"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

About to comment here for the very first time?
Check Where'd my Comment go?!!! to avoid losing it.
-

Sunday, April 29, 2018

IFEL - K-4-61 - QUESTIONS

- Trying to sort out memories from 57 years ago.

The K-4-61 part of the title refers to Korean class of April 1961, at Yale University's Institute of Far Eastern Languages, that I attended as an Airman of the United States Air Force Security Service.

When I arrived, the the Company-sized detachment (Detachment 2 ???) was headquartered in THIS building at 109 Grove Street (???)'  ...

THAT building was one of FOUR dormitories we had; only ONE other of which I remember (the one I was assigned to) at 1 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven, CT,

Searches for "1 Hillhouse" come up with THIS pic of Warner House ...
... which looks KINDA familiar ...

... plus THESE, which look a LOT more familiar ...



Mistrusting my 57-year old memory, I HOPE some of you will help me get it RIGHT about Hillhouse.

My arrival was TWO YEARS before the release of "The Haunting" (based on Shirley Jackson's novel, "The Haunting of Hill House"; of which I was NOT aware at that time). but that TOP photo of the Warner House would CERTAINLY qualify as "spooky", and the OTHERS can be unsettling on a "dark and stormy night".

I HOPE some of my IFEL buddies can help me on the questions.  If ANY of you have photos from that time, I'd LOVE it if some were scanned and emailed to me.  I recall Joseph W*** sending a few, some years ago, but they were LOST when my previous computer DIED in 2015.

I HOPE I can UPDATE or REDO this post, FAR MORE ACCURATELY, down the line.

I'm ALSO gonna see if I can find some department at Yale that might help with the the Hillhouse history.

Thankas, in advance,  ;-)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

A post I GOTTA do ...

I hope to elaborate on this facebook post.




GOTTA get around to a blog post about this. I experimented with a beard in the 70's. In 2003, Scott Peterson was caught and convicted for the 1st degree murder of his wife, Laci, and 2nd degree murder of unborn son Drew. It SPOOKED me to see this arrest photo; my 70's look would have been a TWIN.



--




Sunday, March 11, 2018

Immortality

    (Originally published 1451 08 FEB 2012 - He's 86 now. ;-)

While I whine and moan about approaching 70, this guy reached his 80th birthday today (Wed, 08 Feb 2012) and is still doing his thing;  still being creative.

Happy Birthday, John Williams.


His Imdb page (linked above) lists 139 movies and television shows that he has composed the music for, going back to the mid-50s, including Playhouse 90, M Squad  (a detective series starring Lee Marvin), Wagon Train, Gilligan's Island (Ok! Maybe not the greatest thing on his resume), Lost in Space (what I said just before).

He'd been working almost 30 years when he was picked to do the score for Steven Spielberg's Jaws.  I recall an interview with Spielberg (probably on one of the DVD issues of Jaws) in which he mentioned Williams coming over to his house one evening and playing on his piano what he had in mind for Jaws.

Spielberg confessed that his first reaction to hearing what would become one of the most iconic pieces of music since Bernard Hermann's Pyscho and Henry Mancini's Theme from Peter Gunn was "That's IT?!!!"  Not even Spielberg realized just what he had at the moment.

Williams had already worked with Spielberg before, and then went on to score almost everything from him afterwards.  At present, post-production work is being done on Spielberg's latest (Lincoln) and once again, Williams is doing the score.  I've no doubt at all that the result will be worth watching and hearing.

This kind of longevity is not all that unusual in the arts, especially in classical music.  There are composers (Igor Stravinsky, Ralph Vaughn Williams) and conductors (Leopold Stokowski) that were still doing fresh, original work in their 90s.

The secret almost certainly lies in doing something that you truly love.

(Consider this post as a work-in-progress.  I'm thinking of other examples and will probably either expand it, or do a follow-on.)


-

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Shaking our tree.

- 04 Oct 1957 - SPUTNIK!!!

