Archive | January 2015

Don & Sandy Pyle, The Dry Christmas Tree and Random Memories.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Don Pyle, 1987, was my Best Man!
2. Not convinced Dom & Sandy perished in the fire.


sandychristmastree

From CNN. Click to access. Google for 500 more!


I still find this hard to believe. That Don and Sandy supposedly perishing in a fire.

That Sandy kept a 15′ Christmas tree in the house three weeks past Christmas (to amuse the grandkids) does not surprise me. That is the kind of stuff that Sandy did. I can believe that in their hurly burly lifestyle she forgot to water it. But, I have to believe she had hired help and one of them should have remembered.

While the experts have come up with this verdict, I am a bit skeptical. I can’t see Sandy using anything other than the state-of-the-art LED lighting. Even if she didn’t ‘new’ lights have fuses in the plugs and new houses have hair-trigger circuit breakers. The other night a 150W light burnt out in our bedroom and that act of ‘blowing’ was enough to trip the circuit breaker. Their mansion was built two years prior to this house. So, I am not totally convinced though I do know how dry Christmas trees go up, WHOOSH, when they catch fire. Around March, when we still have plenty of snow on the ground, I burn the two 6′ trees we get each Christmas. That they go up, WHOOSH, at once cannot be doubted.

I have other questions too. A mansion that big would have had at least two staircases. Plus there had to have, by law, been multiple ways to egress the upper floor. I bought a waterfront house, on Lake Winnipesaukee (N.H.) in early 2001. Since it was ‘old’ I promptly proceeded to have it remodelled and updated. The biggest ‘grief’ that I got from the local building inspector was that he wanted me to put in bigger windows. It was the law. All the windows had to be big enough for egress, to the overhanging roof below! The mansion MUST have had decks. To me it does NOT compute. I remain skeptical and unconvinced.

Got me thinking. As a Brit, I grew up with this tradition that your Christmas tree had to be out of the house by the 12th day of Christmas — or it would be very bad luck. The 12th Day of Christmas, contrary to what many think, is not counted from before Christmas. It is counted as of Christmas. The 12th Day of Christmas is January 6 — Epiphany. I always make sure that we get the trees out by the 6th. This year we had the 2nd tree out about 6pm on the 5th. But after the news of the fire, it made me realize. This age old tradition was most likely to prevent fires from dry trees! I so wish Sandy had kept to that tradition.

But this should be a lesson for all of us.

In memory of Don & Sandy let us all resolve that henceforth we will get our Christmas trees out by the 12th Day of Christmas.

*******

Got me thinking. We used to, by mail, exchange Christmas presents. I think it was Christmas 1987. Sandy sent a wicker basket full of wax infused pine cones. You put the pine cones into the fire and they made all sorts of lovely colors. [Today you can but plastic tubes of chemicals that do this, and Teischan loves them.] It was cute and a load of fun. Now I will never be able to look at a fire without thinking of Sandy.

Wednesday was January 28. The 29th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. I am always reminded of Sandy whenever the Challenger gets mentioned. We, CASE Communications, had a trade show in D.C. that week of the Challenger Launch. Sandy used to be the marketing person in charge of trade shows. I had been at the booth all day Monday. I was scheduled for the afternoon shift on Tuesday. I drove down to D.C., in the snow, from Woodbine, Md., where I was living. Just before I got close to where I was going to park I heard the news of the disaster. I bounded into the hall. It wasn’t very busy. The snow had kept most people away and it was close to lunch. I get to the booth. The only person at the booth was Sandy. So I tell her the news, breathlessly. She didn’t believe me. Called me sick pup, and walked away. Came back a few minutes later, in shock. She had seen a TV monitor. I always remember that. Her not believing me and calling me a ‘sick pup’.

Thinking back ‘sick pup’ was the term she used most when talking to me! I am sure that nobody, but nobody else, has called me a ‘sick puppy’ as often as Sandy did. But, I can’t complain. She called Don (‘Gomer’) ‘sick pup’ nearly as often. As I said in an earlier post, we were not in the office much. We both travelled extensively. But if we were in the office and we were together, and Sandy saw us as she walked by, she would, without fail go: “what are YOU two sick puppies up to now?” They were good times. We did have a lot of fun.

