Saturday, August 11, 2012

Telephones, Time and Temper among other things

  It is my opinion that the time to call on the telephone, emergencies excluded, should be limited to business hours, or before 6:00PM.  That's just an opinion, not a law.
  Here in our humble home area doctors and other who are seen by appointment have a habit (assume habits are bad) of calling to remind you of an appointment.  First:  Are we really dumb enough to forget written information.  Second: Aren't we old enough to remember to read what we wrote.  Third: If it's okay for them to call why can't it be done during business hours.
  Last night I was watching the national news, starts at 6:30PM, and was interested in what was being talked about.  My wife was asleep.  The phone rang, I answered, no one said a word.  After a delay a voice reminded my wife of an appointment, and please press one if you validate the appointment.  This was on Friday night, the appointment is Tuesday - so, you see, they do trust us to remember for a limited time.  Now, if it's important to call after hours, shouldn't it be at the very least a "live" person who places the call and not a "robot"?

  Cell phones are important, we even have one at our advanced age.  Our carrier is Verizon, which seems to be the only one with a plan for "seniors".  Both U S Cellular and AT&T Wireless have an office, or multiple offices in the Bangor area.
  One of the companies has, at least locally, a HUGE advertising budget, US Cellular, has covered city buses 100 percent with ads, they were using a mobile billboard until it was declared illegal (Maine has a strict Billboard Law).  The other two advertise sporadically on TV or print ads.
  My opinion is that, not considering the "senior" plan, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the three of them.  You make calls, you pay for a pre-set number of minutes - end of discussion.  I don't text or browse the 'net on a phone, the keys are way to small for that, and I don't really know how to text anyway, so that's not a part of my discussion.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ship it!

Iroquois Locks, Iroquois, Ontario  - click to enlarge
  On August 10, 1954 it became possible for sea going ships to go as far inland as Lake Superior.  That was the day the Saint Lawrence Seaway was opened and operational.
  The seaway is a series of locks, inland channels and the Welland Canal that operate between the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.  It was an engineering masterpiece at that time and remains useful even though many of todays ships are much too large to use it; the maximum boat length is 740 feet with a width of 78 feet so barges are used for the most part.
  The opening was officiated by Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower with joint speeches while aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia at Saint Lambert, Quebec.
  Bon Voyage.

The Eisenhower Locks

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On the road again

Hollie at Bug Light Park, South Portland, Maine 8/8/2012
I picked her up at daybreak, just a bit past dawn,
got her in the car, and we were off and gone;
right on to the Interstate, in the direction of south,
"going down to Portland, Dad" were the words from her mouth.

One of two vacation days, that I allow each year,
and let's go back to Portland, put this car in gear.
I don't mind the travel except the price of gas,
but in the words of wisdom, This too shall pass.

First a stop in Newport, Tim Hortons is the place,
eating a quick breakfast, slow down it's not a race;
back out on the highway, foggy by the streams,
but the sun quickly burns it off, it's so hot it steams.

Next stop is Biddeford, first Target, then the prize,
Staples with her projects, surprise, surprise, surprise;
ten laminated items later, we're back in the car,
up the road to Saco, Renys isnt' far.

Now on up to Wal-Mart, Scarboroughs the chosen place,
just in time to find a magazine, t-shirt too, and still it's not a race.
A quick lunch at KFC and we're headed east,
Portland Head Light is there, it calms the savage beast.

A couple of of photo ops, a visit to the store,
one huge postcard later, and we're out the door.
Now to South Portland, Spring Point here we come,
we already hit the prize you see, Portland Head is number one.

Some photos at Spring Point, she takes one of me,
learns to use the camera, easy - one, two, three.
Down the road a little ways to our last lighthouse,
Bug Light the tiny thing, kind of a lighthouse mouse.

Now, on the road to Augusta, sixty miles, more or less,
getting out of Portland - construction makes a mess,
quick stop in Topsham, Target store is there,
a pop, a wonder - what was that?  Just a tiny scare.

