Tuesday, May 26, 2009 1:00:51 AM
First, I have to admit that I didn't do much today. I got a couple of jobs done, notably improving the interior lighting in the cargo section of my big van and getting a laundry done. That having been said, maybe it's about time to give some thought to the folks this day is supposed to be about. Many fine brave men fought and died in foriegn fields so I could write this unhindered, and to them I can only say "thanks".
I suppose this is as fitting a place and time to think of one soldier who made it back and who I knew personally. He was born in March of 1919, lived through the Great Depression, went to war and fought in the European theater as an Army Engineer, came home, then migrated to Chicago where he married and raised a family of four kids. He was a factory worker, working in front of a furnace in a hammershop for 32 years before finally retiring in his 62nd year of life on this planet. I really can't add much concerning his retirement years because he really didn't do much beyond a bit of fishing early on, then gardening the rest of the time. In all the time I knew him, I doubt he ever darkened the door of a church though I know he did have a belief and a certain fear of God, who he prayed to on a fairly regular basis. One of the reasons given for not going to church was that he wouldn't be able to understand the preacher, and that would bother him. This excuse happens to be true enough, between his army days and working in a hammershop his hearing was largely shot. He heard about every third word and maybe understood about half of that in his final years.
His wife preceded him in death by about six and a half years, and he died in February of 2007. I am, of course, writing here of my Dad. He was given a military funeral in his home state of Georgia, and that's pretty much where I have to leave this memory for the time being. His military record was an honorable one, for those who might wonder. I was given his flag, as his eldest son.
Sunday, May 24, 2009 2:03:17 AM
Today it's time for something a little more up-beat. I went to a graduation ceremony today, my niece graduated high school. Now, of course that's normal enough and lots of people do it, but in this case things are a tad different. She started out life behind the 8-ball as it were and if you had known her when she was three years old you'd have bet good money this day would never come. You'd have lost your money, as she not only graduated but did quite well at it too, if what I see is any indication.
What does the future hold for her? I honestly don't know, but right now I wouldn't bet against this class. Some of these kids are going to be something to watch in years to come. Excuse me for bragging a bit, but for once in recent history I feel like celebrating a bit.
I don't drink, personally, but it's the best "smiley" for the job I can come up with on short notice.
Saturday, April 18, 2009 2:09:16 PM
It's official, I no longer live in Chicago. I'm in Carol Stream now, which is a Western 'Burb of Chicago. My lease started here the first of the month, and because of slow set-up (on my part) it has taken until the beginning of this week to get properly in here. "Here" is a single-bedroom apartment, baseboard hot-water heat, fully equipped kitchen and what looks to be a decent air conditioner. Friends and family gave me some furniture so I have a table and some chairs, a bed and so on. That's important because I got out with next to nothing from my old place.
I'm set well enough now to begin making a go of it. Finances are going to be real tight but what else is new, and I've lived on my own before so I know I can do it. About the wife that I left---- same old, same old.. I have no doubt that if I tried to live with her again it would be the same abuse that I left, complete with being cursed in the Name of Jesus (I am not making that up), being hit in the face and so on. I couldn't wish that kind of life on my deadliest enemy, nobody deserves to be treated like that. Most spousal abuse stories you will read are of women being abused by men, I stand as testimony that it happens the other way around too.
Saturday, March 7, 2009 4:32:30 PM
Folks, it's happened. Tuesday night just passed, I had to leave my home under emergency conditions. I'm presently living with relatives while trying to pull myself together enough to effect a better choice.
I can tell you straight it's not much fun to be called bad names and to be hit in the face by your enraged spouse. I'm reasonably certain I did nothing to deserve it, and more than certain that strong drink had a part to play in tuesday night's activities.
To my friends: I'm going to be hit-or-miss here for a while while trying to get life re-arranged. I'll post when I can.
Thursday, February 19, 2009 4:31:16 AM
Folks, it looks like I'm going to have another forced move. Events are transpiring to make the present street address an untenable one, so a move becomes necessary. I post this to let my friends here know I may be off-line for a bit, for exactly how long is anybody's guess, moves being what they are.
I'm looking at the possibility I may move to a place I've occupied twice before. It's a decent apartment complex, the only downside is that the commute to work and back can be formidable.
Thursday, November 27, 2008 4:29:53 PM
Recently, I had another go-around with the robo-call. This time around, it was the same office responsible, but this time the calls were for me. Same problem though. Multiple calls throughout the day. I finally got through to the office responsible, and we had a little chat. The receptionist told me that they were trying to figure out how to get rid of the company they were using for this "service", so maybe it'll lighten up a little. I said "I hope so, but in the meantime I'll be considering any more than two calls in the same day to be telephone harrassment and I'll take appropriate action if I have to".