And I have to share this one memory because it is so special. There is only one time, as far as we know, that Sandy went dumpster diving. And she did it for me! About 4 hours prior to the wedding, where Don was my Best Man, we discovered that we could not find the marriage license. There were phone calls flying around and much finger pointing. It was supposed to have been in a bag with a knife to cut the cake. After 40 minutes of everybody tearing all the rooms apart and shouting at each other, Sandy decided that the bag must have got thrown out the night before. She was still dressed in jeans and she was determined she was going to find it. We had had one heck of a snowstorm the day before and there was lots of snow outside.

It appears that Sandy went to the kitchen got one of the waiters and went outside to where they kept the dumpster for the hotel waste. She then, per what soon became the talk of the ‘Inn’, proceeded to climb in. Climbed on to the rim and then lowered her self in! The snow helped. She found the bags that had been tossed the night before and one of them had the license. She marched back, a bit grungy, while the rest of us, including Don, were still ripping things apart holding it aloft, triumphantly, and saying: “I am not sure what you clowns are going to be doing, but I am going to take a shower”! That was Sandy.

Don misplaced the rings but that was minor. 

So, I have a lot to remember them by. It is a shame we lost touch. Partly my fault. I have a propensity to do that. I get busy and unless people stay in touch with me via e-mail I kind of drift away. Since Don & Sandy I have been trying to put that right. I contacted two mutual friends who I had not kept in touch with. So that at least was good. [That one of them, Patrice, left a comment on this post today is good.]

I have a great memory of Don but I can’t really spell it all out. It was a fancy old hotel in Pittsburgh. Don was dressed in a new black suit and had the jacket in his hand. It was about 11 o’clock at night and he was, head down, sprinting down the corridor ….

We had so much fun together. Overriding memory is of huge smiles, lots of laughs, flippant remarks, many a drink, driving to Philly in his Beamer and getting called a ‘sick puppy’.


Why I Personally Find Heated Driveways In Central New Hampshire, Where We Get Some Snow, A SLAP In The Face To Society.

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by Anura Guruge


Helping-Others-ShoesOn Tuesday while we were still getting snow coming down at probably an inch an hour Deanna informed me that some folks who had moved to Wolfeboro (N.H.) had a heated driveway on their main house, on the water, so that it would also be clear of snow. She thought it would amuse me. It didn’t. It made me rather sad for man’s insensitivity to man. 

Garage pad  and tacks  Christmas 2010 StormIt is not the money. I do NOT begrudge them their money. They earned it and they can spend it, and I am all for conspicuous consumption, because that helps the economy and that is good for all of us. This is what bothers me about opting for snow melt solutions, especially heated driveways, in an area that gets more than its fair share of snow: the wantonness, the missed opportunity to help those around who NEED work to support their families and lastly, the irresponsible waste of natural resources [i.e., the extra coal (or oil) that has to be burned to generate the electricity to power the heating mats.]

Wanton waste of anything bothers me. I have no issue with private planes, $300,000 cars, multimillion dollar yachts, $87,100 for a Patek Philippe, $47,000 for Hasselblad H5D-200c, $20,000 night for a hotel suite or $340 million for a painting. Because in such cases you are paying for excellence — or something different. But, a heated driveway is not in that league. It is just wanton waste. To fritter money away to heat a drive to keep snow away WHEN you could pay a local person, a fraction of the overall cost, to do the same SMACKS on social irresponsibility. I am not talking about charity. I am talking about hiring a local person to keep your drive clear of snow and ice, rather than spending the tens of thousands it costs to install the heated driveways and the operational costs to keep them running when it is snowing.

There is a lot of poverty around the Lakes Region. But people who move up here from the South, and immediately enroll their kids in private school (and as boarders too so that they can get them heck the way out of their lives) and have no idea that our public schools around here have kids whose parents can’t afford to feed them adequately. We have all sorts of programs which eventually result in some of these kids getting backpacks of food on Friday to tide them over the weekend. I have also heard that we have a few kids who are homeless. Again I am not talking about charity. I am talking trickle down economics. Hire a local person, an unemployed father with three kids to feed or a 18 year old, with no job, who would love to make some money. They will keep your drive cleared. The unemployed father, probably a contractor outside of the winter, has a truck with a blade. The kid would probably gladly shovel. I know. I have hired both types. When I was living in Gilford, and my life consisted of traveling, mainly by air, 3 to 4 days a week, I found a local contractor and cut a deal. I needed to get to Logan or Manchester at crazy hours of the day and I would get back to Gilford at even crazier times, like 2 am in the morning. If it was snowing, and snowing badly, I needed to make sure that I could get through and I had a Cadillac FWD STS and a Volvo (something) 70 that could go through snow better than most. I would tell him my schedule and he had the drive and if necessary the whole road up to Rte 11 plowed for me. He would sometimes be there at 3am if I was leaving at 4 or 1am if I was coming back at 2:30. I paid him. He was happy. He needed the money. I was happy on all fronts. Trickle down economy. My clients paid for me (handsomely) to travel and I paid my ‘man’ to make sure I could travel during the winter.

