Monday, August 31, 2009


Carolyn was able to come into the office and have a little coffee and a pop-tart. She tried taking Oxycontin yesterday without eating beforehand, so she ended the day ghastly sick and vomiting.
Happy Birthday, Brutus Thornapple.
Happy 40th Birthday, WWW (Internet), and many thanks to your father Al Gore, but who's yo mama?
If Jesus were to walk into the room and tell you a lame joke, would you give Him a noogie?
Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of an ex-president, has been hired as a reporter for the Today tv show. I am much more qualified than she, but I wasn't approached about the position; no green star on my belly.
All this time I thought honey bees were dieing off because they were eating scraps from fast food restaurants, but now I read that it is actually cell phone microwave towers doing a lot of the damage.
I am about to make a shopping list for Jerry and Tammie; we need stuff from the grocery store.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Carolyn is down again today; I am seriously doubting she will recover this time just by using steroids. I feel so badly for her when there is nothing I can do to relieve the physical pain. I have had a few minutes to look around on the new photo site and make some short comments on Flickr, but now I must go and see if I can rustle us up a bite to eat.
Thanks, everyone.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The soul of me

Carolyn is up and about; at least she made it from the bed to her office chair by using the walker. She is still extremely sore, and it will probably be weeks for all the discomfort to leave her leg; I am plenty tickled she is mending. We did manage to put together a pot of coffee which made us both extremely happy to get our fixes; caffeine for us both and sugar for me.
Why is it that a lot of people have an aversion to shopping at Wal-Mart? The way I see it, one can buy poor quality Chinese made junk there, or go to some place like Target and buy the same poor quality Chinese made junk and pay a substantial premium. I think it is more of a snob factor than anything else; a good many Wal-Mart shoppers dress from chic casual to casual ridiculous. One tends to see more mullet men and 80's big hair women browsing the isles than at higher echelon outlets, and I'll admit; my nose and eyes tell me some of the shoppers are like myself and seem to take only one or two baths each year ... if that many. Then again, I sometimes see Mercedes and Lexus driving old fuddy-duddies--along with doctors and lawyers--looking for bargains, especially in the grocery section. They may buy their clothes at Saks Fith Avenue, but they eat the same old grub as do we hillbillies and rednecks whom drive smoking old Chevys and paint-peeling Fords. I do not like shopping in any store, but when it comes to mixing with a variety of wonderful people, I like visiting Wal-Mart; it makes me smile.
The Smoking Gun's Mugshots of the Week!

Friday, August 28, 2009


Carolyn is not quite as sore as she was, but she is still immobile except for struggling to the bathroom. She began her steroid treatment this morning and we should know by tomorrow if the pills will be effective. Both of us had a rough night, and I have been sluggish all day although I managed enough energy to get away for my shot. Again, thanks everyone for your concern, well wishes, and kind words.
I haven't been much able to keep up with things going on in the world. Michael Jackson's death is now being called a homicide, but I don't really care. Senator Ted Kennedy died and is being mourned by the liberals. He--a star-bellied Sneetch--did a lot of good things while Senator, but that was his job. I--a plain-bellied Sneetch--did a lot of good things as an electrician, but it was my job (thanks for the green eggs and ham, Tammy). A lot of the things he is being praised for are deeds he thought about doing but never got around to seeing them through. He introduced a national healthcare reform bill many years ago, but never did push it except when it was popular to do so. The Chappaquiddick incident still lingers in my mind as the one thing that defined him as a person, and it is a test he failed miserably. Money talks, and Kennedy money literally shouts across the state of Massachusetts. I hope to write more about my Kennedy clan thoughts later on.
My internet time has been reduced to almost nil. Carolyn is not one bit demanding, but everything I do while standing has to be done slowly and with one hand. Taking care of both of our needs is time consuming, but I do not have anything else I would rather be doing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The morning and some of this afternoon was spent at the emergency room with Carolyn. She used the walker to hobble to the Escape, and then into the E.R. where she plopped into a wheelchair. I put her purse around my neck like I do my camera, folded and carried the walker in my left hand, and was using my right hand for my cane. Somehow I managed to push the chair to the check-in counter; we were probably a sight to behold. After x-rays and an echo thingy, the doc decided it was indeed probably more than likely a pinched sciatic nerve in her back. They gave her two shots of dope, some prescriptions, and sent her home. She was out of it by the time I picked up the medicine and got her on the bed, and I am one dead tired and pooped hubby. No sleep in two nights for both of us, no coffee for her or me, and no sugar fix for me, yet we survive. It all could have been much worse.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to James Cameron.
Today would have been the birthday of friend BRENDA MOORE. Brenda died of cancer that began in her breast and eventually consumed her. We miss you, Brenda.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Carolyn is still down; she is using my mom's old walker just to go to the bathroom. I think she has decided to go to the ER tomorrow if she hasn't improved. Thanks for the good vibes, y'all.
Does anyone know how to cook coffee? Damn I miss my joe since she has been down. Black, strong, and lots of sugar; brain and vitality food it is. Thank goodness for Pop Tarts and vodka or I would be on starvation.
Michael Jackson isn't as dead as people think. I drove downtown for errands and I saw Elvis and Michael behind the Varsity Bar and Grill shooting craps. Elvis is still fat.
Carolyn is calling ...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One day closer to ... ?

