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Blog - 2010
Being an occasional listing of personal occupations.
Some entries have titles that are linked to most of the content.

Fancy Adding Machines
December 19, 2010
     This entry is a rant about computers; please consider ignoring it entirely and moving on to other entries, which, no doubt, will be found to be enthralling and enriching.
     Computers and the programs that run on them are all produced, I am convinced, by Princes and Princesses of Darkness. While these people may not exactly be the spawn of Satan, I am fairly sure that they are at least related by marriage. How else could mere humans conjure up such fantastically illogical machines?
     Today I dragged myself to the Apple store in CambridgeSide Galleria to get updated on the latest operating system for Mac computers. My current, seven-year-old hardware/software combination virtually explodes when attempting as simple a task as parsing a Globe webpage. A fellow named Brian (spelling?) at the store was extremely patient and helpful. He had to be extremely patient if I was going to make heads or tails of the latest round of ridiculously obtuse pseudo-improvements that Apple is peddling.
     To begin with, OS X, the current series of Macintosh operating systems, was a great leap into silliness from the previous OS 9, which was, while not actually sane, much more manageable and stable than the mysterious offerings from Microsoft. OS 9 was a natural expansion and progression from previous Apple operating systems. However, as is the case with carmakers, computer makers find it more profitable to plan obsolescence than to make common sense. (How does one sell more cars when everyone has a car? Ditto computers.) Thus when Apple produced this new OS X about ten years ago, they assured us that it was so stable that it could never crash. Apparently this assurance was meant to redefine "crash" from "monitor goes black" to "monitor stays bright though everything stops working." Indeed, OS X is in no way as stable as was OS 9. When something failed with OS 9 —which happenstance did not occur during the last two years that I used it— the computer simply shut down; one would have to restart the machine. When something fails with OS X (and it fails regularly) one gets what I and people for whom I do Mac support call "The Eternal Spinning Colorwheel of Death." Then one has actually to unplug the hardware and start again. Some improvement!
     I recall the first time I saw OS X, in another Apple store, about a decade ago. I uttered to my companion and fellow Mac-user something akin to "This is horrible!" The convenient menus at the top of the monitor were replaced with the "Dock," those little animated cartoon icons that Apple genii tout as user-friendly replacements for words. I be literate'n'shit! I suppose that when Apple folks think of "user," they envision a five-year-old who has never held a book or a college student who is stressed by such archaic academic challenges as reading.
     But that Dock in OS X was just the opener. No longer could one download a QuickTime video; one had to buy QuickTimePro to save a video. No longer could one work with PDF files; one had to buy Acrobat from the third-party software company. No longer could one upload files to the web with a free Fetch program; one had to buy that. Apple deliberately crippled their operating system in order to gouge more from their customers.
     Steve Jobs, the front man for Apple, once had a vision of getting rich creating something novel and ostensibly useful, a personal computer that could be used by anyone. He and his company were so politically attuned that they took their name from the Beatles' Apple Records. Some years ago they postured as responsible corporate citizens when they fought to build a plant in Texas that would offer health insurance to the gay partners of their employees; that was not an easy concept to be pioneeering in that neck of the woods. I thought that this was a corporation that incorporated a contempary standard of human decency.
