Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Please forgive

“Next time CC your dog if you want an audience.”
So said my friend *** ******, regarding my response to an e-mail he sent pertaining to Obamacare.
I e-mailed my response to both *** and another friend.
I usually let political and religious comments go, since I’m a “bleeding-heart liberal” (my sister’s term; she was tub-thumping REPUBLICAN, also now dead - cancer). Many of my friends are CONSERVATIVE.
I don’t wanna lose ‘em as friends — actual friends, not Facebook.
I coulda reacted like The Lone Ranger’s fiery white speed-of-light stallion, rearing up “Hi-yo, Silver, away!” BLAM-BLAM-BLAM!
But I been on this planet almost 73 years, and know such behavior would be unproductive.
The brochure.
I also remembered without ****** my Boughton (“BOW-tin;” as in “wow) Park brochure woulda been a cheap-shot.
My artist-jones was at play = if my name is on it, it’s gonna look good.
We worked together. ******’s ‘pyooter-savvy, and my artist-jones. That brochure still looks pretty good.
My membership on that Park Board is long over, and they’ve since produced another brochure.
Four-color (or whatever) as opposed to mine which was only black ink on yellowish card-stock.
In my humble opinion, our brochure looks better. Where was their artist? It wouldna passed The Keed.
What set me off was to lump other friends who rely on Obamacare with welfare single parents who also get Obamacare for their 89 bazilyun kids.
If Obamacare gets dumped, my friends will lose their healthcare insurance.
Those friends are hardly “welfare single parents,” pigging out on Obamacare. They’re married, and have only one child.
I felt I was reading Limbaugh-lingo slanted toward his audience of angry white honkies.
My friends are what “The Donald” tweets as “losers” like Meryl Streep — perhaps the greatest actress of all time — all because she had the awful temerity and unmitigated gall and horrific audacity to badmouth “Mega-Brain.”
So I copied my friends into my ****** response, thinking they might be interested. Like all e-mail responses, it included ******’s original e-mail.
So ****** is justifiably incensed. My mistake.
Please forgive.
I don’t wanna lose ****** as a friend.

• “‘Pyooter” is computer.
• “The Keed” is me, Bob Hughes, BobbaLew. (See above.)

