Sunday, November 25, 2007
On Friday Matt helped me split and stack firewood which made me even more thankful. It was a no-brainer to avoid the "Black Friday" madness.
This is great AMERICAN holiday and I'd like to hear what your family did.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
It's amazing how many times I've spent stuck in a narrow stairwell trying to help negotiate a queen size box spring around a tight corner. In the past we have moved an old player piano (with a cast iron sounding board) which was so heavy that it had it's own gravitational field. I helped once on the moving party of a divorcing couple who fought over the ownership of the furniture. We've have rented trucks of all sizes. One truck contained empty boxes that were marked for biohazards. I have seen the folly of loading a large box with books or records. One time we had to take some time to look for a missing loaded revolver. On the same move we had to disassemble a model railroad table that got stuck while we attempted to move it from an attic. We have lugged couches and chairs over icy and snowy walks. One time we helped move a co-worker out of an apartment on our lunch break. Her lawyer advised her to get out quickly because her roomate was selling drugs. Naturally the roomate arrived during the move. She had an interesting expression on her face as I remember. I have inflicted my own moving pain on friends and family by moving all my cellar junk from the old house to the new house. I also lugged gallons of fuel oil from the old house before we demolished it.
Saturday we had a new adventure when we attempted to bring a loveseat up a narrow staircase in Boston. What I have learned from moving friends and family is that if it is a dorm or apartment, it will always be located on the third floor. There will always be corner and a banister or some other obstacle. After the couch refused to go any further we retreated to the backyard and with the help of ropes, a come along and muscle power the couch was lifted up vertically alongside a very rickety fire escape. The neighboring building was quite close and we successfully avoided destroying an air conditioner which protruded in the couch's flight path. An elderly woman offered the helpful advice that we were "going to die". Thankfully we did not die, the couch suffered a small wound and it looks wonderful in the apartment's living room. When it comes time to move the couch again, I will be using a sawzall with a set of demolition blades. It will leave in pieces.... it won't be pretty
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
My sister is always full of suprises. The latest is driving a "moving billboard" demonstrating the enormous amount that is spent on defense spending. This billboard is the "topsy-turvy" bus which consists of two actual school buses joined together. The bad news is that it is top heavy, the worse news is the obscene amount spent on defense, the good news is that it runs on bio-diesel. She parked this in front of the Wilton Theatre for the premiere showing of the documentary "Sicko".
So my question is " are we citizens with the right to health care for all OR are we consumers to buy insurance with the "middle man" taking profits and making the decisions to approve or deny care?
Long ago fire protection was paid for privately and those who paid had a medal medallion afixed to their house.. if the firemen came and did not see a medallion, your house burned down.. We are happy that system is gone and service is provided equally for all, like police service and the postal service and the community library. They are not totally flawless, but they function pretty well most of the time!
Are we citizens or consumers?"
Later we headed out to Peterborough to pass the bus to the next driver. This was the evening of the release of the final book of Harry Potter, so the bus had plenty of visitors including the local police. I wasn't concerned about getting my copy because I knew that the Amazon Owl would deliver it on Saturday afternoon ...
We were having a yard sale and why rummaging through the attic I discovered some paintings that I must have bought at an auction or yard sale. The canvases were facing each other so I was unaware that they had paintings on them. In my fantasy these will appear on "Antique Road Show" and be worth a fortune. Google is no help so I need to turn to the readers of this blog. These poor folks are either making candy or nylon. I can't tell.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
It's no secret that the 2008 presidential race is fully up to speed in New Hampshire, so I was pleased to see that Governor Bill Richardson made an appearance (in a Red Sox jacket). Next year I'll be looking for a larger gong and ear protection.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
What was I thinking? When I planned a foundation planting 15 years ago I made the mistake of choosing a Burning Bush for it's fall color and interesting bark. For several years I removed what I perceived were seedlings under the the bush. Actually these seedlings are appearing from an enormous fibrous root mass. I chose this plant for it's fall color and it's reputation for bug resistance. Last summer some hideous caterpillar type creatures were taking up residence. Unfortunately they were unable (or unwilling) to kill this plant. I have learned that this "landscape" plant is listed as an invasive in New Hampshire, although I see it still stocked at a local nursery. Why invasive? After ripping it out with a pickup truck and chain, I've been trying to remove any remnants of DNA in it's massive root structure. It has pushed it's roots into my lavender and my PJM. How rude. I decided that the karmically responsible solution was tossing the roots on top of an overgrown rosa floribunda (another invasive) or feeding it to the European bittersweet (Yet another invasive). We think we are so clever bringing new plants and insects into our environment We are fools. Spring is here, you will be visiting your local garden shop. If you see Euonymus, I would suggest a dose of "Round Up"
Monday, April 23, 2007
Stay tuned to see what happens next weekend when the Sox visit the Evil Empire. Meanwhile this is one Sox fan who will be sleeping well this week. :)
|Stephanie & Gary|
After an entire week of flooded and washed out roads, the weather turned warm and sunny just in time for a party in honor of the upcoming marriage of my niece Stephanie B. and her fiancee Gary T. Because the wedding will be held in Colorado the party offered an opportunity for the East coast relatives to meet Gary and his parents. My sister had planned a Polish celebration complete with traditional food and customs. Music was provided by accordionist and Polka Party host Gary Sredzienski.
