jpgi swear that animals sense para-normal stuff like auras, spirits and emotion-fields around people that us merely human beings cannot .... the case in point would be zach who cannot possibly have a clue that i am leaving for 2 weeks .... nonetheless, he is glued to me more than my shadow .... spooks me out actually....
(maybe Debbie told him).

i am working chapter 2 of Po Teeko's story .... here is a scene from the movie trailer ...

Mama had a way of standing dead still but looking like she had the power of thunder inside her, and that's pretty much how she looked to Ye Taka who had no idea where Po Teeko had gone. "Mama, you got up before I did."..... "Did she tell you last night?" ... "Mama, I was with you all night. She said nothing to me." There was not so much fear of Mama in Ye's heart as there was concern for Po, because she could see that Mama was about to cry out of fear for Po, and that had never happened before. Papa and two boys were out to the cave and found nothing but the strange craftwork Mama had put by the pots last night and it was broken in pieces. No one had seen Po all morning, and Mama was a force about to take the world apart (crying or not) .... when Po walked in, sweating, grey, eyes filled with blood and tears, said "Hi, Mama" and fell down like a rag doll.


at last i am getting nervous about italia, probably because we check-in online today, read all the bagage rules .... check-in bag < 15kg and carry-on < 10kg = total 25kg which is plenty (over 50# !) .... mike has some €'s and i'll get some when we land in dublin..... i am pretty anxious now.

yesterday i talked to a guy who just got back from Venezia .... showed me his i-phone pictures .... the place looks just beautiful (overcast day = perfect pictures) and that i-phone is an impressive gizmo except for (1) it's an APPLE product which means you swap your soul for it and (2) it has no SD card slot (why would anyone make a gizmo without an SD card slot???)..... BUT ... it is a very hot gizmo in use..... pictures looked nice, but the screen is like 3" .... need to see what they look like printed 11"×17", right?

Weather Forecast for Firenze, Italia...



we are leaving tonight for Dublin .... will pack after breakfast .... let's GO !!

i will try to post short notes here day by day if we have good internet access.

our schedule is here: Italy2009

Oct.14.2009 .... Snapshots on the Road





"does the name Michael Corlione mean anything to you?"
yeh .... that liter of chianti was good....


cafe's, sidewalks (ha !) and streets get blended together in many places ....

mike finds a friend....

AND .... the Big Guy came out to say "hello" ...


made it home safe and sound last night. my body clock is still ahead of local time by 6 hours.
Aer Lingus is my new favorite airline.
flying on Ryanair is utterly the most horrid traveling experience.

Mike was the greatest traveling guide, body guard and all-around "my man Friday" .... thank you enormously good buddy.

gif Empire Falls (the book)

this is an excellent book, great story very well written, lots of rich characters and not as predictable as you thought it was going to be.

there was a TV series but i haven't seen it, so i don't know how they compare, the book is well worth all the praise it gets.


i am still decompressing from 6 hours of jet lag, but i'm doing well on that. doctor says my leg is just peachy. i have been writing my italy trip web page for 2 days now and i'm pretty burned out on that topic, but luckily it's just about finished.

at some later date i will spew my philosophical thoughts on Italy and Italians here, but not at this moment, except to say that it is another world altogether, and the USA is clearly not the center of the Earth, as we tend to think here in the USA.

Deb is a peach, Mike is my hero.

Deb is upstairs cooking some stuff for a friend whose father just died, i am sweating out tomorrow's middle school class, zach is sleeping in a box, abbie-normal is being a twitchy little shytt as always, i have 2 letters from SocSec regarding my 2007 income, and 3 glossy pamphlets and letters from GE medical insurance (glossy pamphlets = you just got fu#$%d without getting kissed) and the school wants to know why i didn't enter my midterm grades (which i did) .... welcome home, dave.

My Favorite Italy Pictures

A Legendary Wind Tunnel Shuts Down

Sad news for aeronautics geeks ....

jpg This month marked the end of a very long era for aeronautics and aerospace researchers. After nearly 80 years of service, the Langley Full Scale Tunnel has ceased operations, and the expectation is that NASA will tear down the venerable structure, which is located at the aerospace agency's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

jpg The final mission for the immense wind tunnel, built when biplanes were still the norm for aviators, was to test the aerodynamics of the futuristic X-48C and its blended-wing body. (A separate version of the prototype, the X-48B, is being tested on the other side of the country at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California.)

Earlier in this decade, the Langley Full Scale Tunnel harked back to the earliest days of airplane flight with tests on a replica of the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flyer.

Happily, my personal wind tunnel is still fully operational .....

