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

Friday, July 30, 2010

Surfin’: A Town Without Pitney

surfin498 This week, Surfin’ scours the Internet for yet another musical ham.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Astronomy is one of my interests. I own a telescope and subscribe to Sky & Telescope.

The August issue of Sky & Telescope arrived and I was reading it last night. During my read, I came across references to the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. I never heard of it and since I own a Subaru, I wondered if the folks that built my car had anything to do with the telescope. Did they help fund it or what? Subaru_logo


According to Wikipedia, "Subaru Telescope (In Japanese: すばる望遠鏡) is the 8.2 metre flagship telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, located at the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii. It is named after the open star cluster known in English as the Pleiades."

Well, that cleared up the matter.

By the way, I already knew that Subaru was Japanese for the Pleiades, which was the inspiration for the cool Subaru logo. But I wondered why there were only six stars in the logo, whereas the Pleiades was famous for its "Seven Sisters" stars.

Wikipedia solved that mystery, too. The six stars in the logo allude to the six companies that merged to create Fuji Heavy Industries, the transportation conglomerate whose automobile division is Subaru.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Musical Hams

chet_atkins Don Peterson, VE5DP, e-mailed me about two other ham singers: Ronnie Milsap, WB4KCG, and the late Chet Atkins, WA4CZD.

Also, I checked the Famous Hams and ex-Hams Web site of N2GJ and W2SG and found another well-known ham singer: Lance Bass, KG4UYY.

Monday, July 19, 2010

QSLs On Cloth

t-shirt Our local weatherman, Geoff Fox, K1GF, has what I call “a collection of QSLs on cloth.” You can see it here for yourself.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tomato Blues

For the past ten years or so, I have planted tomatoes in Earthbox containers. Most years, this has been a successful endeavor. Early in the growing season, I may lose a plant or two right after I plant the seedlings, but once we get through that, the plants grow six to eight feet tall and provide plenty of fruit.

Last year, the tomato blight struck hard. I probably picked a dozen edible tomatoes all summer. The rest were lost to the blight.

This year, things started off with a bang. I planted ten seedlings and they all took. There was no stopping their growth and it looked like it was going to be a great year for tomatoes.

One morning about three weeks ago, I noticed that all the leaves from top to bottom on one of the plants were curled up as if the plant was not getting any water. I water the plants every evening, so I knew that was not the problem. I inspected the plant for insects that may be causing the problem, but I found nothing.

I over watered that plant hoping to resuscitate it, but that did not help and the plant died.

A few days later, the exact thing happened to another plant, which was not next to the affected plant. I soon lost that plant, too.

This problem repeated itself over and over again during the last three weeks and this evening, I noticed my sixth plant suffering from the same fate. (That's plant Number 6 in the accompanying photo.) Six out of ten dead and I will not surprised if I lose them all.

I asked other gardeners including a tomato "expert" and they all shrugged their shoulders. I also researched the matter online, but except for lack of water as a cause, I did not find an answer.

I am clueless, not o mention bummed out.

If anyone has any ideas about what may be causing the problem, I sure would like to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Got Turkeys

turkey_family Over the long Independence Day weekend, I noticed a family of turkeys feasting in our front yard. A Momma turkey, a Poppa turkey, and about ten kids (it is hard get an accurate count of the kids because they are constantly in motion).

After they finished eating, they went into the woods across the road. The woods are New Britain (CT) reservoir property and that property goes on for miles and eventually abuts Southington (CT) reservoir property that goes on for a few miles more. Needless to say, we have seen a lot of interesting wildlife enter and exit those woods.

I have seen the turkey family feasting on my front yard two more times (yesterday morning was the last time). They have likely returned to the front yard more than that, but not when anyone was watching, so who knows.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ham Radio on Highway Patrol

highway_patrol “Radioactive,” the ham radio episode of Highway Patrol is now available for viewing on Hulu. (Thank you Mark Thompson, WB9QZB, for the heads-up.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Surfin’: What’s on the Horizon?

This week, Surfin’ discovers what is really on the horizon.

(Thank you, Mike Masterson, WN2A, for the heads-up about the Web site featured in this week's Surfin'.)

Surfin': A No-Show

I assume that technical difficulties prevented the posting of Surfin' today. So please standby while we address the problem.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Helicopter Guys

helicopter_in_field Steve Robeson, K4YZ, emailed me regarding the last installment of Surfin’ … specifically asking about the Polly’s Pancake Parlor customers who arrived and departed by helicopter.

Steve wrote, “You kinda left the story hangin' about the helicopter and the restaurant...Who were they?  They made an off-field landing just for breakfast?”

We asked the waitress about the helicopter guys and she said they were regular customers and not celebrities. And, yes, they flew in just to have breakfast.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Coconut Corn Meal Pancakes

In this week's Surfin', I mentioned that I like coconut corn meal pancakes.

Ken Rudder, WA4JJW, wrote asking for the recipe, so here it is:

Coconut Corn Meal Pancakes


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/2-1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup grated coconut


1. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Whisk the egg with the milk and water in another bowl.
3. Pour the egg mixture in with the dry and stir until blended.
4. Add the melted butter and coconut extract.
5. Stir in the grated coconut.
6. Cook on a hot griddle.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Polly's Presidential Perspective

I wrote about the view of the Presidential Range from Polly's Pancake Parlor in my last installment of Surfin'. Above is a photo of that view.

The peak on the left is Mount Adams, left center is Mount Jefferson, and the big guy on the right is Mount Washington, which is about 50 miles away.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Zombies at the Movies

My wife and I planned to watch a movie last night.

She wanted something amusing. Zombieland was the only comedy I had on DVD that we had not watched. So that is what I queued up on the DVD platter.

About five minutes into the film, I pushed the stop button. Although Zombieland is a comedy, there was more blood and gore in the first five minutes than I've seen in any film in a while.

I dislike blood and gore zombie films and my wife dislikes all blood and gore films, so we decided to watch a different Woody Harrelson film, The Messenger.

Woody received an Academy Award Best Actor nomination for his performance in this film. I had high expectations and I was not disappointed. The film was very good and Woody's work in the film was Oscar caliber.

On the other hand, my wife did not like the film because it was a "downer."

Getting back to zombie flicks. When I was a kid, I enjoyed them. They were dark and brooding and scared the living daylights out of me without resorting to the blood and gore so prevalent in the current zombie flick fare. I will watch Zombieland at another time, but the blood and gore will not be an attraction.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

musical hams

The rack that housed the majority of our CD collection bit the dust. So I moved all the CDs into five cardboard boxes for the time being and moved the rack into the garage to await trash collection day.

While I was boxing the CDs (in alphabetical order according to the name of the artist), I realized that I had tunes by two hams (or one ham and one former ham): Patty Loveless, formerly KD4WUJ, and Joe Walsh, WB6ACU.

Makes me wonder how many other hams performed on the 500 CDs in the collection.

Friday, July 2, 2010