Monday, July 27, 2015

If I may say so......

Apple’s simple “Sent from my iPhone,” appended to iPhone e-mails, is more tolerable than “Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T.”
If I am correct, I could get my iPhone e-mails to not say “Sent from my iPhone,” but I haven’t.
It’s fairly simple, not as ridiculous as “Sent from my Android phone using TouchDown (www.nitrodesk.com),” for example. (That last phrase is a link; fer cryin’ out loud.)
“Sent from my iPhone” is editable, which even means deletable manually.
And I have edited it into “Sent from my Reprehensible iPhone,” or “of-the-Devil iPhone,” since siblings tell me I’m rebellious and of-the-Devil to use Apple products.
It used to be Apple computers were superior to Windows PCs — or so it seemed. Photoshop® on a PC was hourglass city.
But now it seems Microsoft has caught up.
Although I’m told driving a Windows PC is like driving a blunderbuss Corvette, and Apple computers are Porsches (“poor-SHA”) = nimbly powerful yet efficient.
I imagine Apple has some contract requiring cellphone providers to avoid things like “Sent from my iPhone over Verizon’s 4G network, supreme in the universe.”
And thankfully. My iPhone is Verizon. I don’t want the yada-yada-yada.

• I have been told Jesus uses a PC.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Motorama


The August 2015 issue of Classic Car magazine. (Photo by Jeff Koch.)

My August 2015 issue of Classic Car magazine, which is not my most recent issue, has a giant feature on GM’s Motorama show-cars for 1953.
Flush with its power as premier marketer of cars in post WWII America, General Motors used to do annual Motorama shows, displaying its wares and future wares.
The 1953 Motorama had some significant show-cars, and all were drivable.
By far most significant was the Chevrolet Corvette, even though it was a turkey.


A 1953 ‘Vette. (Photo by Jeff Koch.)

The Corvette was a stab at an American sportscar, despite its “Cast-Iron Wonder” six-cylinder engine, and antediluvian chassis.
I will detail the other cars: the Oldsmobile Fiesta, the Buick Skylark, and the Cadillac El Dorado.
All were still based on the tired old body debuted for the 1949 model-year, slightly updated since then.
Oldsmobile Fiesta. (Photo by Jeff Koch.)

Buick Skylark. (Photo by Jeff Koch.)

El Dorado. (Photo by Jeff Koch.)
But the Olds Fiesta had a wraparound windshield that would later take root in GM cars.
Wondrous that windshield technology could bend glass into its final wraparound shape, but ya had to not lift yer left knee getting out.
The wraparound windshield lasted a few years, but was finally quashed. Knees had triumphed.
Buick’s Skylark debuted a few styling fillips that eventually made their way onto GM’s cars.
Mainly what I call “the GM bump.”
Earlier the side window-sill was straight, but on the Skylark it followed the dip in the side body shaping that mimicked a rear fender.
It was also a styling feature on European sportscars, especially if they had cutaway doors.
But it was still a Buick; it had the angry shark’s-teeth up front.
The Eldo was soon to become Cadillac’s premier offering. Maximum chrome and glitz.
It looks like the standard ’53 Caddy, except it had a Continental-kit, and the side-window sills dip down like the Skylark. —It also had a wraparound windshield; the Skylark didn’t.
Most significant was Chevrolet’s Corvette, far removed from the typical Chevrolet sedan.
In appearance anyway, especially with only two seats.
But underneath was Chevrolet’s “Blue-Flame” six, and a modified sedan chassis.
Although that six had twin carburetors, which is one more than standard.
People raced these things in sportscar races; which was a joke. They handled terrible, and often blew the engine.
Zora.
But along came Zora Arkus-Duntov, and he saved the car.
Chevrolet started putting the revolutionary SmallBlock V8 in the car with a four-speed floorshift.
And for 1963, Zora got a chassis up to the SmallBlock. It had independent rear-suspension, first in an American car.
So the other three Motorama cars are somewhat notable. But the Corvette was way out in left field.
And Corvette is still being made. It could have died, but Zora, an old hot-rodder, took it under his wing.
He saw the potential of levering Chevy’s SmallBlock into the ‘Vette.
The early ‘Vettes are still a joke, but they put the other Motorama cars on-the-trailer.

