January 3, 2014 to November 21, 2014

 Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles (1966)


Entry Date: November 21, 2014

Some funny things get batted around while going from getting ready for a workout at the YMCA to preparing to shower afterward. Here are a few I was involved in recently while chatting with some regulars.

Exchange Number 1

Mr. Wilson: I remember my high school commissioned a local musician to write their Alma Mater. Who did your school commission to write an Alma Mater?

Me: I think they hired Weird Al Yankovic.

Exchange Number 2

Local Exterminator: Say, I heard your apartment complex has a raccoon infestation. They looking for help up there?

Me: A "raccoon infestation?" Isn't an infestation something you get from things like ants, fleas, cockroaches, and flies? How could anyone get infested by something as big as raccoons? What's next? Camels? Mountain Sheep? Why couldn't we have a giraffe infestation? The ceilings would be too low for them and the giraffes would just leave.

Exchange Number 3

Another Retired Guy: The nerve of that Gruber guy calling American voters stupid.

Me: Did you vote for people who supported Obamacare?

Another Retired Guy: Well, yeah.

Me: Maybe Gruber was right.


Entry Date: November 19, 2014

"I hear that train a-comin'..It's comin' 'round the bend...and I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when...I'm stuck in Folsom Prison..."

It wasn't rare last winter for me to be walking down the bridge from the apartment building to my carport to hear the sound of black squirrel Don Draper running down the inside of the roof right over my head on his way out of the building (and the west wall of my living room) for a day out in the woods foraging meals and chasing female gray squirrels through the trees. It was as if Draper had a nine-to-five job out in the woods only to return to his "pad" at night for cocktails and dinner like his namesake. Well, Don was in trouble yesterday morning just before nine. He walked into one of the "have-a-heart" type raccoon traps set by our maintenance guy in the futile effort to do something about raccoons in the attics. Draper's presence last winter alerted me to the route the raccoons took this fall to get inside the building, but no one listened to me fast enough to prevent the invasion. It is hard to blame them because leaving the outer walls of the building wide open at the end of the bridge roofs, thus providing a highway for "nuisance animals" to enter, could be embarrassing, particularly if a tenant goes on a long vacation only to come home to find raccoons have appropriated the entire apartment. Poor Don Draper not only walked into the raccoon trap, but he was big enough to trip the pressure plate that slammed the cage door shut on the squirrel. Check out the size of Draper's rear foot in the photo above. The sound of something rattling the trap cage, and a glimpse of a big puff of black tail told me what animal was in the cage. It was Draper.

"Draper! How in the world could you be this dumb?" I demanded of the squirrel. Unlike the raccoons that were caught in the trap, Draper was rushing around inside, biting the wire "bars," trying to pry them open, and making high-pitched squeaking, chattering sounds like you might hear on a rerun of Grizzly Adams. The squirrel was demanding to be released. "Well, I don't know, Draper. I'll try to get them to let you go, but I don't think Johnny Cochran could get you out of this mess," I told the squirrel. "The raccoons really have the owners ticked off at animals getting in the building."

I went looking for the maintenance guy, but on my way back to my building, I saw that the maintenance guy must have gone the back way to my building. He was already there and was releasing Don Draper. The squirrel took off so fast up the hill in back of the parking lot that one older lady yelled, "Look at that squirrel run!"

I haven't seen Draper since, but at least he's still alive to chase more female squirrels.


Entry Date: November 11, 2014

"Hey, I know it is almost deer season and that my being a deer might be considered a conflict of interest, but I want to offer you what I, as a member of the Wildlife Community, think is good advice to all humans who like to hunt. Don't hunt for me this year. Why not try hunting the wily raccoon? Just think of not having to drag a heavy carcass back to your redneck pickup truck. Raccoons are portable wildlife. Just throw them in a bag and off you go. It is also easy to cheat on baiting regulations in your state. Just throw down some Twinkies and the raccoons will come running. They're easy. If you live in Crestview Apartments, you can bag your limit of raccoons right in your living room. You won't even have to leave your Lay-Z-Boy. If you are in the mood for a safari, go up to the attic. So just keep this slogan in mind this November----'Hunt Raccoons. They taste like chicken!'"


Entry Date: November 1, 2014

Note: Stephen Glass is the name of a disgraced writer for The New Republic magazine who was fired once he was exposed for making up almost all of his stories. The incident was chronicled in the HBO movie Shattered Glass. Society seems intent on never forgiving Stephen Glass for his wrongful behavior, but seems to ignore similar incidents in today's "Mainstream" media. This series, Free Stephen Glass, exposes more recent media deceptions, manipulations and abuses that are analogous to those Mr. Glass was punished for a decade ago. If Glass is going to be kept from gainful employment for life for deceiving the public through mass media, I don't think he should be consigned to this media hell all by himself, or, he should be let off the hook like all the others.

The movie Kill the Messenger has been out for some time now and involves the story about journalist Gary Webb, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News in California who reported about how the Contras, Nicaraguan guerrillas fighting the Sandinista regime, ran cocaine in the United States to help pay for weapons to fight their war in Nicaragua. According to Gary Webb's articles in the Mercury, some CIA officials possessed knowledge of the cocaine running by the Contras and covered it up. The CIA employed what some of their documents, concerning other operations in which the Agency used such persons, referred to as "media assets." Media assets are journalists the CIA uses to put out stories that are helpful to the CIA in achieving control of majority opinion in the United States. The CIA's media campaign against Gary Webb used reporters and editors at the Los Angeles Times, a paper that employed a former high CIA official, and the New York Times. These media outlets excoriated Webb and destroyed his career as a journalist. Recently, the CIA's covert operation against Webb was declassified, with the entire sordid story about how the Agency's "media assets" followed CIA instructions in destroying one of their own, being published in the CIA's internal journal for its employees, Studies in Intelligence. The in-house magazine described how effectively the CIA used "a ground base of already productive relations with journalists." Readers should think about the total meaning of that statement as it applies to the news they are receiving every day from journalists who comprise that CIA "ground base of already productive relations." Just how many stories we receive by television and newspaper are real events, or a bunch of staged hoaxes or totally false CIA-generated propaganda? In the near future we will use this semi-regular series to point out oddities in the Ebola stories, such as Ebola victims appearing to be joyful to have the disease ("Let's party!") prior to making a miraculous recovery and reading prepared statements to the cameras while looking perfectly coiffed and and styled as if they did not even have athlete's foot let alone Ebola. Not to be outdone, the media has broadcast photos of one Ebola doctor in New York that one of the doctor's neighbors and friends pointedly denied to a covey of reporters outside her apartment house was a photograph of her neighbor, and we will also post this evidence of something strange going on with the Ebola stories. How much is news out there, and how much comprise elements of psychological operations (psy-ops)?

