Sunday, December 28, 2008

Singer named Jimmy Jones in 1960

Jimmy Jones - Handy Man 1960 - For some reason YouTube suggested this one to me.
I have to admit, I got a big kick out of it. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Notes on Christmas

See what you did? You should be careful next time. Oh well, there's always next year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Man Reading a Newspaper (Continued)

The statue of a newspaper reader that was located at Niagara and Ferry has been mentioned in the News again.

I originally thought it would be replaced by Sept. 1 but now the word is that it probably would not be located on the corner but should be displayed again after Jan 1. Another location on the Rich campus will be located in plain view of the street.

This is right in the middle of my walking area in the summer. That statue has been a fixture for very long time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Don't Have to Mow the Front Lawn

My lawn mower would just get stuck in the snow - don't you agree?

Actually, this is the first snow that has lasted. They did close schools Friday but all-in-all the plows have it under control. Except, of course, on side streets in the city.
Just in time for Christmas!

Sad Sight

This is a really sad sight for many people. It is located on Niagara near Forest. It is located right by an expressway entrance and exit.

Especially the clam stand, in the rear, was a popular destination for many people.

We can only hope a buyer will be found pretty soon.

Purely guessing, it may have been age or illness. In recent years the menu has been getting smaller and the prices going up.

I used to stop there occasionally after work and have a spaghetti dinner or whatever was on special. More recently they just had a very limited menu.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pedometer News

Only 2838 steps today! That calculates out to be 1.34 miles, based on a 30 inch step.

This is not good. I think it is going to be a long winter - exercise wise.

Any suggestions on how to get a person moving in the real world in that it is cold and - as of tonight - snowy?

Actually, I really do like the cold. The problem is the initial entry into it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Walk Before Winter

This is a quick photo taken on Niagara St. near Forest Ave. The shelter is located on the Scajaquada Bike Path.

The bridges in the rear are the Scajaquada Expressway on the left sweeping around to merge with the Niagara Thruway along the Niagara River and Black Rock Canal.

The area is quite historic as it was in the center of activities in the War of 1812. Scajaquada Creek empties into the Black Rock Canal nearby. It went directly into the Niagara River in 1812, before the canal was built.

The Commodore Perry referred to is Oliver Hazard Perry , known as the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

--- The history of the poem from the Arlington Cemetery site.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The mamas and the papas - California dreamin

I guess the MTV version does not work outside the US (or North America?).
That video looks like it was the same concert as this except they interleaved pictures of people dealing with snowstorms and other people surfing in the sun.
I hope this works better - I enjoy the music.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Really Nice Ad From New Zealand

This is an ad put out by the New Zealand Post.

Nothing overwhelming but it did strike me as very nice. See what you think.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Cousin Jane's Funeral

I went to the funeral for my cousin Alice Jane Davis yesterday (Sat Oct. 11, 2008). She was born Nov 12, 1923 and died Oct 7, 2008.

Her mother was my father's sister but she was almost 20 years older and her children (my 2nd cousins) are in my age group.

The family was very close as everyone seemed to live within 2 or 3 blocks of each other in Cold Spring (east side of Buffalo) and we all went to school 53 at the start. A short walk would get you to many of the relatives. My father had one brother and I think 11 sisters. Everyone has since dispersed but we do still keep in touch.

A good way to describe the experience would be to call it sort of a gathering of the clan. Her kids were back from Houston, Richmond, and wherever. There were cousins and their kids from around Washington,DC. There were, of course, many current friends because she was a very active person in her area.

I very much do not like funerals because in a fairly large family like mine it means you have lost a part of yourself. It really was nice being at the wake and funeral and having all these people I did not recognize calling me by name and talking about past experiences. We did have a lot of happy times in the past. There were quite a few pictures on display including a great one of my father, his brother, and all the sisters.

Jane was by all criteria a great success. Out of 4 kids she got a lawyer, a state superintendent of schools, and everyone is very successful. Plus there are a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I honestly can say I really like them.

She was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna in the family plot. She is surrounded by the Williamses back to my grandparents and a bunch of the aunts my and Uncle Bill. That's essentially the family burying grount. My parents are in one area, a couple of of the other aunts and their families in other sections, and the Williams plot.

This was a very memorable weekend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More Hearing Aid Stuff

My battery ran out one day and after it was replaced I put the hearing aid back in and there was nothing!

What do I do? I took the battery out and put it back in again -- still nothing. I jiggled with the volume control -- still nothing. I looked at the hearing aid to see if it looked like any of the holes were plugged up -- nothing really noteworthy.

Upon closer observation though there is a small little white thing that looked like it was all discolored. Maybe wax? I tried messing around with a paper clip and managed to put a hole in it. I tried out the hearing aid and boy was it loud.

I faintly remember the audiologist talking about filters. I checked the hearing aid box when I got home and there they were. The solution to every hearing aid user wax problem. If only I had something like this on my old hearing aid I suppose I might still be using it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Gray Way to Start the Day

Once in a while when it is gray and damp out I wonder if I should really open that door?

