Sunday, June 30, 2019

Here's a nicely coordinated desktop background.

And I took the picture myself, last week,
about half a mile from home, along the river here.

The 'top ten' today....

The thing about blogging is that it's a daily grind. If you take a day off to enjoy your old age, your ratings drop like a stone. "O ye of little faith!" And I see China is still calling itself 'Unknown Region'. They are partly right. It's hard to get to know a nation that insists on cutting its options and pretending it doesn't want to connect to the rest of the planet. We know that's not true, because they have spies all over. And I'd still like to be able to watch their Bluecat cartoons, or see what's new at that amazing Three Gorges Dam and shipping locks on the big river there. Maybe they are missing out on a good thing - who knows? My Chinese neighbor across the street said "You should learn Mandarin!" - And I replied, "I have enough trouble with 26 characters, never mind 600, or 3,000."
I believe in 'KISS' - "Keep It Simple Stupid".

Pictures from Thursday, in another city park, closer to home....

A 'greenhouse' at the Nursery nearby.

Zoomed into the doorway, to see what's growing...

The sign on their gate says it all...

The two towers behind the trees are two of our six here.

A Hydrangea filling out its blooms outside their fence.

Close-up of one of its blooms.

The north face of the 4-lane Highway One bridge over the Capilano River.

More inclusive view of it. You can't see its patchy potholes from down here.

The bridge makes a good carport.

Beyond the bridge, on a forest access road along the river, I saw these.

This is a closer look. I have no idea what these are, but they are pretty.

This is a typical view of the forest access road along the west side of the river.

A 'stone's throw' from my building, at the corner of Keith Road, which runs on east to that bridge shown earlier, and 3rd Street (N to S). This used to be a small 2-bedroom farmhouse on an empty lot that once was a small farm owned by this resident's father. A big old Western Hemlock stood just between the wall of the present house and that (new) power pole on the street's edge. Just before the old homestead was demolished to make way for this magnificent spread, I took a picture of it from my balcony, and gave it to them. They said they would never cut down his father's big tree. A few months ago, I heard the chainsaws of a tree-trimmer over there, and sure enough, the big tree is gone!
There's nothing sacred any more....

Here's a panorama composite of it from the driveway of this smaller additional place they now have in what once was 'the back yard' where the kids played. This guy has obviously parlayed the old man's little farm into a fortune in real estate, and good on him! Around at the front, which fronts on 3rd Street at the intersection, there's a two-car garage entrance, and beside it, something that looks like either a tour bus or a fancy big motor home. It's nice to have money, especially when you don't have to work for it. 

This is up the hill on 3rd Street, so I could get a couple of pictures of my own digs here from beyond the tall timber. And that's it, center left, beyond the trees.

And this is a closer look at the north end of this 20-storey building, built in 1972/3/4 approximately.

And I'm here, someplace. This is the third apartment I've rented in this building since 1981, in addition to two others in the adjoining building just east of this one. I probably should have bought one of them. When these first were converted by the original builder, Daon Developments, from all rentals to self-owned, in 1981/2, I could have had a one bedroom here, then only 7 or 8 years old, for about $35,900. Right now, this little studio is priced at around $300,000 and it's 46 or 47 years old, and needing a reno. I obviously don't understand the real estate game. It's the only game in town where 'old' is worth more than 'new', and that makes no sense to me at all. If this was a car, you couldn't give the damned thing away! You'd have to pay someone to haul it to the junkyard. But I'm not complaining. This has been home now since October 1st, 1996, and with any luck at all, it will continue to be, as long as I need one. At 86, after all, nothing's forever. But I'm still riding my bike in the park, and chasing pretty girls on theirs, so it's not all bad... As they say, "It's better to burn out than rust."

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Maybe I'd better give you 'The Rest of the Story'.....

When I worked at that 'Snivel Service' job in Ottawa in the mid-sixties, I'd been hired, as mentioned, because they had never had anyone in  the office there who knew what they were doing in an actual operating situation in a real power station. And Joe, our Manager of Hydro Stations, wanted me for that situation. And I thought it might be 'cool', as long as the real Pros didn't eat me alive. Everyone else flying a desk in there was either an Engineer, Registered Technologist, or had some other impressive qualification, like Chartered Accountant or whatever. I was the only high school dropout and 'Gold-plated Nobody' they had. I was unique. 'Unique' coming from the Latin, 'Uno' meaning 'one' and 'Equus' meaning 'horse'.

