Sarah, Sarah, what will you say next?


A Summary of Supreme Court Cases

not only was Sarah caught off guard by Katie's question regarding Supreme Court cases, so was I !

so i rushed to a search engine and found a few good summary pages in case Ms Couric corners me in an interview.



go ahead, Katie.... ask me something....

The Wall Street Bailout

i am reading much about the proposed wall street bailout (now renamed the credit system rescue). on monday the american people flooded their congressmen with e-mails and got them to reject the $700B bailout.
so.... today the senate increased it to a $850B plan !! and looks like they will approve it!

update: the senate did pass it, but it was re-written back to $700B.

so the US government (you and me) owns $700B of worthless investments (so worthless that no bank or business or investment firm in the world wanted to buy them !!).

the people who made these worthless investments got rich and the American taxpayers who lost their homes have just paid to bail out the banks that foreclosed on those homes.

God Save America.

I stand corrected: the Senate-approved plan is not named "The Wall Street Bailout Plan". It is actually titled the "Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)".

Gosh.... I feel better now.... we, the people, aren't paying to buy $700B of the toxic garbage that Wall Street created and then labeled it "worthless" .... we are merely investing in "troubled assets".

The Federal Reserve Bank

i have become very aware of the enormous unchecked financial power of the federal reserve bank and the treasury department. at the end of the day basically 2 men control the US financial system which today is based on a foundation of credit.

this began in 1913 when Woodrow Wilson created the FED.
however, a few years later, he lamented:

I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world ..... no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men. -Woodrow Wilson

Warren Buffet & GE

today, the multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffet declined to buy any of the investments covered under the Senate-approved bailout plan. Instead he purchased $3BILLION of GE stock.

Warren is no fool .... GE stock is a bargain these days and it is a great investment at the moment.

so, i'm thinking .... if We, the People, are now being forced to buy $700B of investments, why the hell ain't we doing what Warren just did .... buy GE stock (or ANY other good, bottomed-out blue-chip stock) ?



the VP debate last night was very exciting. Sarah is way out of her league but did very well up there, compared to last week's horrific interviews with Katie Couric...... ironically, I hope that (after she looses the election) she wins a seat in the Senate for Alaska. I think with some years of experience she could bring lots of good stuff to politics..... but not quite yet.

Joe Biden (whom I never paid attention to before) definitely knows his shytt on foreign policy. And he had the moxie to stare into the camera, and with much power in his voice, say (1) Dick Cheney is the worst VP in American history, (2) We will end the war in Iraq and (3) We stand for equal constituitional rights for same-sex couples ..... Go, Joe !!


That is the probability, based on the current life-expectancy data (NYTimes), that John McCain will die in office and Sarah Palin will become the president of the USA.

Ironically, I would vote for Sarah Palin for President over John McCain .... but that ain't saying much. I have low expectations of Sarah but extremely negative, evil expectations of McCain.

Flip a Coin

jpgQuestion: if you flip a coin 15 times and get HEADS, what's the probability of getting TAILS on the next toss?

most people say 50/50, and that's wrong.

the 50/50 number is from a probability theory model that assumes an equal likely-hood at each coin toss (it assumes the coin is balanced)...... so by assuming the probability model to begin with you are forced into the 50/50 answer.

the real-world number is 1/16, based on the collected statistics ..... which clearly show that there is something going on in the coin-tossing process that makes HEADS the dominant outcome. (the data shows the coin is not balanced!)

Conclusion: probability theory tries to predict the next coin toss based on some assumed math model, while statistics uses collected data to construct a better model to predict the next coin toss.

Question: if you invest $1 in loan and mortgage securities 700 billion times and loose every time, what's the probability that you will win on your next investment?

Hint: remember the coin toss example above.

The Pivotal Moment, 28.April.2004

From the NYTimes:

Many events in Washington, on Wall Street and elsewhere around the country have led to what has been called the most serious financial crisis since the 1930s. But decisions made at a brief meeting on April 28, 2004, explain why the problems could spin out of control. The agency's failure to follow through on those decisions also explains why Washington regulators did not see what was coming.

On that bright spring afternoon, the five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission met in a basement hearing room to consider an urgent plea by the big investment banks.

