Dave's Journal, May2016
Dinner at Joanne's & Ferruccio's
Always a good time, and I get to see a few of my cousins once a year !!
The longer I stare at this angel,
the more it spooks me out.
Cousin Pete is a classic horror / sci-fi aficionado, and his hobby is painting life-size castings of ... uhhh ..... sci-fi people, creatures and things. I am hoping one day to see a display of his collection. In the meantime, I'll settle for the pictures he sends up now and then. This one is from the movie Invasion of the Saucer Men.
A $3000 Bottle of Wine
Friend of mine from way back dropped in and told me a story. His daughter toured Europe for a few years and taught (something?) in France to a small group of people. When she left, the guy gives her a bottle of wine and wishes her bon voyage. When she gets back to The States, she does something with her i-pad and finds out the bottle typically sells for $3000 over here.
My friend (her dad) asks her "What are you going to do?". She says "I'm going to drink it. "
We pondered ...... what would we do with a $3000 bottle of wine? "There's no bottle of anything in this world that's worth $3000 of my money" is what we both concluded instantaneously. "What's wrong with kids (his daughter is early 30's) today?" is what we both wondered.
And we wondered again ...... what we would do with a $3000 bottle of wine.
Ryan, the Engineer
"Like grandpa, like grandson."
That's Ryan there, who is in a Jr. Engineer's Club down home. He is holding his design of a toothpick & hotglue structure designed to protect an egg from breaking when it's dropped onto the floor. (This will prepare him to design landing springs for the space shuttle in years to come.)
He got First Place for his design !!!
My Very First Vogue Magazine Photo Shoot, 1997
Actually, I was taking an on-line course from the NY Institute of Photography, and was asked to shoot something fashionably exotic. Deb hesitated, but then signed up for the job.
That picture was "lost" in a box until I found it yesterday. Some other good stuff in the box too.
What were you doing in 1967?
Some of my cousins and friends were fighting is Southeast Asia. I was designing bomb fuzes for the Air Force. On the weekends, I rode my Honda down and got tan at one of the local California beaches.
This is my very oldest photo; Kodak Instamatic cartridge camera.
Have You Seen This Man ?
Ship's Log, May 9th
Truth is I'm dragging my wagon through a cold that's keeping me coughing all night. Doctor may have put me on the right path today . . . we'll see.
Ran out of the house for my appointment and the car battery is DEAD . . . not a click, not a trickle of voltage anywhere and I was late to begin with. I threw the problem at Debbie and took her car to my appointment.
Later, later, got a new battery installed. So then the radio doesn't work - a theft feature Honda calls it. MUST bring the car to a Honda dealer to code the radio.
I was spitting venom all the way to the Honda dealer, preparing my rant about a world gone mad, a country that's lost its way, technology that is out of control, and how no one really cares about anything any more. I'm thinking some smart ass Honda guy with earings and tattoos that say "Life Happens" will give me some ### about what a great feature this radio thing is. I was ready.
Alas ..... when I got there, life threw me a high and inside knuckle ball in the form of a sweet little service girl with a nice smile and customer-respectful attitude who fixed me up in a jiffy. I never even got the chance to get mad, and actually had to tell her that she made my day.
Damn kids these days . . . . but now at least I have a well-prepared rant for the next SNAFU that life throws at me.
Cousin Lucia sends me this piece about Medicare Option G
Medicare - Part G - Nursing Home Plan - A zero premium, no deductible Long Term Health Care Plan
If you are an older senior citizen who can no longer take care of yourself and need Long-Term Care, but the government says there is no nursing home care available for you, what can you do? Opt for Medicare Part G.
Part G gives anyone 75 or older a Gun (Part G) and one bullet. You are allowed to shoot one worthless politician. This means you will be sent to prison for the rest of your life where you will receive a roof over your head, central heating and air conditioning, three meals a day, cable TV, a library, and all the health care you need, including dentures, glasses, hearing aids, new hip, knees, kidney, lungs, heart or sex change.
Is this a great country or what?
Sunshine & Coffee: it's been a drug-filled week for me as I investigate various OTC products to kill this cold. I learned words like acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, doxylamine, guaifenesin, how much you can take (depends on who you ask) and if they react to eliquis and metoprolol (they don't).
