Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane preparations? No, just another drunken Saturday night. 

Why do you ask?

Photo Credit: Maine Warden Service via

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Birthday!
Many happy returns of the day to my Cousin Patty ( my "womb mate") and to my second most favorite Southern Belle* in the whole world, Mickey T.

*SWMBO is the #1 Southern Belle in my life,  of course.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Still Snooz'n...Hope Y'all are well.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

This is what Magic Mushrooms grow up to be...

Ms. Jingle Belle snoozing...
Hello? Anyone Out There?

We are still in Maine (August at the lake is wonderful) but the first intimation of things to come will be roaring down from Hudson Bay any day now. Thoughts of winter are starting to crowd the brain. There is an old saying up here that posits ... " We have nine months of winter here. And three months of hard sledding."

I know it is hard for many of my acquaintance to understand this fixation with all things frigid. Winter is not some fluffy scene of cottages snug under the shelter of towering pines, smoke curling lazily from a chimney in a romantic Currier & Ives' Christmas card tableau. No, it is a time of death and privation, curtains standing straight out from the pressure of the wind on the pane, temperatures so low that hitting the seat of the truck to answer a neighbor's call for help is like sitting on a frozen stack of 2x4's, only with less give. All things mechanical not coddled and warmed electrically simply refuse to move. Cold so severe that unprotected skin freezes that hard, dirty grey of death you know will never come back. You know, the kind of weather so awful that -10 F. Is celebrated as a "thaw".

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monday, May 02, 2011

Ever See A Trailer For A Novel?

Join W. Bruce Cameron on Tuesday, May 24th for a discussion on A Dog's Purpose - a live, national, Teleforum event


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How are you doing, Wil?

Glad you asked. I'm mildewing. It has rained a lot here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland since I arrived. Maybe 1 day in 4 is sunny for most of the day. Been far more terrible weather in other places, so I have no right to complain. But I swear I am turning green with mold, my allergies are kicking a storm and there is a least an inch  of pollen on the car every morning. So, there.

My days are mostly spent driving my aunt back and forth to the rehab facility my uncle is ensconced in, making meals, doing dishes and shopping. Other small errands and chores occupy my time. Evenings usually involve fighting with Uncle's computer and watching the tube. Otherwise, lather, rinse, repeat.

All of that excitement is coming to an end as I return to Maine and the various issues facing me there the end of this week. I miss my pooch terribly (this is the first time we've been apart any length of time since he joined the family).

In a nutshell, that is my life. I hope you all are healthy and able to pursue happiness with some semblance of gusto, I am...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

85° Y'all!

That's right. It got to 85° yesterday and this being Eastern Shore Maryland, it was muggy, too. This Maine boy was not ready. Only last week I was contemplating the old question of when the ice would be leaving the lake (since devoured by 60+ MPH winds and driving rain). While I was sweltering in a nursing home yesterday, the fine folk of Fort Kent were fighting frozen fluids! (Quick, steal the "F" key cap, would you?)

Things are flowing in this vicinity. My days involve driving the 12 or so miles up to the nursing home late mornings (early afternoons) and returning in the evening, cooking supper, cleaning up, watching a few hours of the tube, communing with my wife via iPhone and then reading on the computer for a while. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Spring is in full force here, along with my allergies and sinus issues. It is very pleasant looking out across hundreds of acres of plowed ground. Living in Maine, you tend to forget the whole world doesn't consist of ground covered by anything but trees.

This is a heavy farming area and will stay that way provided there is no bridge built across from Baltimore. The charm and value in this area is in agriculture, not row houses and exhaust fumes, traffic, and soccer moms. Much as they did when they built the "new bridge" between New Hampshire and Maine, if the proposed bridge across Chesapeake Bay is ever started I trust some true patriots will supply enough C4 to take out the base of each and every pylon...

Anyway, plans remain in flux. Like the folks at AA, I'm taking it 'one day at a time.'

Y'all have a happy Easter.

And So It Goes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Weekend Is Upon Us ...

