Sunday, December 26, 2010

Life in my House in 1950

This is a very rare picture of the kitchen in Dad's House at 6721 Oak Road, Vassar about 1950. I am the boy in the back with sister, Linda, in front of me with Allen Reamy in the lead. We are in my wagon that I left by the road and had stolen. Notice the wringer washer in the background by the door. Mother would slide that out in the middle of the floor about where we are. She heated all the wash water on the stove. We had a wash house out the screen door about 25 feet away. All water was hauled from there up the porch and through the screen door. The country was much darker then. This house had been wired for electricity in 1946, 4 years before. You could hear the crickets out through the screen. They were much louder then. Of course, the grass was much higher then because we wouldn't have a power lawn mower for five more years. Grass was cut by the field mowing machine. The house was heated at this time by fuel oil which ran about $240 per year. Dad paid for the fuel oil with the wheat crop that he raised for several years at this time. The floor was covered with linoleum like all the floors were when I was little. Bathroom facilities were 35 ft out thru the screen door. Life was very different then. We were still listening to the radio every night for entertainment. Dad and Ralph Reamy were both working at Universal Engineering in Frankenmuth where they both had a solid job until retirement about 32 years after this picture was taken. Of course, when this picture was taken, we had four people in our family. Laura would change all that in about a year.
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Christmas at Nancy's


This family picture has many of the players from my typical family get to gathers. Julie and Steve and family are here. They have lots of places to go on these days but do manage to be with us a good bit of the time. John and Nancy Welch are here especially because it's their house and they did the dinner. My mother-in-law, Loraine Hayes is with us and feeling and geeting around better than last year. And , of course, this is my nephew, Blake Karr's second appearence. He is the life of the party.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Cost of Talking from Ma Bell to Facebook

In 1950, when I first remember the phone it was so different. Dad and Mother had Michigan Bell but grandma had an older system with wooden phones and cranks that you turned and yelled "Florwnce, Florence is that you?" into the mouthpiece so Florence Vttengroover down in Millington at the switchboard would know to pull and plug wires on the switchboard to make connections Grandma did almost all the taking on this Mystery. Grandpa didn't touch it once a year.

Our phone was much more modern. We had a four digit number, 3502, that other Vassar phones could dial with their black rotary phones with no operator involved.

Cost was very high. Three dollars for three minutes when we called Grandma Crane in Vermillion, South Dakota and it took an hour to make the connection.

Grandma Welsh who lived only a mile and a half away was with Millington Wolverine Telephone Co. So she was long distance. Calling her was fifteen cents so that was seldom done either when Dad made two dollars an hour.

Today we live in the sold of free communication. Things are very different.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kris's Birthday

My family had two birthdays this week. Son-in-law, Keith Droz became a year older on the twenty-fourth and my step-son, Kris had his birthday of the twenty-second. Kris is twenty-eight this year. All of the kids are hardly kids anymore.

Keith and Tricia are in Japan right now so even talking to them is different. I did send a birthday greeting card and got him a gift certificate to Amazon. That always seems to be a hit.

We had a party for Kris. The picture shows part of the people who came. Andy Erdman was there as was Chris Johnson. John and Nancy came out and my mother-in-law, Lorraine Hayes was there too.

Sue had a very nice meal which she made while she was cleaning up storm damage in the yard. She is amazing.

Everyone had a very nice time.
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Monday, September 13, 2010


My wife, Sue, just went to her sister, Mary Anderson's, house for a visit. From right to left, this picture has Sue, Nancy, Leanne or Lee, Mary. I always look better in their pictures. All I have to do is stand in the back.

1964 Class Reunion in 2010

Last Saturday, September 11, 2010, my high school graduating class had its forty-sixth year reunion at my house at 7040 Sheridan Road, Millington, Michigan. We were really pleased with the turn out. I took a good number of photos that you can see at the link. The party started at about 1pm and continued until about 9 pm. Thirteen class members were there. We agreed to have a party next year on the second saturday that would be September 10, 2011. It will be held at 7040 Sheridan Road, Millington, Michigan 48746 where it was this year.

Linda Welsh McRoy, sister, told about Sue Ann Burns loosing her husband this past year to carbon monoxide. Some of us had heard about that at the time but others were not aware of it. Lee Preston told how he had lost is wife a couple of months ago. That was news to some of us. I didn't know that even though I live close.

Everyone really wanted to talk and be brought up-to-date with each other so the time really flew. Spouses did a good job mixing and being a part of the festivities too. I met Steve Ulrich's wife for the first time. Steve told how he had gone to a farm sale on the other side of the state. He bought an Oliver tractor at that sale and arranged to pick it up a few weeks later. The time passed and he came with a friend to pick up his purchase. The tractor would not start. Finally, they decided to try ether to get it going. None was on site. Steve saw the woman of the house drive in so he asked her if she had any ether on the farm. "No" she said " I had the sale when I lost my husband and now all that is gone". On the way to get that can of ether, Steve had his first conversation with his wife. It had been close though because when they returned, Steve's friend had that tractor running. It had started just after Steve left to get the ether. Some things just seem to be met to happen.

