Internet Interpretation


Whoever thunk up the screwball notion of instantaneously,
meticulously logging, caching AND scrutinizing, every last
damned one of our online touchpad clicks, must be a pack
rat, who (24/7) painstakingly preserves every breadcrumb,
piece of lint, shed curly hair, icky booger & clipped toenail;
who, if/when reminded to flush afterwards, whines, “Why?”




Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!








An OS Oldie But Goodie Tune

Clip courtesy of CEO100able’s YouTube Channel • Jun 22, 2012 • 207,471 views


Does social isolating inspire nostalgia? Frivolity? Boredom?

Am I the only one who misses Microsoft’s welcoming, computer tune?

Would it be going out on a limb to proclaim:

Nope, they don’t write ’em like this anymore!

Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!





Beyond Words?

We, who blog on this platform, have now been given little choice but to adapt to the new WordPress Editor; “courtesy” of our well-meaning “keepers”. You know the type:

They, who love to go full-blown giddy whenever the opportunity arises to reinvent the wheel.

What a shame. Things had been rolling along quite well sans such a drastic change.

Coping with this mutation presents challenges to old farts like me. You know the type:

We, who spent our formative years playing with our blocks and other toys, within our non-computerized, no Internet access playpens.

Alas, those who run / ruin this platform had not stopped to consider how, oh, say, they could’ve allowed dinosaurs, like me, to totally opt out.

I suppose what’s done is done. Having little choice in the matter:

I’ll E – V – E – N – T – U – A – L – L – Y adapt.

But, I do find playing with their “blocks” a pain in the butt. For now, my best shot at stress management is to compose, offline, within a Word Document and then Copy and Paste each post over to the Editor and onto the Web.

Stated quite simply, my needing to jump thru even more hoops during 2020, an already challenging year, is just one more complication I do not need in my already pandemic ruined life.

Saving my biggest gripe for last, WordPress’s latest “innovation” doth fly in the face of my overall blogging philosophy:

If you need bells and whistles to grab your readers’ attention, perhaps, you never had anything of value to offer them in the first place.

Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!


A double negative can be positive


During one ten year (evil?) spell, my kitchen’s built in electric oven managed to burn out three baking elements… each time in a dramatic, 220 volt flash of bright light.

Anyway, the last time that occurred (early 2010), I vowed it would be the last time. I’d have to be nuts to, ever again, get suckered into replacing one unreliable part with another… a component likely riddled with an inherent design flaw and/or shoddy workmanship. There’s even an apt, time-honored proverb that has my back…

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

There’s not even a contingency for a third time, mainly because nobody should ever be THAT foolish.

Well, it was soon afterwards that I switched the circuit breaker to “off” and repurposed this lemon of an oven into an additional storage compartment for pots and pans and its open door as a much needed additional workspace.

The bad news was that, just as I had begun my search for a new oven, many an appliance dealer told me that manufacturers no longer offer models small enough to neatly slide into my kitchen’s existing hardwood cabinetry. Long sigh.

Not wanting to incur the dust and debt of a major kitchen remodel… the bad news snowballed. No oven meant I could no longer bake, made from scratch, homemade bread, dinner rolls, pizzas and apple kuchens.

And so, I’ve settled for less… i.e., gone the toast route… well… that is until just recently. Alas, just as the pandemic had driven us into quarantine, my damned toaster went kaput. Now, I’ve gotta ask, just how the hell does such a device… and a reputable name-brand model at that… ever give up the ghost?

Seeing how I’d never want to become a COVID-19 ghost, I’ve had to back-burner toaster shopping, too.

And so, once more, I’ve settled for less… or might that be more? Lately, I started utilizing my double boiler to warm up store bought bread… usually configured as PB&J and jam only sandwiches.

I’ve gotta tell ya, this has been like a blast out of my distant past. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I’ve been scarfing down fresh outta the oven, made from scratch bread, which is nearly identical to what I used to bake.

Who’d have ever believed it possible that dual appliance breakdowns could prove an unlikely point… namely…

A double negative can be positive.


Stay Safe at Home! Stay Publicly Masked! Stay Healthy!





