Entries in the Category "General"

Interesting new blog

This guy thinks a lot like me.

Turning out the lights

I had an epiphany in the bathtub the other night. I do my best thinking in the bathtub, while I'm relaxed. But I wasn't relaxed; I was looking over my shoulder, wondering who my blog would piss off next...and which psychosis-producing virus had invaded all my email lists.

Continue reading "Turning out the lights"

We're going to sell a house!

Happy happy joy joy! My wife is going right now to sign the papers. She'll lose a little money on the deal (and the house is paid off), but it's been sitting awhile, things aren't supposed to get any better, and the buyer upped their offer out of insulting territory.

Computer finally back

After 2 weeks and umpteen dollars, my computer is back home, better than ever. It was a trying experience, as it took for flaming ever for the power supply to come in...the special little power supply that goes in an iMac, while across the store there was a whole wall full of power supplies. And I didn't have a direct line to MicroCenter service, and they didn't call me, so calling them was a trial. Now to clean up my desktop, do some long-overdue backup, and get to some serious composing.

Apple: building new Windoze users

My computer died Tuesday night. I came home to find it off, and it stayed off, regardless of what I did to assure that power was getting to it. I couldn't deal with it Weds. as I had a mass to sing, but I decided I would get it fixed yesterday. I looked at the list of authorized Apple repair places, found that the Apple Store in Legacy Village was the closest, and decided I would drop it there. I guess I missed the part about "make a reservation" because, I mean, who makes reservations for repairs? Like I'm going to sit in the lobby watching bad daytime TV while the mechanic changes my tires?

So I get there, and in the back they have the "Genius Bar" with a stylized atom over it. A tad twee, no? And 3 people at terminals, and screens above them with names, and the words "All Mac geniuses are booked for today; please come back tomorrow." But I don't get it. Some guy shows me how to make an appointment onscreen, but the first one is on Saturday. And they had something about first-come, first-served. So I figure I can wait around. So finally, this woman talks to me. I'm kind of steamed by this point, and she's really trying to play nice, so she tells me I can be put on standby in case anyone cancels. So I do that. After about an hour with my name not showing up on that screen, just when I'm ready to walk, she admitted to me that I probably wouldn't be seen.
"Would you like to make an appointment for Saturday?
"No, I would not like to make an appointment for Saturday; I live 50 miles away, and I don't come into town on Saturday if I can avoid it."
"So what do you want to do?"
"I don't know what I want to do." This was the actual truth, though at that point, "Go shopping for a Windoze machine" was a definite possibility. I apologized for being tense, and said she was really trying to be sweet. Then I heard the magic words, "You could try Micro Center".

Some minutes later, after fighting the Mayfield construction, there I was. There were 2 folks ahead of me in the line, but they were dealt with promptly and courteously, as was I. I paid my $65 diagnostic fee, was warned that "It might be as much as 24 hours before a tech can look at it, because we're pretty backed up." (which beats 36 hours just to talk to somebody). 17 hours later, I got called with a preliminary diagnosis of blown power supply (duh, that's what I thought) and an estimate. And I'm on my way.

I have been using Macs for longer than a substantial portion of ipod users have been using air. I started with the Plusses at Cleveland State. My first Mac of my own was a Mac II with a big horking B & W monitor, supported by a 3rd party video card (it was a salvaged CAD machine from my wife's job). Eventually the monitor blew, and it wasn't economical to buy one to fit the card, or to buy a new card and cheap monitor. So I got a Performa 68040, an emac G3, and the current imac G5. Neither previous computer had given me any trouble; they were replaced because of Finale feature creep; they just weren't powerful enough. But the current imac has always whined. I thought it was bad engineering until I got the same machine for my desktop at work and found it was silent. Maybe that will get fixed too. Unfortunately, the serial number is too late for the power supply recall.

To summarize: I'm a very faithful customer, one Apple can't afford to lose. I fault the shop girl for encouraging false hope, and the Web designer for lack of emphasis on a way-non-standard process. How about "You must make an appointment"? As I told the help, if I had known I needed to make an appointment, I would have made one.