     Beginning with my experience with OS X, I came to understand that Apple joined the ranks of the robber barons of the nineteenth-century railroad-building and industrial-revolution days, the super-rich slobs who are powerful enough to manipulate the consciousness of society enough to accumulate more and more and more wealth for the sake of accumulating more. (Just you wait; Carnegie Hall will be renamed The Steve Jobs Center soon enough.) I remember the moment that I realized that Steve Jobs had married the spawn of Satan:
     In the popular application iTunes there is a feature called "Visualizer" that generates imagery in sync with the music. It offers a mental escape while one listens to one's escapist audial reverie, a respite from the stresses of life. One day I started iTunes in the then-most-recent version of OS X and discovered that after several minutes the graphic representation of the music devolved into the Apple logo. That is when I knew that Apple had sold its last vestige of a claim to human kindness and that Apple Corp. is about making money for Apple Corp. at the cost of any and every thing but making money.
          That epiphany —that Apple was not a force on the side of light— reminded of the moment that I first learned about how to understand computers and the people who design them. A close associate —who was a computer pioneer and now develops systems for IBM— sent me that first viral email video of the animated dancing baby. (The one I am including here is not the original, which was a simpler black line drawing on a white or transparent background.) This file was sent as an attachment, which I did not know how to open. I asked a user assistant in the Harvard computer lab, where I was emailing, for help; I asked her not to open the attachment but to tell me how to learn how to do such things. She replied, "You just have to know." In other words, the system made no sense. That moment defined for me the nature of computers and of their designers. Computers and computer programs are not created to make sense, nor are they developed sensibly; they are created to separate consumers from cash.
     Having started using Macs in the early 1990's for simple math problems and word processing, I was glad to see the obviation of white-out and correcting tape. (For you whippersnappers, those were things that one used to cover typing errors on paper.) When instantaneous, electronic email came about, I was even more interested. When I witnessed the popularization of the internet, I got hooked. Now, here was something, an egalitarian availability of communication worldwide!
     I thought that the internet would be an equalizer. It would afford everyone a chance to be heard. Naive, foolish fellow that I was, I did not foresee that the internet would not become a road that anyone could walk down. After all, a road in the real world is somewhat accessible to most people. If you can walk, you can travel along most roads. If you need a wheelchair, you go slower. If you have a car, you can go faster. If you have bus fare, you can go that way. Not so with the internet; it is more like a superhighway: You can only travel down those roads for which you have the wherewithal to afford the means of conveyance. You have to have the latest computer with the latest browser to surf the web successfully.
     So, let's wrap up this rant and get to my point.
     Electronic mail and the internet (and maybe a few simpler adding/writing chores) are the only humane and moral justifications for computers beyond the accumulation of wealth. One cannot use the internet successfully without the latest, costliest computers and operating systems.
     And the kicker is that the former leader among computer producers in a digitally moral new world, Apple, is now the leader in compelling people to fork over cash to communicate. In what I believe to be exactly correct computer parlance, Apple "sucks" and Microsoft "sucks worse." Yes, I will now buy new Apple products, but the experience will be like going to Home Depot. Afterwards, I will feel the need for a shower.
     Would somebody please introduce me to Linux?