Bill McCorkle always surprises everyone because of his height. Billy was under five feet when we graduated. He was small. Now, he is about 5'6" and is involved in prison ministries. He does quite a bit of public speaking and added to the fun of the day.

Dave and Debbie Sebert Cobb where there. I enjoyed talking to both of them. Dave had been on the school board in Millington. Debbi and I talked about how things were in high school in the 1960's and how many social changes there have been. She lives in Millington now and knows Uncle Richard Hauger. She had her own story to tell on him.

Janet Taylor Lucias and her husband John were there too. Janet told about her seventeen grandchildren and about how she had helped with her son's bike store. John and Bill McCorkle had so stories to tell about the night John broke Billy in on a job at Buick.

Larry Ill and his wife spoke of their experiences. Larry is working for Bader Bros. in Birch Run right now. Normally, he has been working out of Saginaw. His wife is a teacher. I enjoyed talking to her about the conservative/liberal split in the country now and how it is essential that we learn to listen to different points of view.

Ed LeBean and wife were present too. His sister, Priscilla lives right up the road so I see members of his family on various social occasions.

Marth Crump Jensen was a real hit with my wife Sue. They are both nurses. Sue told me that Martha is living up north of West Branch but gets to Millington to visit her daughter. Martha did work with me at Flint Truck Assembly for a time. I was an industrial engineer and she worked in the medical department.

My sister, Linda Welsh McRoy, the always faithful one, drove over from her home in Caledonia, Michigan. Linda is a retired teacher who taught in the Kentwood(Grand Rapids) School System. She is now in realty and is my chief running buddy on trips all over the place that she usually dreams up.

Sharon Walker Beemer (did I come close on the spelling) came too. We shared conversation on how things have changed over our lifetimes and how things were in Millington high in the 60's

Sandy Harding Honsinger got a chance to see the garage I have been talking about on Facebook for the last year. Sandy was a music teacher at John Glenn in Bay City and still is very involved with music. She has a surprising ability in wood working that you can see if you go to her Facebook page. Sue and I were both glad that she came. Sandy has a cousin named Sandi Pavlawk who is a good friend from the Bay County Historical Museum where I volunteer, make friends, talk, and really enjoy myself. Finding Sandy, our classmate's, Bay City connections was a surprise to me.

Bette Sebert Chambal has been a real worker on these reunions. She brought the meat dishes to this one. (I loved the food by the way). Bette lost Ken Chambal, our classmate, several years ago. Ken was a bright spot in everybody's day. I was really sorry when we lost him. Betty is also the person I know the longest in our class , outside of sister Linda that is. Bette's family had parties with their relatives and neighbors when I was four or five and since one of Bette's aunts, Ernestine Kerns was a friend we often went to these parties.

All these folks worked really well to make the reunion a success. I really enjoyed it and I think that was the general feeling.
Part of the

Thursday, September 9, 2010

That Job I Thought I'd Never Finish Got Done

May garage has been finished and in use for about a year now, but I made the big mistake of not finishing just a few pieces of siding on the dormers. There was a reason for this problem. While putting the siding on over the window was no problem for anyone with a ladder, the pieces on the sides of the dormers were a different animal. You had to get on the roof to do them.

Now, this roof is a 6 12 pitch. That means that for every 12 inches you go forward you will find yourself 6 inches higher. Roofers can stick like glue to these structures but overweight, sixty-four year olds seem to slide right down the roof. That had been my previous experience soooo, little progress was made until.. I made this quick attachment for my loader.

This thing started out as a set of forks to plant the crimson maple tree. It worked great. The forks were on both sides of the earth ball and the three rings I installed to the forks and the bucket centered the ball perfectly. I simply drove over the hole with this contraption and lowered the bucket. The twelve foot tree was seated perfectly.

These forks moved around a little though. That is a discomforting feeling when seated on the edge of a roof fifteen ft above the ground. I added some braces and locked the structure to the metal bucket and I was good to go.

It only took about three hours to get the siding tools out again and finish these annoying little loose ends. Now, the job is done. I need something else to side.

As for the attachment to the bucket. It is going to be used as loader forks to pick up downed limbs this morning.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Books for My Class Arrived

The mail was kind to me today.  I got my copy of Custer Victorious.  This book will be the basis for my talk on the first years of Custer's career. 

He had just graduated from West Point when the Civil War began.  Custer was a genius or very lucky in the Civil War.  He was in tens of battles and survived without a serious injury'

Gregory J. W. Urwin, the author of this book, says that he has come to know the role politics played in the careers of officers in the Army of the Potomac. 

Urwin praises The Union Cavalry in the Civil War by Stephen Z, Starr as the seminal book on the topic.  Starr said:
Next to Sheridan in credit for the accomplishments of the [Federal ] cavalry in the Appomattox Campaign stood Geroge Custer.

I am looking forward to reading Custer Victorious.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Hot Day

Ford Fairlane 2-Door 1955Image via Wikipedia

I never got to notice much of the heat yesterday because Corby and I had a job to do.  We got up at 2:30am to drive to Indianapolis to take care of some business there.

I remembered when Dad got the 1955 Ford Fairlane. It was his first new car. He paid $70 per month for three years on it. It was also the first car we had that could stand 70mph all day long.