Friends and family helped with decorations, food and entertainment. It was a pleasant way to spend a bug-free spring evening in New Hampshire.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
|April Flooding 2007|
We are having a pre-wedding party this saturday in New Boston. In addition to planning a menu and decorations, we now need to think about washed out roads and bridges. The Piscataqua river has overflowed it's banks into town, flooding businesses and destroying some of the roads. When my mother settled into town she was considering one of the homes located along this river but wisely chose a location on higher ground. Thankfully the predictions for the weekend are for warm sunny weather.
We have the advantage of living upstream. The head waters of the Souhegan river originate in New Ipswich. There are several flood control dams that slow the flow into the towns located downstream. We take a morning walk along a trail that circles the dam. The entire trail and part of the overflow area is now underwater.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I did read that the Yankees are not offering to extend A-Rod's contract. Although I can't verify this I heard a rumor that as part of the extension he was demanding a laced handbag (sorry ManPurse) outlined in pearls as part of the deal. Apparently the old manpurse is not in fashion any more. :)
Oh well, I am anxious to hear everyones thoughts on the Yankees and Redsox and how they will both do this year. Meanwhile the unbelievable thing is that if you go up to a Blue Jays game in Toronto, you can park for less than $5 and buy a ticket for as low as $8. Of course you have to get there and gas is so darn expensive, but that' a whole other topic.
Friday, April 06, 2007
|Something is living on the film emulsion, Yikes!|
There is a lot than can go wrong in the trail from raw film to a developed
transparency. I have been scanning groups of family slides that span a period of over 4 decades. Some of the early Kodachrome slides from the late 1940's have kept their deep colors and the color rendition is very good. But in some of the later slides I started to notice a strange greenish spider type growth embedded in the emulsion. The green globs can be easily erased with photo-editing when they appear on a wall or the sky, but these globs seem to prefer to grow on people's faces and bodies. I was fairly consistent with my choice of films, Kodachrome, Ektachrome and Fujichrome. During my Navy Service I preferred to use a fine grained Kodachrome with a very slow speed of ASA 25. The resultant transparencies from this film have wonderful deep colors and have held up well over the years (see below).
|Spices and Grains in Singapore|
So what went wrong with some of the transparencies? I'm guessing bad dyes, stale film, stale developing chemicals, storage that was too hot, too wet, too dirty....probably all of that. Some of the results of the "Seattle Filmworks" brand film that I tried were dreadful, over the years they developed a garish greenish tinge. Some of the transparencies that my sister gave me to scan suffered some unimaginable trial of a badly designed slide projector (not the preferred Kodak Carousel), water damage and perhaps rodent abuse.
|Water is no friend to slides|
Thankfully we have entered the era of digital photography. Images are kept as 1's and 0's written in a proprietory format on a thin spinning disc of oxide coated aluminum being read by a magnetic coil flying over them at 7200 rpm or faster. What possibly could go wrong? Computers running realiable software maintain the whole system, it is completely foolproof.
Monday, April 02, 2007
2008 is just around the corner. Here come the candidates! I received an email this morning that presidential candidate Barack Obama was going to make an unofficial stop in nearby Peterborough. He was going to get something to eat at the Peterborough diner and visit the bookstore before heading off to a town meeting in Keene, NH. The Peterborough Diner has served as a backdrop to many a candidate. It is a classic diner with ornate gold lettering on a green background. The typical scenario involves the candidate stopping in a diner (usually during the breakfast hour) and chatting with the locals about weighty issues. Out of camera range there are the media consultants, the satellite trucks and the entourage of interns handing out buttons and stickers. Thankfully none of that was evident on this visit.