Boston Symphony Hall Classical Music and Football
December 5, 2010
     Attended the Handel and Haydn Society's production of Handel's Messiah at Symphony Hall this afternoon, then went home and watched the Steelers-Ravens game. I noted that the players in both of the events required extreme discipline to pursue their professions and marvelled at the variation of human endeavor.
     I also noted that I appreciated the concert more and enjoyed the game more. Wondering why I feel this way, I come to the conclusion that my reactions are due to the fact that "music hath charms that soothe the savage beast," while football merely channels the savage beast.

Lenny's Farm
November 26, 2010
      A time-lapse photography project done, from July of 2009 through today, for two purposes:
          —To memorialize Lenny Giesta
          —To illustrate urban growth in Inman Square

About Wikipedia
November 24, 2010
     One suspects that there are a lot of folks who have secret dirty little habits of which they are not proud and about which they feel an occasional need to confess. I hereby confess one of my more easily confessable habits: When I wake up in the middle of the night and know that I will not sleep for a while, instead of picking up a book, I go to Wikipedia.
     I choose a topic and read all around the general vicinity. For months, I read about almost every battleship ever launched. Currently, I have been reading about British royalty of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These are topics that carry some indisputable facts about them, so it is not likely that the careful reader gets misled by the historical redaction of political correctness or fashionable interpretation. The size of a ship or the coronation date of a king is likely to be accurately reported.
     Such reading is self-indulgent, relaxing to me, and even educational to an extent. However, one does have to remember that one gets what one pays for, and one cannot hold Wikipedia to the standards of accuracy that would be expected from, say, the University of Chicago Press. I really should be reading good books in the middle of the night.
     The foregoing is meant to offer perspective to the reason for this entry to my blog: I am annoyed by Wikipedia.
     First, it is the purveyor of the worst grammar I have ever witnessed in a large body of text. If one searches Wickipedia for "him being," one gets 3,194 results, but my experience suggests that the real number of appearances is a good deal greater. The syntax in most articles that I have seen is ridiculous; verbs and nouns are interchangeable; concepts perform physical actions; the paucity of clarity "literally blows my mind." As a purported source of information for the twenty-first century, Wikipedia is doing its part to ensure that today's youth will not develop the acuity, much less discernment, to solve twenty-first century problems. More personally, I am sensitive to the likelihood that my own verbal usage is suffering from my exposure to this website.
     Second —and this is what has actually incited this entry— at the top of every bleeding page of Wikipedia are currently the words, "A personal appeal from Wikipedia founder ***** *****." I use the asterisks because this person is gathering more than his fair share of self-promotion. He reminds me of PBS's "American Experience" written by Ken Burns, directed by Ken Burns, done in consultation with Ken Burns and Ken Burns's brother. (Ken Burns is the director who has to have lugubrious violin music in the background to advise you that a photograph of a large pile of Civil War boots from amputated feet is a sad image, but that is another pet peeve.) Worse, his face is there alongside the plea on almost every page.
     It is clear that one who reports worldwide his thoughts and little adventures in a weblog, like the one you are reading, ought to be cautious about accusing anyone of self-promotion. However, I submit that there is greater irony in the fact that a huge website written by an untold number of volunteers —not a single one of whom is credited!— should have this guy's name at the top of every page. This irony is graceless at best, and it insults the intelligence of Wikipedia's readers and especially its contributors.
     I am utterly ignorant of what is wrong or right about this Wikipedia founder's fundraising, but I am certain that ***** *****'s name and face are simply not pretty enough to grace millions of webpages that he purports are webcast for "No agenda."
     And now, was it William IV who preceded Victoria? I'll have to search Wickipedia for William IV to check.
November 29, 2010
     Wow, it appears that I was right on the curve with the above. Today, for the first time, I encountered an entry in Wikipedia with a banner that did not include "***** *****'s" name. It read, "A personal appeal from Wikipedia author Kartika." Now, that's a pleasant variation. It currently appears at the top of the article entitled, "Peloponnesian War."
     By the way, I once wrote a term paper on the cause of that war for the course "The Peloponnesian War" at the Extension School. I enrolled in that one because, as a student of history, I wanted to have more familiarity with the reasons why that topic, that war, was one of the central foci of higher education for much of the existence of tertiary education. In retrospect, I believe that the reason that Hellenic war was studied so much more than other wars was that some of the first professional historians of Western Civilization were personally involved and because it occurred in Socrates' time. Ah, now there's a guy to get drunk with!

Taking Down a Sizable Tree
November 23, 2010
     A little adventure in my ongoing boyhood.

Microwaved Egg
November 12, 2010

     One hears that a nuked egg will explode, but there is nothing like empirical evidence for those of us who need to know the absolute truth about certain things. Also, there are those of us who apparently lacked a sufficient number of opportunities during boyhood to blow up things. When a friend mentioned that he needed to dispose of an old, unused microwave oven, I volunteered to do the chore —with a little detour.

