Wednesday, April 16, 2014

3840 Confession

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I don't understand the moon.  I don't understand anything about the moon.  I mean the phases, the route it takes, the direction, nothing.  Today I read that the moon crosses the Earth's equator every two weeks!  Does that mean it stays north of the equator for two weeks and then south for two weeks, then north again?  How does that work?  Sometimes the moon is very high in the sky.  How can that happen without the moon crossing the equator, unless during parts of that time it isn't visible in the opposite hemisphere at all?  Are there periods that the Arctic or Antarctic have no moon until it crosses the equator again?  I assumed it crossed the equator on every circuit or something.

I vaguely understand that the phases (full, new, quarters, etc.) have to do with the alignment of the moon and the sun, but "vaguely" is literal.  Like, when we see a full moon here, is it full everywhere on Earth?  How does that happen?  Are there nights when we don't see any moon at all, no matter what the phase, because it appeared in our sky during the day (like it did last week)?

Over the years a few people have tried to explain it to me, but then when I start asking questions it becomes clear even to that person that they don't really understand it.  They just thought they did until they really thought about it.

You know what?  I've decided I don't care any more.  I've given up trying to understand the moon.
.


3839 You're Kidding!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I forget which days it was exactly, maybe Friday and Saturday, but we just had two days in a row that were 85 degrees F.

This morning there's snow in the shaded spots, and a strong icy wind blowing. It's 33 degrees at 8:30 am.

You know that phrase, "It'll be a cold day in Hell before I..."?   Well, where'd I put that list.  It's time.
.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

3838 Treasure

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My grandmother hid savings bonds.  I don't know why.  Maybe because she lived through the Great Depression, maybe because she didn't trust Grampa not to drink or gamble it away (Grampa had some serious faults, but drink and gambling wasn't among them), maybe it was just packrat tendencies.

On several occasions in my childhood, teens, and young adulthood, she took me around her home and showed me where it was all hidden.  Most of it was in envelopes taped to the underside of drawers, in her dining room and bedroom.  There must have been tens of thousands of dolllars, especially given that most of the bonds were old, well past maturity and still gathering interest.

She impressed upon me the bonds and their locations were a secret, and that I was the only person who knew this secret.  That if anything ever happened to her, I was to swoop in and gather it all up.  I don't know what I was supposed to do with it except to make sure it wasn't lost or stolen, I guess.

Well, in my late 20s and especially my 30s I was dealing with mental and emotional issues, and not keeping in very good touch with family.  I depended on my mother to keep me posted, which I guess wasn't the best idea.  When my father died, nobody thought to inform me until long after the funeral.  Same when Grampa died.  I found out he'd died when I happened to call Gramma a few weeks after the funeral.  I went to visit her, and that's the last time I saw her.  Nobody told me when Gramma died, again not until long after the funeral.  (I've often wondered - if I hadn't been there when Mom died, would anyone have told me?)

Anyway, several years after Grampa died, Gramma, in her late 80s I guess, had to vacate her apartment, and she moved into one of those senior complexes, you know, with her own apartment and her own familiar furniture, a kitchen but also a dining hall downstairs, nurses available 24 hours, and so on.  Mom said she was very happy there, was still taking the city bus into town to shop, and so on.

I asked if Gramma had taken her bedroom set and dining room set with her, and Mom said yes, except for the dining table, that was too big.  But she sill had the buffet, server, and china cabinet.

Gramma died in her mid-90s.  As I said, no one told me until Mom called one day to complain that Mom's brother's bossy wife had cleaned out the apartment something like the day after Gramma'd died, before the funeral even, and there was nothing left of anything besides a few photo albums.

I was aghast, but for an entirely different reason from my mother!  What about the dining room set (which I had always loved)?  Oh, they threw it all out.  They had a company come in and everything in the apartment went to the dump.

Well, I never said anything to anyone about Gramma's bond stash.  I don't know if it was still there, taped to the bottoms of drawers, but it wouldn't have done anyone any good to know at that point.  There was enough bad feeling floating around.

I still wonder, though.
.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

3837 Grease

Thursday, April 10, 2014

With my Amazon Prime membership, I've been watching free movies, mostly "classics" I'd never seen.  Today was "Grease".  Another blogger mentioned that she was rather proud that she'd never seen "Grease", and it occurred to me I hadn't seen it either, so I watched it this afternoon.  (I fast-forwarded through all the songs.)

So, ok.  Now I've seen it.  Duh.

Can anyone explain to me why, at the end, Sandy decided to ditch "Sandra Dee", and remake herself into a Cha Cha clone?  Danny liked her a LOT exactly as she was.  I can understand why Danny ditched the leather jacket, since it was Sandy that ran away from him and he felt he needed to win her back by winning her approval.  But all she had to do was flirt a little and he'd be all grateful that she wanted him back. There was no need for her to change.  If anything, that change would just increase the chance of his doing again what had annoyed her.

So why'd she do that?

I don't understand.
.

Friday, April 04, 2014

3836 Facebook knows EVERYBODY!

Friday, April 4, 2014

So, I google some name, and I get a list of hits, and some distance down the list there will be an entry for a Facebook profile for that name.  But then when I click on it, more than half the time there's no person by that name on Facebook.  It looks a lot like somebody just fills in the name in a skeleton "hit".  Piss me off.

This evening I was reading about some animal caught in Texas that the local yokels have decided is a chupacabra, but other more reasonable people think is a hairless raccoon.  Which got me wondering, is there something called a hairless raccoon?  I mean like a breed, not just a sick bald 'coon?

So I googled "hairless raccoon", hoping for something like a wikipedia entry, and got this:

Hairless Raccoon

https://www.facebook.com/public/Hairless-Raccoon
View the profiles of people named Hairless Raccoon on Facebook. Join Facebook to connect with Hairless Raccoon and others you may know. Facebook gives ...
Believe it or not, she is on Facebook, lives in Kentucky (why am I not surprised), and if you scroll down a bit you'll find a photo (actually, three).

Sigh.
.

3835 Crack me up!

Friday, April 4, 2014

I just read this article (http://mashable.com/2014/04/04/drone-crashes-elementary-school/) about a military drone crash near Harrisburg, Pa.

The "and was then run over by a car" cracked me up.  I'm still giggling.
.

3834 Public Transportation?

Friday, April 4, 2014

There's a Mensa dinner next week just south of here.  It would take me 21 minutes to drive to it.

Being a good citizen, I wondered if it would be possible to take a train or bus to it. Once it warms up around here, the highways get clogged with stop-and-go frustrating "shore traffic", so it might be a useful idea anyway to check out the buses.  So I asked Google maps.

Well, yes.  I can get there by bus.  Sort of.

First I walk a mile, and catch a bus that will take me north several miles, where I transfer to a different bus that goes back south.  Then, halfway to the restaurant, I transfer to a third bus for the remainder of the trip, then walk several blocks.  Total time, 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Or, I can walk it in 5 hours and 13 minutes.

And we wonder why everyone needs a car and drives everywhere.