It is nice and warm inside and who really wants to face the fact that October 1 really means the end of the warm days of summer.

The secret is it opens up the door to the fall colors and that crisp feeling in the air that makes it great for sleeping, eating and whatever you like to do outside.

Walking is especially good around this time of year - invigorating.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Broderick Park in Buffalo NY

I took a short walk to Broderick Park at the foot of Ferry St.

It is a small park located on the land where the ferry to Fort Erie was located at the south end of Squaw Island.

This is the view from the Ferry St bridge as you enter the park.

This is a view of the Niagara River and Canada from the park.
The water in the Niagara is moving quite rapidly in this stretch.

A view of the park with the Niagara River on the left and the Black Rock Canal on the right.

This shows the entrance to the Ferry Street Bridge and the park refreshment stand. The stand is a very nice place to have a quick lunch.

The Ferry Street bridge over the Black Rock Canal. My father-in-law worked on the bridge. Grandpa would schedule a 'test lift' for the kids so they could see the bridge go up. The bridge has to be tested daily because of its importance.

This is a view down the canal toward the Black Rock Lock.

This is a view toward the Buffalo Harbor showing the Peace Bridge. The Bird Island Pier that separates the Niagara River and the Black Rock Canal and makes navigation possible is seen toward the right center. That is a hike for another day...

The park is quite busy with people fishing, people going to hike the pier and bikers riding the Riverwalk bike path between downtown Buffalo and the Tonawandas.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Just saw the cardiologist today and he says the stress test looks very good and there don't seem to be any other problems.

Just have to get some regular blood work for cholesterol and I go back in 6 months.

In spite of how I got started, with the bypass surgery, I do like seeing him. He is a very busy person with offices spread around Erie County but he always has the time to make sure you are well taken care of. It is a nice experience rather than a stressful one.

I guess everyone is stuck with me for another year or so if I don't get hit by a car or something.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Annual Stress Test

Since I had bypass surgery in 2000 my cardiologist has been sending me for a cardiac stress test annually.

I guess if I get good marks I am given about a 99% chance of taking the next one. How many other people have odds that good?

It is a very long morning though.

You start by getting injected with a slightly radioactive tracer. They even tell you they will give you a note so Customs will not hold you up at the border. The Canadians don't care - a lot of the people crossing are going to the slots at Fort Erie or Casino Niagara so they make money off you. The US Customs returning actually can and does check that you are not carrying anything harmful and they pick up the tracer.

After you sit for a while they take pictures with a camera that is sort of like a couple of big, rotating boxes and takes about 15 minutes to take a series of pictures around your chest. These are the before pictures taken before the test.

Next comes another wait. This is for the doctor's office.

They check your medications (I was told to skip blood pressure meds and no caffeine for 24 hrs) and they ask if you have eaten (no food for 4 hrs).

You get wired up for an ekg and they put in an iv for the test. You get a shot during the test, through the iv.

The test is simple and effective. You are on a treadmill that they increase from slow to medium to high while they monitor you on the ekg. Your heart is moving fast enough so you can feel it pumping away. The test is well named.

They take off all the patches from the ekg but three. They are constantly asking how you feel.

After that, it is back downstairs for the final series of pictures and to remove the iv.

Next week I go to see the cardiologist and we will discuss the results. Here's hoping for good marks - it's not quite like school.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zoom of first WTC hit 9/11

I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing for the Kennedy assassination and for this:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Latest on Hearing Aid Batteries

A couple of weeks ago I noticed Rayovac hearing aid batteries size 312 for sale for $12.50 for a package of 16 at Dollar General. I had used up all the cheap, short lived, ones I had and was wondering if I should look into mail order or something.

$12.50 seemed like a reasonable price for a store so I bought 16 to try them.

This is the brand my audiologist said I probably would have the best luck with. The ones her place supplies with their name on them are actually re-labeled Rayovacs. The manufacturer also re-labels Rayovacs.

I have gotten 8 days from each of the first three I have tried. These are definitely a keeper.

This is exactly what I have been looking for. If I want to, in the future I would not hesitate to buy these in larger numbers online to get an even lower price.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Sunday like all Sundays

If I admit it myself, today was really undesirable in the weather department.

It did not rain hard all day, just much of the time.

I wanted to take a walk to the store around noon and never realized until I had walked a little way down the driveway that I was getting wet. Talk about the brain shutting down for the weekend! It was a little chilly too.

No dumb weather is going to keep me tied down though so on went a jacket and I grabbed the umbrella.

Funny thing is, it turned out to be pretty nice walking weather. All I had were a few sprinkles and I never even opened the umbrella. Everything is nice and green this year - my garden is like a jungle.

I really was lucky though - the monsoon started a little later. I was driving to go to the store for someone else and actually considered pulling over because it rained so hard.

Monday, September 1, 2008

It's Over! - Almost

I walked by the Kenmore pool this morning and IT'S EMPTY!