This little dingbat scared the Hell out of many of us then ...
from citizenship typepad.com

Nothing but a polished metal sphere of 585 mm (23 inches) diameter with a mass of 83.6 kilograms (184 lb) and carrying only a radio transmitter, it definitely got our attention.

THEY got there FIRST! Oh, Man!!!

You see, this was the thrilling days of yesteryear when the Soviet Union was ruled by Nikita "We will bury you" Khrushchev who, just the year before, had sent columns of tanks into Hungary to crush a rebellion there (just his way of stating "THAT is a NO-NO!").

The days of "Duck and cover" drills in public schools (not at all insane; if a nuke hit several miles away instead of on top of you, that could make the difference between surviving versus being shredded by glass blown in by the shock wave if all you did was just stand there and gawk at the explosion. Nukes are powerful, but not infinitely powerful. They can be survived, and have been. See reports of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for hard evidence. (Although, in an essay on civil defense, Robert A. Heinlein advocated situational awareness (paying attention to what's going on in the world) and summed up surviving the bomb in seven words: "Don't be there, when it goes off!" ))

That innocent looking thing was placed into orbit by ...
from on6wj-sputnik.blogspot.com

... the R-7 launcher (for a long time referred to as T-3), which evolved from an ICBM whose primary purpose was to transport a thermonuclear bomb from Point A (somewhere in the Soviet Union) to Point B (somewhere in the USA).

The local newspapers ...
San Antonio Light, 05 Oct 1957 - from newspaperarchive.com

... published times of when to see it in the morning or evening, when it would be brightly lit by the sun.

To read or hear about the Soviets (listening to the radio when they were stomping on the rebellion in Hungary was heart-wrenching) while they were on the other side of the world was bad enough, but a bit abstract.

To walk out into your back yard and actually see this bright little silver dot in the sky slowly moving overhead, and realizing there they are;  well, that's a whole 'nother story.

(Originally published  1239 CST,  03 OCT 2012)
-

Sunday, November 05, 2017

One last thing to DO ...

Since what is coming is INEVITABLE, friends and acquaintances desrve to know WHAT made it so, and to understand that there was NOTHING they could have done to prevent it.

SO, I'll try to have a post to publish when the time comes.
-

Friday, September 08, 2017

I have been BLESSED, ...

... with SO MANY FRIENDS. :-)

Thank you;  ALL of you.
-

Friday, July 28, 2017

First surgery - results ...

On Wednesday morning, 26 JUL 2017, I took a taxi to the Michael DeBakey Veterans Hospital for a 7 AM appointment with the eye-sugeon.

This was for surgery to my left eye (the worst one), to remove the cataracts, and to insert a tube to help with drainage (to reduce pressure in the eye).

Because I would need some attention for the next 24 hours, and there was NO ONE to provide it, I stayed overnight. Had to sleep with an eye-patch taped on, to avoid injury to the eye.

When the patch was removed, I really couldn't see ANY difference in vision with that eye. The surgeon had warned me that could be the case, but felt the surgery was necessary.

When asked if I felt any pain or irritation, I mentioned feeling something between my eye and the lower eyelid. He said I was probably feeling some of the stitching. STITCHING on an EYEBALL!!!  Trying to IMAGINE that.  Perhaps I SHOULDN'T. :-)

He gave me a steel patch (with holes like a pepper shaker) ...

... to tape over my left eye before going to bed. This will be for a week.

He also gave me still MORE eye drops. I've been taking three types of drops, to control the pressure in both eyes.  I'll continue with those, but NOW for the right eye only.  The left gets three NEW types, for the next four weeks, to control any inflammation resulting from the surgery. SIX types to keep track of.  Does THAT sound like FUN?  :-)

I see him again, on Thursday, 03 AUG 2017, for a follow-up check.

They tell me it could be six to eight weeks before surgery to the right eye. Dr. Morris (the eye surgeon) is confident of more improvement with THAT eye, as its optic nerve damage is far less.