Sheesh.
.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

3833 I want one!

April 1, 2014

Apparently these automobile accessories have been around for at least 8 years, yet I had never heard of them.  They look very handy.

There are several commercials on Youtube.  This is a two-minute compilation of four of the best:


[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLV1ssUQHME]
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Friday, March 21, 2014

3832 Micro Me

Friday, March 21, 2014

There's a little thing called a microexpression.  It's a tiny expression of emotion, lasting a fraction of a second.  A give-away to what's going on inside.  It may be a flicker of an eyebrow.  Or a tensing of the muscles around the lips.  A blink or a downward glance.  A slight narrowing of the eyes.   It's very quick, a fraction of a second, but most people watching are sensitive to even the tiniest flicker, even if they are not conscious of them, and although the microexpression and what it means may be individual to each person, it will still be subliminally caught and understood.   Most people are not aware of their own microexpressions, and it's very difficult to control.

An example:
One day at work two guys came to my office with a proposal.  The one guy explained what they wanted to do, and as soon as he was done, without even a pause, he turned to the other guy and said, "I told you she wouldn't like it!"

I objected.  "I didn't say I didn't like it."  He responded, "No, but your nostrils flared.  You always flare your nostrils when you don't like something."

I laughed, and had to admit that my first reaction was negative, "But let me think about it a while."

He was right.  I do make a tiny quick nostril flare when I'm annoyed, in that instant before I take control and don't express that annoyance.  
 I have a bunch of microexpressions, but being aware of them doesn't make it easy to control them.

The Wikipedia entry on microexpressions linked above isn't very good, actually.  It tends to wander off into general facial expressions of emotion, leaving confusion.  The article says that very few people can catch and interpret microexpressions, but I don't agree with that.  Have you even spent some time with, say, a couple, and later you conclude that she is afraid of him, and you're worried for her, but if anyone asks why, you don't have an answer?  Or you know someone you instinctively don't trust, even though they've never done anything wrong?   It's because you pick up on microexpressions, and you don't even realize it.

There are a lot of people who are unpopular, socially isolated, and they don't know why.  It can be anything from poor hygiene to no social skills, any of a gazillion reasons - but one of them is likely their microexpressions.  They expect people to disappoint them, or to not meet their standards, or to otherwise piss them off, and they SHOW it.  Outwardly they are very pleasant, but their microexpressions expose their poor expectations of others, their rejection of them,

and no one likes to be judged

or rejected.
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3831 Spanks Needed

Friday, March 21, 2014

That kid who climbed the WTC "Freedom Tower"?  He's 16, he was seen entering the grounds at 4:10 am, he's from New Jersey so you know this wasn't just around the corner, and his twitter feed is full of other climbing stunts and trespassing.  I've read several reports, and in none of them did anyone ask the question I have:

Where are the kid's parents?

Where did they think he was that night, or don't they care?  Do they think this is ok?  What responsibility do they have to control the kid?  Um, let alone guide him....
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

3830 Hal and I are on the map

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A few months ago (last summer?) I happened to be stopped at an intersection when the Google Maps car went by.

If you go to https://www.google.com/maps/place/919+N+Concourse/@40.445829,-74.213752,3a,15y,318.04h,78.26t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sROo6PdNZcJUFKafqRsJglA!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c234b38a33c909:0x3f9818f443aaac80 (I hope that link works for you) you'll see a little black convertible (Hal) with a little old lady inside (me).

If the link doesn't work, go to maps.google.com, ask for 919 N. Concourse, Keyport, NJ, pick up the little man (street view) and move him to the nearest intersection, drag the screen to face him the right direction, zoom in, and with luck, we'll be there.

I'm almost sorry I wasn't doing something embarrassing.
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Monday, March 03, 2014

3829 Screaming Meemies

Monday, March 3, 2014

Last Wednesday morning I woke to the chirp of a smoke detector complaining about its battery.  I had been slightly aware of it before I woke, actually.

Every 20 seconds, chirp!

By the time I was up, piddled, pants and shoes on under my nighty-t-shirt, the chirping had stopped.

I hate when the detectors chirp.  There are six of them.  One in the downstairs hall, one in every bedroom just inside the doors, and one in the upstairs hall, and when one starts complaining, I always go crazy trying to figure out which it is.

So, nothing all day Wednesday.  Thursday morning, I again woke to the chirp.  Every 20 seconds.  This time it didn't stop.  It was the one in the downstairs hall, so it wasn't too difficult to find.

I went to my battery supply, and opened a new package of those rectangular 9-volts.  I brought the taller stepladder down from upstairs.  I climbed up and changed the battery.

It continued to chirp.  Every 20 seconds.

I got my battery tester and tested the new battery.  It's ok.

I verified the polarity and inserted it again.

It continued to chirp.  Every 20 seconds.

I looked for some kind of reset button on the unit.  The only button was the test button, so I pushed it.  All six detectors went off, including the one that yells "Fire! Fire!" in a woman's voice.  I pushed the button again and they all shut up.

But this detector continued to chirp.  Every 20 seconds.

I don't know what to do.

I've been listening to that thing chirp since Thursday morning.  Every 20 seconds.  I've been pretending it's a bird.

I'm about ready to wring that bird's neck.

----------------------------------------

Embossing on the cover says to consult the unit's documentation for operating procedures, but of course the builder never left me any documentation, and once the check cleared, the builder became incommunicado - literally, his office closed.  (I heard he got sick.)  I could look up documentation online, except that the unit does not have the manufacturer's name anywhere on it.

I recall having this same problem when I replaced the batteries on the upstairs hall unit, and discovered that pushing the test button did reset it, but that didn't work this time.  The units don't look the same.

Leaving the battery out doesn't work, either.  It chirps anyway.  Every 20 seconds.
.

3828 Slammed #2

Monday, March 3, 2014

Second slam:  Back about February 18th I got a call from the fuel oil supplier for the country house saying that they couldn't get up the (300 foot uphill) driveway to deliver to the country house.  I contacted the Hairless Hunk, and he took over.

So this morning I hear from HH.  The oil guy tried to deliver late last week, but (HH just found out) was able to pump only 9 gallons when the intake pipe "overflowed".  Their conclusion is that the tank is still full from the early December delivery.

ACK!

(HH is suspicious of that because he went up and checked, and there's no evidence of overflow.)

Anyway, the country house apparently has no heat, and may not have had heat since, oh, early December, or maybe even before that.  Great.

Lots of possibilities:
The furnace is dead.
The power is out.
The fuel line is clogged.
Who knows.

I told HH there's no panic.  With the below 0 temps they've had almost all winter, if there's any damage, it's already happened.

The thermostat had been set at 50.  I had turned the well pump off, and opened the faucets in the bathtub and the kitchen sink to allow for expansion.  I THINK I had filled all the traps and toilets with antifreeze (but I'm not sure, and even so, who knows how long before it evaporates anyway).  To tell the truth, I had been slightly worried about sewer gas from the septic tank filling the house, and the damn place exploding at the first spark.