My Italy Trip Report is Finally Finished !!

Coming to America

There is a myth that "everyone wants to live in America", and that is simply not true, which was very obvious to me on our trip to Italy. Italians love Italy and very much want to spend their lives there .... maybe visit America like we go to Disneyworld, but then we're glad to come back home. The myth that everyone wants to live here probably started 150 - 100 years ago when many poor working-class (slave-class in some situations ) people who had no future at all in their homelands, came here to work on railroads, factories, bridges, roads, dams and seamstress sweatshops, etc etc, and America gave them that opportunity, and everyone (the poor, working immigrants and the country that needed workers) "won" by that situation.

I was also talking to one of my students Saturday (a guy from Columbia). He said that his friends in Columbia are engineers and professional people and not one of them desires to come here (and they haven't). Funny, because, based on TV reports, I think of Columbia as a drug&guerilla infested jungle that anyone in their right mind would die to get the hell out of ..... but I am simply wrong about that ..... another false myth that I believed about a country that I know nothing about.

It's a bigger world out there than I imagined ..... I missed a lot.

Heath Care Around the World

The World Health Organization ranks the quality of health care available to people living in the various countries around the world.

And .... the coutry that spends the most on health care is .....


BUT .... where do we rank on the quality of the health care available in each country ? ......

Rank & Country
1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America
38 Slovenia
39 Cuba
40 Brunei

... that is, despite that we pay more for health care than anyone else on Earth, the USA ranks in 37th place , boys and girls .... but shytt, at least we beat Slovenia, Cuba and Brunei, right?

Jees .... what happened while i was gone?

in an effort (feeble as it may well be) to show the pivotal roll i play in the goings on around here, let me say that, while i was on vacation.....

the HDTV went mute, the yard filled with leaves, the pond jammed with dead plants, the kitchen microwave died.

the search for the perfect new microwave goes on but we are limping along on a table model large enough to heat a cup of tea ..... the TV got fixed with a new cable box after wires and plugs and remotes and whatever got tweaked, but it came down to comcast wanting people to switch to their new cable system (3 painful phone calls later, we can now watch TV again .... the joy never ends, does it?) .... tomorrow i will clean the pond, and D will rake the leaves....

i need a vacation.

Joke ....

The results of a poll made by United Nations came out. The question was: "Please, tell us honestly what is your opinion about the abundance vs. scarcity of food in the rest of the world." The results were as follows:

Not a Joke ....

Palermo, Italy October 22 - A Sicilian man fled house arrest to get away from his wife Thursday but was sent back home.
Santo Gambino, 30, a bricklayer from a town outside Palermo, reportedly begged police to put him back in jail because of the ''non-stop nagging'' at home. But a judge ignored his pleas and put him back under house arrest. (Gambino was arrested in March for dumping construction waste.)

Pond Water

for a long and complicated (but stupid) reason, i turned the pond filter & pump off before i left for vacation .... it seemed logical at the time .... not today .... the water (about 600 gallons) is EPA toxic-hazard, the filter smells so bad i plastic-bagged it and tossed it ..... now .... what to do with 600 gallons of foul water? (the fish don't seem to mind, but the guy from the EPA says the pondwater pegged the dials on his geiger-counter).

there's only 10½ hours between sunrise and sunset today, but it's raining and in the 40's anyway, so it's gloomy new england at the moment ..... but somewhere out there (Mesa, AZ ? .... Grand Prairie, TX ?) someone (mi cugina, Lucia? .... mi figlia Catherine e Loretta?) is warm and dry and cozy.

jpg Nostradamus says (Century IV Quatrain 25)....

jpg no one asked, but today's quote from Nostradamus (not to be confused with Nosferatu, the vampire guy on the right there) is .....Lofty bodies endlessly visible to the eye, Through these reasons they will come to obscure: Body, forehead included, sense and head invisible, Diminishing the sacred prayers.

..... well there, that should clear it up for you.....

so, i'm imagining that 500 years from now, there's a cult devoted to my journal pages here, and my writings ..... well then .... i'll give them something to ponder ..... jpg here is my personal vision as to one of the great global catastrophes awaiting future generations .....

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nam lacus. Fusce accumsan. Phasellus vitae elit. Vestibulum eleifend. And if that wasn't bad enough ..... Nulla sodales elit in quam. Maecenas 2509 vehicula urna vel dolor. Cras lorem. Pellentesque aliquet blandit mi. In nisi. Cras id elit. And finally ...... Vestibulum ante 2712 ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae.