As we see in the story about Gary Webb, who allegedly committed suicide after being destroyed by his own fellow journalists while they worked for the CIA, Stephen Glass isn't the only one to make up news stories, but he was the only one destroyed for doing it. At least Glass' stories were entertaining fiction, and could lead to the reader wanting to learn more about the subjects, such as computer hackers and how they exchange information. Glass's false stories did not result in any real persons being destroyed or killing themselves, and Glass did not work for any espionage agencies trying to cover up drug running operations inside the United States. The media, and the general public, should stop punishing Stephen Glass and let him make a living again, although I don't trust him to do any investigative reporting about how Gary Webb managed to shoot himself in the head-----twice.



Entry Date: October 17, 2014


Last year I warned maintenance people here about that black squirrel that managed to get into the walls of my living room by running up that hollow roof over the bridge from the carport area. I often saw the squirrel, that I later nicknamed "Don Draper" because of his constant pursuit of female squirrels from branch to branch in the nearby woods, either climbing the two-by-four supports for the roof to enter the hollow tunnel and run up into the walls of building, or climbing down to leave for a day in the woods trying to make more black squirrels of which our town has a great many. No one believed me that any animal could get into the building by climbing up into those hollow roofs that lead to the open walls and crawl space attic of the building. Well, the reports of other tenants now included witnessing the dreaded raccoons entering the building by going up through the tunnel-like hollow roofs over the bridges. This time, there was an investigation. Raccoon claw marks were on the two-by-fours, insulation had been pulled out of the building end of the tunnel and there were two bread bags, empty, also in the tunnel, evidence that the raccoons had established a food storage area in the attic.

I take no pleasure at being vindicated about how easy it is for wildlife to get in here, particularly since there are now raccoons in the attic over my apartment. Nine times out of ten the raccoon in these cases is a female with either a litter of "kits," or is pregnant with a litter. The only solution is to go up there after the raccoons, trap and remove them. Only then can their entrance be sealed as all raccoons in the attic must be accounted for before sealing off their entrance. No one here is thrilled about going up there as raccoons establish a nesting area, a food storage area, and (this is the worst) a latrine area. One might have to go through the latrine to get at the raccoons. Our guys up here are about as anxious to try this as they are about running naked through an Ebola ward. The sad part about the trapping, at least for those who consider raccoons "cute," and do not have them doing their business right over their heads, or prowling about in the walls of their homes, is that, in Pennsylvania, you cannot relocate a raccoon once trapped. Now, the reason for this will be hard to take, given how "impossible" it has been to contain Ebola by means of strict quarantine and banning travel from Ebola ravaged countries. We cannot relocate raccoons in this Commonwealth as raccoons are a "rabies vector." We take more measures to protect other raccoons from rabies than to protect humans from Ebola, apparently. Any raccoons trapped in a non-lethal cage trap have to be shot, or slain some other way.

My guess is I will be hearing the cries of a litter of kits in the southwest corner of my living room ceiling in a few months. Maybe a raccoon will fall through someone's ceiling, or one of the little old ladies who love to feed "the starving birds" whole pancakes, will wake up with three raccoons at the foot of her bed. Maybe something will get done after this, or similar, incidents take place. Most likely, the raccoons will die of old age before I am finally rid of them.

I don't think of them as "cute." They are intelligent, but too much for their own good.


Entry Date: September 29, 2014

The face of the enemy.

"Today the garbage cans, tomorrow your living room."

Our section of the apartment building is closest to a heavily wooded area, so we have frequently been visited by deer, bears, rabbits, squirrels, and other animals over the years. After we had some people move in who are careless about disposing of trash, visits began increasing from the local raccoons. This has gone on for a few years now, with the animals helping themselves to the contents of the poorly-kept garbage cans, particularly such treats as aging pizza, crackers of various kinds, cookies, Spaghetti-Os, and Twinkies. There weren't huge messes to clean up after the raccoons came to call, but over the past few weeks my carport was invaded in the late night hours by what appeared to be a raccoon version of the boys from Delta House (Animal House). They would dive into every garbage can, and make their eerie sounds of raccoon communication anytime after midnight and before dawn. It was impossible to leave my bedroom window open they made such a racket. Unfortunately, even with my windows closed, the raccoons eventually found a new way to interrupt my sleep. Taking advantage of the results of someone hiring morons to design the apartment building in 1967, a trio of the "climbing raccoons" discovered that the roof structures that extended from the carports to the outside walls of the building are hollow, something like tunnels, and, unfortunately, they are open at both ends. The raccoons used the same route as the big black squirrel to get into my living room walls last winter.

I was awakened from a sound sleep one night early in September by strange noises coming from the wall right behind the head board of my bed. Something was moving in there. I came fully alert, left the bed, and knelt beside the wall to listen. I heard shuffling, scuffling noises inside the wall that had to be made by a creature significantly larger than a squirrel. My first suspects were the raccoons, and the sounds indicated there were at least two of them moving through the wall. I tracked their progress to the end of the wall where support beams led up to that "roof tunnel" structure that joined to the building right next to my window. The noise slackened as it seemed as if the column of raccoons halted at the support beam so one could climb while the other(s) waited in line. I could hear the footsteps on the vinyl flooring in the "tunnel" as the first raccoon entered it. The wait took a few minutes, but soon a raccoon emerged from the "tunnel" at the carport end, followed by two others. The raccoons had found a way inside the building. This was not information raccoons would voluntarily forget. My response was to go outside, yell at the raccoons, and throw rocks at them. It was now that I discovered that raccoons need a few moments to process new information, and a human reacting to their presence at their favorite collection of garbage cans was something new. The raccoons froze during the first few rocks thrown at them, but after processing the information, they tore out of there at an impressive rate of speed. The raccoons fleeing the barrage of rocks gave me the idea of perhaps racing the animals professionally, like greyhounds. They are extremely fast, and accelerate quickly. We couldn't use one of those fake rabbits like the ones used to get greyhounds to race. Slices of pizza, old donuts, or Twinkies would be enough to get them to run. The raccoons are veritable ringtailed rockets when motivated.