So I guess I have to go up there later this week and sort it out.  If there's any damage from frozen pipes, it will be no more than whatever water was sitting in the pipes, and fixing can wait for spring.  I can carry water for my stays.

If there's power, I can have heat while I'm there, because the otherwise defunct old heat pump has electric backup and I can run that.  Costs a fortune, but, well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.   If the house has already been without heat so long, it won't hurt to just turn it off when I leave.  What more could happen?

If there's no power, I'll stay overnight in a local motel and then just come home.  No way I can do anything about anything until spring if it's anything more than a tripped circuit breaker.

Bad bad bad winter.  Go away.

------------------------------------------

Note:  More evidence of my mistrust, according to the electric bill for the country house, it used 564 kwh in December and January, and the bill claims this is an actual reading.  If the furnace was off, all that's running is a dehumidifier in the basement and a refrigerator in the kitchen, and if there's been no heat, I doubt either has been running much.  But those are the same usage numbers as last year.  So either the power was on through December and January, or the electric company is inventing numbers.
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3827 Slammed, #1

Monday, March 3, 2014

I got slammed twice this past week, plus one screaming meemie.

The first slam:  I received a letter from John Hancock, the providers of my Long-Term Care policy, stating that my annual premium would be increasing.

Shortly after Jay died Daughter informed me that she hoped I had a good LTC policy, because there was no way she could do for me what I had done for Jay.  I had no policy.  I knew that the older you are when you get one, the more expensive they are, so I got me one right away, well before I turned 60.  It's pretty much the gold standard, providing for everything from housekeeping help to full home nursing care, nursing home, whatever necessary.  It includes a 5% annual increase in daily limits (the maximum offered), and lifetime benefits.  It costs me $3,384.00 annually.

I had been hearing rumors that most LTC insurers were applying for premium increases.  Their actuaries had screwed up.  They'd figured that about half of the people who signed up for LTC policies would eventually let them lapse.  Well, that didn't happen.  Most, in fact, kept them, so now the insurance companies are looking at a huge balloon they didn't expect.

Most of what I'd read said that they were looking for anywhere from 15% to 45% increase, with some sources saying an average of 40%.  John Hancock says their increases will average 25%.   (One article:  http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20131111/FREE/131119992#.)  Insurers are not allowed to raise individual premiums.  By law, they have to raise premiums across the board for a class of policies. 

The letter I got assures me that my "class" has nothing to do with my age.  They did not otherwise deign to define the class for my edification.

My premiums will increase from $3,384.00 to $6,429.60, as of May 2, 2014, the due date of my next premium.  Ack!

This is a 90% increase!!!!!

Even if 90% weren't already ridiculous (average 25%?), I carefully budget and save to make that payment.  With the increase, I am now $3,100 short of making it.  A little more than 2 months notice would have been nice.  WTF!  I can pull from investments to make it up, but what about people who just plain can't pay that much?

I think John Hancock's actuaries will get their heart's desire.  A lot of people are going to drop their policies, even though they may have been paying on them for decades.

It's a 12 page letter.  I read only the first two pages and set it aside, because every time I looked at it I felt like I was going to throw up.  All day Friday and Saturday my stomach churned.  Finally, Sunday, I read the rest of it.  They give me several options that will reduce my increase, most of which involve reducing my benefits, like going from lifetime coverage to a set number of years, or setting a longer wait time of need before benefits kick in, and so on.

Then I found the magic key.  If I reduce the inflation number for the daily max benefit from the current 5% compound to 2.7% compound, my premium increase drops to 0%.  Nothing.  Same as before.

Duh?

That leaves me wondering now, if that's all it takes on a gold-standard policy, who in the rest of my class is contributing to that 25% average?  Something smells fishy here.  It's not adding up.

I'm supposed to return a form by the end of this month requesting that it be changed.  So that's what I have to do, I guess.

You know, when I bought this policy, I thought the premiums would never go up, since it was based on age and risk and what I'd asked for, and this is what they had figured their risk was for me.  One thing I had considered was investing that money earmarked for long-term care, but after running the numbers I figured insurance would actually end up providing more.  A lot of people buy LTC insurance and end up using very little of it (they die quick, I guess), so it still averages out as a win for the insurance companies.

Now I'm going to worry constantly.  There's no assurance that next year they won't try the same thing again.

----------------------------------------------

Just to show you how little faith I have in anyone anymore - in all the articles I had read about insurance companies raising premiums on LTC policies, they all said that the companies were applying for state board permission.  In none of them was there any indication that permission had actually been granted.

So what if they are subsequently not given permission to raise rates?  Will they still hold me to the lower inflation figure?
.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

3826 My music so far

Wednesday, February 2014

"At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution,
once revealed, must seem to be inevitable."
 --Raymond Chandler--

---------------------------------------------------------------

I've been building my Pandora music channel.  The following list is what I've given the "thumbs up" (forgive the dates; I can't figure out an easy way to get rid of them), copied from the list kept by Pandora.  Of course, this isn't everything I like, just what Pandora has offered me so far. 

I've requested a few specific things that Pandora apparently does not "stock", like David Bowie's  Ground Control to Major Tom, and a few others I can't remember at the moment.  I also have a few Mid-eastern things I like, but no go (even though Pandora has oodles of African stuff).

Well, this is a start.