• When first introduced, Chevrolet’s V8 wasn’t called the “SmallBlock.” Not until 1965, when Chevrolet introduced its “Big-Block” V8; such that Chevrolet’s first V8 became known as the “SmallBlock.” Chevrolet’s “SmallBlock” V8 was introduced at 265 cubic-inches displacement in the 1955 model-year. It continued production for years, first to 283 cubic inches, then 327, then 350. Other displacements were also manufactured. The Chevrolet “Big-Block” V8 was introduced in the 1965 model-year at 396 cubic-inches, and was unrelated to the SmallBlock. It was made in various larger displacements: 402, 427 and 454 cubic inches. It’s still made as a truck-motor, but not installed in cars any more; although you can get it as a crate-motor, for self-installation. A “Big-Block” could be immensely powerful, and the “SmallBlock” was revolutionary in its time. —The SmallBlock is still being made; 60 years.
• “On-the-trailer” is an old drag-racing term. (Drag-racing is standing-start to finish over a paved, flat two-lane quarter-mile drag-strip. —The first car to finish wins.) —The losing car gets put back “on-the-trailer” that brought it in.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The big “C”

Yr Fthfl Srvnt has cancer, but I don’t think it’s a death-sentence.
It’s prostate-cancer, which I’m told is easily treated.
I’m also told men my age (I’m 71) usually develop prostate-cancer, and it’s so slow-growing it’s left untreated — only monitored.
I also know a guy slightly older than me who had the same surgery I was suggested: removal of the prostate. He’s fine; you’d never know.
My diagnosis was by Urology Associates of Rochester (NY), who I’ve been seeing about 25 years.
During that time they’ve been monitoring my PSA level (prostate-specific-antigen; the amount in one’s blood), which has always been highish. High PSA can indicate prostate-cancer.
An in-office biopsy was done years ago, and indicated nothing. But the in-office biopsy is not very extensive. It doesn’t take many samples.
A few years later we did a full “saturated” biopsy — many more samples. A saturated biopsy is done as an outpatient procedure in a hospital involving anesthesia.
This years-ago saturated biopsy also indicated nothing.
My most recent PSA assessment did a gigantic jump, so another saturated biopsy was ordered.
This time they discovered cancer cells.
Alarums-alarums! The dreaded “C”-word.
I was no longer being monitored. I was now a cancer-patient.
My wife’s brother, who lives in FL, and who was two years older than my wife — who died over three years ago — took this diagnosis as a reason to visit, which he was planning to do anyway.
He would accompany me to Urology Associates of Rochester to discuss treatment options.
We endured a long two-hour sales-pitch detailing various past treatments over the years.
My father also had prostate-cancer, which I wasn’t aware of, because I was out on my own by that time, and my father and I were somewhat estranged.
Apparently his prostate-cancer was treated with radiation, which is what they were doing at that time.
I was told radiation was good for about 10 years, and I said I expected to be around longer than that.
How long my father had prostate-cancer I don’t know, but he died of Parkinson’s Disease.
Treatment shifted back to removing the prostate, I guess.
First it was done with a gigantic incision.
Removal of the prostate takes out part of the urinary tract.
It’s repaired by stretching the remaining tubes, and stitching things back together.
The same procedure is now done robotically, laparoscopically.
The size of the incision is dramatically reduced, and stitching together the urinary tubes can be done with many more stitches, which promote faster and more reliable healing.
“Guided imagery,” my brother-in-law called it. A long sales-pitch that led to the doctor buying a Ferrari.
That’s probably not the case, but the doctor who long-ago did my open-heart surgery, that repaired the reason I had a stroke, drove a Ferrari.
But it sounded like prostate removal made more sense if I expected to be around a while.
Who knows, I could be killed by a bus, which always strikes me as fatuous since I drove bus.
So prostate removal is what we’re gonna do.
And I hope that keeps me alive a while.
I’m not depressed or suicidal.
But I feel like I’m just marking time until my death.
If it happens, so what! I feel like my life ended when my beloved wife died. I still miss her immensely, but -a) I have a dog that wants me around, and -b) I don’t want to miss anything, like Trump blustering, or the Tea-Baggers kowtowing, or the honkies shooting all-and-sundry in defense of the Second Amendment.

