Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mrs. Cratchet's Greatest Success

The Christmas Pudding, cannon ball shaped and served with flaming brandy and a sprig of holly.

It was ball shaped because it was cooked not in a baking dish but in a tied up piece of cloth like a sack and was boiled in water, not steamed or baked. In reading several Dicken's books you learn that cooking facilities of the common people was the fireplace. This hearth may have had small surface of iron like a small griddle but that is the extent of the kitchen. The Cratchet's dinner included potatoes cooked in a pan on this hearth and applesauce. Yes, the goose was baked, but the only available ovens were the town bakeries, hence the passage in 'A Christmas Carol' describing people carrying home their dinners through the streets. As I said the pudding was boiled, but the only pot large enough was the "copper", being the laundry tub in the backyard.

Christmas Pudding History and Recipes

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Chemical In Beer May Prevent Prostate Cancer

9:01am UK, Wednesday December 09, 2009
Lewis Dean, Sky News Online

Beer-drinking men may be reducing their chances of developing prostate cancer with every pint, tests by scientists have revealed.

Two pints of beer
Beer contains a compound that may fight cancer.

Experiments have shown that xanthohumol, a compund derived from the hops in beer, blocks a chemical reaction that can lead to the development of cancer.

The disease is usually treated with drugs that act in a similar way.

Study leader Dr Clarissa Gerhausa, from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, said: "We hope that one day we can demonstrate that xanthohumol prevents prostate cancer development, first in animal models and then in humans, but we are just at the beginning."

Xanthohumol is a powerful antioxidant, known to have anti-cancer properties. It is also found in fruits and spices.

It was previously suggested that the compound could reduce the chances of females getting breast cancer.

Scientists now believe a similar reaction could affect men.

Further research involving rats showed that xanthohumol reduced the effects of hormone signalling in prostate tissue.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gotta love VDH

An analogy to make you go . . . "huh?" and start reaching for the dictionary.

It is sort of like the retiarius throwing his net every which way while stabbing with trident—only to cry foul and “how dare you!” when nicked back by the sica of the Thracian.

-Victor Davis Hanson, from a recent political commentary article.


retiarius (plural retiari or retiarii)

  1. A type of gladiator, who uses a casting net (a rete or iaculum) as a weapon.

(genitive sīcae); f, first declension
  1. a poniard, a curved dagger


  1. an inhabitant of Thrace, regardless of ethnicity (plural Thracians).

  1. A region in northeastern Greece, much of southern Bulgaria, and parts of northwestern Turkey.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Porky Politician

I was reading an article which at one point talked about the Fed. Just to brush up my knowledge I wiki'd it and skimmed through it a bit. In doing so I came across this little chart in the sidelines and this little tidbit in it's explanation. I found it poignant because I totally agree with the last part.
The generally agreed upon reason independence leads to lower inflation is that politicians have a tendency to create too much money if given the opportunity to do it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reefer madness

You know those keyless remote entry fobs that come with cars nowadays. The ones that you thought were a silly idea until you actually started using one and now your opinion is "how did we ever do without them". Well, automatic ice and water in the refrigerator door has become the same way.

This is the water supply connection that comes with the standard kit. It's made for homeowners who want to connect up fast and easy without calling a plumber. They work by puncturing a little hole in the water pipe with a sharp needle and are made water tight with a rubber gasket. However since installation the water flow has always seemed very slow when waiting to fill up your glass, so I went down the other day and ran the needle in (and out) again attempting to make the hole larger and guess what, that's right, no water flow at all. Apparently the rubber gasket has now been squished to the point of cutting off the flow no matter what, even with completely dismantling and reinstalling it.

Here's my solution. Luckily I already owned the blow torch plumbing kit from a previous project and this roughly only cost the price of a new valve.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Apostrophe's test in link

This is a test. If this were a real notice, please proceed to the bomb shelter of your choice.

Test unsuccessful. Blogger removed the apostrophe from the actual link/page URL. Also Blogger eliminated the space and question marks of the post below also (when viewing the individual post as a separate page).

Hmmmmm, how to test...

Another Article Censored ??

Another article on FrontPageMag, About Islam, From Norway, Translated (I think by the same person). Different original Author. Again the founding link was on Lucianne.

Still the apostrophe in the title, but I don't think that's the problem.

When on FrontPage website I used their google search to search the site; the author and the title show up several places (the search returns several results). But when I go to the listing or reference pages the very phrases that google found are not to found on the page as displayed. They seem to be scrubbed. The search results of the actual article again return a 404.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Flight Attendant Hell

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, those passengers seated in rows 1 thru 28 will not receive meal and drink service due to a slight obstruction in the aisle-way. In case of an emergency the emergency exit located at seat 27F will be unavailable as it will be wedged full of flesh. Thank you for your attention, have a nice flight, and thank you for flying American Airlines.