Football-related trivia
November 5, 2010
     Over the past decade or so, I have followed NFL football; I have particularly enjoyed the play of wide receiver Randy Moss, who until recently played for the New England Patriots. Moss was traded about a month ago to the Minnesota Vikings; it was big news in the sports world, because he is one of the best ever at his position.
     Moss was canned by the Vikings this past Tuesday after making a fool of himself, in part by insulting the caterers who were serving in the Vikings locker room last Friday.
     The servers were from Tinucci's Restaurant and Caterering, of Newport, Minnesota, and included Gus Tenucci himself. This week they decided to retaliate by holding a promotion. ESPN.com reports:
Tinucci's in suburban Newport will offer free lunches Friday [today] to the first 50 people who come to turn in their Moss jerseys. For everyone else, the lunch buffet will be marked down to $8.40, a takeoff on the receiver's No. 84 jersey, co-owner Gus Tinucci said Thursday.
     Last night I wrote an email to Gus and Mark Tenucci:
Dear Messrs. Tinucci,

How hilarious of you to make use of the absurd publicity that Randy Moss accidentally sent your way; this use of Moss's nonsense indicates that you have a degree of intelligence far surpassing that of his agent and a sense of humor to boot! If I'm ever your way, I know where to eat!

The whole situation is really funny to me because, for the last few days, I've been thinking to myself: If I were Randy's agent, I would have him call ahead, bring a party of fifty for dinner, and apologize personally and publicly. Doing so would not only be the best publicity possible for himself, but it would elevate his future potential earnings enormously.

Well, apparently his agent isn't too bright. You beat him to the punch, and —in my book, anyway— your action in doing this turn-in-No.84-jersey-thing is witty, fun, and good business!

Good luck!

Current Patriots fan and former Moss fan,
-Genghis Lapointe
Cambridge, Massachusetts
     This morning Gus Tinucci wrote back:
Thanks for the nice words!!!! It's been a wild week!
     Well, a fairly modest but well established fifty-year-old suburban restaurant has just been launched into the attention of the entire US sports fan world; I'll just bet it's been a wild week! I hope that tonight Gus laughs at Randy's insult all the way to the bank.

Steamy Nostalgia
November 3, 2010
     The Boston Globe is running an article entitled "Picking up steam, Mashing modern days with the Victorian age excites role players, artists, and other fans of steampunk." It is a source of personal amusement —and a bit of embarassment for my home metropolis— that the leading paper around here, once in every few years, grabs a new or old word and defines it as a new trend. Twenty or thirty years ago, it was "saloning;" the Globe reported this purportedly new fashion for gathering in a group for dinner and an evening of conversation. Huh? Where have they been the last ten millenia?
     Today the new word is "steampunk." Apparently, according to the Globe, steampunking is "add[ing to one's home or life] anachronistic (and sometimes nonfunctioning) machinery like old gears, gauges, and other accoutrements that evoke the design principles of Victorian England and the Industrial Revolution." Is the Globe suggesting that it has never heard of antique collectors? —Or is the Globe claiming that it has discovered a new subculture that it is populated by youngsters so sublimely ignorant that they think that they were the first to discover that things that have lasted over a hundred years are things that are lasting?
     Have these ostensibly cloistered steampunks never seen a hundred-year-old dental chair used as a reading chair? ...or an oak and brass firehose cabinet used as a fishing rod cabinet? ...or a steam pressure gauge used as a clock housing? ...or a train depot woodstove used as (gasp!) a source of home heat? ...or a milkglass and nickel-plated iron tool stand as a entryway catch-all? ...or a black-powder revolver cylinder as a pen holder? ...or a leather doctor's bag as a camera case? ...or an actual Victorian coat as (again, gasp!) a coat? Do they or the Globe actually think that these uses are new? Is there anyone who truly believes that these uses are novel and not in fact a practice that has been ongoing since these Victoriana were produced?
     Perhaps it might be a delightful exercise for a steampunk to set aside the time and money that would be spent on "steampunking" and to get a ride to Clark's Trading Post to see steam, not being used to reproduce the sound of drums or organs, but really playing drums and organs. Maybe steampunks ought to look into the many miles of steam pipes coursing their ways through the netherworld of Greater Boston for constant and daily use by such "steampunking," not-too-mechanically-nostalgic institutions as MIT.
     One cannot impugn the ability of the probably youthful writer of this well written article. That said, one can question the Globe's posture as venue for premier scribes of the City on a Hill. This article is not news; it is pandering to ignorance.