Because I lived relatively nearby to that head office, and because I wasn't always charmed to pieces by that spaghetti palace rooming house and its several upwardly-mobile young yahoos pretending they knew how, I chose to spend a lot of my free time back at the office, by myself, improving my education, and getting on with my assigned project. After my federal security clearance I had been given my own key to the office, so I could come and go as I wished, and I frequently wished. It was far more preferable than my room in 
the rooming house.

My 'education' at the office after hours consisted in part of a complete reading of all the Personnel Files of our major players. I knew how the outfit came into existence, why its management had been handed to a man who had no background in anything electrical - he had run an office for the old Wartime Prices and Trade Board, helping with the war efforts during WW2, and they needed somewhere to 'hide' him when that all ended - and how he in turn had set up his hierarchy here in a 'divide and conquer' pattern, with two equal subordinates, each probably hoping to succeed him if and when he retired.

And I'm working as the Executive Assistant to one of those two equal subordinates, making me the helper of one of the two 'second-in-command' guys. In actual practice, I was a multi-purpose helper for both of them, and basically their 'gopher'. When they needed or wanted something in a hurry, I was the one to 'go fer' it. I made sure the kettle was boiled for 'tea time', I went shopping for the tea and cookies, I took calls if they were out, I ran errands and messages more often than our official Office Boy, and I coordinated completion of their paperwork with the secretarial pool and the drafting department, and the accounting department on the floor below. I was a multi-purpose flunky, and I loved it. And I had my finger on the pulse of that whole outfit.......

Joe, my official boss, ran their hydro sites, and George in his next-door office behind stacks of folders, ran their diesel sites. Old Ted, that displaced leftover from WW2, sat pompously in his managerial office just inside the main foyer. Ted and I didn't have a very good relationship, partly because I'd seen his personnel files, and knew he was the least-qualified of any of us. And our relationship wasn't improved when he decided to go shopping for an understudy to be prepared to take over his position when he retired a few years hence.

There had been three original employees of this organization when it was first conceived as an operating subsidiary under Northern Affairs, and named Northern Canada Power Commission. Those three were Old Ted, George our diesel boss, and my boss Joe. Of those three, the one with the best personality, most friendly attitude, and widest set of connections around and about was my guy, Joe. Joe also had his finger on the pulse of the outfit, even moreso than our boss, Old Ted. And I naturally felt that Joe should have been the logical successor to Ted when we finally became 'Dinosaur Free'. But Ted had other ideas. And he and I locked horns over it. We 'kissed and made up' later on, but relations were definitely strained for months.

Ted went to an outfit in Montreal named 'Montreal Engineering', makers of hydro turbines, and etc., and hired a hot-shot Engineer from them. This guy was installed in a newly-created front wall office right next to Ted's. The existing two 'second-in-command' offices and mine were further along that end of the building. My boss Joe had the corner office on the street side's western wall, and George had one along that west wall, immediately next to Joe's. Mine was the cubicle in that corner, between those. And beside mine was the secretarial pool. So we were all along the front of the floor, close to Mission Control, which was a big old clattering teletype machine beside Ted's Executive Secretary's desk near the front entrance. And being the executive 'gopher', inevitably one day I get summoned into new guy's office. Oh, Joy!

He looked me up and down, noticed the black leather patches on the elbows of my red & black sports coat, and asked "How long have you been here?" I replied, "Longer than you, why?" He asked, "What are you, the resident smart-ass?" I said, "Yes Sir! That's my main specialty, and I'm goddamned good at it." Then he asked me what I'd done before I came here. I said, "Eight years Ontario Hydro as a hydro-electric power station operator, and five years Great Lakes Power Company as a jack-of-all-trades operations and maintenance man, also in hydro plants, including some we controlled remotely from a main station." Then he asked me if I had heard of Montreal Engineering. I said, "Yes Sir. You're the guys who have been giving my nice old Uncle Frank at Great Lakes Power such a hard time over that faulty 50-megawatt unit's turbine that you supplied for our unit number three at our main station on the Montreal River at Mile 92 on the ACR, north of Sault Ste. Marie, and we really wish you guys would get your act together and stop trying to screw us into the ground!"

He said....(Never mind what he's censored!) Then, after that, he said 
"So you're from Great Lakes Power!" And I said, "Yes! When the shit hit the fan there, I was the guy who jumped out of bed and got the lights back on for Uncle Frank, why?" And he said, "Well, I'll be goddamned! You and I probably aren't going to get along very well, I can see that." And I said, "That all depends..." And he asked "What do you mean?" So I said, "I mean that if you barge in here among an old established hierarchy like this one, where everyone practically grew up with the outfit - your two second-in-commands here are founding fathers of it - and you try coming on like gangbusters, you're going to get the shock of your sweet young life, Kid. So take a hint - put away that oversize ego and try harder to act like an honest-to-God human being, because we have our ways here, and you don't want to sample those, trust me!"