The next night, the raccoons decided to get even with me for rousting them. One of them, apparently trying to impress his fellow raccoons, took a dump at the end of the pedestrian bridge from the carport to the main door of the building. My first thought was to observe that the act was probably one that the raccoon considered the zenith of its miserable, flea-ridden, garbage-eating raccoon existence. The beast was probably a celebrity with the other raccoons after defecating on our walking bridge.

The whole mess was originally caused by humans not being careful with trash, incorporating an idiotic design into a building, and ignoring a "raccoon infestation." Why not ignore it, though? The tenant who always chased after missing garbage can lids, tried to secure the trash cans, and cleaned up a lot of the raccoon messes was the one with the raccoon problem, not them. Since it wasn't the problem of the people who were slovenly with their trash, and the raccoons were not infesting their carport, they could care less, except the one woman who came outside one evening when the raccoons were really living it up. One of my neighbors must have left some beer in the discarded cans. The raccoons were all over the place. Raccoons were hanging upside down from the rafters over the garbage cans, looking like big mutant bats. Others were rummaging inside the garbage cans while others were hanging on to 2X4s supporting the roof of the carport, sort of like raccoon pole dancers. One woman walked up on the scene, carrying trash that was not properly bagged, as usual, and stopped dead in her tracks in horror at the sight of the cavorting, hell-raising raccoons. There were between seven and nine of the beasts in the carport that night. I was watching from my bedroom window, but did not warn this tenant at first so maybe she could get a good look at what ringing the dinner bell to raccoons is actually like. The raccoons stopped moving around as soon as they realized she was approaching. A big raccoon, about the size of a bear cub, moved out in front of the garbage cans. I think the woman saw that raccoon first which made her stop and try to process what she was now confronting, which was over a half-dozen, possibly inebriated, raccoons. The big raccoon froze like the others, but his tail seemed to curl up after the raccoon stopped moving. The woman retreated into the building without me having to shout a warning to her. I experienced this "freezing" by the raccoons when I threw rocks at them a few nights before. The raccoons might be thinking that, if they do not move, humans can't see them.

A few nights after this, our building got a big dumpster to replace the abused garbage cans. Visits from raccoons declined, but I built a barricade at the carport entrance to the hollow roof that enabled the raccoons to get inside the building. One morning I was talking with the maintenance man for the complex when a woman informed us that, "I saw a raccoon last night." One raccoon was all she saw, but she was still upset at the presence of the cunning, sneaky beast. I wondered how she would like to have her carport taken over by a troupe of performing raccoons that appeared to have escaped from some cheesy traveling circus, or to have three of them imitate Vasco de Gama by exploring her bedroom walls in the middle of the night. She would be catatonic before the sun rose.

Raccoons! Where is Fess Parker when you need him?


Entry Date: September 9, 2014

The Six Day War of June 1967 was the big news from that summer.


Yes, I was thinking about what to post during the time I was back making money in the 9-to-5 world. I was able to come up with a list of old favorites from summer and fall 1967, which was an important and memorable time for me. The titles and artists are below, as before, but the YouTube links take you right to the You Tube channel where, in most cases, advertisements help pay for the broadcast rights. Just click the back button to come back here.



















FALL 1967

















Entry Date: September 9, 2014

The temporary consulting job, which was to produce one audit report about the security status of a client's internal information system network ran several days over and did not finish until just this past Monday (September 8th) and consumed more time than I had calculated. I even had to work a few hours this past weekend to polish the final report. With all the problems the audit found, the CEO asked me to accept a more, or less, permanent part-time position to manage the system security, but I did not retire in order to start something else. I still don't have all of my health back from the last 28-year gig. If they bought the right software, it might be easy, but my position would really amount to "Lighting Rod for Government Regulators."

Don't think so.


Entry Date: August 24, 2014

I didn't realize how long it has been since I last posted something in here. It seems like I just got the entrance and hallway painted, and took two weeks off painting to get everything else caught up around home after getting the living room put back together and television reconnected. The YMCA closed for a week for repairs last Monday, but the YMCA in Franklin permitted Oil City members to work out in their facilities, but I had trouble finding it. Stopped in at a former "client's" place for directions, and the new CEO asked me to perform a consulting visit this week. I figured I better get in here and post something so everyone will know what's going on. After this job is done, which I hope will be in three or four days, I have to move on to painting the bedroom and the study. I've got some posts planned for in here, including some more music from the past, but the upcoming job will take a lot of this week's time, and after that, the painting begins again.


Entry Date: July 18, 2014

A neighbor's answer to the loss of access to Dish-TV. Photo was taken from my new top floor balcony.

The above photograph is an indication of the extremes some of us here at the apartment complex have gone through to get television after almost five weeks without it once the balconies with the Dish-TV antennas were removed in mid-June. I haven't even been able to mount a Dish antenna on a couple of blocks, and the company that owns the building wanted a copy of my renter's insurance before permitting me to remount my old antenna. This was explained to me as being just in case a wind storm caused the Dish antenna to damage the balcony railing. Actually, no insurance would pay for that since windstorms are "acts of God." Basically, sending my insurance policy to them would be tantamount to accepting liability. I called the cable company on July 9th, but had to wait until July 16th for a technician to connect me. Dish-TV put my account on hiatus for nine months. I would still have an account, but not be billed for that period of time. Actually, I kind of like the new Comcast, and they are charging me less per month for the next year. If I get back with Dish, they will charge even less. We'll see what happens next, but I could have given up television for lent this year.