So those are my first two gripes. Do not tell me that it doesn’t cost much to use electric heat to keep a drive clear of snow. Electric is not cheap in N.H., especially in Wolfeboro. I think their rate is 13 cents per kWh. I actually found this quote, here, from a contractor who actually sells and installs heated driveways. His quote: ‘they appear to be eating up power when they are running, making an electric meter look “like an old 78 record”’. Nice. QED. So don’t try to convince me that it is cost effective. If it was we would have them everywhere.

The arrogant, abhorrent disregard for wasting natural resources is my other gripe. Notice I complained about Hannaford wasting paper! I am consistent when it comes to natural resource conservation, if nothing else. I do not believe in global warming caused by greenhouse gases. But, I do know that we are consuming, at far too fast a rate, finite resources like coal, oil, gas and trees. We, in this country, in this state, burn coal or oil (not counting Seabrook) to produce electricity. So using electricity eats into our ‘reserve’ of coal and oil. Not good.

Well, I got that off my chest. I would hate a heated driveway. It would bother my dogs and I could not have that. Having the two dogs rolicking in the drive, in and out of the snow, while we shovel is one of my greatest pleasures these snowy days. I would hate to see them picking up their poor little paws in confusion to work out why the ground is hot. People are funny, but they are also insensitive.


Java-Based JPL Small-Body Database Browser ‘Orbit Diagrams’ (For Solar System Bodies) Working Again With Ver. 8 Update 31.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Java updates for ssd.jpl.nasa.gov.

>> Java Ver. 7 Update 67.
>>
Java Ver. 7 Update 65.

++++ Search ‘Java’ for other posts >>>>


jplsmbodwrokingahainaas11

Click to access an example, asteroid 357439 (2004 BL86) that passed by Earth earlier this week. See how close it got.


The only reason I have bloody Java on my PCs is because of this JPL Orbit Diagram tracker.

To say that I used it often would be an understatement. Whenever I am writing a book on astronomy (and I have written 6) or even a post about comet or asteroid I use the orbit tracker incessantly. It is a wonderful, interactive tool. It allows you to look back in time or into the future. It is magical. I love it. It is UNIQUE. Nothing else that even gets close.

The orbit tracker to my enormous distress stopped working last October with Ver. 8 Update 25. I had to upgrade because the applet refused to run with the older version. I upgraded and it stopped working. I was beside myself. I tried all the tricks. I included the exceptions. I checked the Windows updates. I waited a few days. Nothing. I contacted JPL. I contacted NASA. I contacted Java support and that was a damn waste of time because they are a bunch of idiots on dope! I contacted Oracle. Another waste of bloody time. It really upset me.

With the tracker I felt lost. I was actually too distraught about it even to write about it! Yes, I am strange. Very few things in life upset me. But not having the orbit tracker really did a number on me. The very observant among you may have noticed that I have, atypically, done NO posts on comets or asteroids in a month. Why? Without the tracker I do not feel I can write about comets or asteroids. I need to see their orbits. Unless I can see the orbit, I can’t relate. If I can’t relate, I wouldn’t insult you by writing about it. I actually STOPPED paying attention to comets and asteroids! I thought about getting a Linux machine or Mac JUST to run the tracker. That was how serious it was.

I updated to Java 8 31 last week on my backup PC just to see if the tracker would work again. It didn’t. I was crushed. When Shane Selling was here a couple of weeks ago we tried installing Java 7 71 to see if that would help. It didn’t.

Then this morning I got an e-mail from JPL. It said: “Hello,
In the latest versions of Java, Oracle is requiring applets be ‘signed’, or they will be blocked from running.
We’ve purchased a security certificate and signed our orbit applet, and installed it today. Give it another try and let me know.”

