email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Clinton/Trump Debate Tomorrow

I'm worried about the debate.  Clinton has to show great command of all national and international issues (and she will).  She probably has to know the Minister of Finance of Slovakia and the exchange rate of Dollars to Laotion Kips (and she probably does).

All Trump has to do is not pull down his pants and moon the audience...

And then too many people will think him "presidential" for restraining himself. 

If there was ever a difference in expectations between 2 people in a debate, this is it.  And it is not fair.  I grew up taught that knowledge, experience, and nuance matters in life and leadership.  I went through my career that way and I have lived my life that way. 

If Trump becomes our President, my brain will just EXPLODE.  And not because he is, but because enough Americans thought he should be.  It will be a society I no longer want to be part of. 

I live in Maryland.  Maryland is not a contested State.  Maryland will go for Clinton without any doubt.  It is some of the other States I worry about.  Personal opinion of States that go for Trump; they are obviously insane.

I read a very interesting book decades ago (and re-read it sometimes) called 'They Also Ran' by Irving Stone.  It details the losers in presidential elections, why they lost and what kind of presidents the losers would have made.  Stone's general view is that the American voters have generally made good decisions, but sometimes really made bad ones.  His judgements on the elections seem sound.

As he said in his epilogue, the American People have made the better choice rejecting Hayes for Tilden (the election was crooked in Florida and Hayes was chosen badly),  Douglas for Lincoln, Blaine for Cleveland, Landon/Wilkie/Dewey in favor of Franklin Roosevelt, Dewey over Truman,  Nixon over Kennedy,  and Goldwater against Johnson. 

We erred grievously choosing  Taylor over Cass, Grant over Seymour, Coolidge over Davis, Eisenhower over Stevenson,  and Nixon over Humphrey

We made a difficult choice between Smith/Hoover  between equally good candidates.

The rest of the elections seem to have been the better choices.

Let's hope this election doesn't go down in history as the worst decision the voters have even made...

Saturday, September 17, 2016


I have a particularly wary groundhog this year.  I set out my live cage trap but it wont go in.  I've named it Radar.

It is unusually observant.  And, apparently, groundhogs  have great long-distance vision and hearing.  Radar creeps out of the backyard underbrush (which I really ought to get out and cut down) slowly.  To the extent that it can think, it might call ME Radar too.

Radar can see at least 200 feet and can tell if I so much as slowly poke my head over a windowsill.  If I do, he stands up, looks straight at me and runs away.  On the other hand, he cannot creep out into my wildflower garden (which must seem like a Eden of food to him).  I know every stem as well as HE does and he can't hide his little head whenever I look out the window.

I see him as well as he sees me.  I've been kind.  As long as he eats the clover in the lawn, I don't mind.  And my garden is covered with chicken wire he can't get into so far.  If he would stick to the lawn clover, I wouldn't mind.

But he has a natural taste for the wildflowers I am trying to grow in a patch for the cats to prowl through, and when it comes to the cats desires to prowl seeking mice and voles vs the groundhog's eating habits, Radar has to go.

I have tried to scare him away.  I have tried to just discourage him when he wants to eat the wildflowers I'm, trying to grow.    No success on that.

So I will have to set up the Hav-A-Hart live trap cage again.  I set it up in years past when I had groundhogs and caught them right away.  Radar is more cautious.  I read that covering the cage with long grasses is good for suspicious groundhogs, even draping it with landscape fabric is good.

I don't want intelligent cage-wary groundhogs around.  From my point of view, stupid and catchable is better.  The websites say that cantelopes and peaches are the best cage bait.  I have a honeydew melon bigger than I will eat, so I will try some of that.  Radars predecesors ate my honeydews last year before I finished enclosing my garden are last year, so that should work.
I'll hang a slice from inside the top of the cage (because otherwise the ants just eat them). 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Apple Intrusions

I had an annoying incident today.  I decided to download a new version of MacKeeper, some protection software. 

Usually, you just press a few buttons to download a program.  Instead, I got a live Apple Helper.  Who took over my screen...  I won't tolerate that from anyone.  THEY TOOK OVER MY COMPUTER!!!  For all I know, they still have control of it.  I'm uninstalling the program (but who knows if that actually works). 

When that is done, I will use a few anti-virus, anti-intrusion programs NOT from Apple. 

But this really bothered me.  I might have to consider Windows again.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 11, 2016

Bitter is the memory and unforgiving is the anger.  It will not fade in my lifetime...

To the innocents ON the planes and IN the buildings, to those who tried to save lives and lost their own...  To those who sufferred from the attempts and lived in hardship after..

Retribution will come eventually...  BY humans ON humans.  Guilt will be found out some bright day.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Previous Cars

"15&Meowing" posted about the car they would like to have.  And as I commented, I relized that what I wanted to say was too long.  So here is the long version.  Thank you, 15&Meowing!