In May of 1955, we took this car to Vermillion, SD to see my grandmother, Anna Crane. Dad went about 600 miles in one day. Yesterday, Corby and I split the driving and went 680 miles in my 2009 Chevy truck. It just didn't take the same amount of time on the expressway that Dad had to spend on US 2 going to grandma's.

This trip did take most of the day though. I didn't do much else. Today, I was off to a good start. I got the first floor boards in on the deck. About 1pm I took a break because of the heat.

I'm getting to be like my Dad's Father. I don't do that well in very hot direct sunlight. I had a plan to go back out when the shade moved over the deck in a few hours but by the time a few hours had passed, we were in the midst of a real downpour.

Inside, I got to work on my Medicare package. I am sixty-five on October 5 so I get government health care. My doctor says it is better than what I've had so great. The problem is that I have to change some things with GM. I think we will end up having Sue and Candice on St. Mary's Insurance. I think I will get my supplimental insurance there too.

When that task was done, I went to work on Custer in the Civil War. I have a presentation on Oct. 6 at the Civil War Round Table in Saginaw at the Bateman-Fish Library. I have to have a finished hour and one half presentation done by then. That puts me focusing on the Civil War more than I have in my recent Custer efforts.

In the midst of all this, the storm knocked the web out. It seems to be back now so we'll get back to the Civil War.

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Fw: Digital pictures and flatscreen TV

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Fw: Monday Again

It was a beautiful weekend. Sue and I spent most of it on classic summertime persuits. Saturday, I worked about six hours on the deck.

I did a lot of nailing with my Bostic Palm Nailer. These cost about sixty bucks. I wouldn't be without one now. The treated wood in the deck requires galvanized fasteners so I drove quite a few 20d galvanized pole barn nails.

I got my first 5/4 deck boards. I'm ready to put them on now. This project is a little more than $1000 in materials.

Saturday night, we went to the Tiki Lounge in Bay City for a work party for Sue. I really enjoyed it. They had a Reggae band. Cover charge was 2 dollars. Sue's work friends were a lot of fun.

I just discovered Blog to Print

What a remarkable service. Blogtoprint takes all those postings and pictures and prints a PDF file. You can buy a copy for $8. If you want a soft or hard cover, bond book, you can get it for a few dollars more.

Just the PDF copy of what I have written would be great for me. I am sure I will use this service.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Last sunday, Sue and I went to Kaylee and Kadence Karr's baptism at the Catholic Church in Vassar. These two twins are the center of attention in the family right now if Blake isn't. We all had a good time and a wonderful time to take pictures like this one of one of the twins and Nancy.
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

This is a picture of me at Flint Assembly sometime in the 1970's. I appear to be filing process sheets which had a picture, part specifications and change history for every part on the vehicle. I would have been building Blazers and Suburbans at the time.

The IBM terminals in the background were connected to a IBM 360 mainframe two floors above. We didn't have any personal computers at this time.
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Monday, July 19, 2010


I have some more pictures of Andrew McRoy's wedding that tell a little more of the story.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hauger Family Reunion

The reunion was held at John and Nancy Welch's this year. John had chicken that he and Uncle Richard Hauger had parboiled the day before and that they barbecued on the trailer type grill that we rented. The food was set up in the garage. There was really too much of it. Bill Hauger made pies that were really good. I got to try Grandma Hauger's goulash. I really loved it.

Sue did games for the kids with the mandatory water balloons. We had filled them in the old bathtub at our house so by the time we got to Vassar a bunch of them had broken for unknown reasons but the rest of them were luke warm. I had to hold the bucket in the balloon toss so I like warm water balloons.

I talked to Jake Leiber for quite awhile. We talked about my dad in the war and what I knew about what he did. I related what had happened at the Battle of the Tenaru that Dad took part in.

Eric Hauger was there. He is going to do some logging with horses next winter. I offered to help The experience would be great.
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rite Aide Shopping Card

Sue and I bought two resin love seats for the patio yesterday at Rite-Aide. We found out about their new shoppers card and about signing up for the online coupons. I did both today. Their shopper card is very like what Kroger does. In order to get the sale price on a item you have to have the card. You don't have to carry it. The clerk can enter your phone number and qualify you. At any rate we got our rebate and learned about another way to save money.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Designing a Class on Gen. Custer in the Civil War

Jo Brownlie, the coordinator for the Osher Life Long Learning classes called me today about a class for that program at SVSU in the fall. I was very pleased to hear from her and to have the opportunity to develop this course. I also thought about a course on the St. Louis World's Fair as a follow-up on the Columbian Exposition, but Custer won this battle.

I plan to put a few hundred hours into this project. It's necessary to spend that much time in preparation. At this point, I don't have a structure or a theme I want to develop so I will be doing some survey reading on Custer in the Civil War.

I'll take notes in my OneNote application and work the course up from there. It will be a blast.

Beautiful Video

This is a beautiful video that makes me want to add a projector and a laptop to our shows for the effects we could so easily add to the program.

A Day at the Museum

Tuesday anchors my week.  When I retired, in 2001, I started volunteering for the Bay County Historical Society.  That's one of the best decisions I've made.  The Society is a platform for so many discoveries and an place where I've met so many interesting people.  Tuesdays are the days I volunteer in the Butterfield Research Library located just inside the front door on the left in the museum.

