June 30, 2010

Wanna Smile?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:15 pm

Listen to this.

He died too young.

June 29, 2010

Spies in the Garden State.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:32 pm

In the tony town of Montclair, New Jersey, the neighbors knew them as Richard and Cynthia Murphy, a working suburban couple with two young children. He claimed to be from Philadelphia, and she claimed to be a native New Yorker. Apparently, each of their identities is a carefully constructed persona to permit them to be part of a deep cover Russian spy operation.

The FBI arrested the couple on Sunday night, along with four other couples living in various cities in the United States. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, they communicated with Russia by encrypting messages into websites and sending coded bursts of data via short wave radio transmitter. When Mrs. “Murphy” wasn’t sending encrypted messages to Russia, she was knocking down $135,000 per year as a financial analyst. Pretty good country, what?

If there is any good news, it’s that, they probably had to pony up somewhere around $15,000 per year in real estate tax for the privilege of living in Montclair, a bastion of liberalism, which no doubt helped them fit in.

Details are here and here.

June 28, 2010

Civilized Living.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:31 pm

I had read about Pyrat Rum a while back at my buddy Yabu’s site, and I’ve been on the lookout for it ever since. Last week, I was pleasantly surprised to find a bottle of Pyrat XO Reserve in a smallish liquor store not far from the House by the Parkway (South). It went immediately into the shopping cart.

Rather than crack it open as soon as I returned from the store, I decided to wait for the proper time to sample what promised to be a rare treat. Turns out that last night was the perfect night. Comcast cratered for many folks in the neighborhood, which, for me at the House by the Parkway (South), meant that I had no television, no internet access and no telephones.

Rather than get all worked up over the outage, I pulled the cork from the bottle and poured a generous helping into a snifter (I can’t imagine drinking it any other way) and took it outside. I plugged in Mr. iPod and fired up a CAO Criollo Pato cigar. The outside temperature had dropped along with the humidity. The breeze was just right. Then there was the Pyrat – Wow. It’s a taste sensation – a veritable cornucopia of flavors one doesn’t expect with rum. Accompanying it with a good cigar and good music was just plain gottdamned civilized.

I’m loving this retirement thing.

June 26, 2010

Wildwood Daze.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:58 pm

I just returned from spending three days in Wildwood Crest, NJ, a classic oceanfront town that is known for its sixties-vintage, often garish motels and hotels. I was there to attend an annual family get together, as an honorary family member. There was much eating, great company, many, many laughs, a bit of “swimming,” a bit of picking and, yes, a few cocktails. The beaches are beautiful and, as you can see from the view from the balcony (click to enlarge), they are also humongous.

Wildwood Crest is somewhat fancier than its northern cousin, Wildwood (without the “Crest”), which is known for its boardwalk rides and amusements and which was the inspiration for the Bobby Rydell song featured in the second link in the first paragraph. Wildwood Crest does not permit the sale of liquor (no bars, no liquor stores), but a short drive or even a walk down the main drag to Wildwood is all it takes to lay in supplies and we laid in plenty.

My insides are tired. This retirement thing is exhausting.

June 21, 2010

A Parking Lot Ding Preventer.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:37 pm

Truth is, I’m too lazy to write anything, but I thought this was a pretty cool thing.

Via my pal Rich, from my home town.

June 20, 2010

Father’s Day — Kitchen “Concerts.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:58 pm

I think about my dad just about every day, but on Father’s Day I think about him a bit more than usual. He was a refrigeration guy/maintenance guy and welder at a really dirty job in a dye factory. He worked hard at the place for years. He never complained, but he used to show me his callused, dye stained hands and he would say, “Son, look at these hands. If you don’t want to have hands like this, you have to get an education (He always pronounced it properly ‘ed-yoo-KAY-shun’).”

Many nights, after dinner, when the dishes were done, he’d pull out his guitar and sing and play in the kitchen. If my mother and I listened, that was OK. If not, that was OK too. He was playing and singing for himself.

He sang almost exclusively country/western tunes, and this Hank Snow song was one of his regulars. I know I’m biased, but I believe he sang this one even better than Hank did.

I did manage to get the education, and the only calluses I have are from playing the guitar — like my dad. I sure miss him.