Oct.29.2009: what i learned in school today

i am learning a lot in my after-school junior engineer's class at the middle school .... like today .... my plan was to have the kids graph some data i gave them about how rubberbands fly (which they shot at each other last week).

i gave them the data and blank graph paper, and that was a disaster ..... if i had just met them half way and gave them graph paper with the axes labeled, they would have done very well and would have stayed connected to me. (i'm planning next week's class smarter than i planned today's class.)

much like my experience in Italy with the languages .... when you are trying to communicate, you have to meet people out there at the middle of the river .... and i will try never to forget that again.

D is working until 9PM ... i am boiling chicken, pasta and peas in a pot of my own toxic brew, and then i'll watch a 1930's scary movie in honor of haloween week (watched "Horror of Dracula" last night .... that was 1958).

what's that ?..... did you hear something? ..... i wish Debbie was home ....

Who'd'a Thunk it

for Italian citizenship, I needed an official certificate from my 1958 Catholic Confirmation that my middle name (Michael) is a Confirmation name, which is why it does not appear on my birth certificate..... on a long shot, i sent an e-mail to the pastor of Our Lady of Solace church in Coney Island, and .... yes, m'am ... in short order he dredged up the records and sent me an officially certified certificate ..... i still don't believe it, but it happened just like i said there.


Someday, I'm Gonna Write a Book....

.... about all the stories i have been told by my students ..... this one is fairly tame (i just got it a few minutes ago), but he is explaining to me why he will probably not be in class tomorrow and decided to e-mail me his test results just in case he can't pry his ass out of bed in the morning ...

Thank you for your help, I think I got the problem concept now. I finished the test and scanned it in and it is attached, for I wanted to be sure you got it in case I do not wake up in the morning. I live in a three floor apartment(one apartment per floor, 5 rooms per apartment), and they are having a two floor (including my own) big Halloween / Birthday party with a lot of people expected. While I will be attempting to get to bed at a reasonable hour, I am not sure how possible it will be for me to sleep / get up to my alarm. I will do my best, but if I don't make it, you at least have my test. Thank you for your time.

just for the record .... if i ever sent a note like this to one of my professors, my sorry ass would have been fried in a hot pan of boiled chicken fat. (i'm am not saying that i never skipped class .... see the story below .... i'm simply saying that i would make up a much more respectful bullshytt story than my students do today).


okay .... i just got back from class ..... here's an e-mail i got after another student missed class today (a take-home test was due to be handed in today) ....

Prof. Leo,
I apologize for missing class. I fell asleep finishing the test. Here is my test in pdf form. Please let me know if you have any problems or questions (I also apologize for my god awful handwriting!)


me, as a college student

my students are reminding me of myself in college in the early 1960's ..... it sucked enormously, and for the first 2½ years i hated it because i wanted to be a writer, and here i was buried in an engineering school (later on that topic) ..... and so to have my revenge on the gatekeepers holding me hostage, i never went to class until the professors asked the other students if i had actually died as they heard such rumors, at which point, i would go, make amends, then start skipping class again.

to my recollection, i spent most of my college years in the cafe' playing a card game that we called "bullshit", and i was very good at it, and so was Ginny Huss who was crazy about me but she herself was not aware of this so she mostly ignored me ..... she eventually left Brooklyn Poly for conduct unbecoming a geek-girl and was rapidly accepted into CCNY for exactly the same reason.

today, i try continuously to remind myself of these class-cutting facts, when my students do what they do.

postcript : how i ended up in Brooklyn Poly

i went to catholic elementary schools and it sucked about as bad as those movies you see about cruel orphanages where they beat the shytt out of the kids (and if you told your parents, you would be unquestionably punished at home for being bad in school), so i was extremely anxious to end that experience and go to a public high school, but my parents were catholic and swore that i would end up in hell if i did so. (you wonder why i believe that religions suck, huh?)

begging my parents didn't work and threatening them was never even a remote option, so ..... when the Russians launched the sputnik satellite (October.1957), i saw the window of oportunity open for me, letting in the fresh air of freedom.

"we need engineers in the USA", i heard me saying ..... "it's all over the TV how we have to beat the Russians".

it worked (for better or for worse) and i went to Brooklyn Technical HS and after that my life was mostly predetermined by my decision to escape from catholic schools.

despite all the pluses and minuses of having made a pivotal decision at age 13 that essentially pre-determined the entire rest of my life, i can say that at least i learned how to play "bullshit".

jpg D is working this evening, and i am .... well ...... not working ..... so to kill some time before i drop in a few horror DVD's for halloween night, i "tricked out" the SantaFe program to more easily color text in my html journal pages (yes .... i am bored)

i guess that's it for october 2009 ....


Index of My Journal Pages

page written by Dave Leo