My impression is that the guy does have great people skills. He did a good job with the crowds (poor John Kerry lacked that). I'm a sucker for political celebrities, so I put down my $25 (no sales tax in NH) to buy his book and got him to sign it. This isn't just a ploy to immediately resell it on eBay, I think the guy has an interesting personal history and I intend to read the book before I resell it on eBay.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Recently, I sent out some photos of my grandfather to commemorate his birthday. While I was collecting the photos I came across the biographical notes that my cousin Cynthia had made about our Grandfather. She remembers the hotel (even had some dreams of time spent there) but I was too young. Here are her notes:
"Anthony was smuggled across border to get out of Poland in 1901. Came to
U.S. Worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania as a child (no child labor
laws). As a adult, he worked at Yale and Town. His sister Mary worked
there as a timekeeper and helped get him a job. Anthony got to be a
foreman (would be an engineer in modern times). He was very concerned
about the worker's finger tips that were always being cut. He invented a
shield or safety catch for Yale and Town lock company to prevent loss of
fingers of assembly line workers. Still in use. He got $500 for it
which is much too high for those days as one could buy a house to live in
during those days for that money. He spoke fluent English and knew how
to handle the foreigners. He had a wonderful sense of humor and charm.
Many evenings he would have a class for those who wanted to be citizens.
Naturalized at least 50 citizens through interpretation/translation
assistance. He sponsored such a large number that the governor gave him a
citation. He was a good citizen. Every evening he would walk to the
Advocate (newspaper) office. There was a big bulletin in the window with
daily news which he would read and come home and tell his family what was
going on. As Lillian said, "I think our interest in politics comes from
With the $500, he bought a mansion that had to be razed. Took all the
lumber and built two apartments over their bungelow. Kowaleski's lived
in one. All the bathroom fixtures were transferred. Lamps and other
things were installed after being taken apart. Lillian remembers various
neighbors coming in to admire and pull the chain to flush the toilet.
"Goodbye outhouse. Boy, did we feel rich".
Anthony sold insurance at night after work. Whenever he made a sale he
would wake children up with ice cream or a chocolate bar.
Loved animals...dogs always followed him home and in his last years,
worked at a veterinarian hospital to be near them.
Helped build the Holy Name Church in Stamford, CT (stone by stone). Owned
and operated a hotel in Stamford -(Rockwell ??) and made quite a nice
living in real estate until the stock market crash in the 20's."
Sunday, March 25, 2007
I decided on a different approach using hanging metal mesh baskets with a clever name of "No-No" or something. The squirrels like to hang on these, sucking the seed through the mesh I assume. Originally I had them on a metal pole, which was bent to the ground by more marauding bears. The mesh held up pretty well to the bear attack, just a few teeth marks in the metal rain guard. I also discovered that roman candles will deter bears from feeding.
I tried suspending the feeders between 2 trees at a height that hopefully out of the reach of all but the tallest bears. Everything was fine for a couple of months, but finally an especially acrobatic squirrel appeared and managed to walk along the 10 feet rope. It was awesome to watch, he (or she) would take careful steps using his (or her) tail for fine balance correction. Even more distressing was that this squirrel gave lessons to the other squirrels and soon it was a regular high wire act.
The picture that I have posted shows my latest (and greatest) attempt yet. I have a series of washers, computer CD's, and light weight aluminum tubing covering the rope. I'm not positive it will stop the raids, but it will be fun to watch their attempts.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
UPDATE (June 21, 2016) - I found the words!
|Page 104 - Treasured Polish Songs|
Monday, March 12, 2007
In the middle of the night we were awakened by a strange animal sound. All sounds are magnified and more frightening around 3 am. After we turned on the exterior lights we could see a creature running through the yard. Apparently we had a visit from a coyote and thankfully all the cats were safely inside. Coyotes breed in January- March and are quite vocal during that time.
Coyotes are not the only excitement in our town. March is Town Election time and we have the "Sign". The "Sign" has dominated our newspaper letters and town politics for some time. Sometime in the past an illuminated LED sign was installed by the 1808 corporation. After the neighbors picketed, petitions offered, cease and desist orders, letters sent to the papers... there will be 3 warrant articles on Tuesday's ballot related to the "Sign". Ironically the "Sign" is now being used to defend it's right to exist (it has a rudimentary computer brain). There is a lot of money at stake in this issue, a daily fine is being enforced for violation of the cease and desist order. Passions are running high... http://www.1808corp.com
Voting is tomorrow, so I'll post the outcome as a comment.