I'm hoping the matter ends here. For those of you who use these machines to set appointments-- any more than two calls on a given day is likely to enrage your client. Think about that before unleashing your "robo-call" machine.
Sunday, August 31, 2008 7:48:29 PM
I'm a little late-- by at least a week-- with this one. A week ago, they had Cornfest over in De Kalb, Illinois. It's an annual event with a fair, some shopping and a handful of attractions of some interest. This year, they had a Flying Fortress on display. I had a chance to take the five-dollar tour of the old war-bird so I took them up on the offer. This particular bird never saw combat, having been built just as the war in Europe was winding down. She was used in search and rescue missions instead. The folks who presently maintain and fly her have her set up as a fully equipped heavy bomber, complete with all the gun positions and dummy bombs in the bay. It looks as though she's about to take off on yet another mission with the Eighth Air Force over Germany again.
For a little bit, I wondered to myself how they landed, and then expected to take off again, in a four-engine bomber from De Kalb-Taylor Municipal Airport. Then something occurred to me. These birds used to take off, fully loaded, and sometimes in war-weary condition from grass strips in England for their missions over enemy territory. It would be easy, therefore, for a relatively empty bomber in first-class condition to take off from the tarmac at De Kalb-Taylor.
One position on the plane, more than any other possibly in the entire war, seems worthy of special respect. This is the ball-turret position. It took a small man to climb into that thing, once in he was cut off from the other nine men of the crew. He sat through the entire time he was in the ball turret with his knees up against his chest, steering the thing with his feet on foot-petals, and hoping that an enemy bullet didn't jam the gearing so that he couldn't get out again. If it did, he was in a world of hurt depending on the rest of the crew not to rub him against the ground upon landing. His was also the position least likely to be able to get out if they had to abandon the craft in mid-air. The tail-gunner was also unlikely to escape a stricken B-17, but at least he could see his fellow crewmates in flight which is more than the ball-turret gunner could do.
I walked off of the plane with somewhat better knowledge of what men of my dad's generation did during WW2, and maybe a bit more respect for the people who did it. None of the men who flew this bird was a physically large man. I know this because I stand only 5 foot six inches and many of the clearances were tight for me. The "old man" on the bird was likely not to have had his 24th birthday yet, and many of them never would have it-- heavy bomber missions being what they were. These planes were not pressurised, they flew at 30,000 feet and the temps up there are forever at fifty below zero-- F. or C., it doesn't matter because at that temperature it's just plain too cold. It goes without saying that the crews were on oxygen for the entire run at that altitude.
Saturday, August 30, 2008 2:50:13 AM
It finally had to happen. I went ballistic today over a robo-call. For those who don't already know, a robo-call is placed by a machine that calls you, then gives you a canned speal to get you to do whatever the person who programmed the infernal machine wants you to do. I have grown to hate these calls with a passion, perhaps not least because there's no human on the other end to vent your displeasure to.
I knew the source of this one, so I called the number and let them know exactly what I thought. First, the call wasn't even for me but for my dad. He's been dead for a year and a half so the likelyhood of him returning a call is, shall we say, remote at best. The outfit making the robo-call should have known this, since the office involved was his doctor's office. Second-- also a fact this office should have known--- no worse way to communicate with dad could have been found than a robo-call. He was hard of hearing, possibly getting every third word or so of anything spoken to him. His ready understanding of what he did hear was somewhat less than that. I can think of nothing that would have irritated him more than trying to decipher the instructions in a robo-call.
He never learned modern technology. Cell phones, computers and robo-calls were all beyond him, and are for many of that generation.
If you're going to have business dealings with people of the World War Two generation, maybe you should skip the modern technology. Here's an idea: Have an actual human being place the call and talk to the person on the other end. Actual two-way communication--- waht a concept!
Sunday, May 11, 2008 9:55:33 PM
Every now and then I need to use this thing just to be sure I still can. Since my last posting here much has happened. Senator Obama has taken a commanding lead from Senator Clinton and while he still hasn't locked the Democratic nomination he's in a position now where it's his to win or lose. I don't think Clinton can win in November even if she does manage an upset in the nomination now.
In non-presidential stuff, I finally had to buy a bigger vehicle. Seems my Econoline wasn't big enough, so the powers-that-be told me I needed to go larger in my van. A Sprinter van fills that bill, but these days I do well to half fill the thing so it makes me wonder why the need for it.
Today is Mothers Day here in the States so we're busy telling our women how really special they are. My wife is pretty special so that makes that part easy. Visiting my mother's grave isn't quite so easy. Too many memories, and of course I miss her.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007 2:29:54 AM
We're about to celebrate the first Christmas here since our marriage, and so far so good. All the gifts have been bought, the food is being cooked and soon a jolly fat guy will show up and place the gifts around the tree. Hey, don't look at me like that! Sure, I've put on a couple of pounds but----.