Linus Torvalds

Carolyn is very ill today; the pinched nerve in her back is giving her a fit. I am trying too convince her to see her doctor, but she is so far refusing. It is difficult for me to make her understand that her health is more important than paying some bills ... I am very frustrated.
On this date in 1991, the Linux operating system for computers was born, fathered by a 21 year old student named Linus Torvalds in Helsinki Finland. This blog has been written on and published through Ubuntu Linux nearly everyday for the past two weeks. I am using Firefox web browser and its Scribefire extension just the same as I would be doing on Windows. I use Open Office suite just like I would use Microsoft Office suite. Windows demands a lot of system resources; Linux will--and does--run on just about anything which has been built in the past 25 years that uses a central processor, including many cell phones, tv converter boxes, automobile electronics, and much more. If you have a kitchen appliance with electronic readouts and controls, it is likely Linux powered. A basic copy of Windows OS costs more than $200 and you will be lucky if you can get it to install; nearly all desktop distributions of Linux are free, and so is the software we use everyday.

Linux isn't perfect, but it is far more stable and secure than is Windows OS.
Why is the Obama family taking a luxury vacation at taxpayer expense when so many Americans are struggling to pay for a place to live, buy food for their families, and pay for basic medical care? Our vacation this year consisted of a day trip to far away Cumberland Gap, a car journey of less than 200 miles round trip.
For the first time since I have been drawing a social security check, I (and millions of other retirees) will take an income cut come January 1st. There willl be no increse in benefits, but the Medicare premiums will rise, making a negative gain (oxymoron) overall. The people whom are now suffering the most will have to endure even greater hardship as medical care costs rise at a rate of 40 percent or more each year. God bless America.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Monday ... if that is not an oxymoron

Sunshine today; it has been rare for the past week and it gives me a feel good all over tingle. I remember last year when the drought was a major problem, but with all the rain this year, dry ground is hard to find. Hope it doesn't mean a lot of snow this winter. My grandma based her snow predictions on August fogs; the more fog the more snow. I am proud to say I've not seen one fog this entire month. Of course sleeping until 9:00am isn't conducive to the study of morning atmospheric phenomena.
Have you ever gone a whole day without thinking about having sex? Me neither. Scares me just thinking about not thinking about it.
I spent a lot of Sunday learning to use GIMP. It is a difficult program to master some of the simple stuff, and I will never be able to make it dance like I did with Paintshop Pro. Of course I learned PsP over a period of 15 years, and I will be fertilizer on a mountainside before that much time rolls around again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stings and things

I managed to figure out some more of the inner workings of the Linux accounting program; I am so used to Quickbooks automating the double entry system that the GnuCash way was confusing. I went on a quest to find my old college accounting course textbook, and am relearning some stuff from it. I can now create invoices, do accounts receivable and accounts payable, and hopefully make payroll. It isn't as easy as my old way, but we do not have much of a business left so I should be able to get along. I also have spreadsheet templates to be used if needed.
Yesterday afternoon was back to the market on hwy 107. They had some more fresh corn and okra, but the latter had too many black spots so Carolyn did not buy any; black spots usually mean tough okra. We drove back via Dry Creek where we stopped at Jerry's and gave him a sack of corn. I decided to fool around in the local junk yard a bit to see if there was anything suitable for photographing and came within a step of putting my foot right on a small hole in the ground that was in actuality the entrance to a yellow jacket's subterranean nest. Yellow jackets are a wasp about the size of a honey bee. The video is of a similar hole that someone else encountered. In my life I've had many fleet run-ins with these fellows, and it used to be after one or two stings I was far enough away not to be bothered anymore. These days are different: having to use a cane just to walk precludes any running away, and to make things worse, I have developed an allergic reaction to bee and wasp poison. If I get stung it is much like being in the presence of a pretty woman; my pulse and breathing become rapid, my blood pressure falls to the point where I become light-headed, I start sweating, and if I don't lie down I will fall down. My dad was even worse off; if he got stung he had to immediately go to an emergency room to get an anti-venom injection or he risked dieing. It has been many years since I have been stung, so I do not know what my body's reaction would be now.