And I find myself in a new venue. A family medical crisis resulted in relocation to Rock Hall, Maryland. Gee, it's REALLY Spring here! There's tulips and daffodils and forsythias and lilacs and acres and acres of fields being plowed and fertilized for the wheat, corn, oats, soy and barley commonly grown around here. Temperatures in the sixties and vernal rains. Cool beans. It bodes well for Maine if it is this warm next to Chesapeake Bay. There really is hope the ice will go out before the end of the month.

About that relocation. It was done on a Greyhound bus. It has been a very long time since I rode a bus. There have been a few equipment improvements. For instance, some of the buses had 110  volt AC outlets. I was on one that had seatbelts for each seat. The air conditioning worked on each of the 5 buses I rode on Wednesday and Thursday. That is right. Transfers were made in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and Easton, Maryland. A long, boring trip. Scary, too. Parnelli Jones came out of retirement, donned black-face and drove like a bat out of Hell between NYC and DC for four hours ( 1:45 to 5:45 AM ). I'd swear on a whole stack of Bibles that we only hit every third bounce or frost heave we encountered. And I know, as I was stuck next to the bathroom door on the rear bench seat on a full bus for 230 miles.

Then there are the things that haven't changed despite the spin that corporate Greyhound's new motto, "The New Greyhound", would have you believe. For the most part, riders are still poor, young or old, and often non-English speakers. Unlike the last time on a bus, no skis were in evidence. Service men and women were amongst us, usually on their first leave before deployment after training. Bus stations are still not as clean as airports, despite similar people loads and occupancy patterns. Chairs, if any are provided at all, are metal mesh and extremely uncomfortable for spend a six hour layover on. And some buses were atrociously filthy.

The best thing I can say about the state of interstate bus transportation is it is reasonably priced for an individual when compared to travel via a one-ton dualie pick-up. Make it two people and the economy vs. convenience takes a dive. Change the vehicle to something that gets far better gas mileage, like the Scion xBox I've driven for the past day getting over 40 mpg, and there'd be no comparison, even for an individual. Its still a third the cost of airplanes and at least I found the best kept transportation secret in Maryland - MUST. I was able to be picked up at the Greyhound agency stop in Easton, MD (about a half mile from the terminal of the Easton Regional Airport) within 15 minutes of my arrival and transported to within a few blocks of the hospital in Charlestown (thirty road miles or so away) for the staggering sum of a dollar (it'd be two dollars if I wasn't so old). In these days of $4 gas, that's a flipping bargain.

Anyway, I don't know how long I will be here nor when I can get back to Maine to finish the work I set out to do. That's the nature of medical emergencies, now isn't it? I do hope you are all safe and healthy. I will finally be able to catch up with reading some of my blog friends in the evenings. Who knows, I might have skimmed all  2400 entries by the time I leave. Then again, that delete button is looking mighty handy about now.

And So It Goes.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Spring Has Come

Spring has come to the Northern latitudes and per usual it is a mix of sun, rain, snow, and mud. Oh, my yes, make that MUD. Big letters. Cold and sticky. The bottom is frozen, too.

It's been a moderate year for frost around here. Probably only 3 to 4 feet depth in this vicinity. While cold enough to crack the dangley bits on the brass moose in Rockport, it never got below -24 or so. That is pretty mild, as winters go in these parts. Still cold enough to freeze my feet off in the trailer despite electric and gas heaters and a head high temperature near 75.
I am very thankful for my friends who took me in these past few months. No frozen feet here-- the floor has radiant heat.

The lake is still ice covered. But, with the forecast predicting average highs in the 40-50 degree range and no subfreezing lows over the next week, it should be mid-month or so when the sound of waves lapping the shores is heard once again. That is a week to ten days early ... average ice-out is between April 26 and May 5.

The camp road has been vacillating between rock hard and soup. The little Nissan has found itself violently tossed between frozen ruts or paddling like an old side-wheeler on the Mississippi.

Too soon to bring the "Flying Pig" back   as it would sink out of sight. Then there is the flooding issue. Given the amount of water in the snowpack, there's a good chance there will be minor flooding along the lake shore this Spring. When it comes to one's home, no flood is truly 'minor' is it?