They wanted an exemption for their brokerage units from an old regulation that limited the amount of debt they could take on. The exemption would unshackle billions of dollars held in reserve as a cushion against losses on their investments. Those funds could then flow up to the parent company, enabling it to invest in the fast-growing but opaque world of mortgage-backed securities; credit derivatives, a form of insurance for bond holders; and other exotic instruments.

The SEC approved that request in 55 minutes .... and the rest is history.

pngoh..... I almost forgot....

there were 5 major firms asking the SEC for this exemption to the banking regulations so they could make more risky investments .... the biggest firm was Goldman Sachs, and guess who was the chairman of GS at the time ..... guess ...

it was Henry Paulson who is now the US Treasury Secretary and coincidentally who is also the father and writer of the $700B bailout plan we are debating today.

so.... 4 years ago he was pushing the SEC for an exemption to the banking regulations so his firm could make risky investments ..... and now he is pushing congress for $700B to bail out the firms that got those exemptions and slipped around the banking regulations and destroyed our financial system.

postcript: the House just passed the bailout bill, which means that Mr. Paulson (again, he is now the Secretary of the US Treasury) now has $700B more money to play with.

it was interesting to listen to the tone of the TV commentators, while the House was still voting, but apparently going to pass the bill. they went from saying "my God if we don't pass this bill today it means the immediate collapse of the financial credit market" (that's called fear-mongering) ..... then (after it was passed) ..." well you know this isn't going to fix things over night.... it will take months to work it's way through the system... you will not find your mortgage rate dropping or credit any easier to get, and you wont see house prices rising anytime soon.... " (that's called sandbagging).

and the other snake that crawled out from a rock is that (due to a Senate add-on to the Bill) much of the $700B bailout will go to banks in China and France who purchased enourmous amounts of these bad investments and their banks are in worse shape then ours because of that..... well i hope they enjoy our money (which comes to about $9000 per American family).

God Save America

jpgZach caves in...

having exhausted himself fighting the bailout bill in congress, my chief financial advisor takes a well-deserved snooze ..... his last words as he dropped off to sleep were "f....'em, Dave, i did the best i could .... zzzzzzzzz "

i am happy too... my camera came back from the shop today, and i no longer need to pull out my dinky panasonic P&S, but can proudly have a Leica swing from my shoulder ..... it's an elitist thing...."i'm way stupider with my money than you are".


bear with me dear reader..... i understand that my crusade to navigate our government and our people through the financial and political crises of these times is enormously important and at the same time ......well.... kind of tedious and boring to read here.

nonetheless my ravings have momentum even i cannot slow down (and .... it is after all my web page).

Sarah Palin has evolved (in my heart) from an amusement to threat. i say this after reading the transcript of the VP debates. i watched the debate and she did extremely well as a TV personality and should get her own talk show, but you'd be amazed how many remarks flash past your ears unnoticed .... read the transcript . her comments about dick(head) cheney and the role of the VP kind of flashed by during the debate, but jump out in your face when you read the transcript.

up front ...... i absolutely agree with joe biden that dick cheney is (and i quote) "....the most dangerous VP in American history" ...... (i will spare you my lecture on that topic, but i totally agree).

my feelings are somewhat captured in the this NYTimes editorial, and I will clip snippets and paste them here in case they take their web page down:

well.... actually the editorial is too good to splice into snippets .... go there and read the editorial.

Sarah, dear Sarah ..... you were a perky amusement for a few weeks, but right now you stand as a sweet, personable, smiling threat to my sense of America and democracy.... you and your idol dick cheney.

closure: cheney belongs in the baddest federal prison they have (maybe Guantanamo !) .... Sarah, do your political life a huge favor and get the hell away from cheney, serve in the Senate for a while and then retire into a TV talk show..... everybody wins !

more mud for the pie.....

from the Washington Post..... some court (?) in Alaska is investigating a few legal cases involving Sarah, and they have supoenaed her offical state emails as governor to assess her role in the alleged hanky-panky. Sarah however refuses to turn them over as an invasion of her privacy !!! .... why ?? ..... because she didn't use her official e-mail account to communicate in the questionable dealings, she used her private account so it cannot be used in court without invading her privacy !!

Sarah, Sarah, you devious cutey!

it was Shakespeare i think .... "... a person may smile sweetly and yet be the villain."

