Thursday, December 28, 2006

Going Solo

Going Solo :  One of the fun things about blogging is finding other people doing the same things you are.  Going Solo has a picture of a small boat on the water way in front of Fort San Marcos.  She sees it as needing a lot of care.. Paint I bet.  To me, it looks well worn but not worn out.  I'll bet it belongs to someone who could really show us somthing about the bay.

Castillo San Marcos

Fort San Marcos which was later known as Fort Marion was a high point of my trip to Saint Augustine from the 7th to the 14th of November of 2006.  This fort was once beseiged by the English for over fifty days but was never taken.  It is very strong.  The walls are at least twenty feet thick.  It has a nice museum store with many Florida history books on sale and is a first rate display.

The fort functions as a park in the middle of Saint Augustine.  It is a nice place to begin your tour.

I have one picture of the Red Trolley train in this group of pictures.  These trolleys go all over Saint Augustine giving guided tours and stopping in all the best locations.  I would really recommend spending the twenty dollars for three days access to their services.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Kids at Christmas

Katy, Patricia and Fred with the spouses and spouses-to-be all came to my house on Sheridan Road this year.  We had the gift exchange after Sue and I went to the Lutheran Church in Richville and the kids had gone to John Becker's Presbyterian Church for Christmas Eve. 

It is great to have them out.  Tricia and Keith came all the way for Houston, Texas.  Fred and Danielle are up from Raleigh, North Carolina and Katy and Bill drove from Chicago.  This is one of my best days as a parent.  I have been very lucky.

Merry Christmas

Big News in my family.  Katy is getting married in the fall.  The ring is in the picture.  Sorry, the camera man can't focus well.  It is beautiful.  Kate is very excited and I am too.  Bill, her fiance, was up for Christmas too.  It was a great time. 

They would like an urban wedding with Chicago as a backdrop but everything is in the early planning stages so we will see how that goes. 

Bill works with computers.  My life just keeps getting better and better.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Faster Computers and New Technology

I now have a modest, but up-to-date computer.  I have been through this many times before.  The cycle is always the same and is always remarkable.  Between work and home I have to have been through twenty computer models by now.  Some are more memorable than others.  All have been useful and generally good in their time. 

My first and always most memorable was my Apple II.  I purchased it for my thirty-second birthday in October of 1977.  It was a marvel.  When I brought it home, it played the theme from Starwars.  The journey began.  That Apple had 16k bytes of memory.  This machine has over one gig.  The Apple CPU was a Motorola 6502 with a clock speed of about 1.5 MHz. The clock speed on this machine is 2.2 GHz. or about 2000 times as fast.  Of course. the new machine has a dual core, or two processors running different programs so even 2000 times is probably way low. 

I have found out that 200 Gigabytes of memeory is not enough though since a quick division tells me that it will only hold 400 CDs.  This is obviously within the easy reach of common humanity.  Video will be even worse.. I see the end of this machine is in site but it will do for awhile.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Joys of Cell Phone Theft

It is amazing all the things you can think about when your step-daughter tells you that her phone has been missing for two days.  Your comfortable world just disappears.  It helps, of course, if you are a creative, chronic worrier like me.  I can think of many, many things to worry about that others might miss.  People like me have difinite uses.  We are the ones who dream up what the terrorists might do.  We are also the ones who come up with things that will not happen.  At any rate, back to the cell phone.

It was laid down for a minute and some one stole it.  How do I know they stole it?  They sold it within twenty four hours.  Here is where we get really lucky.  A friend called the number and someone answers.  Already I am beating the curve.  A  few calls later, a meeting is arranged at Dort Highway and Carpenter to pick up the phone.  at 8 PM.  That left lots of things to worry about, but, you know what, it all came off without a hitch.  We got the phone back.  I knew it could happen but I never bet it would happen.  We paid the person returning it the money he had paid for it.  I think that is only fair.  I really have to thank him for bothering with returning it at all.  He made our day. 

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Saint Augustine Trolley

One great thing about giving trolley tours in Bay City, Michigan is being able to enjoy tours given in other places.  Saint Augustine is a wonderful example of how to run a trolley tour.  If you go there, I have to recommend the Old Town Trolley Company.  For twenty dollars for a ticket,  I got to ride on their train for three days. 

I learned about Flagler College and its Tiffany windows.  I learned about one of the most beautiful Churches I have seen in the United States, Saint Augustine's Presbyterian Church. I sampled wine, walked on bastions, went down crowded alleys to quaint shops and had good dinners for not much money. 