It's a strange little room where so many discoveries are made.  Yesterday, we had a young man come in with a uniform shirt from the Bay City Brahma's, a semi-pro team from the 1990's in Bay City.  I had never heard of them because no one else had asked about them during my years at the library, but a quick look in the vertical files under sports, football brought out this big folder filled with clippings.  The young man eagerly went through the stack and his quest was answered.

A young woman, who is beginning her genealogical quest looking for information on 600 different relatives came in.  She is just beginning but the joy of discovery is in her eye.  She's beginning a long journey but one with enough discoveries to carry her well into middle age.  I bet she goes there.  I hope she comes back with reports on her discoveries.

That's the way it often is in the world of a library researcher.  When people leave with smiles on their faces, I know we are on the right track.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dale Walicki's Style Pages

The picture at left is an example of the very helpful style guides found in Dale Wolicki's book "The Historic Architecture of Bayt City, Michigan" . There are about twenty of these pages in the book. If someone learned what was on them and did some neighborhood walks to see which elements he could identify on homes in his area, that person would be well on his way to an understanding of those homes.

We have the book for sale in the Bay County Historical Museum store. It is critical for understanding Bay City Architecture.
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Carroll Park Walking Tour

This group of people took part in the walking tour from Carroll Park in Bay City that I guided on tuesday morning. I worked about 30 hours on this tour but like to work more like 75 hours on material that I haven't given before. All turned out well though and the group was just super.

They were from the Bay County Council on Aging and had set up a lunch as well as the tour from this pretty Bay City park.

I told them that the D.H. Fitzhugh family had donated the land for the park in about 1875. I described how different parks were at that time and how cemeteries often filled that function.

Of course, I had to mention Frederick Law Olmsted's contribution to the design of this park. I believe that it is probable that his firm designed the layout of Carroll Park. Olmsted was the first landscape architect in America and the designer of Central Park in New York as well as Biltmore in North Carolina. He also did the grounds for the Columbian Exposition.

I studied Dale Woliki's book on Bay City Architecture once again to prepare for this tour. This time, I noticed how crucial understanding his pages on architectural style are to conducting a higher quality architectural tour.

One of the houses on the tour is shown on the left. This is the Gilbrith House on Center Avenue. It is a colonial revival home that originally belonged to the owner of the World Star Knitting Mills. This house is almost on the corner of Trumble and Center.

After the tour, I shared lunch with the group in Carroll Park. It was really a pleasant experience.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Leigh and Bob Nancarrow's Wedding

After twelve years, Leigh and Bob tied the knot on Saturday at their home by Sand Lake. The entire affair was very nice and was very enjoyable to all of us there.

Dave Deland met Sue and I at the intersection of M-55 and M-65 to follow us into the cabin. That is something of a trick since it is located about 2 miles of the main road. Once you know where to go it isn't a problem but until then it can be.

There were about forty people at the wedding. The deck on the cabin was able to hold all of us comfortably. The balcony up above the deck was perfect for the cermony. The minister who was a lady conducted the service well with an overtone of fun for all.

Bob was funny when he forgot the ring during the ceremony and had to return to the cabin t o get it.

Sue and I had brought up roast beef and chicken that Leigh had bought at Norm's in Richville. Dinner was very nice. Sue brought up her decorated cookies as well.

Sue and I stayed until the end of the day when we left to spend the night at Dave Deland's in Gladwin. All in all, it was a super time.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Last session of My Class on The Columbian Exposition is finished

I feel the last session of my class on the Columbian Exposition went well but wasn't as good as the second section was.  I presented information on the 37 state buildings at the Fair, ships shown there and the Midway Plaisance.  The state section is important because of its impact on architectural styles after the fair.  Most cities have houses that were inspired by designs seen at the Fair.  Early American was popular there as were some of the beginnings of the Arts and Crafts movement.  

The ships included replicas of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, the Viking long-ship that had come from Norway, the whaling ship, Progress was in Chicago too.  I went over the Illinois which was a brick and mortor battleship replica at the Fair and the whaleback, Christopher Columbus that was used there too.

The Midway Plaisance had a lot of interesting concessions, including the Ferris Wheel and Sitting Bull's cabin.  I don't think that I was able to get the excitement of this area across though.  I plan to listen to my audio of the presentation so see if I feel that way in retrospect. 

The whole thing has been a lot of work but a great deal of fun.  I expressed interest in doing a class in the fall.  We'll see what comes of that. 

Would an acoustic shutoff valve have stopped the oil spill

I'll bet that an acoustic shutoff switch would not have been about to stop the oil spill at the BP rig in the Gulf. I suspect something is wrong with the blowout preventer itself. I thing this is true because the "dead man" switch didn't shut the valve and the remote vehicles weren't able to shut it either. I'll bet an acoustic switch would have been unable to get this probably broken device to function.

in reference to:

"BP says the Deepwater Horizon did have a "dead man" switch, which should have automatically closed the valve on the seabed in the event of a loss of power or communication from the rig. BP said it can't explain why it didn't shut off the well."
- Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Just what does a blowout preventer do?