[oct.08 update]: the NYTimes:

[Sarah] Palin cast their Democratic rival as "someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

The woman is sounding more Cheney than Cheney.

Oct.06.2008 / From the NYTimes...

Full of Doubts, U.S. Shoppers Cut Spending

....American consumers are pulling back on their spending, all but guaranteeing that the economic situation will get worse before it gets better.

DOW is down 30% in the last year:


From the Washington Post....

People realize that the [bailout] is not going to prevent a more serious economic downturn in the U.S, including a couple of quarters of negative economic growth," said Marc Chandler, head of currency trading at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. "The banking crisis spreading to Europe is another negative. It means the crisis is getting bigger."

what we need to pull us out of this disaster is a few cute winks and folksy quips from somebody ...... anybody? ..... anybody....? ..... [silence ..... crickets chirping in the background]



JA class went well and i ran into an old teacher buddy who works there now as some kind of advanced placement math teacher.... wants me to help out (he even mentioned getting paid $$ !!) so we are meeting tomorrow. he's thinking maybe dredge up the old Engineers Club stuff i wrote 15 years ago.

and when the after-hours supervisor heard about me being able to come in during normal school hours he cornered me and said "hey so now you can teach a few classes during the day? " .... i laughed.... he looked serious, i said we'll see how it goes, he said, "i'll see you tomorrow."

grandpa dave, P.E.(Mass), BS Aerospace, MS Aerospace, MS Mechanical, Adjunct Professor, middle school junior assistant temporary backup instructor.

must i suffer the slings and arrows of this outrageous fortune?

my cold is dragging me down .... must take robitussin on schedule...... drowning my sorrows by web surfing where tonight i discovered the command [gnome-power-statistics], and now i can see how little power my eeepc is drawing from the battery throughout my current login session.


happy be me

because my crusade against wasting electricity (Kw-Hrs) looks like it's working. June = $190 (it was air conditioner month) , Sept = $121.


from a NYTimes article on the origins of the term "Maverick"

In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it; unbranded cattle, then, were called "Maverick's" The name came to mean anyone who didn't bear another's brand.

everyday math

as the whirlpool (of middle school science and math) swirls me into a hapless doom, much like a black hole, i am forced to consider the term "everyday math" and its impact on ..... i guess.... math education at the middle school level.

the package of stuff dumped on me .... sorry, i mean the course agenda.... calls for examples of the everyday use of fibanacci sequences, exponential curves, logarythms, roots of equations....on and on....

if you are reading this you know i love math, science, technology and engineering and most of all i love numbers and equations and graphs of numerical stuff ..... what i am stumbling over is a concept i don't quite get yet.

the concept i struggle with is to make math relevant to students by highlighting its "everyday uses" ..... this idea is a two-edged sword, and i speak out of both sides of my mouth on the topic and i am trying to come to grips with it here.

math has a few extremely important applications in everyday life (mortgage / loan calculations, budgeting and budget tables, cash flow plots and breakeven points, understanding the numerics of bills, income, taxes, etc etc). if a person has a reasonable grasp of numbers and the simple use of equations and data tables, i can teach these fundamental applications in probably 8 hours.

is that it? is that all i should teach students..... everyday math?

i think not. i want to say to the students "if you desire to understand everyday math, i need 8 hours of your time. but if you desire to invent a laser to guide brain surgery, or a more efficient light bulb or mouse trap, or to generate more food in arid lands, or more perfect economic models of world economy, or more humane political or accurate weather computer models, disaster simulation models or Disney rides or better airplanes or video games or hair driers or whatever else a better world needs from you .... i need more than 8 hours and you have to learn more than everyday math and science."

i was hoping to teach them to make the world better than it is today. instead i am teaching them how to deal with an everyday life in a tired worn out world.

my personal aspirations are higher than the demands people are making of me..... i must and i will revolt.


made a small, microscopic even, night table for D .... perfect right up until i stained it..... now its all blotchy, and it hurts because the design and construction is glorious..... shoot me now.

here is what's wrong with flatbed scanners (epson, HP, etc etc) .... they do not have the following simplistic capability: they should be able to scan an 8X10 page directly to a *.jpg image without an attached computer ..... the technology is already there (your digital camera does it). thus, the scanner would hold simple *.jpg's in storage which can be off-loaded as desired to any computer with any OS. (don't i think i'm so smart, huh?)