It was a great time.  Entries to follow on the Fort San Marcos, the trolley and  all the beautiful hotes in the city.

Saint Augustine, Florida

I  left my blog the last time before I went to Jacksonville, Florida.  So many things have happened since then, but first,  I want to give some idea of my experience in Jacksonville and Saint Augustine. 

Jacksonville is one of the most expansive cities in the United
States.   That is a great surprise since I didn't think of it as large.  It is about fifty miles from Jacksonville Airport, JAX, to Jacksonville Beaches.  The whole trip is more or less city intersparsed with large rivers and bridges spaning them. 

Jacksonville Beach really delivered.  My main problem with it was that It took me three or four days to find out that a beautiful beach was just down the path in town.  It was not more that five hundred feet away and that I had been driving by it for most of the week while thinking that there were no beaches in the city.  Wrong... You can walk for miles on the beach in the city.  It is beautiful.

More to come.


Friday, November 3, 2006

Epigenome and Epigenetic - Words I learned Today


"Epigenetics is the study of epigenetic inheritance, a set of reversible heritable changes in gene function or other cell phenotype that occur without a change in DNA sequence (genotype). These changes may be induced spontaneously, in response to environmental factors, or in response to the presence of a particular allele, even if it is absent from subsequent generations."

That is a lot of words to say that a bunch of material located on the strands of DNA but not the DNA itself determines which genes are turned on or off.  The genes are The DNA but the material that surrounds them has lots to do with how or what they express.  OR!  material that is changed during the life of one person is passed on to that person's descendants.  Sometimes that works for three or four generations or more.  That is a whole lot like the old Lamarkian Theory.  It also means that some of the  things we do, what we eat, what is in our environment will determine some of the characteristics of our descendants.  This idea would have gotten you thrown out of a college biology class in the 1960's.   Do a Google search and find out what you think of it. 


My First Year Hunting with a Bow

This is also the first year that I am using my cell phone camera to take pictures of myself in the kitchen of my house.  That explains the slight quality problem.  The camera is neat though.  I hang it from a magnetic hook on the front of the refrigerator.  Set the camera to 10 second delayed flash.  Stand back and frame the picture in the viewfinder that is facing me. (that is why the camera projects your picture when the cover is closed) and wait for the picture.  It is the easiest way to get your own picture I know of.  Look for more of the same. 


Have a great day,

user225937's AOL Pictures Public Gallery

user225937's AOL Pictures Public Gallery. 



Thursday, November 2, 2006

Pictures and Daily Rambles

So my picture of the address by my drive way finally made.  It is added to Daily Rambles.   This sign has a long, in fact too long, history.  It started as some of the many rocks, stones, "boulders" that my wife, Sue, had me move to the yard when we first came out here to live in 1998.  Tons of stones were moved at that time.  Lots of them came from the middle of Tuscola County, on Hardy Road.  Then came the flowers and finally, this year, I  made the sign pole. 

The sign pole took quite a bit of thinking.  Oh, I know you doubt it but retirees have quite a bit of time to think.  How should I put it together?  Most of that was about what should be done to attach the horizonal arm.  Should it be made up of parts to wrap around the post pole?  Should it butt against the pole and be secured with right angle brackets?  What should I do?  I cut a 3.5x3.5x1.75 inch dado in both pieces and joined them.  No problem.  The whole thing was lots of fun and took about two hours.  Anyway, thanks for the time.


Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Your Halloween Treat

Your Halloween Treat :

I watched the movie Neufertuto.  It is the Dracula story with some new twists.  The pictures themselves were very clear compared to silent movies I have seen.   I have to wonder if an part of Germany was like the background of the movie in 1913.


user225937's AOL Pictures Public Gallery

Bay City, Michigan was part of the Tall Ships celebration on the Great Lakes this year.  What a story these ships have to tell about how we lived and traveled only a century ago. 

Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat! :

Ah yes, trick or treat.  Click on the link,  I can't say no to that face asking for candy.  I can't say no to the shy ones either, or the big ones looking so grown up but so young in the eyes and two feet taller that two years ago.  The money I have spent on candy in the last forty years is not one of my regrets.  It was a good night in Vassar, Michigan.

Hunting with a Stick and a String

For the last two months, I have been slowly, slowly building up  all the things you need to go into hunting deer with a bow.  This is a casual hobby for me.  I don't plan on hunting in the  rain.  If I am tired, I don't plan on hunting,  I only plan on hunting if I want too.  That, of course, does not include situations where I am hunting with a buddy..  In those cases, we will hunt at almost any cost.  I do have my pride. 