• My wife of over 44 years died of cancer April 17th, 2012. I miss her dearly.
• I had a stroke October 26th, 1993, from which I pretty much recovered.
• For 16&1/2 years (1977-1993) I drove transit bus for Regional Transit Service (RTS) in Rochester, NY, a public employer, the transit-bus operator in Rochester and environs. My stroke ended that. I retired on medical-disability.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Around-and-around we go

Another case of time-saving technology tossing a time-gobbling monkey-wrench in the works.
I pay my bills online, not the individual payees charging my accounts, but me authorizing my bank-account to pay my bills. This avoids the possibility of a payee going hog-wild and charging my account into oblivion, multiple charges to pay one bill.
I’ve seen it happen. A friend had her checking-account overdrawn by multiple charges for a single bill. Try to get this straightened out by some service-rep in India whose command of English is “I’m deeply, deeply sorry.”
My bank works okay. If anyone makes a mistake it’s me. My bills are paid electronically.
So the other day I set up to make bill-payments.
But my bank suddenly decided my computer was not authorized, same computer I’ve used for years.
So much for setting up bill-payments. I have to “authorize” my computer, a process that will probably take a half-hour.
I didn’t have a half-hour then, and wouldn’t have it the next day either. I couldn’t authorize my computer until the following day (today), which means bill-pay set-ups wouldn’t occur for two+ days.
Thank you, wondrous technology. What was supposed to take five minutes will now take two+ days.
I’ve had this happen before. My bank will suddenly declare my computer not authorized. Why I’ll never know.
Suddenly I have to jump through hoops.
It seems madness like is endemic to our wonderful technological breakthroughs.
I try to order things online, and some glitch in their website makes it impossible, or I have to log in or register.
For what? So they can ply me with 89 bazilyun purchase suggestions, or know my whereabouts?
I don’t have to register to shop at a store — at least not yet.
Computerization promised we’d use less paper. But we’re using more paper now than ever before.
And a tiny appointment-card becomes an 8&1/2-by-11 sheet of printer-paper.
So goes another tree in the forest!
And suddenly my five-minute session of setting up bill-payments becomes a two-day ordeal.
And I predict a frustrated phonecall.

• To be fair, amazingly I was able the “authorize” my computer online in five minutes; that is, without a phonecall. A day saved — what about next time? If anything can go wrong, it will.
• And my bank’s service-reps are local.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Party time


Left-to-right: Debbie (my niece), her father Jerry (my brother-in-law), Christina (Debbie’s daughter, hidden), Carol (Jerry’s first wife), and Jerry (Debbie’s boyfriend). (Photo by BobbaLew.)