June 18, 2010

“It’s Got to Stop.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:17 pm

Steve Wynn, a guy who knows a bit about business, shares his thoughts on the macabre circus in Washington.

Via iOwnTheWorld.com

The One Talks to the Oil Leak.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:29 pm

I am the President of the United States, and I command you to stop!


I said, I’m the President of the United States, the leader of the free world and the most powerful man on earth, and I command you to stop!

Piss off.

Listen, you’re really lousing up my presidency here.

Have you tried blaming Bush?

I tried that, but it’s not working.

Sucks to be you, I guess.

Care to play some golf?


Linked by Doug Ross. Thanks!

June 17, 2010

The New, Goofy Washing Machine.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:13 pm

When we bought the House by the Parkway (South), we bought a new washing machine. Truth is, there was nothing wrong with the washing machine at the House By The Parkway (North), but “new” seemed to be the watchword of the day. Being a Laundry Guy, I take a special interest in this particular appliance.

When shopping for the machine,, I checked out the front loaders that people seem to like these days, but I didn’t want one. To me, it seemed like a pain in the ass to load and unload. Besides, the first washing machine we had in the fifties was a front loader, so, for me, there was nothing novel or hip about them. I am a top loader kinda guy.

So, we bought a top loader. Here is a cell phone picture.

Note that it has a window in the lid/door, which permits one to actually watch the clothes being washed. This is a good thing for retired folks. Watching the washing machine beats most television. As you can see from this picture, the controls look pretty straightforward, no? Well, don’t be fooled. This thing has all sorts of bells and whistles on it (Gah!) and, like the telephone and DVR, it comes with a farookin’ manual that requires some serious study.

To give you a feel of how this seemingly benign washing machine looks when it is doing its thing, I took a picture with the lights out in the room Admittedly, it is a shitty picture, but you get the idea that this baby is more than just a knob and a button. It looks more like the control panel on the space shuttle.

Check out all those lights. I keep looking for one that tells me if the landing gear is down.

All the blinding lights are not what makes it goofy. Take a look at the inside of the machine (the tub).

What’s missing?

Yes, there is no agitator. WTF? It’s just a bigass tub. You just toss the clothes into the tub, and put the detergent in the dispenser (NOT on the clothes, for chrissakes – according to the manual) and start her up. Then comes the goofy part. In all my other washing machines, the tub fills with water and, once the tub is filled and the clothes are floating around in soapy water, the cycle (wash, rinse, spin blah blah) starts.

Not so with this goofy machine, which works as follows:

Put clothes in tub.

Add detergent to dispenser.

Press “start”

About a cup or so of water (yes, a cup) squirts on the clothes, and then it the tub spins. WTF?

It stops after about ten seconds or so, then it squirts about another cup of on the clothes, and it spins again!

It does this a few more times before it begins to act like a regular washing machine, but even at that, it does some goofy tub gyrations, presumably owing to the lack of an agitator. I’ll be damned if I can figure out how it manages to get clothes clean, but it does.

Then, there is the new dryer, but that’s a story for another day.

Sometimes it’s not easy being a Laundry Guy.

June 15, 2010

A New Blog in Town.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:36 pm

As many of you know, I don’t do power tools, particularly those with chains or those with sharp-toothed blades. As you also know, I am easily intimidated by computers and electronic gadgets. As such, a while back when I bought this fancy schmancy computer and all the gizmos and software that came with it, I stared helplessly at the multiple boxes until my buddy Mike the Computer Maven came to the House by the Parkway and spent the day hooking everything up and moving the stuff from my old computer to the new one. There is simply no way I could have done it.

A while later the computer developed a problem and had to be sent to HP for repair work. In the process of doing the repair work, HP wiped my hard disc. Double yikes! Mike spent a shitload of time getting that all squared away for me.

Mike is most definitely a geek’s geek and a gadget guy’s gadget guy (He actually reads and understands the stuff on Slashdot.), and he’s gotten around to starting a blog. Although he is writing about various things, the posts seem to be weighted a bit in the direction geekery and gadgetry, but they are written with non-geeks in mind.

Mike’s a good guy, and the name of the blog is “Lost in the Details.” Give it a look. I figure if I send enough traffic Mike’s way, he may show me how to operate my DVR.

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