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Showing posts from January, 2009

Saturday Morning

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A cold, sunny, Saturday morning, this last day of January 2009 was waiting for me one this first day of the last day of my life. For the second consecutive week Bill and I would not have breakfast at Zorba’s restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. Johnnie (our regular waitress) no doubt is wondering what happen to the two old gay geezers who stop in every Saturday morning. The cook won’t be frying scrapple for me or Bill’s egg sandwich with a double order of mayonnaise. No, Week Two continues of this “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” game that Bill likes to play. The first time I saw that Edward Albee play I knew I recognized the plot line. “ Something is familiar about this story” I thought to myself. It was only when I found out that Edward Albee “straightened out the play” that I recognized the gay relationship the play was based on and the sometimes twisted and cruel turns it takes which, is in reality two people who care very much for one another. I care very much for Bill and if this is

Ted Haggard

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Remember the old TV show “That Was the Week That Was?” That’s what this past week felt like. I feel like I’ve been through the wringer. Of course I continue to still have technical problems with my computers and accessories. I won’t even go into all of that. The one thing I will say is that I will NEVER buy another Dell computer for a Microsoft operation system, I don’t care what kind of fancy name they give to it. The last time I got a new Dell it had the Windows ME (Millennium) operating system. I eventually gave that computer away because I couldn’t turn it off and Dell lied about their premium support. I gave the computer to my friend Bob who had to install Windows 95 to get it to operate. I read this morning where Microsoft is going to try and peddle a new operating system called Windows 7. Oh yeah. Hold your breath when I buy that system. We had the whole range of weather this week. Monday and Tuesday, snow, rain and ice. Pretty. I stayed out of that mess until the rain melte

From Darkness to Light

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Two days ago the snows came through the little edge of Delaware where I live. Usually we miss the big snows. I call my Mother and feel pretty smug when she tells me of the latest snowfall of 3, 4, 5 and more inches of snow, usually topped with a sleeting rain which brings down the power cords and takes out their electricity. That doesn’t happen down here where my house is located, two miles from the Delaware Bay. The coastal air evaporates the half inch of snow that does cover the ground around her from time to time. Tuesday was different. This time we had the sleeting rain to form a icy crust on the snow. No feeling smug this time when talking to Mom. I looked outside and knew I wouldn’t be going anywhere in my car. I hunkered down inside my castle. Yesterday I awoke to a misty rain. I looked out the window and fog was rising from the ground. The warm temperatures and the rain were causing the half inch of snow to that had covered the ground the day before to melt into smoky fo

Losing a Friend Part II

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It was in 2001 when I first noticed that Bob might have a problem. I had given him a new computer and he was having a problem opening e-mails with attachments. Several times during my previous visits I sat with him and showed him the steps to open his e-mail, click on the “Download” button, and then click on the “Open” button. Yet, each time I visited Bob he told me he didn’t know how to download a file attachment (usually a picture.) For about the umpteenth time I sat with him at his computer again and told him to write down the three steps as I would show him again. I went through the steps, looking at Bob each time I went to the next step. It was then I had one of those moments that you see in the TV commercial for Alzheimer’s medicine. I knew. Looking at Bob all I saw was his gaping mouth and his eyes which showed that he wasn’t registering what I was showing him. His face was a blank slate. Nothing I was saying was sinking in. He couldn’t connect the dots. Over the past few ye

Losing a Friend Part I

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On this day, forty nine years ago, I joined the United States Army. January 27th, 1960 was also the day my future best friend, Big Bob, was drafted in the Army. We didn’t meet that day. I was on a train from Downingtown, PA to Philadelphia, where I would switch over to a Trailways bus that would deposit me at Ft. Dix, New Jersey to begin basic training. Bob was headed to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina on a troop train for his basic training. We wouldn’t meet until March when we both arrived at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts for Army Security Agency schooling. I don’t remember the exact moment we met at Ft. Devens, but we became best friends almost immediately. We were both from the same area of Pennsylvania thus sharing weekend rides to our homes in the suburbs of Philadelphia. We probably met the first time on one of those rides. For the six months that we went to Army Security Agency schooling at Ft. Devens, we spent almost every spare minute together. Ironically, after I left the Army

