jpg happily the US death toll in Iraq is dropping greatly . . . but the Iraqians are still killing each other over their "democratic" election . . . . i say we call it a loss and bugout of there and tend to the medical care of our 30,000-to-50,000 wounded veterans and the benefits due the families of the 4400 killed in action . . . and see if we can find whats-his-name ? . . . whats-his-name ? . . . oyeh Osama bin Laden (hopefully after these 8 long years you still remember who he is - the guy who attacked the US on 9/11/2001 and we let get away ?) . . . . where the f#ck might he be ? . . . the Marriot in Pakistan, probably?


On the Stage

Two dancers, Rachel and Rebekah, were on stage last night in Texas, looking ever-so-beautiful . . . .


jpgMay.02.2010 (Data Update)

Age = 23,811 days
Weight = 161.5#
Height = 70.5"
BP = 121 / 78
Weather forecast on the right


Why Men Become Republicans . . .


D took her friend's kids to see Beauty and the Beast, and i took off to Boston for a walk along the Charles river with my little panasonic . . . a perfect Sunday, people at the shore (like Renoir, etc) so i gave the pictures a nostalgic look in postprocessing . . .


(it is ironic when we spend $$$ for great lenses then add noise, distortion , de-focusing, de-saturation to the pictures, so they look taken by old, cheap cameras. )

from the New Yorker . . . .

jpg jpg jpg jpg jpg

Pakistan, Osama bin Laden and bombs being left here and there

Joe Biden said it years ago and said it many times . . . "Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world" . . he said it during the election debates with what's her name . . . . but who listens to stupid old Joe, when we have so many more exciting and inflammatory speakers to listen to ?

not unlike Joe, I have said many times that we should have attacked Pakistan after "911", not Iraq . . . but who listens to me when we have so many more exciting speakers to listen to ?

well . . . binLaden is still in Pakistan training his 2-cent terrorists (they spent only $US100,000 on the 911 attack!), we are still buying heroin from the Pakistan-Afganistan Taliban who use the money to finance terrorism against us, and we are still bogged down in Viet . . . sorry, Iraq . . and the average American is too stupid to believe that we have been at war in the wrong place for 7 years ! !. . . . and the threat of bin Laden is still out there because of it.


jpgmyths aside . . . Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet . . . he invented the . . . well, here's what Wikipedia says about it . . .

Contrary to widespread misconceptions, Crapper did not invent the toilet. He did, however, do much to increase the popularity of the toilet, and did develop some important related inventions, such as the ballcock. He was noted for the quality of his products and received several Royal Warrants.

but . . . if you want to see a minimalist toilet, you will have to go to a certain restaurant in Italia, where this (see picture over there) is the men&women's toilet . . . that is not the urinal . . . that is the toilet.

Floods in Tennessee

i am looking at the front page of the NY Times website and there is not one single line there that says anything about flooding in Tennessee (excuse my spelling if necessary). . . . i found out about it on the Leica camera forum where someone posted the devastation going on down there.

from Loretta . . . .

Michael trying to put the tag on Christopher (SAFE!)

Sarah, Jacob & Ryan at the fair

Beating Apple at the iPod Game

spent a few hours this morning, finding out how to extract, identify and unscramble the 150 mp3's that D downloaded from iTunes . . . . found a python script that will do it one file at a command !, and i wrapped a bash script around it to do all the files at once . . . so as usual, it took 3 hours and one minute . . . but we can now move her to a new (non-Apple) mp3 player and also burn them to CD, which i did as backup, and (most importantly) it renamed them back to their real titles (not the jibberish that Apples hides them under). . . . sounds like a waste of time, but the mp3's were $1 each and she wanted more and i refused to get deeper into the Apple swamp . . . and i ordered her a new (much cheaper) mp3 player and she'll buy all her tunes from Amazon.

now, i'm off to buy a new refrigerator for the basement.

jpg Los Angeles, California,1970
me and Loretta at the park

i was 25, she was ½

(the aviator glasses pretty much tell what i thought of myself at the time.)

