on sunny days and gloomy on cloudy days and she went on about how only morons would be so effected by the weather.

so, i am sitting there, thinking . . . . shytt, i really really like sunny days and they make me happy and rainy days make me gloomy . . . i must be one of the morons she's talking about . . . and i look around and see these other guilty faces and i know everyone now who likes sunny days and is my equal as a moron. . . . i spent years and years and years carrying this baggage of secret guilt with me ("i am a moron because i like sunshine").

anyway . . . after the incredible grocery store event, we all signed each others grocery receipts and wrote stuff like "Best wishes, Dave" and "Kegel forever sucks" and we hugged again in the parking lot (i copped a few cheap feels from one of the hot chicks who didn't exactly remember me), and we sped off to enter the event on our web pages.

(some, but not all, of this story is fictional)

(magical realism . . . there is a style of writing called "magical realism", where a realistic story is interlaced and blurred with scenes of fantasy or imagination . . . it's a way of taking a fairly boring idea (my 8th grade English teacher sucked) and wrapping a fantasy around it . . . as a reader, you have to just let it flow over, under and around you (like dragons, sorcerer's, vampires, werewolves, heroes, villain's, cloaks and daggers) . . . it's "pretend" based on a few realistic events. . . . such is the story above . . . i simply wanted to say that my 8th grade English teacher was a moron, so i wrapped a fantasy around my opinion.)

Po Teeko gets her own internet domain : www.poteeko.us

(now i have to finish Chapter 3 and find an illustrator.)

Snaps from Loretta (+ Debbie & Hat)

(with a hat like that, Deb, you can leave the pepper spray at home and still feel safe! )


jpg jpg jpg jpg jpg

Mangia ! Mangia ! (Eat! Eat!)

The NY Times ran a food / travel article that gives a wonderful, glorious picture of local eating in Italy . . . very worth 15 minutes of your time . . . don't skim it, read it slowly and get into it . . . gives a great feel for life in Italy (as I imagine it).

Here is the link: Mangia ! (Eat !)

Deb . . . with that hat, we would fit right in ! !


The USS Constitution

Went to see the Constitution again, this time specifically to photograph the underside deck structure. It was this engineering design that distibuted the dynamic loads from the cannons evenly to the hull. This allowed them to mount twice as many guns in this little boat as normal . . . so it was a very very impressive small, fast weapon in its day.

Then met Mike and we ate at Hennessy's . . . nice meal, great prices!



Immigrants are not who we think they are !

from the NY Times . . . (these are registered, legal immigrants)

. . . . In 14 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas, including Boston, New York and San Francisco, more immigrants are employed in white-collar occupations than in lower-wage work like construction, manufacturing or cleaning.

The data belie a common perception in the nation's hard-fought debate over immigration - articulated by lawmakers, pundits and advocates on all sides of the issue - that the surge in immigration in the last two decades has overwhelmed the United States with low-wage foreign laborers.

Over all, the analysis showed, the 25 million immigrants who live in the country's largest metropolitan areas (about two-thirds of all immigrants in the country) are nearly evenly distributed across the job and income spectrum.


jpg volcanic ash from iceland now threatens M&C's italian vacation due to flights into (or not into ! ) the UK . . .
got a letter today from Enterprise car rentals in texas saying they were billing me an extra $11.50 for a toll violation of $1.50 that an automatic camera recorded as i did something bad in houston, TX, so i called them and utterly shredded the poor girl's day with threats that i would call the Supreme Court and post bad things on my weblog (she didnt give a shytt about the Supreme Court, but was seriously upset that readers of my journal pages here would take offense at their behavior, so she fixed it) . . . .
then i wrote a letter to people magazine (which D gets) and helped them come to grips with an issue they were struggling with . . .
then i planted some new shrubs, drove D to work, and am boiling water for pasta.

yikes, i almost forgot . . . i got an e-mail from the paramount wire company letting me know that their new colored wire spools are now available. . . you can read all about it here: paramountwire

insert cynical and incisive punchline here _____________


am back to writing chapter 3 of Po Teeko's story . . . i get two good paragraphs a day, after i spend hours editing the two good paragraphs i got the day before. here are the two from this mornings first cup of coffee . . .

As time went on and on, Po settled back to her everyday chores, with the Ne-Hundi story fading each day, and Po getting restless, knowing now "there's a world out there". She even began to think that, aside from the world of other villages out beyond the hills, there was a world of something surrounding her right now that she could not sense. There was a world of something that the flowers and dreams could show her in her sleep. So, at last, one night she went to her patch of flowers, took one, put it in her mouth, chewed it and swallowed. And immediately fell asleep on the ground.

She dreamt again in thousands of shades of gray, glowing whites and lifeless black. Her dream was full of curves, shapes and textures that swirled about, constantly changing as they passed through each other, some dissolving, some becoming solid. One shape became the cat with her necklace, then dissolved into a flutter of moth shapes that dissolved into a large humming bird before the dream faded to black and the morning sun woke her up.

Po had hoped for a better dream, and walked home confused and bothered. "Po Teeko ? . . . ", she heard Mama and knew what the questions would be . . . . and that look . . . that protective, scowling Mama look would come into the picture . . . and it did.

okay . . . make that 2½ paragraphs.


spent the last few days split between planting stuff and writing chapter 3 of Po Teeko, and today i finished chapter 3 (all 6 pages of it) and am very pleased with it . . . the story has always carried itself easily and well, but the words . . . the words to do it justice haven't come easily. i decided to rewrite parts of it (mostly chapter one) in a less primitive tone, because the story has now grown beyond it's original purpose.