Another Gray Day

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Here we are at Monday and another gray day in January. Oh how I long for the sunny days of spring and summer. Last year we had many good sunny days. Actually there were too many sunny days. We had a drought which wasn’t good for the local farmers growing corn and soybeans. Looking out the window now I see snowflakes! The snowflakes fall gently to the ground. They are beautiful. However, I hope we miss the big snow storm again like we have so far this winter. Pennsylvania needs this snow a lot more than we do here in Slower Lower with our wind swept coastal plains that don’t hold snow more than a day. Please! This morning I opened an e-mail from a friend of mine showing his two beautiful Shetland collies romping in his Cranberry Township (near Pittsburgh) back yard. Well, they like it! I’m happy for them. I would rather look at pictures of people and animals in the snow that experience it myself. As they say, “Been there, done that!” His dogs are lovely though. Yesterday my cousin

The Bills

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Three of my best friends are named Bill. There is Bill K., my partner of 45 years and “best friend” (even though he’s not speaking to me now because of a near accident we almost had a couple of days ago.) Another Bill, is my long time friend (since grade school), Bill B. We became close when we played in the marching band (he the bass drum and me the Sousaphone.) Either Bill or I would save a seat for each other on the band bus for the away football games. After graduation Bill B. and I gradually grew apart and didn’t become close again until we met at our 25th class reunion. The third Bill, is Bill P. I met Bill P. when I began working at Girard Bank in Philadelphia in 1965. In a few years he was my boss for the next 20 years until I left the bank in a corporate reorganization. Bill P. and I went out to lunch almost every day when we worked together. Over the years I’ve remained in contact with both Bill B. from my childhood and Bill P. from my workplace. I lived with with Bi

Silent Treatment

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I'm getting the silent treatment now from Bill. That was a close call yesterday. It was stupid of me on my part to even listen to his suggestion to pass on the right. This too will pass. To occupy my mind with something else today, I worked printing address labels to send postcards out to my classmates for our 50th class reunion. It was an all afternoon job. I worked with the mail merge feature of Word. I've done this before but I don't know how I did it. This time I even used the wizard and I still don't know how I did it. Good old Microsoft, God forbid that they would make something intuitive. After about four hours I got the labels printed. I'll send them off to my classmate Carole to send out. We had a nice day yesterday but the cold has descended upon us again. This morning I saw a new Jacqui Lawson card that featured a tropical island with warm summer breezes. I sent it out to all my friends to remind them that better days are coming. Hope you all lik

Dodged a Bullet

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Every now and then we get a winter day like today. After weeks of single degree temperatures, the thermometer reached the low 50's. Today was a treat. Sunny skies, low winds, mild temperature. Even the birds knew today was special. A flock of sparrows visited my backyard this morning, checking out the accommodations. It was nice to see these harbingers of spring. Today was a day for a walk. It’s been months since I took this simple refreshing pleasure. I took advantage of this opportunity and walked in the development behind my house. Hundreds of honking snow geese passed over me in the skies above my head. A couple of buzzards, gliding on their long black wing spans, punctured the white sea of snow geese. A gentle breeze caressed my face. I took the long way through the development, finishing my walk about 45 minutes later. Refreshed after my walk I decided this was a good day to wash my car. This was a good time to get the winter gunk off of it. I asked Bill if he wanted to

The Cold Days of Winter

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January and February are my least favorite months of the year. One of my goals in retirement was to have enough money that I could move to warmer climes during this time of year. I also wanted to have an in ground pool. The pool I can do without. However, I haven’t given up on my goal of leaving the cold northern winters. Two good friends of mine depart today for a cruise in the Caribbean. While that sounds romantic and luxurious, I don’t want to go through the hassle of taking a plane to the ship departure point in Florida. It would take me at least a week to recover from the stress of modern day travel. I haven’t taken a plane since 9/11 and I don’t intend to while taking off one’s shoes is a requirement to fly as a passenger in a plane. Other friends and relatives have winter snug boxes in Florida. My cousin Jack and his wife are already ensconced in their North Port Myers Florida abode. Friends Sandy and Bob, Evie and Barb, and Jack and Judy are all enjoying the warm tropical

The Day Is Here

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The day is here. Our country begins anew. Watch the inauguration today and try not to get choked up. What a wonderful day. Finally, we are all one.