This article has information on what the oilspill site looks like and what techniques are being used to stop the leak. The schematic of the operations being undertaken is veryhelpful.

in reference to: The Gulf oil spill: What lies beneath | The Economist (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Week of Presentations

The last few days have been filled with presentations and preparations for them.  Chiefly, that was for the SVSU OLLI class I am teaching on the Columbian Exposition.  I love to study that fair since so much happened there and in Chicago at the time it was taking place.  

I had two hours to talk about the buildings of the Fair.  That got me through the fourteen major buildings and two or three exhibits in each of them.  I got to go over the careers of the successive architects which added so understanding to what their thinking on design was.  I also got to review the material we had last week.

This class of seventeen went well.  I am quit happy with it, but , like normal, there is so much that I would like to do. I'd like more video of the time to show what was happening.  I'd also like to put on an effective section on the music of the era since so much was changing right then with the advent of the phonograph.

I have done nothing with the medical field of the 1890's.  That area would be interesting too.

I do want to cover military developments as well since this was a time of great military change as well.  The Krupp exhibit at the fair had a piece called "the Thunderer"  that was capable of a fifteen mile range.  The United States had several artillery pieces at the fair as well.

I could enjoy doing a ten week course on this fair but time only allows me one more session.

Today, I had 100 students studying the lumber industry.  That went well.  It ended up dealing with City Hall as well.  The kids were great and a joy to have.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bringing Candice Home from College

Today was a big day..  I had two groups of twenty-five young people to lead on a scavenger hunt in the exhibit area of the museum this morning at 9:45.  So I had to get up and get going to make it.  The hunt itself works well.  We divide the kids into five groups in an area outside the exhibit area.  Then we give each group a set of three questions printed on card that are color coded by area.  We instruct the kids to search for their area first and then to look for clue posters in the gallery.  The clue posters have the answers to the questions on the cards.  We give them 7-10 minutes to search.  Then we call all groups together at the first group's area.  Which in our case is the Native American Area.  Then I get to pose questions from an answer sheet that I've been given to the group from that area..  When that group has finished, we move to the next area  This game works well with fourth graders.  I had fun with it.

Then, I watch Corinne do a presentation to a group of 11 young people on the trilobite exhibit and fossils in general.  The young people really got into this.  When that was over, it was time to take the truck to Mount Pleasant  and bring a load of Candice's things from college home.  That went very well but took about five hours.   Next it was the mowing.

I did get about half of the lawn mowed so I am happy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Last Song

Tonight, Sue and I went downtown in Vassar to see 'The Last Song'.  Nicholas Sparks wrote the book.  Just like his other books, 'Dear John' , 'The Notebook' and others, this was a great movie.  I was riveted to the story the whole two hours of the film.

Sue's Mom went with us.  I think she enjoyed the film as well.  We had planned to go to the matinee, when tickets cost only $4.50 but Sue had to work earlier in the day.  Once again, this is a great date movie.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Holding My First Grandson

My grandson, Aiden, has been doing so well lately that he probably is much larger than this right now. He is twice as old as he was in this picture. He is much more socially involved now. I see him smiling and making noises in the videos that are posted.

I'd love to get to see him but that doesn't seem likely for awhile.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiger Woods and Nike's New Ad

When I was in school many years ago we had the assignment to pull different ads from newspapers and magazines to analyze just what was being said. That was a simple assignment compared to the analyzing the messages of the digital age

This Tiger Woods ad has been judged as brilliant by professionals in the field. It will convince millions that some sort of father/son conversation is taking place where middle class values are reinforced and Tiger sees the light. On some subconscious level, we will all take this as a real event. That is how moving pictures work. That's why we scream when we see a horror movie. I know that I am in a theater, eating popcorn but my physical systems think I am in the movie. That's why I want to run from a picture on the screen. Millions will believe that this is how Tiger feels and that this is what Earl Woods, his father, would think and say. Those millions will believe it with absolutely no evidence that either Tiger or Earl feel that way.

Earl's been dead since 2006 but that's not so long that Tiger wasn't playing his tricks at the time. Gossip has it that Earl played some tricks of his own. What basis do we have to believe that Earl would be asking "What have you learned?" with the implication that fidelity is best. None, as far as I'm concerned. What basis does Nike have for using a dead man in this way?

This video is very well done propaganda. It should be studied in depth by all of us.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

People You Meet along the Way

Today was my day to work as a research librarian at the Bay County Historical Museum. I looked for a rather slow day due to the weather but I have a great research project in the Chicago World's Fair and a good book on the 1890's to read for background information.

About an hour after I arrived a young man walked in the door. I knew that he had come to see the regular exhibits but I had no idea what he wanted in the library so I explained what the library did.

It turned out that he was interested in research in the Bay City area due to his family connections in Reese. This young man had Mexican and German connections and was quite interested in the social effects of immigration. He was a principal of a school in Oakland, California and was very knowledgeable in many historical areas. We talked about Mexico, the border, Brazilian immigration to Japan, and many other topics.

My great regret is that I didn't get his name. I do hope that he comes back into the library. I would like to see him again.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Julia Welsh, My Grandmother


I should try to tell my story of life with my grandma, Julia Welsh. Each of the people who knew her would have a different view point but I have my own. I was privileged to have her with me for thirty-five years. I first knew her when she was many years younger than I am now and I had her with me until 1980 when she was eighty years old.