Where has the time gone? I am not ready for this.

I really noticed the other night when I was driving home at about 8:15pm that it was almost dark out.

We have had a little more rain than usual this summer but all in all, it has been a moderate, comfortable one.

The garden has grown like a mini-jungle and I have had a great time with it.

Actually, what we have coming up is one of my favorite times of the year. I just love getting out in the fall. The colors are great. And as the season moves on, the weather takes on a crispness that is just great to experience.

...I did really enjoy this summer though and am not ready to give up on it yet.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Story about Buffalo

This is a video from Al Jazeera English that shows an interesting view of Buffalo, NY and the current economic conditions.

It is both pessimistic and optimistic in parts. It by no means includes all the positive things.

I personally found it to be interesting.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nice Sunday

Nothing really of note for today. Just a nice day.

I did spend some time in the gardening business. Cut the grass, got rid of some weeds, trimmed the hedges (they had really grown with the rain we have had), and cleaned up after myself.

This is sort of a blah period for my flowers - no roses flowering, no lilacs, no daylilies, not much of interest at all. I am involved in some rather intense negotiations with my daughter to remedy this situation but that is for next year's growing season. What I do have growing is really looking very healthy though.

Seeing I was being so ambitious today and my little 1 gal gas can was empty I decided to take a walk and get it filled. I usually get a whole cutting season out of one can and had not filled it since last summer. Gas is about $3.95 right now so I figured I would get away sort of cheap (market enthusiasts always say to buy low and sell high).

Whoops! $4.53 with only a little spillage. That lawnmower better really cut the grass good at that price.

Today was really what it is billed as: a day of rest. We all really need them every now and then.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

DSL and Weather

My DSL connection has been great. I really do get incredibly fast downloads. YouTube is wonderful. No problems with music or anything else. You should see how fast large photos display.

Part of the reason is the fact I have a fast processor and a lot of memory.

All of this makes it even more frustrating when we get a good downpour when I am right in the middle of something. I can almost tell how hard it is raining by how much the internet connection slows down. I can actually lose my server connection when the first clap of thunder hits.

--- Not all the time, but enough to get aggravated. I have lost some surveys. You cannot reenter some of them so a long, interesting session can be lost.

I have checked the phone line and there is no loss of dial tone. I have tried speed tests, although this is sort of difficult when you keep getting the message that the server cannot be found.

I tried Google --- dsl and weather --- 3,770,000 hits. I am not alone.

It does not seem to harm phone service significantly but the moisture can wreak havoc with the dsl if there are old components or less than good connections in the phone network. It comes back when things dry out.

Some people suggest checking out your home wiring. Others say to keep bugging the phone company until the problem is resolved.

I hope people with cable or fiber connections do not have this problem. It is a shame that such a great system should have a 'fly in the ointment' like this. I would imagine that someone, somewhere is working on it. It sure surprised me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Two by Patti Page - in the 50s

I don't know how I got on this old music kick but these are songs from my high school years that I still like.

The first is "Allegany Moon" from 1956

This is "Old Cape Cod"

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dusty Springfield sings "I Only Want To Be With You"

I was rummaging through videos and was thinking about how much I liked this one way back when...

Interesting years - school, army, work - finished the decade by getting married.

She was a pretty attractive singer for a guy in his 20s.

She had quite a career.

She kept recording until diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995 and died in 1999.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cruisin' Buffalo, NY

This is just a video made while driving around parts of the city.
I just came across it and it seemed interesting.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Man Reading a Newspaper

In my journeys on the west side of Buffalo, a building I go by on Niagara near Ferry (or Robert Rich Way) is where they built the Thomas Flyer.

The Thomas Flyer won the round the world race in 1908. E. R. Thomas Motor Company was located in a building owned by Rich Products on Niagara St.

At the bus stop on the corner of Niagara and what is now named Robert Rich Way was a bench with a lifelike statue of a man sitting reading a copy of the old Buffalo Courier Express. This statue was a fixture for years.

The articles in the paper mainly consisted of ads for Rich products. One that I remember was an ad for dough to make bread -- 5 loaves for a dollar. I guess times have changed.

But all of a sudden the statue and bench disappeared. More progress?

The mystery was solved by the Buffalo News. The refurbished statue and bench should be back in place in September. Rich Products is having it repaired and refinished.

Really good news for everyone.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hagar and Andy

Generally when I read, I tend to read books about history, technology, politics, or different types of mystery or adventure books. Even occasional books on religion or science fiction will take my interest. Recently I haven't been very much interested in comics or cartoons.

The News locally used to carry two comic strips that I, for no rational reason, enjoyed very much. Andy Capp and Hagar the Horrible are not carried locally as far as I am aware. The only way I can keep up with them is online. I do occasionally do this, but it is inconvenient.

It's a fun thing for me. Each character is almost totally illogical, and due to the fact that I don't have to live with them, I can laugh about their misadventures. Each seems similar to the other, given the completely different settings that they live in.