After leaving Jerry's, we drove part way up the mountainside on a rough fire access road. There was not much to see, and Carolyn did not like the ruts, so I turned around and came home.
Last night was the big NASCAR race at Bristol, a huge facility that is a bit less than a 30 min. (normally) drive from my house. I used to religiously watch it on tv each year, but since the organization made all the cars look exactly alike, I have completely lost interest, and so have a lot of other people. That fact--along with a suffering economy--has put attendance at the tracks way down for the past two seasons. The big telling point is that many race fans are not watching the events on tv either. There were a lot of fans like myself that were brand loyal, and the only thing about the cars now that has to do with brand is the engine and some decals that proclaim the marque; they can--and do--swap engine brands and decals from car to car, and no one can tell the difference. The drivers are a very talented group of whiny-assed kids, and that does little to promote the sport among people who like to see good racing and not have to listen to a bunch of blame laying because only one of them won. Not a race goes by without some kind of dirty laundry being publicly aired.
The Smoking Gun's
Mugshots of the Week!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday things

As if I didn't have enough to do with learning Linux and porting stuff to it, I have to take a break and go get my weekly fix. I used to get my shot and spend the remainder of Friday afternoons making photos at one or more of the nearby parks or around the area where I grew up, but bad eyes and a lot of rain this year have put a damper on all that.
The payroll is finished except for check printing. It is a task that used to take an hour or more to complete twice each month, but with only two employees to pay, it takes about 20 minutes from time sheets to check printing. It has taken much longer this time due to GnuCash not having a payroll module and everything has to be entered by hand.
By the way; I managed to load Windows on the new computer, but I will not be using it very often ... at least I plan to wean myself from it.
I read where Google has accelerated developing their 64 bit Chrome browser for Linux. They seem to have put the Windows 64 bit development on the back burner. I hope this is a sign that the Chrome operating system will soon be completed. It is to be Linux based.
Looks like most of the local robins have left for their winter headquarters on the Gulf coast. I've not had much porch sitting opportunity this year, and like the birds, time has flown by. I am preparing to start to commence to begin to get ready for winter.
Well, back to work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Docs and books

Carolyn had a doctor's appointment this morning and came back with a clean bil of health and a nearly clean checking account. Although she gets medical stuff done at reduced costs because she has no insurance, it is still out of reason.
It's been a hard day at the office. I am finding the migration from Windows to Linux becoming easier. Most of the day was spent working with GnuCash, a finance and accounting program that will allow me to do everything QuickBooks does, although there is a learning curve. I will be using both my old Windows XP and Linux until the first of the year, then I plan for it to be all Linux. One thing though, I will never be comfortable with the Gimp like I was with Paintshop Pro.

I booted the old machine into Windows to copy some things I needed from there, and first thing I saw when I logged on was a warning that my anti-virus program hasn't been updated for several days. I damn sure do not miss stupid stuff like that when booting Linux.

I haven't even had time to read the obits today; I may be dead. Haven't looked at my online comics either; after the obits I generally begin the day by reading The Born Loser and wind up with classic Calvin and Hobbes.
Well, back to learing the finer points of GnuCash.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


One thing for very sure, Microsoft does not like Linux. For near two weeks I have been trying to make some version of MS Windows install and work on my new pc build. I went as far as spending three hours downloading the pre-release version of the new Windows 7, and it will not install. Apparently they all must be gagging on any Linux residue I've left on the machine. Actually, it has nothing to do with what I have installed on my computer. MS is so scared that someone will steal a copy of their bloatware that they are making it almost impossible for do-it-yourselfers like me to use their products. They wonder why people are switching to Linux. Like a lot of folk, I hope Google's Chrome based OS will soon be ready for public consumption; it could very well be the death knell for Windows on the desktop.

Sooner or later I will find a hack to make one or another of the Windows work, but until then, I will be switiching between computers.
My eyesight is coming and going; I had four very good days, but the past three have been so-so at best. It will probably be cold weather before the allergies all go away. I have been able to make a few photos and upload some to Flickr, this blog, and the new photo site, but I cannot jump into anything with enthusiasm due to not knowing how long I will be able to see well enough.
The last of the true televisioin journalists are dieing, and with them go the best years of tv news coverage. Walter Cronkite passed just a month ago, Robert Novak died yesterday, and now Don Hewitt is gone. I respeced all three of these men, although I did not always agree with them, Mr. Novak in particular.
Michael Jackson--a real nobody muiscally--died and was mourned by the world. A true musician and musical pioneer died and most people in the world do not know he even existed. Les Paul was real man.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Carolyn and I ran some errands yesterday, and wound up at one of my favorite places in the world, the small lake behind Wilbur Dam on the Watauga river. We needed some together time, but it was short lived due to a work "crisis". I wish people would learn to think for themselves.
Great news: Wholesale prices fell more than expected! Real news: Retail prices probably will not reflect much of the decrease. Wholesale prices are what the government uses to make its economic predictions, but like the government itself, they are unrealistic. In the real world, the money you and I have to spend for life's needs is the important equation. Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for the old and disabled are based on wholesale price indexes, not on what we have to pay as consumers, and as long as big business (and a lot of times, small businesses) are allowed to gouge people, there will be no relief for Joe and Jane Average.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sight seeing

Last evening we had another of those downpours that prove the Johnson City Development Authority is an useless entity. Thirty plus years of authorizing, talking, planning, promising, consulting, committeeing, spending, and tearing down some of the city's best heritage buildings have done nothing to alleviate downtown flooding. If these jerks have a plan, I'd sure as hell like to know what it is. No, I take that back; to know would just make me more nauseous.
Healthcare in America; bought and paid for by big business as usual.

The score:
Sarah Palin - 1: Barack Obama - 0.

