Monday, May 30, 2005
Though it has an extensive web presence, the on-line index to old issues is pathetic. Today I needed to locate an article about a piece I'm making and I have lost contact with my copy of the particular issue involved. I knew the subject and several key words involved, but try as I might, I couldn't get FWW's web site to find the article. (The main key I was looking for was "line-and-berry", a type of inlay used in the piece. FWW couldn't find any articles with those words.) In frustration, I tried a Googlesearch of the entire web for "line-and-berry inlay", and lo, on the first page was a reference to this site which lists the contents of every issue of FWW and can be searched for key words with Windows' search function. I quickly found the article I needed.
Taking advantage of the "Dirty Little Secret of the Web" (everything you see on the web is already on your computer), I saved the index to my Woodworking folder, so searching the next time I need something should be much easier.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
levels of Earthdog tests. Beginners have a straight tunnel with no side tunnels; Junior tests use a tunnel with several right-angle turns, and the Senior tests add false side tunnels leading back to ground level. The Pot-of-Gold is a cage of live rats at tunnel end, protected from the dogs by a wooden-dowel fence that lets the dog see the rats but not actually get to them. ("No rats were harmed in the making of these photos.")
Marta's oldest dog, a female, Twig, needs to accomplish the advanced test to gain Senior Earthdog status.
This time, she got almost all the way through the test (quickly entered the tunnel, found the rats, and actively worked to get to them), but she didn't quit and leave the tunnel whenthe rats were removed, so she didn't pass. Marta's two younger dogs, Bud and Barkley, competed in the Junior events. Bud went first but didn't enter the tunnel in the allowed time, so he was DQed. Barkley, however, went straight into the tunnel, got to the rat den, and went to work trying to get at them. He passed and got a ribbon.
In all, it was a very interesting event.
For more photos, see here.
On the other hand, two op-ed articles in today's News & Record (I can't find them on-line) both miss an important word. When I was in elementary school, I was confused about the name of the French and Indian War (1756). The French weren't fighting the Indians--they were allies against the English (and colonists). Later I realized that though we often name wars in which we don't particiapte by the two combatants, like the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), we name our wars for the opponent(s) only. In this tradition, I guess, the conflict in Greensboro in November 1979 is called the Klan-Nazi Shoot-out, but it wasn't between the Klan and the Nazis, of course. It was between the Communist Workers Party and a Klan-Nazi combine. That isn't mentioned much. Maybe we are supposed to just know this; maybe there is some other reason the CWP doesn't want to be identified in the name of the encounter. Maybe the next step in Truth and Reconciliation should be recognizing the proper name of the event: The Klan-Communist Shoot-out.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
There is somewhat-similar technology available now on the Internet--with still photos rather than movies. The technology requires Quicktime, a free download and installation for PCs, and if it isn't installed on a computer, it should be. As an example, here are some regular photos and similar panoramas. No question which are most impressive.
or Cordoba Mosque
or Western Wall
or Sacre Coeur
Tom Lassiter, a local photographer, has done a lot of work with panoramic photos and has several local ones posted on his website. The photo of the awards ceremony at the Coliseum when the UNC women's basketball team had just won the ACC championship is particularly interesting as it was made from four quickly-made hand-held photos. Sound files can be added to these images to make them even more realistic. I'm surprised that this technology hasn't made a greater impact, particularly for things like virtual tours of places or meetings.
By the way, Sen. Kerry has finally signed his Form 180, authorizing the release of all his military records. So why haven't we seen the records? Well, he signed the form, but he hasn't sent it back to the government yet. That Boston Globe article says:
''I have signed it," Kerry said. Then, he added that his staff was ''still going through it" and ''very, very shortly, you will have a chance to see it."
The devil is usually in the details. With Kerry, it's also in the dodges and digressions. After the interview, Kerry's communications director, David Wade, was asked to clarify when Kerry signed SF 180 and when public access would be granted. Kerry drifted over to join the conversation, immediately raising the confusion level. He did not answer the question of when he signed the form or when the entire record will be made public.
Several e-mails later, Wade conveyed the following information: On Friday, May 20, Kerry obtained a copy of Form 180 and signed it. ''The next step is to send it to the Navy, which will happen in the next few days.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
There was no storm damage noticable until I got to Dolley Madison Road on Friendly Ave. There began a trail of downed limbs and tree-tops. At Henderson Road, where I normally turn, there was a huge tree across the road.
