used books ..... my favorite place to buy books is on-line at Alibris, where they sell for $2.00 on up, the average is probably $5.00....... slightly out-of-date editions (like one or two editions old) are incredible bargains .... $30 books go for $5 in near perfect condition.
i am thinking of those e-book readers (KINDLE, SONY, etc), that cost $400 for the reader then something like $12 - $15 per book download (you can buy a used paper book for $2-$5) .... and you can only read them on that special device (can't read them on your laptop or any other device !)...... AND ..... there is no such thing as "used" books to buy for a bargain..... and when the gizmo crashes, you've lost all the books you bought.
also .... the price of each e-book download is not much less than buying an actual new paperback version .... why isn't it like 50¢ ? .... it costs the "publisher" almost $zero to produce that electronic copy (they don't have to print it and deliver it to you, like a paper book)..... and also, why not just put an HTML version up on a server (like a web page) so people could read it on their laptops?
(i don't understand why people buy e-book readers)
made the final hotel booking this morning .... here is the schedule..... all reservations are now complete !!!
The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving anyone too much ....... It would upset the whole World social order if men started doing things on their own ..... Happiness has got to be paid for .... Every discovery in science is potentially subversive ..... Every soma-holiday is what our ancestors called eternity ... The liftman was a small simian creature, dressed in the black tunic of an Epsilon-minus semi-moron .....
Deb: Nice hat, Dave.
Dave: Thanks, Deb, you bought it for me, remember?
Deb: I did not.
Dave: Did so.
Deb: Did not.
Dave: Did so.
Deb: Did not..... oh shut up and smile for the picture.
Dave: I am smiling.
should you ever need to kill small clumps of grass or weeds (or, actually any plant), spray it with a mixture of white vinegar, salt and dishwashing liquid soap..... the big plus is that this concoction will not also kill you, your loved ones or your pets..... it takes a few days to work and may need to do it twice, but if you need motivation, just read the cautionary notes on roundup or any commercial weed&grass killer and that'll pretty much convince you to try this first.
if i ever offer you my home fried zuchini, do yourself (and your loved ones) a huge favor and opt for a bowl of cheerios instead .... my fried zuchini (as proven yet again by today's cooking venture) ..... well...... just sucks.... i'm not sure it reaches the EPA's "toxic waste" standard, but i'll bet my shoes it comes close.
Inspired by new writings that have fallen into my hands, I wrote some "author's notes":
Inside Po Teeko's Cave.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The percentage of U.S. homeowners who owe [the bank] more than their house is worth will nearly double to 48 percent in 2011 from 26 percent at the end of March, portending another blow to the housing market, Deutsche Bank said on Wednesday.
Covering 100 U.S. metropolitan areas, Deutsche Bank in June forecast home prices would fall 14 percent through the first quarter of 2011, for a total drop of 41.7 percent.
The drop in home prices is fueling a vicious cycle of foreclosures as it eliminates homeowner equity and gives borrowers an incentive to walk away from their mortgages. The more severe the negative equity, the more likely are defaults, since many borrowers believe prices will not recover enough.
Of option adjustable-rate mortgages -- which cut payments by allowing principal balances to rise -- 89 percent will be underwater in 2011, up from 77 percent, the report said.
Aug.08.2009 .... Happy Birthday Debbie
D turned 37 today .... i remember because she is 2 years younger than 39. we spent the day in boston, on the duck tour and shopping ...... Don and i sat on the park benches and rated the girls that went by.... the average score was 7.69 .... up from last year's 7.57, but noteably below the peak of 8.6 which was 1997 according to my database files. there was an especially nice girl in a very short peach colored silky kinda greek goddess dress that blew arround in the wind who was walking a dog but she had to be disqualfied because Debbie pointer her out to me and that violates one of the rules of rating girls .... wives can't participate.
(mouseover the image for grayscale version)...
inspired by Chris (who is up to her own scribings) i've sketched out the second chapter in Po's story.... but today i backtracked a bit into chapter 1 and showed a written symbol for "Po Teeko" at the very last sentence..... and i also renamed Ye Taka (she was previously "Yi Teeko") ..... now i can start typing the details of chapter 2.
i am struggling very hard this year not to rant and rave about political issues (like last year), but the "news" media and the political powers have made me snap out of my dream world once again, and i have many good reasons to rage out at their stupidity.
on the other hand, there stands my 2009 promise to reduce my venom-spitting (but ever so witty) opinions on religious, social and political topics .....
and so, i have written and deleted some foam-at-the-mouth paragraphs on this topic that was really pissing me off (media lies and myths about healthcare reform)....
here is what i wrote and deleted ....