We shall see. :-)
-

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Selfie taken in 2009

I STILL look like this (or WOULD, with a decent haircut);  someone who takes himself WAY too seriously.  I'll try to update this evening, less gloomy than I've been lately.  ;-)

Saturday, May 06, 2017

"The COWARD dies a THOUSAND deaths, ...

... the BRAVE man dies but ONCE."
(Variations attributed to Shakespeare AND Hemingway)

Dear God. I wish I WAS a BRAVE man.

WHAT brought THIS on?

I have faced SO MANY fears in my life.  But, THIS one may FINISH me.

I fear that I may be slowly going BLIND.

For some time now, I've had spells of cloudy vision, that would clear up after awhile. But, they are lasting longer and longer. Bright sunlight makes things VERY difficult.

Should I see somebody about this? You BETCHA. BUT, my experience with doctors and clinics is that, before I can get past the receptionist, THIS question arises, "And HOW will you PAY for this, Mr. Gordon?". The ANSWER, "I CAN'T." is GUARANTEED to be a problem.

I'm fairly certain that a proper diagnosis will cost hundreds of dollars, and treatment (if there IS any) probably THOUSANDS.

And THEN, there is THIS problem with the car, mentioned in THIS previous post ...
##############################################################
Could have been KILLED today ...
... but, I lucked out and WASN'T.

At around 5 PM, today (Thursday, 06 APR 2017, I decided to take a hike to Kroger's, to get some groceries. That's about half a mile from my apartment. I can barely walk; lower back pain interfering with balance, and the sun was directly in my eyes a lot of the time, making it difficult to read the terrain on which I was walking. Less than a hundred yards from my apartment, I tripped and fell while crossing a street, and a car, making a fast turn, barely managed to stop in time.

A couple of people got out of their cars and helped to get up.  Didn't break anything;  just scraped my hands, my left knee has a hell of a bruise, and it ripped part of the left leg of my slacks. Noticing that I was trying to continue on my way (I STILL needed groceries). the one who nearly killed me was nice enough to give me a ride there and back.  (Sadly, it was a GUY this time, instead of the nice LADY who helped me when she noticed me struggling with the walk, several yeas ago. :-).

So, WHY IN HELL was I trying to WALK there?

Thursday, a week ago, I started to drive somewhere, and the automatic transmission, on my 2000 Honda Civic, began slipping and jerking when shifting, and the "Check Engine" light came on.  The next day, I had AAA take the car over to A+ Transmission Specialists. They have a fairly comprehensive set of electronic and driving tests they will do for no charge.

On Monday (03 APR 2017) I learned from them that pressure drops, in the transmission, were causing the shifting problems, but to determine the cause of those drops, they would need to completely disassemble the transmission (for $395.00), and (depending on what they find) I could be looking at a total from $1500.00 to $2500.00.

At the moment, there is absolutely NO WAY I can handle THAT.  So I got AAA to bring the car home.  I am without transportation, for the foreseeable future.  If I CANNOT get the car fixed, I can NEVER afford to get another one.  my current situation will be THE REST OF MY LIFE..

I STILL have the PayPal  "Medical Donation" button near the top of the left column on this page,
 in hope of help.

Alternatively, a check can be mailed to
 Paul Gordon
 3433 West Dallas St, Apt. 1102
 Houston, Texas 77019

 Email: gordpnp@airmail.net

If you CAN help a bit, Thank you.

In earlier posts, I mentioned the possibility of going for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to help with my financial problems.  After long consideration (and research) I have taken THAT off the table, concluding that, my current circumstances being so different from the time I exercised that option in 2000, THIS time the end result would most likely be a do-it-yourself .44 caliber lobotomy.

The only REAL possibility I can see is to TRY and get myself into shape to be able to get (and be able to DO) the extra hours I so desperately need.

Today's incident has made me decide to make a note or card, listing several of you (names and telephone numbers) as people to notifiy if something final happens to me.  I should have it double laminated, so if it gets covered in blood, that can be wiped off so it can be read.