The next day, as Joe and I were comparing notes in his corner office, Joe asked "Have you met that new guy yet?" I asked, "You mean that Prize Prick from Montreal?" Joe smiled, and nodded 'yes'. I said, "Yes, I have.....I gave him his Spring Tuneup yesterday...." Joe said, "Let's go to lunch! - I'm buying!"

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Epilogue to yesterday's little rant....

Question: 'How did The Gold-plated Nobody survive among Engineers and Engineering Technologists without any similar qualifications himself?'

Answer: 'Very carefully, thanks...' 

I was a major curiosity in the head office of that government-run electrical utility, not just because I couldn't produce a sheepskin or a certificate as a registered Technologist, but also because they had never before been up close and personal with anyone having any real 'hands-on' experience in the daily operations and maintenance of working hydro-electric power stations. Their whole experience, individually and collectively, had consisted of remotely learning of problems, inadequately described or misunderstood, coming to them by teletype or radio telephone from sites in the Arctic which most of them had never personally seen nor visited, and which most had difficulty visualizing.

I was hired by Joe, the Manager of Hydro Stations, to be an interpreter for him between the on-site plant personnel up north, and these desk-bound engineers and technologists at head office, so that when a problem arose, I could give these guys a power station operator's perspective on probable causes  and cures, and help them to visualize the equipment we were dealing with up there. And I didn't need an Engineering or Technology degrees for that. All I needed was a few soft-leaded pencils, some good drawing paper, and a few of my own 
collected Engineering Handbooks, along with the training manuals I'd used at Ontario Hydro years before, to learn the trade.

I took six or eight months at the beginning, as Joe had instructed, to just take time to thoroughly familiarize myself with their methods of record-keeping, so that I knew where to find information on any location and its equipment and the history of its maintenance, and then I was ready. They had a rather old-fashioned system, using dozens of three-drawer metal filing cabinets, in two rows, back to back, lined up next to a passageway through this open-format office space, consisting of individual little cubicles with low divider partitions, with an Engineer or a Technologist in each cubicle, working on individual assignments, all of which were running six to nine months behind schedule. And my friendly little Chinese boss, Joe, was hoping that maybe with me there answering questions, we might get some of these pompous asses back on schedule again. They had a saying, those guys, that went "Relax, it's all pensionable time." And I got popular replying, "But you're not retired yet, you British reject! Time marches on, trampling everything underfoot! You included."

One particularly obnoxious and terribly British Mechanical Engineering type did everything he could to sabotage anything that I was pushing through in the form of floor plans, wiring and cable duct layouts, or etc. for upcoming new projects scheduled for the next summer's working season up north, and he quite openly challenged me to do something about it. I let him enjoy himself for a while, and then one morning when I wasn't too busy with Gus or the Secretarial Pool, or the two Mexicans in our Drafting Department, both great guys, I stopped by his cubicle at the rear of the floor, next to a window overlooking the back alley, and made some small talk. He liked to lecture on yachting, and he had one, kept in the lower Ottawa River somewhere, and after the latest on that, I asked "How are we doing on the piping drawings for the new plant layout at that upgraded diesel plant in Cambridge Bay?" He replied, "When I think that's any of your concern, I'll let you know."

I tried again, "Excuse me, Bill, but perhaps there's a little misunderstanding here. Joe and I were talking a while back, and I mentioned that everybody in the office here had a pet project except for me. So Joe asked me if I wanted one. And I said, "Yes, Please!" So he gave me Cambridge Bay, to organize all the material purchases, the equipment purchases, the cables, the wiring, the pipes, the building envelope, the foundations layouts - everything! And I'm being an absolute pain in your ass because I need to know where you're putting those pipes in those trenches in the concrete foundations, because I have to run my electrical cables and wiring all over that stuff too, and I need to see where we will have conflicts with crossovers, etc., etc., etc. - and I hope that's not going to be an inconvenience for you." And Bill, the pompous Brit, looking down his nose at this 'ruddy colonial ignoramus' said "I'm busy here! Try not to bother me for a few days about that." (I'm not half Irish for nothing!) So I leaned over his desk, looked him in the eye, and asked "Have you looked out this back window lately at the alley down below?"  He smiled and asked "Why?" I replied, "Because I'd like you to see where you'll land if I don't have that piping layout drawing on my own desk by next Monday morning at the absolute latest! And this is NOT a request! Understood?" He turned a little shade paler, and asked, "Are you actually serious?" And I said, "I'm so goddamned serious you're lucky I haven't thrown your pompous British ass out that window already, you insufferable son of a bitch! Now move your ass! Every one of you Brit dog-fuckers around here is running six to nine months behind schedule on your assigned projects, and taking two hour lunch breaks, and acting like you're on vacation, and Joe isn't happy with that. And I want Joe to be happy. I intend to have my assignment come in on schedule, over your dead body, if necessary, just so there's no misunderstanding here. Now I invite you to confirm all this with Joe himself, if you're stupid enough to do that. Otherwise, you'd better get your thumb out of your bum and your mind out of neutral, and start doing something productive around here, before some hostile Canadian goes ape."