USA's Best Pizza (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)

snooping around the international news services over this morning's coffee, i find a British news article and "the USA's best pizza" . . . . and where does it lead . . . to the same place that the NY Times was bragging about back in 2006 . . . a pizza shop in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn . . . . Lucali . . . happens to be two streets from the house i was born in ! !

from the "I want one " department . . .

jpg The Atom weighs only 1,400 pounds, making it 1,400 pounds lighter ! than a Mini Cooper. A supercharged Atom sprints from a stop to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds. A supercharger bumps the horsepower to 300 and pushes the price to $57,151.

from the "I don't believe this happens in the USA" department . . .

Arizona just passed a strict immigration check law, that allows local police to stop and ask any person "who looks like a foreigner" to stop that person and ask for proof of being in the US legally or being a US citizen. It is at the local policemen's discretion whom they decide to stop, and the person need not have committed any crime or misdemeanor whatever.

(to be clear . . . non-US citizens must have visas and pay state and federal taxes like the rest of us, and those who don't should get shipped out . . . my problem is the random police search and asking for "papers" . . . sounds too much like Nazi Germany to me.)

It is the height of irony and hypocrisy that the people who pushed this law through are the very same people who are screaming about "government intervention" in our personal lives and in the marketplace ! These mindless hypocrits want the government to intervene, monitor and regulate everyone else's life but theirs.

God save America !

addendum: US citizens who live abroad must pay income tax to their host country AND their full value of income tax to the US . . . (illegal) foreigner's working here should not be exempt from US taxes . . . . my immigration policy is simple . . . you cross the border, log in, get an ID, pay taxes, work, stay (no US citizenship benefits however) . . . you don't login? you don't work? . . . the barge !

(but who cares what they are doing out there in the crazy world this morning . . .)


Dominique's Wedding

the excitment this weekend was that my niece Dominique and her beau Chris got married . . . and it was just an hour away from here so we got to attend.

she looked ever so glamourous at the ceremony.

reception went extremely well for me (the deaf guy) . . . most time was spent milling about and chatting around tables over appetizers and alcohol with no music (thank you God) . . . then dinner . . . then the music started, at which point i was so alcohol'd that i actually danced (that's what i said allright) . . . nothing sillier than a flock of seniors dancing to the hits of the '70's and '80's (hopefully the event went unrecorded).

deb (who is not a drinker) got loaded on 3 (4? . . . 5?) glasses of wine and i wish i had video taped her trip across the grass field to the parking lot (consider it a missed youtube opportunity).

next morning i drove back there to breakfast (D had to go to work), and that was just as much fun (no music . . . lots of chatting that i could mostly understand).


had a wonderful long chat with Adrian (Joe D's brother) whom i haven't seen in 40 years ! ? . . . he was in marketing, brutal career, international businesses, business of his own, some recent heart issues, now retired but i can tell he's struggling with being retired . . . he said he was restoring an old train set and i gave him a gold star, and let him know how jealous i was of the trains (i have no room for one, but could make room if my brother ever returns my childhood train set that he is holding hostage) . . .

my neice Stephanie (sp?) showed up at the church looking glamorous in make-up, and i wasn't too sure about that "look" for her . . . she came to breakfast the next morning with no makeup (maybe very little ?) and that confirmed my thoughts . . . she is beautiful without makeup . . . fabulous facial structure (as we photographers say . . . "great bones !") . . . BTW, motherhood looms large (really large) in her future . . . AND, her husband (whatshisname?) is about to be granted dual American-Irish citizenship ! !

Joe D is one of the nicest people you will ever talk to . . . one of the extremely rare people who actually wants to hear what you have to say and actually (catch your breath) listens to you when you speak . . . can you imagine?

my cousin Joanne L. is a sweetheart . . . always was, always will be.

a map of IQ surrounding K-mart

i drove to pick up two pizzas at Uno's tonight (excellent, by the way), which brought upon me the misfortune of having to drive through the K-Mart parking lot. . . . and that made me recall a recent study made by the Scientific Society to Assess Global Stupidity, that focused on the population average IQ as a function of nearness to a K-Mart. . . . their results are shown in this chart. . . .


the chart shows that you must be at least 5 miles from a K-mart before the intelligence of the population near you reaches the average, or normal, level of 100. . . . which explains why i raced home as quickly as possible.

warming a tortilla hot dog wrap . . .
made a pretty picture . . .


We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint

i said for many years "PowerPoint is the best computer program ever written", and i meant it, but what i left jpg unsaid was that PowerPoint warps our thinking . . . many other scientific people said the same thing . . . PowerPoint oversimplifies and psuedo-visualizes complex situations . . . it is successful because, in a room filled with a mix of people and only a few hours (sometimes only a few minutes !) to sell your story, you must go with the "picture + bullets + take-away-box" style that PowerPoint does so well. . . but in the final analysis, the PowerPoint style is a very bad engineering / technical / scientific tool basically because it covers up alternative thinking paths . . . it's a selling tool, not a thinking tool.

i am surprised to read now, that the military has come to a similar conclusion . . .

"PowerPoint makes us stupid," Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat

you can read the bloody details in this NY Times article.

NOTE: to date there are 701 comments on that article at the NYTimes web site . . . extremely interesting commentary (see below the article).

i am going to award myself a star for trying to move GE away from PowerPoint to use HTML in the early 2000's . . . i wrote my last year's reports all in HTML, using scientific report format . . . . some engineers got it, but most managers needed to see PowerPoint ("just tell me the answer and let's move on to lunch") . . . okay, buddy, it's your money.


Index of My Journal Pages

( Wake up, kiddo . . . the world as you knew it no longer exists.)

page written by Dave Leo