Anyway, back to the bow.  I got one about the first of September of this year.  It is a PSE.  I now know that is a Precision Shooting Equipment bow.  At the time, I didn't know anything. I was lucky because it turns out to be a pretty good old bow.  What I didn't know was that bows have changed over the last fifty years.  I shot my bow, also the result of technical changes, quite a bit from 1957 to 1964.  But, do the math, that is a while ago now.  In 1957, I got a fiberglass bow, a new thing,   It looked like a long bow.  It had no wheels, no crossed strings and definitely no iron.  My new bow has all of the above.  It also needed a sight, a rest, and a mounted quiver.  Acquiring these items is what was involve with the set up part of the hobby.  That is all done now though.  I am about one hundred dollars shorter and the bow is about three pounds heaver.   I am good to go. 

My friends know that I am good to go.. That means that I better get started in the field or in the woods or even down the road but a huntin I had better go or face mild harassment.  Into the corn field I went.  Now, this corn field is just tailor-made for hunting.  Rows, twenty feet wide had been cut in it for use in harvesting later on.  Walking down the rows, I could see deer tracks.  This was getting to be fun.  It was so quite.   I could feel the weight of the bow.  A gun is different.  What do you do with the arrow.  Should it be in the bow?  If so, how do you keep it from falling.  If not, how do you get the time to move it into position while being very quiet and watching a buck that is really better at this than you are.  I elected to have it nocked or placed on the string and ready to go. 

Suddenly, after only about twenty minutes walk from the house, I stop and listen.  There is a sound.  A rustle in the corn means a big animal is near.  I can't see a thing and it is twilight.  Finally, there is a burst of noise.  One hundred and forty feet from me, this deer bursts into the clearing.  That is too far to even consider shooting with a bow.  It would make it but I wouldn't reliably hit anything.  What a thrill and a surprise to see that deer.  As darkness fell, I walked home, feeling happy and  lucky to be there with that old bow.  It was fun. 

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Helping Dave Remodel

Today, I helped a friend with the moving, lifting and carrying required to update his daughter's house.  We moved a bathtub into the house from my favorite place, Manard's.  Plumbing came next then a quick ride home.  We didn't work too long so I have some time for 'Daily Rambles'.

I have been learning about printer cartridges.  For the last six years, I have been running my 'free' IJ300 Compaq printer with color cartridges.  Lately, I switched to a rebuilt cartridge sold by Wal-mart under the brand, Nukote,  It is  a simple black cartridge but it cost only $18.00 while the color version is about $35.00.  Great so far.  When I tried it out, I got a double print.  The page was useless.  What could be wrong.  Ah ha,  Sue had used the printer to produce a picture she was painting.  She's the culprit.  I don't know why but.. she did it.  More inspecting.  She didn't do it.  I had to reconfigure the printer to print black and white.  With that done, I had no problem except.  Except, I run my printer on a computer connected to a network.  It turns out that other computers on the network used different copies of the driver.  One can be set to black and white while the other is good for color.  I was quite proud when I figured all this out.  All is well now and I am having a great day.


UAV's, UUV's, UGV's-Unmanned Vehicle is the Future

Yesterday, I had the time to go over all those Google Alerts I have pulled don on unmanned vehicles.  For those of you not in the know, UGV is unmanned ground vehicle, UUV is unmanned underwater vehicle, and UAV is unmanned arial vehicle.  Before most of us have learned the acronomn, the US military has got over twenty different types in service or coming soon.  The immediate goal is to make them autonomic

 (aw''to-nom'ik) self-directed; self-regulating; independent. .  Next year, the military plans to conduct a combined exercise where different types of unmanned vehicles will conduct an exercise together.  The goal is to have many less human controllers than vehicles and to learn from the experience. 

Many companies are making parts for all these machines so I expect that civilian versions are closer than most people think.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Life as a Docent

Yesterday, I lived the active life of a typical retiree.  I was up at 6 am reading over my notes on the uses and abuses of the Great Lakes.  Fifty kids from White Lake , Michigan were on their way to the Bay County Museum in Bay City, Michigan and I needed to try to make sure the trip was worth the effort.  

I learned about the size of the Great Lakes, shipping on the lakes, stories about the was great.  When the kids came, they were great.  We learned about lampreys ... invasive species, and any thing else I could think of.  It was a great day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Me and My Computer Network

Ah, my congoleration of old computers, printers, wireless, broadband, drivers- old and older, mazes of files straight from hell.  I love them all most of the time.  There has been nothing to show me better the confusion some old people have than my computer systems after about six years. 