D's working, i had school this morning .... both students thought i was brilliant until i gave them the take-home exam.

the SS people are re-confirming my well-established belief that everybody i don't like is an imbecile.

speaking of imbeciles, i met 3 today on the way to school ..... (1) bike rider in narrow car lane causing swirves and screeches despite the 2-lane bicycle path that is 15 feet to the side of the road !!!.... (2) another bicycle guy in the middle of the oncoming lane causing a car to cross the line and nearly making Deb a widow and me a dead person and (3) a pedestrian walking across huntington avenue against the light like he has all day to cross the street holding me on the railroad tracks with a train coming..... these 3 events happened within 15 minutes of me getting to class, causing me to remark that "there are way too many stupid people in this world".

M dropped of his tripod so i can practice taking real pictures again ... G & K want a family portrait.

M also gave me a DVD of a movie he thinks i should watch ..... (this is not a joke) ..... Son of Rambo ..... "Son of Rambo? Son of Rambo?" i asked (with a sardonic smirk on my lips and skeptical glint in my eye), he said "don't laugh .... watch it" .... well it's saturday night, D's working, my girlfriend flew home to sweden for the weekend, soup's ready and i think i'm about to watch Son of Rambo.

teacher got back to me on my MCAS rantings: "Don't let MCAS get in the way. Those are a minimum standard and we would like to take the kids much further. Those were only a guide for you. Anything with graphing or problem solving would be great."..... so i can rock and roll.... but you should record in your notebook that MCAS truly sucks from an professional (though retired) engineer's point of view.

finally, for the day ..... the unraveling of the world's financial system is way overdue, as it has been based on credit and smoke and mirrors and imaginary values of stocks and bonds ..... time for all of that to get down to earth. i would like to imagine that We, the People will get smarter and stronger and wiser and responsible but i think that will take 10 years of financial depression to come about, because, honestly, there are way too many stupid people in this world.


kids are extremely nicer to be with than grownups are, and my JA kids are actually not just nicer to be with than people but very nice to be with period. they are funny and they care about the world they live in and care about each other.

today i met with rebecca, jasmine, kyle, orlando, zaviar, justin, katie, stefan, alex and olympia, and Mrs. Hill (my clasrrom advisor). and we had a ball, because we connected on the topics of (1) first impressions and (2) how to treat handicapped people (like deaf people like me).

rebecca is going to open a drumming (musical) instruction school, katie will be a lawyer, kyle will install swimming pools with his dad and grandpa, jasmin will open a day care center, justin kept himself a secret (he looks like radar o'reilly), orlando and alex are going partnership in a (gulp) white castle burger joint in new jersey (where do they get these ideas?), olympia and stefan were also secretive about their future.

i had them play roles when they meet new people (shy, agressive, sneaky, arrogant, assertive) and they had a good time and so did i.

i hope they break the chain of innevitability and remain nice to be with all their adult lives.

deb worked 9AM-10PM yesterday, which is 13 hours of smiling and being personable and vivacious to customers (that's close to 3 years worth of personableness for me and i am never vivacious).

she broke the news to her dad that she is leaving evil and darkness behind in this national election, and casting her vote (as i am) for a new and better America for everyone.


the word reminds me of an episode from my youth...

my 8th grade english teacher was mrs. kegel (sp?) ... a sour witch who wore sponge-bottom shoes decades before it was cool to do so.

we had to write a book report and coincidentally, i happened onto Gone With the Wind over an easter vacation and i devoured (all 1200 pages of) the book twice that week (I started it again immediately after finishing it.... i loved it!)

i wrote a supreme report.

she torched it and claimed (with the backing of the head of some department) that a "13 year old could never write such a report or use the word vivacious". so the worthless excuse for a teacher made me write another report in-class during her 55 minute class ! (everyone else had a week at home to do it).

i wrote a completely different review and of course i nailed it to the wall and i finally got the A that i deserved.

i am certain that mrs. kegel died a lonely old screeching witch with the ghosts of mistreated students dancing happily around her grave (in sponge-bottom shoes).