Twas the Night before Christmas

*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
* At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*
*You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.*
*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*
*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*
*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*
*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*
*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
* Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*
*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*
*The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*
*So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'*
*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*
*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*
not Happy Holiday !*
Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet during the
holidays a
Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

Over the years whenever I've been confronted with the political correctness of "Cultural Sensitivity" and "Celebrating Diversity", I've always noticed that my culture and my choice to be diverse is either ignored and left out or sometimes slandered as the bad guy. I'll celebrate with them when my culture is included equally and without prejudice.

Yes, I'm a Christian, White, Male, American of Anglo-Saxon European origins who obeys the law, served in our armed forces, and believes in the freedoms, self-reliance, responsibility, and the limited government principals of our nation's founding fathers.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Original Article Blocked??

Please go to this Lucianne article page and link to the original article at

All I get is a 404: , and I'm wondering what's going on.

I've tried several google searches and links, links from other blogs and even searches on

The link to the original article in lucianne's site is's-sexuality-by-hege-storhaug/

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Cinnamon Bear

Presenting the original 1937 radio show version of "The Cinnamon Bear" (Wikipedia). Twenty-Six nightly episodes (originally aired the day after Thanksgiving and ending on Christmas day, but not on Sundays). I've listed them here in continuous nightly order ending Christmas Eve, which means starting Nov-29th. You can start on Thanksgiving night but you would somehow have to skip the appropriate number of nights (each year is different since Thanksgiving is always Thursday).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recent Reading

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

A good read overall. Bits and pieces of philosophy here and there that make you think and ponder. Ethics, Religion, and cultural issues are occasionally pondered throughout the story. Setting those aside the general story is a good adventure tale and is hard to put down once you get into it.

The primary drawbacks are the writing style and of course the period language/prose. The difference in prose from another time in history is one reason to read classic lit. so this is not a negative, just a difficulty. The writing style takes some effort to get past. First there are no chapters. . . none. You never get a convenient stopping point to set the book down. The plot is not divided in any way. Second, the timeline of the plot is dis-jointed. The author will write of doing something and then much later tell you "by the way that took a year and a half to accomplish, and now back to where we were. . .".

As far as the story itself; I've always heard it to be the story of being stranded on a deserted island, but found there is a considerable amount of story both prior to and after the island. Not a little of here's the setup and here's the happy ending afterwards, but a fair amount of story/plot which has little to do with the central island plot-line. The other part of the story which I found odd was that you expect the story of a castaway to be one of struggle and difficulty but here in this story Crusoe very conveniently recovers most everything he needs from the wreck of the ship (i.e. after 28 years he still has gunpowder (and functioning guns in a humid tropical clime), also he eats bread from the ship for nearly a year). Not to mention his incredible recovery of his money, business, and property after being presumed dead for 29 years.

Overall worth reading.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Brewing more Tea

Went to another Tea Party this afternoon here in Portland. Part of the Tea Party Express. My estimate was 500 to 700 people. Pretty good for 1:00pm on Friday in the Socialist County of Multnomah.

A good Thank You to Michael's for allowing the use of his parking lot.

A side note: There was one counter protester (?). A woman in her 30's went through the crowd at one point screaming at people, calling them "fascists" over and over again. My honest opinion was she may have been a mentally ill person. She got into one guy's face and I thought there might be a confrontation, but she moved on. As she came my direction a woman in front of me looked around and then quickly walked around and got behind me. I was going to simply stand my ground in silence, but nothing happened as the crazy woman moved on.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recent Reading

Recent readings have been a couple of re-reads of some favorites and a first read of a classic.

Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" is the new one. Some interesting insight into the French Revolution and the times surrounding it. The bit about the English being suspicious of each other and fearing highway robbers everywhere, the insight into the accepted excess drinking by some gentlemen, and of course the treatment of the French poor by the Aristocracy.

Then a re-read of David Copperfield. This re-read was at first hard to get going (the first few chapters), then it was again a book hard to put down. Even knowing the plot I found myself reading to get to favorite remembered passages.

Then "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" by Douglas Adams. A favorite romp through the impossible (the part that Sherlock Holmes was too quickly to eliminate).

Current Read: "A War Like No Other" by Victor David Hanson, a review of the Peloponnesian war between the Spartans and the Athenians.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Prize - Obama

I have for some time felt the Nobel Prize has degraded to a bunch of pot smoking idiots handing out tin medals to people for little more reason than that they "like" them.