The DIY Pandemic Mechanic


“Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Not a new adage by any means but, against the unattractive backdrop of COVID-19, these very words did serve as my save my own butt, call to action. After all, the alternative would be to go out in public. The consequences might include getting gravely ill and, eventually, dropping dead. Now, on to my story…

“The Problem” arose about ten days ago. Just as I was completing my weekly yard work, years worth of metal fatigue had finally weakened my electric weed whacker’s, built into the handle, connection prongs. On the plus side, I was damned lucky they hadn’t totally broken off and lodged within the extension cord’s outlet.

Essentially, this was a device, with an otherwise perfectly functional motor, which had been rendered utterly useless. Ordinarily, I’d have hopped into my car, headed over to the nearest home improvement store and blown about fifty of my hard-earned dollars to purchase a replacement.

But, seeing how the malfeasance, negligence and ignorance of my homeland’s infantile leader had rendered running life’s simplest errands arduous and perilous, I rapidly scuttled such an undertaking. On the plus side, I may’ve even avoided a much too soon meeting with the undertaker, too.

However, unlike said “leader”, I realized I could avoid COVID-19 by donning my thinking cap and getting down to work.

After all, this involved a repair task that any self-respecting electrician could do in her / his sleep. And, since I do have approximately 30, mid 1970s era, electrical engineering college credits under my belt, I felt qualified to get ‘er done.

True, sans a manufacturer’s schematic diagram, I’d need to pay particularly close attention during disassembly… i.e., mentally map out the details of this device’s inner-workings (e.g., wiring, polarity issues, how the trigger switch interfaced, etc.).

The very fact that I’d need my Allen wrench to remove the handle’s five screws, amply emphasized the manufacturer’s public safety concerns. This was their way of posting a KEEP OUT / NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS WITHIN sign. I mean they certainly did not want DIY’ers getting electrocuted.

My game plan was to [1] sever the wires to the two prongs, remove and discard them, [2] strip off approximately two centimeters of each wire’s insulation, [3] splice on a short segment of similar grade wiring (with a preexisting attached plug) and [4] exit this wire out the old prongs’ preexisting apertures. My having two rolls of different color duct tape certainly did come in handy to address the wire polarity and new insulation issues.

Prior to reassembly I decided to run a test. To protect myself from potential electrocution, I donned a pair of insulating, plastic gloves (just in case I had, somehow, mucked this up). Triggering the motor, in an instant, it roared back to life (with absolutely no sparks flying / tripped circuit breaker). Tightening the five screws to secure the handle’s cover, it was Mission Accomplished!

Granted, I’d NEVER recommend repairs of a technical, potentially DANGEROUS nature to folks with no training. But, success such as mine, does demonstrate how, desperate times don’t necessarily require measures that are all that desperate. It is entirely possible for us to draw upon our own unique (sometimes latent) talents to work the problem… to reassert our DIY / can-do spirit.

Such an attitude will come in handy whenever a “leader’s” go-to-hell-you-are-on-your-own attitude is as good as it gets.


Stay Safe… Stay Home… Stay Healthy…





Revisiting Key Apollo 13 Mission Moments ~ Part 3

Well folks, what can I say… other than… “Houston, I’ve had a problem!” (Houston = WordPress Readers)…

Not unlike the actual, original Apollo 13, mission (04 / 11 – 17 / 1970), my originally planned mission to blog about… recreate / relive… the key moments of this flight had all started out well, but, within days, the problems began to pile up.

You see, against the backdrop of our raging global pandemic, I had prioritized that damned subject matter too damned much. I wound up losing sleep over it… so much so that, instead of keeping up with my detailed Apollo mission timeline transcript, I wound up snoozing through too many of the very events I should’ve been covering.

Obviously, since I could not go back in time to fix the problem (i.e., to synchronize / top off my posts with the appropriate WordPress timestamps), my premise “lost air”… not unlike how, following an explosion, the crippled Apollo Service Module had vented life sustaining oxygen into the unforgiving vacuum of deep space.

