Dave's Journal, July 2010

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a visit from John C.

once a year, unexpectedly, John Cziakowski drops in on me and today was the day. . . he is an old GE buddy i first met in the early 1980's and he is a seriously decent guy . . . a 65 year old confirmed bachelor / farmer / woodsy-earthy-type guy who puts his facts on the table and shit there you are, friend, take 'em or leave 'em.

we went on and on about the olden days, over coffee on the porch.

you made my day, John . . . and thanks.

Matthew's knee - today (July.02) is the day

from Loretta . . . . "They are putting a donor cartilage implant in Matthew's knee and the surgery center already has it in their possession. They can't use it on anyone else and they can't return it ...... so the surgery is back on....friday morning at 7:15. Please pray for him. The surgery should take 3 hours. they are implanting this new piece of donor cartilage (so THANK YOU to the family whose awful loss gave us this new cartilage) and realigning his leg bones to stabilize his knee cap. should be home tomorrow afternoon."

afternoon update . . . "Matthew is home, watching Gladiator, eating a turkey tortilla and a vanilla milkshake - he has already grumbled at me several times in the hour we've been home. so, in other words, he is fine. doctor said no surprises and he was happy with how it went. . . . So he is bandaged up from toes to thigh, in a metal brace, and an ice pack attached to a cooler with electric pump that looks like something Grandpa Dave rigged up for him. . . . They gave us a little card to write the donor family a thank you note...... so please everyone consider being an organ donor.......without this donation he would not have had any treatment today."

jpg just finished this novel based on the life of legendary architect F.L. Wright . . . extremely well written story of a fascinating eccentric genius, and ladies man !. . . make that "womanizer"

then i spent hours digging out the slate rock path out back and re-inventing it . . . it sucks now but it's better than it was, which means that i didn't realize how much it originally sucked until i "fixed" it . . . . the cruel and twisted irony of hope and ambition, i suppose.

a new Tcl script

i haven't written a program in many months, and i had a gripe about booting the GIMP just to add a boder or a shadow to a picture, so . . . i wrote a litte GUI in Tcl that uses imagemagick commands and do the job . . .


i was sad to see how rusty my Tcl skills had become, after all this time . . . and promise myself just to write stuff now and then for practice.

We all have fantasies . . .
Porsche just updated mine . . .


Base price, $144,750. As tested, $161,085.

3.8-liter horizontally opposed 6 ( 500 horsepower, 480 pound-feet of torque); 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with manual mode.

970F in the shade

if you were wearing a fur coat today, what would you be doing?


my "left-wing" friends think i'm a jerk, because i believe . . .

  • in the death penalty for certain horrific crimes
  • every (non-felonious) US citizen over 21 should own a gun
  • the US should deny citizenship to anyone born on US soil who does not have at least one parent who is a legal US citizen (same concept as the rest of the world)
  • the US should find and deport every person who is not legally admitted onto US soil
  • A major reason for education in the US gone to hell is the liberalization of our attitudes about study, homework, grades, hard work, punishment and the liberal attitude that "it's okay to be a stupid, lazy student".
  • we should torch Pakistan and napalm the heroine field in Afganistan before we pull our troops the f$%k out of there, which should be next Friday
  • we should exit Iraq tomorrow morning and call it a bad decision
  • we should shut down every penny of aid to Israel and call it an act of terrorism to support that government

my "right-wing" friends think i'm a jerk, because i believe . . .

  • the federal gov't should very strictly govern financial institutions and businesses and issue some serious jail time sentences
  • in a (limited) socialized health-care system
  • the US should allow every foreigner who has been offered a job on US soil to enter the US on a work Visa, log into the system and start paying taxes (it beats sending the work overseas! )
  • every firearm in the US must be federally registered and registered with the state it exists in at any moment
  • we should exit Iraq tomorrow morning and call it a bad decision
  • we should shut down every penny of aid to Israel and call it an act of terrorism to support that government

Dorothy Parker, writer


Her classic one-liners . . .

A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.

I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true.

I've never been a millionaire but I just know I'd be darling at it.

If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

I demand three things of a man . . . he must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.

(I took the photo in 2001 in the wax museum in NYC.)