Oddly, I've been thinking of picking up a cheap (i.e., not by Apple) notebook. Not only would it give me portability, but I could get used to working with Gates-ware and answer all my dad's questions. (Yes, we run Windows on the front terminals, but I run Windows apps, I don't run Windows, if you see the difference.) And I'm sure I'll be getting a new Mac someday. But why let me even consider the alternative?

Septic adventures

We had our septic tank pumped yesterday.
Rusty had seen the guy at Ike's on Friday and made the appointment for Monday, as we've been here almost three years and not had it done. That meant I had to find the lids. We knew where the tanks were, sort of...the places where the grass was dead. I only moved 3 times more heavy clay than I needed to, and even got some help from Sara, who is not known for her work ethic. She gets to fill them in today.

He showed up Sunday, wanting to do the job then as he had a doctor's appointment on Monday. That was fine with us. The first tank was no problem, except for not having been done in awhile. But the previous owner had been in the habit of flushing hog manure into his septic system, and it was all in the second tank, so getting that cleared out was a time-consuming challenge. Meanwhile, I got good gossip, like the tale of the woman who called him in because she had accidentally flushed her false teeth (they were found in the toilet trap). And the Hopkins Rd. property that burned was sold by the sheriff at auction Saturday for $39,000... 15 acres (5 wetlands), well, septic and a house that needs torn down.

Stress test

My stress test today was a long affair: in at 8:30, out at 3:30, mostly due to equipment malfunctions. Boredom and caffeine withdrawl were the worst of it, though the chemical stress test is no fun either, as the vasodilator they give you makes you feel as if your veins were crawling with fire ants. St. Rusty came with me (her idea) and kept me laughing, and was rewarded by lunch at Olive Garden.

For light reading I had The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living, by Zmirak and Matychowiak, gotten through OhioLink (Franciscan University)because of a review on lewrockwell.com. It is in roughly equal measure a cookbook, a hagiography, and a Christianized version of a George Hayduke book (e.g., telling the story of Lidwina of Schiedam to your kids when you take them shopping for roller blades, or staging raw Easter egg fights on your lawn at 6 AM Easter Sunday), with a light sprinkling of theology.

They're pretty concerned about religion at St. Joe's (of the Humility of Mary Health Partners, no surprise). The doctor asked me about mine while I was wired-and-drugged, and I said truthfully "It's in flux", and he went on to describe his Byzantine Catholic wedding which included, no joke, placing a crown of thorns on his head. After my wife's last "honey-do" job (finding the lids to our 2 septic tanks, under a foot of hard clay, by Monday), I could relate to the symbolism.

Home again

Out of Madison at 7:30 (EDT), back here at 6:15, no problems. But not much besides problems here. Half my new blueberries are toast, the fruit is drying on the vine, everything is dry dry dry, the hose which I fixed before leaving needs fixed again (or, better, replaced partway with tubing), half my pictures didn't come out, I have a stress test scheduled on Thursday, there's a stack of unread snail, God knows what will be waiting at work. And yeah, Bob, Joan and I agree that it would be a good thing for me to practice to consolidate my gains.

I'll get some of those pics up here when I finish trying to fix them.

The child will not sleep

We had a bit of a time getting granddaughter Madison to bed Thursday night. She's been doing this "I want my mommy" thing when she sleeps over here. Once or twice, early on, it got indulged, but not now with the price of gas etc. We made her sleep the last time she was over, but no, she had to pull this "I'm scared...I want to sleep with you...I miss my mommy (fake tears), I miss my sisters." I tried to use logic. "Hey if you go to sleep, you won't miss your mommy any more." This was a bit beyond her.

