Dave's Journal, June 2010


from the new Yorker . . . .

The safest of all degrees to be acquiring this year is in accounting: forty-six per cent of graduates in that discipline have already been offered jobs. Business majors are similarly placed . . . Engineers of all stripes . . . dominate a ranking, issued by Payscale.com, of the disciplines that produce the best-earning graduates. Particular congratulations are due to aerospace engineers, who top the list, with a starting salary of just under sixty thousand dollars - a figure that, if it is not exactly stratospheric, is twenty-five thousand dollars higher than the average starting salary of a graduate in that other science of the heavens, theology.

My comment: Also noted . . . more than 80% of the job openings in the next decade will not require a college degree. This means that, for the great majority of people, paying for a full 4-year college degree is a horrible investment in the future . . . take the money and buy a house instead!

from the heavens . . . .

jpgGemini = May22 - June21
The third sector of the zodiac, Gemini is all about intelligence and communication. You're born under this sign and have a talent for and love of using your minds and expressing yourself fully.
As a Gemini, you are a bower bird, mentally, and take an interest in all sorts of different things. Anything that gets your mind ticking over will grab you. You constantly try to challenge your mental abilities and will make extra efforts to understand anything you put your mind to.

jpg Cancer = June22 - July23
Cancer, the fourth sign of the zodiac, is a water sign, which signifies your highly emotional nature. Being under the sway of the element of water also makes you highly caring, generous and intuitive. You are highly evolved, even spiritual - the water signs are karmically developed and refined in spirit.
Water is malleable and adaptable. You are very much like that. You adapt when you have to, but you much prefer to make changes on your own terms.

Summer Solstice: In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice begins on Jun 21 2010 at 7:28 AM EDT. This is the longest day of the year.

A College Education . . . ?

okay, it's raining and i am back on this topic for the moment . . . "should i get a college education?" . . . . that's a different question than "is a full 4-year college degree a good financial investment for me ? "

my answers:

a)jpg i think everyone who has the brain capacity should take college level courses to open their minds and keep them open . . . the alternative that i see all around me is people getting their "education" and their thinking processes nurtured and cultivated by TV and the popular, commercial media (if this happens to you, kindly care enough about the rest of us to stop voting).

b) i think most people would be wasting their investment money to get a full 4-year college degree, if return-on-$-investment is what your goal is.

more on US colleges (from the CSM) . . . .

Close to 70% of all engineering PhDs granted in the US (in 2006) went to foreign-born students, as did more than half the doctoral degrees in the physical sciences, . . . .

Foreign-born entrepreneurs founded or cofounded more than half the engineering and technology companies that sprouted in Silicon Valley between 1995 and 2005 !

a baby fish is born . . . . in my pond !

jpgBuie '95

i bought this cup (one of the best i have) in Pigeon Forge, TN around '95 - '96? on vacation visiting Bob and Ramona. i use it two or 3 times a week . . . it really is a work of art. i had to post an image of something "handmade" on a photo forum, and this is the shot i took this morning . . . gorgeous coffee cup and perfect in your hand !

Nuking the Gulf Oil Spill

Due to greed, laziness and the lack of intelligent oversight on everyone's part (business and government), the worst peace-time, man-made environmental disaster in history is now the ongoing gushing (they call it a "leak") of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Some committee of PhD's wants to detonate a nuclear explosion down at the gushing hole and melt the sea floor (the rocks) so they plug up the broken pipe and gushing oil.

Well . . . . what more needs to said . . . .

Old Italian proverb . . . . "It is wiser to use your brains to avoid a problem than it is to use your muscles to get out of a problem".

The Alfred Award
for a
Notable Achievement in Stupidity


goes to ....

People who want to
Detonate a Nuclear Explosion
in the Gulf of Mexico
to End an Environmental Disaster.

Photographing the Police is Illegal in Massachusetts

This is the most outrageous, offensive law that I know of . . . .

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where "no expectation of privacy exists" (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

In Chicago, a guy was arrested on a misdemeanor charge that was dropped, but now faces 4 - 15 years in prison on the felony charge that he recorded his arrest on his cell phone ! !

God Save America !

Walmart . . . at it again

The NYTimes has an article about Walmart offering it's employess a 15% discount if they take on-line college courses from a college that Walmart has a contract with. A degree in retailing will cost the employee $24,000 after the discount. . . . Walmart pays it's full time employees $11.75 / hour ! . . . that's $24,440 / year (gross income for a full time employee). . . . I am wondering how many people who are trying to live on $24,440 / year (after taxes, that's probably $20,000) are going to find the cash to drop $24,000 on a college degree so their salary may go up to $13.51 / hour.