    Rocky Mountain High (Unplugged) (Live) by John Denver
    02-26-2014
    Homeward Bound (Live) by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-26-2014
   You Can't Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
    02-26-2014
    Hey Jude (Live) by Paul McCartney
    02-26-2014
    The Battle Of New Orleans(British Version) by Johnny Horton
    02-26-2014
    Here Comes The Sun (Live) by George Harrison
    02-26-2014
    I'll Follow The Sun by The Beatles
    02-26-2014
    I Call Your Name by The Mamas & The Papas
    02-26-2014
    Floating The Flambeau by Gaelic Storm
    02-26-2014
    Watermark by Enya
    02-26-2014
    Unchained Melody (1991 Version) by The Righteous Brothers
    02-26-2014
    My Girl by Otis Redding
    02-26-2014
    I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) by The Four Tops
    02-26-2014
    Apache by Jorgen Ingmann
    02-26-2014
    Walk Don't Run by The String-A-Longs
    02-26-2014
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
    02-26-2014
    Long Long Journey by Enya
    02-26-2014
    Copper Kettle (Live) by Joan Baez
    02-26-2014
    Let It Be (Live) by Paul McCartney
    02-26-2014
    Chain Of Fools (Unedited Version) by Aretha Franklin
    02-26-2014
    Where Did Our Love Go by The Supremes
    02-26-2014
    Do You Love Me by The Contours
    02-26-2014
    Ring Of Fire by Johnny Cash
    02-26-2014
    The Joker by Steve Miller Band
    02-26-2014
    Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream
    02-26-2014
    Jumping Jack Flash (With John Lennon's Introduction) (Live) by The Rolling Stones
    02-26-2014
    Homeward Bound (Live 1969) by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-26-2014
    Sunshine On My Shoulders (Unplugged) (Live) by John Denver
    02-26-2014
    I'm Looking Through You by The Beatles
    02-26-2014
    Dream A Little Dream Of Me by The Mamas & The Papas
    02-26-2014
    Homeless by Kenyan Boys Choir
    02-26-2014
    Khawuleza, Hurry Mama Hurry! by Miriam Makeba
    02-26-2014
    What A Wonderful World (2007) by Israel 'IZ' Kamakawiwo'ole
    02-26-2014
    Conditional by Tracy Chapman
    02-26-2014
    Piney Wood Hills by Buffy Sainte-Marie
    02-26-2014
    Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) by The Beatles
    02-26-2014
    Dedicated To The One I Love by The Mamas & The Papas
    02-26-2014
    The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) (Live 1969) by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-26-2014
    North To Alaska by Johnny Horton
    02-26-2014
    Let It Be (Live At New York City) by Paul McCartney
    02-26-2014
    Leaving On A Jet Plane (Unplugged) (Live) by John Denver
    02-26-2014
    Mama Said by The Shirelles
    02-26-2014
    Dawn by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
    02-26-2014
    Brian Wilson by Barenaked Ladies
    02-26-2014
    The Retreat Song by Miriam Makeba
    02-26-2014
    Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Live) by The Band & Bob Dylan
    02-26-2014
    The Ballad Of The Devil's Backbone Tavern (Live) by Todd Snider
    02-26-2014
    Mbube by Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds
    02-26-2014
    Guiss Guiss by Cheikh Lo
    02-26-2014
    Jho Avido by Dobet Gnahore
    02-26-2014
    The Three Bells by The Browns
    02-26-2014
    Let It Be by The Beatles
    02-26-2014
    A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation) by Marty Robbins
    02-26-2014
    You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' by The Righteous Brothers
    02-26-2014
    The Sound Of Silence (Live) by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-26-2014
    Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival
    02-26-2014
    Go Where You Wanna Go by The Mamas & The Papas
    02-26-2014
    Ventures' Medley: Lullaby Of The Leaves / Walk, Don't Run / Perfidia by The Belairs
    02-26-2014
    Top Eliminator by The Darts
    02-26-2014
    Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel
    02-24-2014
    Bad Moon Rising (Live At The Wiltern Theater) by John Fogerty
    02-24-2014
    Funny How Time Slips Away by Ricky Nelson
    02-24-2014
    The Sound Of Silence (Live 1969) by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-24-2014
    Blackbird by The Beatles
    02-24-2014
    Respect by Aretha Franklin
    02-24-2014
    Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There Is A Season) (Live) by Judy Collins
    02-24-2014
    Scarborough Fair / Canticle (Live 1969) by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-24-2014
    Blowin' In The Wind (Live) by Judy Collins
    02-24-2014
    The Wanderer by Dion
    02-24-2014
    It Always Will Be by Willie Nelson
    02-24-2014
    Good Hearted Woman by Waylon Jennings
    02-24-2014
    Hey Good Lookin' by Johnny Cash
    02-24-2014
    Stand By Me by Ben E. King
    02-24-2014
    Lonely Bull by The Challengers
    02-24-2014
    Mary Hamilton by Joan Baez
    02-24-2014
    I Say A Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin
    02-24-2014
    Reels: The Trip To Derrow / The Traveller / St. Anne's Reel by Barry Dransfield
    02-24-2014
    You've Got A Friend (Live) by James Taylor
    02-24-2014
    Blowing In The Wind (Live 1976) by Joan Baez
    02-24-2014
    Don't Be Cruel by Elvis Presley
    02-24-2014
    Can't Help Falling In Love by Chris Isaak
    02-24-2014
    I Feel Fine by The Beatles
    02-24-2014
    City Of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie
    02-24-2014
    The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Live) by The Band
    02-24-2014
    Nienafing by Rokia Traore
    02-24-2014
    Torin Torin by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba
    02-24-2014
    The Click Song by Miriam Makeba
    02-24-2014
    Watermelon Man (1962) by Herbie Hancock
    02-24-2014
    District Six (Live) by Hugh Masekela
    02-24-2014
    Come Together by The Beatles
    02-24-2014
    Homeward Bound (Live In Central Park) by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-24-2014
    Tomorrow Is A Long Time by Judy Collins
    02-24-2014
    The Bargain Store by Dolly Parton
    02-24-2014
    I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash
    02-24-2014
    A Good Hearted Woman (Live) by Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson
    02-24-2014
    Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys by Willie Nelson
    02-24-2014
    Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival
    02-24-2014
    Java by Al Hirt
    02-24-2014
    Fire And Rain by James Taylor
    02-24-2014
    Oh Very Young by Cat Stevens
    02-24-2014
    Tears On My Pillow by Little Anthony
    02-24-2014
    Denise by Randy & The Rainbows
    02-24-2014
    Down On The Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival
    02-24-2014
    Creeque Alley by The Mamas & The Papas
    02-24-2014
    Light My Fire by The Doors
    02-24-2014
    Take Good Care Of My Baby by Dion
    02-24-2014
    Silhouettes by Rays
    02-24-2014
    Since I Don't Have You by The Skyliners
    02-24-2014
    Sleep Walk by Santo & Johnny
    02-24-2014
    Come Go With Me (Master) by The Del-Vikings
    02-24-2014
    Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers
    02-24-2014
    Motorcycle (Significance Of The Pickle) Song (Live) by Arlo Guthrie
    02-24-2014
    Up On Cripple Creek by The Band
    02-24-2014
    Statistician's Blues (Live) by Todd Snider
    02-24-2014
    Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels) by Jim Croce
    02-24-2014
    In My Life by The Beatles
    02-24-2014
    So Early, Early In The Spring by Judy Collins
    02-24-2014
    My Country Tis Of Thy Peo by Buffy Sainte-Marie
    02-24-2014
    An Gabhar Ban by Clannad
    02-24-2014
    Maid Behind The Bar / Sligo Maid / The Green Mountain by Craig Duncan And The Smoky Mountain Band
    02-24-2014
    It Ain't Me Babe by Joan Baez
    02-24-2014
    Wild World by Cat Stevens
    02-23-2014
    Blackbird / Yesterday (Love Version) by The Beatles
    02-23-2014
    Up Around The Bend by Creedence Clearwater Revival
    02-23-2014
    With God On Our Side (Live) by Joan Baez
    02-23-2014
    Scarborough Fair/ Canticle by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-23-2014
    Imagine by John Lennon
    02-23-2014
    The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia by Reba McEntire
    02-23-2014
    Stand By Your Man by Tammy Wynette
    02-23-2014
    If I Were A Carpenter (feat. June Carter Cash) by Johnny Cash
    02-23-2014
    Sweet Sir Galahad by Joan Baez
    02-23-2014
    American Pie by Don McLean
    02-23-2014
    A-Quiet Tear (Lagrima Quieta) by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
    02-23-2014
    Dunlap's Creek by Anonymous 4
    02-23-2014
    Tempus Adventus: Populus Sion by Gregorian Chant For Seasons Of The Year
    02-23-2014
    Time Of The Season by Guess Who
    02-23-2014
    The House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals
    02-23-2014
    She's Not There by The Zombies
    02-23-2014
    Until It's Time For You To Go by Buffy Sainte-Marie
    02-23-2014
    Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
    02-23-2014
    9 To 5 (Live From London) by Dolly Parton
    02-23-2014
    Jackson (Live) by Johnny Cash
    02-23-2014
    Alley Cat by Bent Fabric & His Piano
    02-23-2014
    Highway Chile by Jimi Hendrix
    02-23-2014
    I Will Always Love You (Live) by Dolly Parton
    02-23-2014
    Harper Valley P.T.A. by Jeannie C. Riley
    02-23-2014
    I Saw Her Again Last Night by The Mamas & The Papas
    02-23-2014
    Time Of The Season by The Zombies
    02-23-2014
    When I'm Sixty-Four by The Beatles
    02-23-2014
    I Got A Name by Jim Croce
    02-23-2014
    Night Comes On by Judy Collins
    02-23-2014
    The Boxer (Live 1969) by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-23-2014
    For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield
    02-23-2014
    Suzanne (Live 1976) by Joan Baez
    02-23-2014
    Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack
    02-23-2014
    Cat's In The Cradle by Harry Chapin
    02-23-2014
    Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles
    02-23-2014
    Veni, Sancte Spiritus, Motet For 6 Parts (Doubtful): Veni Sancte Spiritus by Josquin Desprez
    02-23-2014
    Poison Glen by Clannad
    02-23-2014
    The Maid That Sold Her Barley by Deanta
    02-23-2014
    Caribbean Blue by Enya
    02-23-2014
    Harvest Moon Jig by Aine Minogue
    02-23-2014
    It's All Wrong, But It's All Right by Dolly Parton
    02-23-2014
    I Walk The Line (Overdubbed) by Johnny Cash
    02-23-2014
    This Time by Waylon Jennings
    02-23-2014
    Welfare LIne by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson
    02-23-2014
    On The Road Again (Live From Austin, TX) by Willie Nelson
    02-23-2014
    I'm Yours / Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Straight No Chaser
    02-23-2014
    Save Us All by Tracy Chapman
    02-23-2014
    Walk Away by Ben Harper
    02-23-2014
    It's All Been Done by Barenaked Ladies
    02-23-2014
    Roll To Me by Del Amitri
    02-23-2014
    Gospel Ship (Live) by Joan Baez
    02-23-2014
    The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
    02-23-2014
    Prudentia Prudentium, Gloria: Gloria: Prudentia Prudentium by Gregorian Chant
    02-23-2014
    On The Road Again (Willie Nelson & Family) (Live) by Willie Nelson & Friends
    02-23-2014
    Have You Ever Seen The Rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival
    02-23-2014
    Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin
    02-23-2014
    The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (BBC Sessions) by Jimi Hendrix
    02-23-2014
    Down To The River To Pray (Live) by Alison Krauss & Union Station
    02-23-2014
    Newgrange by Celtic Woman
    02-23-2014
    People Are Strange by The Doors
    02-23-2014
    Something / Blue Jay Way (Transition) (Love Version) by The Beatles
    02-23-2014
    Hotel California by Eagles
    02-23-2014
    Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World by Israel 'IZ' Kamakawiwo'ole
    02-23-2014
    One Week by Barenaked Ladies
    02-23-2014
    Run-around by Blues Traveler
    02-23-2014
    Yesterday by The Beatles
    02-23-2014
    First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack
    02-23-2014
    Suzanne by Joan Baez
    02-23-2014
.

