Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm thankful that the election season is over

On Thanksgiving I realized that I wasn't receiving nightly polling calls or throwing out reams of political mailers.

New Hampshire did double political duty as the first-in-the-nation primary and one of the few "swing states".

I suppose I should be grateful for the media and hotel income, but all the money that was spent could have gone to build several schools and hospitals.

We still have some lone campaign signs, such as this Romney/Ryan sign placed square in a patch of conservation land.

I was happy to see Obama win. Some folks were not. I suspect they disliked Obama more than they embraced Romney. I spotted this Black American Flag in New Ipswich.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Did I mention how much I love electricity?

When I was building repulsion coils, it really was a warm up to build an electromagnetic levitation device.

I'm glad to see that has been done.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bouncing water droplets

I don't know why I found this so fascinating, maybe it is watching anything in slow motion.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Power to the people!

I feel so bad for the folks in New York and New Jersey who remain without power. CNN did a segment showing an 70 year old woman haul water up 6 flights of stairs. I feel winded at about 5 flights, and I'm younger than she is.

We were out of power during the ice storm in 2008 for 12 days, but it felt like a month. Hopefully power will be restored soon and these folks can get back to their daily routines.

High Voltage

It's over folks!

No more phone calls, no more daily political mailings, no more TV ads. Thank goodness.

New Hampshire now has an All-Female Delegation! Congratulations!

US Congresswoman Annie Kuster in New Ipswich:


Friday, November 2, 2012

Climate Change

Bite your lip and wait for applause.
Very funny Mr Romney, very droll.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Apple pie with Annie Kuster and other democratic candidates

Woody Meiszner hosted an "Apple Pie with the Candidates" event at his barn in New Ipswich on Saturday Oct 8th, 2012. Annie McLane Kuster, US Congressional  candidate was the guest speaker.

Annie spoke of taxes, health care, Social Security and the environment. Other candidates in attendance

The apple pie, mulled cider, hot coffee and fresh apples were delicious. Thanks Woody for hosting this and thanks Tom Hawkins for the logistics.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Senator Ayotte's (NH-R) explanation of her vote

40 US Senate members voted against the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012. My Senator was one of these. I asked for an explanation and she sent me this detailed reply which explains the reason for her vote, and also brings to focus how divisive our Congress has become: 