I am using my so-called "smart phone" to compose this, so I will attempt to edit the entry to add a photo. My computer is moribund still. So no promises of success.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Winter Coyote the Deceiver

Pretty, isn't it? Pretty deceptive, that is. This is the lunch time view from the front window where I am staying. Don't even think about going out to play in the snow unless you are from the North. It's reached a mighty 13°F at noon. But, winds are out of the Northwest (that's the direction you are looking at), has an pretty unobstructed run for 7 miles and it is blowing a steady 22 MPH with gusts to 35 MPH. That means it feels like -8°F on your cheeks, ears and anything else you leave exposed. Frozen unprotected skin inside of fifteen minutes. Frostbite of inadequately protected extremitis in about twice that amount of time. That's my world. Not a blade of grass nor flower to be seen...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Paraprosdokian

A paraprosdokian (from Greek "παρα-", meaning "beyond" and "προσδοκία", meaning "expectation") is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax

1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you
with experience.

2. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a
garage makes you a car.

3. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.

4. If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit

8. Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to
tell you why it isn't.

9. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops.
On my desk, I have a work station.

10. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole
box to start a campfire?

11. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train
people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

12. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.

13. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "In an emergency,
notify:" I put "Doctor".

14. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful
man is usually another woman.

16. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive

17. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

18. Hospitality: Making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish
they were.

19. I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a
great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

20. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't
get away.

21. I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot
of tequila.

22. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department
usually uses water.

23. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

24. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the

via an email from a friend

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hard To Believe

that we have any sane women in Maine:

Dexter woman stabs boyfriend’s car on Valentine’s Day



Of course, it seems the men are just as crazy, too:

2 arrested in similar Belfast incidents


Snow Tornados

The low that missed bringing us six inches of snow has roared East towards Saint Pierre and Miquelon while a large high pressure cell is adding it’s strength to the winds from the low. It has been blowing steadily since eight o’clock last night without much of a respite. The soffit vents in this house I am staying in makes the wind sound like a soi-distant Iron Road RR freight train. And that puts me in mind of tornados. What would a snow tornado look like? On rare occasions we have snow thunder resulting from the clash of high and low; imagine a low so large and warm colliding with an icy cold high, producing tornadic circulation. Of course I know that it is the exact opposite of conditions which result in tornados, but still. Imagine a world where it was commonplace…


Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Purloined Texting

Stolen on Facebook from Dave Williams (AKA “Remo”) who stole it from John, who stole it from… hence the title of this entry.

Texting For The Senior Set

ATD: At The Doctor's
BFF: Best Friend Farted
BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare
CRS…A: Can’t Remember Shit … Again
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent
FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
HGBM: Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
LWO: Lawrence Welk's On
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
ROFL... CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing... And Can't Get Up
SGGP: Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
TMI: Too Much Imodium
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
WAGJ: Want A Gum Job?
WTFA: Wet The Furniture Again

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Back...

... the computer, that is. Best Buy's Geek Squad got the job done in pretty fair time, everything considered, particularly the number of days that the airports have been closed to traffic in the Northeast due to inclement weather. Still, it's been a couple of days shy of three weeks without connectivity but once in a while on friends' laptops. This time it was also the motherboard. That makes two replaced in less than 90 days. They even sent the power supply along to make sure that it wasn't the proximate cause of the failure and it was given a clean bill of health. Glad to say nothing happened to the data on the hard drive. A friend lost his HD yesterday and is having serious issues. I guess we aren't quite ready for the paperless world we'd hoped for.

Yes, all that time without Internet access caused some significant withdrawal pains. I missed talking to my wife and reading your blogs -- I have over 1000 entries to read and there was 710 messages unread in my email account. I skimmed for important stuff this morning (while the computer addressed the demands of 20 different programs insisting they needed to be updated) and then deleted the rest (mostly adverts - ironic as I haven't two sou to rub together). I have read a few books -- Cordwainer Smith's classic YA novella "Norstrilia", Alastair Reynolds' premier novel, "Revelation Space" (the first in a trilogy, as it turns out) and re-read Robert A. Heinlein's "Job: A Comedy of Justice" for giggles and grins. Just started in on Ursula Leguin's "The Telling" which I have only read parts of but have never finished. 