3825 Blogs Coming Back!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Criminal: A person with predatory instincts
who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation."
 --Howard Scott --

--------------------------------------------------------------

Blogs had been dropping like flies, as people's lives changed, or they moved to Twitter or Facebook.  I have a lot of sites I follow on feed lists, and as blogs tapered off, I just left them on the feeds list. Just in case, you know?

Well, in the past three weeks, four of my old favorites, unheard from in like two or three years, suddenly showed up in my reader!  Wow!

The brilliant young lady in Iraq has finished her studies and is now an (unemployed) engineer.  I can't wait to hear what she does next.  The slyly humorous bachelor somewhere in the mid-east seemed to have found the love of his life and dropped away a few years ago - and now he seems to be single again. I can't wait to see if he's perhaps wiser.

And so on.

I wonder why suddenly now?  It has awakened my curiosity about others.  Will the Arkansas teacher be back?  How about the lesbian drummer?  Or the Wisconsin gal who finally got her man?  Or the gay furry with the fascinating mind?  Will the American married to the Irani and living in Iran ever be back?  Will we ever hear again from the handyman with all the beasties?  Or the slob who managed to get her followers to send her gifts and money with all her sob stories - which infuriated me because half the stories were unbelievable, half were her own damn stupidity if true, many were copied from elsewhere, and half the pictures she posted as her own were straight out of magazines or off the internet (did she really not know people could use Google to find where she stole from?), and yet people SENT HER GIFTS!  And if anyone tried to call her on any of her shit, her sycophants would viciously attack to defend her.  Even though she infuriated me, I followed her bog because I just couldn't believe it.

One thing I like about following the blogs of others is that it illustrates so well how different the lives of other people are, how differently they think.
.

3824 Confused

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Nothing can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man
who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own."
 --Sidney J. Harris--

------------------------------------------------------------------

Confusing snow.  All the weather sites said "light flurries", and "total accumulation 1 inch or less."  A half hour ago, there was (were?) already three inches, and it was coming down fast and  heavy, big clumpy blobs, and I was rapidly losing the will to live.  Now, precipitation has stopped, the sun is out, the road has melted clear, and there's maybe an inch of new stuff left on the ground in shaded spots.

I don't understand.

----------------------------------------

PeaPod is wonderful!  It keeps track of my prior orders, including stuff I bought on trips to the Stop & Shop, so all I have to do is check off stuff I want more of.  Delivery is slightly less than $7 (except that as a new customer, I get several weeks of free delivery) plus an optional tip for the driver, and I consider it worth that.  Daughter wondered if the items cost more, but I compared some old register strips to the PeaPod online prices, and they are pretty much the same.  Pistachios are cheaper, canned soup seems to run a few cents more, and so on.  In the aggregate it looks like no real difference in cost.

The only problem is that they don't have everything I would buy in the store.  Like they don't have the Quaker granola cereal, or Stacy's pita chips in the flavors I like.  I suspect they "PeaPod" only the most popular of the brands and flavors.

-----------------------------------------

I just noticed that my minivan is blue!  I've had it for 13 years.  When I bought it, it was a strange color mid-way between dark green and blue.  Half the people asked described it as green, half as blue.  I described it as blue-green.  But now, "suddenly", it's definitely dark blue.  Not even a hint of green.  Weird.
.