Fortunately, all’s not lost. There’s still one key event, ISO a timestamp, that’ll neatly wrap up this pandemic truncated series…

Yes, indeed, the very finest moment of the Flight of Apollo 13 occurred on this very day, when Command Module pilot Jack Swigert successfully navigated Apollo 13 through that unforgivingly narrow, 2° wide, reentry corridor. Following a fiery reentry through Earth’s atmosphere, Swigert, along with crewmates Jim Lovell and Fred Haise, finally made it home, splashed down in the South Pacific Ocean (coordinates 21°38′24″S 165°21′42″W) at 18:07:41 UTC or 12:07:41 CST… or stated more conventionally, at approximately 12:08 p.m. Houston time. From that moment, onward, the Flight of Apollo 13 would be dubbed: NASA’s successful failure mission.

A brief aside re our above clip… I’ve opted to go the Hollywood route because Director Ron Howard’s film far better captures the palpable tension and raw human emotion of the moment… and all set to the swell of a symphonic musical score that’s even backed by an angelic choir. We even get to witness the steely-eyed missile man, Flight Director Gene Kranz (portrayed by actor Ed Harris), blink back tears upon the realization that he / his entire ground crew’s ceaseless, concerted efforts had saved all three astronauts’ lives.

To this day, I still shudder at the mere thought of how Lovell, Swigert, and Haise had been one error in judgment away from becoming entombed within the inky, icy void of outer space… throughout eternity.

Checking my wristwatch I see this post’s “splash down” time is nearing… with just enough time for a few parting thoughts…

• NASA’s historic and heroic team effort… their flawless, improvised (literally on the fly) rescue mission… had been… still is… and shall… perhaps, throughout perpetuity… represent human ingenuity and resolve at it’s very finest.

• Seeing how, at present, humankind has monumental stumbling blocks to overcome, inclusive of an unpardonable, political leadership vacuum (of astronomical proportions), only God knows how long it’ll take before we Americans can even begin to reclaim our can-do spirit. It’s likely that the half-century old high bar, which NASA had established during Apollo 13’s week long mission shall remain out of reach for the foreseeable future.

• For now, from a technological standpoint, April 17, 1970 / 18:07:41 UTC, will remain humanity’s finest hour. We can only hope that someone… maybe some inventive soul, who’s yet to even be born… can equal or top this feat long before the final sentence of the final page of our story gets written.







Revisiting Key Apollo 13 Mission Moments ~ Part 2

SUBTITLE: “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”


As of my 10:06 p.m. (U.S.) blog posting time, on this very April 13th night, 50 years ago… and 56 hours into the mission of Apollo 13… catastrophic consequences erupted following a routine “housekeeping” chore of “stirring” the spacecraft’s liquid oxygen tanks… so grave a situation that this necessitated the moonward bound astronaut Jack Swigert’s Earthward transmission of this spine chilling distress call…

“Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”

Mere moments later his mission commander, Jim Lovell, echoed that message, nearly verbatim,

“Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

Fred Haise, their crewmate, could’ve easily dittoed that, too, for all three of them were now “going down” with their rapidly “sinking” ship.

That S.O.S.… oft misquoted as “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” perhaps forevermore… will remain humanity’s phrase for calling attention to disasters great and small.

What happened next? Well, once Flight Director Gene Kranz’s ground crew had concluded that the quadruple failure of the spacecraft’s life sustaining hardware was irreparable, he had no other option but to immediately scrub the originally planned lunar landing and preside over the “launch” of a (literally on-the-fly) rescue mission.

Step one was to repurpose the Lunar Module into that of a lifeboat. The big problem… that craft was only intended to keep two astronauts alive for far less hours than it would take to get all three astronauts back to Earth… alive and well.

Up until April 17th, via my subsequent YouTube clip enhanced blogs, I’ll be recreating more key moments to chronicle the Apollo 13 rescue mission… NASA’s historic and heroic team effort… which will showcase human ingenuity and resolve at it’s very finest.

Stay tuned…







Revisiting Key Apollo 13 Mission Moments ~ Part 1

One half century ago, on this very day, at 13:13 (Houston time), NASA blasted off Apollo 13 astronauts… the veteran Jim Lovell and rookies Fred Haise and Jack Swigert… sent them successfully rocketing into Earth orbit (in spite of a second stage rocket’s untimely shut down of one of its five engines).