In Symphony Hall Classical Music Concert
Friday, October 29, 2010
     Went this evening to a Handel and Haydn Society concert at Symphony Hall and enjoyed it to the extent that I could remain fairly conscious. It was the general sort of music that I sometimes hear going to sleep, with the timer switch set on the amplifier.
     The violinists ganged up on the outnumbered other musicians, but Robert Levin played the piano better than a rabbit when they let him get a word in edgewise.
     You may justifiably opine that the above is the most ignorant review you have ever read, but please allow that it was long on brevity.

Played Hooky
October 28, 2010
     With a predicted high temperature of seventy-five, it could not be helped.

A Sunday Well Spent
October 24, 2010
     A day of three of my favorite hobbies: fishing, woodcutting, and watching professional football.

Ten Years After Daddy-O's
October 23, 2010
     During the '90's, I was the most frequent patron of Daddy-O's Bohemian Cafe, an Inman Square restaurant that was very popular among the congnoscenti and glitterati of Cambridge and environs. Chef-owners Paul Sussman and Ellis Seidman closed in 2000. This evening Ellis and Paul hosted a Ten Years AfterDaddy-O's sign reunion gathering of former employees and families, and somehow I was invited. (I did the maintenance painting at Daddy-O's and did, on one occasion, fill in at the dishwasher.) I have dearly missed Ellis and Paul's creations the past decade, and I was more than a little delighted that they served up their old creations at the party. As much as I enjoyed the company of the attendees, I spent as much time as I possibly could eating. The party was an answer to a decade-long prayer. What fun!

Paul, who is currently chef at Brandy Pete's in the financial district in Boston, will be opening a new place in the theater district sometime in the spring, and I have gone all Pavlovian about the prospect.

September 25, 2010
     Fished the Cape Cod Canal for the first time today, the first time in a couple of years that I did any kind of saltwater fishing. We arrived at the Canal Visitor Center, near the eastern mouth of the canal, at the inappropriate time of about two hours after high tide this afternoon, and the results were appropriate.
     I had bought both clams and mackerel for bait, from Cherry's Bait Shop in Plymouth. When I said to the gal who runs the place, "Oh, no, I forgot my knife!" she gave me hers, saying that she was going to be shutting down anyway in a couple of weeks for the season. I'll never buy bait anywhere else around Plymouth, you betcha! That's Cherry's Bait Shop on Town Wharf in Plymouth, right in front of the Lobster Hut. No website and not even a published phone number. Gotta love it.
     As stated, we got there at a bad time; as we walked toward the breakwater, a fellow was leaving with two keepers (28+" striped bass.) Though we stayed for hours, we caught only one striper, which was a little too undersized to bother to measure, and a few starfish. It was lovely notwithstanding the lack of piscine cooperation, and I hope to return once more before the striped bass are gone to winter haunts.

Time Lapse Photography
September 24, 2010 (and ongoing)
     "Lenny's Farm" is the name I've given to a little ongoing project. Begun on July 2, 2009, this is a series of photos taken of a real estate development in Cambridge. A two-decker is being rehabbed, and a new duplex is being built in what was the backyard.