In the past, I have killed the problem by getting a new computer and -even though - I told myself otherwise- never going back.  Now, with the network idea, I use all of these computers on the network. 

Yesterday, I used this system along with Google Notebook to produce a 30 page notebook on the uses and abuses of the Great Lakes.  It was a wonder of progress, but-at the end of the day--no INK.  Then NO Cartridge. Then, a trip to Walmart.  NO Cartridge, I try a refurbished cartridge from NuKOTE.  All types of strange things happened.  I think of all the things I would like to do to anyone from Walmart... The night passes.  Magic happens.  I pick a different instance of the driver on my computer.  All is well.  What happened.  I don't have a clue, but as I often say 'Trust the force'.


By the way, the Google Notebook is at

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hanging Around, Hanging Drywall

We had a great day at Rachael Deland's house in Bay City.  It seemed that all the slow going yesterday was replace by jobs that went well and showed a lot. 

Dave and I hung ten foot sheets of drywall in one bedroom.  I used the Roto Zip for the cut outs.  It was fun to be back in this business.  We applied the first coat of mud to the seams and screw holes.  Everything went well.  It is ready for the second coat now and then the paint.


We also scabbed three 2x6's to the side of the damaged floor joists in the bathroom.  I plan to go back to help him some more tomorrow.

There is a chance though that we might skip working and go south of Flint to pick up a snowmobile.  That would be a fun ride. 

I am giving a 'Ghosts and Legends%' Trolley Tour in Bay City this Saturday so I will have to go over that material.  I haven't done that tour since tall ships so a brush up is required. 



Wednesday, October 11, 2006

If it's Wednesday, Winter is Here

The laundry is drying and I am sneaking in some time to get my  blog entry done.  We just lost power for a minute and I am glad that this laptop has a battery.  Sue is  off to Tawas for her clinic and I am not with her since I committed to help Dave Deland with his daughter Racheal's house in Bay City. It should be a good day.

I watched the debate between Dick Devos and Governor Grandholm last night.  Devos lost Sue and my vote because of his obvious anger and non-specific answers.  Jennifer can lick him whenever she wants in a debate. 

Yesterday was a museum day.  I went through the Boutel Gallery we have just added.  I was caught short on this because it is a substantial addition to the museum and somehow I didn't know about it until later. 

The exhibit has several beautiful marine pictures by Sprague that a  delight to see.  It also has a video on Ben Boutel, a Bay City captain and industrialist.  He is one of my personal favorites. 

Today, it will be carry materials, make plans, and hopefully do something.




Monday, October 9, 2006

One of Sue's Favorite Pictures

This picture is one of Sue's favorites.  It shows her favorite colors and something of the styles she likes.  I like this style too which says something about why I am so happy with her. 

Bay City Tour of Homes

The Bay City Tour of Homes is an annual event in October.  It is one of the museum's most popular events.  This year, I was a yard guard at Gene Gillett's house at 200 N. Chilson.  It is a beautiful home with very interesting decor. 

We wrote it up as a four square house with elements of the prairie style.  The yard was very nice with many flowers and plants.  Gene had labeled the plants like you sometimes see in parks. 

The weather was nearly perfect.  It was a great day.

My Sixty-first Birthday

Strange, but the number sixty-one just bugs me.  I like some numbers better than others.  Some, I almost anthropomorphize, giving them them personalities that are hardly warrented based on any logical facts.  None the less, I dislike sixty-one. 

I did really like the party though.  We had about fifteen people here.  Sue got me a new, reversible hunting coat.  John, Nancy, Jim and Fran and LeeAnn got me a target for the bow.  Gene and Becky Solgate gave me a quart of cordial liquor.  Corby, Kris and Candice got me a gift certificate to Dick's. A good time was had by all especially me. 

I can't help but think of how lucky I am to have all this concern and interest. 

I have been putting quite a bit of interest into archery these last few weeks.  The target helps with that.  I had been trying to find one with no luck.  Now, I am set.  Modern bows have a tremendous punch.  My bow is set for sixty to seventy pounds draw.  The arrow shoots very flat.  This bow has sights and a release mechanism that makes it a very different thing than the fiberglass bow of my childhood.  Archery has probably advanced as much in the last fifty years as it did in the previous three thousand. 

My bow has a great deal of power.  My friend, Bob Nancarrow, killed a moose with a bow of this pull.  I think it is easy to discount just how effective these bows can be. 

Thanks to everybody for the birthday.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Google Notebook and Spreadsheet

I installed Google Notebook yesterday.  It will probably take the place of my usual habit of copying clippings from websites into a Microsoft Word document.  It seems faster and it stores a copy of your information on the net so it can be read from other locations.  Google is making it very easy to share information on the net and colaborate as well. 