2 Photos Revisited

the lastest photo-buzz is tonal-mapping, and i barely grasp the concept . . . adding duplicate layers and tweaking contrast, lightness "curves", sharpness, opacity and other stuff that the gurus have blessed to be tweaked, and then flattening the whole mess into one image . . . very very twitchy process that goes over the edge way too fast, and hurts more images than it helps, but i got two photos from Italy to look more dramatic, using this technique, and here they are . . .



I now need a much better computer as my 8-year old laptop just ain't up for this. . . . that's why there's Christmas, I suppose.

png July 7, 1990 ! ! ..... Happy 20th Anniversary, Dave and Debbie ! !png

Deb: "Oh, Dave you are so handsome."
Dave: "Watch your hands, lady."

Yikes . . . Rich People are Stupid too!

when the private mortgage sector collapsed, because lower income people had overextended themselves and banks encouraged them, i thought "what jerks these people are . . . can't they write up a household budget and run a calculator? . . . why are poor people so stupid?"

well . . . here we are, sir . . . the NYTimes today is reporting that poor people have not (as i thought) cornered the market on stupidity . . . Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages Are the Rich


rich people are defaulting on their mortgages at almost twice the rate that poor people are.

but there is a difference . . . poor people are defaulting because they honestly cannot pay the mortgage . . . rich people are defaulting because . . .

Though it is hard to prove, the CoreLogic data suggest that many of the well-to-do are purposely dumping their financially draining properties, just as they would any sour investment.

"The rich are different: they are more ruthless," said Sam Khater, CoreLogic's senior economist.

jees . . . make that stupid and ruthless.

regarding illegal immigrants . . .


(he does have a point)

Leo Family Party @ Port Jeff


(full report on the evening news)

Party Post-mortem

Deb, Mike, Chrissy and me took the ferry across to Port Jeff . . . perfect trips back and forth, and the car traffic was non-existent and the weather was great. Party was in the "village center" right at the ferry dock, parking was easy. Port Jeff is touristy-beautiful, and some folks had the good sense to leave the party for a while and drift around town. Actually, more of us should have done that, but it remains kind of a missed opportunity for most of us Leo's that day.

Only 30 people showed up . . . that's less than 1/3 of everyone who was invited, and this became the topic of a spontaneous full-group, round-table discussion about "where is the Leo annual gathering heading in the future". This went on and on and on and not everyone agreed with anyone. But I got elected by implication to host the next one up in New England (including and optional trip into Boston the next day), I promised to "reach out" and see how we can get more people next time. Maria had done a lot of that by mail for this party, so the "solution" is still not obvious. First thing I will do is collect all the various ideas and comments that were made on the topic and let everyone read them . . . will probably set up an web page (?) for future thoughts and input . . . maybe.

It is not unanimous that we need to do anything but invite people . . . however, the Leo family is getting larger and larger (and is spread all over the country) but attendence is dropping every year . . . . should we just let the party become extinct ? or should we update it for the future?

continued . . .

I must confer with Bobby, Sally and Theresa about the next party, as they were not there yesterday.

My personal feeling is that I am kind of weary . . . no, make that very weary of having it in New York every year, and it is probably time to expand the concept into a 2-3 day vacation for people . . . but it seemed that only 50% thought that was necessary. Again, I promised to try and find out why people don't show up. Some things are obvious - it's a very expensive party to attend - the four of us spent about $650 to party for 6 hours. Whatever . . . we should get it out of NY regularly, and get the "next gen" interested. All of this is just brainstorming . . . highly inconclusive at this point.

Before leaving Port Jeff, we tried to have breakfast in a place called Z-Pita that was highly recommended by several Leo's. Well . . . we got there early (had to catch the noon ferry) and we were the only people in the place when we ordered eggs and pancakes. 50 minutes later, the place was full and every other table was eating while our food was nowhere in sight. It was the first time in 65 years that I ever went to the hostess and complained, and she went back and checked on our food and it was another 5 minutes and we were late for the ferry at that point so we ate ½ of our food and had to leave. postscript . . . check them out on YELP . . . not good reviews!

Leo Family Tree ("leotree" ?)