I powered up my backup in a jiffy. It already had the latest, viz. 8 31. I did a quick Java version check to make sure. I then loaded my bookmarked JPL page. BINGO it worked. To say I was happy would not capture it. It was such a relief. I felt whole again. I felt that I could again pay attention to the Solar System. It was BIG.

I thanked the JPL person profusely. He was very nice. It cost US, i.e., U.S. taxpayer, $400 to buy that security certificate from a U.S. company. Seems strange. You would think they would make an exception for entities like JPL. Never mind. All the matters is that IT WORKS.

I just hope it does NOT break with the next bloody Java update — which, per their record of not being able to ever get it right, might be next week.

Thank YOU, JPL.


Furor Over GoDaddy ‘Buddy’ Commercial Is Exactly What It Was Meant To Do — And Is Misplaced.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ‘Buddy’ commercial preview. 

1. “Carl’s Jr.” cheeseburger.
2.
Godaddy ‘I Quit’ ad.

3.
VW ‘Jamaican’ ad.
4.
Library destruction ad.
5.
Power failure at SuperDome.

++++ Check Category ‘Humor’ for similar posts >>>>


buddyad2usa

Click to access “USA Today” original. Google for more.


As I pointed out yesterday GoDaddy did NOT make this commercial without realizing that they would get some people riled. GoDaddy is never that naive. GoDaddy, when it comes to marketing, is one of the most savvy operators out there. They are ruthless and provocative. GoDaddy knows that a commercial that creates a controversy will get them much more publicity, FREE at that, than a brilliant, non-controversial ad that will get forgotten within 72 hours.

I know GoDaddy and I know them well. I am one of their longest standing customers. I have been with them for over 14 years. So I have seen how they operate.

GoDaddy knew exactly what they were doing.

And they got the reaction they wanted.

All of this hand wringing, in the media, social and otherwise is EXACTLY what they wanted.

So GoDaddy won, as they always do.

Anybody who thinks that they taught GoDaddy a lesson is being rather dense. GoDaddy, as always, is laughing all the way to the bank.

So the best thing you can do, if you really found this commercial upsetting, is to say nothing.

********

That is NOT buddy. That is Monty the Golden we lost and that is MY shoulder. “A Pup Is NOT A Toy” book was written because of what happened to Monty. So we can relate to Buddy.

Then there is the whole issue about puppies being sold online and so called Internet puppy mills.

Anybody who is familiar with this blog or with me will know that I am an absolute sucker when it comes to dogs. Just do a search of this blog for ‘puppy’ or ‘dog’. My devotion, love and commitment to dogs is beyond reproach. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t spend time with a dog, most days with my two who I take running, off leash, for 45 minutes. And then there is my love affair with Goldens. I have had at least one Golden, without a break, since 1988. 27 years of Goldens. Maya is my 6th Golden. GoDaddy’s Buddy is a Golden too. So there is NO WAY that I will condone any kind of mistreatment of a dog, let alone a Golden.

But, you have to be reasonable. Most people have to buy a puppy from somewhere — and TRUST ME on this, trying to buy a decent Golden is not easy. We know. Plus most breeders have to sell their puppies. So none of us can’t complain about puppies being sold. If puppies are being sold it really doesn’t matter as to how they are marketed. So to blame Internet puppy sales as immoral is wrong. We got Braxton on the Internet. Yes, he was supposed to be a Rescue Puppy, but we still ended up paying $350 for him. We bought him over the Internet. Of course I am dead against breeders who mistreat dogs and puppies. That is criminal and they should be treated as such. But, I do not agree that you can complain about puppies being sold on the Internet.

 This dog, who I adore, a Great Dane – St. Bernard mix, was bought over the Internet. So crying foul about selling puppies on the Internet is not fair.


Post Blizzard I of 2015 Sunset Pictures By Devanee, The Photographer, Using Her Posh Mobile Revel S500a Android Phone.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Devanee the photographer.

++++ Search ‘Devanee’ for other Devanee posts >>>>


Taken Wednesday, January 28, 2015, around 5:15 pm
in Alton, New Hampshire.

Lovely sunset, after a beautiful blue sky day, after Tuesday’s blizzard
that gave us 2′ of snow.

Click to ENLARGE. She used a built in software filter inside the
phone/camera to get the greenish hue. She likes it.

Enjoy.