Iggy and Belle are doing fine, enjoying having a room twice the size of the Airstream to hang out in with warm floors and lots of sunlight.Belle has been a very bad kitty of late, but that story will have to wait. I have to hit the road and there's several stops to make before the closing bell. 

With luck and a fair wind, more to come another day.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Just Checkin' In

I'm alive and well and able to demolish large stacks of pancakes at a single sitting. The weather here has been just as dismal as much of the rest of the country (currently receiving the thirteenth of a projected eighteen inches of snow - payment for missing the brunt of last Wednesday's snowstorm). Temperatures have dallied with the high teens and low twenties with overnight lows around -10*F. We average one day of sun per week. Iggy and Belle and I and ensconced in the dining room of some very generous folks, Dave and Katie. More room than I know what to do with, compared to the trailer. It is wonderful.

The night before I moved over here, the computer took another powder. This time, not even able to spin up the hard drive. No boot sequence at all, so it isn't just the drive, but likely the power regulation IC's, too. Anyway, Best Buy sent it out to be serviced in Kentucky, but there is no telling when it actually left the state nor when it arrived in Berea, Kentucky as the aviation situation in the Eastern half of the USA had been screwed up from weather for weeks now.

As expected, the family member who has provided cell phone coverage for us has found it necessary to shut off the phones, so presently, there is no way to call me and my internet access at the moment is nil, except for this momentarily borrowed laptop so I may update you on my doings. SWMBO is very upset that she can't talk with me every day, but so it goes. We are working on a solution to the communication issues and I am sure, once the laptop is back that I will be writing new entries and checking in on all of your blogs. For now, consider me in hibernation. I will emerge in the Spring, hungry for information and contact with you all.

And So It Goes...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Motty, Here’s Normal: SNAFU

Well folks, the storm finally blew out to sea this morning. Low temp was 8°F and the high winds forecast must have blown out to sea with the snow. Sun is setting after an afternoon high of 19°- Balmy. Snow amount here was 15" on top of the 9" already on the ground. The driveway is plowed shut by the highway plows to a height about 6" over the Suburban's hood. There is too much snow to pack down with tires as it just "high centers" the truck (the pickup is stuck). No escaping tonight - plow truck driver has to work late so he won't get here until tomorrow. Overnight expecting 0° while tomorrow's overnight low, without factoring in the wind, is -15°F.

While I am sympathetic to Motty and Patti’s issues, I am still chipping the ice with a hammer so I can shut the door that I had to smash open this morning. I last had running water in August. I emptied my last tank in October - it has been dry camping ever since. It is not fun. Survival never is. I hear they got less than 12" of snow for the entire winter last year, here. Not normal.

These conditions are normal, for Maine, in January. It is the primary reason I have spent the last 3 winters in Louisiana. Now, I am moving out to friends’ home just as soon as Mother Nature will allow. The Flying Pig is grounded and I’m flying the coop in the name of survival.

The title? Situation Normal – All Fouled Up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Twitter Users Beware!


“If you use Twitter,

like I use Twitter,

Oh, Oh, a Malware

We will Go”


Ok, Twits & Tweeters, here’s the twooth from ZDNet:

Twitter worm hits, redirects to fake anti-virus

By Ryan Naraine | January 20, 2011, 5:55am PST


A fast-moving Twitter worm is in circulation, using Google’s redirection service to push unsuspecting users to a notorious scareware (fake anti-virus) malware campaign.

Here is the link to the rest of the tale:



There is a storm coming, due to arrive tomorrow morning, bringing 5-9 inches of snow and high winds, followed by some serious Arctic cold. You wouldn't know it looking at this sunset, though. That's a natural flare and not an artifact of the lens. I noticed it out the window, tried and failed to get the shot from indoors. Nothing for it but to attempt an outside shot. I wasn't dressed to go out, so hung out the door in my union suit, camera in one hand, the other blocking the flap on my butt from passers-by and ill-fated neighbors. I really hate being sick, y'know?
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National Cheese Lovers Day


Yep, it’s that time again. National Cheese Lovers Day is upon us. I did a quick inventory of cheese on hand:

  1. Extra Sharp New York Cheddar
  2. Sharp Vermont Cheddar
  3. Mild Cheddar Shreddings for cooking
  4. Half a box of Velveeta (Can you really make Mac ‘n’ Cheese without it?)
  5. Danish Bleu Cheese
  6. Asiago grated
  7. Romano wedge
  8. Cottage Cheese, low fat.