Don't you wish sometimes that you can just charge the enemy or blast your way down the field and let nothing get in the way? It's definitely not me, but I can enjoy seeing others do it.

I suppose they are not socially acceptable, and actually would offend some people. I suppose even that that might be a factor in the fact they are not currently being carried. Unfortunately, I am only a single count in the popularity polls.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hearing Aids - They are Playing My Song

With my old hearing aid I could get about three weeks before the static got so bad I had to change the battery. I used Energizer #13 batteries I got in a drugstore for about $8.99 for a pack of eight. It seemed quite economical, and I never bothered shopping around for generics or other store brands.

My new hearing and is a digital one. When I got it I only got about a week (7 to 8 days) with a smaller #312 battery from the audiologist before I got the four beeps like a musical scale that let me know I should change the battery. It's a very distinctive musical sound you can't miss and you don't want to because the hearing aid goes dead about five to 10 minutes later.

It's great having the hearing aid though. I couldn't get along without it any more.

It has a little button on the side that you can press. Pressing the button and getting one beep means normal operation. Two beeps is a setting that filters out noisy backgrounds. Three beeps is a special setting, optimized for TV watching.

There is also a fourth setting that automatically sets a special mode that cuts in when you hold a telephone up to the hearing aid. You hear a special beeping signal that means the hearing aid is set up so it will not squeal and will amplify the phone properly.

One day, in Rite Aid, they had "long-lasting" storebrand hearing aid batteries on sale for $8.99 for three packs of eight (24 batteries) -- a deal I couldn't refuse.

I tried one and after three days I got my little 4-note song. The next battery lasted about 2 1/2 days. I guess you get what you pay for.

There really is a difference in hearing aid batteries. I have seen statements on the web, where the recommendation has been to buy hearing aid batteries by cost. It just isn't true.

Hearing aid batteries are generally a special type - zinc air - and do a lot of work for something with a very small size. Let's face it, different companies probably have slight differences in production methods.

I didn't really lose on my bargain batteries. The price was so low that the only real problem was the aggregation of frequent changes. I do know enough right now that I probably would be much better off buying premium Rayovac or Energizer batteries in the future to save on wear and tear on the hearing aid. If you are buying something re-branded it should be okay if the manufacturer is one of these.

I have come across some European batteries for lower prices that may not be re-brands of US manufacturers but I haven't had a chance to try them or to check further. Some of the prices look awfully good though.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Swimming Pool Company Fire

One of the ways I try to keep in condition is to walk around the Ferry, Niagara area in Buffalo during the day. It is a fairly interesting area with the Ferry Street Bridge across the Black Rock Canal, Rich products, and several historic buildings.

It is also fairly close to the Grant-Ferry business district.

In the beginning in June there was a rather large fire at a swimming pool distributor warehouse about a block away. The black smoke from the fire, carried out to the suburbs. For the entire day about how he could smell was the fire.

The company has since gotten its act together quite well and it looks like business is booming. The interesting part from my standpoint, is the fact they are tearing down the warehouse that burned. It was a good-sized building, but obviously not salvageable. Most of the complex seems to have avoided damage though.

This is the second major building in the area to be torn down. The first that I remember was in 2006, the old Meyer Malt. That was a really major job with concrete grain elevators and everything.

It would be kind of nice though to see them build something instead of tearing things down.

Blogs and Noise Level

Just idly going through things, I checked to see how many blogs there were in Kenmore, New York. Kenmore is just a small village located on the northern city line of Buffalo, New York. There are 56 blogs listed, according to blogger.

Even better, checking New York State I found 117,000 listed. I don't even want to think about the entire country or the world. That's a lot of people writing important stuff.

What set this off was reading some of the regional blogs I found links to page after page after page of local blogs. I can just imagine how it is in other areas, especially larger ones.

I used to work at a research facility, and when the most recent director started, he used to continually emphasize noise as a major factor. How do you sort out what has meaning from all the background clutter? We all have that as a problem.

You can make a lot of noise, focus on a small group, be witty and charming like me, or various combinations of other factors. Or you can just do it for the fun of it and who cares who reads it or anything.

I enjoy looking things up. I also know that the world doesn't end with Google or Yahoo or Altavista or whatever. The really important information doesn't necessarily show up on the first few pages of search results. You really have to know how to research and be able to interpret properly to find much of value. Much of what you get is just noise, and really has no value.

That really is what makes it interesting, sort of like working puzzles. It's a great source of entertainment and education.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hunting in the Basement

I was helping a friend who wasn't feeling very good. I went down in the basement to help with the laundry and was overwhelmed by the presence of dozens of flies.

The basement is a clean one, so the presence of all of this wild life was really a surprise. I was just down there a few days before and there was nothing. These are not my favorite creatures.

I wasn't going to stay down there so I beat it up to the kitchen to see if there was some bug spray. Of course there was, but it was for ants not flies. What to do next? Dollar General. I did maintain the speed limit driving up to Dollar General. But then at the store I couldn't find the bug spray display. So I wandered the aisles (guys don't ask where stuff is) until there it was -- a whole shelf full. Raid was actually on sale.