The Nobel committee has now completely made their prize meaningless. I personally will consider it so. If a person would walk up to me and say "I won the Nobel Prize.", my answer will now be ". . . So what."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ooooohhhhhh ,. . . brain. . . hurt . . .

Reading this article was difficult. Enough so that it made my brain hurt at times (no pain, no gain?).


In practical terms this meant that any increase in businessmen's pessimism about the future must be offset by increased government spending to compensate for an increased propensity to hoard. Keynes was quite aware of a possible conflict between the two roles of government. Increased government spending, he warned Roosevelt, might depress private investment by an equal amount even in conditions of high unemployment if businessmen were worried by the objects of the expenditure or the methods by which it was financed, in short, he recognized the possibility that government policy may in itself be the cause of the pessimism for which government spending then had to compensate.

. . .

Labor was involuntarily unemployed only when it wished to work for a reduced real wage but was unable to do so, because it could not reduce its real wage by accepting a lower money wage; any reduction in the money wage causing the general price level to fall leaving real wages unchanged.

Although the article is from 1981 (or earlier?), it made me think of all the things our government is currently trying to do.

What I got out of reading and thinking is; "that our government can't spend us out of the current situation and that its best action may be to simply STOP trying". I think that "STOP trying" is what a great majority of the Tea Party movement is all about. We would rather go through a period of suffering than lose our country altogether through bankruptcy, or transformation to socialism/communism.

The part about being unable to work for a reduced wage was a real mind twister for me (in my present circumstance). What the mental struggle is, is that a good deal of economics involves circular catch-22 relationships and reasoning.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Right Wing Extremist

Went to a political rally today.

Held in Salem on the steps of the state capitol. Put on by a group of organizations. I didn't bring a camera or take notes so I can't accurately list their names. One was a 9/12 organization (a Glenn Beck movement), another was, another was Capital City Republican Women (?). Each had a spokesman to give a speech. Kevin Mannix spoke also, as well as Matt Wingard (Oregon State Rep, Wilsonville).

My best guess at crowd size would be around 1500. There were several rallies today including one at Vancouver for the Portland/Vancouver area. At one point I walked around looking for media. I saw a couple of photographers with professional looking cameras, but saw no recognizable news crews.

Looked around, listened, clapped, shouted, . . . bought a hat.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Doom and Futility

I think it might just be from the fact that nutcase liberal democrats control:
The Presidency,
The House,
The Senate,
The Governorship,
The State House,
The State Senate,
The County Board of Commissioners,
The City Board of Commissioners,
The Mayor-ship . . .

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Monseigneur

I've been reading "A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens. When I came to chapter VII "Monseigneur in Town" where he describes the great French lord and his court and courtiers, I kept having images of Obama and our current federal government popping into my head. Don't know why . . .

In the chapter Dickens makes many points about the ruling class, but the one that I came away remembering was their disconnect with reality. The ruling class may always live in a different reality from the common citizens, but what gets me is how many liberal voters, sitting around Starbucks drinking frappy-lattes and discussing the woes of Africa, have followed them into their unreality.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A little more Dirk

I was watching an old 'Dr. Who' show from Netflix and noticed it was written by Douglas Adams. I went to Wiki to see what else he may have written besides HH-Guide and the two Dirk Gently novels. He had written a number of radio and TV comedy episodes and a couple of Dr. Who stories. These included some Monty Python skits. He also wrote some non-fiction about saving animals.

The Salmon of Doubt was published posthumously. It is a collection of bits and pieces of stuff with the largest part being an unfinished Dirk Gently novel called The Salmon of Doubt. The title is a reversal of the Irish mythical story of The Salmon of Knowledge. A lot of Adams' comedy revolved around God and religion. He enjoyed the topic because he himself was a devout atheist.

I put in on hold at the library.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Last Nickel

If the depression/recession and my unemployment last much longer I may get down to my last nickel. When I do this will be it.

I've been cleaning my office for something to do the past several weeks. I came across this in a box of old office junk today. I've no idea where I picked this up.

The Indian portrait is a composite of three chieftains; Iron Tail (Sioux), Two Moons (Cheyenne), and Big Tree (Kiowa). It's speculated the Bison is possibly "Black Diamond" from the Central Park Zoo.