The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band
September 21, 2010
     In my email Inbox when I got home from work was a message from the Harvard Alumni Association that there was to be a gathering at Jillian's, a bar outside Fenway Park, and that Harvard President Drew Faust was to make an appearance before leaving to throw the ceremonial first pitch when the Red Sox host the Orioles tonight. What the HAA had in mind is beyond my guessing; bars in Kenmore Square, as far as I can figure, are approximately as interesting as car accidents. On my answering machine, oddly coincidentally, was a message from old pal Walter that he had an extra ticket for the game. Alas, I had to decline, because I was just too tired from a mildly hard day's work.
     The fact that I was not feeling up to accepting my pal's offer decided me to build my strength by going to my favorite eatery, Redbones, in Davis Square. When we left the place, we heard something like a combination oompah band, marching band, and Nawlins jazz band. As we walked to the city parking lot, we saw it playing in front of the Flatbread Company, a chic new pizza place that has retained the bowling alleys that have been in that space forever. The loose, fifteen-or-so-piece ensemble was The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band. They, i.e., the band, gave me the most fun I've had on the street in many years, a real treat of old-timey musical ebullience and disciplined chaos. What marrow-deep joy! They were doing a benefit for an upcoming event called Honk!, and I suspect that it could be more fun than a rabbit.

Jim Coleman Rafiki Bistro
Saturday, September 18, 2010
     A late lunch at Rafiki Bistro, between Harvard and Porter Squares. The burgers, though small for voracious me, are the best in Cambridge since Paul Sussman and Ellis Seidman closed Daddy-O's exactly ten years ago tomorrow. Chef/managing partner Jim Coleman, pictured, explained to us that he buys from local organic farmers. The difference in taste in not subtle, and, honestly, I am befuddled that one can get a table here in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.

Cape Cod
September 17, 2010
     Stayed the last couple of nights on the Cape. Here is a shot of the Pilgrim Monument from the deck of our cottage at Sunset Bluff (a mom'n'pop operation that I can recommend) in Truro. The weather was benign and typical for September, mid-sixties and mostly sunny.
     We were treated to dinner at The Mews, the best restaurant of my ken in Provincetown. I could live on the Tuna Sushi Tempura appetizer. We also ate at Bubala's, a favorite place especially for brunch, and The Mayflower, a workaday place in the center of Provincetown.
     The only disappointment of the trip is that apparently yesterday, Thursday, when I went to my favorite beach, Head of the Meadow, at midday to shoot the seals, it was the only day in the recent past when the seals failed to show up. It was generally a really enjoyable and restful outing.

Campus Buildings
September 12, 2010
     A friend whose son is at Yale just sent me Forbes's slideshow of shots of The World's Most Beautiful College Campuses. (Yale is the fourteenth of their fourteen.) This slideshow is rather silly, as most of its ilk are, of course, but it calls to mind a very special campus building collection nearby.
     The Frank Gehry-designed MIT computer science center boggles my mind. It provides novel and very entertaining vistas for visitors, but I doubt its value. To be unkind, one might suggest that the buildings lean over or have protruding windows so that, when overwrought computer geeks look up from their monitors, try to square away their vision on the outdoors, see those walls and start losing their tacos, they can do so without soiling the interiors. To be serious, I think that the structures will be so expensive to maintain that they might be taken down before the bricks of Harvard Yard need their next couple of repointings.
     Called the Stata Center, it is located on Vassar Street, near Main, in Cambridge and is at the top of my list of recommended destinations for visitors, even above our beloved Yard. The place is simply fascinating.

September 11, 2010
Eva Razvenkova
     Steve Knapp has been a friend to me since before he was old enough to know what a friend is. He and wife Julia have asked me to extend their time-sensitive appeal for help with the medical needs of Julia's friend's daughter in Belarus. They each contributed a month's salary. I made a very modest contribution. The baby's name is Eva Razvenkova, and she has a compelling case: HealthyBabyEva.com.

My photos may be used for training purposes
September 9, 2010
     Not to train photographers! Got a request today from a ranking local firefighter for permission to use my most recent fire photos. Sent him the whole batch. Glad to be of service, Cap'n. I always get a kick out of doing a neighbor a good turn —at least when it's this easy, I do! Which is not to say I wouldn't have tried to sell them to a news outfit, if I had held a better camera when I took them.