I got to take home the "tree", and so I promise to move the velcro strips around to make it easier to follow and look more like a typical family tree. At the moment, I don't know if it should look like a tree (bottom to top) or like an organization chart (top to bottom) . . . time will tell.

Across the Universe

jpga kinky, psychedelic, dramatic musical . . . the music = Beatles songs sung acapella as part of the dialog (much like the movie "Evita"). . . the storyline is choppy in spots . . the later scenes are great great 1970's psychedelic style, and the anxiety of the Vietnam era comes through pretty load and clear . . . not everyone's movie, but i enjoyed it.

Thank you Jimmy L. for lending it ! !

on the train in Italia. . .



well we went to Kimball's ice cream & hot dog farm stand today for the first (and most likely last) time . . . i was desperate for a grilled hot dog and D wanted ice cream . . . but i couldn't meet their pricing schedule of $5.50 for the plain hot dog and $2.50 for a coke, so we both ordered ice cream that was good and nicely priced so we ate too much of it and both got stomach aches.

to fix her pains, D took some stomach medicine, but i opted for a more primitive solution . . i figured if i ate some home-grilled hot dogs that'd push the ice cream through and take the stomach ache with it.

it's been 3 hours now and i'm thinking that those were slow moving dogs, as the pain is lowering through my internal plumbing but not quickly

. . . . ooooo . . . oooo . . . wait a minute . . .

my first my-phone app

they haven't invented the myphone yet, but when they do, i have the app that will put them on the map . . . (guys will hate this, but so what, it's women who will untie the purse strings and make me rich) . . .


the concept is simple . . . the chick loads this into her myphone and from wherever she is . . . beauty salon, biker bar, PTA meeting, vampire movie convention . . . she can simply click one of the buttons here and immediately a message will show up on her husbands computer screen . . . 15 seconds later his computer shuts down until the task is completed .

this does not work on unix/linux machines unless the wife has been granted root priviledges . . . if you don't know what that means, skip on to the next topic.

delivering the mail

it has taken me 23,886 days to figure this out, so i'm not nearly as smart as i thought i was. . . and to rub salt in my wounds, back in 1964 Barry Goldwater had the same idea that i am about to propose.

the US federal government should not be delivering mail. . . . it should be a competitive marketplace enterprise.

i'll spare you the painful details of how i decided this, but it was kind of an epiphany that happened around noontime today as i stood in line waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... waiting.

"Summer Hours"

a well-done French film (there, i said it) about 40-somethings settling mom's estate and the end of an era . . . perfect directing and acting . . . but . . . typical of French movies it is one scene too long and then it ends merely because they ran out of money.

today's stupid thing

i try not to leave the property too often, because i have a low people tolerance, but had to drive D to work and on the way home, cruel fate brought me to the intersection of Lindell and Merriam, where cars were stopped in every which configuration and angle . . . ?

turns out some lady in an SUV as big as the space shuttle was attempting a broken (a very very broken) U-turn right there in the intersection (there is a traffic signal there that i guess doesn't apply to her). . . . tires screeched, groceries smashed about in trunks, babies banged against car seats, horns blew, drivers yelled at each other . . . she made her turn and drove off.

i came home reassured that people hadn't changed during the night . . . there just as stupid and self-absorbed as they were yesterday.

two things you can't do

  1. you can't do "nothing"
  2. you can't do two things at once

what i mean is that sitting by the seashore watching the waves breaking over the rocks is not "doing nothing" . . . and . . every micro-second that you spend doing one things means that you cannot spend it doing anything else (you may interlace the micro-seconds but that's not exactly doing two things at once . . . AND . . . you can only interlace activities that have empty spaces between the micro-seconds).

(why does this wisdom only occur to me when i'm on the porch doing nothing? . . . i am noticing that the more free time i have, the wiser i get . . . like those Tibet guys with the flowers and robes.)

A fatal flaw in Obama's plan for education

A NYTimes article about a great school principal who got fired is highlighting the major flaw of federal intrusion into local schools.

The flaw is that federal grant $$$ is based on childrens' test scores.

