January 31, 2010

Mike Luckovich has a pretty good read on our congress I believe.

Ammi Phillips 1788-1865

Ammi Phillips (1788–1865), a self-taught New England portrait painter, is regarded as one of the most important folk artists of his era.

Phillips was born in Colebrook, Connecticut, and began painting portraits as early as 1810. He worked as an itinerant painter in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York for five decades.

In 1924, a group of portraits of women, shown leaning forward in three-quarter view and wearing dark dresses, were displayed in an antique show in Kent, Connecticut. The anonymous painter of these strongly colored works, which dated from the 1830s, became known as the "Kent Limner," after the locality where they had come to light.

Stylistically distinct from those of the "Kent Limner," a second group of early-19th-century paintings emerged after 1940 in the area near the Connecticut–New York border. Attributed at the time to an unknown "Border Limner," these works, dating from the period 1812–1818, were characterized by soft pastel hues, as seen in the portrait of Harriet Leavens, now in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.

It was not until 1968 that Ammi Phillips's identity as the painter of both groups of portraits was established. Additional works were identified, showing the artist's transition from the delicate coloration of the Border period to the bold and somber works that followed. By 1976, there were approximately 400 paintings securely attributed to Phillips, who is now recognized as one of the most prolific American folk painters of his time.

His work was featured on a United States postage stamp in 1998.

The originals at Microsoft

The original Microsoft people. check out the story.

January 29, 2010

Suo Gan from Empire of the Sun

Lillian Mae Miller-Rain Blossoms

Beatien Yazz 1928 WINTER LIGHT

My Distressed Part of the State is Thrown a Life Preserver, Maybe.

For a state that has had nothing but bad economic news for a long time now, this is wonderful news. Economically staggered and left for dead when factories by the hundreds or more shuttered and left and which has been further decimated by the bad economic turndown it is news that puts a smile on my face.

Rail could be running by 2012

News Journal

GALION -- Cross-state passenger rail service moved closer to reality Thursday as Washington officials announced Ohio will receive $400 million to connect its three largest cities.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded stimulus funds to begin work connecting the "3-C Corridor" of Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. The rail will run through Crawford and Richland counties.

Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Rail Development Commission officials anticipate the a light-rail line, the first phase, to be running by September 2012.

"We will go to the controlling board to get approval, set agreements with the railroad and rail operator contract -- it's likely to be Amtrak," said Stu Nicholson, rail commission spokesman. "We're targeting construction for the second half of 2010."

Mansfield Councilwoman At-Large Ellen Haring, a member of the Fourth Congressional District Rail Task Force, said the group has worked for more than a year to convince state and federal officials to support rail in north central Ohio.

"This money will be a great boon to the areas close to the rail corridor," Haring said.

Shelby and Galion are in contention for a proposed station, after the second phase of the route is complete.

Gene Toy, Galion's acting city manager, said the city needs to build a depot, but has an advantage with a single southbound track.

"The depot at Pershing Avenue would be an area where there isn't a lot of CSX freight," Toy said.

All Aboard Ohio director Ken Prendergast said the $400 million in funding gives Ohio a chance to catch up with passenger rail competitors in other states. Crestline initially was under consideration, but was crossed off the list of potential stops in September.

"Passenger rail is good for our state," Sen. Sherrod Brown said. "Including a stop in north central Ohio would generate economic development and connect towns in the region to Ohio's largest cities. This is the type of infrastructure investment we need for long-term economic growth."

The amount awarded, short of the initial request of $564 million, means money will be focused on improving rail infrastructure, building stations and buying passenger rail cars.

State leaders hope expanding passenger rail in Ohio eventually will create more than 16,000 permanent jobs, in addition to tens of thousands of construction jobs. They hope it will generate more than $3 billion in development near stations and produce an annual $80 million windfall for the state's tourism industry.

Ohio is considered a key bridge for a national high-speed rail system: The route would allow riders to access the Chicago Hub and eastern seaboard.

At least six million Ohioans live within 15 miles of the proposed 250-mile route, which represents one of the densest corridors in the United States without passenger rail service.

A 2009 Amtrak study of the corridor projected ridership of 500,000 within the first year -- which would make it the 12th most traveled U.S. route -- and strong growth in the following years.