I hope some of you will KEEP the email you received about this, and if YOU get a call, you can haul out that email, edit the subject line and the content, and pass the news along using "Reply to all".

Thank you.

##############################################################

Put together, I'm looking at THOUSANDS of dollars worth of help that I desperately need.

HOW can I POSSIBLY ask this of you? The plain truth is that I am a very poor investment right now, as it will be a miracle if I'm not DEAD before mid-summer, probably at my own hand.

Right now, all I see in front of me is DEATH.

Kinda DEPRESSING.  :(
-

Friday, February 03, 2017

Dead Man Switch ...

... in case something happens to me.

I see at least THREE ways that the financial situation described in "Abyss" can KILL me; two of which are ...

a) Heart failure or stroke, from tension (of which there is a LOT). I have had blood pressure issues as far back as 1984, when I was suffering from flu and a visit to the Davis Clinic (in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan) resulted in Dr. Jennifer Kozar declaring, "To HELL with your flu; your BLOOD PRESSURE is in the STROKE range". Well, she DID get my attention, and I've dealt with THAT until my IT job was outsourced in 2004 and I went into early retirement; doctors and prescriptions becoming luxuries I could no longer afford.

b) Accident, caused by near constant worry dominating my attention.

The "Dead Man Switch" is a mechanism for AUTOMATIC action if I don't PREVENT it.

I can write a blog post ("THIS is probably what KILLED me"), detailing the circumstances that most likely led to my demise, and set it to be published two weeks later.

I can also write a notification email, to the 20 or 30 people to whom I normally tell about new posts, and set IT for two weeks later.

THIS way, when the time comes, it wont matter if my computer is online or even working; my little bombs are ALREADY on commercial servers that are backed up and maintaind by competent IT staff. They WILL go off, UNLESS I intervene.

Each week, I can log on to update, reschedule release another week down the line, or cancel if I no longer deel the need for this.

If I CANNOT log on, bacause of computer problems or whatever, I have a solid week before detonation to deal with it. If I can't fix the problem, I can go to a branch library and use one of their computers.

I think THAT will work.

Since few people ever bother checking links to other posts, what follows is the "Abyss" post, in it's entirety. It's what this situation is all about.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Abyss ... - UPDATE - 20 SEP 2016
... to be close enough to gaze down into it, without leaning forward, is NOT a  good feeling.



It's been awhile since I posted anything new on this blog. I've got a LOT on my plate, financially.

You may have noticed that I've just restored the PayPal  "Medical Donation" button near the top of the left column on this page. I've had that button up a couple of times before.

In mid 2013, I tripped and fell in my apartment, catching my right arm on a table and broke the humerus bone near my shoulder. That cost me two months of lost work (and the pay), and loaded  me with about $6,000.00 worth of hospital bills that I paid on, a little bit at a time.

In early 2015, my car began experiencing major problems, rendering it undriveable, and I had to walk (with difficulty because of lower back pain) and ride the bus. I was planning on using an expected tax refund to get it fixed. BUT, on the Memorial Day weekend, I slipped in some mud at a bus stop, fell HARD, and fractured my right ankle and tibia. ANOTHER lost couple of months and several  thousands of dollars MORE in hospital bills.

My income is early retirement Social Security (which did NOT increase a single penny this year), and the meager earnings as a part-time grocery cashier. I'm getting FEWER hours because my age and pain makes it almost impossible to keep up with other cashiers maybe a third my age. This affects my productivity, which in turn affects how many hours I get scheduled.  Consequently, my income is going DOWN, while everything else is going UP.

I used to say that I bleed financially when I get fewer than 20 hours per week. Now, 25 is a more
accurate figure.

The bleeding has reached a CRISIS point, where, in a few weeks, I  may have to refrain payments on
some of my accounts, at which point things will REALLY HIT THE FAN.

I think the sanest option for me is to clear the decks with Chapter 7. I have an absolutely CRUSHING  load of credit card debt, built up over YEARS, and it is literally KILLING me. Disposing of it will NOT put me into LUXURY, but elimination of interest payments on those accounts will at least permit me to LIVE.