The Charles Schulz Philosophy

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A friend sent this to me this morning. It is well worth reading and pondering. The premise is absolutely true with me. I cannot remember the famous award winners. However, I can remember those who made a difference in my life. And that includes the person who sent this list to me. Thank you Diane. The Charles Schulz Philosophy: The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point. 1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world. 2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners. 3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant. 4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. 5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress. 6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners. How did you do? The point is, none of us remember the hea

Free At Last!

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The last week or so, I have experienced periodic feelings of euphoria. Butterflies would invade my stomach. I thought, "What is this? Am I finally going to with the Powerball Lottery?" But, I check my Powerball tickets twice a week (Thursdays and Sundays) and alas, I am no closer now to winning than I was three years ago when I purchased my first ticket. Then, it was a day or two ago I realized what was causing my feeling of euphoria. This feeling was much like the feeling I used to experience as a kid right before Christmas. "What was Santa going to bring ME?" But this was much more than the feeling in anticipation of Christmas. Much bigger. Then I realized. George W. Bush will soon be gone from our lives. GONE! Hard to believe. The nightmare of the past eight years is finally coming to an end. Somehow our country has survived, barely. It is finally going to be over. Bush's smirking presence, his cluelessness , his arrogance, his stupidity, will be gone. G

Blackout

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At 5:42 am this morning, I awoke to the sound stopping on my Holmes ionizer air filtration machine. Quiet. I knew immediately what this meant, the power is out. I use the Holmes ionizer air filter as white noise to help me sleep. Now that the power was out, I was wide awake. It was just as well because I had a dental appointment in Dover at 9 am. With the power outage, I’m just getting up earlier than I had planned to. Oh joy. The New Year continues to greet me with a series of frustrations to try my patience. I’m losing it. Yesterday I got my DIRECTV fixed so I could receive my satellite television. Another little fire put out. But then when I went to work I noticed that my wrist watch had stopped. Oh why not? The battery was dead. I took the watch off because all I would do would look at it as if it was still keeping time. So I went to work, looking at a bare wrist. Down here in Slower Lower (Sussex County, Delaware), one doesn’t walk into a jewelry shop and buy a watch battery a

DIRECTV Fixed!

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My DIRECTV is fixed! Juan, the DIRECTV repairman arrived at the appointed time. Juan was the original DIRECTV technician who setup my system. I was glad to see him. I knew I was in capable hands. He had no problem with my request to remove his shoes before he went through my house. I know I'm fussy to the inth degree but I really don't want people walking through my house with their shoes on. Who knows what those shoes have walked on? Juan quickly diagnosed the problem as one of corroded contacts on the outside lines. It took him about two hours to replace the contacts. Now I have my MSNBC back (and CNN and TCM.) Juan and his family used to live in this development. The three of us (Bill) discussed what has transpired since he moved. It was good to see him again. It was also good to have a professional, knowledgeable and friendly service person take care of my problem. This is a short posting because I have to go to work early today. Blare (who I'm relieving)

Don't Ask, Don' Tell

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The news is out, Barack Obama is going to overturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military. Thank God. Robert Gibbs, Obama’s press secretary stated that Obama will request that the policy be discontinued. This is ironic because I am just finishing the book, “Major Conflict” by Jeffrey McGowan , a retired U. S. Army major. Major McGowan hid is sexuality during his ten years in the Army. Reading his book brought back so many painful memories for me. I also served in the U.S. Army. My tour of duty was January 27, 1960 through January 26th, 1963. I was stationed at Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland. I worked at the National Security Agency . I had a top secret security clearance . If there was even a hint of my homosexuality, I would have been cashiered out of the Army immediately. Back when I was in the Army, all it took was an accusation and you would lose your clearance. If you lost your clearance, the Army Security Agency gave you a Section 8 discharge . While it wasn’t a

Angst

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The problems continue. Below is an e-mail that I sent to a friend this morning. I was hoping my next blog posting would be a happy, upbeat blog posting. It was not to be. The past week or so, I’ve noticed that I can’t get some channels on my DirecTV satellite TV. I don’t want to give anyone headaches by going into the boring details like I did with my previous blog postings about my PC troubles with Vista. All I know is that I hate having strangers tramping through my house, with their shoes on (who knows where those shoes have been), checking off their check list of the usual suspects. I know what the problem is with my DirecTV. The satellite dish was knocked off of it’s settings during the 60 mph sustained winds we had at the end of the year. The last time the DirecTV repairman came out, it was obvious I was his first patient because he kept referring to his manual. He checked all the connections which meant pulling all five of my receivers out of wherever they were accumulating