Entry Date: July 9, 2014

Being too big to fail means never having to say you're sorry.

"Yes, toddlers really can walk from Guatelmala to the Rio Grande. They just have trouble navigating your living room. Think about that and how we armed and trained the ISIS fighters to attack Syria before they hosed us and invaded Iraq. That will keep you too busy to see we are making you into paupers, or, hopefully, it will turn your brain into mush."

The Web site ZERO HEDGE is reporting that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appears to be resisting the urging of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to hasten the bursting of the various financial bubbles we've been posting about, off and on, for the past few years. There is a bond bubble, a new real estate bubble, a student loan bubble, and an equities bubble. Here are the actions the BIS is promoting for the Fed, and other world central banks, to take, which is to burst the bubbles right now:

1. "The risk of normalising too late and too gradually should not be underestimated… The trade-off is now between the risk of bringing forward the downward leg of the cycle and that of suffering a bigger bust later on."

2." Few are ready to curb financial booms that make everyone feel illusively richer. Or to hold back on quick fixes for output slowdowns, even if such measures threaten to add fuel to unsustainable financial booms,” …

3. “The road ahead may be a long one. All the more reason, then, to start the journey sooner rather than later.”

As we have warned, all financial bubbles eventually burst and cause downturns in the economy. Our economy is not in a position to tolerate the bursting of a large bubble, particularly the bond bubble which is tied into interest rates and the federal govenment's ability to pay the interest (not the principal) on the federal debt. The Fed has pursued a low interest rate strategy that enables the Administration to more easily manage the interest payments, as they are cheaper. Let the interest rates rise while Obama tries to fund bringing in millions of new, unvetted immigrants from throughout the world, coming in via Mexico, and/or fighting a war with "ISIS," the newly minted international boogeyman used to promote even more commitments to the Middle East quagmires, and promote more "security" measures here at home (that also cost lots of money) that amount to more erosions of Constitutionally guaranteed rights, and everyone will then know just how bankrupt the federal government really is. When that happens, the Great Depression will feel more like boom times.

Janet Yellen seems to disagree with the BIS about immediate termination of the financial bubbles created by the Fed and the giant Wall Street mega-banks and their off-shore partners, as she stated after the BIS reports:

“At this point, it should be clear that I think efforts to build resilience in the financial system are critical to minimizing the chance of financial instability and the potential damage from it. This focus on resilience differs from much of the public discussion, which often concerns whether some particular asset class is experiencing a ‘bubble’ and whether policymakers should attempt to pop the bubble. Because a resilient financial system can withstand unexpected developments, identification of bubbles is less critical.”

That's just it, Janet. Because of the incredible, and unsustainable, needs of the federal government for borrowed money, this financial system is far from "resilient." It is completely inflexible. That is the mess the bankers are in, and the next time they are up against it, the bankers want access to our deposit accounts for the next "bail out," which is referred to as a "bail-in," by the outright robbing of the depositors by just scooping the money out of their accounts.

Nobody actually sits around planning such things to happen. Really, they don't. At least we are not permitted to entertain such thoughts, but John Dillinger, one of the last of the old-fashioned bank robbers, would be skeptical of the notion that no one would deliberately plan to rob people's money when it is just sitting there tempting the thieves, and the thieves only have to press some computer buttons to transfer it to their own accounts. They don't even need to use guns to steal it all! It may not be politically correct to suspect anyone of deliberately planning to steal trillions of dollars, especially white guys in expensive suits, but the cynic in me is calling out to me to pay attention.


Entry Date: July 7, 2014

Well, the construction team responsible for remodeling our apartment complex with smaller, more energy efficient windows in the living rooms, and a different door out to the balcony in each apartment, finished my end of the building with the biggest parts of the project last week. If you remember, I commented on the previous post, see just below, that the project would take more like 7-to-10 days for the entire complex. It took this long just to get my section of the complex done, so all of us were way off the mark. The weather did not help and it is threatening to storm again today now that the crew is back from the Independence Day holiday. On top of all the changes done to the west wall of the apartment, added to it was the need for painting, which has not done since I moved from a one-bedroom downstairs to this 2-bedroom apartment upstairs in 1999. It took days to finish the painting as it took primer coat on the ceiling and three coats of paint on the walls, but it was worth all the inconvenience now that I am 90% moved back. I still have no television, however, and it is not known if I will be allowed to put the Dish TV antenna back on the balcony railing. It is still lying on the old blanket spread on the sofa. At least I got to see a couple of Veronica Mars reruns while working out at the YMCA this morning.

What follows is a few photos I took of the beginning phases of the work, including a shot of the long wall-sized window that is now just an ordinary picture window. You'll see some of the plastic drop cloth I put over the furniture in the foreground of a couple of the shots.


Entry Date: July 7, 2014

This is another entry delayed by being trapped in the back office on the other side of the apartment and being tied up with all the painting that never seemed to end. During walks back in May and June I took some pictures of the flowering plants and trees in the different neighborhoods and finally took some of the yard I liked the best down on Lee's Lane. The pictures of the yard will be posted at a later date. It was another good spring for seeing bushes heavy with blossoms.


Entry Date: June 23, 2014

I have been exiled from my living room for the past eight days. The corporation owning this complex had decided to do remodeling of what is actually the front of the complex. Most of us think the car ports mark the front, but actually the balconies do. A construction company came in to remove the old concrete balconies and replace them with artificial wood decks. The interior of the living rooms would be changed by reducing the size of the huge windows that face the Allegheny valley (the north side of the building) and put in new doors to the balcony. Modern, energy glass would be in the window and the door. This would keep us from freezing in the winter and baking in the summer as well as reducing electric bills. Well, everyone said this would only take three days. No one listened when I told them it would take at least ten. I have some photos, but have to shrink them down to fit on this page, so will be putting them up later in a separate post. The front area of this place now resembles a muddy Italian field after a World War II tank battle. As it stands, they might be done before the tenth day, but as soon as they are, I am going to paint the entire place, starting with the living room since almost everything is covered with drop cloths now. I am without a television as my Dish TV antenna is now lying on a blanket on my sofa and covered with a plastic drop cloth. I have been withdrawing from television for the entire eight days. I probably haven't missed much. I got my land line telephone back here by stringing an extension to an adapter and running it back to the second bedroom, which is now an office.