Monday, February 24, 2014

3823 Evolution?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Just because there are questions doesn't mean there are answers.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Yesterday morning I torqued up Pandora for the first time in ages, first time on this laptop.  I set up a channel and primed it with things like Barenaked Ladies, Simon & Garfunkle, Buffy Saint-Marie, Dolly Parton, Don McLean, Mommas and Poppas, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, a bunch of Irish stuff, and a slew of stuff from my youth.  Then I actively clicked "like" or "dislike" on what Pandora selected, to make sure Pandora had a wide sample of my taste to work from.

It started out pretty good, but oddly, after about 20 hours of play, Pandora has pretty much evolved (devolved?) to Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, and Johnny Cash, one after another, with occasional side excursions into other stuff I like (and don't like, e.g. trumpet instrumentals (ugh!) and Frank Sinatra (ugh ugh!!) thrown in.  Duh?)

I don't understand.  Yeah, I like Willie, Garth, and Johnny, but good grief!  Not exclusively!  And how many times do I have to click "dislike" on Sinatra and jazz before they get the idea?

Pandora's algorithms need some work.

----------------------------------------

After something like four or five days of balmy sunny days rising into the forties and fifties, almost all the snow is melting away.  I actually had a surge of energy, got out and did some stuff.

Today we have been cast down again.  It's 36 F, and there's a strong nasty wind out of the north that actually hurts.  Oh well, not much longer now....

----------------------------------------

LATER:  Ok, I figured out why Pandora keeps sending me Jazz and trumpets.  I've been clicking "Like" on everything from Hugh Masekela.  Check out "District Six".  Masekela isn't your usual jazz.
.

Friday, February 21, 2014

3822 HOTW - Everett McGill

Friday, February 21, 2014

I haven't done a Honey of the Week in ages, but I found one this evening!

I watched the 1999 (I think) movie "The Straight Story" this evening.  It's the story of Alvin Straight, and his trip to visit his ailing brother - 240 miles away, riding the distance on a lawn mower towing a home-made trailer.

The movie is almost two hours, and it's slow moving (just like Alvin, who is in his early 70s, has bad hips, walks with two canes, and can't see well enough to drive a car), but it's wonderful, worth every minute of the two hours.  If you have a chance to rent it, I highly recommend it.

It's all true, the whole story.  The only thing they changed was, for some unknown reason, the timing of the trip.  Alvin actually set out in something like June, arriving in August, but in the movie he sets out in September, arriving late October.  Folks from that area who saw the movie caught that discrepancy, because of the bicycle racers Alvin meets on the way - that race takes place in July.

Anyway, Alvin's first mower didn't get far, so he bought a newer (only 30 years old) John Deere to restart the trip.  The John Deere salesman's part is only a few minutes long, but it was long enough for me to develop a crush on him.  That part was played by Everett McGill:

Yummy.  (But somehow a still picture doesn't quite convey it.  The eyes and the smile, you know. See the movie.)

I think part of the attraction might be that he reminds me a lot of my father's sister Irene's husband Chick (Charles).  Uncle Chick was a strong, tall, silent, farmer and in my preteen years I had a terrible crush on him.  He died when a bulldozer fell on him (really).  I guess even the bulldozer had a literal crush on him.
.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

3821 Show Snovels and Checks

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rules for snow shovels:
- Store the shovel outside for the winter, so it's at air temperature when you use it.  You can't shovel snow with a warm shovel.
- Occasionally (like every other use) spritz it with Pam, so snow will slide off easily.
- NEVER chop ice with it.  That will cause the sides of the blade to curl.

I can use the same shovel for years, as long as I'm the only one using it.  The one I have now is about three years old, and I love it.  It has that bent handle that's easy to lift, and the blade is plastic with a curl at the top and raised sides, which makes it perfect for using like a plow.  Because the blade is plastic, it's lightweight, and it has a metal strip on the underside to keep the edge flat.

Well, Daughter and Hercules (Wow!  The first time he's ever done anything resembling work for me without being asked/shamed into it!) used it after the last two storms, and now the blade is cupped.   It doesn't run flat anymore.

I am unhappy.

------------------------------------------

The real estate taxes on the city house are due quarterly.  I have it stuck in my head that "quarterly" is March, June, September, and December.  This being New Jersey, naturally they want it February 1st, May 1st, and so on.  So I didn't realize that I was late until Tuesday evening, the 11th - one day past the 10-day grace period.

Wednesday I hurried off to the town hall to pay, but they were closed for Lincoln's Birthday.  Thursday they were closed for snow.  Friday I couldn't get out of my driveway.  Saturday and Sunday they were closed.  Monday they were closed for President's Day (yeah, in addition to Thursday.  Nice job).  I finally got in today, and had to pay more than a week's penalty.  I think I got burned.

-------------------------------------------

I have a 35-year-old checking and savings account (and a pre-approved emergency loan account) with my old credit union at the country house.  The credit union started life as the IBM Employees' Credit Union.  My account numbers were my employee serial number, with "001" suffix on the savings account, and "009" suffix on the checking, which made the account numbers easy to remember.  When IBM left that area it, the credit union, went pubic. 

For the past 8 years (8 because I'm a widow getting benefits on Jay's account) Social Security has been depositing my monthly check into the checking account, let's call it "123456009" (where 123456 was my employee number) on the second Wednesday of the month, with no difficulty.

Yesterday I got a letter from the bank saying that the SS check had arrived and they were unable to process it as written.  They processed it by hand, but would not process it next month unless it was fixed.

Duh?

They said that the check was sent for deposit to account 12356009, and they manually deposited it to 1234560001 CHK.

Ok, I see what SS did - they skipped a digit (the "4"), but I don't understand why the bank deposited the check into the savings account, and why did they call it the "CHK" account if it has the savings suffix?  I don't understand.  I called the credit union.

Turns out that they changed the account numbers last fall.  (I don't recall getting any kind of notification!)  Now the checking account ends in 0001.

I asked, "So what's the sufffix for the savings?"
She said, "Savings is 0001, too."
Me, very confused, "So how do you tell them apart?"
She, "The savings account number now starts with 2."
Me, "So my savings account number is now 21234560001?"
She, "Yes."

I don't understand.

I told her I've been writing checks with the 009 suffix printed on them.  She said that's ok, they'll still go through.  When I order new checks I'll see the new number on them.

Sheesh.  I write maybe 8 checks a year on that account.  I have a 15 year supply.  I wonder how long they'll tolerate that 009 suffix, and whether I'll get any notice when they update their system, or will they just start bouncing checks.

-------------------------------------------

As if that wasn't enough aggravation, I got a call from the fuel supplier for the country house.  The house with the 300 foot uphill curved driveway.  The driver tried to deliver, and says the driveway is too narrow, it needs to be plowed wider.  (I do ensure that the trucks can turn around at the top, but I guess I can understand their fear that they may be forced to back down that slalom run.)

The plow piles on either side are about five feet high now.  They've had a LOT of snow this winter - 24 additional inches last week alone - and no thaws.  The Hairless Hunk has done a hero's job keeping it plowed.  I really really appreciate his being there.  But he's plowing with a pickup truck.  I don't know if he CAN widen it at this point.