In contrast to Walmart's 15% discount to take on-line courses from their one specified school . . . every one of my Wentworth students (all 12 years of them) were reimbursed 100% of their tuition (by their businesses) for every course they completed from any college, semester by semester . . . GE (my alma mater) did the same and even allowed us time off during working hours if that was the only available course. . . . those are what I consider serious education programs. The more I read it, the Walmart idea is an insulting sham.

One commentor on the article pretty much says what I think of Walmart . . .

. . . The Wal-Mart business model is based on providing substandard wages and benefits to its employees, engaging in blatant union busting and repression, and the importation of cheap and toxic products. It has single-handedly lowered the quality of living in communities throughout the US.

Wal-Mart could better serve its employees by offering them living wages and decent benefits instead of investing $50 million in a program that most of its employees will never be able to take advantage of.

PS . . . in praise of Walmart, let me say that I did use their men's room once in an "emergency" and it was very clean.


jpgthat reminds me of a topic that i do with my middle school kids . . . i have them make up a family budget for a year (they have no clue of course, but it's a good wake-up topic for them) . . . then i show them a budget for a typical family (lower middle economic class in their town), and show them how much income they will need to have a semi-decent lifestyle . . . .

my hope is to keep their sights aimed high and to look at the numbers ! ! ! and understand that you cannot have that life you expect by earning $12/hour.

some get it (great !) . . . some don't (sadly, we'll see these few in Walmart outfits one day).

png in conclusion . . . . we should end this dumbing-ourselves-down, lower expectation, we-are-just-sheep trend we've been on for 20-30 years now . . . we expect and accept cheap products, bad service, low wages, bad working environments, lower educational achievements, stupid politicians, shamefully mindless "news" media, less-than-mindless TV programming . . . . we should demand more for (and from) ourselves and dump the politicians, people and businesses that are making the world worse than it used to be.

yeh . . . we should do this and we should do that . . . . people will shop at these big chains because the short term benefit is low prices and clean toilets . . . . and people will cut their education short because they can get a good job at Walmart, like their parents have . . . . . that's what i meant by "dumbing-ourselves-down".

from the New Yorker . . . .


from the back yard . . . poor little robin (?) egg


Vampires, the fake and the real . . .

these people are not vampires . . . they are teenie-bopper vampire wanna-be's who neck-nibble in the back of dad's pickup.

this is a Vampire . . . .
she killed 700 armed commandos in less than 15 minutes, using only a (magic) sword and wearing very fashionable, very memorable leather pants.

Momentos ( a 5-minute film)

Thanks to Mike, this is the best 5 minutes you will have today: . . . Momentos.
(film is 5 minutes, the credits after go on and on. )

how bad is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?

Mike raised this topic at breakfast, so i did some research just now:

  • normally, 1Billion (1,000,000,000) USgallons of crude oil leaks into the oceans every year around the world.
  • the estimates of the BP oil spill rates are absurdly divergent, ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. the most credible number seems to be 19,000 barrels so i will use that = 800,000 USgallons/day.
  • this means that the BP oil spill rate is 292,000,000 USgallons/year.
  • the BP oil spill, if it continued for a year would be a 30% increase in the total amount of oil spilled around the world.
  • so far 48,000,000 USgallons have spilled from this leak. . . that is 5% of the total normal annual leaks around the world.
  • this doesn't sound too bad, but then there is the fact that how much oil is spilled is relatively unimportant compared to where (and often, when) the oil is spilled.

footnote #1: total world crude oil production is about 74,000,000 barrels / day = 1,131,047,400,000 USgallons/year. . . . the oil leaked so far from the BP oil spill is utterly utterly microscopic compared to the total world oil production . . . (about 1 / 24,000 ) . . . but again, the envirnomental / social issue is "how much spinoff damage will this do to life and economics?" . . . yet again, the damage done may also be insignificant compared to the damage done by the 1,131,047,400,000 USgallons/year that don't get spilled but still spit fumes into the atmosphere.

footnote #2: the water pressure at that depth is 2200psi (151× the pressure up here in the atmosphere), the oil is flowing out under a pressure of 9000psi (612× the pressure up here in the atmosphere). Stopping something coming out at 9000psi is not any easy task, esp when it is a mile under water! As a referrence, the water pressure out of your garden house is slightly less than 60psi.