Son of Rambo (the movie)

this is the kind of movie that people who love movies love, and a movie that i wish i had made.

looks like it was filmed with a home camera and feels like it was written by a nice kid. and if you don't get choked up at the end.... see your doctor for a much-needed heart transplant.


from the NYTimes (people have gotten sick of the negative campaigning and it's showing up in the polls):

Over all, the poll found that if the election were held today, 53 percent of those determined to be probable voters said they would vote for Mr. Obama and 39 percent said they would vote for Mr. McCain.

jpgYikes.... Chris Buckley endorses Obama!

you know things are changing .... the National Review is an ultra conservative news agent founded by the famously right wing W.F Buckley. His son, Chris owns a chunk of it and has been writing a very Republican conservative column there for years. Last week, he did the unthinkable ... he endorsed Obama for president !! Then of course he had to resign because their readers can't deal with independent thinking and sent masses of email cancelling their subscription.

But he stuck to his convictions and resigned his column.


went to comcast and got a digital video recording (DVR) box for the bedroom TV. when she gave me the installation instructions the nice lady reminded me that if i threw the box out a window or smashed it against the wall, i would have to pay for it.

i am putting that off til tomorrow. today i spent making a shelf / stand to hold the TV up above this gizmo which must be a major heat generator as it has holes aplenty and the instruction rave on about enclosures.

went to Lowe's twice today .... got myself a new buddy who is way too helpful, but he does really know his shytt, so i listen.

School, students and Social Security

my pay for this course jumped from $1000 for the semester to $5280 because one extra student enrolled in the course.

this fact has generated much anxiety regarding my SS payments and we have gone round and round and the SS people are at this very moment deciding how much federal prison time they will recommend at my trial.

but wait ...

i have never actually seen this mysterious extra student (we are at midterm), and last week i sent the department a note to that effect, even though i suspect yet another anxiety twist in the pay-SS-prison plot looming on the horizon.

yep.... got an email today from the school ...

someone accidentally registered the student in the wrong course (she has been attending her actual class, never knowing of this turmoil), so she really never signed up for my heat transfer course.

i am but a cork on the turbulent sea of life ..... bobbing with the waves and flowing with the wind......"wither thou takest me oh mighty wind .... wherever ..... shall I go".

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home



jpg breakfast with Mike (Family Diner, 2 poached eggs on hash, coffee and tomato juice). then checked out his pellet stove ... pretty setup kind of half inserted in the fireplace .... heats by convection (blown air) rather that radiation (wicked hot surface). surface is cool to touch but hot air blows out of it.

am looking at fireplace inserts. prefer to burn wood (it's everywhere and when we get desperate we can burn the furniture .... hell i burnt the old basement walls in the there !! ). but me and D like watching the logs on fire (me more than her) so need to do the homework on which insert to get.

and then he brought over some firewood. i spent a few hours cleaning up outside and putting things in their winter places and cleaning the shed. leaves have not yet come down .... thats a major event comes november, after Texas. thinking about hiring G to use his mulch machine and make my life simpler and his life more financially enriched.

much depends on what the SS decide my fate will be.

Powell Backs Obama and Criticizes McCain Tactics

WASHINGTON: Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president on Sunday morning, calling him a "transformational figure" who has reached out to all Americans with an inclusive campaign and displayed "steadiness, an intellectual curiosity" and "depth of knowledge" in his approach to the nation's problems.

The endorsement, on the NBC public-affairs program "Meet the Press" was a major blow to Senator John McCain, who has been a good friend of Mr. Powell's for decades. Mr. Powell, a Republican, has advised Mr. McCain in the past on foreign policy.

being totally deaf sucks .... being partially deaf sucks even more than that .... it just does


looked at some fireplace inserts, thinking we would burn wood much more efficiently than an open fireplace, but this is becoming a decision where my emotions will win over logic.... kind of.

big thing is that the inside of the insert (a wood stove) is much much smaller than the firebox in the open fireplace (it's slightly larger than out microwave !!), and then the glass in the door is smaller even than that, which means:
1) wood has to be split into small diameter pieces (the nice lady said maybe 3 - 3 1/2 inch diameter!) and when i look at the wood i already have split i could not burn 80% of the pieces in the insert and my little electric splitter can't split the big tough pieces anyway.
2) you can't load in a big batch of wood .... looks like maybe 3 pieces, max length = 18" (max !)
3) i couldn't watch a big friendly blazing holiday fire as i love to do.

so despite the much higher efficiency, i'm currently at a "no" on an insert.