Their spreadsheet is very similiar to Excel.  It is free and allows the writer to specify by email address who can view or alter the page.  I haven't used Writely, their word processing program, but I will when I need to share information with someone else on the net. 

My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  Sue and I went out with our friends, Dr. Jenkowski and his wife, Jackie.  We did the art walk in Bay City.  This was the first time I did this.  I wanted to for many months but hadn'd done it.  We went to about eight galleries.  A & J on Washington Street was the best.  The owner of Larsen salvage,  had several pieces on display there.  He was working with metal and wood.  Most of his pieces were a version of modern art.  They avoided the problem of looking like they were turned out on a drafting machine.  I liked them quite a bit.  Sue did not care for them.  We went to the
Ward Gallary by Jimmie John's too.  I really like his work.  Sue did too.  I went into a photograph gallery in the Rosenberry building. and another in the Phoenix building.  It was a great day.


Wednesday, October 4, 2006

user225937's AOL Pictures Public Gallery

user225937's AOL Pictures Public Gallery. 

Whenever I see these plants, I think of the day Katy planted them.  She was about twelve years old at the time. 

Vassar High School Class of 1976 Reunion

The big weekend had arrived.  Sue and her committee had been working on the Vassar Class of 1976 Reunion for over six months.  She had put in hundreds of hours.  Everything looked ready and it was.

The affair began with a meeting at Cheek's in downtown Vassar before the homecoming parade on friday night.  The parade route was different this year since the main street through downtown and across the bridge is closed off at the Moore Drain for the flood control project.  So, for the first time in my memory, the parade formed up on Jay Road and came into town on South Main Street. 

After meeting at Cheeks, the class gathered at the football field for the homecoming game with Frankenmuth.  Sixty to seventy people were in the roped off section.  The night was a little cold but the rain held off.  Everybody had a good time..  Some people even watched the game. 

After the game,  most people went to a party at Warren Bierlein's on Lorenzo Road just outside of town.  Warren had a barn set up for the party that was perfect for the informal gathering we had.  Everyone enjoyed it so much that the party shut down about 2:30 am. 

The next morning,  Sue was up with about four hours sleep.  That means that I was up with four hours and one minute sleep.  Off we went to golf at the Grill on the Green in Bridgeport.  Everyone thought that we were going to be rained out but the weather was perfect for our needs.  We had just enough rain that no one else was on the course, but not enough to get wet.  Some people spent some time with their eye off the ball and on the back of other golfers carts.  They would sneak up and unstrap your golf bag and leave it there.  When the cart moved, the bag would fall with a terrible clang. 

That evening, we had the formal party at the Grill on the Green.  Forty six classmates attended.  Sue and the committee had gifts for everyone.  I had made four bluebird houses for gifts.  Some gifts were worth up to seventy-five dollars.  When your ticket was drawn, you could choose a gift but.. anyone else had one chance to take that gift then they had to sit down.  Everyone really took part in all the activities.  A group picture for the Vassar Pioneer Times was taken by Greg Hall.  I made pictures for each couple on Sue's picture printer.  The party shut down about 12:30 am. 

The weekend finished up with breakfast at Bettylou's Restaurant in Vassar.  It was a great success. 

Friday, September 29, 2006

Making Grape Wine

Sue took one of her vacation days yesterday.  She had committed her help to brother-in-law, John Welch to stomp grapes for about 40 gal. of wine.  We all arrived about 7am to stem and clean the grapes.   Sue left for a hair appointment about two hours later.  John  and I cleaned the grapes in water and a plastic tub.  After Sue returned, she crushed the grapes.  All told, about eight hours for three people were spent making a batch of about forty gallons of wine.

John had a plastic barrel that was rated at 220 liters.  I used google to convert the metric units to imperial units.   All I had to do was enter 1 liter/1quart x 220 in pounds and google gave me an answer.  Search for google calculator for other interesting examples. 

In the afternoon, I built 4 blue bird houses from parts I had previously cut out.  Air nailers really speed up construction.  I make these houses in about two hours each.  They would be double that in the methods of the 50's.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Our Trip to Bait the Deer

Leigh McCloud, Sue and I went to their property on M55.  The pictures are taken there. Picture with no caption Picture with no caption We walked up the hills, through the mud and roots and damp and dry.  All told we had a great time..  At the end of the trip we stopped at the international Restaurant just out side of Standish.  I had bufflo meat loaf was soo good.  We had a ball.