I got my drawings before that next Monday, and I got my project done on schedule, and the day Joe got word from up north that my project had just been successfully completed and commissioned and in service, he held a little meeting of our happy little group, at which he said, "Ray's project is the only one around here in living memory that was completed on schedule as planned, and I'm congratulating him for his nice work. And I'm reminding the rest of you that if Ray can do it, then you certainly should, especially with all your better qualifications."  That dig about 'qualifications' really cracked me up.  After the meeting, and the others crawling back to their cubicles, I asked Joe, "Can I take you downstairs to that restaurant on the street level and buy you a nice big steak, Boss?" And Joe laughed and said, "Nah! that stuff'll kill you! Let's go for a tall cold one instead!" And I said, "Your wish is my command."

Monday, June 24, 2019

May I do a rant please? About the Middle East.... May I, please?

Right after my first marriage failed, and after I'd had my first heart attack shortly after that, I left the hydro-electric power company that I'd been working for, north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and as luck would have it, found a new job in the Civil Service in Ottawa, with our federal government. It also has a few hydro-electric power stations, but located in our 'Far North' above the 60th Parallel; five, to be specific. Or at least, five in the mid-1960s while I was around.

Because of the ongoing divorce procedures and court appearances, and all, I wasn't well enough off to afford my own apartment, so I had moved into nearby rooming house, on a side street, a few blocks from the downtown office where I was then employed. I enjoyed that office job, even though I was the only one in our Engineering Section who was not either an Engineer or a Certified Technologist. And believe me, I was kept constantly aware of those facts by an elegantly-suited and impeccably mannered Technologist from Budapest named Gus. Gus constantly referred to me as "The Gold-Plated Nobody", and I used to smile along with him, because I was Executive Assistant to the Manager of Hydro Stations. And as far as we could tell, Gus had been relocated to our place because he had been suspected of being a foreign spy while employed in a similar Technologist position at our Chalk River Nuclear Facilities. So they moved him 'downtown' to keep an eye on him.

But he was right - I WAS the 'gold-plated nobody' and I felt it. But my gracious and helpful boss, a jolly, well-fed Chinese gentleman, originally from here in Vancouver, said "Just ignore Gus. He's more bark than bite. Take your time, study our systems here, and get familiar with where to find all our information in these rows of filing cabinets down the center of the office, and just be handy for when we get a call from up north somewhere, asking what to do because one of their units isn't running as it should."  I remember asking Joe "Are you sure you should have hired me as your new Assistant?" And Joe saying, "I was the on-site Engineer when one of those hydro plants was built, right after I got out of University, and if I can survive around here with some of these know-it-alls, then you shouldn't have any trouble at all. And if they really give you a bad time, come in and talk to me about it, and I'll have a walk around and pour a little oil on troubled waters, OK?" And he was smiling. He smiled a lot. I loved that guy!

One evening, back at our spaghetti-palace rooming house several blocks from the office, there was a knock on the front door, and a very impressive gentleman of obvious military bearing asked our weary landlady for a room. She gave him the only space available, which was a dismal little cubbyhole with one window, a single bed, and a small desk & chair, tucked underneath the stairway leading up to the third floor. This military type in civies caught my interest because his room was at the end of my hallway, and he didn't fit your average rooming house inmate's description. I was sure there was a story there, and I was right.

After we got acquainted, I got that story, in living color almost. He had been working as a wholesale hardware salesman, but had an unreasonable affection for 'Dr. Smirnoff', that famous Vodka. He had been fired. Then, his wife, a middle-management civil servant with a very comfortable income, had thrown him out of their upscale suburban home, leaving him now jobless and roofless. So he had come to our humble abode, a rickety old former timber baron's home in what once had been a posh part of the nation's capital. And I had to ask, "Which army are you from?" He replied, "You've noticed, I see."  I said, "Yes Sir! It's part of what I do around the neighborhood these days." So he began telling his story....