Monday, January 16, 2017

’57 Buick


1957 Buick convertible. (Photo by Richard Lentinello.)

The feature car in my March 2017 issue of Hemmings Classic Car magazine is the black 1957 Buick convertible pictured above.
In my opinion, 1957 is the year General Motors’ auto styling turned awful; I wouldn’t purchase a 1957 GM anything.
Way too much chrome ladled on bloated car-bodies, the result of General Motors’ ascendency with the Eisenhower Interstate System.
1957 is the year I started being intrigued by ferrin cars, especially sportscars.
Thankfully, Chevrolet stayed with its smaller ’55 Chevy body — although as I understand it, you can’t make a ’57 Chevy on a ’55 body.
They lowered the firewall a tad.
But for 1957 Chevrolet wasn’t what Americans wanted. It was the first year Ford outsold Chevrolet in some time.
The ’57 Ford wasn’t awful, but tended toward wretched excess: quite a bit bigger, with canted tailfins, mere appendages.
And Plymouth was a disaster; gigantic tailfins that dominated the car.
My wife told me a ’57 Plymouth was car in which she learned to drive. Way too big and intimidating, it had been purchased new by her father for a cross-country trip.
Like her father my wife was “automotively challenged.” Her mother, her teacher, was more normal. She ran her ragged.
1957 was also the year Chrysler styling tanked. I can’t remember the ’57 through ’62 Dodges.
My wife’s parents’s ’57 Plymouth almost immediately started rusting. Road-salt accumulated in its tailfins, and rusted ‘em out.
The ’58 Plymouth looked slightly better — an early girlfriend’s parents had one.
But it was still excessive. And rust-prone.
I remember checking out the new ’58 Buicks with schoolmates at a car-dealer in Haddonfield (NJ) near where we lived.
I woulda been 12, and our family moved to northern DE in December of 1957.
Annual new-model introductions were a big thing at that time.
The new year’s models were kept secret to encourage anticipation.
A 1958 Buick Roadmaster four-door.
The new Buicks were draped in obscuring cloth covers.
Those covers would be removed on the intro date.
The cars were also behind cyclone fence. We couldn’t get in to lift the covers.
We deduced the new Buicks had a waffle-iron grille.
This was an advance from Harley Earl’s angry Buick facade.
’58 Limited.
Finally revealed, the ’58 Buick was almost as bad as the ’57. Quad headlights beside a punched-in chrome-laden front-end, all atop that glittering waffle-iron.
At the rear were gigantic chrome-wrapped tailfins with integral taillamps and fake exhaust ports — an attempt to mimic a jet airplane.
One dare not route exhaust through that exhaust-port; it quickly soiled.
Is it any wonder ferrin sportscars were more appealing? GM’s chrome-laden boats were ridiculous.
For 1958 Chevrolet bought into the boats.
The ’58 Chevy became a swollen barge compared to the ’55 through ’57. I was depressed.
The ’58 Impala looked okay, but needed a much bigger motor than what became the SmallBlock; a wonderful motor towing a bloated barge.
The ’55-’57 Chevys were far more attractive.
For 1959, GM’s automotive styling really tanked, although the Buick looked pretty good.
The ’59 Chevy is the worst-looking Chevrolet ever made. and the ’59 Pontiac and Oldsmobile were disasters.
It wasn’t until 1960 that GM styling started recovering. Their cars were still barges, but no longer bloated.
1960’s Pontiac looked pretty good, although more a cruiser than a hotrod.
The 1961 bubble-top two-door hardtop Pontiac is one of the best-looking cars of all time, plus 1961 was the first year of the 409 Chevy. (That’s the YouTube 409-Chevy link.)
For many years I lusted after a ’55 Chevy Two-Ten hardtop with a four-speed SmallBlock (first 283, then 327, now 350).
But after 1957 GM styling fell apart.
The magazine says this Buick is one of the most desirable classic-cars of all time.
The Keed doesn’t think so. I’d stop with the ’56.

• RE: “Automotively challenged........” —meaning scared to drive. For my wife, standard-shift was completely impossible. She also abhorred driving in traffic — too scary. I was exasperated at first, but finally accommodated. I drove her all over so she didn’t hafta drive. If she was driving, I was also driving from the shotgun seat. I’d make decisions for her. “Yer gonna pass that semi before it merges.”
• “The Keed” is of course me, “BobbaLew.” (See above.)