I saw how Bob and Leigh have their blinds set up.  I have to do something like that.  Imagine me getting up in a tree in the dark in the early morning, bow in hand waiting for a deer.  Please note, the deer is not in much danger.  It has been guite bold lately though.  I mean eating beets in my garden, taking the sweet corn, and then the beans.  Pretty bold, I would say.  Anyway, I have now shot my bow.  It works great.  So we are a bit more ready.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Yesterday, Sue and I finally finished painting the East side of her mother's house. I started this project. Sue hadn't thought about doing it yet. I had a strange pride in that. Anyway, the project went well and was quicker than I thought it would be. I found out that hanging on the the edge of the roof at about twenty five feet up isn't that bad. We took about seven hours on the job. Today, I am aching.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI on Discourse between Cultures

Pope Benedict's speech on the relationship of religion particuliarly Christianity and reason is quoted completely in the link above.  The Pope is currently in great difficulty with Muslims around the world for a comment made in that speech.  It is so unfortuate that so few will read the speech and understand the point it tries to make.  So few will appreciate its appeal to all to use an extended realm of reason in our approach to our relationship with God.

How many will see a first-rate, rational argument reduced to a trivial statement of bigotry due to their not reading, hearing or being able to understand what the Pope is striving to convey.

I have read the speech two times and hope to read it again.  It goes beyond condemnation of belief systems to point the way to a path for evaluation.  It would free logic from the bounds of science so it can venture to a broader horizon. 

It is unfair that the Pope's excellant speech is only being painted with such a false brush.

Vassar, Michigan Flood Diversion Project

Vassar, Michigan is finally getting the flood control project that has been in the works for years.  It is quite an undertaking.  The pictures show just part of the work being done.  This is the north bank of the Cass River looking upstream.  The work also continues downstream.  I believe that the rail trail will continue along at least part of this dike.  If so, it will be nice to walk along the river on it.  Off the the left and out of the picture behind the trees in the background is a pumping station that has an inlet in the Moore Drain.  The idea is to pump water from the Moore Drain into the Cass River.  That will help with downtown flooding since the Drain is the problem and floods before the river reaches flood stage.  The next flood will  be a test of the system. 

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fred's Birthday

Hi Everybody,

This is Fred's birthday.  It reminds me of when I was sitting in the dining room in the house on the hill in Vassar and your mother told me that we were about to have a baby.  I was Twenty-nine years old at the time and was about to be a father for the first time.  It was one of the biggest transitions of my life. 

It was also one of the best things that ever happened to me.  At this point, thirty-two years later,  I wouldn't take anything for any one of my children.  They have been such a blessing.  I don't know if I would see the point of life without children being a part of it.  All my children are such a credit to the family and I love all of them.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Ethanol and Water

Health Politics has a video that discusses the relationship of ethanol production to water use.  This is a thought provoking video that add viewpoints which I have not heard before. 


Ethanol and Water

Health Politics has a video that discusses the relationship of ethanol production to water use.  This is a thought provoking video that add viewpoints which I have not heard before. 


Remodeling the old Basement Entry

I just had to add pictures of the old basement stairs in their new coat of paint.  The cupboards are so nice too.  This project took about 2 weeks but was well worth it. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Labor Day Activities

This was a big weekend for home improvement.  I got my basement entrance finished.  This is the last step in remodeling the house.  I will now begin remodeling the remodeling.  I built three cupboards in the process.  There were fast and fun to build. We also painted the cement steps.  Sue was so much help.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Your friend wants you to check this out:
Scientists Use Gene Therapy to Fight Advanced Cancer - AOL News

Pope Benedict and Darwin

Pope Huddles With Religious Thinkers on Evolution - AOL News

The Vatican has been ahead of the curve on evolution for many years.  Unlike fundamentalist Christians who insist on a literal intrepation of an inerrant Bible.  Popes have said that the Bible should not be used as an exact description of how the Earth was created or as a scientific description. 

Pope Benedict has been having these meetings for years.  My bet is that the level of theology practiced here would be beyond the comprehension of almost all of us. 

Theology studies beliefs.  Science tests facts.  Science demands the search  of empirical testing.  Note that useful scientific thoughts can be taught of years without having been proven.  String theory is like that.  Scientists always looking for that physical proof however. 

Belief in God is just that Belief. Trying to use physical proofs for the existance of God is what created the conflict between science and religion in the first place.  Science can neither prove or disprove the existance of God.  Science can disprove descriptions of God given in the Bible.  The Bible cannot contain a complete description of God nor is the Bible a standin for God working as some sort of an idol.  God is too big for any description.  That is why every attempt at description lies in some way. 