Then I see the crack, it's small but growing now,
the windshield took a hit.  Now - don't have a cow;
we made it home in record time, watchful of that crack,
"get it fixed tomorrow, dad".  We're right back on track.
The Geezer hisself at Spring Point Light, South Portland Maine 8/8/12
the first photo Hollie ever took.  Do I look ready?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

History for the senses

A typical mimeograph machine illus.
  August 8, 1876 - Thomas Alva Edison received a U S Patent for the mimeograph.  If you are old enough you probably remember the smell of copies made on one of these.  It would have been white paper with blue or purple print.  The machines were in a lot of schools, churches, town offices and regular offices all over the world.  My grade school was too small for one, but in high school they were evident. 
  One hundred years later one of the places that I worked at, for a short while, had a machine we used every day for shipping and export/import papers.  Later on at the South Portland, Maine School Department business office we had one, it was rarely used then.
  Mimeographs were gradually replace by copiers of differing types, that's a subject for another time.
Convair B-36B photo  please click to enlarge
  August 8, 1946- Consolidated Vultee (Convair) flew the giant B-36 for the first time.  This plane was the first very long range aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons - the Cold War expanded.  Version of this plane flew from SAC bases all over the world, including Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine (The County (the closest to Europe in the USA).
  The plane in the photo is a B-36B which included, in addition to the six piston engines (R4360), two J57 jet engine near the outer tip of each wing, enlarge the photo by clicking on it.  The Peacemaker also had the longest wingspan (over 172 feet) of any aircraft ever flown by the U. S. Air Force.
  Part of the regular maintenance was changing each of the fifty-six spark plugs on each of the six piston engines.  Each piston engine had it's own 100 gallon oil tank.
  To get an idea of the planes size the wing root (where the wing joins the fuselage) are 7 1/2 feet tall.  A transport version (C-99) was built, it was a double decker.  A civilian version of the C-99 was on the drawing board - it would have been the first Jumbo Airliner. 
  The B-52 replaced the B-36 in the 1950's and the last one retired from active service in 1959.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Looking up? Are you?

The Croc isn't real, the child is, let me explain. photo
  You see, the Governor of Maine, Paul E. LePlague er LePage thinks that people in other states look down on students entering college in other states.  He based his assumption on his personal experience.  For starters, he went to college in Maine.  For the rest, just because people in other states looked down at him, well, a lot of us here in Maine look down at him too.  The guy is laughable to say the least.  Two more years and that guy will be ready to have the proverbial fork stuck in.  Now the photo; the baby represents LePlague, the Croc represents the rest of us.  Actually the teeth may be his hangers-on.
Photo by Maine Forest Rangers, August 6, 2012
  Forest Rangers are fighting a fire at the top of Big Spencer Mountain in Piscataquis County, Maine.  The main tool being used are two helicopters, they carry large buckets of water from lower elevations, the nearest lake is three miles away.  Those buildings are radio repeater stations, those are one way radio/television and other services are delivered to rural or remote areas.
  The Maine Forest Service deserves a lot of credit for the jobs that they do, no the least of which  is fire fighting.  They also manage public lands, forestry practices, and make sure loggers only cut what they should.  Rangers also catch "log poachers" who cut logs where they shouldn't.  Rangers are foresters who also carry a badge, they have graduated from the Maine Police Academy along with the police and game wardens.  Hats off to the Maine Forest Service.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Don't believe it for a minute

Fall 2010, Bog Road, Hermon, Maine - click to enlarge      Photo by Linda Grant
  The fall photo is not a mistake, it's a wish and we can't wait!  It is almost too hot to walk even at 3AM, and the humidity is horrible.  Come on Fall and a breath of fresh air.
  I see that the Mars Rover just landed and I am wondering why our government is wasting so much money doing things like that.  It's about 100 degrees in the shade or 10 below at night in some parts of the dusty planet, and other places it's over 600 degrees - want to live there?  The Federal Government through NASA has wasted billions of dollars on this useless crap.  I wish I could use stronger language, I wish the people could vote on things like this.
  The Red Sox won yesterday, it must have broken their hearts.  They have been fighting so hard for that last place, the cellar, and now with that win they're still a half game out of last.  Oh! The sorrow!
Dixmont, Maine - 2010 click to enlarge    Photo by Linda Grant

Sunday, August 5, 2012 particular place to go...

I have my limits. photo
  Who sang that song?  Ridin' along in my automobile, rock, rock, rock and roll........  Anyone know, I'm too lazy to look it up, I've reached my limits.
  You could also use that photo to describe the Red Sox, big names but nothing there (that cares to play). 
  This morning is supposed to be the last one, for a short while, with dew points nearly as high as the temps.  Even at 3:00am it's hard to feel like walking four miles or so, it will help that there is a breeze this morning.  Tomorrow we should have some dryer air, hopefully.  I'll walk anyway, since I'm trained to do stupid things.
  I watched more Olympics yesterday, the USA v Lithuania basketball game was too close for comfort, the "Blade runner" race, I saw in reruns, was terrific.  I don't know how those blades works but they do, the guy wearing them deserves a lot of credit, a lot.  Other than those two things you were screwed if you don't like tennis or water polo, I don't.
  We will see where today takes us.