Then she started a new tack: "My vagina burns". I guess it's a generational thing, but I'm a little creeped out by a 5 year old saying "vagina, " though I suppose it's better than lot of other words. Besides, it was technically inaccurate...if she'd been burning inside, we'd be seeing a doctor, and then probably the police. But I guess her crotch was red, so Gramma put some bag balm on it. Then she was back to the mommy thing. She'd been put down, and then she came in to Gramma's side of the bed. I could tell Rusty was weakening and it was time for the Jo Frost treatment and Grampa to the rescue. I picked her up, said, "Good night pumpkin" and put her in bed. She tried it once more but I'd closed the door. "Waaaa....whimper....SNORE"....mission accomplished. So I can only wonder how she's dealing with the scary dark at camp, where she is now with Gramma and Sara. I'm sure I'll hear a report later today.

I hope you have a better day than these folks did

Patriots Day, April 19, 1775 - 1st shot of American Revolution

APRIL 19 1933 -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt takes the US off the gold standard.

APRIL 19 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising

April 19, 1961- collapse of Bay of Pigs invasion

April 19, 1992 first attempted raid on the Weaver Family

April 19, 1993 - Federal agents attack Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, shooting or incinerating over 80 women, men, & children.

April 19, 1995 - Murrah Building in Oklahoma City bombed.

Just another weekend

Last night's concert went extremely well. I had some problems in the first piece with a note not sounding, but after that, I played shawm better than I ever played in my life. The singers were equally solid. Those of you who weren't there (which was all but, oh, 3 dozen of you :-( ) really missed out. Afterwards, Dr. Duffin stood the first round at a local wine and martini bar. A good time was had by all.

The weekend took an abrupt turn for the worse when Rusty got a call at 8 (she was still in bed). She'd been reminded that she had agreed to pick up her granddaughter Sara (age 10). And Sara was bringing A Friend. Sara is an OK kid, but her friend was loud, hyper, obnoxious. We hadn't eaten breakfast yet, so I cooked, and they both said they didn't want any as they'd had breakfast. OK, cool. Then Sam started asking for food. "We asked if you wanted breakfast, and you didn't." "I don't want any eggs that came out of a chicken's butt. I eat store eggs." Well, where do you think eggs come from anyway??" So she's sped up on caffeine and sugar, driving even Sara nuts, to the point where Sara was saying to her face, "I'm not bringing you next time." They decided to play Monopoly and that we'd play along. Cool...but Sara said, "Sam is really bad at math". And that was the truth, besides having no attention span. Her money was all over and she couldn't keep track of her properties. We felt sorry for her, so we'd voluntarily pay her (In my family, if you landed on a property and the owner didn't catch you, you didn't have to pay.) But she owned a utility, and Sara kept on singing out the answer to "4 times the amount on the dice". Finally, we made a rule: you had to ask for your own rent. Next roll, I landed on the utility and shook an 11. "Here's an easy one: what's 11 x 4?" "Uh.....41?" (Rusty): "OK, pay her $41." I mean, that's the way it works in the real world, doesn't it? Sara had the first (dark blue!) color group, but wasn't aggressive about building it up. And after Sam turned down a green and then bought it at auction for $200 over what she could have had it for, I bought it from her for $320 to complete a color group.

We got rid of them at 3. I'm making fetayer, drinking a Belgian-style ale and listing to string quartets...what all God-fearing people SHOULD be doing on a Sunday afternoon.

So drive already!

People in Northeast Ohio can't drive in snow. Period. My hour-and-ten commute took 2 hours and 40 minutes this morning, at an average speed of 20 mph, because people would not drive. 422 was slow all the way out, and at no time during this was there significant snowfall. (There was slushiness in Cleveland, but traffic there wasn't much slower than usual.) First there was the lineup before Welshfield hill, then another when the Solonoids came on (I hit Solon when I usually arrive at work). Visibility was fine, road slickness almost nonexistent. And yet they crept. And these people had SUVs! "Yeah we got an SUV because we live in the snowbelt and we need traction, 4WD, and protection from accidents." Well, gee, ANY car is safe if you PARK it. Which was what was being done on a lot of roads this morning.