Rebekah's photo album goes online !!


jpg my grandpa's fruit press has been stored away for ages waiting for .... something to happen to it ? .... but now its right there on my work bench, and i am scheming a restoration plan. it is in remarkably great shape and may need only a serious cleaning, but i'm thinking that a moderate paint (the black iron) and wood surface refinish (not overdone) would be best.

who needs a condo at disney's animal kingdom...?

this ?groundhog? is about the size of 2 squirrels, and this sighting explains the peculiar ....um.... droppings around the property.


we are in transition now and autumn gets high marks for beauty and work-required, especially for people with small lots and large trees and a fish pond and rose bushes. various birds are starting to migrate through here and i have the feeders loaded, but the migrants don't get it and they require food to be on the ground (the "locals" eat at the feeders).

i brought some coleus clippings inside and they are right over there under the earth-friendly-energy-efficient-daylight-spectrum lights..... them and the little f%$#@&^% micro-flies they brought with them.

turns out our cleaning lady (she's 35 and runs marathons !) discovered coleus too from her mom (me too) and .... and what .... that's it, she has coleus plants indoors too (and she also thinks i look cool in my floppy brim hat ... so there you go Debbie!).

epson printers suck beyond explanation ... mine (6 months old) is out at the curb for free tomorrow. M has a brother brand printer and i'm going with that brand so i can blame him personally when it caves in on me.

D has a new district manager at work who is convinced that the global fiscal crisis is due to ladies dress shop workers who are slackers, so she micro-manages who shytts at various times of the day.... i made a note to myself to write a "white paper" on the topic of management bullshytt, but it will have to wait until i get a new printer.

(From the New Yorker....)

First Colin Powell, Now.....

Ken Adelman is a lifelong conservative Republican. Campaigned for Goldwater, was hired by Rumsfeld at the Office of Economic Opportunity under Nixon, was assistant to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld under Ford, served as Reagan's director of arms control, and joined the Defense Policy Board for Rumsfeld's second go-round at the Pentagon, in 2001. Adelman's friendship with Rumsfeld, Cheney, and their wives goes back to the sixties, and he introduced Cheney to Paul Wolfowitz at a Washington brunch the day Reagan was sworn in.

In recent years, Adelman and his friends Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz fell out over his criticisms of the botching of the Iraq War. Still, he remains a bona-fide hawk ("not really a neo-con but a con-con") who has never supported a Democrat for President in his life. Two weeks from now that's going to change: Ken Adelman intends to vote for Barack Obama. He can hardly believe it himself.

Oct.24.2008 / Notes from Miami

Chris Blom is an ex-student of mine who is an engineer in love with photographing airplanes and fast cars, and who looks a lot like my brother Bob. We keep in touch by e-mail and i had forwarded a jet engine test link that Mike sent me last week. Chris wrote back from one of his 6 vacations/year...

Hi Dave,

jpg Thanks for the link to the test videos. It's amazing how much abuse an engine can take.

A couple of weeks ago we went to Miami Beach for a week. We traded our timeshare in Kissimmee for one right near the water. It was a nice place to visit, but i'd rather live in central FL.

We had mostly great weather, but a few wild, brief storms came through. After a half hour, it turned nice again.

We went to South Beach and saw all the sights. Lots of expensive cars and fancy art deco hotels.

jpg I had read that 'big props' as they call them are still popular for cargo aircraft around the Gulf. Sure enough, Opa Locka airport had plenty of DC-6's and DC-7's and they were in good shape. I also saw numerous DC-3's.

The beach itself is great, but there is a wicked undertow. It pulled my legs out a couple of times. Miami Beach is an unusual town because it is composed almost entirely of residences - hotels, condos and apartments. There is hardly a restauarant or store around. Every time we wanted to do something we had to get in the car.

Not my cup of tea, but the weather was great and it was a relaxing week.

Hope all is well,

Chris Blom

from today's N.Y.Times editorial page .....

Barack Obama for President

Hyperbole is the currency of presidential campaigns, but this year the nation's future truly hangs in the balance.

The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of President Bush's failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens - whether they are fleeing a hurricane's floodwaters, searching for affordable health care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and preventable.

As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.