I figure it will take me about a month to get ready to file (LOTS to do, including the MOTHER OF ALL PAPERWORK).

From what I've researched, the lawyer fees, and filing fees could run somewhere from twelve to
fifteen hundred dollars. I'm damn near BROKE at present. And, I suspect that an attorney who
doesn't insist on HIS fee up front is probably NOT someone you would trust with this.

SO, I've restored that button (PayPal) in hope of help. Alternatively, a check can be mailed to
 Paul Gordon
 3433 West Dallas St, Apt. 1102
 Houston, Texas 77019

 Email: gordpnp@airmail.net

I'm NOT really expecting much; I know most of you have problems of your own.

But, if you CAN help a bit, Thank you.

I'm asking for donations to help me go bamkrupt.

If THAT doesn't redefine IRONY, I don't know WHAT will.  :-)

UPDATE - 1750 CDT 20 SEP 2016 - Well, it's been two weeks now, and my plea for help has resulted in three donation; two via PayPal and one very nice check. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere NEAR ready to deal with the fees for Chapter 7.

To JP, MM, and AK: Your donations have pushed doomsday  a couple of months further down the road, and my gratitude is inexpressible.

Thank you.
-
(Originally posted 0953 CST 14 OCT 2016)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Be still, my heart. :-)

... Notice from Social Security.

This year (2016), it didn't increase by a single penny, staying at the level it was the year before.

NOW, it  "... will increase by 0.3% in 2017 because of a rise in the cost of living.".

(Not THREE percent, but THREE TENTHS of a percent.)

Now, in truth, it does NOT actually say that the cost of living rose only 0.3%, BUT, that sure SEEMS to be the implication.

I have NO idea what planet they are thinking of, but it damned sure isn't the one we're living on.

Obviously, THIS is a VENT.  :(

-

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

TRUMP ... UPDATED 02 DEC 2016


From ibtimes.co.uk

At first, I didn't take him seriously.

But, the more I actually listened to HIM (rather that what other people were SAYING about him), the more I liked and RESPECTED him.

He's NOT an ideologue. What I saw was a business man, passionate about making things WORK. In THAT regard, he reminded me of Reagan. I soon found myself solidly in his corner.

Last night (08 NOV 2016), I hit the sack just before midnight, very worried because he was not quite there yet.

Around 0130, I woke up, got up, and checked ABC News' website, just in time to see Trump's electoral vote totals go past the 270 needed for victory. Just ten minutes later came the announcement that Hillary had called Trump, to concede.

With the knots in my stomach finally loosening, I felt better than I have in a loooong time.

After EIGHT SOLID YEARS of varying degrees of despair, I now actually have HOPE for the future of this country.

Trump will have a LOT on his plate when he takes office in January.

We shall see, But at the moment I stand with my feeling about who he reminded me of. I truly believe that we have managed to find, and elect, ANOTHER REAGAN.

And I am just FINE with THAT.  :-)

UPDATE 02 DEC 2016 - A letter from Ed, posted in Jerry Pournelle's post  https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/em-drive-speed-of-light-and-other-science/ made THESE points ...
"I think most observers don’t get that when you base your decisions on values, you make decisions this way. You try one thing on for size – it doesn’t fit, so you toss it away and try on something else, something different. Eventually you zero in on what you want. This is not ideology-based or strategy-based decision making. This is making decisions based on values."

"The problem with ideology-base decision-making is that they make as many mistakes but they don’t correct them. We had many years of not correcting mistakes.  I like Trump’s way."


