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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Surfin': Connecting With Mikes

Microphones are the topic, and five Web sites are our destination in this week’s installment of Surfin’. After you read it, you can leave your comments here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

groundhog day

Today, during my noon walk, I saw my groundhog friends for the first time this year. They looked thinner than the last time I saw them back in the fall and kind of disheveled (like they just got out of bed).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Surfin': X Marks the Spot on APRS Maps

X Marks the Spot on APRS Maps in the title of this week's installment of Surfin'. After you read it, you can leave your comments (if any) here.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

deja vu

I am having deja vu again... the 16-day gap in the Bush White House e-mails... the 18-1/2 minute gap in the Nixon White House tapes... Watergate... Gonzogate...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Surfin': The Latest Line on Linux

"The Latest Line on Linux" is the title of this week's installment of Surfin', which also has news about plug-ins for Firefox. After you read Surfin', please leave your comments (if any) here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

literally bottles

Yesterday, I mentioned the postcard that depicted the office of the Diamond Bottling Company, which was located down the hill from my old home in the Hopeville section of Waterbury, CT. I wrote that "the postcard says that the building depicted on the postcard was 'built of ginger ale bottles.' I wonder if that statement is literal or figurative?"

The card arrived in the mail today and the answer is literal. On close examination, it is clear that the office was actually built using ginger ale bottles, as can be seen in the accompanying picture zoomed in on a corner of the office building.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Althea Spring

Born in Waterbury, CT, in 1951, I lived with my parents on Stiles Street in the Hopeville section of Waterbury.

As a kid, I explored my neighborhood on bicycle and on foot. I thought I had a pretty good handle on Hopeville, at least the part that was in the immediate vicinity of my home. So, I was very surprised to discover this postcard on eBay.

Diamond Bottling was located at the botton of the hill on which I lived. My first memory of Diamond Bottling was standing next to their plant with my Dad on the afternoon of August 19, 1955 as the waters of the Naugatuck River, which was across the street from the Diamond Bottling plant, receded after flooding and devastating the valley that day.

In later years, while I was exploring the neighborhood, I occasionally revisited the Diamond plant and on some of my visits, a kindly Diamond worker offerred me a bottle of my favorite beverage, Pal soda, which was an non-carbonated orange drink.

In all my explorations, I never encountered the spring or building depicted in the postcard. After doing some research, I was reminded that the block-long Althea Street was located right behind the bottling plant and that circa 1900, Althea Park occupied about a quarter-mile square section of Hopeville that has long been occupied by homes. That is all I know Althea-wise.

My sister lives near our old neighborhood and I got her on the case. She drove around the area one day last week and thinks she saw a building that might be the building on the postcard. This weekend, I am going to check it out.

One more thing: the postcard says that the building depicted on the postcard was "built of ginger ale bottles." I wonder if that statement is literal or figurative?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

caveat emptor on eBay

I am often amazed at the mistakes I find on eBay. Today, I found this postcard up for bid on eBay. The seller claims that the postcard depicts "Red Sox Icon Ted Williams."

For starters, the guy is wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap not a Boston Red Sox cap. And although the guy has a slight resemblance to Ted Williams, anyone familiar with Ted's image knows that this guy is not Ted. And anyone familiar with 20th Century baseball stars would recognize the guy as the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger's pitching sensation Sandy Koufax.

So, if you use eBay, don't count on the seller to know what he or she is selling. Do your homework before you bid on an item.

Monday, March 12, 2007

some things I know are wrong

I learned something new today: the pronunciation of the word "zine."

I dunno about you, but I learn how to pronounce new words by osmosis. I never look up a new word in a dictionary to learn how to pronounce it, instead I hang around and wait for someone else to use the word, then I file their pronunciation in that great filing system just north of my mouth.

I probably learned the word "zine" 40 to 45 years ago. Back then, I assumed it was pronounced with a long I and rhymed with "sign." I just learned today that the I in "zine" is pronounced as a long E, like the word "magazine" without the "maga." Which makes sense since a zine is basically a type of magazine.

Evidently, I have been hanging around with the wrong crowd for 45 years because I have never heard "zine" pronounced correctly. Or maybe I did, but didn't recognize it because the correct pronunciation was so foreign from my incorrect pronunciation of the word.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Surfin': Becoming a Pipsqueak -- Revisited

QRP is again the topic of my weekly online column, Surfin'. After you read it, leave your comments (if any) here.

the rumors of his death are greatly exagerated

Back when I was kid jogging comic books as they came off the printing presses at Eastern Color Printing Company, my favorite read was Captain America.

According to the news this week, the Captain's demise is imminent. But not to worry: Marvel resurrected him back in the mid-1960s and I am sure they will bring him back to life again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

STANLO (not LOU) toys

I always liked Stanley tools because they were personally engraved with my name! Now, I find out that Stanley also made toys.

The toys were before my time. They remind me of A. C. Gilbert's Erector Sets. Too bad they weren't named "STANLOU" instead of just "STANLO."

Here is the link to learn more: STANLO

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Boston Red Sox mystery solved?

I think I solved the Boston Red Sox mystery, i.e., the identity of the player on an unlabeled postcard I won on eBay.

Today, I pulled out my collection of Red Sox yearbooks (1958-2006) and the 1961 yearbook had a photo of Billy Harrell, who looks very much like the player on the postcard. You be the judge.

Below is the postcard that started all this, Billy Harrell's photo in the 1962 Red Sox yearbook, and his Topps baseball cards from 1958 and 1961 (the only years he appeared on baseball cards).

Friday, March 2, 2007

Boston police blow up suspicious looking man

Read all about it here.

Surfin': Mapping Earth's APRS Digipeaters

"Mapping Earth's APRS Digipeaters" is the title of this week's installment of Surfin'. After you read it, you can come back here to leave your comments, if any.