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Driving Thru W. Virginia


I have become even more interested in the mountains I see in different parts of the country. This one looks like it belongs in Arizona but it can be found in West Virginia.
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

This is my grandson Aiden. He is the apple of his parents eye. As a grandparent it is wonderful just to be able to see not only what he is doing but how his parents are reacting to him.

My only problem is the distance to where he lives. Raliegh, North Carolina is a great city but it is 800 miles from here. I also think about how different his life will be. He will be a city kid, raised in the new south, in the twenty-first century. I was a farm boy, raised in the industrial bread basket of the world, in the twentieth century. That makes for quite a difference.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brothers in Song at America House on Linden Road.

We are getting to the point where we have regular fans among the people who watch our shows at America House on Linden Road.  It is fun to see them every month or so.  It is also fun to try to give them a song which they may not have heard in awhile. I do enjoy going over there.

We have another show at the Pines on Davison Road next Monday.  I am looking forward to it.  We are doing more four-part harmony.  I really have to push my range to do first tenor at this age.  *It would be better if I could go to second.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Singing and the Dreaded Cold

I was back to practice with the Brothers in Song yesterday.  I hadn't sung anything in about two weeks.  All of my higher ranges were gone and the lower ones weren't the best either.  You have to start someplace so I did.  Everyone else was in some sort of shut down or the other so we made a fine group.

I had new music to work on.

  1. I'm Sitting on Top of the World
  2. Me and My Shadow
  3. Button up your Overcoad
  4. Have I told you lately that I Love You(done before many times)
We have a gig on on thursday so things need to come together by then.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bill did a Great Job discussing Wordpress and DesignInsideChicago

This video is very impressive and filled with great information.  It is an example of what I would like to see in a video interview.  The questions show thought and the answers cover the questions.  Nice job Bill!

This is an example and a snippit of what Bill and Katy are doing now.  I think many of us would be surprised.  Some of us, like me,  learn about modern communication and design by following these discussions.  I like them.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Aruba to Michigan and twenty degrees loss.

I had to think of how different Aruba was from my time on the computer tonight.  Now, we had just a beautiful day here.  The temp went to 69 degrees but that just isn't as warm are Aruba was when I was there last week.  Even after the sun went down the temperature was at least 65.  We would sit by the pool and listen to free music.  Some times the girls would dance.  Sometimes, even I would help.   The recreation coordinators at the place we stayed were great at keeping things going.  We danced, played trivia, put puzzles together and of course had the Hula Hoop contest.  Everything was so much fun.   Michigan is fun too, but I will never forget Aruba.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The 1982 movie TRON hit my world of 386 computers right between the eyes.  I like the movie.  I knew just enough to know that TRON was the word for trace-on.  In those days you could think about getting inside of the machine because you often had to do it.  Besides, the IBM pc was lucky to have a disk drive in those times. so the machines were much smaller.  The Apple II was on its way out so not many did machine language, but nobody had the likes of microsoft offfice and movies where out of the question.

I have to see this sequel TRON 2010.

So Connected that I'm in a Snarl.

Facebook, Twitter, Hootsuit, Blogger, HomePuzz, Picassa, and others.  I use all of them.  The social networking scene is one of my favorite places but I do end up confused.

I'm not bad on Facebook.  I use it for all sorts of things.  My Blackberry Storm Facebook Application is one of the first spots I visit in the morning, but I am still a bit lost about how to use it effectively.  Don't get me wrong.  I often get the word first on what is happening in the family, but I wonder if my science posts should really be mixed in with a note about going to the movies and what was playing.

I use twitter because it is a searchable, wide spread tool that will load Facebook.  I like tweetdeck too because of its ability to set up searches on whatever.  In fact, I almost never use twitter from within twitter.  It always comes from my phone or tweetdeck or my new hootsuite.

Right now, I am very  confused about how to use all of these effectively.  Maybe, in ten years I will get it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If this is Tuesday, I am at the Museum

I saw a magic lantern today.  It's funny that I haven't noticed it before.  It looked very like a film strip projector with a small smoke stack.  This was at the Bay City Antique Mall where I visited while Sue went to the dentist.
I found an American Heritage book from 1967 on the 'Gay Nineties'  .
That will fit right in with my work on the Columbian Exposition.

Monday, March 8, 2010

First Day Back for Regular Life

I was back to the museum and Brothers in Song practice.  It really was alot of fun.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I had a great day today.  First, I was up with Sue at 4:30am.  Sue volunteered to go into work early today.  I was on youTube by about 5:30 using my Blackberry Storm.  Verizon can stream a good video signal here at that time of day so I was watching Al Jezera discuss talks in the Middle East.  They honestly did a better job than I would normally see here.  I also got to check out where I learned he was born in Kenya and what his parents were like.

About 9am I started working on the Bay City History District.  I was able to finish it up good enough to turn in for the first draft.   That might be the end of this project for me.  I need that to happen because I have to start doing my Fair Presentation.

Then, in the afternoon, I went to America House with the Bros in Song were we did about the besty job we have seen.  Like I said, it was a good day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Researching the Bay City Historical District

I wisely signed up for a smaller area when I had the chance to choose.  Mine is a four block area centered on Center Ave and Monroe.  I'm trying to find out who has lived there in the past 130 years.  It is interesting but not as easy as you might think.