I went back and sprayed half of the can in that basement. You should've seen the dead flies. I didn't feel the least bit guilty wiping out a family.

I can't imagine what happened. All I can think is there were perfect conditions in some dark damp corner, and the whole family hatched at once. I am just glad it didn't happen in my house.

For the longest time afterward all I could think of was that Vincent Price movie "The Fly". That was one I saw at a very impressionable age.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Last of the Root Canal

Just cut out the temp, glue in the new crown and Bob's your uncle!

Just a quick visit. A little talk about the nice day. No novocain. Instructions telling me to not eat anything sticky for a day or so and I was on my way. That's how I like it.

I think when I finally grow up - like reach my 90s or so - I may get over my basic fear of going to the dentist. It is a perfect example of why it is so often that I put off things. It just is not comfortable.

As for right now, I couldn't be happier with my nifty new tooth.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Steps and Spreadsheets

Starting about May 15, I put my daily step counts into a spreadsheet - mainly to get in some practice using Open Office Calc. It is sort of interesting seeing how I am doing on the objective of 10,000 steps a day.

I really have not been trying to push myself at all. Actually, without even trying, I have quite a few days in the over 7000 range which is a lower limit on useful exercise.

My first learning to use a computer experience came back in the 1980s on a two floppy disk IBM PC using a Lotus 123 spreadsheet. Lotus was a great program at the time. Actually it was considered by some people to be the software program that built the IBM PC. It gave you something very useful to use a computer for. Engineers loved it.

I tried teaching myself to use the program by using the built-in help function. It worked great except for one minor detail--I didn't know how to get out of help. The only way I could figure to get back into the program was to shut off the power switch and restart it. I still laugh about that one.

Running Windows XP or Vista with an Excel spreadsheet is a different world entirely.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spam and Blogs and School

I don't just delete my spam, I usually try to find some time to look through it, because sometimes stuff I actually want gets dumped into spam by the program.

I came across one e-mail that did grab my attention. It told you that all you had to do is put a simple search word into a box and this program will go through either Google or Yahoo or government records or whatever and write a whole article for you. You can either cite references or not and if you needed another article for your blog or newsletter or school report, you could generate another one from the same search word with different references. You don't even have to have a clue about what you are writing about -- and that is a sales point.

Instead of spending a week trying to figure out what to write about and how to express it, you can be generating three or four unique articles a day and overwhelm your readership with your brilliance. Of course you don't have to know anything about what you are writing but that doesn't matter, does it?

Google or Yahoo can then index your valuable information, giving it added weight even though it is only a regurgitation of other entries. As a treat you can get yourself a high mark in school without knowing anything.

Discussions of plagiarism -- although this is high-tech and automated -- are not for me to get into.

When I went to high school, if a student didn't feel like reading an assigned book or thought they didn't have enough time, they could go out and purchase a comic book about the assignment and try to get by by looking at the pictures, I suppose. There were also condensed versions of books. Teachers, especially experienced ones, could pick this sort of thing up fairly easily. It's going to be interesting seeing how they deal with something like this. If there is one program like this there are probably many.

Am I really me or am I a robot just pumping out words?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Daltonism and Daylilies

I was discussing with my daughter how nicely the roses are coming out and how thick the hedges are. It seems my work this spring is really paying off quite well. The lilacs have come and gone but with their large flower clusters and perfume really make their mark.

I did mention to her that the large clump of flowers by the garage were just about to come out. I was wondering if she remembered what they were. She asked me if they were the orange ones, and at that point, I just broke up in hysterics. She started laughing too when she thought about it -- I am not exactly the right person to ask about colors. She did mention though, that she thought they were daylilies. Actually since then, a few have come out -- they seem to be yellowish brown with white in the center. They really are nice and quite large, the flowers coming up to my shoulders. They do just last a few days though. One of the cluster opens up for a day, then closes and another one opens the next day.

Also the laughing that we had done was based upon a little condition that I have -- sometimes known as Daltonism or simply red green color blindness. It's like everything else, you can feel sorry for yourself, or you can live with it and make the best of it and even laugh about it because some of the stuff really is funny.

John Dalton is a name, well-known to any chemistry student because of his groundbreaking work in such things as the gas laws and atomic theory. Another aspect of his life was his interest in a condition that he had: colorblindness. He did some of the first work that described and documented the condition. Because of his work, his name is even used to describe the condition.

Actually, if the truth be known, I do have my moments of feeling a little bit superior because of my vision. I do have superior distance vision and an excellent capability for distinguishing details. I was always the first one to be able to read the sign on an approaching bus. In analyzing images in ink testing, people would always ask for my opinion.

Of course, I have had to learn to be careful selecting clothing in particular. Every once in a great while I do come up with something that some people might think is a little bizarre -- at least the kids think so. I have learned it's best to "keep it simple stupid" and learned quite a while ago that blue works very well in most situations.

