Dave's Journal, Mar2016

March: is there a more depressing month ?


Need someone to admire?
This is Zhou Qunfei


The richest self-made woman in the world is Zhou Qunfei, who is ranked 205th and valued at $5.9bn. She made her fortune by founding the touchscreen maker Lens Technology, whose biggest customers are Apple and Samsung.

Zhou, who is rarely seen in public, grew up in a small village in Hunan, central China. Her mother died when she was five and her father was badly injured in an industrial accident. She helped her family raise pigs and ducks for their food before moving to Shenzhen to work in a factory, making watch lenses in harsh conditions.

After winning a promotion she saved up $3,000 and decided to set up her own business producing high-quality lenses. This grew into Lens Technology, which today employs more than 75,000 people.

You can never have too many candles, right? Here's Deb, yesterday at the Kringle Candle Shop out in western Mass. Nice store / restaurant setup, and they are just beginning to load the shelves for tourist time in a few weeks. I never paid attention before - candles are not cheap !


Rained this morning. When it stopped I visited the botanic garden. They have all the potted plants inside for the winter. Nice way to spend an hour in March and pretend it's summer and you're in the tropics. But the walk back to the car, on a 40F windy day, cleanly erases all those warm fuzzy feelings you had inside.


1963 Jaguar 3.8 MkII Sedan - $57,500


I probably told this story before, but so what.

My first car was a white 1960 version of exactly that car in the picture. I bought it because a girl I knew liked Jaguars, and I wanted her to like mine.

Lovely car. Extremely tempermental - you push that start button and only God knew what was going to happen. I paid $1200 for it.

It had full real leather and solid walnut interior, could cruise all day at 100MPH (at 7MPG) after you opened the trunk and banged the (pusher type) fuel pump with the mallet that came with the car. I loved it. I hated it.

Early one Sunday morning, I went down to San Diego for coffee and started back to LA. Not many cars on the freeway. I got bored and decided to see what would happen if I left my foot pressed down to the floor.

It got to 120MPH (I was 22) and stayed there.

I was king.

Then a freeze plug blew out of the engine block, the cooling water steamed out like a geyster, the engine really really really overheated and started to seize. As it coasted down, I shut the engine at about 80MPH and coasted over to the breakdown lane.

That story cost me a $2200 engine rebuild, which was 3 months' gross salary, so I hope you enjoyed hearing me tell it.

jpgPentax Takumar 50mm Lens from 1970's

There's a growing cult of weirdos who are buying old lenses to use on their new digital cameras. I joined them last year, and it is addictive, spending $35 - $100 on a lens that makes pictures that are (arguably) better than today's $500 lenses (sharpness is NOT everything you want from a lens).

Rumor had it that this lens is well-kept secret, so I dropped $62 (Ebay) to decide for myself. Still have more to test it, but so far, it yields a lovely old time feeling. Sharp enough but not clinical (like Nikons). Handles extremely well on the Fuji body.

(I desaturated the colors in the shot below to get what I wanted, but no other tweaks.) Has a nice look to it.



jpg Secrets

Photo released by the DOJ investigative committee shows Hillary Clinton, sending classified emails using her personal server.

"We always knew when she was sending illegal secrets to someone", said an undisclosed source, close to Ms. Clinton. "She'd put on these dark glasses and some kind of secret alien patch on her left shoulder."

The text of this particular email was released this week.
It reads: "Donald, I can't thank you enough for carrying out our secret plan and destroying the Republicans' shot at the next election. You have done more damage to them than I ever could by myself. As I promised, if I win, you're my pick for VP.
Oh ... Bernie says 'Hi' ."

Nice day, 70F and sunny. Took a short trip to the wildlife reserve (are sheep actually "wildlife" ?) to test a new old lens. Not extremely happy with the results (it flares a LOT!). Here are 2 that I can live with.



I was so pissed off at people around the world today. Everything is SNAFU, and I can't stand to hear it any more. I decided that if I had been God today, I'd hit planet Earth with an asteroid and let it start all over again. (I'd transport all the animals to a safe planet until things here cooled off after the collision.) I'd make an announcement explaining to people.....
"See that streak of light up in the sky? The end is here and it's all your fault, you sorry pack of morons. "

Of Walls and Ponds

The pond is no more. It's too much work, on top of everything else that needs to get done around here. So I drained it and tore the liner out this morning. Happily this gives me a hole to dump my yard waste in for a little while. Then cover it with garden soil and plant .... roses?


After my ex-neighbor cleaned up his junkyard (to sell the house), and I cut down my trees that were on the border, my wall looks pretty wrecked. This is a big issue actually, and I need to get some estimates about teardown and repair. It's a retaining wall that is not even visible from our yard. This view is from my new neighbor's yard. So we will have to spend a bunch of $$$ and we won't see any difference from our point of view. My usual test of whether we should spend money is "Is this going to make my life any nicer or better?" If the answer is "No", I don't spend the money. But in this case the answer is "No" but I have to spend the money. Sh#t !


jpgC&M's New House !

But the really BIG news up here is Chris & Mike's new (as of yesterday) home. Big? Yes, very. Typical old old New England home . . . rooms go on and on with no obvious pattern, like a large maze with doors !