Monday, August 28, 2006

Cluster Bombs in Lebonon>1=8404

Why would an area denial weapon like cluster bombs be used against a foe like Hezbolah?  I am at a loss to understand this action.  This weapon will kill more civilians than anyone else.  It is not made to take out specific as in individual targets.  It also bothers me that this weapon might have been used in violation of agreements with the U.S.  America does not need this kind of trouble. 

The file says that twenty five percent of the bomblets do not go off.  They are left to explode later.  That makes a fine mess.

Adult Stem Cell Fate is Determined by physical touch as well as Chemical Messages


Stem cells determine whether they become nerve, muscle or bone by physical touch with surrounding material and by chemical messengers.  Descovering that touch could determine what type cell would be produced was a great surprise to the researchers above. 

The article describes how material inside the cell that acts similar to muscles in larger bodies work to determine the stiffness of the surrounding environment. 

Dead cardiac cells that are stiffer than the living material could influence the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in the heart.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dry wall the back room

This was a great day for progress on the only remaining room in the house to have dry wall installed.  We purchased new metal corner strips to bridge the gaps in the corners.  They worked great.  I think the room will look far better than I ever had reason to believe it could. 

After the room, I spent time on the John Deere lawn mower.  I have a 425.  It has lots of power and is a joy to run. 

Now, I get to play.  The blogs come out and good times are had by all.



Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Dark Side of Truck Ownership

Tuesday morning, I was dressed in my finest and heading out the door to go to the Bay City Historical Museum to do my part in the Library.  When I approached the truck, I knew that something was wrong.  The whole thing smelled like gasoline and there was a dark spot on the gravel that hadn't been there before.  The gas tank was shot.. What next.

U-fix-it, my local mechanic, was the answer.  Now, I have worked my way through a $125 tank and two brackets to hold it on.  With luck, I will be back on the road soon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tall Ships in Bay City, Michigan

It was hot during Tall Ships this year but tens of thousands of people attended.  The ships are beautiful as they come down the Saginaw River and the festivities on the banks add to the general party atmosphere. 


My favorite ship was the Niagera with a replica of the Nina a close second.  Both of them seem  so small compared to any ship I've seen.  The Nina is smaller than the average tug boat. 


The Bay City Historical Museum ran a Ghosts and Legends Tour using Mitchell buses.  Since I am a tour guide, I had a big part in this.  We had hundreds of riders, who heard stories about murders on Center Street, and ghosts seen through the wispy curtain material of the beautiful houses on the street.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Stem Cells and the future

Stem cells are terribly exciting.  They promise tremendous benifits in one area after another.  Sometimes,  it is hard to keep up with what is happening. 

The article you can read above, click the link, will give an overview of all the different areas where studies are being done. 

A search on any of these areas should add even more information. 

Have fun.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Get the Phone-it may be a picture

Getting those small images on your phone are one of the great things about being a parent.  While you sit home, the young people are out doing all sorts of new and interesting activities.  Sometimes, they even manage to get you to give it a try. 

Take my son-in-law, Keith , for example.  You can see him in the picture at a Houston baseball game.  That looks like fun.  Thanks to the phone, I got to share it.  I think I'm going to like these pictures. 

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thomas L. Friedman, the World is Flat

Internet video on demand is one of the wonders of our time.  The Charlie Rose program you can get for free by clicking the link above will give you a chance to hear one of the great thinkers and writers of our day. 

Friedman cuts to the chase.  He shows some of the thought processes used in his book, The World is Flat and explains why energy is the primary problem the United States should have as a national priority.  He outlines many  the good things an energy program could do for education, world leadership and the world economy. 

Friedman is a wonderful speaker.  You don't get that from his book but it comes out in this video.  He loves metaphors.  When he uses one, you get it. 

Google video has wonderful programs like the Charlie Rose show that can't be matched anywhere else.  I recommend you try it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Oregon National Guard to Train UN forces in Mongolia

More than 90 Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers from the Corvallis- and Eugene-based Bravo Company 2nd Battalion 162nd Infantry will travel to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for three weeks in August.

How strange it is that the Oregon National Guard would be going to Mongolia to train as possible UN peace keepers.  That is certainly not the role I would expect the Guard to be playing.

The Corvallis Gazette Times reports that

The Dentist just isn't what he used to be.