So, I wrote him an email this morning, asking what can be done, and if he has to bring in reinforcements, I can overnight him the cost.  But I've got to get oil.  The last delivery was in early December.  The thermostat is set at 50 degrees, but the temperatures up there have been ranging between 23 and -10 since then.  The water is turned off, but still, the pressure tank from the well could freeze.  I don't remember whether I threw the breaker for the pump.

I'm SO ready for spring.
.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

3820 Snow

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My quarterly real estate tax was due on February 1st.  I missed it, didn't notice it was due until I was paying some other bills on the 11th, last Tuesday.  (Somehow I have it set in my mind that quarterly stuff is due in March, June, etc.)  By the time I realized the payment was late, it was 2 pm, and the town offices close at like 2:30, so I figured I'd pay it yesterday.

I went to the town offices yesterday and found everything closed.  Lincoln's birthday.  Duh?

Today we woke up to 8" of heavy wet snow, followed by ice pellets, followed by rain, and a "code red" call from the township saying that all town offices and functions were closed.

I probably won't get out to pay tomorrow, either, since we are supposed to get more snow overnight and all day tomorrow.

In the meantime, penalties accrue.

I hate snow.

The neighbor up the street says the Garden State Parkway and the Throughway, and many of the major local roads, are closed because of jackknifed  trailers all over the roads.  I got a code red email from the country house township saying that the highways are closed to commercial traffic for the same reason.

I really hate snow.  At least plain cold one can dress for, but snow can leave us defenseless.

At least we still have power.  Maybe that's one good thing Sandy did for us - all the weak trees and branches are already down.

-------------------------------------

I am worried about my neighbor George.  He's got to be in at least his mid-eighties.  He gets out there shoveling.  He throws five shovelfuls, then stops and rests on the shovel handle for a while, kind of bent over the handle, then throws five more.

His late-teen great-grandson mows my lawn.  His granddaughter lives on the next street over, and some sons and daughters live in the area.  I can't help wondering why no one shows up to help him.  They all come for holiday dinners, so it's not like they're estranged.

I've got a delicate back and currently something wrong with my shoulder (rotator cuff?) so my daughter shovels for me if my little electric thrower can't handle it (note that's Daughter, not SIL Hercules), or scares up a kid to do it.  If I were capable, I'd help George.

Maybe I should review CPR procedures.

--------------------------------------

I doubt that mankind in general is any smarter now than, say, 200 years ago.  200 years isn't much in evolutionary terms, but I do believe that on average we are already demonstrably more stupid.  We know more "stuff", but we are in general, overall,  less logical, less understanding, less interested in understanding, and less capable than we used to be.  It's like thinking is evolving out of us.  Like we don't need it any more.

Science fiction illustrators often depict humans of the far future as having huge heads, enormous brains.  I don't know why they think brains would get larger.  I think it's more likely we'll have tiny braincases.  As computers do the work of remembering for us, we won't need to remember anything much.  We won't need to calculate anything - the machine will tell us.

We already see evidence of brain atrophy....
.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

3819 I'm so sorry. Forgive me?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This is so cute.  The cat on the left seems to be trying to apologize.  I couldn't resist posting it.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNS7zzIzX-E]

In theory it's only 25 seconds, but be prepared to watch it five or six times.
.

Monday, February 10, 2014

3818 Mystery water

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jasper has been fussing about his water dish.  He doesn't like the water.  He doesn't want to drink it.  He splashes in it, as if he's trying to catch a fish in the bottom.  He hooks the side and drags the dish.  Since the dish is on a tray, when it crosses the side of the tray it spills all over the floor.  He'd been doing it for the past two or three weeks.

I mentioned it to Daughter, and she said two of her cats have been doing the same thing.

A mystery.

Then one day (Saturday, I think) I had left a glass of water on the counter when I went to bed, and absentmindedly drank it the next morning -- and spat it out!  It smelled and tasted strongly of iodine.

Water processing plants add iodine to the water when there's a problem with bacteria.  We've had several water main breaks this winter, one about three weeks ago just up the road, so it makes sense they may be worried about contamination.  I don't know why the iodine smell and taste gets so bad when the water isn't fresh out of the tap, but there it is....

Mystery solved.

So now I have to make sure his water is changed a few times a day.

-------------------------------------

Speaking of water, the Thames is flooding.  Parts of England are flooded for the first time in a few hundred years.  Weird.
.

3817 Silk Shoes

Monday, February 10, 2014

As usual at this time of year, I'm hibernating.  I resist leaving the house.   Most days I don't even get dressed, spend the whole day in a nightshirt and robe.  I also do nothing except wandering around the internet, reading books, watching video clips.  Except for Big Bang Theory on Thursday evenings, I can't even muster the energy to watch TV.  It's so bad my last "grocery shopping" was via PeaPod.

I discovered I can watch movies for free with Amazon Prime.  Not all titles are available for free instant viewing, but there are enough classics and lower-budget movies to keep me occupied for a while. 

Today I watched "Silk Shoes".  Found it by accident.  It's a Korean movie.  Independent.  English subtitles.  It was charming, glad I found it.  If you have Amazon Prime, I recommend it.

A lot of reviewers loved it too, but were disappointed by the ending.  Let down.  Confused.  I was confused because I didn't understand how the silk shoes were significant.

I did a little light research (with the help of this guy, who has provided an excellent review, synopsis, trailer clip, and link to the lyrics) and I figured it out.  The problem is that the subtitles didn't give us the lyrics of the song at the beginning and end of the movie.  So those of us unfamiliar with the song didn't know about the shoes.  It also explains why the old woman at the end asks Grandfather about his brother, which had confused me.

Well,  now you know, so go watch it if you have Prime.
.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

3816 Quizzes

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I took a few quizzes today at http://www.zimbio.com/quiz (if that link doesn't take you directly to the list of quizzes, click on "quizzes" in the bar on top).

I am:
Purdy from Sienfeld
Howard from BBT
Barbie from Toy Story
Cinderella from Disney
... and at that point I was thinking about giving up and crawling into bed, until I got
Dumbledore of Hogwarts.

I think I'll stop there.
.

3815 Beara!

January 30, 2014

I'm watching a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8P7pSm10s8) about the rise and demise of the old Hotel Sterling in Wilkes Barre, Pa.

I remember that place.  I had occasional date dinners there (in the early '60s), whenever a guy wanted to really impress me.

There's a fellow about my age talking in the clip about the hotel.  He claims to be native to Wilkes Barre, but I'm not sure I can believe him, no matter what he says.

Because....

He pronounces it "Wilkes Barry".

"Barry"?  No way!

Everybody from that area pronounces it "Wulks Beara".  (Actually a blurred sound halfway between "Beara" and "Burra").

Or at least they usta!
.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

3814 Cable again

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Back in mid-December I called the cable TV/internet folks and got rid of all the extra channels I never watch.  Went to "basic".  Returned the now unneeded set-top boxes.  I thought I'd end up with just the basic networks - CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS - and some local stuff. 