September 28, 2012
Dear Mr. Poltrack:
Thank you for your comments regarding the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012 (S. 3457).  I appreciate hearing from you.
Coming from a military family, I recognize and appreciate the challenges our veterans face after they come home.  I believe that programs aimed at helping veterans find jobs must be effective, efficient, and fiscally responsible.  Unfortunately, S. 3457 failed to meet those basic criteria.
As you may know, S. 3457 seeks to create a Veterans Jobs Corps to employ veterans in conservation jobs and as first responders.  The bill would authorize $1 billion in mandatory stimulus spending over the next five years totemporarily hire up to 20,000 veterans.  No more than 10 percent of these funds could be used to hire veterans as first responders.
On September 19, 2012, I voted to sustain a Budget Act point of order against S. 3457 because the bill violates spending caps set forth under the Budget Act.  Despite misinformation to the contrary, sustaining the point of order did not kill the bill.  Rather, it allowed the bill to be returned to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee where it could have been fixed to comply with statutory spending limits.  Had Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) chosen to fix the bill's budget violation - instead of playing partisan political games during an election year - it is likely he could have returned the bill to the floor without delay.
Specifically, S. 3457 violates the Congressional Budget Act by increasing mandatory spending by $666 million over the Veterans' Affairs Committee's allocation.  Moreover, the bill uses a budget gimmick to mask the fact that the legislation would increase the deficit by $38 million in fiscal year (FY) 2013 and by $324 million in the FY 2013-2017 period.
In addition, S. 3457 - which never received a hearing - would have created a new veterans jobs program despite a 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding that the federal government already spends $1.1 billion per year on six major job programs targeted to veterans only: including the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program, Veterans Workforce Investment Program, Transition Assistance Program, Local Veterans Employment Representatives Program, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Project, and the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program.  According to GAO, five out of six of the programs provide duplicative services.  This report did not include the subsequently created Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which offers 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans.
In fact, you may be surprised to learn GAO found that nine federal agencies spend about $18 billion annually to administer 47 job training programs with very little oversight or metrics for success.  A June 2012 GAO report also found that there are 19 employment programs serving veterans and servicemembers with disabilities, and their families.  The GAO found another seven employment programs for individuals with disabilities that did not limit eligibility to any particular population and were available to veterans and servicemembers.  In addition to job training programs, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has outreach and loan programs to assist veterans in operating a small business, and SBA oversees federal procurement programs for veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.  Moreover, government-wide veteran hiring preference policies and contract set-asides assist veterans in obtaining long-term jobs in the federal government and with federal contractors.
As the spouse of a veteran who flew combat missions in Iraq, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and supporter of numerous initiatives to support our service members and veterans, I am eager to do all we can to address the serious problem of veteran unemployment.  Any veteran who wants to work should be able to find a job, and Congress should focus its efforts on helping create a private sector environment to sustain veteran employment opportunities for the long-term.
You may be interested to know that the Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), attempted to introduce substitute legislation aimed at creating long-term jobs for veterans without adding to the debt.  Unfortunately, Majority Leader Reid refused to allow a vote on Senator Burr's legislation.  In fact, Majority Leader Reid refused to permit the consideration of any amendments to improve S. 3457, and he recently went so far as to declare that "the amendment days are over."
I am deeply disappointed with the manner in which the Senate has handled this important issue.  Rather than pushing substandard legislation at the last minute in order to score political points during an election year, we should engage in the hard work of understanding the failures of current veteran employment programs and reform them to make them more effective and efficient.  I continue to believe that the best way to help veterans find long-term employment is to stabilize our $16 trillion debt, enact tax and regulatory reforms to spur job creation, and ensure a pro-growth economic environment.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.  As your Senator, it is important for me to hear from you regarding the current issues affecting veterans.  Please do not hesitate to be in touch again if I may be of further assistance.
Kelly A. Ayotte
U. S. Senator

Friday, September 7, 2012

Obama watch party

Lisa Petrie organized a New Ipswich event for local Democrats to watch the acceptance speeches given by Joe Biden (her friend) and President Obama. Great event, Thanks Lisa!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jazz Hands

I'll be willing to bet that you will get out of your chair and try at least one of these moves.:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Feeling "fresh" in the heat and humidity

We've had some heat this summer and let's face it, sometimes we get a bit smelly. If only there was a product for that:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Deer Fly Control

Tis' the season to be attacked by biting insects

Especially annoying are deer flies that bounce on your head, finally land on your skin, make a cross shaped incision and lap up your blood. Hateful creatures.

If you don't care how silly you look (and I don't), take a hard hat or a plastic bowl (blue is supposed to be an attractive color) and slather it with tanglefoot.

Since you are the bait the flies will come to visit but will never leave, wriggling around in their death throes.

I also find that a hand held bug zapper is especially useful, with a satisfying snap and the smell of burning bugs.

This female deer fly is never going to lay her eggs (stuck on flypaper)

Party like it is 2006! This novelty hard hat was perfect for this application. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Comic Sans

I've tried them all and I keep returning to my favorite font
Comic Sans
But here in blogger-land my choices are limited! C'mon Google let me use my favorite!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grow ideas in the "Garden of your mind"

Nice tribute to the late Mr. Rogers. I bet he would approve of this.

Lotte Time Lapse: Birth to 12 years in 2 min. 45

I thought I would share this wonderful video for Father's day. Kudos to Frans for such a a unique project.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I don't hate Facebook, I just think it is flawed... no we are flawed

I'm guilty of bashing Facebook. My sister has brought this to my attention. Okay, good point and readers of this blog and my other online venues deserve an explanation.

Actually it is not the technology that is flawed. Like many other things in life it is human behavior. The ability to write something about someone and post it to millions of folks is almost magical. Sadly if it is a negative comment, the author is insulated from looking into the eyes of the subject of the posting.

Text has little context, it is very easy to hurt folks feelings. I went on a Facebook diet after reading a series of disturbing postings. I care about my family and friends and it is very distressing to read them bashing each other.