Republican former Mass. governor endorses Obama

SALEM, N.H. - Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, a Republican, endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president on Friday, citing the senator's steady leadership, good judgment and ability to unify Democrats, Republicans and independents.

"Sen. Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate who will transform our politics and restore America's standing in the world," Weld said in a statement.

(I swear that McCain himself ! will endorse Obama any day now !!)

roses and stuff

jpg started burying the roses in mulched leaves today. put black mesh screen around the fish pond and roses then had to add the red ribbons because the birds were flying into the mesh (which is basically invisible !)

started the first fireplace fire tonight .... going great. JB is coming for a quick dinner since Pat is out of town.

first snowfall is now one month away.

The Clothesline Trick

pngno matter how hard you pull on the rope or how small the weight W is, you can never pull it straight because
T -> ∞
as the rope gets straighter.

this is my first mathclass demonstration at the middle school this week.


after breakfast, me and mike drove up to and around ashburnham. i hadn't been there in years and years.... it's still pretty and now it's even further out in woods than i used to think.

it was a nice ride on a nice day.


(text and image shamelessly stolen word-for-word from David Behrens website.)

The term "founding fathers" can be traced back to most of our adolescent years when our social studies teacher used it to define the early presidents and their various documents that forged and formed this great and powerful nation we live in today. What we weren't taught was that before the first American president there was already a system and order decreed by renown Native American elders and chieftains.

jpg Chief Joseph for example lived a life that personified his courageous beliefs. Joseph, a Nez Perce, grew up in Oregon's Wallowa Valley, a region that his ancestors occupied for centuries. In 1874 the U.S. government ordered his people to resettle in Idaho. In the month of June 1877, Joseph began leading his people to Idaho in peace, but on the way found himself confronted by some hostile whites. Gunfire was exchanged which eventually escalated to an all out war with the United States. For 1,800 miles Chief Joseph courageously lead 800 men, women, and children to a Canadian refuge but was pursued closely by the U.S. Cavalry. Ambushed only 42 miles from their destination and with only 418 of his survivors he bellowed this unforgettable lament, "I will fight no more forever".

Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Sioux was not only known as a great warrior but a skilled hunter as well. png Being a respected Sioux leader, one of his main objectives was to feed his people and lead them to the ever changing migrating buffalo herds. As he strove to fulfill this role, he was met by much resistance from the U.S. government. Eventually his zeal to make a way for his people met its fiercest opponent in General George Custer that soon crescendoed at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Although Custer was defeated and killed and despite Sitting Bulls heroic acts, westward expansion soon took its toll resulting in the near extinction of the buffalo.

Geronimo, a Chiricahua Apache, was as famous a figure as they come in the history of the West. png Elusive and crafty, he was feared by all those who pursued him. Cynical of the corrupt Indian agents he dealt with, he determined in his heart not to surrender to any of them. While leading many raids Geronimo seizied enemy property while escaping mostly unharmed. But with the inevitable fruit of warfare being loss of loved ones and family, Geronimo seemed to have an inexhaustible appetite for vengeance. Eventually after many failed attempts Geronimo and his "renegade" band were finally captured and he was sent to a Florida Jail as a prisoner of war.

Red Cloud, an Oglala Sioux war chief, wanted nothing more then to see his people flourish and to see their rights justly protected. He startled his white contemporaries at government councils with his sincerity and boldness and was revered on the battlefield as a first rate military strategist. In one of the most stunning victories in the Indian Wars, Red Cloud assembled a force of 2,000 Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahos to drive the U.S. Army away from their territory which was located west of the Black Hills. He spent his whole life tenaciously fighting to defend Sioux homeland that rightfully belonged to him and his people.

png If the term "founding fathers" was properly defined for us as a young people it would first apply to the many American leaders who fought so valiantly to preserve their people's way of life. A way of life where land was not something to be bought or sold but instead was a gift to be governed by good and humble stewards.