After a week of experimenting, the most effective treatment has been ..... sit in the sunshine and drink strong coffee. This gets you through the daylight hours.
Nighttime is another story. The night belongs to the viruses and germs who survived your sunshine & coffee treatment, and (as you may expect) they will be angry, strong and ready for war just as you are tired and sleepy.
Emma and boyfriend (?) Nick were off to prom #1 yesterday. I was feeling better, so we went down to party at the house and take pictures before they took off.
Dead batteries and dome lights
Recall that a few boxes above here I had a new battery installed ($167) because the old one kept dying overnight. Well .... the new one did the same thing!
Jumped it again this morning, drove it to Honda, gave them my lecture on "Don't just shotgun replace things.... do a real diagnosis first" .
"Yes Mr. Leo" the nice girl said.
When I got home the nice girl's voice was on my answer machine, telling me that the dome light was on and that was draining the battery, and that it will be $75 when I pick it up in the morning.
Footnote: I think that there should be a pop-up circuit breaker on the dashboard (like a turkey thermometer) that trips open when the engine is turned off and the battery level drains down to the point that it will just barely start the car again. To start the car, you push the button back in and turn the key.
What Two-Faced Hypocrites !!
"North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory Blames Congress for Transgender Bathroom Controversy"
"North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, under fire for signing into law a bill that forces transgender residents to use the bathroom that corresponds to their sex at birth, is blaming Congress for not updating the nation's civil rights laws."
I love these states. They are the guys always shouting about how the federal government should stop interfering with state laws and stop telling states how to make laws on guns, gay rights, abortion, voting rights, etc.
Now here they are complaining that the federal government hasn't told them how to write their laws.
(These are also the same states spitting venom because the Administration recently told them that this "bathroom law" topic fits within the Civil Rights Act that's been on the law books for 50 years.)
The hypocracy is killing me.
God Save America !
This is a long read, but it's fascinating. The full article is here: 11Nations and my cut&paste summary follows below.
The experts (?) say that the US has slowly divided itself into 11 distinct "nations". This is not terribly shocking news, but it's an interesting look at who we are. And we are very different people living in very different (and conflicting) sub-cultures. We can reasonably expect to disagree on most topics. In fact, in my mind, I view our separate regions being very similar to individual European countries (always conflicted about something).
Yankeedom: Founded by Puritans, residents in Northeastern states and the industrial Midwest tend to be more comfortable with government regulation. They value education and the common good more than other regions.
New Netherland: The Netherlands was the most sophisticated society in the Western world when New York was founded, Woodard writes, so it's no wonder that the region has been a hub of global commerce. It's also the region most accepting of historically persecuted populations.
The Midlands: Stretching from Quaker territory west through Iowa and into more populated areas of the Midwest, the Midlands are "pluralistic and organized around the middle class." Government intrusion is unwelcome, and ethnic and ideological purity isn't a priority.
Tidewater: The coastal regions in the English colonies of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware tend to respect authority and value tradition. Once the most powerful American nation, it began to decline during Westward expansion.
Greater Appalachia: Extending from West Virginia through the Great Smoky Mountains and into Northwest Texas, the descendants of Irish, English and Scottish settlers value individual liberty. Residents are "intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers."
Deep South: Dixie still traces its roots to the caste system established by masters who tried to duplicate West Indies-style slave society, Woodard writes. The Old South values states' rights and local control and fights the expansion of federal powers.
El Norte: Southwest Texas and the border region is the oldest, and most linguistically different, nation in the Americas. Hard work and self-sufficiency are prized values.
The Left Coast: A hybrid, Woodard says, of Appalachian independence and Yankee utopianism loosely defined by the Pacific Ocean on one side and coastal mountain ranges like the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas on the other. The independence and innovation required of early explorers continues to manifest in places like Silicon Valley and the tech companies around Seattle.
The Far West: The Great Plains and the Mountain West were built by industry, made necessary by harsh, sometimes inhospitable climates. Far Westerners are intensely libertarian and deeply distrustful of big institutions, whether they are railroads and monopolies or the federal government.
New France: Former French colonies in and around New Orleans and Quebec tend toward consensus and egalitarian, "camong the most liberal on the continent, with unusually tolerant attitudes toward gays and people of all races and a ready acceptance of government involvement in the economy," Woodard writes.
