05-12-17 update

What I’m watching
I’ve been watching The Tudors for the second time on NetFlix. One of the things I like about it is that it follows the history reasonably well. They changed a few facts for whatever reason, but they manage to get many of the events of Henry VIII’s reign pretty close, very unlike many other historical drama series I’ve seen.

What I’m reading
I’m still reading The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin when the mood to read strikes me. Several reviews I read on Goodreads complained about his explanations of the meteorological background but I found them interesting and felt that they added to my understanding of the events of that tragic day.

Project I’m working on
I got busy getting the garden ready for planting. I raked out the twigs and weeds which had accumulated over the winter. Then I turned over the soil using a shovel which, for my small garden space, worked fairly well. After that I mixed a few bags of topsoil and manure together, and mixed with the the existing soil. Hopefully, we’ll have a good harvest this year.

Events I attended
On Tuesday we attended Jacob’s last concert with the Wayne Choir. It was quite enjoyable. I especially enjoyed the Choraliers’ rendition of Queen’s Somebody to Love and the full choir’s beautiful treatment of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

On Thursday we watched Abigail perform in her last concert at Weisenborn. She played tympani, cymbals, and snare. She’ll be moving on to the high school band in the fall and attending the marching band camp this summer.

Technology I’m working with
About a month ago I created a little Bash script to copy an image file from a temporary folder to my journal and Dropbox folders on my PC. The script worked well enough but it lacked error checking and robustness. I changed the method used to build the destination directories incorporating the year and month passed in the command line arguments. I added tests to determine the validity of the image file and the existence of the destination folders and call a function to print the command-line syntax in the event any of the tests failed. I also added tests to confirm successful copy and move operations.

Quote I’m contemplating
“When a wise person says education is the key to our future, he or she often means tomorrow’s adults must be educated well enough to advance their interests and the interests of society. When a politician, pundit or preacher says education is the key to our future, they often mean tomorrow’s adults must be dumbed down enough to advance the interests of politicians, pundits, and preachers.” – Paul Sunstone


05-05-17 update

Another week has gone by. I can’t say that I accomplished much, certainly less than I had intended.

What I’m reading
The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin. This book is about the sudden, violent blizzard that swept across the Great Plains on January 12, 1888, claiming 235 lives, most of whom were children on their way home from school. I had ancestors who were living in the Dakotas at that time and I’ve read accounts of the Sweet family who were related to me and were caught in the storm and suffered greatly because of it..

Stuff I’m dealing with
I’m still dealing with the crud I had last week. I think I’m over the worst of it but I’m still given to fits of coughing, particularly at night. Who in their right mind develops and markets with a night-time cold medicine that’s only effective for four hours? A night-time medicine should knock me out for the whole night. This past week I’ve often been waking up between three and five in the morning so I take another 4-hour dose and go back to bed, usually waking up after ten.

Since setting the DVD/Blu-Ray player to a static IP address, I’ve noticed that it has been connecting to the Internet much more quickly. In fact, I don’t even see it going the three stages of acquiring content. I’m wondering if I have other devices on my network that might similarly benefit from a static address.

Events I attended
This week my wife and I attended concerts by the Wayne High School bands – Concert, Jazz, Symphonic Winds, and Wind Ensemble. Our grandson, Ben, plays trombone in the Jazz Band and the Wind Ensemble. They were enjoyable musical evenings.

On Thursday we watched the Charles C. Huber Elementary School talent show. It was quite entertaining. Our grandson Nick sang an acappella number. He’s got a good voice.

Quotes I’m pondering
“This one simple change – seeking and finding peace within – could, were it undertaken by everyone, end all wars, eliminate conflict, prevent injustice, and bring the world to everlasting peace. There is no other formula necessary, or possible. World peace is a personal thing! What is needed is not a change of circumstance, but a change of consciousness.” – Neale Donald Walsch

“In this universe, and this existence, where we live with this duality of whether we exist or not and who are we, the stories we tell ourselves are the stories that define the potentialities of our existence. We are the stories we tell ourselves.” – Shekhar Kapur

Eve of Destruction

“Ah, you may leave here for four days in space,
But when you return it’s the same ol’ place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride an’ disgrace.
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace.
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace.

P.F. Sloan, Eve of Destruction

My friend Steve posted this video on Facebook. It’s the song as originally recorded by Barry McGuire in 1965 but with updated imagery showing that not a whole hell of a lot has changed since then.

It seems appropriate to post this on the eve of the supposed end of the world. Call it whatever you want — The Rapture, Doomsday, the End of Days, Judgment Day, the Apocalypse… Personally, I’m going to call it Saturday. I’m going to do some yoga, mow my lawn, maybe a little landscaping and spend time with my grandchildren.

Harold Camping, the televangelist who’s predicted the end of the world before may be wrong again but even if he’s not, I won’t waste my time worrying about it. I’ll just accept it and move on. And if the world doesn’t end, the time won’t have been wasted and I won’t feel embarrassed.