I'm from Michigan. I don't think we got more snow than here, but MI drivers know what to do in it. We know how to pump brakes, for one thing...something I've never seen evidence of here. This means we can go faster and still stop. And if we can't stop, we know how to slide: graceful controlled slides out of harm's way. When I was 16, I took my licence test in the winter, and the cop took me down a village side street which, like all village side streets in Michigan in winter, was paved with compacted snow overed by a glaze of ice. I started to slide, and before I got myself corrected, I was going sideways down the street. Yes, I passed...because the cop knew that anyone who could slide with such aplomb would be a truly fine driver once they'd mastered the finer points.

But the real reason Michiganders drive so well in winter is that everyone has a relative in the auto industry (a brother-in-law, in my case). If you total your car, or somebody else's car, hey, your brother has to eat too. And he can probably get you the employee discount.

Seriously...yes, you need to exercise some care when there's white-out conditions, black ice, or snow up to your hubcaps. For anything less, don't be a wuss...DRIVE!

Two from DeCoster

Here, dealing with the Easy-Bake Oven making the National Toy Hall of Fame.

EBO was a great toy. But we quickly worked our way through their crappy mixes, so there was a limit to what non-food our parents were afflicted with. (We tended to pig it down ourselves in any case.) We warmed Vienna sausages, we made hot fruit compotes, we baked up Jiffy mixes (along with Karen, another great thing from Michigan). We tried to invent chocolate pizza, but never quite got it down. Pretty soon we graduated to The Real Thing.

Then, along with a lot of other libertarians, she's doing the Gridlock Dance. That would work, if we had divided government. But on domestic policy, the differences between Mr. "Compassionate Conservative" and the Dems are pretty minor. And Karl Rove must have stolen his veto pen, and only gave it back once (Well, why not? Rove gets blamed for everything anyway. Since the Diebold machines are all rigged, Rove must have engineered a Democratic vitory to discredit the Democrats for 2008.)

Bye, Aaron

Aaron Shaffer, the guy who got me blogging, is leaving Case for greener pastures. The Tech Team is betting on when he makes his first million, and Tom Hayes reminded him to remember Kelvin Smith Library when he does. I'll second that...and add that I take commissions.

So, if you don't like my blog...blame Aaron. :-)

RIP Keith Donat

I just heard via email that libertarian activist Keith Donat died yesterday in an accident at his place of employment, at the age of 32.

I didn't know Keith well. My most protracted contact came from a time when he, David Macko and I were all serving on State Central Committee, and we'd ride to Columbus together for meetings. He was one of those guys who had come into the LP from the Left, and Macko is a rightist, so trips were filled with loud heated discussions of matters such as abortion, where I could barely get a word in (even if there'd been space to think)...and I am not easy to silence. And there was Dave's contempt for Keith's nicotine addiction, and the stops it required. After awhile, I began to invent excuses to drive by myself.

It may look like you're in a 6 x 3 dungeon, Keith, but I'm convinced that you're free at last.

Beck is back

...sort of: whole story here.

I was worried. His blog was dark for almost a week, and while the most likely explanation was shenegans with his server, anything was possible given some of Billy's stands and actions. I'm glad he's alive and free, and wish him the best of luck in finding a new host.

If anyone found me less gentle than usual today

...it was because I awoke to find my beautifully-painted mailbox was the target of a drive-by baseball batting. I had hoped I could straighten it to functionality (if not aesthetic rectitude), but I can't bend it so that the door will close. Some people cannot allow a thing of beauty to exist.


Off to Michigan to see the 'rents. Back here Tuesday.

Race to the bottom for oil?

I wish my father, and everyone else who had a conspiracy theory about the price of gas, would read this:

Large pension and commodities funds are the big traders and they're seeking profits. They've sunk $105 billion or more into oil futures in recent years, according to Verleger. Their bets that oil prices would rise in the future bid up the price of oil.

That, in turn, led users of oil to create stockpiles as cushions against supply disruptions and even higher future prices. Now inventories of oil are approaching 1990 levels.

But many of the conditions that drove investors to bid up oil prices are ebbing.

So they're going to get screwed. And with them, maybe the rest of the economy. And all those union pension funds, that bid up the price of oil and then blamed it on the oil companies.

Natural gas is falling too.