Most of this is done with Polk City Directories, which we have in the Historical Library.  In the earliest years, 1867 say you pretty much have to look at everything to see what might be there.  Later on, in the 1880's there are three Bay City Directories on .  Finally, from 1920 on you can check who lived in an area by address.

I'm making progress, but I have a bunch more to go.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Decade Begins

Happy New Year and happy new decade everyone. I am at an age where a decade passes in a flash. It seems that just a few days ago I was watching the Millennium dawn across the Pacific Ocean. What a memorable experience that was, but now a new decade approaches. It will be earth shaking in its effects. The first decade of the 21st century saw huge advances in biology, nano-tech, brain science, personal computing, the net and so many other things, but those things have not influenced daily life to the extent that they will. They are held up behind the dam of inertia and lack of knowledge. The dam is breaking.. Never has knowledge moved faster. I read the other day that Americans consumed three times the information today that they did as recently as 1980. That will have its effects. But first, I want to ponder what things have influenced the last ten years in my life.

As the new Millennium dawned, I was still working. GM was much more of a player than today and I was in the truck engineering business. It was exciting. I had the best boss of my career and had just come back from working in Japan. I loved the new systems we were using to build trucks and I had surely built trucks. I built engines and frames for 1973-1975 pick-ups and utility vehicles. I built frames and dressed them out for SUV's; connected the trimmed out bodies to these frames and drove them off the end of the assembly line from 1975 to 1980 then I went into the interior of the cab to build dash boards and install all the trim that makes a vehicle a finished thing instead of a glorified tool box. About 1983, I started building those bodies in the cab shop. I had many fewer people and a lot more hard automation. I learned the machine gun like stutter of a manual spot welding gun and how to dodge the sparks these guns could shoot six-ten feet. I also had the paint department. What a different world that was. When I started, people were doing most of the painting. In my last years in paint, robots did almost all the painting and people cleaned metal and watched them. During the first Iraq War, Dessert Storm, I was in Lordstown, Ohio learning how to build the big Chevy van which we called the G Van. There, we had two men who worked one hour on and one hour off painting the entire inside of this big van. They had breathing devices they had to wear to survive. When they entered the vehicle, sat down on a plastic bucket and started to paint, I saw them no more until they got out of the truck. Baltimore Assembly had a new, electrostatic robot doing this job a year or two later. That robot would reach into the body through the back doors and paint at a terrific rate. The inside of that Astro van was done in about one minute with no human touching anything. It was a marvel.

Robots were far from the biggest changes though. These were caused by part design for assembly, systems changes that scheduled each truck so much better and simple ways that each person's job was set up. All these things together made a working building a truck in 1990 about the equal of 1.5 people from 1973. These were effects of the 'Toyota Production System' which was about as big a change as Henry Ford's assembly line concept.

The seventies were a decade in waiting, as far as the computer was concerned. Oh, big things were happening, especially from the outlook at the time, but computers didn't dominate the decade except in the thoughts of a few of us.

In 1972, when I was still working for Manpower Inc and not yet a truck builder, I went into typewriter exchange in Flint and after much soul searching bought a four function calculator with no memory and an external charger for $180. I was twenty-seven and I just had to have it even though I was only earning $550 per month so it was about a third of a months wages. They had been much more money in the recent past. This thing was a marvel for my industrial engineering buddies who did their math with a Freiden in the office or with a pencil on the side of a box in the plant.  This was probably the first calculator to hit Vassar too.  At least, my Jaycee buddies had never seen anything like it.  After that, for about five years, I regularly bought a new calculator.  Normally, these came from Texas instruments and cost about $180.  Each time, they had more capacity.  I took to carring one on my belt.  These things were as big as a hunting knife and could really intimidate in that era.  My last one before the computer era was a TI-59 ,  This could hold 999 program steps and the program could be recorder on a mag strip.  A new age had arrived.  I got a thermal printer and the calculator for Christmas one year and spent all vacation programming a GM efficiency report.  It just made it in the 999 steps.  This did the work of two men  with one in half the time.  I was pleased.

Then I found the teletype that lived in the backroom.  Nobody was doing anything with it. so I got a plan.  I found out that you could run programs written in Basic on that machine.  You hooked the telephone handset into a cradle, dialed a number, listened to the chirping and prayed on hot days.  Then you were time sharing on the big computer in the sky.  ie  Swartz Creek Parts Division.  After hours and hours of learning to write basic and coding this program that never ran even the fifth time.  I got one running.  and put the calculator program out of business.  The teletype replaced the two men with only one for two hours per day.  Progress!

For my birthday in 1977, I got what has to be the most important present of my life.  My friend, Ron Sprague and I drove to Apple Creek Station  on the corner of Northwestern Highway and Inkster Road where I bought a newly introduced Apple II for $1190.  I was making $1060 per month by then.  I brought it home, connected the TV that served as a monitor and was not included.  Found and connected my cassette player that would serve as a disk drive and uploaded a program.  The theme from 2001 a space Odessey started and my life changed forever.  Then came computing magazines and trips to the Apple club in Detroit where people from all kinds of business met to learn about their machines,  VisiCalc was invented and business was revolutionized.  Visi-Calc was the first program like Excel is today.  I had it at home three years before we had it in GM.