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Self-perception versus age

“Oh *****,” I said audibly.
(Again, no names. I don’t want some creep hittin’ on this lady.)
*****, a high-school classmate of mine when we graduated in 1962, had just posted a recent picture of herself on Facebook as her profile pik.
***** and I are Facebook “friends.”
She still looked good, but hair dyed. It probably woulda been silver by now. Mine is.
It may have been a wig — I hope not. My wife had to switch to wigs after all her hair fell out with anti-cancer chemo.
She died almost five years ago. I miss her immensely.
***** was still thin, but visibly pushing 73. I think her birthday is July; mine is next month.
I hope she doesn’t get wind of of this — I don’t wanna hurt her feelings.
***** was probably the majordomo of my high-school class. She was daughter of a school-board member, and aced all her courses.
She married her high-school sweetheart after college, a guy who was a star end on our football-team.
I think she was named our school’s academic or humanities scholar; another dude was named science scholar.
Our high-school, feebly attempting superiority to others in northern DE, didn’t have a Valedictorian or Salutatorian. Instead we had an academic or humanities scholar, plus a science scholar.
Our graduation processional wasn’t Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance;” Too conventional.
It was Purcell’s “Trumpet-Voluntary.”
Our high-school served the ritzy postwar developments in northern DE.
Many of the residents were elitist Dupont engineers.
Like Rochester (NY) was once Kodak, Wilmington, DE was Dupont.
At that time we lived north of Wilmington. We moved there when I was 13.
My father wasn’t a Dupont engineer. He worked for a new oil-refinery.
Unlike *****, I was just a clueless bottom-feeder, no idea what I was doing.
I was in low-level College-Prep because I wouldn’t do shop.
I would be guaranteed matriculation at University of Delaware, as all Delawareans were at that time.
Like most I’d flunk out during first semester, and thereby become fodder for the Vietnam war.
I would have none of it. I knew U. of D. would be a disaster, and wanted to remain alive = no ‘Nam for The Keed.
I also knew U. of D. would be impossible because I’d be staying home. College-level work in a madhouse was clearly not possible.
So instead I matriculated at Houghton College (“HO-tin;” as in “hoe,” not “how” or “who”), 360 miles away from home, in western NY.
That was a compromise with my hyper-religious father, a super-long story not worth doing at this time.
Much to my surprise, I was welcomed with open arms. Unlike my childhood, adult authority-figures valued my opinions, instead of telling me I was disgusting and rebellious.
Things were touchy at times, but I graduated, first in my family to earn a college degree — although I think my father coulda, had he not come of age during the Depression.
I met ***** at my 50th high-school reunion, shortly after my wife died. The reunion was in northern DE.
I learned ***** had been a computer programmer before retirement.
Well of course! She was just like my wife. Smart enough and savvy enough and self-driven enough to figger out some contorted programming glitch that sent things awry.
I probably coulda done that too, but other things were interesting; mainly train-watching. (I’m a railfan, and have been since age-2.)
I found ***** has a Facebook, so one night years ago at home I began looking for it.
Lots of bare-chested hussies with maximum cleavage named ***** *******, but they were clearly not *****. ***** had class.
Weeks passed; I was getting nowhere. I wasn’t looking every night.
Then one night I stumbled upon *****’s Facebook. I almost immediately sent her a “friend” request.
Surprise-surprise; she accepted. She allowed she only had a Facebook for family.
Okay, I hardly look at Facebook myself; I only have 56 “friends.”
I don’t bother her much; we don’t have much in common. Anyway, I’m borderline insane, and she’s not.
But she reminds of my wife, and we both play with computers, perhaps me more than her.
Hers too is a MAC. (Dread!)
Another friend, with whom I graduated college in 1966, and I have been having a discussion about self-perception versus actual age.
This was prompted by another friend sending a photo of me receiving a medal from Houghton’s president at my 50th class reunion last year.
“Is that me? Yow-zuh! I look horrible!”
I get this at the Canandaigua YMCA too.
I encounter full-length mirrors before starting aquatic therapy in their pool.
Again, Yow-zuh!
One’s self-perception is more-than-likely not the same as reality.
I may still feel youngish, but I’m an old geezer.
I stumble along, and people pass. All but oldsters.
I also now have a Handicap-tag. (I only requested it as a result of my knee-change.)

• My wife of over 44 years died of cancer April 17th, 2012.
• “The Keed” is of course me, “BobbaLew.” (See above.)
• Houghton College, in western New York, is from where I graduated with a BA in 1966. I’ve never regretted it, although I graduated a Ne’er-do-Well, without their blessing. Houghton is an evangelical liberal-arts college.
• “MAC” is Apple MacIntosh. All my siblings have Windows PCs, and loudly tell me Macs are toys. The fact I use one indicates I’m rebellious and stupid.
• I work out in the Canandaigua YMCA, now doing aquatic therapy twice a week in their swimming pool. Supposedly this will improve my balance, which is awful. In-my-humble-opinion it’s bad because of leg-strength having withered away.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

“I have a life to live”