A Recession is when your friend is unemployed, a Depression is when you're unemployed, Excessive government entitlement programs are when your boozing redneck neighbor is on unemployment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Giving up on Herman

How to describe the original unabridged version of Moby Dick by Herman Melville? . . . "a tedious slog of lengthy, sometimes unrelated, prose". Charles Dickens could nearly fill a page with a single sentence, making you re-read the beginning and end of it to remember what he's trying to say, but somehow if you got the rhythm going just right it could be a delight. Herman on the other hand wanders off through the cobwebs of his mind filling entire chapters with vaguely related descriptions of concepts, ideas, deep meanings and trivia. The saving grace of the novel is that the chapters are short, but after spending 5 weeks of bedtime reading slogging through 237 pages of the eight hundred and some total . . . I give up. Besides, I have the Gregory Peck version on DVD.

p.s. I took Herman back to the library and traded him for Dickens, "A tale of two cities".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

getting old . . .

You know you're getting old . . . when your Barber trims your eyebrows without even asking you whether you'd care to have that done.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kitchen Flooring Installed

My MIL (Mother in law) gave us a belated anniversary gift of four hundred dollars of gift cards to Lowes building supply store. For those who don't know Lowes it's a Home Depot competitor. The kitchen remodel has floors, counter-tops, and trim left to do. My first thought was the gift cards don't cover either flooring or counter-tops as originally planned. But after some thought I came to the conclusion this is a good amount to do a "temporary" completion. So here's the first step completed.

This is the least expensive flooring solution there is. It is 12"x12" peel and stick vinyl tile. The black marble runs $0.88 apiece and the beige stone is $0.78 . The whole project totaled about $125.

With our white appliances, brushed nickel switch-plates / cabinet pulls, and the somewhat retro-50's green wall color, the old fashioned checker board pattern goes quite well. I think it's much better than trying to do a solid pattern of 12" squares. The checker board gives an antique or period feel which goes with an old house's 1929 architecture.

( Cat not included in estimated price. )

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Abbie Normal

Saw a news headline that read "Michael Jackson to be buried without his brain".

My thought was . . . "Oh, I think he lost that a long time ago."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

bored . . .

Can't quite say why this is cracking me up so much, but I find it incredibly funny. Maybe it's my thorough experience with boredom.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Modern Library Globe

I recently installed Google Earth (free version). It's the same satellite photos as you can see in Google Maps but presented in an extraordinary way. It's quite mesmerizing and addictive at first. I found that hours had passed without hardly noticing.

For the most part I've used it to revisit places I've been before. Vacations in Mexico or my Air Force tour of duty on the island of Mallorca. But I've also looked at sites of curiosity, such as the Pyramids, Rock of Gibralter, North Korea, the Matterhorn and others.

Google Earth has several fascinating features. The first is "Terrain" where it takes the two dimensional satellite photos and squish them down over elevation data giving a fair image of 3 dimensional mountains and landscape. The second is "point of view". The viewer's point of view can be turned to any horizontal degree of the compass, any vertical angle, and from any elevation. Combining this with Terrain yields some wonderful images. The other feature is taking this point of view and slowly moving it providing an impression of flying. This gives an increase to the presentation of 3 dimensional space. In fact the program incorporates a "Flight Simulator" where you alter the point of view through the controls of an airplane.

Another feature similar to Google Map is the incorporation of map markers linking you to other internet data. The best I think are the links to photos posted by ordinary people of the sites your looking at. Did you forget to capture a picture of the hotel while on vacation? No problem . . . "fly" there in Google Earth and "borrow" a photo some other vacationer snapped.

Some curiosities found by G-Earth;
  • There's a golf course right next to the Pyramids of Giza.
  • The classic cliff view of the Rock of Gibraltar is not the end of the peninsula that the ships sail past (also the Gibraltar airport is in a most fascinating location).
  • One thing that will hit you when looking at the capital of North Korea is the nearly complete lack of cars on the roads.

Pyramid Golf Course.

The Port of Soller, Island of Mallorca, Spain.

The Matterhorn.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obama's Cairo Speech

Yes, I actually read the entire transcript. For the most part it could be summed up by a short audio clip of Cum-By-Yah, but I found it interesting to go through it trying to cut the rhetoric and find out just what actions he actually intends to do. It's still pretty long. I was forced to leave in some parts to explain what his intended actions refer to. I could make lots of comments on what I think of each part, but that would be my own rhetoric.

Breakdown of Obama's Cairo Speech transcript.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world;.

violent extremism

We will relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security.

it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries.

we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses

hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced.

we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August.

we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012.

We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy.

I have prohibited the use of torture by the United States

I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed

situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states

I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires.