jpgNASA released stunning new images of the sun that have been sent back by its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which was launched into space on February 11.
The colors denote different gas temperatures. Reds are about 107,5400F, while the blues and greens are hotter, at more than 1,799,5400F.


it's raining all day today . . . D is working . . . bread is cooking upstairs . . . HGTV guys are building a koi pond . . . cats are sleeping . . at the moment, i am bestowing my priceless opinions on the leica forum . . . here is my latest artsy photo . . jpg


(here she is yesterday at the spa . . . looking her Hollywood best !)

Owning the Ocean Shore

You might think that the ocean shore of the USA is public property . . . here in Massachusetts, you would be wrong to think that. The private home owners who live along the shore own the land all the way out to the low water mark, and it is illegal for anyone to trespass on the land without permission. jpg This means that you may not walk along the ocean shore in Massachusetts. There are a few exceptions here and there, but this is largely true along the entire Massachusetts seashore.

Cape Cod has a lot of publically-accessible shore line, but it is very difficult to get on and off the Cape, not to mention the long drive to get there and the crowds and traffic once you arrive.

For some reason, I would think that the general public or the federal government would have implicit ownership of the coastline . . . wouldn't you think ?

No Country for Old Men

excellent . . . acting, directing, production is outstanding . . . violence and the pretension of the violence is very intense (i could not watch this is a theater). . . a few scenes are very tough to watch. . . . not a "good guys win" movie either.


jpg i'm working on the design, development and manufacture of a new pond filter . . . so far it's a (minor) failure, but as Scarlett O'Hara said . . . "Tomorrow is another day".

D is working tonight, and while the world struggles to find good things to eat, i invented muffin-hotdog pizzas . . . level of achievement is similar to the pond filter . . .


jpg made good progress on the external pond filter, after running it all night and seeing how it worked, and leaked 4 inches of pond water out onto the lawn ! , so i did some mods today . . . should be running Rev A tomorrow.

this NYTimes article about Afghanistan is most discouraging . . . another swamp that we are getting bogged down in. . . . let's just napalm the poppie fields and kill the Taliban's source of income . . . drop leaflets first to get the poor farmers out of the fields . . . apologize later. . . . give them a few shiploads of corn seed as payment.


May.17.2010 . . . . well . . . the basement refrigerator got here today, after 2 days of "ooops, can't get there". . . .(you must wonder why two people who don't eat a lot need 2 large refrigerators . . . i know that i wonder about it myself).

i spent the morning digging in dirt around the front maple tree, and bought some varigated hostas that i will put under there soon, and am looking for not-green foliage, full shade, herbacious perennials (say that fast) to help the hostas punch up the front yard to a dreamlike florific* splendor that will be the envy of all who drive by .

i dislocated a finger today . . . did not hurt . . . felt weird though . . .pulled it back into place . . . that's twice in a year i did that.

Zach's Diet . . . the vet (who is a nice person and whom i like because she saved Zeke's life) wants to have a sit-down meeting to discuss Zach's diet . . . the e-mail noted lots of kidney, liver, old-age, protein, etc etc stuff that they figured out from the blood tests they did because Zach sneezed last Wednesday . . . shytt i'm thinking, haven't we done this before ? . . . twice before ? . . . and additionally i am thinking why my own doctor doesn't worry about this shytt regarding my well-being ? ? (maybe i should go to the vet for my checkups?) . . . what will the vet say when i tell her i give Z a spoon of tuna fish every day ? . . . she is going to spit venom in my eyes and call the ASPCA and have me deported . . . . but i gotta tell you before they cart me off to animal abuse prison - Zach really likes his spoon of tuna and he likes it right at noontime or he gives me that look.

from Tuscany . . .


from the NYTimes, this morning . . .