♦ six deleted pages of acidic editorial ♦
and that's all i am going to say on that topic
Mike and i drove & train'd to Boston this morning to meet (again) with the Itailan consulate about our citizenship applications..... we did very well in terms of all the dotted i's and crossed t's ... and i actually formally applied for Italian citizenship today, by filling out an application that was in Italian !!..... now the consulate goes on vacation and we wait for that plus some paperwork glitch in Texas about Mike .... at which point we will be in Italy (October) being fitted for our Italian Army uniforms (i am in the underground resistance movement, Mike is in the bomb diffuser unit).
then we walked up to the "north end" which is Boston's Italian section and we wandered and then sat in the cafe' paradiso for coffee and cakes, then M toured me around (he knows the place well) and instructed me on where to eat and buy and where not to eat and buy.
and there i was at one point in front of a glass case of olives ....olives like i never knew before ..... and i absolutely love to eat olives, and i bought a pound and a half ..... i thought they would last me forever, but at the rate i've been eating them this afternoon, maybe they will last a week..... i love to eat olives.
an "ode to olives", shamelessly stolen (without permission) from various places on the internet .....
Health Benefits: The juice of the olive, otherwise known as olive oil, is a delicious source of antioxidants. This oil is monounsaturated, and it has a positive effect on the cholesterol level in our blood streams. Monounsaturated fats are not considered "essential", but they should be an important part of our diets. These oils act to keep cholesterol from sticking to our artery walls. Not only that, but they help to control blood sugar, a big plus in a controlled carbohydrate diet. After all, when the blood sugar is under control, so is the insulin. And, insulin is a huge factor in our bodies' storing food as fat.
Olives contain substances that are believed to help us to ward off cancer, polyphenols. Polyphenols give the olive its taste and aroma. One of the polyphenols found in olives is thought to act as an anti-inflammatory.
(How can you argue with terms like polyphenols, antioxidants, monounsaturated, anti-inflammatory ??)
so, i am thinking ..... all those little Italian people (5'0" & 175#) that live to be 80 - 100 years old, while all those health-nut physiologists (6'0" & 135#) live to be 60 - 80 years old ..... there's some scientific data buried in those statistics ..... if diet is a factor in longevity, then i am recommending: olive oil (or olives), garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, red wine, coffee and canolis (sp?) and Debbies world-famous chocolate whoppie pies, not necessarily in that order.
or .... maybe i am just in an extremely "Italian mood" today ...?
(1) D is scheduled for some dental surgery next week, (2) yesterday her womens' doctor called and wants her in for some camera-scopic tests of areas better left unspoken to clarify some "issues", and (3) today, her GP doctor took an EKG that showed she has a heart burble (to quote..."you're throwing PVC's, but it's not life threatening" .... translation = your heart is skipping Pulminary Valve Contractions).
there is no memorable punchline here, as always, i'm just recording life as it is happened today.
my solutions = (1) put off the dental surgery until Jan2010 (2) stop sweating the camera-scope, both of us have been through this a few times before and (3) stop worrying about me travelling to Europe and being kidnapped and tortured for ransom.
but, shytt, what do husbands know, right?
not to minimize our current medical issues, i do need to make fun of them so as not to cave in to them....
in the event that i am kidnapped for ransom (on our trip to italia ) ...(1) if it's really mafia guys (you can tell after the first few body parts show up in the mail) ..... please pay them whatever they desire as soon as possible but (2) if it's those trashy italian babes you see on the internet in those red and black leather outfits and hot sunglasses ....... please hold out as long as you can before sending the ransom.
Aug.16.2009: in a flurry of phone calls today, i learned that my cousin Christine died suddenly this week and was found at the bottom of the stairs in her house..... no one at the moment knows why that happened.
I expect to travel to NYC this week, putting aside my personal grievances with some people who will be there, to pay my respects at her death.
i never heard a bad word spoken by my cousin Christine....
she made me happy every minute i spent with her.....
how many people do that?
see my later notes below.
there is a scene in the TV program "married, with children".... al bundy is looking up at a moose head hanging on a lodge wall, and looks sadly, and ponders and says...
"at least someone cared enough about you to put a bullet through your head"
well, not al bundy nor i are as lucky as the moose , as i had to survive last night's class reunion of people i didn't know and could not talk with because i am deaf and in a dancehall with a disco DJ and his 50" power speakers.
but, D had a good time though it lasted an infinity and we came to the agreement that this was the last party i will attend in my life ..... and i am very much happy about that, because no one has a %^$#$% clue what it's like to be deaf at a party.