Is this the fault of Facebook? Of course not, but they have flaws in their user interface. I have no idea what the difference is between posting on my Wall and posting to "friends". I don't like that I can't really edit a previous post. The privacy settings are a mess. The joke is that they had a Initial Public Offering because they couldn't figure out their own privacy settings.

Terry Gross on NPR's show Fresh Air  had a show called Keeping Your Kids Safe Online which featured the author of Talking Back to Facebook. I strongly recommend that parents and educators give it a listen.

Do I use Facebook? Of course, evidence is the FACEBOOK Family page and New Ipswich page that I created. I did this because I like to facilitate connections and I understand the technology. These pages were created for the Facebook community since the majority of users are here. However the quality assurance part of me realizes how badly Facebook has been slapped together, so that is my reason to push the Google alternative.

Both entities are mining our personal information for profit. If is is "free" we are the product, but at least Google is more elegant with their data mining.

For me a big part of sharing is the large catalog of family photos in my possession. I spend hours adding keywords, geographic data, labels, captions and more to these photos. Facebook tosses all that aside and uses a proprietary database. They even throw away time stamps and rename the files. For me that is a complete FAIL.  Also once uploaded to their database, I am prevented to block downloading and re-sharing .

I have many photos of living children. I want to share the photos but I want to be assured that I know exactly who the audience will be. That audience is usually my immediate family and closest friends.

We are social animal, this is a fact but what do you make of seeing a couple at a restaurant, each staring at a little screen instead of looking at each other? Does that disturb you? It is worthy of contemplation.

My choice of flawed social networking remain Google+ find me there.

Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Readers, I want to thank you so much for watching this video

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hangouts on air

There are some Hangouts that I have wanted to attend that featured photography topics. Sadly since these are held usually when I was at work, it was inconvenient to schedule the time. I'm glad to see that they can now be recorded for replay.

This might be a real boon for online music lessons and collaboration too!

Well done Google, well done!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

241st Signal Ops Co - Camp Beale, CA - 1943

In May or June of 1943, my dad was stationed at Camp Beale, CA.

He was part of the 241st Signal Opns Co. that eventually was sent to Okinawa and Korea.

Sadly official government records of his service were lost in a fire as many other WWII veterans.

Recently I learned from a WWII vet of that a group photo had been taken of the entire company.
Since I have a blog, a G+ account, a Facebook account, I figured I would post a message and see if anyone can give me some direction to locate this photo or any other information about the 241st.

There are several WWII websites which are excellent, but so far I haven't made much progress in my search, however I have great faith in the collective mind of the internet.

Thanks to all the WWII vets for their service.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Coca-Cola okay with Mitt Romney?

As we all know, Mitt is just a regular gazillionaire, just like us. A regular guy, a burger and fries guy.

A while back I received an invite to share a burger with Mitt and Ann and talk about my concerns. There was a    $5 donation request but I figured Mitt would be able to cover that for me.

The stock photo intrigued me because of the prominent placement of the Coca-Cola logo on a cup. I have some familiarity with political photography (I live in New Hampshire) so I realize that corporate logos are out. So he must be doing a little product placement action, just like Hollywood.

Here is the photo (I saved it)

I missed out on my first burger date with the Romneys and my $5 but I just received a NEW offer. Strange as it might be, there is a slight difference in the photo. I have not altered these photos.

Shooting blanks while shooting hoops

Throw in some beer and sign me up

Happy St Paddy's Day (Belated)

More YouTube fun and this time it's educational:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Year

Gioachino Rossini was born on Leap day 1792. Google honored him with a doodle.

Found this on You Tube (wait for the bouncing umbrellas)

"Hi-yo, Silver! Away!"

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When software fails...

When software fails... it is painful

I found a box of slides the other day. I grabbed an old Optifilm 7500ISE slide scanner (2009 is OLD in computer years) and connected it to my computer running Windows 7.


I expected Windows to auto-detect it and download the appropriate driver but it didn't. The software on the installation disk didn't work as expected. Foolishly I went to the manufacturers support site which pointed me at a driver manager. After fiddling with that I got a pop up looking for money to make it work. Plustek Optifilm already a good sum of money from me in 2009, So I bailed out of the program.

