Monday, December 15, 2014

Old Ironsides

Old Ironsides

By Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. 1809–1894
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
   Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
   That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
   And burst the cannon’s roar;—
The meteor of the ocean air
   Shall sweep the clouds no more!

Her deck, once red with heroes’ blood
   Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o’er the flood
   And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor’s tread,
   Or know the conquered knee;—
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
   The eagle of the sea!

O, better that her shattered hulk
   Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
   And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
   Set every thread-bare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,—
   The lightning and the gale!

The oldest commissioned warship in the world

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Think I Was Born Under A Lucky Star

The only problem is luck comes in two forms - good and bad.

A while ago I decided to try out my snowblower so it would be ready for the snow when it came. The starter rope broke.

No problem, I ordered another one - genuine Briggs and Stratton.

Took everything apart to get to the recoil starter so I could replace the rope. Can't quite get there because it requires removal of nuts holding it on and I am afraid there is much more tearing down necessary that I have neither the tools or the enthusiasm to deal with.

Maybe the sensible thing is to take it into a repair shop. The only problem is the astronomical charges.

Got a little snow and decided to try reassembling everything and to try starting the thing by tieing the broken ends together. Went along pretty good. No problems on reassembly.

Probably flooded it because it wouldn't start. No problem, just wait a while.

Had lunch and tried again. The knot did not hold. The one broken end is lost inside and all I have is a handle.

The rope is probably nylon so it probably would not stay tied even if I pulled everything apart again to get the loose end.

Trials and tribulations!

I suppose, in spite of the cost and the wait time, it is either the repair shop or the snow shovel this year.

It is really sad because I actually kind of enjoy clearing snow with the snow blower.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

73rd Anniversary Of Pearl Harbor Attack

December 7 marks 73 years since the attack on the Pearl Harbor aval Base by Japanese carrier planes.

There was a gathering of survivors and they were all in their 90s.

This was one of those completely unforgettable moments for people at the time and launched the US into World War II.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Musings on Colorblindness

A short time ago a friend who was ill asked me to pick up some sets of sheets. She wanted light blue or possibly a light beige.

So when I got to the store I easily found a light blue set. The package was clearly marked as light blue. Easy enough for me. I can sometimes get confused between blue and purple but the label made sure I was on safe ground.

She did want two or three sets and I did not think three blue was a very good idea. Anyway, there was only one blue in her size.

Other colors available were black, red and yellow which were not on the wish list.

She already had a light green set so I figured light brown or tan would be a natural choice.

Brown and green for a person with red-green colorblindness can be very difficult to distinguish. On top of this, rather then simply identifying the colors as brown or green or whatever they decided that pretty names like sagebrush and hawthorn were much more attractive. You can not understand how frustrating this can be.

I once bought a suit that I just made up my mind was the perfect brown suit I needed. It looked perfect to me and I did not have the basic common sense to ask someone else what the color was. Needless to say when I got it home and finally figured out it was green it never left the hanger. Not even on St. Patrick's Day. I was too embarrassed to admit my mistake.

At least with the bedding I had the sense to ask a salesperson when I finally found one.

I really wish there was some sort of device available that you could hold up to a shirt or whatever and would display a simple name of the color. Or you could hold near a car and it would tell you it was red rather than candyapple or whatever.

I am not talking about a scientific instrument like a fabric colorimeter. What I am looking for is something that will average the value over an area to give a simple one word description so it would work for things like plaids, patterns, or things like metallic finishes.

Something simple you could point and click to get results while shopping or browsing.

Maybe a cellphone app that uses the camera and averages the color over an area would be useful and handy. Just make sure it resolves into basic colors like red, green, blue, brown and forget marketing wonders like mocha, azure and whatever.

The relief that a simple device like this would provide would be tremendous. Whether it would be a single purpose color detector or a cell phone app is not important.

What is important is the sense of relief it would give to 10% of the male population and 1% of the female population that sees colors in a little different way than the rest of the population.

All I have found so far are industrial testers and a few complicated looking things including cell phone apps.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

That Cricket Again

One thing I have heard over and over is to change the batteries on the smoke detectors when you change the clocks for Daylight Savings Time!

You would think I would learn.

At least I wasn't completely fooled this time like I was a couple of years ago.

I still laugh about my silly mistake:

Being previously informed I went right after the smoke detectors and sure enough it was the upstairs one that was serenading me every now and then.

Talk about learning the hard way. At least I saved a lot on bug spray this time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This Is For The Birds!

In my previous post I described the cold feeling in the house with the furnace disabled.

In the process of finding the cause of the problem the remains of two birds were found in the chimney outlet from the furnace. I guess how they got in there will remain a mystery but the chimney outlet was plugged.

After the birds were cleaned out it was found the blower motor was not working. What next?

The maintenance guy replaced the start capacitor and everything seems to be ok.

Who ever heard of birds disabling a furnace?

I was thankful again that it is not deepest Winter!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Things Are A Bit Chilly In Here Right Now

What do you do when you start to get out of bed in the morning and notice it is quite a bit cooler than usual?

Only one logical solution - pull up the covers again and think this over.

I then checked a register. The air was cool.
I checked the furnace as it blew all sorts of cool air through the house.
I checked the thermostat and turned it way up - just in case.

Nothing except continually dropping temperatures.

Time to be a little thankful - it is not Winter so there is no problem with the pipes freezing - only me getting chilled.

Shut off the furnace to stop it from pushing cool air around the house. Also noted that the chimney pipe was cold. Not a good sign.

Called for help.

A couple of hours later in conversation with the maintenance man he told me he had checked the thermostat and igniter and no luck so far. Has to get some parts and would return later or early tomorrow.

I do have electric heaters running in my bedroom and the bathroom so I think I will survive. Again thankful it is only in the upper 40s or low 50s outside so the heaters are helping a little. I really would like to expand my horizons beyond the bedroom and bathroom though.

So as I move into the future it is nice to have some really significant immediate goals. Forget about world politics. Forget about the national debt. Just warm it up a little bit right here!