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4: Fireworks

Seems to fit with the holiday. We should have good weather today for all the shows tonight.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baseball and Rain

I have to admit, I am strictly a fair weather baseball fan. There are few places as nice to be as in a baseball park on a nice warm evening in summer.

I used to split a season ticket with a coworker. He had certain days he liked going to the games and I had mine and things worked out very well. The problem from my standpoint was that I felt obligated to use the tickets at times, and the baseball season around here starts in April.

One night in particular, the game was held up several times by rain. My son and I kept asking each other if we should leave. We did end up staying for the whole game and saw the first grand slam (4-run) home run in the stadium.

The trouble is, I suppose I'm not smart enough to know when enough is enough. But since getting out of the season-ticket business, I have sort of resolved that I won't go to games before July or August.

Of course, the offer of a free ticket is just plain not refusable. But then and again when the first inning started, the lightning and thunder and rain and stuff did take a little away from the enjoyment of the game. The real downpour didn't start until I was in the car. The sky was clearing when I got home, and as a matter of fact they did restart and finish the game a little later.

The Bisons had a 3-0 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) on Saturday night in Dunn Tire Park.

AAA ball is actually quite interesting. Most of the players are on the brink of major league careers or coming down from the majors for some reason so the quality of ball is very high. I am fortunate in that I get free tickets whenever I want. But even if I had to pay, the price is very reasonable, as opposed to what's paid for major league tickets.

July is just about here and I expect to be there, at the stadium, a number of times this summer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More on the Root Canal

Today was Chapter 3 of the ongoing saga of the root canal.

The nerve and the decay have been cleaned out previously. Today he removed all the metal from the old crown and shaped the tooth for the new crown. This was a rather long hour and a half in the chair. The good part was, there is no nerve in the tooth, so there is no pain. All he had to do was deaden the gum around the tooth.

At the end he made an impression for the new crown and put a temporary crown on the tooth. He let me know that there might be some discomfort in the gum afterwards but I have had almost no discomfort at all.

The progress that's been made in painless dentistry is really something. There's no way it can conceivably be thought of as a pleasant process, but the thing that would scare me away the most, the pain, is absolutely minimal.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Short Article on Pedometers

I just came across this short article on pedometers and weight loss.

It's interesting the little tidbits you come across day by day on things like this. I am anything but an exercise fanatic but I really am looking for any little bit of help I can get.

The improvement I feel when I do get just basic exercise is tremendous, it improves my thinking, it improves my interest in things and numerous little things.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Walking and maps

Usually when I go out walking it's just a random experience. I go this way or that arbitrarily.

Because one of the values of walking is for your health, and I want to make sure I was getting enough exercise, I did buy a step counter or pedometer. This is good for letting me know how much I have gotten in the way of exercise and I do use it quite a bit.

Wouldn't it be nice to figure out ahead of time, what might be an interesting route to take? I am not much into complicated things for figuring out stuff like that. But if I could find something simple, why not?

I did find a little free program that uses Google maps -- gmap-pedometer -- that seems to be worth looking into. All you do is bring up your map by entering your address or zip code or something, click on record and then double click on each turning point or other marker you have. There's a reference to an instruction sheet if you feel you need it.

It will show mile markers, if you want. It showed that my little trip to Dollar General on Delaware Avenue is almost a mile and a half and just walking up to Military Road and back is over a mile. It shows the distance for each leg you've put on your route and resolves all the distances to four decimal places. You can even look at a rooftop view or topographic map of the area, because it is Google maps. You can also save routes and print them out.

It's an interesting way to figure out how far you walked in your last trip to the park.

Rose Attack

This Sunday morning, the weather was perfect and I noticed I was getting a few weeds growing around the plants in the backyard. It's really nice to work outside when the weather is a little below 70° (20 C) and not too sunny.

It's been a good growing season so far, my red roses are all out and the white ones are budding nicely. The lilacs are gone already but the hedges and other plants, including the weeds, are doing quite well.

I did do a pretty good cleaning up job and I think it shows with the way the plants are growing. The roses in particular are really growing good this year.

I got everything cleaned up and even went over everything with the string trimmer to expand my work a little.

When I was washing up afterwards I tried to wash off some dirt on the back of my arm and lo and behold! It wasn't dirt -- a one of my ungrateful roses must have attacked me while I was trying to help it. Such a lack of gratitude really got to me.

Isn't it interesting how when you're enjoying yourself like I was with the gardening, scratches and other minor things just aren't even noticed?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Living with a Hearing Aid.

The weather was nice this morning so I decided to take a walk to Dollar General -- 3300 steps on the pedometer. As I was walking down the street, I realized that things were a little bit too peaceful and quiet. Oops! No hearing aid. The thing is one of those molded in the ear types and is so comfortable it is just too easy to forget, especially on a Sunday morning.

It really didn't matter, because it was Sunday, but I have frustratedly made the trip home during the week to pick it up when I have forgotten it. Actually, I have a fixed routine where it is almost impossible to forget anything but I do have a penchant for impossible things at times.