All looked fine until I rebooted... and waited ... and waited etc.

After a few more failures I had the option of restoring to factory settings, minus the pictures, the music, documents programs, all those updates and patches, the videos etc.

They did provide some kind of backup utility before the re-format of the hard drive, the backup took 23 hours (really). I've yet to try to restore. I also need to go to Comcast and see what I can recover.

Wish me luck!

Featured Photographer - Karezoid Michal Karcz

Above All by Karezoid Michal Karcz  (Karezoid) on
Above All by Karezoid Michal Karcz
I feel one can become a better photographer by studying how other photographers approach subjects. One of my favorite photo sites is 500px. The website is unique because it allows viewers to vote for their favorite photos. 

The voting system allows the viewer to filter the results on popularity and a number of other criteria. Only members can vote, but membership is free.

The site also has some social features, allowing one to comment on photos, follow the work of a photographer and share on other social media sites.

I've decided to post a link on Sunday to an photographer or artist that inspired me. Today's pick is Polish digital artist Karezoid Michal Karcz. Check out his work.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nina Winters - New Ipswich artist

There was an article in the Monadnock Ledger about sculptor Nina Winters. Nina spends some time in New Ipswich.
Winters, whose work on “Samurai” brought her to Oregon and Montana, says that the summers and autumns she spends in New Ipswich provide a much-needed reprieve from her high-paced globetrotting. “There’s such a sense of calm and purity,” she said, “and I can feel my potential when I’m there. It’s not intruded in upon by the city. I love urban environments, but when I’m there [in New Ipswich], it’s sort of just me and my creations. Everything just kind of settles down, it’s a very peaceful place to create.” Winters first landed in the Monadnock region in the late’70s, when she hopped from farmhouse to farmhouse in Temple, Jaffrey and Harrisville. She still remembers the day she went blueberry picking on Wildcat Hill and spotted a parcel of land near an eight-acre pond. “It was just an exquisite place,” she recalls, “and I thought, ‘Wow, I wonder if I could buy that?’” At that point, she says her connection to the landscape was too strong to break. “I said, I want to put some roots down here. I love it,” she said. “Except for the black flies, it's the perfect place to live"

Jon Stewart on birth control mandate

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

POTUS sings the blues

It doesn't matter what your political affiliation is, everyone love the blues.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Do you remember Tom Rush?

An appropriate song for those of us of a certain age. I've heard this before but forgot completely about it.... Really.

Friday, February 17, 2012

UFOs, Nazis, Vampires and Abe Lincoln

I didn't realize how little I knew of history. Thankfully we have some upcoming movies to teach us about Nazis on the moon and Abe Lincoln taking care of the Vampire problem. Here is a sneak peak:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory

How much more more would you pay for your electronic crap if workers in China were treated just a bit better? Mike Daisey traveled to China and offered this chilling monologue on "This American Life"

The Prologue from the show:


Ira Glass

OK, I am holding a new iPhone 4S in my hand. This is the one that you can talk to, and it talks back. It's a program called Siri. So let's try this. I'm just going to hold it up to the microphone here and push a button.

Ira Glass

Siri, where do you come from?

Siri Software

I, Siri, was designed by Apple in California.

Ira Glass

Where were you manufactured?

Siri Software

I'm not allowed to say.

Ira Glass


Siri Software

Good question. Anything else I can do for you?

Ira Glass

Can I say I love especially "I am not allowed to say," because it implies that Siri somehow knows the answer, but she's just not allowed to tell me. Which is insane, because she's a machine. Especially because-- flip over the phone-- right here on the back it's printed, assembled in China. Which we all know anyway. It's not like this is some big secret. We all know that stuff is made in China. Our phones, our computers, our clothes, our household goods.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kitchen Music

Great stuff found on Google+ by my buddy. Worthy of a Re-Share:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stephen Colbert Super-Pac ad

Airing this ad and others is perfectly legal under the Supreme Court Ruling about Super PACS

If you wish to contribute to the Super PAC Click Here