On Tuesday, the toll of American dead in Afghanistan passed 1000, after a suicide bomb in Kabul killed at least five United States service members. Having taken nearly seven years to reach the first 500 dead, the war killed the second 500 in fewer than two. A resurgent Taliban active in almost every province, a weak central government incapable of protecting its people and a larger number of American troops in harms way all contributed to the accelerating pace of death.

jpg Why are we loosing yet another war ? ? How did the Taliban get so strong in the last 7 years ? Where have we been and what have we been doing? And more incisively . . .
what options have we been left with ? ?
For certain, whatever Obama comes up with as an action plan will mean more dead American soldiers, more money to be spent, more deficit to deal with. What's the alternative at this point . . . walk away and let Osama binLaden and his armies go free? ?
What a bag of shytt someone left here ! !

Pakistan / Afghanistan is a lost cause for us (like Vietnam was) . . . they will always be under Taliban rule, funded by opium profits . . . we missed the oportunity to defeat them, and they have taken root , and we cannot launch ourselves into another war (we would ultimately loose that anyway, just like Vietnam). The best possible outcome is that we somehow capture binLaden, call that our victory, pack up our people and bring everyone home.

a script . . . .

. . . to shrink manymanymany photos down to 220 pixels wide to put on your little mp3 player . . . .

for filename in *.jpg
let "ijk=ijk+1"
convert $filename -resize 220 -quality 85 sansapic$ijk.jpg

i loaded 300+ photos on my little sandisk/sansa and took up very little memory . . . took all of 45 seconds.

YIKES! . . . mike just showed me how to do this in one command line →

$ for filename in *.jpg;do;convert $filename -resize 220 -quality 85 "sansa"$filenname.jpg;done

this will shrink the file sizes down from about 2.5Mb each to 16Kb each . . . saving a huge amount of space on you mp3 player . . . i can store 125,000 pictures (that's 125 thousand) on my little $30 / 2Gb mp3 player ! !

A CSM Editorial

Once again, The Christian Science Monitor stands out as the voice of reason, wisdom and intelligent political thinking. Here is an excellent editorial on the two parties in the US and the tug of war between federal and local government: A new way to blend Republican and Democratic values

Sound Juicer

as it is raining and i finished modifying and re-installing the basement door, i am now converting a dozen of my favorite jazz CD's to mp3 files for my little sansa player . . . soundjuicer is the love of my life at the moment, as it crunchingcrunching away on those CD's, making mp3's . . .

Federal Aid to Education

as i volunteer one hour a week in an after-hours public middle school program in a disadvantaged neighborhood, i consider myself the highest authority on education in the USA . . . with such a credential, i will now spew my wisdom into the air . . . .

first, an abstract from the US Dept of Education . . . .

Education is primarily a State and local responsibility in the United States. It is States and communities, as well as public and private organizations of all kinds, that establish schools and colleges, develop curricula, and determine requirements for enrollment and graduation. The structure of education finance in America reflects this predominant State and local role. Of an estimated $1.1 trillion being spent nationwide on education at all levels for school year 2009-2010, a substantial majority will come from State, local, and private sources. This is especially true at the elementary and secondary [high school] level, where about 89.5 percent of the funds will come from non-Federal sources.

That means the Federal contribution to elementary and secondary education is about 10.5 percent, which includes funds not only from the Department of Education (ED) but also from other Federal agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services' Head Start program and the Department of Agriculture's School Lunch program.

So . . .

1. Federal aid to education = $110Billion / year (including lunches, etc). That comes to less than 1% of the annual federal budget. So if you're bitching about "where your federal tax dollars are going" . . . less than 1% of those dollars is going to education, so stop bitching about that.

2. The $$$ impact on local education is only 10.5% ! ! This stuns me, as everyone locally is so desperate for federal money and uses this as an excuse for "why the system is failing" ! . . . bullshytt ! . . . local taxes (typically, real estate taxes) cover 90% of elementary and high school costs! . . . the federal government is really a minor player in this game !

my consclusions:

1. the federal government has only a minor (but very highly visible) role in US education, and i am happy about this, because education should be dealt with on a local level, except as local practices violate Constitutional rights now and then.