I mentioned "Bears" in title... They are another creature that we see more now than when we moved here 30 years ago. After they destroyed my birdfeeders they haven't been back. I did see a few hanging around the "Sign"
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
After ordering a pound of worms from Plains Georgia, I received a package label "live worms". Preparation was simple, I prepared a bedding of shredded newspaper, some soil, coffee grounds and some crushed eggshells, and dumped in the box of worms. The worms have been thriving every since. The are easily the most trouble free creatures I have encountered, they are much less problematic than the cats (who produce unusable compost). All they need is an occasional melon rind or some corn cobs and they happily munch away. You can actually hear them eat!
The only issue I face is the separation of the worms from the compost. Placing newer material on one side of the bin is supposed to produce a "worm migration" from the old to the new, but not for these worms (I can only assume that these are sedendary worms that have grown fat and lazy on melon rinds).
I was under the impression that I was being a good steward of the earth by raising these creatures, but today I was made aware of a darker more sinister side of worm-wrangling. Apparently introducing non-native worm species to the environment can be damaging. I can't imagine what damage I'm doing growing high-altitude cactus in the front yard.
"Worms may be responsible for destroying foliage in forests in northern United States and Canada"
Worm Photographs courtesy of Paul Romagna (Feb 19 2007)
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
"One of the things that's probably overstated by the press is how many people are visiting online blogs," Poltrack said in a presentation to TV critics. "I think you all blog each other, but I'm not sure the rest of the world is joining in the process that much."
In a conversation later, Poltrack said he would guess the majority of people who do read blogs are bloggers themselves.
"That does not leave a whole lot of real people who spend their time with blogs," he said.
Hmm, interesting observation Dave. I know a number of "real" people that may not read blogs but use variants of them. There is nothing new and revolutionary about Blogs.... they have a long history. The term "blog" is a shortcut for "web blog". It's such a silly word that produces fun spin-offs like "blogger" and "blog-o-sphere". Ouch!
In the olden days of the 70's when I worked at DEC we used to depend upon notes conferences to do our job. Along with the notes about VAXes and operating systems, there were the personal interest notes conferences like "Archery", "Beer Making" and one of my favorites "UFO's". There was even a conference named "ASKENET" (aka ask the enet), which the user could post a question and presumably someone would know the answer. DEC developers came up with Alta Vista, the first searchable full-text database on the web (think Google precurser).
What does any of the this have to do with those real people who are not reading blogs? They are being replaced by search engines like Google who do read blogs. For example a Google search of poltrack will find about 19,100 hits, many quoting Dave's words, many of these hits are from blogs. I find this interesting and ironical that Google is doing all this reading that real people can't find time for.
I suspect a number of people (maybe exceeding the 8% blog-readers) read customer reviews when they purchase items online. Customer reviews are not technically blogs but they have similar characteristics. A site such as www.Amazon.com has many of these. I always read reviews of products BEFORE I buy them. Most of the reviews are written by real people who are not shy about telling you the truth before you make your purchase.
What I appreciate about the internet is it's egalitarianism. Individual postings and web sites exist with the same public access as corporate giants such as CBS and Texaco. There was no cost involved with creating this blog, the web sites or the picture gallery except the internet access cost. I suspect that in the future corporate interest will push to create a tiered structure which will give faster connectivity to folks who are willing to pay big $$, but currently it is fairly equal so blog away gentle readers, blog away.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Wasn't it warm and cozy during December and January? I was enjoying the fruits of all that global warming. Then Valentine's day reminded us that it is winter. If you watched the news you would think that it was a new ice age. Weatherpeople with yardsticks and videos of jacknifed trucks. If you live in upstate NY then you really have a problem because the cold winds blowing over a thawed great lakes can produce an awesome snowfall. We get a similar effect with a Nor-easter which spirals in ocean moisture. I have the great option of working at home during inclement weather. I can't tell you how great that is. Not only do I work at home, but I have a window facing bird feeders. Samantha (cat formerly known as Paris) finds birds to be quite interesting. Sam is an inside cat, I've had my fill of animal attacks, car accidents and other mishaps.
I've noticed something interesting. Apparently the warm weather has made it easy for some of the birds to hang around. Can anyone explain why I see robins (harbingers of spring) hanging around in 12 degree weather? These are fat little things and they are dining on Holly berries.
I do get the regular winter visitors. Chickadees, Titmouse, and flocks of wild turkeys. I actually ate lunch on the picnic table in December, but alas winter has arrived.
This is the most under-used item in the yard. When the thaw occurs, the clouds of black flies and mosquitoes make outdoor dining impossible
Yup, a robin... no migration for them
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Brrrr! It sure is cold this week. How much impact do we have on global warming? I have no doubt that we are soiling our nests... but could this be a natural warming process? How much do we know of natural cycles in the geological timeframe?