Song: Eve Of Destruction
Artist: Barry McGuire
Album: Eve Of Destruction
Released: 1965

This song was originally recorded by The Turtles but they didn’t release as a single until 1970 when it reached #100. McGuire’s version hit #1. As 1960s protest songs go, it’s still as relevant now as it was 46 years ago. There is still more than enough injustice, racism, fear, hate, war, suffering, ignorance, and intolerance to go around.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking

Smokin_coverSong: 30 Days in the Hole
Artist: Humble Pie
Album: Smokin’
Year: 1972


Today’s Quote: “Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.” — Mark Twain

Alex, I’ll take rock bands beginning with “M” or something for $500
While listening to the radio on my way to Troy this afternoon, I heard something about Peter Frampton playing in Cincinnati with an orchestra. I was thinking that he never thought he’d be playing with philharmonic orchestras when he was with Steve Marriott in that band that sang 30 Days in the Hole. For the life of me, the name of the band wouldn’t come to me.

For some unknown reason I was thinking it began with “M”. Mott the Hoople? Motley Crue? Manassas? Montrose? The Monkees? About 15 minutes later, “Humble Pie” just suddenly popped into my brain, totally out of the blue. Why was I thinking “M”? It turns out that Frampton had quit the band about a year before the Smokin’ LP was released.

Chinpokomon Revisited
If you recall in the Chinpokomon episode of South Park, the Japanese would distract the American parents and leaders by telling them they had very large penises compared to them. Well, it turns out that, comparatively, the average Japanese penis (13.0 cm) is larger than the average American penis (12.9). (A silly little millimeter longer?). The South Africans and the French are even larger than the Americans at 15.9 cm and 16.0 cm, respectively. (Link to chart) [Edit] We just like to swing our dicks around like they were big.

Things seem larger in the metric system but if you divide by 2.54, you’ll get less impressive inches. No, John Holmes was not average and neither is Ron Jeremy.

Bleak, the future is
Looking into my crystal ball (which is quite hazy), it appears that this will be a week from Hell, more so than most other weeks from Hell. Tentative plans for next week are becoming more tentative with each passing moment. Uncertain, next week is.

Conversation about Nature
God: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature; what in the world is going on down there in the U.S.? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and the stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought, and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees, and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of color by now. All I see are patches of green.
St. Francis: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. They are called The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
God: Grass? But it is so boring, it’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, bees or birds, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want grass growing there?
St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it has grown a little, they cut it….sometimes two times a week.
God: They cut it? Do they bale it like hay?
St. Francis Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
St. Francis: No sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
God: Now let me get this straight…they fertilize it to make it grow and when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
St. Francis: Yes, sir.
God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work
St. Francis: You aren’t going to believe this Lord, but when the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
God: What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep the moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves become compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.
St. Francis: You’d better sit down, Lord. As soon as the leaves fall, the Suburbanites rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
God: No way! What do they do to protect the shrubs and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?
St. Francis: After throwing the leaves away, they go out and buy something called mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the Leaves.
God: And where do they get this mulch?
St. Francis: They cut down the trees and grind them up to make mulch.
God: Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. Saint Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
St. Catherine: “Dumb and Dumber,” Lord. It’s a really stupid movie about….
God: Never mind. I think I just heard the whole story from Saint Francis!

In Memoriam

James Brown – Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag

Today’s Quote: “Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.” — Henry Kissinger
Gerald Ford was one of the ten percent.

James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, died in Atlanta yesterday at the age of 73.

Gerald Rudolph Ford, 38th President, died today at the age of 93. He was the only president who was not elected either President or Vice President, having been appointed Vice President by Richard Nixon after Spiro T. Agnew resigned. He was also the longest living former president, outliving Ronald Reagan by a month.

James_Brown_Papa's_Got_a_Brand_New_BagPapa’s Got A Brand New Bag by James Brown, Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag (1965)
His influence on popular music will not be long forgotten. I’ll always remember his role as Reverend Cleophus James in The Blues Brothers movies.

I wasn’t doing anything this evening anyway

Billy Joel – You May Be Right

Today’s Quote: Nudists have no fashion sense.” — Peter Kunkel

Muddy Waters interview in a van

I found a really cool blog this morning. SqueezeMyLemon is a blog about the Blues with videos and mp3s. Awesome! You can bet I’ll be going through that blog tonight. Is there a way to save YouTube videos on your local drive? Just in case YouTube goes down the tubes?

Once again, it was a busy day with nothing really accomplished. I don’t normally take work home with me. In fact, I take extreme measures to avoid it if at all possible. But when you’ve got a guy out at a customer’s site and a dead computer, you have to consider making an exception. I swapped out the motherboard on the dining room table. It was a lot easier and quicker than I had anticipated. I only lost one screw for the keyboard and I’m sure I have an extra one in my parts stash. What I can’t figure out is how I ended up with an extra tiny screw with screws for the video stuff. It seems to work okay. I’ll update his anti-virus in the morning and get it out to him.

It probably would have taken me twice as long if I’d done it at work due to constant interruptions. People seem to think that if I’m at my desk and up to my armpits in computers, I’m not busy. Of course not. Let me drop everything while I take care of your silly-assed problem. Everyone knows the people in IT don’t have lives or careers, so it’s okay.

Music Tastes Good

Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Today’s Quote: “To sit alone with my conscience will be judgment enough for me.” — Charles William Stubbs

How’s Your Taste in Music?
Classic Rock: Highest Influence
80’s Rock: High Influence
Progressive Rock: High Influence
90’s Pop: Medium Influence
80’s Pop: Low Influence
I think I’ve done this quiz before. I think it would have been a better reflection of my musical tastes if they had included some blues, Motown, jazz, 50s, 60s, big band, novelty, and polka artists/bands. Some classical composers should have been included too. It could be that whoever came up with this quiz has never heard of the musical genres I’ve mentioned. Sheesh, kids.