During this time, an acquaintance of mine was having problems with his laptop and the Internet. I took it down to the library while there were no workers in my apartment and checked it. It worked fine. While I was at it, I got him registered with a Web site for his high school reunion, coming up with an easily remembered password for his account. I should have known there would be a problem. The password suddenly "stopped working." I think he forgot it, or went to the wrong site, as I bookmarked two of them, but showed him the bookmark for the right one. If he had to remember a password to get back through his own lines in World War II, about the time someone challenged him with "baseball" and he responded with something rather than "steak," every gun within a mile would have lit him up like Times Square. It was fortunate he was too young to be drafted back then. I will have another go at the problem tomorrow. He thinks a spare wireless router he has will work from the back of my apartment, where I am currently existing while my living room is in chaos. When I advised that the router would have to be configured correctly, he returned a familiar expression which warned me that the router wouldn't get me across the hall let alone on the Internet, but we'll see.


Entry Date: June 11, 2014

I started pulling up some videos of old songs I like on YouTube and decided to put up some links to some of the best songs from the summer of 1972. This is not a complete list, but these are among the most memorable. I think I'll do this again sometime, picking a different point in time, like graduate school years and the summer of 1967. Hit your BACK button when you want to come back here and go to the next song. Most of these links are to recordings that include advertisements to pay for the broadcast rights.


















I ALMOST FORGOT: In May 1972, Pittsburgh FM station WWSW used an orchestral version of My Guitar Gently Weeps for a "bumper" in its oldies format during the spring of 1972. I don't know if this Munich, Germany's Orchestra version is the same. It probably isn't, but you'll get the idea of what I remember hearing back then. WWSW changed bumpers about quarterly, and the piece was out of the "bumper" rotation during June 1972.




Entry Date: June 10, 2014



Entry Date: June 8, 2014

The weather made this annual project difficult. With all the rain in May, you need about two dry days in a row to get all the work done. I kept watching the interactive Weather Channel feature on Dish-TV to see when we would get two dry days prior to Memorial Day. The Sunday and Monday before Memorial Day looked like the best opportunity, so I reserved a rental van to haul the flowers and tools that Saturday morning, then bought the flowers early on Monday morning. The strange weather also made flower selection a little limited this year. To really get a nice color arrangement for each site, a lot of marigolds had to be used this year. There were shortages of other kinds of flowers, and I found no white species at all this year. The marigolds made up for a lot of these problems and turned out looking pretty coloful. I had to have one of the cemetery workers drive the lawn mower to the family section and mow it, but she was close by at the time and did not mind doing it. Weather made it difficult to get the grass mowed this year, so, like me they were rushing to get it all done that week.


Entry Date: June 8, 2014

Unit Crest of the 19th Combat Engineer Regiment

Father Justin Pino, the pastor of Saint Joseph and Assumption of Mary (Polish) Roman Catholic parishes here in Oil City was written up in a front page story about his research of his uncle's service in World War II, including his involvement in the landings on D-Day. What I noticed was the Oil City Derrick did not identify either the beach on which Father Pino's uncle landed, or the uncle's division or regimental combat team. The article reminded me of where I could find my father's assigned unit in the Mediterranean area of operations. The discharge papers identified my father's last unit, which was Company B, 401st Combat Engineer Batallion. Doing some more research, I found that the 401st Combat Engineer Batallion was earlier designated the 19th Combat Engineer Regiment.

Combat engineers always belonged to their designated engineer regiments, batallions, etc., but were frequently assigned to different corps, divisions, or regiments based on need. On different operations, my father's regiment, or individual companies, were assigned to the Second Corps (II Corps) for the North Africa landings in 1942 (Operation Torch); the Sixth Corps (VI Corps), and different divisions with those two corps. In II Corps, my father served under first Lloyd Fredendall , followed by George S. Patton, and Omar Bradley. The last commander of II Corps was Geoffrey Keyes, during the Italian Campaign. Keyes was a close friend of Patton. When landing at Salerno and Anzio, my father was with the VI Corps, which was commanded, in turn, by Ernest J. Dawley, John Lucas, and Lucian Truscott. One long divisional assignment was with the 34th Infantry Division, which was originally comprised of men from Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Iowa as a National Guard division. During one point of the Anzio operation, my father was assigned to a British unit, although it is not known if his duties were mostly engineering (he was a heavy equipment specialist) or assigned as a rifleman, a responsibility all combat engineers along with their specialties.

In amphibious landings like D-Day, Salerno, and Anzio, initial landings are carried out by Regimental Combat Teams, which are infantry division regiments with additional specialty units assigned to them for the landings, such as additional medical, headquarters, intelligence, anti-aircraft, chemical, and engineer units on a temporary basis. For example, in the Easy and Fox sectors of Omaha Beach, the First Infantry Division's 16th Regimental Combat Team was assigned to land. The landings were in echelon, by companies. One company would land at at Easy Red beach, while another company was assigned Easy Green. That was the way it was supposed to work, but rarely did. Some of the 29th Division's companies accidentally wound up landing in the 1st Division's sector. The combat engineers had to locate and disarm mines, destroy beach obstacles, demolish pillboxes, and use machines like armored bulldozers to knock down bunkers or reopen roads. At Anzio, a bulldozer was typically used by German artillery for target practice as the Germans controlled the high ground around Anzio and could study the movement on the beachhead the way an ant farm can be watched in a laboratory. German planes would strafe and bomb the beachhead until the 99th Fighter Squadron (Tuskegee Airmen) showed up and shot down 12 German planes over Anzio during a two-day spree.