My deceased wife’s brother has been here over the past weekend, Wednesday night (July 8th) through Sunday afternoon (July 12th).
He was her only sibling, and two years older than her. He lives in FL.
My wife died over three years ago. He came up here to -a) see how I am, and -b) go with me to help decide how I should treat my prostate cancer.
My prostate cancer is another blog; I’ll get to it eventually.
My prostate cancer is worth worrying about, although it can be easily treated. I still feel fine.
It’s serious enough to remove my prostate, although I was told that was the best way to treat it, if I expected to be around a while.
My father also had prostate cancer, but was treated with radiation — which was what they did back then. He died at 79, but mainly from Parkinson’s disease. —Radiation is good for about 10 years.
My brother-in-law’s visit was a chance for him to see his Rochester (NY) relatives, mainly his daughter by his first wife.
His daughter is now 46, and has a daughter by her first husband, who she divorced.
That daughter lives with her mother, who is now 73.
That daughter also has a boyfriend.
I don’t pass judgment on all this, except I don’t want Debbie (the daughter) to encounter depressing madness.
We all ate Thursday night (or was it Friday) at a restaurant in Rochester, and decided to hold a picnic at my house Sunday afternoon. —The daughter, her daughter, daughter’s boyfriend, plus her mother and father and me.
Fortunately they brought paraphernalia to hold a picnic. I say that because I don’t have anything, and am still a bit wonky after my wife’s death.
Included was a giant canopy, which was erected with great drama. Boyfriend became testy with my niece who wasn’t erecting it properly. “We’ll go to the hairdresser and dye your hair blonde,” he said.
I had to bring chairs out of my house, and use my finest china because we didn’t have paper-plates.
Our napkins were Christmas.
Boyfriend had brought his grill, and we roasted hotdogs.
My dog was inside the fence, and our canopy outside. This was to keep the dog from stealing hotdogs.
We ate and then began shooting the breeze.
“One thing I’ve learned after 71 years on this planet is to not discuss politics and religion,” I said.
Boyfriend commented about Donald Trump: “It’s about time we had a businessman as president.”
I didn’t say anything, nor did anyone else. His comment fell on deaf ears.
Yet boyfriend and I are both car-guys. A car-show was being held up the street.
We watched in awe as an unmuffled ’55 Chevy drag-car blasted by, loudly serenading the neighborhood.
“That guy drove that thing all the way out here just for that car-show?” I said.
Boyfriend then shared a hotrod magazine. 89 bazilyun ads for complete steel frames and car-bodies. People manufacturing things the car-makers once made — that became hot-rodding icons, like the ’55 Chevy and the ’32 and ’34 Fords.
Finally we wrapped up. I went inside to start loading my dishwasher, and the canopy was taken down.
Back to normal; you’d never know we held a picnic.
Was it pleasant? Yes. People had to keep moving to avoid the sun.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Allowing for idiots

So here I am last Wednesday afternoon (July 8th, 2015) calmly motoring north on Route 332, the main north/south drag through Canandaigua.
It’s a four-lane street, and I’m in the leftmost lane of the two northbound lanes.
I notice a Camry ahead in the leftmost of the southbound lanes with its left-turn signal on.
Retired bus-driver that I am, I shift my right foot to the brake-pedal.
Sure enough, at a closing-distance of about 25 yards, the Camry swings in front me.
I slam on the brakes!
The Camry-driver completed his turn, untouched by me, never looking my way at all.
Oh well, yet another phenomenal avoidance. Saved from accident by the retired bus-driver.
Stuff like this happens all the time, so much I’ve given up blogging it, since it was mainly to infuriate my brother-in-Boston, a macho Harley-dude and arch-CONSERVATIVE.
I woulda said the offending Camry had a Dubya-Cheney sticker — I’ve seen that enough times; that Dubya-supporters had no regard for anyone other than themselves.
But the phenomenal avoidances were so frequent I gave up.
I also am getting along pretty good with my brother. We chase trains together, and perhaps half of what are in my calendar are his pictures.
But that incident gives me an excuse to blog something I’ve been thinking about.
The viper accident-lawyers want you to enlist them so they can pig out on an 89 bazilyun dollar settlement for a minor accident.
An ad is on the TV. Some lady blithely drives her car into an intersection and gets tee-boned by a speeding pickup.
Aside from the fact her pictured reaction — holding her left arm up in defense as she looks in terror at the oncoming pickup — isn’t what I think would happen...... I think she would be looking ahead; she wouldn’t even see the pickup.
No impact is actually shown; the incident was probably staged in a computer.
But I also wondered if such a surprise could happen to me.
I think not.
I drove bus, and as a result I was always expecting the worst.
Approaching an intersection I allow for the possibility a car might charge in front of me — it’s happened.
At traffic-lights I look both ways before starting into a green light, in case someone is running the red light.
If someone approaches with his turn-signal on, I wait until he actually turns. He may have his turn-signal on in error.
—I had this happen once driving bus.
The only way to get bus-passengers safely and timely where they were going was to parry the idiots.
I guess I still drive that way — allowing for idiots. It takes me longer to get where I’m going, but only a minute or two.