Everyone had (prematurely) breathed a sigh of relief that they had gotten that typical “one” mission glitch under their belts so soon… or so they thought…

Approximately three hours later, the crew reignited their SIV-B third stage rocket, to commence and complete the TLI maneuver (TransLunar Injection), which sent them hurling onward for a week long, one half million mile, round trip odyssey to the Moon. All started out well, but…

Barely two days into their mission, Swigert transmitted earthward, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” and that statement was soon echoed, nearly verbatim, by Commander Lovell’s “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

That phrase… oft misquoted as “Houston, we’ve got a problem.”… perhaps for the rest of humanity’s existence… will remain our synonym for calling attention to disasters great and small.

For the next seven days, it is my intent to recreate key Apollo 13 mission moments via my YouTube clip enhanced blogs.

My commitment goes way beyond my being a NASA geek (backdating to their earliest Project Mercury and Gemini manned missions). While I had been repeatedly WOWED throughout their early successes it was during Apollo 13’s quadruple failure of vital spacecraft systems that these pros had WOWED me even further… maybe even more than when I witnessed Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong become the first human to take his “one small step” onto the lunar surface.

Being impressed to such a degree involved… still does… my indescribable feelings upon witnessing NASA’s Flight Director / Manager Gene Kranz and his entire ground crew promptly setting aside ambition to masterfully improvise… literally on the fly… a rescue mission… to make saving the lives of Lovell, Haise and Swigert PRIORITY #1!

Kranz said it all when he addressed his team, thusly…

“Let’s work the problem, people. Let’s not make things worse by guessing. We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option!”

It was during film director Ron Howard’s dramatization of the flight of Apollo 13, that actor Ed Harris (in the role of Kranz) had dubbed this rescue effort “NASA’s finest hour” and I wholeheartedly concur. From a technological perspective, I’ve yet to see a finer example of humanity’s can do / never give up spirit.

My game plan on this historic day is to watch (actually re-watch) the above YouTube clip… the PBS 1994 Documentary: “APOLLO 13: To The Edge And Back” and I invite you to do so, too.

Hey, that’s not a bad way to wile away the hours, together, while still complying with social distancing protocols.











Obviously, these three digits represent the current month and day… or… as any math geek would readily inform us…

Today is…TA-DA… PI Day!

For countless generations, mathematicians have represented PI by the (more or less) equivalent fraction 22/7 OR… in other words… 22 divided by 7… which equals the close-but-no-cigar quotient…


Of course, when we compare that to the following, drastically abbreviated, representation of PI, well… I think we can readily agree that that above quotient is not close enough…


What will get us much closer is the fraction we’ll arrive at when we double the first three odd numbered digits 113355. Next we need to group these six digits thusly… 355 and 113… and reconfigure them as the fraction 355/113. OR… in other words this becomes… 355 divided by 113… which nets us the quotient… can somebody give us a drum roll… TA-DA…


Backstory: I cannot take credit for thinking this up… I first read about that enhanced PI fraction in an Instruction Manuel for the Hewlett-Packard device… a.k.a the HP-35… a.k.a. (Wikipedia quote) “the world’s first scientific pocket calculator”.

My Chemist / Physicist / Gadgeteer Dad, who, at the time, taught Chemistry / Advanced Placement Chemistry within our hometown’s public school system had needed this really cool device to facilitate the multiple dozens of his daily, highly complex computations. And as his studying to be an Electrical Engineer Son, he let me borrow it to facilitate my daily complex computations, too.

The only downside to our story, here, doth become obvious when we crunch the numbers… as in the dollars and cents numbers. My dad had “arrived” at this invention’s ground floor stage. Had he been able to wait it out, Hewlett-Packard’s suggested retail price would’ve dropped dramatically.

You see… my dad had spent $395… or in today’s dollars… can somebody give us another drum roll… that would equal $2,414!


One more YIKES!

Check out the first 100 digits of PI…

3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510
5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679…