(PS .... my one small jiggle for the evening was watching 55 - 60 year old yuppies dancing to 1970 disco music..... not quite worth the pain of the evening, but it .... and the southern comfort .... helped a bit.)
you may wish upon all your nightly stars, but the simple truth is that energy is expensive and must always be expensive .... read any thermodynamics textbook !! .... or, if your prefer, "drink the koolaid" and believe the brainless bullshytt you see on commercial TV .
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As American consumers abandon gas-guzzling SUVs for greener alternatives, they also face a new kind of sticker shock -- confusing claims about the energy efficiency of electric cars heading for showrooms.
Federal fuel economy standards and household budgets have been built around relatively simple measurements of how many miles vehicles can travel per gallon of gasoline, a number that features on a sticker displayed in the windows of new cars in U.S. showrooms.
So what should those stickers show for new battery-powered cars that will draw most or all of their power from the country's electricity grid?
General Motors Co brought urgent new attention to the issue last week when it said its upcoming Chevy Volt would get an unprecedented 230 miles per gallon in city driving.
But critics jumped on GM's claim for the Volt as an example of brash marketing and fuzzy math.
Even electric car boosters concede there is room for confusion.
"The sticker problem has not been solved yet," said Felix Kramer, head of California-based CalCars.org, a nonprofit advocacy group for plug-in electric vehicles.
Under current rules, Toyota Motor Corp's hybrid Prius, has been the mass-market fuel-efficiency leader.
The Prius is rated for a combined city and highway fuel economy rating of 50 miles per gallon under standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
But Toyota's rivals, led by GM, are already making claims for a still-unreleased of would-be Prius killers, rechargeable electric vehicles they say will get the equivalent of over 100 miles per gallon under still-evolving federal standards.
Those claims hinge on assumptions about how typical drivers will behave and unfamiliar concepts for most consumers, such as kilowatt hours of electricity.
GM's Volt is being designed to run 40 miles on battery power alone after recharging overnight. After that, a small gas-powered engine will kick in as a generator to keep its battery from running down further.
it doesn't matter .... it's too late ..... too late ..... say "goodnight, Gracie." ....... "goodnight, Gracie"
M chauffered me to NYC and back for Christine's funeral. we stayed at a hotel with Maria and Joe, whose company i love enormously, and who (along with much much nudging by M) gave me courage to proceed with greeting my sisters, in the face of some unresolved bad feelings. (we didn't resolve any back issues .... it was not the occassion to do that .... but i got passed the point of not speaking to them which was a big hurdle for me.) that went extremely well and i am glad i got past that point and started to reconnect with all my cousins and more cousins and cousins' kids and more cousins' kids, all of whom are beyond handsome and beautiful, and extremely loving people, even when they only see me every 5 years or so.
there isn't a single sour apple in the whole orchard.
we talked forever about our current lives and some history (Joe D and I went to the same elementary school at the same time, one year apart, and never knew it until yesterday) and talked about trips to Italy, and who got married (my sister Sally, who now cruises around on a harley davidson.... my life's fantasy), and new babies (Tess's and Joseph's), and practiced l'italiano with Feruccio.
my cousin Chickee's (sp?) kids are much younger than me and i never really knew them well before i left NYC 43 years ago (and never came back!), so we have only met occassionally at parties every 5 years or so. they are "the best". (Joanne is a real honey).
MaryLu is even prettier than ever and her daughter (Erica?) is stunning and her son (Andrew?) is in uniform .... Ronnie's two boys look like movie stars, and are in Washington dishing out TARP money and FBI'ing things, Evelyn's kids are doctors and lawyers..... i promised myself the next party, i am going to sit and chat with Stephanie, who i never seem to talk to much for some reason.
it is good to be connected again, and i am thinking (with my morning coffee) that the great treasure in your life is your family .... if you find yourself moving away from them, stop your travelling, catch your breath, and go home again.
i am trying to imagine alternative paths for myself as i travel through these golden years, and opening a hot dog stand has been one of my lifestyle fantasies forever, as i think it is a low stress occupation and your only boss is your customer, and i could eat enough hot dogs (and root beer) to die from, and also i bet you meet a lot of hot chicks (of possibly questionable repute) who need a cold root beer after walking the streets all day.
i'd start small (as shown here on the left) ..... because (1) i read somewhere that 98.65% of new enterprises fail because the entrepenuer has a flawed business plan or else significantly overestimates the marketplace excitement for his/her product and (2) i think humility (sincere or faked) brings a lot to business success in the local hometown environment and (3) i can't ask Debbie to push around a really big hot dog cart (i know .... she's spoiled).