It did bring up some thoughts though. Sometimes when you're a little bit hard of hearing or something, you can ignore people and people do cut you a little slack because of your 'problem'. Not that I would ever do such a thing, perish the thought. It's even possible to enjoy TV programs that other people are watching, that you can't stand, by turning the volume down on the hearing aid and enjoying the silence. There can even be a dog barking constantly down the street. Does it bother me? Nope -- I have control.

Actually this thing is kind of nifty. I've got settings for normal listening, noisy backgrounds, a special TV watching setting, and if I use a telephone it's got a special setting for that that automatically kicks in. It just amplifies the particular frequencies that I am deficient in so you don't get a lot of extra noise. Of course nothing is perfect, but this is pretty good.

The progress that has been made in just the past couple of years is really noteworthy. A man I see every day has had a cochlear implant. He is actually virtually deaf but has been getting by by reading lips and gestures because the hearing aid he had didn't help. Now, because of a surgical implant, he actually has something that is like hearing. He is actually taking therapy to help him understand spoken words. You sit behind his back so he can't unintentionally lip read and read words for him to repeat. They even read him words over the telephone for practice.

It's an interesting situation in my case. I really never knew I had a hearing problem until one time I was talking to my daughter over the phone and complaining about the bad connection that we had because I could not hear. For some reason or other I had to reach for something and switched the phone to the other ear. All of a sudden I could hear clearly. I switched it back and I couldn't hear. Even I can put two and two together. Isn't it interesting how we can't see our own problems at times?

There are so many ways we can make things easier on our selves.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Root Canal for Me

I just went to the second appointment for a root canal. The first two appointments have consisted of cleaning out the inside of the tooth, removing any nerve tissue or whatever is inside the canals or hollows in the tooth. Coming up in the future is inserting a post in the tooth, and then putting on a new crown. It's a fairly long process consisting of five or six appointments, some of which are pretty long.

There's always the big problem, is it really worth the expense and discomfort? In my case, though, I very much do not want to lose any more teeth in that part of my mouth. I don't have any dentures and don't want any for as long as I can put it off.

The expense is real and high, approaching $2000 in all. In my case with the under the gum damage to the tooth, the only real alternative available would have been an extraction and probably getting a partial denture.

I have to admit though, the procedure so far has been virtually pain-free. The progress that's been made in pain-free dentistry is from my standpoint, almost incredible.

My dentist has been really good about this. He's been taking quite a bit of time to explain everything to me as he's gone through the procedure, including any problems that might show up along the way. There really have been none from my standpoint so far.

Pain is the real big concern, from my standpoint. Of course there is discomfort from all the work that's being done in my mouth, but any pain is really a nonissue.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Seeing the World with a Pedometer

I am a person who drives out of necessity to get from place to place. It is a necessary evil.

What I really enjoy is getting out and walking around the area. I live in a nice community and there are quite a few interesting places within walking range. This is the good life in my opinion.

A number of years ago I started getting sharp pains in the calves of my legs when I would walk any distance at all. After having a doppler test on my legs I was referred to a vascular surgeon who had an MRA done to check circulation. Apparently the muscles in my legs were starved for blood when I exercised due to clogged arteries.

The doctor tried stents but that did not work and so I had bypass surgery in my right leg. To say the improvement is tremendous, would be an understatement.

Now I can walk again - the left leg is anything but perfect but I can live with it and that surgery is not something to be entered into lightly.

I was wandering around the area, just enjoying myself, when I got to wondering if I was actually doing enough for my cardiovascular health. I had read somewhere where there was a Surgeon General's report that said that insufficient exercise was the second-leading killer after smoking. That seems a little far-fetched, but when you do look at people with their physical problems it really is a problem.

Well, I was a technician and we used to do all the measuring stuff for the engineers and whoever. What I had to do was some measurements. I couldn't really measure anything except the time it was taking to walk to various places and one thing I don't do is walk consistently. That was how it was done in my army days, not now.

When I was a little kid I used to have a step counter. It wasn't very accurate but the price was right. Nowadays, they have some that will measure the speed you're walking at, how many miles you've gone, the calories you burn, and let you download all the data to your computer.

I also heard that walking 7000 to 10,000 steps is roughly equivalent to about a half hour of good exercise. So I decided to just get a simple modern day step counting only pedometer and see how that would work. When I did get it, for the first week I just measured my steps for the day to get the baseline for improvement. To make a long story short, I'm already at seven or 8000 steps. Apparently my job is a little more physical than I thought.

It is kind of nice though, knowing that it's 830 steps to walk around the block and 1370 to go to the store. Today for instance, a holiday, I only have 4070 for the whole day. I guess I should've gone for a long walk and not played so much with the computer.

I'm quite happy with the step only version of the pedometer. I will be using it quite a bit in the future. I do see that I have to be aware of the fact that days like today have to be dealt with. I really would like to increase my step count. I do actually feel quite a bit better when I walk more.