What Chief Joseph Said ...(as the white man hunted his people to extinction)

jpg I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, "Yes" or "No." He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are -- perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

The Bullshytt I was Told in School about Chief Joseph...

the teachers and books of my school days wrote up Chief Joseph as a wise leader / hero, NOT because he fought the white armies to protect his people, but because (said my teachers) he guided his people not to wage war against the white man ( "I will fight no more forever.") .... the schools never mentioned that, by that point, we had murdered off his entire nation and our history books twisted around the words of this beaten hero (freedom fighter!) to suggest that he disagreed with his warriors.

the white Europian settlers of early America accepted the slaughter of the Native American Nations because it was easy to ignore (the army did the dirty work) and of course, it was "God's purpose" that they were fulfilling..... right, let's blame God for our wars.

things have not changed either .... our TV "news" media (history books of the moment) distort truths, spin views, weave stories from factments of partial facts .... if you get your news from TV or your one favorite paper or magazine, you have no idea what is going on with your country (or around the world) today.

ohhhh.... but what the hell .... when it's all over, we can blame God for what we did again.

jpgGlorious Light

Karen F. asked me to photo her folks (been 10 years since we last did this). borrowed Mike's tripod (where's mine i wonder ?) and dragged out the Leica (newly repaired).

there was a small TV area with 2 huge sliding doors that let in this glorious light that bounced all around the room.... you could take a great picture in that room today with a cardboard camera and plastic lens.

Wood Pellets

wood pellets have a heating value of 16M BTU/ton, which comes to 320,000 BTU/40lb bag. Assume 80% stove efficiency, that comes to 256,000 net BTU's/bag. If you burn one 40lb bag in 10 hours, that's a net 25,600 BTU/hr dumped into your living room.

as a calibration point, our entire house needed a net 24hrs/day average of about 19,000 BTU/hr last winter (average inside temperature was 66F), which is similar to burning one 40 lb bag of pellets every 13.5 hours.... over 6 months of winter burning 24 hours/day, that's 320 bags of pellets (12,800 lbs). if you use the stove only 13.5 hours / day, that's 180 bags/winter, but you would need to supplement that with some other heat source, to match our home heating numbers for last year.

finally, (assuming a perfectly insulated building - no heat loss during this process) it takes about 820 BTU's to raise the temperature of all the air (and ONLY the air - not the furniture!) inside an 1800sqft home one degree F (10F).


jpg Scary Movies

this is the week for scary movies of all kinds.... from the tame old classics through the gory special f/x 1980's, the slashers, the mindless pointless chainsaw stuff.

the scariest of all for me are the simple movies about people, notably children, who are possessed of some other soul.... i'm getting the creeps thinking about them.

The Christian Science Monitor

the CSM website is one of my prime sources of information png .... their news reports are not the alarmist, biased, opinionated, half-truth crap the "news" media is so famous for . .... they usually wait a day for a story to further develop and more facts emerge before they print it, and they print it as objectively as possible.

they plan to become the first major newspaper to go fully (and only) web-based.

Temperature Differences

People don't think correctly about the effects of temperature differences, regarding home heating.... let's say you heat your home to 66F when the outside temperature is 36F ( a difference of 30F).

You will change your heating bill by 10% if you change your thermostat setting only 3F (say, to 63F or to 69F).... 10% !!.... because 3 / 30 = .10 = 10%. If you're paying $3000/winter, that's a $300 change.

The governing value is the difference between inside and outside temperatures.

Flash: Al Newman Announces His Running Mate !!


Cameron's first press quote: I am so hot for Al ...
Sarah, you screeching bytch.... you are so dead!

Comment from Al: I can assure you
.... there isn't one single thing about Cameron that I don't like.


Luminous Landscape is a highly reputed photography website ... no BS whatsoever, no elitist attitude, and no brand favoritism. These are the "big boys" who shoot with $30,000 MF and LF cameras.

On a whim, one of the guys there ran a comparison test of his $40,000 Hasselblad and his new $500 Canon G10 snapshooter (on a tripod). Here is what he had to say...

In every case no one could reliably tell the difference between 13X19" prints shot with the $40,000 Hasselblad and Phase One 39 Megapixel back, and the new $500 Canon G10. In the end no one got more than 60% right, and overall the split was about 50 / 50, with no clear differentiator. In other words, no better than chance.

Thereafter, he rambled for pages on how this didn't prove a thing to discredit his need for a $40,000 camera.

It didn't, huh?

from the new yorker....




neat diner in fitchburg ... i had poached eggs, french toast and sausage and a pot of coffee...



Change the World ....


Index of My Journal Pages

Other places to visit....

Alfred E. Newman's Campaign for the 2008 Election

The Names of 4000 Dead US Soldiers