Scary but true ..... A study of U.S. Census data has shown that 87 percent of the people in the United States can be uniquely identified with just three pieces of information: five-digit ZIP code, gender, and date of birth. That means if anyone gets those 3 pieces of info about you .... you are found.
the most dead-neutral news sources i know of
The United States spends more -- in total dollars, percentage of GDP, and per capita -- than every other country on Earth.
On virtually every other broad metric, the claim that U.S. health care stands for global excellence is demonstrably false. The United States doesn't take a top spot in either the World Health Organization or nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund rankings. The American health-care system is not best in terms of coverage, access, patient safety, efficiency, or cost-effectiveness. It does not produce the best outcomes for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes; for the elderly, the middle-aged, or the young; or in terms of life expectancy, rates of chronic diseases, or obesity.
Which countries do come out on top? Often -- France, Switzerland, Britain, Canada, and Japan. On the World Health Organization's list, the United States comes out 37th.
my comment: so .... in the USA, we pay the highest $/person for health care of any country on Earth, and the care we get ranks in 37th place ..... God help us.
♦ and an article by CBS news on the French health care system: Health Care in France ♦
Town Hall, Siano, Italy, 1905
i just learned that my dad's parents were not married in a church ! .... this surprises me, as my parents were seriously Catholic, and so was my dad's mother.
Need a Chuckle?
Two lost souls -- Nina (Tammy Blanchard), a pregnant, unmarried waitress, and Jose (Eduardo Verástegui), an introspective cook with a tragic past -- find solace in each other as their lives become unpredictably linked throughout the course of one incredible day. First-time director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde also co-wrote the screenplay for this inspirational story about love, hope and forgiveness.
this is a nice, small movie that is not as predictable as you expect it to be .... but keep those tissues handy for the ending.
Dave's Live Webcam
after years of indecision, i finally decided to set up a live webcam in my basement (my inside world). it is on 24 / 7, and i come and go, but who knows what you will see.
barbeque's, lawns, swimming, basketball and women
what do these things have in common ? = i know nothing whatsoever about any of them, and i am now old enough to freely (and courageously) admit that.
however, you might reasonably ask, "why do you bring this up, today, Dave ?" .... well ... because i have burgers outside on the barbeque that are flaming ferociously despite the fact that the (propane) barbeque is turned off .... and the reason for that is that, i guess every once in a while, you should clean the fat off the bottom plate of the barbeque, because that is what's burning (is that a siren i hear?).
(i'll cover lawns, swimming, basketball and women some other time.).
First Day Back at School ...
Ryan: Hey Jake .... this is gonna be okay .... right ?
Matthew .... Andrew .... Christopher
(do you believe these 3 guys .... these are my grandsons!!)
Updated Italy2009 Trip Page
updated our trip page to include more details and links to our reservations (so we can access them on the internet)
"America is still all that stands between stability and anarchy in Iraq."
there's a chilling thought, huh? .... it is from an article on the Brookings Intitute website, assessing the current situation in Iraq.
i was kind of hoping that there was a light way out there at the end of the tunnel .... doesn't sound like it ..... i am imagining that the US pulls out of Iraq in a few years, Iraq collapses as predicted and becomes a real (not imaginary) breeding grounds for global terrorists.
Osama bin Laden, by the way, is still living at the Sheraton Americana in Pakistan, but we won't go after him because Pakistan is unstable and has 50-100 nuclear warheads that some religious group would snatch in the chaos if we attacked Pakistan.
God save the Queen .... or the King ..... or the USA ..... pick one.
Eastwood produces and directs new movie, to be filmed in NYC....
Clint Eastwood today announced the filming of his new movie "Tough and Ugly, That's Us" to take place in NYC this Fall. Veteran actor Leo Savory (a.k.a. Nick the Knife) will play the part of "Tough", while newcomer Vinny (the hatchet) Leo will play "Ugly".
Vinny: It's really an honor for me to act alongside Leo .You know he's been my idol ever since i was in like the second grade when mama took me to see his movies from, you know, the olden days.
Leo: The part I really like in this movie is when I throw Vinny off the bridge into the crocodile infested river with his feet in cement.
(for the data junkies out there)
in constant 1982 dollars (that is, correcting for inflation & deflation, the CPI, etc), the average weekly salary of the average American worker has bounced up and down, but on the average over the years it hasn't changed at all (in real purchasing value).
and with that piece of morning research completed, i am going upstairs to whip up a mexican omelette and my second pot of coffee (D is working, it's raining out, cat's are sleeping)
i am finally crazy ..... and it's just great.
page written by Dave Leo