The story was that he had been an officer in the British Imperial Army, stationed in Palestine as Peacekeepers prior to the founding of Israel. And being Jewish, when Moshe and his pals began acquiring what became Israel, he decided to desert the British Imperial Army and join Moshe and the rest to create their new homeland. Their 'Freedom Fighters' kept uniforms and guns in their living quarters, and upon hearing a rallying call from a mobile radio transmitter mounted on a truck which they kept moving to avoid detection by the British, these 'Freedom Fighters' would jump onto a city bus or other public transportation and assemble where instructed, for their next disagreement with the local inhabitants. And 'our boy' here was their Colonel. Fascinating! I'm getting a bird's eye view of the founding of Israel! I hung on every word, and remembered most of them too. It's a great story.

Since our boy, the Colonel, had been British Imperial Army at a base in the desert there, it was hardly a surprise that one night, one of those British Army Tanks went mysteriously missing. They had stolen it for their Freedom Fighters. And they drove it to various locations, at nights, near main roads, and dug a pit in the desert to hide it deeply enough in the ground that only its gun turret was above ground, and covered with camouflage. Then, during the day, they used it to shell passing British Patrols on that particular road. Then they moved it again.

Being ex Air Force myself, I had to know how the Israeli Air Force began. And it began from collections of contributions in and around New York City from members of the Friends of Israel, who then purchased from the Piper Aircraft Co. two disassembled Piper Cubs in crates, and shipped them on a freighter from New York to Tel Aviv. Upon arrival, those were taken out into the desert, where their side doors were left off, and their landing gear was equipped with balloon-tired wheels designed for landings in that desert. The doors were left off so that the pilot of each could carry behind his own seat two crates of hand grenades, used for dropping on those British Patrols they'd find in the countryside. That truck-mounted mobile broadcasting station would proudly announce, "Today, elements of the Israeli Air Forces once again made raids against the British, and all our aircraft returned safely!"

This could be one hell of a movie..... And THAT'S how it all began, Kiddies....And it's still in progress..... And all of that being still in progress is exactly why our Persian neighbors in that region want to have their own bomb. They know that America has been propping up Israel ever since Day One, and there's no end in sight, which makes them wonder how far afield these Israelis may decide to go while acquiring more land. And the Persians are aware that Israel has somewhere between 80 and 100 nuclear warheads tucked away for emergencies. And the Persians know that during the Cold War, it was only a balance of forces which kept us from a fire-fight between America and Russia. And the Persians know that their own chances of survival are much better if they have their own bomb in such a loaded situation. We may never see Peace there without that becoming fact, and being fulfilled.

And those ancient cultured Persians, a proud people, naturally resent being treated as 'second-class citizens' in a land where their history precedes any of their rivals. And they object to being told by 'the new kids on the block' that they can't sell their own oil to pay their own bills unless they kiss some foreign infidel's ass and publicly humiliate themselves in the process. And I don't blame them one little bit. I would feel exactly the same way myself in their shoes. And I think you would too. So let's 'lighten up' on them, shall we? We're going the wrong way here.....

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Today's (declining) 'Top Ten' ....

When we're talking war or politics (same thing) everyone wants to get into the act, but if I'm trying to talk about Peace, or something of any real benefit to mankind, the ratings drop like a stone.
Thanks a hell of a lot, Kiddies!

Please let me repeat myself here, one more time!
Religious mythology of all types of any legitimate quality or reliable historical verification usually teaches us that the aim for our lives is to grow and develop into better and more compassionate and more loving individuals who do not go around killing each other for either fun or profit or vengeance or just because we can. And that's a very commendable theory. A very high-minded and God-like theory. A theory that hasn't ever been verifiable in actual practice.

The Human Race is a tantalizing theory that has totally failed!
Want proof? Look in the mirror!
Look Anywhere!
We're History.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

I Owe President Trump An Apology....

President of the United States,
The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I owe you a public apology for questioning your decision-making abilities, and for doubting that you have any compassion for those beyond your own borders. I have based that on certain past remarks you have made about Canada and other nations.

Recent news of the progress of the incident in the Middle East between the Persian and American forces, and the downing of your drone over a disputed location there, and your personal response to it, has given me pause to reflect on the fact that I have been mistaken about you and your sensibilities towards the 'collateral damage' of responding with excessive force in such a delicate situation. Please forgive me for my misjudgment. I think you handled it with both discretion and compassion, and therefore I do owe you an apology, which I hope you will accept in the spirit with which it is offered.