My first car was a 1966 Pontiac Bonneville convertible.  The convertible top was HYDROLIC.  Push a button and it opened or closed without effort.  It was 4 years old, a 20th birthday gift from my parents.  I adored it.  I added a removable (for security) 8-Track player under the dashboard.  I learned the back seat side panels could be removed so I added inset speakers there.  I was working at an auto-aftermarket part of a department store at the time, and one day they sent us a gadget called "Quadraphone".  Basically,  that let you send the music to four speakers, front left speaker and back right, and right front speaker  and back left.  It was cool at the time.

But I didn't know anything about car engines.  Dad wasn't big on teaching.  I learned decades later that he really believed if you wanted to know something, you asked, and if you didn't ask you didn't want to know.  I'm not an "asker".  So I didn't know about changing oil and stuff like that.

From lack of maintenence, the engine was destroyed and when I asked for money to fix it, Dad said that was my problem.  The car sat in the apartment parking lot and they hauled it away before I could afford to repair it. 

After I gave enough horrible stories of trying to bus 15 miles each way to and from work, walking 3/4 of a mile to the bus stop, transferring 3 times and being penalized for lateness when traffic was bad, Dad bought me another car.  He chose the ugliest cheapest car , a purple clunker Chrysler New Yorker ($800).  I saw a beautiful 4-year old 1970 tan Monte Carlo with a brown pebble roof and a sporty extended hood($1200).  And it wasn't that he was poor.  I could say "cheap", but he would have said "thrifty". 

For the first time since I was a child before Christmas, I begged.  I argued gas milage.  I argued "2 years newer - better value".  Dad was buying from a hunting buddy, so he knew he would get the best deal possible.  He fussed and hesitated.

But he bought me the Monte Carlo...  I was so proud to drive that around.  And while we didn't know then, it had speakers in the back.  Great sounds. I loved that car! 

By then, I had learned about basic car maintenance.  I kept good care of it.  But it had a bad engine from the previous owner and the engine locked up one day.  It gets a little strange here.  My sister was married to a car fanatic.  He used to take his engine apart for fun, clean everything and put it back together. 

I couldn't repair a toaster at the time, so that seemed really impressive.  He said it was the same engine as a Chevelle, and he had one and would be happy to replace mine wit it for free and get the Monte Carlo engine and repair IT and use that somewhere.

Dream come true, and he didn't even want my help (as if I could have given any).  Dad thought tat a good deal and drove the 60 miles to me with a car towing device.  We hooked it up, and drove off, whereupon Dad decided that he wanted to buy a cigar so we stopped at a strip mall. 

He mistakenly put the car in nuetral, aimed downhill and we stepped out.  When I saw the cars moving forward, I jumped back into the passenger seat and hit the brakes.  Dad was frozen in place outside the car.  The front bumper on MY car was slightly bent and Dad went ballistic! 

Hey, I saved a store-front crash and it was MY car that was only minorly damaged in the bumper.  And Dad was angry at ME.  The trip went seriously downhill and very quiet from there.

Yeah, I know he was embarassed.  I reacted fast when he didn't.  And he was "the Dad" so he should have.  But I didn't blame him.  I was just nearest and acted faster.  He said I should have pushed on the brakes slowly to not damage MY car's bumper.

I understood he was embarassed by leaving the car in neutral (it was a habit of his generation of stick-shift parking using the parking brake).  I understood that he was embarrassed he hadn't reacted
faster.    I didn't blame him, but he blamed me.

I suppose that was the first time I ever realized that Dad was just another person struggling to maintain a self-image.  And while I had caught Dad in some minor errors in life (and trust me, not very many), that one was the first where he totally lost it... 

I'm guessing I was 25 at the time, underemployed at minimum wage n a department store, sharing an apartment with 4 other guys.  And realizing that *I* did something right and Dad failed and that just because blame was ascribed didn't mean it was right or fail.

Dad complained to Mom tht I had damaged my car.  When I explained it to Mom later, she merely said, "Oh dear",.

I think that was the day I actually became an adult.

As it turned out, the Chevelle engine didn't seem to fit, the Monte Carlo carcass was sold cheap to someone who did know how to restore it.  And I never asked my parents for any help except once and that was a loan for a house purchase I they made me pay full interests on (so that they wouldn't lose a dime).

I struggled to buy a  Chevy Hatchback that lasted 5 years or so.  It had a horrible reputation but I got away with it.  Then, not knowing anything about buying new cars, I went to a chevy dealership and said show me the cheapest car on the lot. 

In my ignorance, and with a more knowledgeable "friend" with me, I paid full price on credit.  My "friend" told me later that he was amazed I paid full price.  But I brought him along because he had bought cars before and he was a negotiator in his business. 

I went off with a Chevette Scooter, which was about the least car you could legally drive on the road at the time.  I got away with that one for 8 years.