“I can’t hold forever,” I said. “I have a life to live.”
I called Urology Associates of Rochester.
They do my urology doctoring.
Last year they removed my prostate because it was beginning cancerous.
They left a message on my phone saying I needed to reschedule an appointment.
“Please hold,” their receptionist said, after enduring their minute-long machine introduction.
Not usually the case, but minutes added up.
My cellphone counts time, and I remember seeing over seven minutes.
Must be they’re on donut-break.
After 10 minutes I hung up and tried again.
Again, the minute-long machine introduction, followed by “Please hold” from their receptionist.
Again, the minutes added up.
After maybe five minutes I gave up. “I got a life to live,” I said. The appointment is in February = “Later, dudes.”
Years ago, at the Messenger newspaper. I discovered how heavy-hitters deal with this.
A vice-president was doing my annual review.
She made a phonecall, and got put on hold.
She switched her phone to speakerphone, and began my review. She’d stop when her party came on.
I did this myself. I switched my cellphone to speakerphone and put it aside.
But I wasn’t doing anything. All I was doing was killing time. I wasn’t where I could grab a magazine; if I could have, that silly phone would distract.
Urology Associates of Rochester has at least three receptionists. They’re fairly busy.
I found myself wishing for more, but usually not from Urology Associates.
Most irksome is my HVAC contractor. i think they have only one receptionist. Get put on hold, which always happens, and their head-honcho tells you how wonderful they are.
“Ray, ya gotta hire more help,” I shout.
They came last year to replace my air-conditioning, which after 26 years failed.
So I told ‘em: “Ya gotta get your boss to hire more receptionists, and stop the self-congratulatory breast-beating.”

• The “Messebger newspaper” is the Canandaigua Daily-Messenger, from where I retired over 11 years ago. Best job I ever had — I worked there almost 10 years (over 11 if you count my time as a post-stroke unpaid intern [I had a stroke October 26th, 1993, from which I recovered fairly well]). (“Canandaigua” [“cannan-DAY-gwuh”] is a small city nearby where I live in Western NY. The city is also within a rural town called “Canandaigua.” The name is Indian, and means “Chosen Spot.” —It’s about 14 miles away.)
• “HVAC” is heating/ventilation/air-conditioning.

“Don’t shoot the messenger”

That was an inside joke at the newspaper where I worked almost 10 years following my stroke.
The newspaper was the Daily Messenger in nearby Canandaigua.
It was a wonderful job, largely responsible for my recovery from a stroke.
The Messenger was part of the dreaded media, scurrilous scumbags with the awful temerity, unmitigated gall and horrific audacity to report the actual news instead of what people wanted to hear, especially fat-cats.
Of course, even a newspaper is a human endeavor. It could promote a so-called “fevered agenda.” Limbaugh CONSERVATIVES loudly accused us of holding furtive meetings to advance our liberal agenda (Gasp!).
Like, when did we ever have time to hold such meetings?
A gang of idiots and ne’er-do-wells arrived before the crack of dawn to slam together the equivalent of a book.
“Yo K-man, I got an eight-inch hole on 4A.”
“How about that Uganda brief? You’ll hafta cut.”
All the news that fits.
Not too long ago my brother in northern DE set up a private Facebook called “Connor-Jeans.”
I’ll be diplomatic and not explain the name, except it’s a takeoff on “genes.”
Connor is my mother’s maiden name.
Like my father, she became a strident Christian, and somewhat badmouthed some of her siblings. There were many.
One was my Uncle Bucky (Walter), and his wife Francis.
Perhaps Bucky made some wisecrack that inflamed my mother, or perhaps he pilloried Bible-beaters.
Whatever, this negatory brainwashing rubbed off on me, so I felt Bucky and Francis were unsavory.
We visited occasionally, but I was always warned.
On Connor-Jeans I apparently made some comment reflecting this negatory brainwashing.
Quite justifiably it got some of Bucky’s children, cousins, all bent outta shape.
I began to realize my parents were the ones wrong; Bucky was pretty cool.
I tried to apologize, but that didn’t work.
My parents were both dead, but I was still alive.
I was the messenger, so I should be shot.
Finally I decided the only thing for me to do was pull all my comments, plus take down old photographs I posted — but only because such pictures might also have comments, and I don’t know how Facebook works.
Suddenly deafening silence. Connor-Jeans went dead. No more weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Except just recently one of Bucky’s daughters posted an old picture of two of her sisters, one of whom was later murdered. The messenger, me, wasn’t allowed to see it.