2. people who blame the federal government for the sorry state of education in the US are misinformed (see #3).

3. students are getting stupider because their parents got stupider and "made it through life just fine" and passed along that stupid viewpoint to their kids. (if this is not you, pick up a gold star on the way out) . . . "making it through life just fine" sends civil evolution back 10,000 years, and the federal government is not to blame; teachers, TV, movies, video games, Rock&Roll . . . . they're not to blame for kids being stupid . . .

4. i wish that Monty Python would do something with this topic . . . a mock interview with some happily stupid parents complaining about their children being stupid and happy, and blaming everyone else in the world but themselves.

"I think the human race has squandered its gift and this country has squandered its promise. I think the people in America sold out very cheaply, for sneakers and cheeseburgers. And I don't think it's fixable" ..... George Carlin

photographing flowers . . . i can't do it well . . . . i get the same boring crap that everyone else gets . . . . but i have seen some exceptional images on the internet that i envy greatly.

Andrew & pellet guns . . . i promised to send my grandson Andrew a few of my pellet guns, as i have too many, and i will do so . . . i was not happy with a few of his "facebook" remarks, and i commented there . . . hopefully . . . hopefully . . . when the guns come out, the boyhood stupidity gets locked in the box.

our new Senator, Scott Brown (R) (whom i mistakenly did not vote for due to my own ignorance) earned a gold star for voting "out of the box" on the Wall Street Oversight Bill . . . i am now allowing myself to imagine that more of these younger people in Washington will have the moxie to think independently of their political "teams" about how the federal government should function . . .
dream on, dave, dream on . . .

this hope of mine for "young faces in Congress" however does not include those young political upstarts with charm, media wit, and good looks but burdened with the same limited brain capacity as garden snails . . . these people, though entertaining, should not be running the most powerful country on the planet . . . we need very intelligent, complex, independent thinkers running this country . . . leave the "team players" (the locked-in Democrats and Republicans) to bar-room sports and beer cans. . . . and leave the garden snails behind to host TV "news" shows.

" . . . we're not in Kansas anymore."

my parents lived the great depression, WW2, the atom bomb, the Korean War, McCarthy-ism, the evolution of cars, king kong, flying saucers, highways, home appliances, godzilla, sputnik, landing on the moon, rock&roll, JFK's assasination, Vietnam, 1968, Nixon's disgraceful exit from office, the rise of middle class drug abuse and divorce (3 of their 4 kids are divorced!) . . . so, no doubt about it, they saw a bunch of important, life-impacting shytt.

but, in the last decade, we have seen something that possibly equals all of that . . . the birth of the truly global society . . . an entire planet of countries and states that suddenly have found themselves (not happily) to be locked solidly and deeply together by finances and economics . . . . i am not talking about lots of tangled and miscellaneous trade agreements, i am talking about someone in Germany sneezes and the US and Asian stock markets plunge (and people lost billions!) . . . then someone in Spain utters a feeble sentence and the 401(k)'s of 25million Americans drops 15% . . . then someone else in the EU adds a clause (not even a sentence!) to a speech and the EU talks about collapsing (and dragging half the planet with it).

sadly, it's not a "small world after all" (my personal favorite Disney experience) . . . it's a complex soup of "everything in the kitchen is in the pot and it is stewing" .

is it good? . . . yes and no . . . is it reversible? . . . not quickly and not without pain (in the US, we import all the stuff of our day-to-day lives and our retirement funds are locked into the global economy) . . . is it bad? . . . yes and no . . . is it a joke or a myth? . . . no it isn't.

is there a clear and easy "solution" . . . no . . . . actually there is not even a clear and easy agreement on exactly what (if anything) the problem is!
. . . but, for certain, we can't go home to the farm.

the backyard . . .

everything has leafed out now, and the early stuff is flowering . . .