No Regrets, No Complaints

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Here we are half way into the first month of the New Year and I think I’m finally getting back on track. I had all good intentions of starting the New Year on a positive note with happy, upbeat blog postings. But alas, my problems with the Vista operating system on my new computer changed all that. I’m not going to revisit those problems again but I will say the whole experience left me a little shaky. The whole idea of getting a new computer was to get a sense of comfort and security that I would lose all my data on my old Gateway computer. Never in a million years did I think I would encounter the level of problems I had with Vista. Those problems still aren’t over. I have yet to load my Palm Pilot information on my new computer. Why? Oh, my old Palm program isn’t compatible with Vista. This is just another “improvement” for “upgrading” to the Vista operating system. So here I am, sitting at my new computer, listening to my music (which is working now, thank goodness), typing in

AOL Installed!

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After my angst, AOL 9.1 is finally installed on my new Dell computer. What was the problem? You might have guessed it. It was the Vista operating system that was incompatible with AOL 9.0. While waiting for Tom (PC Guy) this morning, I search the Internet to see if anyone else was having the same problems. It didn’t take me too long to find out that I wasn’t the only one by a long shot. Back at the beginning of the year there were quite a few postings to a Microsoft forum about other users who could not install AOL 9.0 or AOL 9.1, or even AOL 9.1 VR (Vista Ready) on their computers that had a Vista operating system. I printed out the postings from that forum and gave it to Tom when he came in this morning. Tom had asked me to call AOL for support but I didn’t because I knew that would be an exercise in futility. Many people on the forum reported that they called the AOL Help line. That’s an oxymoron, AOL Help. Of course AOL was of no help. I even called Smart

Rules for Kids

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Lately, I haven't been feeling too good about Mr. Softee (Bill Gates) because of all my computer problems with Vista. Actually, I'm not feeling too good about the PC industry as a whole, and that include Dell computers and Hewlett Packard printers. However, a friend sent this to me this morning. I thought it was worth sharing. In this once instance I agree with the Chief Nerd. This attributed to Bill Gates but that is incorrect. It is actually the work of Charles Sykes in his book Dumbing Down Our Kids) Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world. Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it! Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The wor

Vista Frustration

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My PC Guy just left. Well, almost all of my problems are fixed. I still cannot access my AOL account on my new Dell computer. The problem is the Vista operating system. The security controls are so tight it won’t even let me, as the administrator, create files to fix the problem. Tom will have to stop back on Friday to complete the job. According to Tom, all the problems are the result of Vista. When I uninstalled the AOL software, it caused “something” to be reset. Thus, I couldn’t access the enhanced viewer on my Ancestry.com web site (used for viewing original documents like census records.) It also caused the previous downloaded version of Adobe Flash Player to disappear. He has that working again. Only in Internet Explorer though. It still doesn’t work through G Mail. Thank you Vista! BTW, DON’T BUY VISTA! IF YOU SEE IT, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION! BUY IT AND YOU WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES. NIGHTMARES, HEADACHES, FRUSTRATION, AND WASTED TIME. What were th

List For PC Guy

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Here I await my PC Guy (Tom) to fix various and sundry problems I have with my brand spanking new Dell Inspiron computer. Oh how I rue the day I decided to purchase another Dell but that's another whole story. Not only do I have problems with my new Dell computer, I'm having problems with my HP Photosmart All-in-One printer. It has a mind of it's own. Sometimes it scans pictures, and sometimes not. This is about the 4th time I'm having Tom look at it. I've lost count the number of times we have installed and uninstalled the HP printer software. Now I'm having a problem with my AOL mail software. I made the BIG MISTAKE of cleaning out my In Box (a New Year's resolution gone horribly wrong) and I discovered the "Quick Read" feature on my AOL In Box mail wasn't working. I uninstalled and reinstalled the AOL software on both computers; my old Gateway and the new Dell. The AOL software now works on the Gateway (well, sort of) and doesn't