My trip to the dentist was a breeze. What a difference from the days when they might have to hold you in the chair. Where is that hugh needle that used to make you feel so brave?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

History's Surprises - television in 1931

At a garage sale recently, I bought a copy of Reader's Digest for November 1931 for 10 cents.  On page 91 of that issue,  there is an article 'How about Television' condensed from Forbes magazine. 

I was shocked to learn that the USA had 15000 television sets in use that year, 1931.  The article describes video conferencing and video telephones. 

It also goes into the work that Farnsworth and others are were doing.

At that time, stations were broadcasting a 45 line screen but great hopes were held for the future.  Some were trying 500 lines. 

My historical model had television coming in after World War II.  Have to modify that.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Death of a Young Woman

Lynching was used to stop religious discussion in Niger.  The officals seemed to have no great concern.  The victim was labeled as insane but, of course, she could not be identified. 

I have to wonder what the letter she left at the mosque contained.  Who called for her punishment?  

The voice of reason must speak out in these cases.

This is a great injustice and a shame to the country of Niger.

Religion Kills

Religion Kills :

The writer has interesting observations on  Bill Moyers new program, Faith and Reason. 

His comments on proper editing between segments left me somewhat perplexed.  I would like to have some more explaination of what he would require in the way of editing. 

Faith and Reason - with Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers and his wife are interviewed on the Charlie Rose program. 

They are speaking of the necessity of free discussion of religious thought and of the dangers of dogmatic beliefs and believers. 

Their new program on friday nights on NPR interviews great modern thinkers and artists with a view to their spiritual beliefs.

Itunes had podcasts of this program available which I have downloaded.  The video and these podcasts are a great example of how to conduct such a discussion and of some of the questions that might be asked. 

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman discusses teaching and his involvement with the creation of the atomic bomb.  This video shows what a great teacher he is.  It is wonderful to watch.  Feynman shows how knowing the name  of anything is not knowing the thing.

I discover Charlie Rose

Alan Alda and Brian Greene did a great job of discussing the job of intrepreting science for the public.  Alan brought out how important it is to grab the attention of the listener.  He also showed his concern for letting the entertainment value overwhelm the scientific truth. 

The program was free today on


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I am reading a book by Charley O'Kieffe. The book relates his life in western Nebraska from 18

I am reading a book by Charley O'Kieffe.  The book relates his life in western Nebraska from 1884 to 1898.  This book is one of the thousands of gems that lay buried in the back of old book stores.  I got my copy from an antique store in Bay City, Michigan for three dollars. 
Charlie writes of things that happened to my family during their time in Nebraska.  I really like the book.

Meeting Margarete Hewitt

Today, Candice and I had to take her Blazer over to Old Castle to check on the brakes.  The pedal had been going through the free travel, hitting the braking position and then collapsing about 2 more inches.  That sounded like air in the brake lines or a bad master cylinder.  The mechanic bled the brake lines. 
We are trying the vehicle out to see if that fixes the problem. 

I went from Caro directly to the museum in Bay City.  I trained Margaret Hewitt in the research library.  Margaret is a student at Alma College.  She is studing history and antropology. 


Sunday, July 9, 2006

Becky Piazza's Wedding to Gene Solgate

Yesterday, I sang 'A Household of Faith' at Becky and Gene Solgate's wedding.  The song went very well.  I was pleased since I didn't have that much time to practice. 


This was the first time that I used a computer to play the music for a performance.   I ran Audicity, a music program, to produce the instrumentals. 


We went to the 'Grill on the Green' for the reception. 


Everything was very nice.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Linda and I in Los Cabos

Dave and Laura were here. We went to Huckleberry Railroad and Crossroads Village. It was great fun. Annabel was there.

I found out how to add pictures to the journal so I tried one of my favorites from Los Cabos.  Sister and I had a great day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Communities of Practice

It is so strange to see someone label a method of operation that I used for years.  Communities of practice ties people with common interests together in search of a common goal.  These communities do not follow other boundies except for the need of the interests at hand and the limitations of language and overarching social, political and economic control. 

The concept label is new to me.  I will use it in the future.



Today is very busy

Today, I am a house husband.  I have laundry to do, lawn to mow, gardens to hoe and floors to clean.  All this is driven by the Sue's class reunion meeting tonight and by the fact that I haven't kept up with my homework. 

I also have to work up an outline on Native Americans, modern agriculture and the calander for my presentation tomorrow. 

All in all, this feels busy for a retiree.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Thomas Barnett and Stephen DeAngelis

Thomas Barnett is often good for thought starters about many topics in human relations and organizations.  He pointed out this link to Stephen DeAngelis.  Both writers have a vision of the future and how IT will be implemented in all aspects of human endeavors.