Brooklyn Tech today . .

one of the leica forum guys (Michael Lagrassa, living in new mexico) turns out to be a brooklyn tech grad (1968), and posted this from his recent trip home . . . pretty impressive for a high school building . . .

jpg May.29 addendum:
This prompted me to read up at the current Brooklyn Tech website, and read the "history" page, and it is not "uplifting". Mr. Pabst was our principal, and he had the job from 1946 - 1964. Since then, they have averaged a new principal every 3 years. They stopped the yearbook because of some law that says you can no longer ask students to buy books (? ? ) and the shut down the student "service squad" (hall and street monitors who patroled for bad shytt that might be happening) because it "put students at risk" (? ? ). I was on that squad and it existed for 50 years and no student was ever hurt or threatend with harm, but apparently some PhD dreamed up a possible scenario on that and they shut it down. Also . . . it is no longer a special school . . . any local kid who wants to can enroll. . . . . oh well . . . just goes along with everything else going on today.

comments about the USA vs the EU financial crises . . .

(i am referring here to the fact that the EU must now band together and bailout a few of it's collapsing states, like Greece, Spain, Portugal, and many are not all happy about doing this).

here in the USA, we are now (and, once again) painfully aware of the pitfalls of ungoverned capitalism, and lots of (in other regards) intelligent people are looking over at the EU and thinking " . . . hmm, those guys have the perfect governmental / economic system"

. . . . oh, sure they do (roll my eyes around the ceiling).

the EU (a very young "country") is now experiencing what the US has been experiencing for 250 years . . . "for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, 'til death us do part" . . . . we (the states of the USA or the countries of the EU) are joined in holy (?) matrimony .

we over here have been battling out the details of our union-of-the-states and living with our "melting pot" society, while the folks on the eastern side of the atlantic are just now realizing their honeymoon is over and asking . . . . "shytt, is this who i married?".

yeh, kiddo . . . that's who you married.

my point: the EU is as great an idea as the USA is, though one is socialistic and one is capitalistic . . . both have somewhat similar problems to tackle, and i am wondering if the EU is headed for a (peaceful, economic) Civil War to get through the honeymoon into the real marriage.

a bug on a plant's tongue . . .


Short Story

Finished ! a new (and very) short story Life Sentence

Happy Birthday, Catherine ! ! !


Pix from today's walk . .

jpg jpg jpg jpg jpg

Michael and Loretta (in a rare moment alone ! ). . .

jpgWind Tunnels

Mike tagged me for an article about a NASA wind tunnel, and it rang a bell.

One of the pivotal books in my life was Millikan, and we studied it in high school (1960 !) and it was a truly great technical book. I have only 20 technical books on that shelf over there and Millikan is one of them (keep in mind that 4 bookcases of books have been long discarded! )

Sadly, i have forgotten who our teacher was.


D is working tonight, and i have ventured to invent yet another gourmet delight . . . i call it "uova sode con i maccheroni in brodo"

Life is not about "finding yourself"
Life is about creating yourself. . . . . Nick Leo


(and i might add . . . re-creating yourself . . . endlessly . . . over and over . . .)

jpg i found this Leica 50mm lens for sale on the internet this morning. not bad . . . $5,500 ! (i didn't buy it)

snaps from mike'n'dave's afternoon in boston . . .


Artistic photo of the day . . . .


and . . . . the silliest contraption i've seen in a long time . . .

Israel, again . . . and again . . . and forever

i've been saying it for years and will say it forever . . . the US must immediately stop all forms of support, aid and sales of anything to Israel, immediately !, and the UN should declare that any dealings with Israel are acts in support of international terrorism.

the Israelis are hateful, mindless, violent, self-absorbed terrorists, much like the German Nazis were.

Footnote: there is no such word as "florific" . . i made it up . . . it means . . .
pretty garden stuff and derives from the Latin word "florica", as modified from the Greek word "floricus",
which, not coincidentally, also means pretty garden stuff.


Index of My Journal Pages

never be afraid of who you are.

page written by Dave Leo