I wonder if these "well meaning" people understand or have even read the preamble to the American Constitution, especially the phrase "Promote the general welfare"? "We the People" means ALL the people, not just the wealthy and powerful.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
On a more religious subject:

Diagonally across the street from me lives four college girls; as young and as pretty as they come. One of them has taken on a habit of walking around naked in front of her bathroom window which faces my house and can easily be seen from where I sit in the office. With strong binoculars, she should be able to see what I am writing. I have taken on a habit of making sure my window is as clean as possible, and I am so tickled my eyes are becoming well. I wonder if she would close her shades if she knew a drooling, super-horny old man was catching an occasional peek of her goodies, and actually I think she knows what she is doing. Because of trees and shrubbery (see photo), the only view of her window is in a straight line from my window, and I know if I can see her, she can also see me if she has looked out the window, and I also know she has done so. Oh, my ... excuse me while I find the bottle of Windex and remove my nose prints from the pane.

Why did I say "On a more religious subject"? I understand that these young ladies are part of a Christian sorority on campus.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Obama the Coward

Barack "Change" Obama seems to have cut and run on the public health bill; he is just another coward in high office. The Republicans and Big Business have won again, making the health care plan a watered down measure that benefits only the few wealthiest people in the nation, those whom head the medical and insurance companies and own the US Congress. Without the option of choice, what is left? The same old same old is still as ugly as ever. Sometimes a brave man catches a case of cowardly leg disease and runs when maybe he should not have, but "Change" Obama has been a coward from day one; just another politician talking the talk to get elected, but no balls when it is time to walk the walk. Nine months in office and not one real piece of positive change to show for it. He is a better friend of Big Business than was Dubya, and that in itself is mind boggling. Mr. President of Change, do us all a favor and go away! Stand up for what is right or get out of the way.

Frontier folk

Yesterday was mostly spent going to the market for fresh corn and okra, and then riding some back roads in Washington and Greene counties. At the last moment, I decided to ride by Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park and lucked up on an ongoing frontier re-enactment. I was also fortunate to be able to park the Escape very near the action. It was a view of an encampment like the 1700's pioneers might have used as they moved across the mountains into the Tennessee Valley. It was supper fixing time, and most of the involved people were busy preparing the meal they would have that evening. All kinds of dishes were being prepared in iron and copper cookware, and the food was served on pewter or hand carved wooden plates. Staples like beans, corn, chicken-&-dumplings, squash, fried and baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, and much more were being prepared. I had to drag Carolyn away from the c-&-d before she began begging for some.

At the far end of the camp, American Indians were doing the same as the pioneers, but it was farther away than my sore knees would allow me to walk, and I did not get any photos there.

The pics I did get are not great as I had my slow zoom lens on the camera, and most of the goings-on were in deep shade away from the 90F degree heat. I think I will start leaving my 50mm f/1.4 lens in the car for such occasions.

I came away from the area with some good memories, and a renewed sense of awe for the well lived lives of my ancestors and their kind whom were willing to sacrifice everything to live free.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Labor Day in the US is only a few weeks away, marking the end of summer. For me, the day is much more important than just a holiday; it is why it's a holiday that is special. Back before organized labor was castrated by Ronald Reagan, working men and women in America had a voice in government that was heard and often heeded by lawmakers, but that is no more. Organized Labor pushed the legislators into creating a special day to celebrate the accomplishments of workers, whether they toiled in a factory, on a farm, on construction, in an office, or in any place where a person traded his time and ability for a paycheck. People actually had a say in how their lives were run while trying to make a living. With that power no longer in the hands of the workforce, big business was allowed to do as they wish, and that is a big part of why we are in this economic mess.

Would you like to have your 10 year old child or grandchild working beside you in a factory or mill 10 hours per day and six days a week for $1.00 each day? It was like that in the US until the labor movement put a stop to it. There were no "break times", and they were allowed a few unpaid minutes to eat a meal ... if they had one. If so, it was usually a biscuit or a piece of fruit brought from home. Even toilet time was deducted from their pay. They worked over and around machinery that would maim or kill them if they became a bit careless, and it they were hurt on the job, well, that was just tough luck. We know it isn't like that now, and is only a little of how having a voice in the way we live our lives at work has changed our nation for the good.

Big unions have done some bad deeds, and like a lot of things, the bad is accentuated in the press and the good things often overlooked. The American labor movement was once the standard of the world. It even helped end the Cold War by empowering workers like Lech Wałęsa of Poland to create the first labor union in Soviet controlled Eastern Europe. It was the beginning of the end of the Soviet era and the rise of hope for millions of people. American labor helped define the working conditions in France, Germany, Italy, and other countries, including our northern neighbor, Canada. We then empowered a bad president to take it all away from us because he said it was the thing to do. These other nations are now coming out of this recession, and we in the US have yet to reach the bottom ... if there is one.

This nation was built by the hands and pride of hard working people. When September 7 rolls around, please take a moment from you day and remember them.
The Smoking Gun's Mugshots of the Week!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I worked until late last evening and could not convince Vista to load. It's reputation as a dog is still intact, and so is that of Microsoft's (MS) arrogance. A guy at MS support suggested I buy a new sata dvd reader. I told him "no thanks" and would continue to use Ubuntu and Firefox. Those are nasty words at MS.