Ok, Nellie, your turn, whenever you cn read blogs again. What do you have on hand for cheesey goodness?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And Many Happy Returns of the Day

Happy Birthdays to Autumn and Lana, and posthumously to my brothers Howard and Richard.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Twilight Musings



Viewed with admiration for the beauty wrought and no little trepidation – it was -4°F. last night and tonight promises little improvement, judging from the clear skies and steady barometer. I woke to frozen water dish for the animals and a floor so cold it made me hop until I found some socks and slippers. This is the start of Winter as I fear and detest it. For the next few months, huge, deep highs will roll down from the Arctic, only to be shoved out to sea by deep lows from the South, bringing snow and ice and freezing rain, short thermal respites before we once again plunge into the deep freeze of a Maine winter. This is what Snowbirds seek to escape, the mind-numbing, bone-chilling, pop the nails out of the house siding cold. Absolute misery amid glorious sunshine that fails to warm.

The deer are yarded deep in the spruce and fir on the back 40. It’d be a disservice to disturb them now – any expenditure of energy is extremely costly in the winter. Coyotes and dogs wreak havoc in the deer yards in the months to come, even if tooth and claw miss their mark. They merely have to run the deer hard, then come back later to claim the carcass.


Hope you are all snug, safe and warm.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

After The Storm


The Flying Pig Is Grounded!


Senior Synchronized Swimming


I’m thinking about trying out for the US Olympic Senior Synchronized Swimming Team. Do you think I’ll be able to make it?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It’s Raining … Inside


So there I was, watching TV while working at the computer this evening. No warning, just a very sudden, very cold stream of water on my head. It is coming from the overhead vent in the living room. The one that needs to be replaced. For which I have a new Fantastic Fan out in the garage, waiting for warm, dry conditions to allow me to install. Sadly, in the meantime, snow is piled about 12 inches high on the vent and the heat inside is melting it. Saturated with melt water, it is coming inside past the gasket.

And so it goes … living inside an aluminum tube in a climate it was never intended to winter humans over in. Unintentional winter full-timing in Maine at it’s best, heheheh.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Here It Is, Kiddo!


Ms. Nellie, authoress of The Diary of A Mid-life Cruiser, asked all of her readers to show their refrigerators in their blogs. Just because she’s a “Nosy Parker”.

Well, she’s graced me with not one, but two comments on one post recently and I got to feeling guilty. I’ve been meaning to take a pic of the fridge, but therein hangs a tail. You have to have a camera. The batteries to our nifty little Pentax Optio are taking a powder. I’d have to find and then dig out the big camera. The cell phone is almost always tethered to the laptop when I am in the trailer as it’s my only source of internet access these days. So I never got around to it. Until now. I dug out the “big” camera, took the shot, loaded it to the laptop, turned it so it was oriented vertically and then I uploaded it to the blog. All because, on January 3, 2011, an energizer bunny of a jogger named Nellie told me to:


I showed you MINE.

Will you be brave enough to show me YOURS?


Then come back and tell us all where we can see your stash!


Here it is, Kiddo. Just for you (the rest of you can look away, now.

Wil & Tammi's Fridge Struts it's stuff!

Yes’m, that’s meat in the freezer. And Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s Ice Cream. Coffee in the lock box on the right, spinach, shrimp, and salmon complete the freezer. Also plenty of frost.

Yes, the refrigerator section is jammed full – I went grocery shopping on Friday evening. Nothing terribly unusual there. It was given a lick and a promise with the washrag before I loaded the groceries in, but it isn’t what I’d call “clean”, either.