The landings at Anzio were supposed to outflank the German defense line around Cassino, but failed. The primary reason for the failure was that the landing was made too close to the front lines to be a true envelopment, or turning action. MacArthur made a similar landing at Hollandia on New Guinea, but made the landing over 100 miles behind the nearest Japanese base. Anzio was so close to the front lines that the Germans could easily shift forces to counterattack and stall movement off the beach until additional units could be brought down from north Italy and even France. When you make an amphibious landing behind enemy lines, the enemy is always between you and your forces on the front line. If the enemy retreats from your front line forces, he is coming right at you in order to retreat (this happened at Salerno), and you can't land all of your forces over water as fast as the enemy can move at you over land. The trick is to stretch the enemy's interior lines over a longer distance so you can win the race to get the most men and equipment ashore ahead of the enemy. This means landing many miles away from the nearest concentration of enemy forces, at least MacArthur did it that way and it worked at Hollandia in World War II and at Inchon in Korea.

In March 1945, the 19th Combat Engineer Regiment was divided into two batallions, one being the 401st Combat Engineer Batallion, my father's last combat unit assignment of World War II.



Entry Date: June 8, 2014

Note: Stephen Glass is the name of a disgraced writer for The New Republic magazine who was fired once he was exposed for making up almost all of his stories. The incident was chronicled in the HBO movie Shattered Glass. Society seems intent on never forgiving Stephen Glass for his wrongful behavior, but seems to ignore similar incidents in today's "Mainstream" media. This series, Free Stephen Glass, exposes more recent media deceptions, manipulations and abuses that are analogous to those Mr. Glass was punished for a decade ago. If Glass is going to be kept from gainful employment for life for deceiving the public through mass media, I don't think he should be consigned to this media hell all by himself, or, he should be let off the hook like all the others.

There are two videos here, one that shows a large portion of an interview unedited, of two young women who were identified as witnesses to the shootings in Santa Barbara late last month, while the second version focuses on the one young woman who seems to get confused and blurts an aside to her alleged roomate: "My director is talking." Sometimes, directors of films and television use "ear wigs," small listening devices that are inserted into the ear and difficult for a casual observer to see. Since no one else is audible as talking to the girl, the "director" talking to her must be transmitting to her on such a device. If the transmission is garbled, or the listener is distracted by "live" people talking, the actor can blow her lines. In this case, she turned to her colleague and asked for a cue by referencing the make of the shooter's vehicle, "BMW." She tries to recover, but alert You Tubers caught the mumbled aside. Other "witnesses" have also been caught glancing at cue cards or a teleprompter out of the shot, and also identified as amateur actors, studying theater in college, and active in the local and college drama clubs.

Look, we don't need "neighborhood people," who call the local IV Deli a "Seven-Eleven," who refer to invisible "directors" talking to them about what they are supposed to say, posing as "eyewitnesses." Again, here we see a media outlet, in this case CNN, which got caught using blue screen chromakey technology to make their Atlanta Studio look like "Saudi Arabia" and faked their correspondents ducking "Scud Missile" attacks as they bravely "soldiered on" to bring us the news about Desert Storm, only to be exposed as fakes by private citizens intercepting the live satellite feed. The once famous scandal exposed CNN as, in essence, faking news just like Stephen Glass was accused of doing when he wrote for The New Republic. Now, there is a strong possibility that at least some eyewitnesses interviewed by TV News are frauds, comprised of people looking for money, fame, or crisis actors hoping media contacts will help them jump start acting careers in Hollywood. Were any of the "eyewitnesses" of the Santa Barbara alleged shooting incident real, or were they all stringers or would-be actors looking to get into the spotlight in hopes of help in getting a break into show-biz later? We'll never know, but the girls also reference the "7/11 Store" as being where a lot of the action took place. This is the neighborhood where they live, and they are situated in their residence to see it all from their apartment. Hey, "Witnesses," it was the IV Deli, not the 7/11! Can't you read the sign from your apartment window? The eyewitnesses live in the neighborhood, and shop in the store, and still don't know its name? ("7/11? My director is talking.")







Entry Date: May 26, 2014

It was announced that the federal government is going to set aside money to subsidize the health insurance corporations for the costs of insuring everyone under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. As was pointed out in an entry from 2013 that is now in the archives in Backblog Page 12, the higher premiums and deductibles charged by the insurance companies under Obamacare were, in effect, redistributive taxes. With an off-year election for the House and several Senate seats, increased premiums and deductibles scheduled for this year would cause big problems for many of the candidates, particularly incumbents who voted for Obamacare, that the government has arranged for the insurance companies to delay increasing the premiums and deductibles by providing the temporary subsidies. By using tax money to pay for the premiums, rather than letting the companies charge the people directly, the cost to the individuals is delayed until 2015. This confirms the analysis that the insurance companies were actually taxing the people through the premiums and deductibles. A couple of years of this and single payer through the government might look good to the people. I still think the insurance companies want out of the health insurance business, but only after they've milked it for as much as they can get before getting out.

I don't think the Constitution gives insurance companies the authority to tax the people in order to redistribute income, and I don't think those who want such health care plans through government want corporations taxing us to get them either. Rather, I would think they would want the exact opposite.


Entry Date: May 24, 2014

The black squirrel that has found it's way into the apartment building, and seems to prefer running inside my living room wall, was seen running down the two-by-four that enables the squirrel to climb up to an opening in the roof over the bridge into the building one morning last week, and earlier this week was chased by an angry robin up the two-by-four and into the bridge roof. His paws make the same sound running up or down the roof as they make when he is scampering around in the wall. So far, no one has done anything to block his entry way, so all I can do is hope he doesn't chew on something like a wire. The rodent seems to get on the nerves of some of the other small animals and birds in the woods next to the building. So far, he has behaved himself, although I can imagine him raising another litter of black squirrels in my living room wall by seducing another female with the promises of heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer ("Hey, baby, I have a way into the humans' place. You know---they have---heat.").


Entry Date: May 11, 2014

"You say that most of my good players are black guys? Really? .... How many? ... Are you sure?"

"'Sensitivity training? What makes you think I need to learn anything about sensitivity? I know all about sensitivity! I've been using condoms since before you were born, you whippersnapper!"