He said it wasn't his business to intrude with advise to me on purchases.  Um, isn't that what friends are for?  I gave him advice on some purchases whenever I had information.  He appreciated that.  But woudn't do it for me.  I think he liked seeing other people make poor decisions.

It was the start of a long 30 year road downhill for us (and no, there was no "relationship").  Just a long one-way friendship that finally ended after 41 years.

But I wouldn't want THAT car again...

My next car was researched.  I had learned a few things about buying cars.  I carpooled ans towed a boat.  The Ford Taurus Station Wagon was perfect.  The front seats were split, the back bench seats were rated "very comfortable".  I cared about that.  My carpool LOVED the car.

And it was the first time I ever really negotiated a deal.  I had info on the dealer's costs for all the options from Consumer Reports.  The salesman, in 1988 hated it.  He tried to dismiss it it.  He tried to deny it.  He said they lied...

But eventually, I got the car for $300 over their real cost, it lasted 10 years and I sold it back to the dealership for $3,000.  I loved that car, but it wasn't my favorite. 

A member of my carpool had a Dodge Charger and I liked it.  So I checked Consumer Reports magazine about it.  Turned out there was a family of it, the Dodge, a Chrysler, and the Eagle Vision (being the top of the line).  And when I checked all the features I wanted (nothing too fancy), the Eagle came standard with those at a lower price!   The basic Eagle I wanted was cheaper than the other brands with options.

I had Consumer Reports car info on that one too, but I paid $500 above their true cost.  It was in slightly more demand, and I wanted it more.

So I bought one.  My carpool member immediately bought a fancier car (and admitted why - there are crazy people all over the place, which is why they are always broke).  I kept that one going for 10 years until there was an engine problem the mechanics couldn't get fixed right.

One problem with the low-profile Eagle Vision was that I was commuting on back roads and crowded traffic.  I got SO tired of the new bright headlights in my face.  When The Eagle died, and I was hauling the boat and a trailer more often, I bought a 2005 Toyota Highlander SUV new. 

I had researched THAT on Consumers Report magazine too, but I didn't get the best deal.  They were simply too much in demand.  One problem was that they weren't being built in the US at the time, so the only ones available came "as is" and most came with features I didn't want.  So the ones I did want were selling about as fast as they arrived. 

Sometimes ya just have to bite the bullet.  But it has been a fine car for 11 years. and only 26K miles (I REALLY don't drive much)

So what car would I like to have of all the cars before (restored)?  BTW, how do you like my choice of cars over the years?

1.  1966 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
2.  1970 Monte Carlo
3.  1986 Eagle Vision
4.  2005 Toyota Highlander
5.  1978 Trans-Am with the Eagle decal on the hood (that I lusted for but never owned)

Well, in order...

1966 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
1986 Eagle Vision
1970 Monte Carlo

Not the Trans-Am.  I gazed in wonder, but that wasn't my style.  Speed Kills!  And the Highlander is my style, but not my desire.

The 1966 Pontiac Bonneville is my first and true desire...  The Eagle Vision is still too recent in memory.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Another Anniversary

This week, 30 years ago, 1986, I moved into this house.  I don't have the exact date because the legal purchase date and the move-in date aren't the same.  And it took a week to move everything.  But basically, around Labor Day, I moved into my own house.  No roommates, just me and Mean Old Tinkerbelle the cat (who I loved dearly in spite of the name).

It doesn't feel like all that many years, but it is...

It was a "starter house".  I guess I'm still starting...  I look at this place on Google Earth about once a month.  The pictures changes sometimes.  But the house doesn't really.  I know every blade of grass and garden weed.  I can walk around in the total darkness of the middle of the night and know exactly where I am (shuffling my feet carefully to avoid stepping on a cat of course - because THEY move).

If the power went out, in the middle of the night, it wouldn't matter until it got hot or cold.   I know every creak of floorboard, every sticky cabinet door, and every pipe noise.  In fact, I didn't hear a familiar sound last Spring and went down to check.  Sure enough, the A/C condensation reservoir was blocked by some surprise algae growth blocking the disposal pump overflowing onto the basement floor.

I know when the aquarium needs more water from the sound of the pump.  In my sleep.

It is unlikely that anyone will ever know this house like I do.   I was the 3rd person to build on my street and the other 2 left a decade ago.

I know every cat sound and if one jumps onto a kitchen counter, I know which one it is.   They hate that.

And I want it to stay that way for a long long time more!

Wish me a happy 30th in my home...

Mark and the Mews in The Green House, Maryland, United States, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Virgo Supercluster, and we aren't sure beyond that.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chess game

Friends, for those of you who can read chess notation, I present you with  what MUST be the ugliest win ever against a computer...

The computer game was set for looking 3 moves ahead because I can't do more more than 2 myself anymore...