In 1980, my plant was ready to try personal computers.  My friend, Kiley Reid and I went to Computerland on Dort Highway in Flint and bought an IBM pc with a copy of the brand new Lotus 123.  We also got a copy of dBase II  which was a relational database like Access.  We got it on a friday and my bosses who know nothing about computers ordered me to have a water leak program running by Monday.  I worked a long Saturday but we got it.

Flint Assembly spent huge amounts of time and money for the next ten years teaching most of its salaried staff and some hourly how to run these machines.  I did a lot of the training for this and set up the original machines.  I really was doing industrial engineering work about half the time and PC coordinator work the other half.  By 1990 most departments had a PC or two and tens of people were using them every day.

These machines were small though.  I got caught up in the scrap problem at Flint..  A big plant like that had about 50,000 different part usages that need to be tracked.  PC's of that era had no hard drive at all,  The ran on 180 kilobyte floppy disks.  most of which had to be for the operating system and some program like dbase or Lotus 123.  The scrap program had to run on the main frame.

All kinds of resources might be buried and not used in a large plant like Flint.  We had three terminals in industral engineering that connected to the mainframe and ran TSO or Time Share Option.  You could do alot with TSO in an era when parts lists were written on sheets of paper with 80 columns and keypunched by a lady two floors above you.   TSO let you do keypunching  online.  No More Lady... TSO let you do computer copying. so if I had a card that was just like the five below it except for one or two keystrokes, I could type one, copy four and edit a couple of characters and be done.  No more writing 80 characters x 5 lines or 400 letters and numbers with a pencil.  Great!!

Of course there had to be something better than TSO and there was.  It was called EZtrieve.  Nobody could write it but in GM fashion, we had it, whether we knew it or not.   That could sort records. Move them around and add them up.  It could write reports.  Viola.

Well, not quite.  It was not a relational database.  In fact it wasn't a real database program at all.  but you could fake it.  Now relational databases..then and now.. let you do a neat thing. If you have one file that says something like

  1. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9&C60 
  2. 81010103010010 00103122 Radiator  LS9-C60 
    and another file that says
  1. 00103121 CA21 
  2. 00103121 CA71
  3. 00103121 CC01
  4. 00103121 CC05 
  5. 00103121 FB05

    1. 00103122 CA23
    2. 00103122 CA72
    3. 00103122 CC05
    4. 00103122 CC01 
    5. 00103122 FB06

    You can join the two files together on a common key in a one to many relationship and end up with records like

  6. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9&C60 CA21
  7. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9&C60 CA71
  8. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9&C60 CC01
  9. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9&C60 CC05
  10. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9&C60 FB05
  11. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9-C60  CA23
  12. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9-C60  CA72
  13. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9-C60  CC05
  14. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9-C60  CC01
  15. 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator  LS9-C60  FB06
  16. Now, that trick doesn't amount to much until you have many files to join and tens of thousands of records in each file and a computer without much capacity.  If you have that problem and this technique and do it right you can save $100,000 dollars a year on 50,000 trucks and that was always the point.
Flint had another buried program that was just a classic called Focus.  Focus could do almost anything that Access can to today.  It wrote fast and ran quickly.  It only had one problem.  It ran on the main frame and could cost $2000-5000  per month to run,.  The boss didn't figure it out for quite a while, but we are still making money.  Today, this program would run on a PC with Access for FREE except for the purchase cost.  That's what twenty years have done.

In 1991, I got the chance to move from Flint Assembly to Ottawa Towers in downtown Pontiac.  It was a great move.  and for a few months I wasn't an industrial engineer.  I became a process engineer.  After almost twenty years, I didn't have a stopwatch.  I didn't have standard data books to tell me how long it takes to move a human arm 18 inches.and I didn't do cost studies or work with the union.  I made assembly documents.  It was probably the best job I ever had.  We would decide how to assemble a piece of the a truck in my case medium duty trucks like school buses, gravel trucks, stake racks etc.  make a part list and cut and paste a picture of an exploded assembly with leader lines to the parts.  I liked it.

Change happened and I ended up with this job and an IE job.  OK, that was alright.  I helped build the Savanna Van in Wentzville, the Astro van in Baltimore, pickups in Arlington, Texas, and a couple things in Shreveport, La.  Finally, I was put on the Colorado, small pickup being designed in Michigan but built worldwide.  That is how I got to Japan. and worked for a few days in the Fujisawa Isuzu Plant.

In 2000, Sue and I had three three teen-agers at home and spent a lot of time parenting.. The house was so much busier than it is now and had a fair share of inter-generational conflict. At the end of the decade, I am really pleased with all my kids. They have done so much. That may be the biggest magic that happened this last decade. I started with mostly teenagers and ended with a whole set of these impressive young people that you see dashing through airports with a laptop and a cell phone in full glory.

The computing revolution that began way back at the end of WWII has been a major piece of my life. I have spent so much time on it and it has been so important in my daily thoughts that at this age events prove that it is a major theme of my life.

I have a bunch more to say but I will post this for now.