My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Surfin': Ninety-Nine Hobbies In One

Read this week's installment of Surfin': Ninety-Nine Hobbies In One, then leave your comments here.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

plagiarize this!

I read in today's paper that Pultizer Prize-winning author, Doris Kearns Goodwin, will be the keynote speaker at some local conference. Here we have a plagiarist who has been caught red-handed being treated with kid gloves... almost being honored, so to speak, and probably collecting a nice honorarium for her trouble.

As a writer, nothing bothers me more than plagiarism. Writing is hard work and I strive to write without plagiarizing. Then I see successful writers like Goodwin not only getting away with plagiarizing, but being treated with respect as if nothing ever happened.

It reminds me of the story of a local car wash that I occasionally patronized. Turns out that the owner of the car wash was pushing drugs to schoolchildren from his place of business. He got off on a technicality, but I swore that I would never patronize his business again and I never have. Yet, I see cars lined up at his business everyday and it drives me crazy... why would anybody do business with someone who is trying to push drugs on their children? (Recently, this bum got caught again. I hope that the law did a better job this time and is able to put this guy away for a long time.)

Another plagiarist, Mike Barnacle, lost his job with the Boston Globe because of his crime, but he managed to find work elsewhere. He has a regular stint on the Don Imus radio program where he is treated like a king by Imus' gang of yahoos, who usually treat more honorable people with less respect.

Then there is the case of the bum who wrote the Da Vinci book. An English judge found that the bum did not steal the ideas for his book from another writer, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I guess money talks and that bum walks.

Is there no justice? I must be naive because I just don't get it.

Nonetheless, I will continue do my part: I will not plagiarize and I will not support those who do (or those who support the plagiarists).

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Abbey Road webcam

This is a cool little webcam at Abbey Road in London. During the day time there are so many people... try to catch them imitating the famous Beatles pose.

read more | digg story

Monday, April 24, 2006

April Showers...

The rain gauge ticked off 3.4 inches yesterday on top of 0.12 inches on Saturday, so it made for a very wet weekend.

The culvert on the west side of our property was bone dry for weeks, but by mid-afternoon Sunday, it could not handle the runoff fast enough and there was a small pond developing along the south end of the west property line.

So, I spent a lot of time this weekend cleaning the garage and have seven garbage bags full of stuff removed from the garage.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Surfin': Bits and Pieces*

Read this week’s installment of Surfin': Bits and Pieces*, then leave your comments here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

playing on my iPod this week

Capitol just released The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 by the Fab Four.

Do I really need another copy of Early Beatles, Help!, Beatles VI, and Rubber Soul? I already have them on vinyl as well as on the British vinyl and CD versions of those albums. But being the Beatles completist that I am, I will probably buy the set sooner or later.

Meanwhile, on the iPod, I have been playing a lot of surf music this week: Dick Dale, the Ventures, Jan and Dean, et al. Cowabunga!

i dig digg

Slashdot used to be my main Internet source for techy and nerdy news. WA1U recently mentioned how his allegiance had switched from Slashdot to digg, so I checked out digg for a week or so and I definitely dig digg more than I dig Slashdot.

I will continue to check Slashdot for awhile, but digg is now my main source for news about "stuff that matters."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

forsythia plants and daffodils peaking

The forsythia plants and daffodils seem to have peaked flower-wise this week on Compounce Mountain.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Surfin': A Quick APRS Resource

Read this week’s installment of Surfin': A Quick APRS Resource, then leave your comments here.

By the way, If you register to use the APRSWiki, you will need a user name in "WikiName format." WikiName format is capitalized words "squished together," i.e., capitalized words without spaces between the words. Thus, "Stan Horzepa" is not in WikiName format, but "StanHorzepa" is.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Microsoft writes a law for Oklahoma giving it the right to inspect your hard drive, delete your files and applications, and call the police if it finds anything “illegal”… is your state next?

This is no joke. Read all about it here!

playing on my iPod this week

Since his death last week, I had been listening to a lot of Gene Pitney tunes.

One thing led to another...

While watching the Jack Rabbit Slim's scenes of Pulp Fiction over the weekend, I said to myself, "Myself, you must track down that Ricky Nelson song that the Ricky Nelson impersonator sings at Jack Rabbit Slim's." So I iTuned Ricky Nelson and discovered that "Waitin' In School" was the mystery song. I downloaded Ricky Nelson: Greatest Hits (Digital Version) and have been listening to a lot of Ricky Nelson this week.

Monday, April 10, 2006

the weekend

Saturday, it rained, snowed, and sleeted, so it was a good day to stay inside and finish my income taxes, which I did. I'll go over them one more time to make sure I have not missed anything, then I will print the forms and mail them in later this week.

Sunday, the weather was a big improvement over Saturday. It was sunny, but a little on the cool side. When I walked the dogs at 9 AM, I could have worn gloves because it was that cool.

I did some yard work in the morning. I picked up the branches that fell in the yard over the winter, then I considered the 25-foot tree trunk that broke off and fell perfectly into the vee formed by another tree where its trunk split in two. The broken tree was lodged tightly in the vee and it was at a difficult height to work with (about 5 feet above the ground).