• I had a stroke October 26th, 1993, from which I pretty much recovered. Just tiny detriments; I can pass for never having had a stroke.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

MailMerge



“WHOA!” I gloated audibly.
“It’s nice to encounter a ‘pyooter function that doesn’t render hairballs,” I said; “after wrastling with Amazon the other day.”
I say that, but 23 years ago I came home from the hospital, after my stroke, and found slinging words (writing) was much easier due to computer word-processing.
30 years ago if I had to insert anything, or fix errors (like spelling, etc), I’d find myself retyping whatever I wrote. (ARRRGH!)
Often I let errors fly to avoid retyping. Priorities man!
The best word-processing advance was spellcheck. It flagged mistypes,  which often result from a stroke = sloppy keyboarding.
Spellcheck flags most, but I still hafta edit to fix valid words — like “top” for “to.”
The next best advance was no longer using paper. What you wrote displayed on-screen.
You can insert willy-nilly. Just locate your curser and start typing — although sometimes I create a separate document to avoid mucking the first.
Then I copy/paste that.
Wrastling computers is fun! I know a stroke-survivor, now dead, who ended up half paralyzed.
Yet he continued driving his Windoze PC.
My rig is a MAC (Gasp! Of-the-Devil I tell ya!).
A couple weeks ago I hit Word’s MailMerge manager by mistake. There was my Avery label sheet displayed with inserts marked.
Started me thinking. (Gasp again!)
My niece in south FL does her Christmas-Card labels with Word’s® MailMerge.
We talked about setting up my own MailMerge next visit (probably next month).
“You hafta set up a data-file,” she said. “MailMerge imports that.”
Her data-file was Excel®.
“Wait a minute!” I thought.”I already got a data-file, so-to-speak. All my addresses are ‘Pages’ text-documents.”
Perhaps I could copy each, then paste to MailMerge.
Not as fast as importing an Excel data-file, but creating that Excel data-file would take hours.
So I tried it. Copy the Pages address text-file, then paste into the MailMerge thingy.
Worked! Soon I was printing entire sheets of varied labels.
Importing an Excel data-file is a slam-dunk idea. But creating that data-file would involve mucho hair-pulling.
I got better things to do. Laundry awaits, as does my dog, lawn to mow, and slinging words.
Why should I create an Excel data-file when I already got all my addresses as text documents?
Right at the moment I only got one possible import, MailMerge. I need many more to go to all that trouble creating that data-file.

• RE: “MAC, Gasp!........” —All my siblings drive PCs, and claim MACs are toys.
• Avery is my label-sheet maker. They are 8&1/2 by 11 and fit my printer. Multiple labels are on them.
• I’ve always been somewhat intimidated by Word’s MailMerge. The name itself is lousy. Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, had to call it something.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Encounter with Amazon.com