As you may imagine, Sir, very few of us wish to become involved in another international conflict if at all avoidable. War is said to be 'profitable' but the collateral damages are most often egregious, and arouse emotions lasting long after a conflict has been resolved. Hopefully, Sir, in this 21st Century, we are above that type of brutish behavior.

Thank you for stopping that retaliatory response and saving all those lives.
And please forgive me for thinking you wouldn't.

Respectfully yours,

Ray Sutton.

Friday, June 21, 2019

About my 'Bike Story' here below....

It probably goes without saying, especially to anyone here who enjoys watching the ships in our harbor, but this bike, and millions more, are of course 'Made In China'. And made very well, I must add.

So I fail to see any point in picking any trade battles with one of the biggest and oldest cultures on the planet. To me, that seems to be just idiotic. We are far stronger and better together than we can ever be separately.

Our long drawn-out pipeline fiasco here in Western Canada is also idiotic. China doesn't want our low-grade diluted bitumen. They aren't crazy or desperate! And yes, I know that their main and oldest oil field has, for years, been running dry. I also know that about a year or so ago, they made a nice deal with Vladamir Vladamirovich Putin, for a pipeline and oil supplies from Russia, which, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with it, has one of the world's greatest reserves of oil & gas. Russia already supplies most of Europe, and we should bear that in mind as well, when we think 'diplomatic foreign relations'. Again, we are better together than we are separately.

Our common enemies are climate change, not one another. Those who tell us that this is not true are the real problem here. And you know who they are. You do not need a lecture on that. Enjoy your first day of summer!

A scare over my bike yesterday..... Whew! It's still with me!

This is my mountain bike, lately in our now-ripped-off bicycle room lockup, and therein lies a tale.... I forgot to pick up the day's paper at my door all day, until suppertime. With it, this letter from Management...

So, instead of making supper right after reading this, I rushed down to P1, and our bike lockup at the far end of it, under the far corner of our companion building of this pair in our Strata Title. The bike room had definitely been ripped off. As I unlocked the door (the safest part of it all) immediately I noticed a big swath of bikes missing from the nearest couple of rows of hooks. And some showed dangling pieces of cut cables as thick and strong as the one on my own. Then, I glanced down the line to its far end, where my hook is, and Black Beauty was still there. I heaved a huge sigh of relief, unlocked it, brought it upstairs to my unit, and then re-installed its seat (which I'd kept in the back of the Dodge downstairs in the garage, and had to go retrieve it) and then after that, I pumped up the tires, gone soft from a winter's storage, and as I was now safely indoors with it, and had my pencil box handy, I took a China Marking Pencil (hard wax core) and wrote the date on each wheel's rim, beside its valve, so I'll know how long ago it was, next time.

Since the first rental I've had here, in 1981, (this I'm in is #5) I've lost a couple of expensive bikes, one of them from out of my locked storage locker in the locker rooms which are inside each building, just after I'd brought it home from the shop that installed about $300.00 worth of fancy lighting system on it for me. The door was torn right off the locker and thrown down the passageway, and the locker was cleaner than Mother Hubbard's Cupboard. So I'm just delighted to have management's approval to keep this one right where I can see it, and know for sure it's safe and ready when I am. This may not look like much, but as bikes go, this one's a real mover. And it has spring-loaded front forks, for when a kid like me wants to jump another curb. I love that! I don't do it much now, but it's comforting to know I can if I want.

That long-wheelbase women's cruiser with only 7 speeds (this has 21) is more comfortable, but it is also more awkward to load & unload in the Dodge Journey's rear hatch, because of the width of its bars. This one loads much easier.

This seat isn't original equipment. I tossed that one after the first week, and went to John Henry's for a real seat. And added this longer post to it as well. It was a hundred bucks well spent. This don't look like much, but it's actually quite scientifically engineered. As your weight is applied, the two halves tilt inwards, lowering its center and raising its outer edges, and 'cupping' your bum, and it's actually much more comfortable than it looks. And it has all the latest space-age materials, of course. All in all, I'm really glad those thieves missed it. This is a nice little bike. And I can still do 'standing still on the spot, without putting a foot down' with it, too! I'm lucky - many people my age haven't retained their sense of balance that well. I was 'showing off' one day last summer on this one, doing that balancing act "on the spot", and this healthy young blond rode up beside me, and asked, "How old are you?" I replied, "85, Darling...why?" And she said, "I think you're absolutely amazing! Keep it up!" I bit my tongue as she rode away. Better not say that at my age.... But it's nice to be an inspiration to the younger ones. It's been an exciting evening, or was as it began, and now the 'happy ending' is even better than I hoped. It took some thieves to give me
what I've been hoping for around here for years. A common sense approach to bikes and bikers. And we are legion! This is the 78th year since I got my first bike, and I'm still loving it, and still doing it. That really is quite amazing!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Another try at writing President Xi Jinping....