"I have a plan to get it all back. My shrink here will say I have multiple personality disorder. One of my personalities will be a plantation owner from Mississippi in 1849!"

"I need a way to get the players to like me. Maybe a banquet with all-you-can-eat fried chicken and watermelon will do the trick!"


Entry Date: April 30, 2014

"I almost forgot. It's time for me to say something crazy again."


Entry Date: April 28, 2014

Like another semi-regular feature here, The Bubble Boys, this entry will begin a new semi-regular feature, Free Stephen Glass. Stephen Glass was the subject of books, articles, and an HBO movie (Shattered Glass) about a writer on the staff of The New Republic who was exposed for making up many of his feature stories for the magazine. Recently, Stephen Glass attempted to become a lawyer, after graduating law school, but was forbidden from taking the Bar exam since, as we all know, the angelic ethics of today's legal class just couldn't admit a fiction writer to its ranks after he passed his stories off as real. In actuality, making up stories goes on all the time in the "mainstream" (Re: Corporate) media, as revealed recently when Sharyl Attkisson was interviewed by blogger and author Jon Rappoport for his Wordpress blog. This is one of the biggest pieces of fiction palmed off on the public by the corporate media, in alliance with one of the permanent, unelected bureaucracies in the federal government, the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The 2009 scare fest about a "pandemic" of H1N1, the Swine Flu, which caused one co-worker of mine to express fear for his life ("I guess I will just die soon."). The reality was, there never was a Swine Flu "pandemic," which Ms. Attkisson developed after a Freedom of Information Act filing to obtain the records from the CDC. In addition, health authorities of different states were also checked to find if the statistics cited by CDC, and the corporate media, as "evidence" of a pandemic were accurate. There were no such statistics.

CBS was initially interested in running Ms. Attkisson's story, but decided to kill it. In the meantime, despite the documents from CDC obtained by Ms. Attkisson, CBS continued to promote the Swine Flu fiction as reality, urging viewers to make sure they get their flu vaccinations. Ms. Attkission was pursuing other investigative reports about the gunrunning scandal known as "Fast and Furious," and other major stories. All of the stories were canceled by the CBS brass.

Meanwhile, CNN cuts in on important news stories to bring us emergency updates about the arrest of the alleged singer, Justin Bieber. I guess we get the kind of media we deserve, just like we get the kind of government we deserve. The media's fellow fiction writer, Stephen Glass, can't become a lawyer because, we are told, Glass is a liar, and we all know lawyers never do that! Hey, he got caught lying, too! Look, if the media of today can knowingly present fictional stories about flu pandemics to scare the public, I can't see why Stephen Glass can't be a lawyer, and even write about the law for the corporate media. Glass couldn't lie any worse than the lawyers who produced The Warren Report. Besides, I don't want my tax money going to support Glass. I want him to work for a living and pay taxes, even if he does it by lying in the media.

What difference could it make?





MICKEY ROONEY: 1920--2014

Entry Date: April 7, 2014

That's the way it began, we were hand in hand

Glenn Miller's Band was better than before

We yelled and screamed for more

And the Porter tunes (Night and Day)

Made us dance across the room

It ended all too soon

And on the way back home I promised you'd never be alone

--Reminiscing, 1978: The Little River Band




Entry Date: April 7, 2014

I was slow to switch from a winter to a spring picture because the weather just didn't cooperate with the notion that it was actually spring. It is getting at least good enough to enable a person to recognize early spring, so I finally changed the picture. I even got to walk to Rouseville and back, about 10 miles, getting a break from the cardio machines at the YMCA.


Entry Date: March 23, 2014

Something has been running inside the west wall of my living room. It didn't sound like a mouse or a chipmunk, but something a bit bigger. The way it moved sounded more like a squirrel to me than any other small mammal. Rats do not usually move that fast, but sort of lumber along. Well, this past week I was sitting in my car while the engine warmed when a large black squirrel ran along one of the rails in the carport, stopped and looked at me through the windshield. This squirrel was big, almost as big as a cat, and didn't care that I saw it. After it was through looking at me as if to say, "What are you looking at?" the animal raced up one of the support beams and entered an opening along the edge of the roof. I climbed the handrail to look inside. This opening runs all the way up the roof over the bridge that leads into the building. The terminus is right on my floor. When the owners' contractors were finally sprucing up the outside with vinyl siding, new doors, and other amenities, they did not notice that they left this "tunnel" open to any opportunistic squirrel. How the squirrel found it, I don't know, but rodents are clever about such things and know the places where humans live are warmer than hollowed out parts of trees when the temperature is zero degrees. So far, all the squirrel does is run around a little before settling down, and is in and out, as evidenced by his witnessed entry this past week. As long as he doesn't chew on something we need, it should be all right for us to wait until we know he is not inside to block off his tunnel's entrance. The problem is I have seen this big sucker out in the wooded area next to the building all this winter. He is hard to miss sitting on a tree limb. This squirrel thinks he is big stuff with the local females and is frequently engaged in ardent pursuits from one tree limb to another. I'm thinking there might be a female nursing a litter in the wall while the big sucker runs in and out to pay his child support. That could be a problem. This squirrel might be passing along the genes that produce such a high number of black squirrels on South Side Oil City. Out-of-towners are amazed at them, but the black squirrels are very common here.


Entry Date: March 10, 2014


Entry Date: February 20, 2014

ReviewManify ("Review Time, Partner") runs an entertaining YouTube channel dealing with current news events. In this one, ReviewManify exposes how the corrupt and incompetent news media uses characters like Justin Bieber as distractions from real issues. Some people have had enough and are circulating a petition to deport Bieber back to Canada and revoke his green card. There are 100,000 signatures on the petition already, while the USA and Canadian Olympic hockey teams are betting that the team that loses will have their country forced to keep Bieber.