If the replacement disc does not work (and I expect that it will not), I am stuck having to swap a bunch of cables between pc's until I can learn to satisfactorily use Gimp and the Gnucash accounting program. I like Gimp, but Gnucash is tough to use after being so familiar with Quickbooks. It will not import QB files, so that means I will have to re-enter every transaction by hand, and our fiscal year began on Jan. 01. No freaking way! There are nearly 1,000 already! BTW: Don't you just love those Linux names?
They say energy prices retreated in July. That could be true for most people, when they retreat, they must go somewhere and somewhere is where I am. Gasoline prices are still rising and my electric and natural gas bills are the highest they have ever been. One damn thing for sure, medical prices are not on the retreat; in fact, they are still attacking at a quick march.
If I can scratch up enough scratch, I am going to the store and buy stuff to make some simple nachos, if I can remember how to do it; it has been nearly 30 years since I made them. Friend Fred used to make them in the 70's (or he had Alice to make them), and they are very good hot snacks (very hot!). I think he used Dorito corn chips, bean dip or refried beans, a bit of cheese (I believe it was American, but others may work), and sliced jalapeno peppers. Place bean dip on Frito, place cheese on dip, and top with a slice of jalapeno. Bake them until the cheese melts and serve hot with cold beer. Make a lot of them because they go fast! I suppose they could be eaten with salsa or cheese dip, but it would ruin the nostalgia for me. You will be a sissy if you remove the pepper seeds before eating.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I will be offline for a bit while I install Vista and other software. I need someone to hold my hand as I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Microsoft; I fear evil! My cup runneth over with trepidation! Sob-sob! "I have fought the good fight ... "

Bye; Pa; Shalom ...
Well, all my fears came true. I still have no Windows Vista to use. The install cd is not even recognized by my computer. All flavors of Linux are recognized, but not the ratty Microsoft Windows. I even swapped out cd drives to see if that was the problem, but it was not. I have another trick I want to try and it is very time consuming and a big pain in the ass, but I have little choice. Seems very odd, actually. After several failures, I put the cd in my laptop and it was recognized and offered to load Vista. I tried an old copy of Windows XP and the pc offered to load it. No wonder people are turning to FREE and USEABLE Linux and Mac OS's. Now I have to get the old pc running again so I can do Carolyn's business stuff.
How has your day been?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


My eyes are messed up again. Rats! If they do not quickly heal, I will abandon most computing and reading until they do. This is beginning to become a little too much for me; I am not as tough as once I was.
Last evening, Carolyn's crew found more money lying out in the same place they clean where some was found before. $6,000 this time. Same person is responsible for not putting it away.
I did make a very few photos while in Fall Branch last evening, but I cannot see well enough to fool with them.
I will shut up and go search for my eye drops.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finally back on Flickr and it is so freaking slow. If it wasn't for the wonderful people I've met there, I would abandon it in an instant. There are other places where people can share photos and interact; places where the administration is not arrogant and they care for the members and content. My "Pro" account is paid up until April, so I will have some presence there 'til then, and as long as I have close contacts there, I will hang around.
I want to get out and make some photos! I've clicked the shutter a total of 11 times since I was at Cumberland Gap on July 3. I see (finally) all the wonderful things my pals have been doing and it gives me the burning desire.
Carolyn has received some potentially devastating financial news. She may be about to lose 50 percent of her remaining business income. It's a new world out there, folks.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Days of the Dog

Dog Days end today after a successful worldwide tour and sold-out performances. I felt like an old, worn out mongrel for most of August. I am considering going for my bath one evening this week; I will try using Tide instead of lye soap. I spotted a promising pool at a creek in Carter County and may give it a try this time. It appears to be suitable for a bubble bath, and fortunately after dining on beans and ham for a couple of days, I should be able to create my own scented bubbles. If anyone wants to join me for a bit of recreational skinny-dipping fun, let me know and I will tell you the time and place (wink-wink). I love the life of a hillbilly.
Chris is working in the produce department at Wal-Mart in Elizabethton, but the "new" Ashley furniture store never did call JJ to work after promising him a job.
Carolyn is threatening to trade me in for a new model while the "Cash for Clunkers" government program is going on. I tried to explain it is for cars, but I believe she is shopping around and trying to better herself in the spouse department.
I am learning to use the G.I.M.P. photo editor, and the above pic was processed from a single .jpg using a tone mapping script. It did wonders for the clouds and opened up the shadows. This was uploaded at 85 percent quality. I like it.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bras and GIMPs

Didn't get much done yesterday but ride with Carolyn to various farmer's markets and produce stands. We probably used $10 gasoline to find $30 worth of veggies (said Ken the Miser). I took the camera along, but nothing of importance did I see.

I wanted to go into the mountains today where the temps will not be so hot, but Carolyn busted a bra and had to go shopping. My eyes are very much improved and I need to get out and do some shooting. Maybe sooner or later I can get back to Flickr and other places, but it will probably be at least a week.