我真的希望看到着名的蓝猫教育系列漫画。 这些都做得很好,



                                                               Sutton Ray敬上

War as a Video Game....( You chickenshit bastards! )

So....Same Old, Same Old. When a U.S. Administration finds itself
up to its ass in international alligators, and its popularity is down
the toilet, and its top-one-percent are crying for better dividends
or else, what do they do? Start another war, of course!

The U.S. says that drone shot down was in "international waters".
International waters is an ambiguous term in that region, because
there simply isn't that much 'water' compared to that much
'international', and the Americans are sitting in an air-conditioned
control room in the U.A.E., whereas the Persians are much closer
to the action, and have actual eyeballs on it. Go figure! Who would
I believe? The guys with the actual eyeballs on it. Wouldn't you?
So, here's some added reading for your listening & dancing pleasure -

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Top Ten - a couple of comments.....

Allen meinen Lesern im Vaterland, wie Paco oder Monsieur Beep, vielen Dank, dass Sie hier waren und sich die Zeit genommen haben, mich zu lesen. Wenn Sie Kommentare haben, zögern Sie bitte nicht, etwas zu sagen und genießen Sie Ihren Tag!

Я с нетерпением жду времени, когда вы снова будете насчитывать более 1000 человек, как прежде, чем я взял свой длинный перерыв. Мы не можем обмениваться мыслями без вашего участия. Пожалуйста, сделайте это. Я приветствую ваши комментарии!

Qu'est-il arrivé à ces 50 000 Français qui ne peuvent pas se tromper? Où sont-ils allés?

Коли я думаю про Україну, я думаю про тих фантастичних молодих жінок звідти, які мужньо переносять ваш суворий клімат без шва одягу, щоб захистити їх від камер, що вказують на них, або на очах своїх шанувальників, які повинні налічувати мільйони!

Ty krásné ženy! Wow!
Děkujeme za fotky!


The Top Ten Today....

About Religion - Answering a friend on Facebook, and for You!

The Bible says that the Earth belongs to Satan, and the Heavens belong to God. It also says that unless we can become as little children, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

I take that last to mean that we need to be trusting, and naive and believe firmly in God and His, Her, or Its powers before we will be found acceptable for entry into that "Better Place".

As we all know, there are over 4,200-and-counting Religions now on Earth. And that's just absolutely beyond anyone's sensible sensibilities. We know that there's a LOT of hucksters and con-men and ruthless schemers involved in peddling religion. Yet we choose to stick our heads in the sand, so to speak, and continue patronizing these turkeys, while they skin us alive, sexually abuse our young, copulate among themselves in back rooms, and twist their stories around constantly, to keep us entertained and not noticing what they themselves are up to. - AND WHAT ARE THEY UP TO ????

They are up to living the good life to its fullest. They live, many of them, in virtual castles - millionaire-type mansions, with servants and all that, and rthey drive the best cars, obtained at a discount or for nothing by a 'blessing' or two, and some of the most successful among them have their own private jets to commute to the next 'gig' to raise another hefty sum from the faithful suckers in the seats, and they buy high-end expensive homes for their children, legitimate or otherwise, and they tell us that it's God's will that they enjoy their 'Ministry', and that they have 'earned' all this as servants of God. HAH !!

That's not what I read in anything pretending to be the "Word of God". Speaking of which........That "Word of God" has been washed, dried, fluffed up, re-interpreted, misinterpreted, plagiarized, bent out of shape, fictionalized, and paraphrased so many times over the past 5,500 years, it isn't within a light-year of being anywhere near anything any actual God ever said or thought or intended us to think or believe about either the Here And Now or the Hereafter.

God didn't 'write' anything. Not on tablets, or anywhere else, ever. All of that has been fictionalized by power-hungry men to make it easier for them to bamboozle their flocks of partying clansmen into sobering up for at least one day a week, and trying to become more mindful of the needs of others. Others like these devoutly 'spiritual' and very needy guides of our own potentially desirable 'spirituality', for which we should donate every loose dollar we can find, so that magnificent temples and later on churches might be built for their "humble and pious servants of God"....... Come On! Give Me A Break! Do I really appear to you to be THAT CLUELESS???