But, of course, it will be Bush telling his buddies in the oil biz to drop the price before the election....

On the last morning of free America

I got to work just before 8:30, as usual, opened up the library, got my email and dealt with it, opened Netscape, around 9...and there on the home page was something about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Shrug. Tragedies happen all the time, and I don't pay much attention to them. A few people die, life goes on. Some drunk or crazy private pilot, probably. I didn't click on the headline; I did whatever I'd opened the browser for.

Continue reading "On the last morning of free America"

Starting early at home defence

"Because he can't put blood in our house, that's why," Jacqueline said. So, the 5-year-old, who stands less than four feet tall, escorted the burglar to the back door and told him, "Get out of the house."
If a 5 year old can do it, why doesn't every American?

Thank you, mzwyndi.

Speaking of Net fences...

...the notorious gun discussion group troll most often known as GunKid (John Melvin Davis) is facing some less virtual walls for stealing some guns from his estranged wife's storage locker (bad!). That led cops to his own storage lockers where they found a bunch of weaponry (not bad, but definitely illegal, given that GunKid had a string of felony convictions).

Here's some discussion on a site that had been victimized by him.

Happy birthday!

In a few short hours I will officially have lived Half A Century.

So sing along with me:
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)
Death and gloom and black despair
People dying everywhere
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)

Blogging librarians

Unlike here (and following strips), I do work.

Bibles must change religion or die in Afghanistan

An Afghan supreme court judge holds a copy of Abdul Rahman's Bible, who would not now face the death sentance for refusing to convert back to Islam from Christianity. --Caption on a Reuters picture

If they're killing Bibles or turning them into Korans by judicial fiat in Afghanistan, that country is more screwed up than anyone knows.

If it was the Germans who were responsible for that howler, I'd have to cut them some slack. But if it was a native-English speaker with Reuters, sombody needs to be unemployed.

Keep your tongue where it belongs

The longer I live in this state, the more I wonder about what's in the water. I was going to say that it could have been worse (you know what I mean, Lorena), but "more intimate" wouldn't have been worse than this...this could be life-threatening.

"Why do you talk so funny?"
"I wah frech-icci ma irfren an he bi ma oun off"

Woman Charged With Biting Off Man's Tongue

CELINA, Ohio (AP) - Police accused a northwest Ohio woman of biting off a man's tongue. Chad Ringo, 29, remained in intensive care Monday at St. Rita's Medical Center in Lima after unsuccessful attempts to reattach about 30 percent of his tongue, Celina police said.

A hospital spokeswoman said he was in fair condition.

Police charged Emily Mescher, 25, with felonious assault after Ringo was injured Friday night. She was freed on $10,000 bail following a hearing Monday in Celina Municipal Court.

Police said Mescher and Ringo had been involved in a relationship.

Note the past tense.

If I die, blame my ex

Spousal spats can damage your heart

The manner in which husbands and wives argue over such hot-button topics such as money, in-laws, and children, may be a factor in their risk of developing coronary atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries of the heart.

In a study of 150 couples, mostly in their 60s, researchers found that women who behaved in a hostile manner during marital disputes were more likely to have atherosclerosis, especially if their husbands were also hostile.

In men, hostility -- their own or their wives -- was not related to atherosclerosis. However, men who behaved in a dominating or controlling manner -- or whose wives behaved in that way -- were more likely to have clogged coronary arteries.

Yeah, it WAS heartbreaking. But it's over now.

To retread a joke about cowboy hats....

Q.: What do blogs and hemorrhoids have in common?
A.: Every a--hole gets one eventually.

Well, I got one. (Which? Not telling.) I'll be discussing contemporary classical music, politics, and whatever else interests me. Probably the people who read the music stuff will hate my politics, and the political types will be bored by the music. Well, that's what categories are for, I guess.

The title, "the Quick and the dead" comes from the Nicene Creed: "And He shall come with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead." It's an old family joke that we shall be liable for judgement twice, once as Quicks and once as the dead. I shall also be judged by my words here, so hopefully the third (and last) time will be the charm.