You asked, I delivered. Now go oogle Kate’s beautiful cold box and leave this little Dometic Classic alone, please.

Give A Listen & 5 Miutes of Your Time

Photo by Ron Nordin, Source was Press Resources

Imagine, if you will, RADIOHEAD performed on a ukulele. With vocals by a clearly articulating woman, Amanda Palmer, the frontwoman for Dresden Dolls, rather than the depressed slurring of Thom Yorke. Add surprisingly beautiful resampling techniques. Four strings and clarity render Radiohead's "Idioteque" a pleasure to listen to. Not a description I would apply to the original.

And it is FREE. To stream, that is. Over a National Public Radio's Song of the Day:

Amanda Palmer: Radiohead For Four Strings

More Strange News From The Home Front

This appeared in this morning's paper. WTF? Sort of like breaking IN to jail:

Sounds like organized theft, to me. Anyone else amongst my readers experiencing anything similar in their neck of the woods?


Stolen dogs returned to Bangor, Augusta shelters

Saturday, January 08, 2011

“Cabin Fever” Season Has Begun


This jolly headline appeared in this weekend’s newspaper today

Woman reportedly told police she stabbed husband ‘because he drives me nuts’

I suspect that they have been unhappy with each other for more than a little while. Is that entropy I smell?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Email Worm Targets M$ Customers

This was in my in-box just a moment ago. You'd do well to be alert to this threat:

Email Worm Poses As Microsoft Update, Warns MS

Microsoft is today warning users of fake security alerts arriving via email. Microsoft is reminding users that it never sends out security alerts with attachments via email and that you should never open such an email if it arrives in your inbox.

Microsoft Email Security Updates Are a Scam

Cyber-criminals have been sending a so-called Microsoft updates that are actually viruses.

This scam in particular takes advantage of Microsoft's well-established Patch Tuesday schedule for monthly email updates. Potential victims receive an email purporting to be from Microsoft's Director of Security Assurance, Steve Lipner (who in fact does hold that role).

The recipient is then told to install the attached file, KB453396-ENU.exe (or a similar name), which is supposed to be the security update.

Worm, Virus Replicates Itself, Sends to Contact List

The email attachment (.EXE file) is actually a worm / virus, meaning that once it is installed on a users' PC, it will attempt to replicate itself by sending a copy of the infected attachment to all users on the host PC's contact list (address book).

The idea is to get the worm / virus on as many machines as possible in order to become part of a botnet. The botnet is then used to attack websites, corporate structures, and is even sold to other online criminals for their evil-doing."

The above is a partial extraction of an article appearing in today's InfoPackets technology newsletter. Sign up today to get your own daily copy.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Week One 2011

A new day, a new year, and it’s cold and snowy at one point and now there’s a high dominating for a bit and the sun is out (still cool, though – maybe 25° for  high today). The weather weenies are already talking up a big storm for week’s end – I take a wait and see attitude. They are only even close to right half the time up here.

January is traditionally the start of ice fishing season. This is an obscure sport, only practiced in the North Country. It really isn’t about the fish around here (high mercury levels, amongst other nasties). It often involves elaborate preparations, palatial huts about the size of my trailer, “The Flying Pig”, large quantities of liquid fire (whiskey), snowmobiles, ATV’s and old trucks driven by mad men on the frozen surfaces of lakes and rivers. Not this year. The warm-up last week coupled with the miniscule quantity of ice made before snow covered it and insulated it from the outside air, allowing the ice to weaken from contact with liquid water from below means there is an extremely dangerous ice cover this year … less than 4 inches, in the case of Pushaw Lake. So much for freezing my ass off in pursuit of “too much fun” as my friend Barney of “Old Fat Man Adventures” is so fond of saying. At least for a while until there is enough ice to support this old fat man.

Started up the tow truck the other day. Everything seems to be hunky-dory, but I didn’t take it out (no registration). Just ran her back and forth in the dooryard, let the battery charge up and circulated the vital fluids a mite.