“Dread!” I thought. “Another e-mail from Amazon suggesting I review my “Subscribe-and-Save.”
I’m running out of dog-food, so I need to verify Amazon is about to ship me a bag.
“Subscribe-and-Save” is a bit where Amazon ships me a bag of dog-food every month (or two) to save money.
You sign up for regular shipments.
People Subscribe-and-Save Pampers®, for example.
Last month it looked like I should skip, so I did after madness and calling my sister-in-law in south FL.
I call her my Amazon-lady, which isn’t fair, because she’s not “Amazon-Lady” at the Canandaigua YMCA, muscle-bound ********, a nice lady, but striding around like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I started dorking around. Utter madness ensued. An hour passed. Finally “How come I gotta call my sister-in-law in Floridy every time I fiddle Amazon?”
I called her up. We were both at our ‘pyooters. I had Amazon on, and so did she.
“I’ve already blown an hour,” I screamed. “This is not progress! All I had was a simple question, but it’s not answered. What I get is a deluge of madness.”
She opened my account, and suggested I call their secret help-desk based in India.
We dorked around, trying this link and that, all of which seemed to lead to what’s pictured above, a site that’s no help at all.
And of course every time I tried to do anything it wanted me to log in. Security, ya know. Techy alert!
Generally my log-ins failed. “Wrong password” it kept saying.
Might it say “wrong e-mail address,” what was actually wrong?
When I cranked in an e-mail I haven’t used in years, log-in worked.
She hung up so Amazon could call.
“We’re deeply, deeply sorry,” said the dude in India.
“Deeply sorry” seems the extent of their mastery of English.
I managed to fire up Amazon’s Home-Page; cranked “Subscribe-and-Save” into their search.
“There it is again,” I cried. “Seen it hundreds of times” (what’s pictured above), “no help at all.”
“Do you see ‘manage Subscribe-and-Save’?” the dude asked.
Yet again I slowly pored through their gigantic list.
Minutes of stony-silence passed.
“Hello?”
“I’m still here,” I said; “trying to read your gigantic list.
I haven’t mentioned it yet, but years ago I had a stroke. Yer list is visual overload.”
“I’m deeply, deeply sorry, but do you see ‘manage Subscribe-and-Save’?”
“Uhhhh, no! I’ve fiddled this page hundreds of times, but never ‘manage Subscribe-and-Save’.”
Finally “Tell ya what! I give up! I can always buy my dog-food at Petco. Yer site is too much for a stroke-survivor.”
Meanwhile Amazon’s e-mail is telling me my dog-food will deliver next week.
Yet my sister-in-law, fiddling my Amazon account, deduced I have no Subscribe-and-Save.
Her I trust, but not Amazon.
We’ll see if it arrives. If not, Petco.

• I had a stroke October 26th, 1993, from which I pretty much recovered. Just tiny detriments; I can pass for never having had a stroke.

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Sunday, January 08, 2017

So much for “Connor-Jeans”

“So tell us about him; you say enough about my father.”
So says a cousin on a private Facebook set up by my brother in northern DE called “Connor-Jeans” (a takeoff on “genes”).
I don’t wanna talk about my father — that was all 50-70 years ago.
“Let it go!” I’m told.
“Connor” is my mother’s maiden name. She was one of a large family.
Right-or-wrong, the Connors were portrayed as stupid by my father’s mother.
Even now an aging aunt, the last remaining sibling of my father, poo-poos the Connors.
My parents badmouthed one uncle among my mother’s siblings. Probably he made some wisecrack. Whatever; he was declared inferior.
This brainwashing gravitated to me. Every visit to that uncle, and there weren’t many, I was warned he was unsavory.
If I asked why I got clobbered.
Apparently that uncle was “pretty cool.” He and his wife were wonderful parents.
I never knew that. We avoided them.
So this brainwashing made it vaguely onto “Connor-Jeans,” getting those cousins all bent outta shape.
And justifiably. All kinds of madness passed as Godliness to my parents.
And since I was still alive, and they were dead, I could be personally badmouthed.
Nothing new; I’ve heard it since I was born.
I tried apologizing, but that crashed.
I decided the best thing for me to do was delete everything I posted on Connor-Jeans.
That included old photos, since I don’t know how Facebook works, and my comments might still fly with those photos.
So much for Connor-Jeans!
My brother-in-Boston, who refuses to have a Facebook, has the right idea.
“Don’t touch Facebook with a 10-foot pole.”

• My mother got better as she got older — she realized my father’s constant badmouthing and beatings were turning me away. But early-on her judgments had Biblical connotation, like Acme supermarkets were “Of-the-Devil,” whereas Jesus shopped A&P. —This may seem inconceivable to my younger siblings, but was the world I grew up in. (I’m the oldest.)

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