It turns out I have way more than 88 channels.

I went through and eliminated from the automatic list the 16 Spanish channels. Every little municipality has at least one, more usually three, of their own channels - one public access, one townhall, one for school stuff.  I eliminated most of them.

I'm still left with a lot more than I expected - like 3 PBS channels with different programming (one is all children's shows), ION, a movie channel, weather channel, QUBO, and loads of stuff with names like CREATE, LIFE, BOUNCE, THIS, RISE, WORLD, and so on --- I don't even know what they are.

And I'm not particularly interested in finding out.

I wonder if there might be a BBC or a CNN tucked in there somewhere.  They might be the only channels I'll miss.
.

3813 Unbelievable!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Back when Nugget was born in 2011, Daughter was driving a 2-door Honda.  It was a good car, but it was getting pretty old, and it was very difficult for Daughter to get the baby in and out of the baby seat in the back.  So I gave her my 4-door 2003 Suzuki Aerio, and she sold the Honda.

I had bought the Aerio for about $9,000 in 2006 when the van was having serious problems and was costing me a fortune in rentals.  "Suzie" was a great little car, with its high roof and huge windows giving a great view all around, comfortable seats, sportscar handling, and a lot of zip.  It was always actually fun to drive, easy to park, and never gave me any problems.  Well, except for the body, which tended to drop random pieces of itself everywhere.  But they were at least unimportant trim pieces. 

It was a good car for Daughter for two years, then finally something important went wrong which set off the "bad light".  I don't know the words, but it had something to do with something that sits above the gas tank and something about vapor or something.  Anyway, fixing it would require major internal surgery, costing more than $1500, which was about what the car was worth.  It still ran just fine, but not fixing it would eventually run the risk of it catching fire.  And until it was fixed, it would not pass inspection.  The trusted mechanic said Daughter could continue to drive it, but to pull over immediately if she smelled gas fumes.

It was due for inspection last month.  No way it would pass.  So Daughter bought a new car, and parked Suzie until she could figure out what to do with her.

Yesterday morning while I was still in bed I heard a sound.  Looked out the window, and saw Suzie being loaded onto a flatbed.  I threw on a robe and ran out to pat her goodbye.

I really did love that car.  Hate to see her go.

Daughter was paid $350 for her.

That was yesterday.

This is Suzie:


The photo is from a used car dealership.  They are asking $1599 for her.  They describe her as "ready to sell".  I wonder if they will tell an interested buyer that she won't pass inspection, and just might catch fire. 

Listing here:  http://www.aberdeenautonj.com/2003_Suzuki_Aerio_Morganville_NJ_224234593.veh
.

Friday, January 10, 2014

3812 Long time

Friday, January 10, 2014

I hadn't realized I hadn't attempted a post in almost a month.  I've got a lot of notes saved up, so when I have time I guess I'll go through some of that, but not now.  It's late.

I've been kind of blah.  I read about that kid who was driving drunk and high and killed four people and then got off without so much as a slap on the wrist because he was rich and privileged and his parents had never taught him that one is responsible for one's own actions and actions have consequences.  His lawyer called it "affluenza".  (If you're not already familiar with the story, do an internet search for that word.)

Anyway, I thought of all the kids who go wrong because they had bad or uncaring parents who don't get second chances and who don't "suffer" from affluenza, just the opposite, and

something inside me broke.

It's like why even care?  Why bother?  I had several weeks of not caring about pretty much anything.  This whole damn society is going into the shit can, and nobody else seems to care.

I'm not over it yet.
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

3811 Screaming

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sometimes, when following links deep into the web, I will have seven or eight or more tabs open, and suddenly someone is talking, or there's horrible music coming from the speakers. 

A video ad has started somewhere.

I don't know where.

(The worst is when more than one are running at the same time, talking over each other.  It sounds like a crowded cocktail party in here.)

I bounce back through tabs, scrolling through screens, searching, trying to find the damn thing and turn it OFF, and I can't find it.

I hate that!

There are popup blockers.  There should be an auto-start video blocker!  I'd pay money for it.
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Saturday, December 14, 2013

3810 Estate sale

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Well, I have medical insurance for 2014.  I suspect I'm not going to be happy with it, but, we'll see.  The cost is low, but it's a Medicare Advantage plan, and it's an HMO.  I always swore I'd never go into an HMO, but there it is.  The only plan of any type that I was eligible for that allowed me to choose my own doctors was extremely costly.  So.  At least that's done.

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The country house is under storm alert this weekend.  10" of snow and then sleet.  Since the house is higher up, I suppose there will be at least 12" of snow.  We always got about 20% more than lower down.  Or more.  Temps in the low 20s.  I am worried about losing power there.  Sigh.  Another week I won't be going north.

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I got an email a few days ago from my old auctioneer, George, saying he was going to be on a show on the Travel Channel, so I watched it.  It was another of those stupid shows that seem to be so popular recently --- you know, where we follow some "experts" while they buy unseen storage facility contents, or race through antique centers looking for bargains, or poke around mountains looking for gold.

This time, we had three "expert bidders" at George's auction.  It was very obvious the whole thing was staged.  He had a full room of bidders, but no one else bid on any of the boxes that were obviously solely for these "experts" to battle over.

It was so stupid.  THEY were so stupid.  They were bidding on unopened boxes and bags, no idea what was in them.  Number one, George never sells unopened stuff.  Number two, these "experts" didn't do their research.  One idiot kept saying "There's lots of mansions in [this village].  Huge estates. This is an estate auction so these boxes are coming from the attics and basements of these wealthy mansions.  You KNOW it has to be good stuff!"

First of all, the statement that there are lots of mansions in [the village].  Yeah, that general wider area is full of mansions, yeah, but most of them are run as tourist destinations by the national park service, like the Vanderbilt, Astor, and Roosevelt places, and a few other piles of marble with names and history.  There are a few private mansions around, but these days almost all of them are empty, like the place where Chelsea Clinton's wedding reception was held. (It's for sale and the owner volunteered it hoping for free advertising.) So, there's no good stuff coming from mansion attics!  Do your research, you fool!

Second, the "expert" doesn't even know what an estate auction is!

"Estate" in this sense doesn't mean mansions and land, anyway.  It means somebody's Aunt Sally died and left all her worldly goods to somebody who is now selling off the excess.  "Estate" in the sense of the disposals of a legal will.  Sheesh.  And these folks are "experts"?

(Sometimes George does sell items from a mansion, but when he does, he tells you where it came from,  "Sale of the Contents of Blah Blah Mansion", and the auction is exclusively those items.  In 10 years, I've seen only two of those auctions - one being Larry (Hustler) Flynt's place.  Usually George's estate sale stuff is bits from hither and yon all over the northeast.)

Third, one of the "experts" attempted to figure out what was in a locked duffel bag by SITTING ON IT!  Well, there goes that Faberge egg, eh!  How stupid is that.  The other guy was shaking boxes violently.  Duh.

It got to where I was yelling at the TV.

I will never watch any of those things again.  Bleck.  I will not miss cable.
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