This is highly unfair (i know this from personal experience), because schools in "underdeveloped" neighborhoods are filled with kids from socially deprived, poor, recent immigrant, shredded families. Studying school work is not on the to-do list of any of these kids, and teachers cannot do one f%$#ing thing about that in the classroom. To these kids, school is a cruel interruption in their daily lives; to their parents, school is free day care and nothing more than that. So the kids get bad test grades, the teachers get fired and the whole degenerate cycle starts all over again with a fresh batch of teachers, and the next batch of kids.

This would be like your parents loosing their jobs because you failed your driving test.

The article in the Times is well worth reading.


Bob is up to Boston for a seminar, we ate at Giacomo's and solved all the world's problems . . . our wisdom sharpened by wine and fine food (lobster ravioli, in my case).

I haven't worn "office clothes" for about 12 years now, but thought I'd see if they still fit since we'd be among business people . . . they almost did !

Bob: "Dave looks good in office clothes."
Deb: "Those pants are awfully tight at the waist."

old iron bridge

this is one of the 6 oldest iron bridges in the US, and it's about 4 miles from here. . . . i went up again today to take this photo . . . too sad . . . it's crumbling . . . 50 years beyond repairable . . . i tried to postprocess the image to make her look pretty again . . .


(this is the fate that waits for all of us)

along an Audubon trail

D is working, so i took the leica for a walk along an Audubon Society trail near here, and now i know where all the bugs in the world live. . . . though it was very peaceful and . . . um . . . nature-like and i enjoyed it and didn't get too bitten because i used bug repellent.


i was amazed to see and learn the impact that beavers have of the environment . . . decades ago they dammed a stream and created a huge swamp that attracted nesting herons, hawks and many other creatures . . . then the beavers left and let their dams fall apart and the swamp drained and changed the entire local ecosystem (there are no herons now and swamp critters are replaced by bog critters) . . . very interesting to see that humans are only one of many many animals that impact the ecosystems in a major way.

on a corollary note . . . any change that we humans incur on animals (like making the beavers leave) has this massive effect on local ecosystems (like the swamp drains and the herons leave).




Deb's boss quit last night and D is in a tizzie about that . . . R has been a good bosslady, who quit because of the typical, relentless, unfair company bullsh#t that blames dress shop workers for the global economy . . . it's one of those fantastic perceptions that company managers have that the employees control how many women in the local area - who have lost their jobs (along with their husbands) - continue to buy overpriced, child-labor dresses .

jpg so . . . change is in the wind . . .

today i took the little panasonic for a walk around the Audubon trail . . . . what do bugs eat when i'm not around and sitting on one of these benches?

actually i stumbled upon a deer in a meadow and we both froze, about 150' from each other (50meters for my global friends) . . . my camera was set all wrong for the shot so we waved to each other and it took off as i chased it with my walking stick . . .
(that's a little joke)

from this morning's walk with Deb . . .


jpgalso from our walk . . .

a sign of the times . . . .

hoping to slow down the rate that newborn babies are tossed into dumpsters, left in alley garbage cans, left in parking lots, etc etc . .

bridge over the Connecticut River

after replacing the snowtires on my car (hey, it's the end of July, right?) i drove an hour westward this afternoon to shoot this bridge . . . i couldn't get the viewpoint that i wanted, so i sulked on top of the bridge and looked down and yikes . . . look at that . . . you can even see me down there. (do i love my little panasonic? . . . yes i do)


The Bank Job . . . . D took her interview at the bank, and the inside scoop is that she will get an offer . . . can you imagine what this will do to global economy ? . . . all that $$$$ in the hands of The Queen of Cash Flow !

Cruise Night . . . i went to a local "Cruise Night" car gathering . . . way way too crowded, and the same old same old cars . . . except for an MGTC, a URAL (Russian?) motorcycle & side car and a perfect 195x Crown Vic . . . but not worth the traffic . . . i won't go back next week.


photo-ing a wedding

found out last night that i will not be the photographer for this upcoming wedding, which is a major relief on my part because i was "volunteered" for the job and weddings are very very stressful to shoot.

good news is that yesterday i dragged out my way-to-clutsy flash unit and battery pack (stored for 10 years) and started playing with them . . . maybe will experiment now using a flash in some photos (a big no-no in the world that i now live in)


dinner was good to.


Index of My Journal Pages

if i wanted people to take me seriously
i'd keep my mouth shut.


page written by Dave Leo