Norman Epstein [1931 – 2015] — The Obituary.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Louis Epsteins’s cardinalabili list.


Norman Epstein is the father of Louis Epstein with whom I have collaborated on many topics papal and cardinalate since 2010.

[Check my ‘Popes and Papacy’ blog for just some of the work we have done together. The cardinalabili list for the upcoming February 14 cardinal creating consistory was our last venture.]


Norman Epstein

Norman Epstein died at home in Kent, New York, on January 23rd 2015, the 23rd anniversary of his mother’s death, at age 83. He had suffered a variety of illnesses in recent years.

He was born in Brooklyn September 22nd 1931 to Louis and Rose (Silverman) Epstein. When he was a child the family bought the land surrounding the intersection usually shown on maps as “Mead’s Corners”, though the Epstein family has now owned the land (which they have named “Twin Brooks”) longer than the Meads, the Foshays who preceded them, or the Reddings after them. He moved there permanently in 1961 with his wife Turid, to whom he was married from 1957 to her death in 2011.

He was a graduate of Tilden High School in Brooklyn and was in the Army from 1952 to 1954, serving at Fort Dix. For some years he worked for his family’s chemical business in Brooklyn and New Jersey before selling his shares to his brothers.

He was a mechanical genius who was awarded patents on various locking devices, a tube sheet plug for heat exchanges, and surgical replacement joints. Other projects never realized included a fly-tying vise and a rotary engine with 70% thermal efficiency. He was a longtime amateur magician and a former competitive skiier and bicycle racer. For years he was a private pilot of single-engine airplanes. His hobbies included music, photography, and international cooking. He met his Norwegian wife in Paris when lighting a stage production (a talent he had first honed in Brooklyn) and they married in London.

He was a founding member and second president of the Kent Volunteer Fire Department, and for years managed the family rental apartments at Twin Brooks, employing the same skills he used to build and design his own home there. Built as a summer colony by his father, he converted the bungalows to year-round rentals in the 1960s. He was active in various local political, environmental, and recycling groups.

He is survived by his son Louis of Twin Brooks, Kent, and a brother Edward of New Jersey and Florida. A daughter died in infancy in 1959.

Balsamo-Cordovano Funeral Home (845-225-2144) will conduct graveside services at 1 PM Friday, January 30th, at King David Memorial Gardens, Rose Hills Cemetery, Peekskill Hollow Road & Mill Street in Putnam Valley [New York].


Some of his patents. Check Google Patent Search.

Click to ENLARGE and admire.

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Alton Central School (ACS) [N.H.]: Should Today, Day 2 Of “Blizzard I of 2015”, Have Been A Snow Day?

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Mar. 13, 2014 ACS 2-hour delay?

++++ Search ‘ACS’ for other related posts >>>>


acsjan28152hour1a

Click to ENLARGE and read. The part about the ‘any changes’ caught many a parent off-guard. To many sending kids to school, at a particular time, is a ‘go, no-go’ decision. They have to make arrangements — even with a 2 hour delay. Quite a few of the ACS parents work, away from home.


Knowing mentality of the ACS Superintendent I kind of knew last night at 11:30 (as I wrote my first ‘Blizzard I of 2015’) that ACS will probably try for a 2-hour delay, as opposed to a snow day, despite all the snow we received late at night. Well I was proved right, though, ironically, Alton’s Prospect Mountain High School (PHMS) is closed for the day because the administrators in Barnstead (renowned for their acumen) decided that they didn’t want their kids & STAFF trying to battle the snow.

The 2-hour delay decision, as Deanna informed me ~9 am, after she had checked the local social media, had not been met with universal approval among parents. I am not surprised.

I think, on days like this, MORE of the staff, especially the teachers, as opposed to the kids that take the buses. All of the ACS teachers do not live in Alton. Some live in remote rural locations. So the main roads in Alton may have been plowed by 6am, but that probably was not true for other places. I do not think it is fair to expect teachers to have to weather snow conditions like this.

I do NOT really see what the big deal is of having an extra catch-up day in June. One accident on today’s roads would be too much. I am personally too busy to check but I will try to find out how many teachers could NOT make it to ACS today. And that will tell its own tale. Our kids went. But the kids across the road didn’t! There was only 1 kid on the bus when it arrived to pick our two up. There should have been more.

Lets see what happened. I do not think this was right. But, this is par for ACS.


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