Speaking of bras, Carolyn has worn one of the hateful things to bed for the past 30+ years. I keep trying to persuade her not to and that I will not bother her, but she has insisted that my hands roam too much and has steadfastly clung to her supports. About a week ago, I remembered an article I read somewhere claiming that wearing a bra all the time could cause breast cancer. I think that claim has come under scrutiny by the scientific community because there were just a handful of subjects put to a long term test. Anyway, I told Carolyn about the claim without mentioning the scientific part, and she has not worn a bra to bed but one time since then, and one thing was definitively proven; I do have roaming hands that are now well slapped and very sore.
The new computer build went smoothly with JJ (my son) doing all the mechanics under my close, expert supervision. Like Jerry and myself, he is very good at figuring out stuff like this, but they both tend to assemble first then wonder what went wrong, whereas I read and study first, assemble slowly, double check, then wonder what went wrong. I am waiting on the Windows Vista OS to be delivered from Amazon so I can get it installed and begin hating it, and then I will have to redo this Linux I'm working with as I write this. I made an installation mistake with it, but it is forgiving enough for me to keep on working. Windows XP would have failed to boot under the same circumstances.

I managed to load a few graphics files--photos--into GIMP and one thing I quickly noticed different from the old machine is the speed with which heavy renderings get done. That much of an improvement I did not expect. Also, movies play very well with other computer programs running in the background, due to the extra processor cores and memory.
I am doing an outline for a new story; this one will be a detective whodunnit set in the late 1930's or early 1940's, Phillip Marlowe style (as played by Bogey). If I can get it finished and some older attempts polished, I will have enough for a novel-length book of short stories.
The Smoking Gun's Mugshots of the Week!

Friday, August 07, 2009


Blogging from new computer.

North Korea - A View

My thoughts on the situation in North Korea:

  • Never negotiate with a terrorist or a dictator. Britain's N. Chamberlain negotiated a "Peace for our time" treaty with Hitler in 1938, ceding him a big hunk of Czechoslovakia (which wasn't his to give) and then after taking over all of the Czech nation, Germany invaded Poland less than a year later, bringing on WW2. Superior force and threat of imminent and total elimination is all these puppet-masters understand.
  • If Bill Clinton had let S. Milosevic run wild, what would Eastern Europe be like today?
  • If H. Bush had allowed S. Hussein to keep Kuwait, how long before Saudi Arabia became a province of Iraq?
  • Instead of strangling North Vietnam into submission in the 60's war, we negotiated a "dignified and peaceful resolution" with them. The communists now control all of Vietnam and sell us sweatshop products. R. Nixon sold us out via Chinese diplomacy.
  • J. Kennedy was able to negotiate with N. Khrushchev concerning Cuba because the Soviets knew we held the trump card and were reluctantly willing to use it; the ability to destroy Russia.
  • Kim Jong Il cares nothing for the people of North Korea or anywhere else; his only desire is for personal power and to be heard, revered, and feared in the international community. Many times we have sat at the negotiating table with him and his sainted father before him, and they always insist on more than a reasonable people are willing to give and they always manage to keep changing their wants and needs in the middle of the talks and if they do not get their way, they walk out.
It is time to bring the Korean Conflict to an end after nearly 60 years. North Korea fears only two nations and those are the United States and Japan. Big Stick diplomacy should be sufficient.

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I am writing some of this this yesterday in case I cannot see well today.
Twitter was offline more than once for several hours yesterday due to a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. DoS is where someone (a person or persons; a government entity or entities) flood the victim's computers with so many requests for service that the servers cannot handle them and basically shut down the affected site. Tragically, if one of our pc's isn't fully protected, it could be infiltrated and used by the evil doers to help with their crime. Sometimes it is just one disgruntled geek doing his childish thing, and other times it is more sinister. It could be a foreign government sponsored retaliation against the site for allowing their citizens to see things they do not want them to see. Recent events in Iran and China come to mind. I don't think it would be North Korea because most people there do not know that electricity has been invented (discovered), much less something as exotic as the internet. Even "secure" government military computers are not immune to such attacks and they do often happen, but the military is reluctant to tell an attacker whether or not he was successful. Imagine an enemy nation making a surprise military attack on the US under cover of a DoS infiltration (remember the movie War Games? Same thing only much, much larger scale) of the Pentagon war control computers. Your beloved and protecting government will tell you it cannot happen, but believe me, it can and sooner or later probably will happen. Another of my overly pessimistic pipe dreams? Possibly.
The Atlantic Ocean has been suspiciously quiet so far this hurricane season.
One thing I detest to have to do for the new pc build is buy an OEM copy of Microsoft Windows Vista so I can do Carolyn's business stuff without learning a new accounting system. I've been using Quickbooks for Windows since it first came on the scene in 1998, with a couple of upgrades along the way (presently the 2005 edition). The price of Windows has stayed about the same over the years, but Quickbooks has gone from $40 to $200. No more upgrades for me. Quickbooks does have an online version that can be run from Linux via Firefox browser, but the monthly fees are so high that I am better off buying Windows and using my old software on it.