Earth Tales from Around the World
September 8, 2010
     An highly dedicated and professional environmentalist, Michael Caduto, has just asked me to spread the word, through this video he has posted, about the fundraising efforts in which he is currently engaged through the distribution of Earth Tales from Around the World CD's. I don't know much about the environment and know less about raising money to save the earth, but I am pretty darn sure about one thing about our planet: There isn't anybody more honest than Michael Caduto on it.
     Michael's website is p-e-a-c-e.net.

"Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"
September 7, 2010
     We watched this 2008 movie this evening. When I first saw the cover of the DVD yesterday, I called it a chick flick and was sure that I wouldn't hang around the television too long for this one. I watched it through and enjoyed it; it was a better than average fairytale-like comedy, probably because of the actors and the care taken with the costumes and sets.
     The movie is set in the 1930's, and, after watching it, I suggested that it reminded me of the movies of 30's in which plot and dialogue were oversimplified, with expectations that the audience would follow everything, for the sake of moving along the comedy or pathos or whatever drama that the story held. I further said that this movie, with its interaction of just a few characters within a short time-span (It happens in twenty-four hours.) reminded me of "Dinner at Eight," a blockbuster of 1933 and one of my favorite moving pictures.
     Then we watched the special features and learned that the yarn was written by Winifred Watson in the '30's; that the movie rights were bought by Universal in the '30's; and that Billie Burke was supposed to have the starring role. We are then reminded by the special features that Billie Burke was the good witch in "The Wizard of Oz."
     Of course, those of us who are Golden Era Hollywood buffs do not think of Billie Burke as the Good Witch. She is first and foremost the hostess of the "Dinner at Eight" and Flo Ziegfeld's wife. It was a hoot for me to intuit a relationship of the two movies made seventy-five years apart.
     This movie is not "Dinner at Eight," and this is not 1933. That said, it's a light-duty and successful comedy. It can compare itself in stature to that great movie in only one regard. "Dinner at Eight" had the Barrymores and Marie Drexler. Frances McDormand, the lead in this one, is in my opinion one of our great actors. In every role I've seen, she is completely believable, undeniably compelling, and has the sublime self-confidence that puts her in league with others whom the cameras adore perforce, like James Garner, Shirley MacLaine, and sometimes Jack Nicholson.

Went to an Eagle Scout ceremony
September 5, 2010
     The Boy Scout son of an old saddle pard, along with another fellow, was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout today. The Court of Honor was more serious than I would have guessed these things were, but on the other hand there was apparently a lot more requirement of time and effort in achieving the rank than I knew. The young man, in addition to fulfilling a lot of other requirements, took on as his final project an oral history of several WWII vets and recorded those histories on CD's now available to the public. Nice work, Aaron!
     I wore a rare badge that used to be on my Boy Scout shirt; one of the Scout leaders had the same patch.

Getting new old cameras
September 4, 2010
     I've been surfing the Craiglist photo section lately to find carry-around cameras that are a little better than the ones that have taken most of the photos that I have on the web. I decided to upgrade a bit when I found that the Cambridge Chronicle ran one of my pics for their report of a recent fire but did not use it in the print copy, I presume because the resolution was too low.
     That happenstance —along with the obvious fact that I need better resolution for things like this Red-spotted Purple butterfly— warrants upgrades in my knockabout cameras.

Fire on Hubbard Ave. in Cambridge — Photos
August 27, 2010
     Hearing sirens stop near where I was working, I went to investigate.

Boy Scout Notes for Aaron
August, 2010
     Some droll quotes I compiled for a pal's son.

What's up with those orange things?
August 11, 2010
     My ten reasons for growing tomatoes upside-down.

Dead Memory Day
August 8, 2010
     Comprising a few photos of sites of my childhood, this webpage is a small exercise in documenting how the touchstones of one's past disappear.

Some Goldfish!
June 2, 2010
     Goldfish —or so I thought— in Walden Pond.

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