The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace,

rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.

any nation - including Iran - should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


my commitment, to governments that reflect the will of the people.

the ability to speak your mind ...
a say in how you are governed...
rule of law ...
the equal administration of justice...
government that is transparent ...
(government that) doesn't steal from the people...
freedom to live as you choose.
(these are) human rights...
we will support them everywhere.

we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments - provided they govern with respect for all their people.

religious freedom.

I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

women's rights.

the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls,

to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing

economic development and opportunity.

education and innovation ...
I am emphasizing such investments within my country.

And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education,
we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships,

we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America;

invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world;

create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development,
we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries.

I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology,
we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs.

We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia,

appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops.

I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio.

we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

... the world we seek - a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are respected.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009




Its cold outside,
There's no kind of atmosphere,
I'm all alone,
More or less.
Let me fly,
Far away from here,
Fun, fun, fun,
In the sun, sun, sun.

I want to lie,
Shipwrecked and comotoase,
Drinking fresh,
Mango juice,
Goldfish shoals,
Nibbling at my toes,
Fun, fun, fun,
In the sun, sun, sun,
Fun, fun, fun,
In the sun, sun, sun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Revised History

This may be a lengthy intro, but I thought I'd mention where this came from. Last year my MIL (mother-in-law) upgraded her computer and the old one ended up in my basement. A couple of weeks ago I started to go through it to see what was wrong with it. So far there's nothing wrong with it and it's actually faster than our computers. Fast enough that it can do a reasonable job of video streaming from Netflix. I've set it up in the tv room and have been watching various shows. A $29 Ebay video card with s-video out allows a decent display on our tv.

One of the videos available on Netflix streaming is the first season of the Original Star Trek.

It's not mentioned in the description, but you learn from viewer comments that these have been "Digitally Remastered". But there's more . . . they've not only sharpened the images but the exterior special effects scenes of the ship and planets and so on have been replaced with new computer generated images. Not just an enhancement of the original image but completely new images. The above image is the shuttle Galileo jettisoning fuel in the episode "Galileo Seven". The original footage didn't look anything like that.

I know Hollywood has a history of remakes, but this isn't a remake it's an alteration of the original. Like colorization of a black and white movie. It's a falsification. A down-right lie. It's like someone deciding to repaint the smile on the Mona Lisa because they thought she'd look better with a more sexy smile with lip gloss included. To paint a new Mona Lisa is one thing, to alter the original is horrendous.

Star Trek was a show before it's time. This is most vividly pointed out in its cheesy, low budget special effects (and Uhura's skirt). How can future generations fully appreciate what Star Trek was if they're not actually watching it.

Here's the twist . . . I like the new special effects. The clear shots of the ships and the more realistic space and planets are far more three dimensional and realistic. But I'm keeping clearly in mind that I'm not watching the original. If others are made fully aware of it and have the chance to see the actual original as well I guess I won't slap the producers up-side the head quite so hard (though I'll still slap them).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

37 years of progress

The Fed's are going to push for an increase in fuel economy from American auto manufacturers. They're pushing for 42 mpg from cars and 35 mpg from truck/car combined average. I've seen lots of commercials since last summer's $4/gallon gas, many touting their marvelous 33 or 34 mpg innovations. I always find myself shaking my head in disbelief at their pitiful advance in technology.

My 1972 Datsun got 35 mpg! 1972, that's 37 years ago. It had the simplest carburetor made, had push-rod valves, and not one single computer chip anywhere!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hair Pins

When I mentioned the hair-pin corners in the Seat-850 post I wasn't exaggerating. Here's a satellite photo of one section of that very road. This was the main road from the local town of Soller to the city of Palma on the spanish island of Mallorca. There's now a 1.87 mile long tunnel through the mountain range.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Years ago when I was in the Air Force I was stationed in Spain for a time. Long enough that we tested for and received Spanish driver's licenses. After a few weeks on station I bought a used car from an older gentleman for a few hundred dollars. I wasn't much into photography back then so I ended up coming back to the States without thinking to document all my time there in photos.

Here is the closest match I've come up with from the internet. It's a 1968 Fiat 850. Mine was a 'Seat 850'. (I've forgotten what year it was.) Seat is Spanish made Fiat. It was a rear engine, rear wheel drive, with a four cylinder 850cc engine. My motorcycle was bigger than that.

The trick was to get the speed up and then do everything to keep the momentum going, including doing tire-squealing slides around the hair-pin corners on the way to the city. Between the local little town and the city on the other side of the island was a road which crossed over the mountain range. There were 28 hair-pin switchbacks going up one side and 30 going down the other. What a blast! I miss that little car.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Got that Froody Feeling?