Lakewood and Plummer Drives, the next two streets, were also blocked with large trees. I was able to get to my house via the eastern branch of Lakewood and Farrar, though Farrar was blocked between Lakewood and Henderson.
Tree blocking Lakewood
Luckily we had no damage to the house, just a number of limbs in the yard and streets around the house. Almost unbelievably, the only property damage in the immediate neighborhood was to two houses and one car.
Henderson Road house damage
Lakewood Drive house damage
Neighbors who were home at the time said the storm lasted only a minute of two, but that time was unforgetable.
I stayed home the rest of the day to help around the neighborhood (OK, mostly to watch clean-up efforts and visit with neighbors.) There was one fellow who stopped by in a panel-truck full of chainsaws and worked for many hours clearing the tree across Henderson Road so folks could get to their driveways and houses. When he finished, he declined any money for his efforts. He said he was a Stihl chainsaw factory representative who just happened to be in the area when the storm hit, and he wanted to help. He did suggest, however, that if anyone needed a chainsaw, Stihl made good ones. I didn't need one then, but when my McCullough died a couple of years later, I replaced it with a Stihl. I don't know how good their chainsaws are, but their people are top-notch.
We were without power until Sunday evening, conviently just about the time the hot water ran out of the heater and the ice-maker got empty, and with the warm weather, "camping out" was not a problem. With no TV, we did miss any news about the Big Storm beyond the coverage in the News & Record so we don't know how widely the storm was reported. However, we do know folks in this neighborhood won't soon forget it.Some additional photos:
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
When Brenda and I got married in 1990, among the things she brought to the marriage were two cats (her daughter Heather's cats, actually). Joey was three at the time and Macks was six-months younger. Both were stray kittens and came as gifts from the same "friend" of hers. We always presumed they were brothers. When Heather finished college and moved to Winston-Salem, Joey joined her and he and Macks were separated, but when she moved to NYC, back came Joey. When Heather acquired her city-cat, Joey and Macks became permanently ours.
Macks was a friendly, gregarious cat, more dog-like than cat, but Joey always upheld the feline tradition of being cool, aloof, distant, . . . well, cat-like.
Both cats were declawed, so we were careful to keep them inside--away from the dangers of the outside world to a clawless cat. Joey was always the adventurous one. Macks was happy inside, but Joey longed for the outdoors. We had to duck-tape-closed all screens on any open window else Joey pushed his way through to "freedom", as he did on several occasions. Joey also liked little cat-like hiding places: bookshelves, the washing machine
even a day closed in a dresser after Brenda didn't see him and closed the drawer. When lying together, they looked like a two-headed cat.
Macks had to be sent to kitty-heaven in 2003 when he developed a large tumor in his side. That was a sad day. Joey, however, has continued to prosper. He has become much more affectionate, and has even developed into a good bed-cat.
I've also decided that 18 years is a long-enough sentence inside for an old cat, so he gets to go outside whenever he wants. He spends a lot of time on the back deck watching the world go by, occasionally foraying into the yard for a "business trip". If you see a fluffy orange cat sunning himself on my back deck, give him a wave.
This year there is one family with eight little ones, another with two, and at least one with three. (It seems like I've seen two different three-little-one families, but I can't be sure.) On the lake, the mother and father geese form little protective convoys with their babies--a big goose front and rear and the little ones all gathered between, often swimming in a row straight enough to have been surveyed.
I suspect the folks who live directly on the lake are not so smitten with this cuteness, particularly as the little ones get larger, but like most babies, they are very cute now.
for almost a year for "dredging", Hamilton Lake is almost full again.
Though still half-a-foot or so below the dam spillway, the level fills the lake to the banks in most places. The dredging wasn't nearly as extensive as I thought it would be. Jim King Pond and Lake Euphemia looked like there was a fair amount of material removed, but around Hamilton Lake, they dug for what seemed like two weeks on the northern neck of the lake and barely made a dent in the mud. I think it was much more difficult and expensive than they thought. There was some clean-up done near the Starmount Drive/Keeling Road intersection, and in the area along the Henderson Road side of the western part of the lake a large amount of material was dug from the lake and put on the bank area. That material has been spread out and grass planted, and it is a significant improvement in the appearance of that part of the lake.
I was surprised at how shallow the lakes are. Except for the very middle of Lakes Hamilton and Euphemia, you could wade across and around all the lakes. It seem impossible that a car could have been lost in Jim King Pond, as it was several years ago.
(This post was edited on May 20 to add the photos.)
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Well, see this:
For the Record
Despite what you may read in the papers, the American Dream is alive and well.