As quick as you can . . .

name the 3 best looking dudes in Texas . . . .


correct answer = Jacob, Ryan and Jack (in order of descending height ! )

Roses this morning . . .


pinewood derby, fort wayne, indiana, 1978

this classic has been completely restored . . .



jpg turned off "Slumdog Millionaire" after a while (too depressing) . . . did the same with "Tokyo Sonata" (which looked like it was heading for a very tragic end).

jpgenjoyed "Coco before Chanel" (with Audrey Tautou), about Coco's early years . . . very neat film.

(rose petals on the porch table . . .)

8 days in 'Frisco

i'm sketching out our october vacation in san fransisco . . . 8 days there will cost more (per person) than 14 days in dublin, venice, florence and rome . . . but i am going anyway . . . life's too short and getting too shorter.

google chrome web browser

am test driving it today . . . not bad at all . . . faster than firefox and the interface is somehow nicer (?) or maybe i just need a change of scenery (?)

jpg Departures . . . a lovely, excellent "small" movie, with an unsusual basic storyline . . . the directing is superb, the acting is elegant, the budget is zero . . . i will watch it again sometime . . . loved it.

the scenes where he is "preparing the dead for burial" (which is done in front of the family, at what we call "the wake") are utterly beautiful and emotional - much more loving than our experiences over here (they are in Japan).

Tal Wilkenfeld . . . .i stumbled into a Jeff Beck jam session on TV and i was completely blown away by the bass player . . . . i haven't seen anyone play bass like that since Ray Brown . . . she looks like she's 12, she's actually 21 or 22, Australian, dropped out of high school, flew to NYC and is becoming famous!

a video with Jeff Beck

after that . . . watch the master . . . Ray Brown bass solo

today's artful creations . . .

built on photos from the back yard . . .



feed me

him does this in early morning.
jumps on bed without no warning.
licks my face and shakes his head,
"it after six, get out of bed"

"i sleeping peaceful, can you see?."
"i hungry kitty, must feed me."
"go away" i say and say.
"feed me or me bad all day."

sits my chest and licks my face,
he meows like i'm disgrace.
"i sleeping . . . sleeping, let me be."
he say "i counting . . one . . two . . three !"

Happy Birthday, Mike ! !


"The Hand that Broke off the Statue of St. Francis, Again"


(the glue didn't work, i guess)


(senior year, high school aero shop photo for the yearbook)

Bread and Tulips


a sweet little Italian film (subtitled) about a runaway wife and mom who finds her love in Venezia . . . ignore the lame plot descriptions, watch the movie.

Happy Birthday, Mom ! !


Chris,at her birthday party yesterday . . (mouseover)



jpga great design

there are probably less than a dozen product designs in my life that have been perfect, and this is one of them . . . a measuring "cup" that is easy to read while you are pouring stuff into it. . . . i hope this designer makes mega$$$$.

i can't think of how i would make this design more functional (except possibly backlight it for use in total darkness ? . . that's a joke.).

June.20.2010 . . . today is a sunday porch day (and that's pretty much where it was spent) . . . wish my parents were sitting here with me at the moment, as it is the kind of day we used to have on their porches (kids playing ball in the street below or trains going by like a storm, and all) . . . i'm going to try again to grill chicken but as they say "hope doubt springs eternal" and the back-up plan is a ham sandwich on grilled rye with tomatoes, spinach, mustard, basil and enough pepper to make me wish that the chicken had worked out.

No returns accepted


$10,200 for a lens and you want me to pay $49 postage . . . "enter $10,300 or more" . . . this is a joke, right?

happily, i have 39mi&20s to weigh my options.

(postscript . . . it sold for $11,400 ! )

the back yard this morning . . .


Summer is here

i got the roof rack set up and spent 2 days fidgeting with my new home-made, fast-on/off kayak hold-down system, and made 2 trips to the local pond and . . . jeez . . . it worked ! . . .


a photo from our morning walk the other day . . .


jpgRolling Stone Offer Rejected

Rolling Stone magazine offered $10,000 for the original of this photo, and $50,000 if Nick would sign it . . .

he laughed, sent them home and ordered an espresso.

(. . . the chick mumbled something about Paris tomorrow.)

new friends? . . . had dinner at Margarita's, in Nashua, with D's friend and her husband . . . great place to eat, and they are nice people.


from the new yorker....


a petunia by the fish pond . . .

(image tweaking by the GIMP)

speed . . . Mike's server tweaks have made my web pages load so fast, my nose bleeds . . .



Index of My Journal Pages

call a cab please . . . i want to go home now.


page written by Dave Leo