First Nation: The few First Nation peoples left - Native Americans who never gave up their land to white settlers - are mainly in the harshly Arctic north of Canada and Alaska. They have sovereignty over their lands, but their population is only around 300,000.
House Warming @ Chris & Mike's
They did tons of work last week to get ready for this. The place gets better every time I go there. Weather worked out fine.
I wish that I could hear better. Some interesting people I would have liked to chat with. (Cochlear implant is re-scheduled for Aug-Sep time frame.)
Iuri was there with his new Fuji camera, trying to make me jealous (he did!), but he used my 18mm "party lens" quite a bit and I think he'll spring for one soon.
At the butterfly place today, this guy butterfly did all he could to get her attention, but all she was interested in was eating pollen. Poor dude.
It's still kind of early for butterflies and the really best ones must still be hibernating, but it was not too bad today.
Deb's Retirement Party
Yep, Deb is retiring next week ! The people at the bank threw a really nice bash for her yesterday. It was a surprise and it worked out perfectly.
In retrospect, way back when, the announcement for my retirement party made the local headlines.
(Deb found this newspaper among her memorabilia.)
Did you know ..... ?
Mostly herbivorous, groundhogs eat primarily wild grasses and other vegetation [
like Dave's Rose of Sharon shrubs in his yard], including berries and agricultural crops, when available. Clover, alfalfa, dandelion, and coltsfoot are among preferred groundhog foods. Groundhogs also eat grubs, grasshoppers, insects, snails and other small animals, but are not as omnivorous as many other Sciuridae. Like squirrels, they also have been observed sitting up eating nuts such as shagbark hickory, but unlike squirrels, do not bury them for future use. Ernest Thompson Seton wrote that so far as he knew,
the groundhog does not drink water but, like the rabbit, satisfies the need for liquid with juices of food-plants, aided by their sprinkling with rain or dew.
This little guy lives under my shed. Been there for years. Loves to eat clover (in the lawn) too.
Why I Don't use a Flash
I virtually never use a flash to make pictures, because the results are harsh and unrealistic. Lots of people disagree with me, but so be it. This comparison makes my point very well.
I was shooting Emma's prom friends, at 3 frames / second. While I was clicking, someone else was taking flash pictures. At one instance, her flash went off right when my shutter fired, so I got to record what the (almost) same picture looks like with and without a flash. Do a "mouseover" to see the comparison.
I added these "Emma, Part 2" pictures to the same webpage as "prom #1", which is here:
This One's for Deb
One Last Political Statement for May
Something in the news (I forgot now what it was) started me thnking this morning about US jobs lost to foreign countries. Can't remember what it was, but it doesn't matter too much. I just got to thinking about "How did we sell out so many American workers by letting these jobs go overseas?"
Last week, some political guy (maybe it was Trump?) was ranting about how Bill Clinton is the president who sold our jobs down the river by signing the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Most estimates say that we lost 700,000 jobs to Mexico because of that agreement.
And also, I always believed that it was by Big Business Money that found it's way into Congress pockets to allow them to move factory jobs overseas to make more profits for "American" businesses because of low wage workers available overseas, and allowed these companies to pay no US taxes for stuff made overseas (do you believe that?). Profits go up, rich people get richer, but American worker jobs disappear and poor people get poorer.
Anyway, this is all a complex mash of half-truths, but this morning I read up on NAFTA and which president actually created the monster (was it really Bill Clinton?). Here's what WikiPedia has to say:
Following diplomatic negotiations dating back to 1990 among the three nations, U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas, each responsible for spearheading and promoting the agreement, ceremonially signed the agreement in their respective capitals on December 17, 1992. The signed agreement then needed to be ratified by each nation's legislative or parliamentary branch [Congress in the USA].
....... In the U.S., Bush, who had worked to "fast track" the signing prior to the end of his term, ran out of time and had to pass the required ratification and signing of the implementation law to incoming president Bill Clinton.
So all the bitching about "Clinton sold 700,000 American jobs down the river with NAFTA" is actually bullsh#t. The train was racing down the track long before Clinton got elected.
This will teach you .... trust no one.