If you're feeling in a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy mood, and you type the word "Froody" into Firefox, it tags it as a misspelled word.

Firefox's listed suggestions for correction are:
  • Broody
  • Fronde
  • Frothy
  • Frowzy
  • Frosty

I love feeling Froody, but most time I'm just Frowzy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

An Excuse to Drink.

Portland Oregon is a big celebrator of "Cinco de Mayo". I think most people have no idea what it's all about. I also think that it's a holiday promoted mostly by businesses that profit by it. I've actually been in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) during that time of year. Pretty much nothing happened.

From Wikipedia:
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "Fifth of May") is a regional holiday in Mexico, primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla, with some limited recognition in other parts of Mexico.

The holiday commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.

The Battle was significant for at least two reasons. First, while outnumbered almost two-to-one, the Mexicans defeated a much better-equipped French army that had known no defeat for almost 50 years. Second, this battle was important because it would be "the last time that an army from another continent invaded the Americas." While significant, however, Cinco de Mayo is not an obligatory federal holiday in Mexico.

While Cinco de Mayo has limited or no significance nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. However, a common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day. Mexico's Independence Day is actually September 16, which is the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why we don't pay for CABLE

This is the list of channels we receive with our antenna on the roof and the $20 digital converter box. We actually receive about 10 more but they're the shopping, religious, and spanish channels.

---- Station / Network ----
#1 2.1
#22.2THIS (KATU movie channel)
#36.1KOIN - CBS
#48.1KGW - NBC
#58.2KGW - Weather Channel
#610.1KOPB - PBS (primary, Hi-Def)
#710.2KOPB - PBS (secondary, non hi-def)
#810.3KOPB - PBS (OPB - Plus, creative chnl)
#912.1KPTV - Fox
#1022.1ION (ION hi-def)
#1122.3ION (ION Life )
#1232.1KRCW - CW (was W.B.)
#1349.1KPDX - MyTV

Thursday, April 16, 2009

James Bond - 007

Thought we'd rent a few Bond movies from NetFlix . . . in order . . . all of them.

#11962Dr. NoSean Connery
#21963From Russia With LoveSean Connery
#31964GoldfingerSean Connery
#41965ThunderballSean Connery
#51967You Only Live TwiceSean Connery
#61969On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceGeorge Lazenby
#71971Diamonds Are ForeverSean Connery
#81973Live And Let DieRoger Moore
#91974The Man With The Golden GunRoger Moore
#101977The Spy Who Loved MeRoger Moore
#111979MoonrakerRoger Moore
#121981For Your Eyes OnlyRoger Moore
#131983OctopussyRoger Moore
#141983Never Say Never AgainSean Connery
#151985A View To A KillRoger Moore
#161987The Living DaylightsTimothy Dalton
#171989License to KillTimothy Dalton
#181995GoldenEyePierce Brosnan
#191997Tomorrow Never DiesPierce Brosnan
#201999The World Is Not EnoughPierce Brosnan
#212002Die Another DayPierce Brosnan
#222006Casino RoyaleDaniel Craig
#232008Quantum of SolaceDaniel Craig

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rare stranger makes appearance

Squirrel Stew

Oh, . . . I know he's been here I can smell his little footy-prints.

Man, . . . I bet he'd taste deeee-liciousssss if I could only get my paws on that there rascally varmit!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Coal Lining.

They say every cloud has a silver lining. They also say when it rains, it pours. Yesterday I received the coal black lining of a pouring rain cloud. With the economy tanked, hi-tech in hiatus, unemployed and looking downhill, what happens to me . . . my car breaks down and I'm forced to have it towed home.

It's sat a lot during the last couple of months and yesterday I drove it for the first time in a week and a half. It started and ran just fine, but after shopping it refused to start. After putzing with it for 10 minutes or so it finally started. Then it died at the stop light on the way out of the shopping center and refused to start at all. The battery is fairly new and I was able to crank it all I wanted, but no go.

I have roadside coverage on my auto insurance so hopefully the tow will not cost me anything.

It did a similar thing a few years back and was just plug wires, so I went out and spent $50 on new spark plugs and a new set of wires. It started fine, but after completely warming it up, I came back an hour later and it wouldn't start. This morning it starts fine but after reaching full temperature (about 15 minutes) it just croaked.

The problem with modern cars is all the electronics. You can't look at electronics and see whether it's bad or not. An old car you can look at the plugs, the points, the rotor and cap and just see whether they're good or bad. You could troubleshoot with simple tools. A voltmeter, a timing strobe, a feeler gauge, a screwdriver. You can't look at a computer chip and figure out whether it gone bad. And forget tools, it now takes a diagnostic system.