BY ALAN REYNOLDS
Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT
"Major newspapers are in the throes of Mobility Mania: who "makes it" in America, and why; who doesn't, and why not. The Wall Street Journal began a series last week titled "Challenges to the American Dream." The New York Times followed suit with a multiparter on "Class in America," which aims to disparage the notion that the U.S. is a land of opportunity by claiming that "new research on mobility, the movement of families up and down the economic ladder, shows there is far less of it than economists once thought and less than most people believe."
Sunday, May 15, 2005
"The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has not upgraded equipment at many airports because it can't afford it all. The TSA says that's why its screeners sometimes miss guns, knives and other items passengers carry through security checkpoints. Yet TSA employees at a new operations center in Herndon, Va., spent $500,000 on artwork and silk plants for their offices, a government auditor says. The building and its furnishings, which houses just 79 employees, cost $19 million, including a $350,000 gym, seven kitchens with restaurant-grade appliances, and $63,099 worth of cable-fed TVs. Even "low level" employees have large private offices. David Stone, the center's manager, says the new building and its decorations are "worth every dollar spent." (Washington Post) ...To whom?"
Maybe they shouldn't have changed their name from the "Federal Aviation Transportation Airport Security Service."
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Almost everything we do depends on our selling skills, from personal relationships to getting someone to read our blogs. Most folks think of sales as "getting someone to do something they don't want to do" rather than "helping someone to do something they really want to do." We see the typical salesman as that annoying tele-marketer, a used-car salesman, or perhaps an insurance agent. We don't think of salesmen as that really helpful waiter or other person who helps us so well that we don't realize we are being "sold".
I wish schools did a better job identifying and teaching selling skills. Most colleges lump selling with marketing (if they mention it at all), and most "sales training" is misguided efforts to teach manipulative techniques that have little to do with successful real-world selling.
Good salesmanship requires a number of skills, from listening well to being empathetic to having a certain level of knowledge about what is being sold. It's a shame that so many folks get a bad taste of salesmanship early in life and don't learn to appreciate its importance.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
The visitors were:
- Nikolay Stoyanov, a Bulgarian journalist and reporter for the Trod Daily in Sofia.
- Adriana Gonzalez Bedoya, director of the Enterprise Development Centers Program of the National Confederation of Chambers of Commerce in Bogata, Colombia.
- Ola Al Farwate, an economic reporter with Al Ghadd in Amman Jordan.
- and Ramon Pasquier, a journalist and "moderator" in radio in Caracas, Venezuela.
All spoke good-to-excellent English, which was a good thing since my Bulgarian and Arabic are a little rusty. It was a great opportunity to learn about the attitudes of politically-active, young (30-40ish), modern professional foreign visitors to the US. They were part of a 16-member delegation that was spending several weeks in the US. They had been in New York City for several days, were spending a couple of days in Greensboro, then separating to travel to other cities (St. Louis, Milwaukee, and two others I don't recall) before reuniting in Seattle.
Here are some interesting things that came up:
- Nikolay is the first Bulgarian I've ever met, and not at all a stereo-typical citizen of what I think of as one of the "darkest" of the Soviet satellites. The closest I've come to knowing a Bulgarian is watching "Casablanca", when Rick saves Annina Brandel's virtue from Captain Renault by letting her husband will at roulette. He wore his hair in a fashionable pony-tail and talked of the strong influence the French had on Bulgaria, with many French words incorporated in the Bulgarian language. He also reminded me that dispite Bulgaria's past ties with Russia, they were part of the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq.
- I think the visitors were somewhat left of center politically, though only Ola was particularly outspoken. Ramon didn't have much good to say about Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, but then I'm not sure anyone in this country does either.
- All except Ola smoked--somewhat of a surprise since I know almost no smokers.
- I was the first person they had met who voted for George Bush. Their first stop was in New York City, so maybe that isn't too surprising. More surprising was that my sister, both her daughters, and one husband had all voted for Kerry.
- Ray Stewart, my niece Cathy's husband and one of the most liberal people I know, and I talked at some length with Ola from Jordan. She asked if we believed the 9/11 hijackers had acted only as AlQeada agents and not as a part of a wider conspiracy. Ray and I both believe they had (this is one of the few things we agree on politically), but I was surprised that someone as well-informed and widely-traveled as Ola might believe that the hijackers were pawns of a larger conspiracy sponsored by some other organization and not Al Qaeda.
I wish I could have stayed and talked longer, but I had an early morning Wednesday for the last day of school, so I left fairly early.