Dave's Journal, April2015

Inside the porch was at 79o (the "greenhouse effect"), but it is still surrounded shrubs buried in snow.


This was actually the coldest New England winter, and the most amount of snowfall, since they started recording the weather in 1892 !!! But the good news is *March is gone*. I hate March more than any other month, and it's gone, so let's not complain.

April 3rd: The weatherman predicted 70o and cloudy in Boston today. Well, kids, I drove & trained down there, hoping for the first nice walkaround of the year. Good that I dressed warm and brought an umbrella (trust no one), because it was 55o and raining for the first hour of my walk. Even strolling down Commonwealth Ave, after the rain stopped, did not have the magic that it has in the Summer or the Autumn. But, at least I got out of the house, which is very good.

This is a view along the Charles River (on the Boston side). You can't see the wind, but it almost took the umbrella out of my hand a few times.


I came up with a new law that we need to pass. Everyone getting on public transportation has to have a fever scan, maybe even a quick dental swab germ scan. Maybe not EVERY train .... just the one's that I ride.

Across from me on the train home is this guy who, at best, only had Ebola (in its final stages). Eyes blood red, bent over, clutching his belly and his head, and spitting stuff into a paper cup.

So .... health scans of all boarding passengers is what we need from now on. It could be a combination bomb&gun&disease scan - you know, a law that embraces all our common travel fears. Or . . . At least put spray cans of Lysol disinfectant aerosol hanging up next to the fire extinguisher and the emergency stop button at the end of the car. And bottles of hand sanitizer gel. And rubber gloves, and those face masks that they wear in China. Maybe even a free antibiotic shot as you exit the train - "just to be sure".

Obviously, I made it home, and I am warm, dry and safe.

(How long does it take for Ebola symptoms to show up?)

Two more from a drizzly Boston....




One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, 'I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week.'

The florist was pleased and left the shop.

When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill , the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week.' The cop was happy and left the shop.

The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a 'thank you ' card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill , the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The Congressman was very happy and left the shop.

The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

As Ronald Reagan said: "Politicians and diapers need to be changed often . . . for the same reason. "

Depressing Week Ahead


jpgThe Iron Sheik

The Iron Sheik . . . . you know him . . . that hateful wrestler from Iran, back in the 1980's & '90's .... I watched a really interesting documentary on him last night: The Sheik.

He really was a world class REAL wrestler (Olympic style wrestling). He left Iran for America and was a very successful AAU coach for years, before he got into TV wrestling. He was a very important force in the change from "pro-wrestling" to the big screen entertainment wrestling that we have today (thanks to Vince MacMahan). The first half of the documentary walks through all of that, and explains how The Sheik was the center pivot of the changeover ... the transition into Hulkamania and beyond that.

The big blow to TV wrestling came when The Sheik and "his worse enemy" were busted by the cops for doing drugs together. That blew the lid off the facade of "I hate you" wrestling. The WWF then had to come out of the closet and say "We are not a sport. We are entertainment". And that changed everything.

The film gets a little slow in the second half, dealing with his personal struggles, drugs and aging. Today he is a huge Youtube and Twitter personality. Go ahead and "Google him".

jpg Seeing the World as an Infant Sees it

I watched a wonderful TED talk the other day about how the brain interprets electric pulses from your eyes, ears, etc. and how, starting as a blank page at infancy, the brain learns to interpret those pulses and translate them into your conscious awareness of the world around you. Fascinating "talk", and it got me thinking about that.

I remembered this poem from W. Wordsworth:

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The subject of that poem is the same topic as the TED talk on the brain.

My translation of the poem is .....

When I was a child, everything that I saw seemed to be wonderful, amazing, fascinating. Colors, lights, smells .... very interesting stuff that I was very sensitive to and made everything seem special.

As I got older, I became very used to sensing all these things. Nothing was new anymore. My brain had no new impulses to wonder about and interpret. As I got older, the fact that my brain had nothing new to learn from my senses, made the world seem not so full of wonder anymore.

That's exactly what the TED talk was saying about how your brain learns. Then gets bored. And how that changes your perception of the world . . . it goes from a world full of wonders to just a boring old world (it's YOU and your brain that changed, NOT the world !!).

W. Wordsworth said it much nicer, though ....The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

Footnote: The boy in the picture above, Harold Whittles, is deaf. This is a picture someone took at the instant he first heard sound (through his new hearing aid) . . . SOUND - something that most people's brains (beyond early childhood) don't get excited about. [Thanks for the picture, Mike !]

The Tassels on our Window Blind Cords


At last, today I made it out to the woodland early in the morning. Windy !!



This last view is from a sheep grazing meadow (I was ankle deep in sheep sh#t at that moment), looking down at a dried out wetlands area. The wetlands were originally created by a beaver dam (100 years ago?). Some time after that, the dam either broke or was abandoned by the beavers, and the area dried out and went over to marshland grasses. Sitting down below on the sanctuary benches in the Summer is an incredibly peaceful experience.


jpgRamona and Nick Come Visit

They are up north for 10 days or so, and visited with us for a few of those. We trek'd into Boston both days. Day #1 = the 4 of us walked along the waterfront northward to Haymarket, into the Black Rose for lunch, and then window shopped a while (you can't have too many purses now can you?).

jpg Day #2 = Deb worked and we 3 trek'd into the Museum of Fine Arts. I was afraid Ramona and Nick would be bored, but I had to pry them out of there after about 4 hours so we could get home before rush trafiic. AND . . . we only saw one wing of the galleries. So we have the MFA on our agenda again for their next visit.

There are more pictures to come, after I trim and cut, etc etc.

During our trip to the Art Museum, I learned that Nick and I share the same fascination for black black shadows in photos and paintings.
This image is dedicated to Nick and to the wonders that live in those dark shadows.


More pictures from Boston: Pictures


The weather being so perfect yesterday, I slipped out to the woodlands (Deb was on a bus trip to Foxwood casino). All the lake and pond ice has melted, canoers and kayakers were paddling about, the parking lot below the cliff where the climbers practice was full. The walking trail lots were crowded too.

Rainy and cold today, and the tap water looks like sewage and the trucks outside have opened the fire hydrants to clear the lines. The hydrant outside our house has been running mud for more than an hour now. Thank you for bottled spring water!

Aunt Lu

Passed away on Friday, April 17th


Here are the 3 letter writers . . . I mean real paper letters that you put in a mailbox !! Can you believe it, in the era of email and facebook, that there were people who handwrite letters to each other? (Loretta does this too, so it must be genetic ? or contagious? ) I loved cleaning out my fountain pen, and filling it with ink and actually writing to Aunt Lu or Cousin Lucia. For me, it was almost a holy ritual doing that, and have them write back. (I'm getting way too emotional in my old age.)


Well . . . what can we say, but that it is very cold and lonely not having parents or aunts or uncles anymore. Happily, there are all my wonderful cousins, and for that, I am grateful.

A Peaceful Scene at a Local Pond


A New Story: Dave's Favorite Tree

Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak
Singing one of Dave's Favorite Songs

(She is ever magical for me.)