I thought that the broken tree would be easy to cut apart because it was rotting, which is why it fell in the first place. I tried chopping it with an axe, but that was a difficult task because I had to chop it so high off the ground. So, I abandoned the ax and got out my big 5-foot crowbar. I stuck the crowbar in the vee below the broken tree and managed to loosen the broken tree from the vee, but I could not get enough leverage to lift the tree out of the vee.

So, I climbed into the brush behind the vee tree, took a deep breath, and lifted the broken tree out of the vee. I managed to lift it out of the vee and drop it to the ground. Wow! That was a real workout as was evident by my heavy breathing for the next five minutes or so!

After I caught my breath, I dragged the tree into the woods across the street and called it a day yard work wise.

I took Laurie shopping and cleaned the mess in the bathroom where a cat knocked some soil from the aloe vera cactus plants. My original aloe vera is having babies for the second time and one of her babies is having babies (grandchildren). (About 8 years ago, I bought a little aloe vera plant - about 6 inches tall - at Job Lots for a buck or two. It is huge now and has spawned lots of children. I gave some away, but still have four of the kids that are catching up with Mom in size. Amazing!)

We walked the dogs around 3 and I tuned in the Sox game on the radio and television. They won again and are off to a 5-1 start. For a change, all the moves they made during the winter are all working as planned. The pitching has been just about perfect and the defense has been excellent! Go Sox!

Friday, April 7, 2006

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Good Night, Good Luck, and Good Grief

It bugs me when incompetence wins over competence.

Katie Couric is a talking head and not a very good talking head. At best, she is average, but she does have a big following. I don't understand why. I guess some people like her because she is so perky. (Personally, perky people bring out the worst in me; I just want to punch them in the face and bring them back to reality.)

Also, she supposedly has a big following because she has great legs. She does not have great legs; few munchkins have great legs and she is not one of them. However, she does flaunt her legs at every opportunity and so it goes.

For decades, CBS News has been the home of very competent journalists, for example, Edward R. Murrow, Robert Trout, Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Eric Severeid, Roger Mudd, Harry Reasoner, etc. Currently, the excellent Bob Schieffer occupies the CBS Evening News chair (following in the footsteps of Edwards, Cronkite, and Rather.) When I watch the news on television, I turn to CBS first… always have, always will until now.

Evidently, the word is that CBS has hired Couric to replace Bob Schieffer on the CBS Evening News. Obviously, they did not hire her for her journalistic skills because she has none. They hired her because she has a big following. Whether her following will follow her from the AM to the PM remains to be seen, but I can tell you that the CBS Evening News has just lost one long-time viewer (me).

Rockville Rocket

My favorite rock 'n' roll cooner, Gene Pitney, died. He was only 65 and died in his sleep while on tour in the UK.

Gene was from Connecticut, born and raised just up I-84 in Rockville, although there was no I-84 back then. During the 1960s, the "Rockville Rocket," as the local deejays called him, had one hit after another and seemed to be a guest on the Brad Davis television show* every week.

It is hard to pick out a favorite Pitney song, but if push came to shove, I would pick "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." A great song and one of my favorite movies.

Yesterday, I set my iPod to play Gene Pitney songs all day long.

* The Brad Davis Show was a Connecticut version of American Bandstand. It aired on channel 3, WTIC, Saturday afternoons for years. Connecticut Bandstand was another local version of American Bandstand that aired weekday afternoons on channel 8, WTNH just before or after (I can't remember) American Bandstand. I remember that one of their sponsors was an early frozen pizza (I can't remember the brand). My sister and I convinced our Mother to try it out. She did and it did not compare favorably with Jimmie's Pizza at the bottom of Stiles Street. I also remember that the Holden Sisters, who lived across the street, had their 15-minutes, or more like 15-seconds of fame, when they appeared on Connecticut Bandstand. I wonder whatever became of them?

Wednesday, April 5, 2006


Took the Pies out for last call around 11 PM and the sky was clear. Woke up this morning and it was snowing. The ground had a thin layer of snow, but the pavement was just wet. By the time I arrived at work, the snow was starting to stick to the pavement.

It's too late for snow, but I've said that before!

Monday, April 3, 2006

Surfin' Update: Customizing Firefox for Ham Radio

Here are instructions on how to install the items mentioned in this week’s installment of Surfin’: Customizing Firefox for Ham Radio:


  1. From, click on the propfire.xpi link to download it to your computer.

  2. From Foxfire, select File > Open File to open the propfire.xpi file that you downloaded to your computer.

  3. Foxfire opens a Software Installation window to install propfire.xpi. Click the Install Now button.

  4. Quit Foxfire and restart it to complete the installation.

Call Sign and APRS Search Engine Plug-ins

  1. Go to the referenced web site.

  2. Click on the appropriate link to install the search engine plug-in.

  3. Foxfire opens an Add Search Engine window; click on the Yes button to add the search engine. The new search engine will appear as a selection in the pull-down Search menu in the upper right corner of the Foxfire window.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference call for papers

TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference issues call for papers: The 2006 TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference (DCC) has issued a call for papers. The event is slated for September 15-17 at the Clarion Airport Hotel in Tucson, Arizona. This year's conference celebrates the 25th anniversary of the founding of Tucson Amateur Packet Radio (TAPR).

The deadline to submit conference papers is July 31. Authors do not need to attend the conference to have their papers included in the conference Proceedings. Submit papers and presentations via USPS or e-mail to Maty Weinberg, KB1EIB, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 .