Entry Date: February 2, 2014

Since the 2008 bail-out of the megabanks that created the real estate bubble which caused the Great Recession, the megabanks have just gotten bigger. The Federal Reserve started what they called "Quantitative Easing" by creating the money to purchase bonds in the open market. The idea was to keep interest rates as low as possible. The low interest rates are all that is keeping the huge federal debt manageable, as the government only pays the interest on the debt. Lower interest rates make the payments lower for the government. Higher interest rates might just make the debt financing spiral out of control causing the bond bubble and other bubbles created by Quantitative Easing to burst. The new Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, is going to have to manage deflation of the bubbles without them bursting as real estate did in 2008. Multi-trillion dollar bubbles are unlikely to be easy to bring down without something going wrong.

There is more wrong with the financial system than this, including the recent revelations about the business deal made by the US Government and the Sinaloa drug cartel based in Mexico, but that is a story that will take more time to put together. The deal included arming the Sinaloas through Fast and Furious so they could defeat the other Mexican cartels, letting the Sinaloas bring their drugs into the US without interference, and permitting financial institutions to launder Sinaloa drug money. This deal commenced in 2000 and continues to the present.


Being too big to fail means never having to say you're sorry.


Entry Date: February 2, 2014

On January 15th, I was on my way to the YMCA early in the morning when both feet went out from under me and I wound up on the sidewalk, stunned for a few seconds. I knew quickly that my left wrist was injured and the left shoulder was hurt--again--but not as bad as the wrist. Nothing appeared to be broken, but I had X-rays taken the next morning as the hand swelled up a lot more than expected, so I suspected an avulsion fracture. Avulsions happen when a ligament stretches back away from the bone to which it attaches and pulls a piece of the bone off. There were no breaks. At the YMCA, several other people came in reporting falls, including one guy with a gnarled up finger. He asked people to pull it back into place for him, but no one was stupid enough to try it. He had to go to the hospital.

The problem was something like black ice on the sidewalks, only it was more transparent than black ice and it was thinner. This lack of traction brought an old Sports Illustrated back to mind. During the 1970 NFC Championship game, the Minnesota Vikings wore broomball shoes to maintain traction on the icy field. I ordered a pair from Dick's Sporting Goods, and they were sent by UPS from Rochester, Minnesota. The game of broomball is played on ice but without skates. The kind of shoes I bought are the only footgear for broomball. The players run, stop suddenly, and make sharp direction changes. The shoes have done a good job maintaining my traction over ice both thick and thin. I don't recommend them for deep snow, only shallow snow and ice.

The shoulder problem has forced me to change my exercise schedule at the YMCA. Instead of the ski machine, I use the stair climber as the main calorie burner. I think the machine is not accurate with the calorie burn as the stair climber is notorious for being a challenge to stay on for very long. It always seems like something that tough should be burning more calories. It seems like a rip-off after you've been on 25 minutes and you burned only as many calories as 25 minutes of fast pace walking on a cake treadmill.


Entry Date: January 11, 2014



Now the police can't get Adam Lanza's facial features right, giving him surfer boy blonde hair as well as "reddish brown" hair. Adam is now part of the Photoshop Reality that is Sandy Hook, with software altering his images.

A few months ago, we pointed out some findings of various researchers in the area of analyzing the integrity of photographs and motion pictures that came out of reporting the alleged Sandy Hook, Connecticut mass elementary school shooting. The result was that a lot of the photographic and video evidence of the alleged crime would not be acceptable in court as it was manipulated through software such as Photoshop and some of the video was shot in front of a bluescreen at an unknown location and at an unknown time. This has been extensively reported on the Internet by photographers and graphic artists, but the media moved on to bigger stories such as Governor Chris Christie's "traffic jam scandal." I have no faith or trust left in the so-called mainstream media after discovering these facts inside the recently released Connecticut official investigation reports.

1. One police report describes "the shooter's" hair as being "wispy blonde." A photograph of the "shooter's" cap has loose blonde hairs in it.

2. A second police report describes "the shooter's" hair as being "reddish-brown."

3. One police report states "the shooter" shot himself.

4. Another police report claims "the shooter" was shot by police.

5. A police radio transmission states that 18 students were shot to death in a cafeteria closet along with one teacher. A radio transmission is in real time and the policeman could have been observing the crime scene at the time.

Thinking about the complete lack of media inquistiveness about all the contradictory stories about Sandy Hook as it first unfolded, and now these blatant problems with the written police reports, not to mention the lack of any follow-up about Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Fukushima, and many other troubling events, it made my blood boil to see all the attention the "New Jersey Traffic Jam Scandal" attracted from this useless bunch. Are they bothering to tell any of us about the contradictions now embedded in the Sandy Hook crime scene investigation documents? No, but we will find out all about what the portly governor of New Jersey knew about the traffic jam and when he knew it as if that was as important as where several trillion dollars of Pentagon money disappeared to, another story dropped by the "mainstream" (what a conceit!) media. I'm tired of a media that can't seem to dig down and extract the truth from any event. We were all better informed by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler when they anchored "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live. Nothing like a media that sees a blurry video of a bearded fat guy in a turban and promptly declares that it is the skinny, much older Osama bin Laden in the video like they did right before the 2004 election. The real issue was why anyone was faking Osama videos, while being stupid enough to use an obese guy to play Osama, but no one in the media looked for that answer. I suspect the stupid people who made the fat Osama video are probably drawing government paychecks even today. They probably have some of those Pentagon trillions, too.

I have stopped watching these media jackasses and intend to continue to boycott their lazy, insufferable drivel until they get off their dead asses and cover something important for a change. If I want press handouts from some crooked politician I'll get on a mailing list for the politician. I'll be just as well off since all the media people do is take dictation from those banal crooks anyway. The last people on Earth to be dumb enough to believe everything a politician says will be the useless buffoons of the "mainstream" media.


Entry Date: January 6, 2014


Entry Date: January 3, 2014

Being too big to fail means never having to say you're sorry.

Catherine Austin Fitts describes how the housing bubble of 2000-2008 corrupted many average Americans making the prevention of the inevitable collapse next to impossible. As hot air equity made millions of Americans believe their houses were making them millionaires, the last thing any of them wanted was for anything that could bring the bubble to an end. People have to stop "playing in the bubbles."