Well I surmised it had to be going faulty when it got hot. A solder joint, an electrical connection, a computer chip, a circuit board trace. I poked around. The main control module was nice and cool. At least on the outside. Then I located the "ignition control module". It sits under the three spark plug coils and triggers their primaries to operate the spark. It's a module about 3 by 8 inches and a 1/2 inch thick. It sits on a solid mounting block attached to the engine block and has the coils bolted on top of it. A situation where it can certainly get hot. I took it out, looked it over, re-seated the connector and the car started.

5 minutes later it croaks. I rushed around with a rag soaked in cold water and cooled the unit off as fast as I could take it apart. Then back together. It started on the second try, then croaked not long afterward. Called the parts stores and did some internet searches. Dealership: $375, Internet $105 plus shipping, CarQuest $160 and sitting on the shelf.

Well that seems to have done it. I'm going to continue to test it today and tomorrow before actually driving it anywhere. I regret the $50 on plugs and wires but it was probably time for them anyway.

In all the snooping around I also found a vacuum hose with a hole. Replaced a short piece of hose and the "check engine" light has now finally gone off. It's been on nearly a year for one reason or another. When I DEQ'd it, the light was on due to a connector having come off a sensor, but it came on again shortly after that.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blogger's Block Breaking

Haven't blogged in a long time. Nothing seems all that exciting lately.

Politics; Obama and the Dem's. It makes me want to laugh, but unfortunately these are serious things these imbeciles are playing at. Geithner's new trillion dollar plan to buy up toxic assets. Wait a minute. . . isn't that what they said they were going to do when they sold us on the first trillion dollar plan 6 months ago? The feigned outrage at bonuses that they wrote specific protections for into the bill at the beginning. The constitutionally illegal dog and pony show bill to get the bonus money back. The fact that people are worried about the bonuses ( 1/10th of 1 percent) and not all that concerned about the other 99.9%. The admin's pleading with foreign governments to assist with the stimulus. Why should they when were doing it for them. A good part of that 99.9% (of american taxpayer money) went to overseas companies.

Career; Been doing just enough job hunting to satisfy the unemployment people. Enjoying receiving unemployment for the first time in my life. Giving myself time to recover from the surgery and to do house projects. Had one company call me in for an interview. They found me on, I hadn't applied to them. It was more than I felt qualified for so I didn't interview very positively and of course haven't heard from them again. I suppose if I had been beaming with confidence and B.S.'d them that I could do it, I might have had a chance, but the thought of being let go later and not qualifying for unemployment kept me from taking the risk.

Projects; The kitchen is at a stand-still at the moment. I want to do a temporary countertop of some sort, something for a year or two until debts are paid and savings are recovered, but haven't settled on just how much effort or money should go into a temporary item. I think I'll just put down the 1/2 inch plywood that will go under the solid-surface countertop, but paint it up nicely with a good hard enamel paint. Perhaps do a temporary backsplash with the extra 1/2 inch plywood also. This would be the cheapest alternative (2 sheets of good 1/2 inch plywood) and also not be thrown away when the actual countertop is installed over it in the future.

In the mean time with the weather finally turning warmer I've returned to working on the back porch windows. The second set of three large windows were built last summer but never had the glazing and painting finished. Two of the three are now done and I've ripped out the old windows and will do the framing today.

Health; I believe the back is getting better. For quite a while not I've had some stiffness and soreness in the shoulders and shoulder blade region. I'm beginning to think it's cause is my ongoing stress and not all that related to the injury or surgery. I had a few beers for my birthday the other day and the next morning woke up without pain or stiffness in my back for the first time in a long time. I've been battleing stress for several years now, but starting new healthy habits and daily routines of healthy activities is not my strong suit.

In other developments, I'm having another bout of Plantar Fasciitis. Too much hiking the neighborhood concrete sidewalks in worn out tennis shoes. Also not enough stretching and too much sitting at office desks. I've been stretching the calf muscles and achilles tendon and also the plantar region and things are getting better again. The actual pain is from damage already done and the only cure for that is to stay off it and let time heal the inflamation. I built a slanted board to stand on and to put under my feet while watching tv. It's pretty good at helping to stretch the calf muscles.

Events; We're hosting Easter this year. I started to get the back yard into shape. Our back lawn has become hilly tufts of grass with deep gully runnels in-between. I've tried re-seeding and filling in-between with mulch but with no luck in the past. Without research I'm just guessing but I think the problem may be insects and grubs, so for the first time I've treated the lawns with an insecticide. I also reseeded and fertilized with a weed and feed. It may not be changed much by Easter, but hopefully it'll fix the gully problem in the long run. It's become bad enough you nearly twist your ankle just walking on it.