That perfectly describes what I meant about Trump not being an ideologue. and why I feel such hope with him in charge.
-

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"NEVER tell a soldier ... (Updated 28 JUN 2016)

... that he does not know the cost of war."
~Alan Rickman as Lt. General Frank Benson in Eye in the Sky (2015)




One of the official trailers on youtube

Caught this yesterday (26 APR 2016), mainly because it starred Helen Mirren (I'd watch almost anything with her in it), and discovered that her co-star was Alan Rickman (in his last performance before his death from pancreatic cancer on 14 JAN 2016 --- see "... and call off Christmas!!!" )

He picked a fine movie to go out on; a wonderful performance in a truly intelligent film.  He will be truly missed

The questions raised in this movie just don't have any good answers.  It will probably be gone from theaters in another week ot two, but I've seen a July 28 release date for DVD and Blu-Ray.

Update 28 JUN 2016:  That release date above was wrong. It's being released June 28 - TODAY.

-

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"... and call off Christmas!!!" - (R.I.P. Alan Rickman - 14 JAN 2016)

There actually was something really good in Kevin Costner's  Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).

That something was Alan Rickman, as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

In a previous post, I kinda dumped on The Syfy Channel a bit, for the inclusion of distinctly non-science fiction items in its lineup, including that movie.

(In a conversation with a clerk at Barnes & Noble, I learned that a writer, asking one of the people running The Syfy Channel about why they had changed their name from The "Sci-Fi Channel", was told that "Sci-Fi" is considered shorthand for "Science-Fiction", implying that would be the content;  whereas "Syfy" is in fact just a totally meaningless bit of noise, and gives them license to schedule whatever they wish.  Okay ... )

Back to Alan then.

Of all the people in this movie, he alone appears to be actually having fun, being so deliciously nasty.

After the Sheriff  has said he'll cut out Robin Hood's  heart with a spoon ...
Guy of Gisborne: "Why a spoon, cousin?  Why not an axe?"
Sheriff: "Because it's DULL, you twit.  It'll hurt more."
(Said with a sneer that only Alan Rickman can manage; he has an absolute lock on that.)

Sheriff: (to a wench"You.  My room.  10:30 tonight."
Sheriff: (to another wench"You.  10:45 ... And bring a friend."

Upon hearing from a scribe about the relationship Robin Hood has with the people...
Sheriff: "Just a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public,  -- and they love him for it?"
The scribe nods.
Sheriff: "That's it then.  Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings,  -- and call off Christmas!!!"

One thing I'll always wonder: Was that last parting shot scripted?
Or, was Rickman on a roll at that time and he just ad-libbed it?

At times, he seems to be in an entirely different movie than the rest of the cast is, and almost succeeds in making this bloated epic truly watchable.  Unfortunately, as with Ian McShane in the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, he can't do the job all by himself

What put him on the map was his role as Hans Gruber (one of the all-time great villains) in Die Hard  (1988), opposite Bruce Willis...

Problem with getting on the map that way is the danger of typecasting.  In Quigly Down Under  (1990), opposite Tom Selleck, he played a villain with a mustache almost fit for twirling.  He seemed to be at the top of any list for playing a back-stabbing, conniving SOB, and got quite a bit of work as such.

But, that's not the only side to him.  Right after "Quigly", he appeared in Truly Madly Deeply (1990), wherein he was a ghost hanging around his girlfriend who really needed to get on with her life, but found it a bit difficult with him and his ghost friends around all the time, watching videos (what else do you do with all that time in the afterlife?)  It was a sweet, warm role totally unexpected for the guy who played Hans Gruber.

His latest work has been as Professor Severus Snape, the "Darth Vader" of the Harry Potter series...

He's actually the most tragic figure in the story, very multi-layered (Yes!  I'm quite aware that I use that phrase a lot;  I'm drawn to characters that rate it).  Rickman succeeds in the challenge of taking a character you've learned to hate, and making you almost weep for him near the end of the last movie.

What can I say?  The man is simply so damned good.
-
UPDATE Thursday, 14 JAN 2016:  I've just learned that Alan Rickman has left us today...  

...  FAR TOO SOON.  Rest in peace, Sir.  :-(

frown emoticon(Originally published 2102 CST 08 AUG 2011)
-

Followers

Stat Counter