• For 16&1/2 years (1977-1993) I drove transit bus for Regional Transit Service (RTS) in Rochester, NY, a public employer, the transit-bus operator in Rochester and environs. My stroke October 26th, 1993 ended that. I retired on medical-disability. I recovered fairly well.
• “Dubya” is former president George W. Bush.
• I’m a railfan, and have been since age-two (I’m 71).
• Every year I publish a calendar of my and my brother’s train-pictures.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

So ends the great experiment

I was tiring of Arrowhead Mills Corn-puffs.
What to do? I don’t like puffed-wheat, and puffed millet is bird-food.
I decided to go back and try various Kellogg cereals, Special K, and raisin-bran. I used to like Special K, and had Kellogg’s raisin-bran in the hospital, and it was okay.
I purchased boxes of Special K and raisin-bran, but you have to be careful. Special K has become a marketing empire of everything under the sun. I don’t want something artificially sweetened with added protein. I managed to find an original Special K.
And my raisin-bran was a generic store-brand. Kellogg’s raison-bran too was available in multiple versions. My first choice was erroneous. It was sweetened with honey and had added crunch.
But Kellogg’s had an original raisin-bran, as did the store.
I used to get this buying orange-juice for my wife.
I’d have to call her with my cellphone. No pulp, slight pulp, maximum pulp, or heavily fortified with wood pulp?
Why is it every American industry is obsessed with increasing market-stare = growth?
Try to buy toothpaste. I swear there are 15 different versions of Colgate, as with Crest.
I buy Pepsodent. There are only two versions available in the store: regular and mint-flavored.
So I was set to go back to conventional breakfast cereal, instead of that funky stuff I’ve been eating.
“What are you, some kind of liberal? Switch back to General-Mills and Kellogg.”
Too many Choco-puffs, and too many Froot-Loops, and sooner-or-later ya become a cereal-killer.
I couldn’t take either. Too conventional = fortified with salt and sugar.
Arrowhead Mills has neither. I couldn’t take the salt or sugar. It wasn’t excessive, but noticeable.
Back to the funky stuff, puffed-corn devoid of sugar or salt. Along with the Puffed-Rice I already eat — and bulk-oats and Post Shredded wheat-and-bran, which is also devoid of salt and sugar.
Post Shredded wheat-and-bran is the only conventional cereal I can stand; I guess because it’s unconventional, that is, no sugar or salt.

My silly dog has discovered the Great Outdoors

Yrs trly is semi-crippled.
My left knee is bone-on-bone, and needs to be replaced.
It has me hobbling so bad, I can’t take my dog to the park, or even up-the-street.
I haven’t taken her anywhere for about a year. I used to take her to the park three or four times per week.
About all I can do is walk her around my property every night, and that hurts.
She’s an active dog. She’a always showing me her harness, which signified the park.
I have 4.7 acres, and we allowed it to reforest. It’s partially woods.
Perhaps five years ago my wife and I (my wife was still alive at that time) decided to fence a large part of our property; five-foot chainlink.
Maybe three acres, $16,000.
Best investment we ever made.
I can let the dog out to roam without worrying about her getting clobbered on the highway, a state road where everyone exceeds the speed limit.
I’ve had motorcycles pass my house at 100+ mph — except the blatting Harleys, which might make 80.
I’ve had cars go by at 70 or so.
The speed limit is 40.
I think the world of my dog — she’s very attached to me. Having her run over by a speeder is not an image I want.
Not able to take her to the park, I had a very depressed dog. I’d get the hang-dog look.
But I think the Great Outdoors has reversed that.
The dog barks to go out, she zips out, and disappears.
She’s merrily hunting rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and moles.
I try to call her in, but she’s busy.
“What do I wanna do? Go inside to be with my master, or stay out here and hunt?”
She hunts.

• My current dog is “Scarlett” (two “Ts,” as in Scarlett O’Hara), a rescue Irish-Setter. She’s eleven, and is my sixth Irish-Setter, a high-energy dog. (A “rescue Irish Setter” is an Irish Setter rescued from a bad home; e.g. abusive or a puppy-mill. [Scarlett was from a failed backyard breeder.] By getting a rescue-dog, we avoid puppydom, but the dog is often messed up. —Scarlett isn't bad. She’s my fourth rescue.)
• My wife died of cancer April 17th, 2012.  I miss her dearly.

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