I have been using the beautifully free, secure, and easy to learn Linux Ubuntu now as my primary weekend system for quite awhile, and will contine to use it more often. The only reason I do not use it a lot more is I have to restart the computer to switch to Windows and vice-versa, and that would not be too bad if it didn't take bloated Windows so long to load: 30 second (+-) load time for Ubuntu; 90 seconds (+-) for Windows on the same machine. A two computer setup on my desk? That sounds great but at my age, two of anything is confusing.

Actually I did take Windows XP completely off Carolyn's computer and off my laptop, and the world is a better place. One thing about the Vista purchase and install; I get a free upgrade to Windows 7 come October, and from what I can tell, it is a decent OS, but still very bloated. It has almost caught up with Ubuntu and the Mac Leopard OS in usability. Virus scanners and security software are the biggest drags on my computer's resources using Windows, but Linux has only a firewall, and it is built into the system kernel, which is the best place for it to reside and be protective of everything. No virus scanner is really needed on Linux, but there are a few free ones (very good ones) to use if it makes you feel safer.

My advice if you want to install Linux and Windows on the same machine; use separate hard drives for each. That way, if one hard drive fails, you will still have an operating system to use. Install Windows first if it isn't already in place, and then install Linux. Linux will find your Windows OS and create a boot loader that will allow you to choose which one you want to run when the machine starts up. You can even place Linux on an USB external hard drive, memory stick, flash drive, or even run it from a cd. Try that with Windows. Not!

Thursday, August 06, 2009


A beautiful day it is! I placed moisture drops in my eyes at 7:30am, and it is now noon and no more have been required. I can see with both eyes; not great, but much better than in a long while. Please cross your fingers for me.
Obama the electric man. I will give Mr. Obama credit for the electric car initiative; there are many technology breakthroughs out there waiting to happen so as to largely decrease our dependency on foreigh oil as a fuel source. The worlds next generation of kids will likely not be tied to a power or communications grid in any form. Cheap solar energy conversion—and I mean very cheap compared to today's prices for consumer electricity—will generate enough electricity with only three or four hours of sunlight each day to power our future homes. Solar cells will become so efficient that on days when the sun does not shine, enough energy can be generated to keep a house running. Solar power is already a viable alternative in places where ample sunshine is received each day, and it's cost once the equipment is installed is near zero. To boot, the equipment to solar-power a house is rapidly falling in price. A $6k one time investment will now buy the installed system for a 3,000 square foot energy efficient home, and all that will be needed is infrequent maintenance.

Let's get behind the President on this and the health care reform movements; let's make him do it.
Did I tell you it is a beautiful day?! I am getting some things done that have largely been ignored for a month, and I hope later on to get to Flickr and do some catching up on my dear friend's photos. I have been viewing them when opportunity arose, but I have done but little commenting.
Beginning tomorrow, I may go AWOL once more for a few days if my eyes hold up. For the past several months, I have been collecting parts to build the last computer I intend to construct (that is what I said about the this one). All the pieces have been purchased piecemeal from online retailers that were having closeouts and open box sales, no taxes, free shipping, and some were acquired with points I have built up from doing online surveys for the past ten years. The only part that is cutting edge technology is the cpu, an AMD Phenom II triple core unit. The pc I am now using was built by me exactly five years ago and could possibly be upgraded, but the price for the new one is significantly lower than an upgrade that still would not be as good (fast) as the new one; a two-core cpu upgrade would cost more than $400 for a used part (the new cpu is less than $100), and the entire new computer will be not much more than that when all is said and done and I will have warranties on everything. This computer I am using to write this cost more than $1500 to build in 2004 less a monitor, and it has been trouble free except for crappy software. Why am I doing it? Photo editing is the main reason; with today's too feature-rich software that hogs memory and cpu cycles, it is almost a must if you want to get anything done before the coffee becomes cold. Besides, when you get everything in place, plug in the power cord, and see the motherboard bios do its self tests and beeps that everything is ok, and when the boot screen flashes on the monitor, it is very satisfying, much like the thrill of having sex for the first time in a long while (not quite that good, actually).
Yep, a beautiful day!