This is such a simple, enjoyable way to make yourself feel good.


General Powel gives a great speech on the history of Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some Local Forts of Interest

Once a month a group I am in takes people to the Tuscarora Indian Reservation near Niagara Falls to buy cheap cigarettes. Most of the taxes are not collected on the reservation and the resulting prices are very low. Great for those on a very limited budget.

I like to go along for the ride whenever I can just to see the scenery. The country is beautiful around there. Also they have a restaurant that has good food at very reasonable prices.

There is a small art gallery and museum by the restaurant and I noted they had put some maps up from a census in the 1800s showing the Indian lands in the area. I also noted along the Niagara River a facility called Fort Schlosser. I had never heard of this before. Fort Niagara, I know, Fort Erie, Fort Porter, and I even heard of something called Fort Little Niagara located someplace on the portage trail between Fort Niagara, on Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie.

Great, something new.

The French, who had built Fort Niagara, also built a small facility partway between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, known now as Fort Little Niagara (Fort du Portage). It was located right around the present day intakes for the Niagara power project, just above Niagara Falls. After the British took over they built an expanded facility nearby in the 1760s and named it Fort Schlosser after the name of the first commander, as was the custom at the time.

I believe all that remains is part of the chimney, which has been moved to a location near Buffalo Avenue and the entrance to the Robert Moses Parkway.

There also was another fort located below the falls on the Lewiston escarpment called Fort Gray, in present day Lewiston.

These are some very interesting sites that I have every intention of checking out in person some time on a nice summer drive.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Staking my roses

I have three old rose bushes in my backyard. Two are white and one red.

For the past couple of years, except for some pruning, they have pretty much grown wild. This year I decided to do something and purchased some 6 foot fencing 't' posts. I thought about using trellises, but the ones I saw at Home Depot didn't really impress me that much and my main idea was to pull together some really spread out bushes.

This morning, the weather was kind of crummy, sprinkling, cloudy and cold. So I just thought I'd buy the posts and get around to doing the work sometime in the future -- but -- the bug struck me. I got home and I just had to fool around with one and then the second and finally the third post. Anyone who doesn't do any gardening just doesn't know what they're missing. Working outside in the fresh air, seeing almost instant results, and just generally enjoying what you're doing is hard to describe. Who cared about the weather, I was having fun.

All I really did was a little bit of pruning and then using a little bit of cotton clothesline to tie the bushes up to the stakes. Sort of a quick and dirty job. I can always go out during the warm days of summer and elaborate on the job if I want to but for now the roses look orders of magnitude better and should really be in good shape for the growing season.

I have to admit, I feel orders of magnitude better as well, having accomplished something I've wanted to do for quite a while. Gardening really is good for the soul.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Far Away Thoughts

I was going through my e-mails and came across one from I get this because I enjoy reading about the latest things in the military. I got curious and started going through the files inside. There is a space for your military record, which of course I had left blank, because I was just interested in getting the information. I figured why not? I even pulled out my old DD 214 to find the right dates and filled in the information. That was a long time ago -- 1964 to 1966.

There also was a space for a unit affiliation. Once again, why not? So I looked up my old unit, the 54th Signal Battalion and there it was. It still exists. So I entered my name and my years in the unit -- 1965 to 1966. There are about 280 others who had done the same thing as I had. I didn't recognize any of the names though. I did see a couple of small history entries mentioning. Nha Trang and some other familiar things. Boy, talk about memories.

In the summer of 1965 the 54th Signal left Fort Hood in Texas, on trains for California. In Oakland, we boarded the USS Breckinridge, a troopship. We stopped at Pearl Harbor and Yokohama Japan in what was a very smooth trip. We landed at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. We then got in our trucks and drove to our new home in Nha Trang.

Later, my platoon moved back to the vicinity of Cam Ranh Bay, and I spent the rest of my time in Vietnam there. We provided communications for Korean Marines. It was actually interesting for the most part.

For me personally, it was a good experience. I got to see things I never would have seen outside of magazines. I was as safe as could be with a couple thousand Korean Marines around. The parts of the country that I got to see were for the most part, beautiful. I even got extremely lucky and spent a week in Bangkok Thailand.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Some random thoughts

I quite frequently drive down Hertel Avenue in Buffalo and pass by a recently closed Catholic church, St. Florian's. It still has the standard bingo sign in front of a social hall that itself was a school at one time. Also there is a fairly modern looking rectory. The most notable thing is the fact the snow isn't shoveled anymore and there are no tracks leading up to the doors.

How many generations of families have had baptisms, sent children to the school, been married and buried over the years? How many people can bring back fond memories of their life around there? This was once the social center of a thriving Polish community. Indeed, this parish was the center of the ministry to the entire Buffalo Fire Department.

I believe that life goes on and have an optimistic viewpoint of what the future will bring. In other words, I really think that things happen for the better. We shouldn't forget though, that many good, smart people did come before us. The children from that school possibly participated in building a better world for us and them.