Some time back, I remember Christmases which were mighty slim pickings. Not because my parents were broke or anything, though Dad's job as a factory worker never did do much more than keep a roof over our heads but... it was a religious thing. Most of my family belonged to a religious group that didn't celebrate Christmas or much of any other holidays for that matter. It meant that gifts didn't need to be bought because nobody in the family would appreciate them anyway.
Somewhere in there may be a happy medium. This weekend, we spent a bit more than I'm comfortable with, given the fact that right about now we're not exactly on the rich end of the economic spectrum. But, for all of that, it's better than stiffing the grandkids totally on presents and trying to tell them that it's the right thing to do when all of their friends are showing off their presents, especially since I personally am not convinced it would be the right thing to do.
This Christmas, though, I think it would be well to remember something. Christmas doesn't come from a store, and this season-- regardless of what you may have read in the news--- is not about making sure the retailers have a fat bottom-line. Seriously, if the retailers are that dependent on this one month to keep from going bankrupt for the year then maybe they ought to go bankrupt. There's eleven more months, what exactly were they doing all that time???
No, it's a time for those of us of a religious turn of mind to remember the gift that we have been given. Our Heavenly Father has sent His only begotten Son, born into modest surroundings so that all could be free to come to Him rather than in a palace so that only royalty could dare approach. He gave us salvation through this son, so that we who believe can have life not only in this world, which is passing away, but also in the life to come which doesn't pass away. He gave us who believe the right to be citizens of His Kingdom. Stop to think of it. That's quite some gift, and it comes complete with restored fellowship with God, who created us for fellowship with Him in the first place.
OK, I'm off my soapbox for the moment. However, whilst you're running around spending money you don't have on presents you can't afford for people you don't like, maybe take a moment to consider the gift you and I and everyone else have already been given, free for believing in Him and His Kingdom.
Saturday, November 3, 2007 10:00:55 PM
This is the last page concerning my Google test. Forget about it, Google doesn't appear to update terribly often. Their last page under my heading ( I search my name and my handle) was in 2005. So, I tried "ASK.com" and found my most recent stuff right away. I'm just taking a wild guess here, but it occurs to me that the "800 Pound Gorilla" finally got so big it became unmanageable and now smaller, more nimble search engines will do a better job.
OK, next post will be on something else.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:27:53 AM
My test from a couple of days ago is concluded, at least to my satisfaction. Blogs like this one don't seem to show up as fast-- if ever-- in the search engines as they once did. Not that this is a surprise, because by now these things have begun to get "old hat" just like personal web pages have done. That, and a bit of over-marketing by every person who ever hoped to make a fast buck on the Internet, using every device possible.
So, knowing that, I intend to start having a bit of fun with this critter, knowing that all communication here is now completely secret as far as Google is concerned and there is no chance that anybody I don't tell will ever find out. Heh, heh heh. Let's enjoy the ride, shall we? Until next time....
Saturday, October 27, 2007 10:39:35 PM
This post isn't for any particular reason, I'm just testing a theory. The theory is that search engines, Google in particular, really love blogs. I suspect that this post will show near the top in just a couple of days even though it has no reason to exist apart from my desire to see this idea work.
A little later, I am going to resurrect this critter for more serious work, probably it will replace outright my op-ed page on my personal website. I'll reserve that site for storing photos that I will post here and elsewhere, plus testing ideas that I can't do here. Besides, every now and then I develop a taste for seeing if I can write as well as Richard Roeper (of the Chicago Sun Times) does.
On a personal note, because I know that some readers will ask: My marriage is six months old, and we are doing well.
Monday, April 23, 2007 1:45:42 AM
In my last entry, the first heading concerned an upcoming marriage. It's a done deal now, we tied the knot on the 14th of this month. It was a civil ceremony down at the county building, so now we have the job of trying to make for a civil marriage. Hey, it's a great life if you don't weaken.
Monday, February 12, 2007 12:40:07 AM
Yep, a long while since I last wrote anything here. In a year or so, a lot happens.
1. An old flame revisited. End result looks to be an April marriage, to a woman I divorced some 16 year ago. We've both had time to mature since then, so this time it looks like there's a fighting chance to make it work.
2. A "forced" move. Some of you who have read my past posts here know that for one reason or another I was living at my father's house. Well, last October he took sick and we had to move him first to a hospital and then to a nursing home. The thought of increasing expenses forced us-- by which I mean his offspring which includes two brothers and a sister, besides me-- to get the old house ready for sale. That meant I had to move, and I now reside with my soon-to-be wife in a three-bedroom flat on Chicago's West Side. It's a tad small, like most of those old Victorian-era places, but hey, it works.
3. This last bit makes me wish I could put a black border around this entire post, but right now I don't want to look it up even assuming it's possible. Regrettably, my father died last Sunday. He was eighty-seven, a month short to the day of his eighty-eighth birthday.