Yes! There IS a God! No! You won't find God in churches any more than you would find God anywhere else - including inside your very own mind if you can compose yourself quietly and peacefully enough to allow God's "still small voice" a place in there, among the static and the buzz and the worries of your everyday concerns. We need to turn those OFF for a few moments if we are going to hear any "still, small voice" that can very simply, and very easily, and very quickly show you something from within yourself which suddenly seems to be a very practical and very obvious solution to a problem that has been bothering you lately, and for which you couldn't find the right solution while distracted by all that other everyday stuff.

God isn't "someplace Heavenly" or only in a consecrated Altar within a fancy-decorated 'spiritual' building called a Church. God is wherever you need God to be. That's just one of God's qualities. God is everywhere we are, because we are everywhere we are - get the picture? A recognized 'wit' once said, "Going to Church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to a Garage makes you a Car." Think about it.

Remember that Star Trek Voyager episode where Seven and Naomi are battling this gigantic open-mouthed Something which has all the rest of the crew tranquilized and inside their escape capsules because it has been mentally telepathing to the whole crew every wonderful desire they ever had, to lure the ship into its insides, to be devoured as food and fuel for itself - And this grubby old raggedy-assed Old Timer in his solitary and junky spacecraft comes along, and tells Seven "Do not believe what it is telling you! You are being deceived! It promises you all the wonders you ever wanted, to keep you coming, and then inside, you will be devoured for its lunch!" I think of that episode when I think of these televangelists and 'missionaries' and 'gold-miners' after my cash on a collection plate or inside a 'tithing box' in a place called a Church. and "You Are Being Deceived" runs through my head. - And THAT'S the "still, small voice" in action!
And that's God in action, if you allow it. Free choice. Use the head you were given, or lose it to someone else.

From today's Globe, with slight modifications to visuals......

Last evening at the park, on the bike, with small pocket camera....

"Alas, Dear Yorick, I knew it well.....and it wasn't worth a Fiddler's F***!"
(The small pocket camera, that is! - A Nikon Coolpix A300)

But don't take my word for it.... Have a look at its pictures...

And please bear in mind that some or all of these have been 'tweaked' with two third-party graphics-editing programs: Irfan Skiljan's excellent 'Irfanview' and also my favorite golden-oldie of 2003, from Arcsoft, their 'PhotoStudio 5.5' - which, incidentally, still works wonderfully well in the latest versions of Win-10, both Home and Pro, each of which I have on one or the other of my two PCs. And it goes without saying, that if those two editing programs can't rescue a deficient RAW Image from a camera, then there's just no hope for it. So to Nikon, I would have to say that I'm terribly disappointed with this cute little product of yours. I know you had high expectations for it, and I know I should have returned it to the store for a full refund, but I didn't do that, because I've dealt there a lot of years now, and I wouldn't feel comfortable going back to them with a problem like this for the price involved. For me, that wouldn't be something I would want to do. But the next time I look at a new Nikon, and I will, it will be tested before I leave the store, or else I don't buy it. Period.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Hospital parking garage spaces are too narrow but....

... the little Persian girl technician for the CT Scanner is gorgeous. Even in her religious headgear, she looks absolutely delightful. Wow!

I had just got there, in the nick of time, and had sat down for a minute, the fifth in line among waiting patients, when this delightful young Persian girl comes out from her 'inner sanctum' in the CT machine room, looks at this motley crew, and
 says "Mr. Sutton?".... and I said, "Yes, Dear!", and she says, "You're next - Come with me, please!"...and I said, "Anywhere your heart desires, Darling!"...and an old guy on the next chair said, "Well, I'll be damned!"

I was wearing my 'go-to-the-park' outfit, of T and shorts and runners, and asked "Don't I need to change first?" and she replied, "No, you're fine just as you are. Just lie down on the table, and I'll fix your pillow, and we're all set. Then put your arms up over your head, and prepare to take some deep breaths." We took a couple of scans, and then there was a long pause of several minutes, and one more scan again, and then the table retracted fully back out of the tunnel, and I said, "So Nap Time is over, huh?" And she said, "Yes, Thanks, and you will have the results soon." I said, "Not me, Darling - I'm off to the park to ride my bike, just as soon as I have some lunch - You should come with me, because it's a lovely day today, and the waterfront park will be just wonderful." She said, "But I'm just starting my shift.... Maybe another time..." So I said, "Thank You for fitting me into your busy schedule here today, and please enjoy the rest of your day." She said, "And you....", and away I went.

These are flowers on display at the supermarket where I stopped to pick up a couple of prescriptions and some lunch at the deli....