I have a really serious case of “hitch itch” not improved by reading all the blogs of fulltime and snowbirds in the South. Combine that with the loneliness engendered by a spouse tending one of her fledglings in a period of health crisis. Add extreme economic stress. Mix and savor in your lawn chair at –5°. Repeat as the weather permits. Don’t forget the chronic cold feet from contact with the floor of a trailer never intended for winter use in a Northern climate…

Enough. I’ll survive, despite the “Urge for going”. 


Joni is the author of this, one of my favorite songs.

This Sucks


In Nevada: Famous ‘shoe tree’ chopped down by dastardly vandals.

This shoe tree, located alongside of U.S. Route 50, “the loneliest road in America”, has been a stopping point and landmark (about 125 miles from Reno, Nevada) for hundreds of thousands of travelers over the years.

The bastard(s) that did this should be made to walk the full length of US 50 BAREFOOT. The hell with the U.S. Constitutional prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment”. That would fit the crime, now wouldn’t it? I hope they find the perpetrator and throw the key away.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Gerry Rafferty, Dead at 63

Gerald "Gerry" Rafferty (16 April 1947 – 4 January 2011) pictured in concert in Dublin, Ireland at Dublin's National Stadium on 6 September 1980 – Happier Days. (Image Source: Wikipedia )

According to The Guardian, singer and satiric song writer Gerry Rafferty (known for such hits as Stuck in the Middle with You, Baker Street and Get it Right Next Time), whose music was part of my soundtrack in the 1970s, has died at age 63 of liver failure after a long illness, at home this morning.

I can’t speak for you, but he was part of my pantheon of musical influences and his death marks another avalanche on the slippery slope to my own demise.

His was another one of those seminal talents which emerged from the fog of the end of the heyday of folk music. Unlike so many, Gerry found the move to popular, centrist rock easy. His strong lyrical sense and wicked good humor made his music a treat to listen to and true pleasure to watch in person. I first saw him in New York City in 1967 and remember his humor and range to this day.

In light of Gerry’s premature demise, these lyrics from his tune "Days Gone Down" are prophetic:

"You still got that light in your eye," Rafferty sings. "Our day is coming by and by. I travel this long road here with you. We've still got a long way, we've still got a long way to go."

Sorry you had to leave us so soon, Gerry. A bloody shame, that.

Rhino Mystery

Video supplied by researchers at Bock Labs’ Institute of Molecular Virology

Rhinovirus, that is.

Riddle me this. Just how long do viable, infective cold germs last on surfaces? Inquiring minds want to know.

I haven’t been near another human for almost 10 days, but I’m in the process of coming down with a doozy of a cold. Sneezing, a nose in desperate need of a spigot, actually, the whole gamut of Rhinovirus symptoms. My last proximate interaction with another human being was Christmas day. It’s just me, Ignatz McGraw -- Schipperke Extraordinaire, and Ms. Jingle Belle, Resident Mouser-in-Training. So I ask you, how in hell do I come down with a cold 9 days after any human contact? Yes, I know that folklore posits cold exposure and variable temperatures as a possible cause, but really, unless you are superstitious, do you think that rhinoviri are floating around in the outdoor air? Not bloody likely. So, I return to the original question. I suspect exposure from an infected mail person. That is the only contact I have had with the outside world – I picked up the mail on Saturday and symptoms have hit today – well within the likely time frame for infection.

Fracking USPS…

Image credit: Youtube and Bock Labs’s Institute of Molecular Virology, University of Wisconsin. Limited rights granted for display of individual images in educational settings and seminars prevents the use on this blog. However, the images are fascinating and well worth the visit to Virus World to view.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ignoble Beginnings

A new year is upon us all in the Western Hemisphere. Welcome, 2011. Did you have to start by waking up ol' man Murphy? Went out after dark last night to fire up the Burb in anticipation of a grocery trip. Inserted key in ignition and ... nada. Not even a click. Oh, man.

So I went out this afternoon and inserted the key and it turned right over. What the heck?

Well, I don't know if it is me or Murphy, but I am glad it started. Let it run a while as I flattened the snow in hopes it also charged up the battery.

And that is how I started my new year. I do hope yours was better. And I hope this isn't an indication of how things are going to go this year for me. No indeed.