Need to see pictures? Go Here.

Scenes from Their New Old Old (1790) Homestead


A basketball court above the barn.....


A 200+ year old willow tree ......


Mike's really great friend, Charlee (that Superman shirt suits him well) .....


Andrea & Deb look for the Ladies' Room .....


jpg The United States of Europe

This is interesting.
Recall that the EU is a bunch of countries that signed up to a "union" that governs trade, travel, interface economics from a central government (temporarily seated in Brussels). The laws of each country may be whatever each country desires (generally not controlled by the EU). This is similar to the relationship between our centralized federal government and the 50 individual states.

The overwhelming migration of Musilm immigrants out of Syria into EU nations is creating havoc within the EU. They make our US social problems look small.

Now the central EU government is trying to create laws to spread the problem "fairly" among the EU countries, and all hell is breaking loose because the countries do not want to be governed by a strong central government. (Remember American history & states rights before the federal government or the Constitution existed?)

Here is a comment out of Hungary that expresses this resentment . . . .

"European Union leaders in Brussels are to blame for the influx of migrants and are bent on creating a United States of Europe which will swallow up nation states", Hungary's prime minister said Tuesday....... "the time has come to ring the alarm bells and gather allies" to reject the alleged Brussels scheme......"If we want to stop the mass migration, first we must put the brakes on Brussels."

Better yet ..... The United States of Dave


Inside The C&M Barn

(C&M = Chris & Mike)

The attic above their new barn will make an interesting photo "studio". Lots of rough character, old exposed time-worn wood and beams. The picture below is in the lower "garage" part of the barn.


I will try very hard not to politicize my journal here, this year, but ...... for the record..... I don't think that Bernie Sanders would be an effective President, but I admire his sense of democracy, his radical nature, his informed points of views

I think D.Trump is a very serious problem for the R's. He's a rude, unpresidential, loudmouth, mis-informed, (relatively) liberal demogogue who appeals to white supremacists and rock-solid Republican voters. Liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans hate his stinking guts !!! What crazy times we live in. I think he's a slob and a moron and should go back to "reality TV" shows.

Well, I got that out of my system. I promise no more than one small clip per month of political ravings (US election politics, anyway).

On the Global front .... If we are going to drop bombs on anyone, I vote for North Korea (before they hit something important with one of their kiddie-missles.)


Fenway Park (think "Boston RedSox") is named after "The Fenway" which is (appropriately) named because it is an area that is (botanically) a fen.

"A fen is one of the main types of wetland, the others being grassy marshes, forested swamps, and peaty bogs. Along with bogs, fens are a kind of mire."

This particular fen, runs between the Boston Museum of FineArts and the Charles River. In fact, in the beginning, most of the land around the "river" was a stinky swamp, before they filled it in and created "The Back Bay" of Boston (where today you wish that you had an apartment).

Anyway, I was down there today, and this is what it looks like, this time of (very warm winter) year.



I went down to see an exhibit of paintings by Lawren Harris. Never heard of him before a TV thing last night that (comedian) Steve Martin commented on. I enjoyed the paintings, too, so it was worth the trip. Click the "Show Slideshow" button on the link there, to see the paintings.

China's Haier to Buy GE Appliance Business for $5.4 Billion

I spent most of my career working for GE, in one way or another, and Deb's insurance is still through GE. Find out today, they are selling "GE Appliances" (mostly made in Louisville, KY) to the Chinese Haier Conglomerate.

Haier will continue to use the G.E. Appliances brand, and the unit's headquarters will remain in Louisville, Ky. (No comment about manufacturing operations however.)

I didn't find any comments about the impact on employee benefits.

Products will still be labeled "GE".


K & D are always a good visit, and they had dinner here last night. They are extremely right-wing politicos, so we danced around some topics very gently.

Denis is a retired postman, and knows virtually everyone in the city of Fitchburg (next town north of us).

Bad Moon Rising / 23.Mar.2016

Dave woke up in an awful bad mood this morning.
Strange dreams again - "it's the medication".
And yesterday's news of Brussels and Islamics.
He woke up with a mixture of sadness, compassion, vengence and anger in his heart.
He even skipped his usual first thing "Thank you, God",
but he promises that he will say it later today, after he calms down.

Today it's good that Dave does not command armies, ships and missiles.
He would only make things worse today.
"Bomb what? Attack who, where?"
"Massive firepower"
he thinks "is so out of date."

He's still in a bad mood.

"Put a Bird on It"


From NBC News website .......

"25,000 Sign Petition to Allow Guns at Republican National Convention"

Can you imagine?

Goodbye to a Really Nice Guy

I never heard a harsh word out of him.


Easter at Chris' & Mikes' House


Chris & Mike had maybe 20 people over their new (1790 vintage) home for Easter dinner. The place has tons of character, and must be 11 rooms.

Sitting on the deck, I was watching the kids play in the driveway, and got flashback feelings to when (long long ago) we went to my Fazio grandparents home in Brooklyn, and played in the long driveway. Very nostalgic feelings. Time marches on and the generations go 'round and 'round, huh !

Debbie was fantasizing about selling this place and throwing the $$$ into a new barn with an apartment over it. Must be that champagne she was drinking.

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