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bill and the Babes

I will try to squeeze in a few words before my eyeballs go on break for the day.
Wild Bill Clinton is being hailed for freeing the journalists from rogue North Korea. I'm glad they are home and safe, but I wonder what the US had to give up to make it that way? The US has a long standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists, but I bet there was some give and take; mostly give on our part. I hope we have not lowered ourselves to a position like France has assumed of paying out the nose in money and international prestige for release of hostages. We are changing as a nation, which is needed in many ways, but selling out to terrorists and sappy national leaders is not the road for us to travel. I wonder if Bill was allowed to visit and partake some the treats in the well known harem of Kim Jong Il?
From the web:
You Know You're In A Redneck Church......
  • IF the finance committee refuses to provide funds for the purchase of a chandelier because none of the members knows how to play one.
  • IF people ask, when they learn that Jesus fed the 5000, whether the two fish were bass or catfish, and what bait was used to catch 'em.
  • WHEN the pastor says, "I'd like to ask Bubba to help take up the offering," five guys and two women stand up.
  • IF opening day of deer season is recognized as an official church holiday.
  • IF a member of the church requests to be buried in his 4-wheel-drive truck because "It ain't never been in a hole it couldn't get out of."
  • IF the choir is known as the "OK Chorale".
  • WHEN in a congregation of 500 members, there are only seven last names in the church directory.
  • IF Baptism is referred to as "branding".
  • IF high notes on the organ set the dogs on the floor to howling.
  • IF people think "rapture" is what you get when you lift something too heavy.
  • IF the baptismal pool is a #2 galvanized washtub.
  • IF the choir robes were donated by (and embroidered with the logo from) Billy Bob's Barbecue.
  • IF the collection plates are really hub caps from a '56 Chevy.
  • IF instead of a bell, you are called to service by a duck call.
  • IF the minister and his wife drive matching pickup trucks.
  • IF the communion wine is Boone's Farm "Strawberry Hill".
  • IF "Thou shalt not covet" applies to hunting dogs, too.
  • IF the final words of the benediction are, "Y'all come back now!! Ya Hear"
Thanks y'all for making my birthday one of my most memorable. You are the best!

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Very bad eye problems today ... hope to be back tomorrow.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Thanks, Alice. ☺♥
Thanks, Zuzka. ☺♥
Thanks, Kevin. ☺♥
Thanks, Jola. ☺♥
Thanks, James. ☺♥
Thanks, Mark. ☺♥
Thanks, Cyrus. ☺♥

Small thoughts

As promised, I have a small 'sermon" for today. It concerns Matthew 22:21 and is said by Jesus: They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. We must remember that Jesus was speaking in parables; sayings which we call metaphors in our English language era.

In the United States, the first amendment to the Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." In my opinion, the words of Jesus and the phrase from the American Constitution go hand in hand, and they each have the same meaning: government must keep out of God's business and religion must keep out of a government's business. It is the concept of "separation of church and state" which Thomas Jefferson wrote about in 1802. The problems arise when religions attempt to misinterpret or ignore the words of Jesus and the Constitution. If the US Constitution isn't good enough for American-style religions, why should they risk all and go against the words of the Son of God whom they claim to revere? Because they choose to interpret the words of Jesus Christ in any fashion which suits their immediate wants and needs. After awhile, these immediate wants and needs become part of the dogma and tradition and are never questioned by the congregations or their leaders, be it a lay preacher (laity), the Pope or whomever. In fact, I bet most Christians never bother to read and think about all the words of their Saviour, much less their entire Holy Bible. Instead, they go to church each weekend and depend on a Sunday School teacher or a preacher to tell them what the Bible says and means.

The same God whom created man also created in him the ability to think for himself, but when it comes to religious beliefs, our minds are taught (usually through fear of Hell as much as the love of God) to be closed to any other interpretations than those of the person(s) instructing us, just as they were instructed. These traditional teachings are instilled in us from the day we are born until the day we die, but if we choose to remain ignorant to the truth of Bible teaching, there may be a high price to pay.

Disclaimer: I am not one of those Sunday teachers, but am merely placing my thoughts here. My interpretations are ripe for interpretation, but they do come from an open mind.
My next "sermon" may concern Jesus's teachings on questioning authority, especially biblical authority.

Saturday, August 01, 2009


So far, my eyes are not as bad as they were for several days. The entire month of July was mostly lost but at least eye am still here and eye have hope.
According to news sources, Obama says "Spirit of innovation" is the key to the future. Mr. O had better be taking his case for fixing the present to the voters so that pressure can be put on Congress to repair some of the mess from the past. I have yet to see any meaningful legislation to control big business, big banking, and big Wall Street. What does a salary cap on fat-cat executives prove? It shows us that Congress has our best interests at heart. Like hell, it does. It shows us that meaningless legislation to make themselves look good is as rampant as ever. The only thing that has changed in Washington in the past three decades are the shiny new faces in office. They still have the same grubby and greedy hands as the theives they replaced. Reagonomics has been a real blessing for them and big business, but it has ripped the heart out of our nation. The soul of America has been sold to anyone whom has a dirty dollar.
When all the accounts have been counted, we will find that a large majority of the stimulus money has not been used for what was intended. The 15 percent of "normal" funding wastage will be more like 30 percent, and much of the money that is being trickled into infrastructure projects is being siphoned off by unscrupulous contractors and officials. One place some of the funds could be used is near my home. A few years back, the city built a park near where I live that is now heavily used by people from all over town and a big part of the county, but they have yet to widen a narrow and dangerous street that leads to it. There have been numerous auto accidents, but the park is not in well-to-do North Johnson City and the street widening is on the back burner and will likely remain there while they study old bricks and trolley lines in downtown. They are now planning a similar 'take Rover for a walk" park in the northen part of town which will push our area further back on the "poor south-west side" list. Money talks.
The Smoking Gun's Mugshots of the week.

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