Onward and forward. I guess I'll have to work a little harder to keep this up, eh? While I'm at it, I'll probably have to introduce you to my bride, as soon as I can show her how all this is done. Till then,...
Tuesday, December 27, 2005 2:07:31 AM
It seems it's time I get started on a couple of projects that have been collecting dust for a while. First on the agenda is the Sport 40. I've actually had it almost together but decided it was wrong the way it was, so it's being re-done. Tonight, the radio box came up for attention. It's supposed to keep water out, while allowing the control linkages to move the rudder and throttle. How well it will do this remains to be seen, what I've seen of some other boxes leaves me with the thought that a hair dryer will be necessary equipment. I'm using two-hour epoxy to glue the tray into the box, it's really good stuff but it takes overnight to really set up hard.
There was another critical change made, too. I had to get a new canopy for the boat. The one it comes with forces you to route the engine exhaust through the transom of the boat. This puts the tip terribly close to the propeller. Too many people choke the engine by putting their fingers on the exhaust tip, and that puts fingers too close to that prop. So, I'm using a different canopy that allows me to run the exhaust high over the rear deck, which moves fingers away from the prop. Photos to come later. Keep that Sport 40 in mind, it's where part of my "handle" on these pages comes from. Photo below is a Sport 45, similar to mine except for the canopy.
Monday, December 26, 2005 7:06:46 PM
It's the day after Christmas, and I'm at home today because, at least here in the States, it seems most people are off today. So, no driving all over the place making deliveries. Somebody remind me to post some pictures of the van and its usual load later.
Saturday, for me, was the day to buy and deliver gifts. Just so you know, I'm divorced since 1990, and I still have contact with my ex from time to time. We got together and I bought gifts for her grandkids (not mine, we never had children together). I also gave her a couple of gifts that I had bought earlier for her. She's got a thing for stuffed animals, and a couple of toy dogs goes a long way. Yesterday, Christmas Day, I spent trying out a couple of toys I had bought for me at Radio Shack. They have an R/C helicopter and a hovercraft that aren't too bad for what they are. The chopper is a real trick to fly, but with a bit of practice you can keep it between floor and ceiling and out of the furniture. It's tiny and it won't stand any wind to speak of, so flying it outside is questionable at best.
The hovercraft is OK, but the directional/propulsion fans are all-or-nothing in the power department. It'll move along at maybe ten or twelve miles an hour on a smooth surface, somewhat less if the surface is rough on the air cushion. I'm used to proportional controls, so having only on/off on the propulsion fans takes quite a bit of getting used to. It gives me an idea about building a better one though, and googling around a bit helped me to find some plans for just such a venture. The lift fans have to be on/off, but if I build one I'm sure going to have proportional control of the drive fans. In the meantime, this one is a blast to drive.
The snow and ice are melting outside, so the next bout of snow and ice will be fresh stuff. I got the driveway cleared at last today, some of that ice was practically nailed to the pavement.
I'll see what I can do to keep this blog, and its companion site
more up-to-date. Until next time....
Sunday, November 6, 2005 1:24:24 AM
I found them eventually, and have been posting there (look for posts by mjmsprt40).
Tonight, they're working sporadically if at all. In fact, the entire Opera personal site seems to be having fits. Can't say it says much for reliability because it happens so frequently anymore. So, I have a few questions. Could it be really unreliable servers? Could it be that the powers-that-be can't have something that simply works, but they have to tinker with it? Could it be rebellion in the Server Monkey camps? Maybe other possibilities?
Right now, until I click "Post" and actually see this go up I have no idea if even these blogs are working right. So, let's try this gambling machine, shall we???
Thursday, September 8, 2005 1:36:58 AM
I ask beause all attempts to find the forum subjects I was familiar with have -- up to now-- failed. No "Debate and Discussion", no "Lounge". The only thing apparently active is the various egghead discussions about Opera and its adventures/misadventures on different OSes and bugs in the new Communities site. Any ideas where the "good stuff" went?
Wednesday, September 7, 2005 12:12:52 AM
Yet again, somebody had the idea to change everything and make things harder to find-- at least temporarily. Finding my own blog here was quite a challenge, since the first attempt produced a server error. Well, we'll all get used to it eventually. I have to say it works-- at least so far-- much better than the board at HCOA that I frequent (that board is entirely private-- you have to be a club member just to see it, let alone post there). This one appears to have some new toys to play with. It'll be of some interest over the next few weeks to poke those toys with a stick and see what they do. An ability to directly upload photos from your computer to your blog-- it works on the R/C model boats board I frequent, if it does as well here we may have something. The old way required you to have access to a website where you could store photos for posting. Inefficient, to say the least. Let's give it a little time, get used to it and see how it goes.
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