Animals; Toby is doing quite well as the only dog. He's really enjoying finally coming into his own, being top dog and being the sole recipient of attention. Pyro the cat is getting more and more senile and crotchety in his old age. He seems to forget where his food bowl is and comes into the house yowling as if saying "where is everyone?". Being woken up in the middle of the night by a senile cat. . . the pleasures of pet ownership.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh yeah . . . drapes

Two years after I finished the living room renovation we finally got around to sewing and installing the living room drapes. We had all the other shades and sheers installed, but the final red swag drapes on the picture window have been procrastinated for the longest time. The side panels were easy enough, just pressing in a few folds and stapling to the wooden rod. The three swags took a long time to figure out how to fold and drape to get a proper swaggish look. It's all just nailed to the 1-1/2" stained closet rod. Behind the sheers is a pull down grey patterned pleated shade which helps to block the sun in the summer and adds a little insulation effect in the winter.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bridget is Back!

Bridget the Cutting Board is re-installed in the kitchen. On another note, I used "craigslist" for the first time yesterday afternoon to get rid of the old portable dishwasher. Should have asked more . . . it was bought within a couple of hours and they came and got it today.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kitchen is Operational

I haven't posted for a few weeks so below are several posts with plenty of pictures to catch people up on the kitchen remodel.

We've officially moved back into the kitchen. Everything is operational. Microwave, built-in dishwasher, range hood, ice/water in the refrigerator. Flooring is only plywood subfloor, countertops are pre-temporary left over scrap, and the sink is still the old p.o.s.. But we're in! The wife is happy again!

All the cabinets in place

West wall (northwest corner). The arch is the short hallway which opens onto the dining room and the rest of the house and also to the family room. The old cabinet layout had the stove at the end. I wanted countertop space on both sides of the stove even if its only 12 inches. This also gives a cabinet as the view when entering the kitchen, not the side of a stove. The old layout also had no ventilation at all. This hood has two little halogen lights with low and high. It's nice to see things on the stove.
West wall, southwest corner. Yes the corner is a standard lazy susan cabinet, but heh, what else is there really?
South wall main kitchen area. I literally picked up the old sink out of the old cabinet complete with plumbing and disposal attached and set it onto this one. It sits flat and fairly secure just sitting there. We don't have the funds for the solid surface countertops yet, so we're talking about cheap temporary alternatives. But before I've even done the temporary I threw down some old left over pieces of fake tile masonite and presto we've moved into the new kitchen. This would be the "Pre - Temporary" countertops?
South wall, extension area. The baking center cabinet. The base cabinets are an extra One inch taller than standard and the baking center cabinet is two inches taller. This cabinet is the one which will receive the maple cutting board top that has been in Beth's family for years.
North wall of the extension area. The refrigerator is once again hooked up to water for in the door water and ice. The microwave has a dedicated circuit for its plug. I was worried the "wall oven" door would all but hit the floor, but it turns out not to be bad at all. You do bend over more than a regular stove so you have to be careful about the heat hitting you in the face when you open it. The oven is inside a tin shield which has a fan which kicks on anytime it gets hot. This is how it can be placed into a wood cabinet and not burn it (always wondered myself).
Northeast corner. Here's the back stairs leading to the back porch and driveway, and to the basement. The peninsula makes a great "drop your purse" area as you walk in.
North wall. This is the Pantry Hutch. The idea was to resemble a free standing hutch piece of furniture. It has a built out base and crown moulding top. The upper doors also have removeable panels and will receive glass at some point in the future. The bottom cabinet may also receive solid surface countertop along with the rest of the kitchen. It was built by the cabinet makers with a wood stained top.

This cabinet had to be very shallow. The bottom cabinet is 8" deep and the top is 7". The countertop of the bottom is 9-1/4" deep. The reason for this is it stands right in the pathway between the back door and the entry to the rest of the house. The backdoor is also the entrance to the full basement which gets considerable use. The previouse owners of the house actually had their refrigerator standing here. You had to do zigzag dance every time you walked between the two doors.
And back around to the northwest corner again. One thing to note here is that the refrigerator (with doors off) should be able to navigate through this door (it came in that way some months back). It should be able to get past the upper cabinets. However the base cabinet is a problem. My solution is to insure that the small base cabinet to the right of the stove remains removeable. The flooring will be installed under it and just a few screws and it can be moved out of the way along with the stove.