Brown has long advocated passenger rail service in Ohio. In April, Brown sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to devote federal stimulus funds to passenger rail in Ohio. Brown held a phone conference Thursday with LaHood.

"We were not in the ball game until today," Brown said. "It's a great day for passenger rail and a great day for our state."
Additional Facts

At a Glance

A look at Ohio's plan for passenger rail service, based on the October application for stimulus funding:

# Conventional-speed trains reaching 79 mph would connect Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.

# Trains would make six stops on the 255-mile route: downtown locations in the four major cities along with intermediate stops in west Cleveland and Sharonville Park north of Cincinnati.

# Amtrak predicts annual ridership at 478,000.

# Annual Ohio subsidy to keep service operational: $17 million.

# Estimated time for trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati: 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Source: Ohio Rail Development Commission

January 24, 2010

A Simple Gift

Tomorrow I will be praying not for a simple gift, but a great gift when the love of my life and her surgeon fight the scourge that is cancer.

January 23, 2010

Be on the lookout.

I Appreciate TCM. You Probably Do Too.

I was watching a movie that I have seen before of course, but I really enjoy it so why not one more time. The movie was A FEW GOOD MEN, a movie that moves fairly fast but I watched it on a channel where they played maybe ten minutes of movie then the same amount of commercials. It drives a guy nuts. My point is that we should be extremely grateful for the TCM channel. Movies without commercials, and usually a host that sometimes will give us some inside info about the movie. This is great, they are great.

from the new york times comes this column by Dick Cavett about the duke John Wayne. It's quite good, but what is equally as good are the comments, and there is a bunch of them.

Great Photography from 1x.com

1x.com check it out.

January 22, 2010

How has the Internet changed the way you think?

Edge. org asks a question annually of many very intelligent people. This years question is HOW HAS THE INTERNET CHANGED THE WAY YOU THINK?

Dawkins was with us when the Internet arrived.

Evolutionary Biologist; Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, Oxford; Author, The Greatest Show on Earth


If, forty years ago, the Edge Question had been "What do you anticipate will most radically change the way you think during the next forty years?" my mind would have flown instantly to a then recent article in Scientific American (September 1966) about 'Project MAC'. Nothing to do with the Apple Mac, which it long pre-dated, Project MAC was an MIT-based cooperative enterprise in pioneering computer science. It included the circle of AI innovators surrounding Marvin Minsky but, oddly, that was not the part that captured my imagination. What really excited me, as a user of the large mainframe computers that were all you could get in those days, was something that nowadays would seem utterly commonplace: the then astonishing fact that up to 30 people simultaneously, from all around the MIT campus and even from their homes, could simultaneously log in to the same computer: simultaneously communicate with it and with each other. mirabile dictum, the co-authors of a paper could work on it simultaneously, drawing upon a shared database in the computer, even though they might be miles apart. In principle, they could be on opposite sides of the globe. MORE...

Dave Morin has lived his entire life with the Internet.

Internet Entrepreneur; Co-Inventor, Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect


My generation is the first generation that has lived their entire lives with the Internet. The Internet is how we think. We have developed a way of thinking that depends on being connected to an ever changing graph of all the world’s people and ideas. The Internet helps to define, evolve, and grow us. The Internet is social. The Internet is a way of life. The Internet provides context.

Because I have lived most of my life with the Internet, it has been the increasing the addition of new contexts which has been the thing which has most changed the way I think. In the beginning, the Internet was a giant mess of unstructured, unorganized, identity-free data spread across un-connected computers all over the world.

Then things started to change. Organizations and companies began to structure and provide context to the documents and data housed in this expanding network of the world’s computers.

Opening, connecting, and organizing the information on the world’s computers has enabled us to search for the answers to our most important questions and to provide more context to the information in our lives.

Once the world’s information was put into context, we looked beyond the keyboard, and collectively shifted to people. We focused on social context by asking questions like: Who are you? How are we connected? What is on your mind? What matters to you?

Making the Internet more social enabled people to share their real name, likeness, voice, and the things that they are connected to. Now we always have an understanding of who is talking, who and what they are connected to, what they are saying, and to whom; through understanding identity and social context we have achieved greater openness as a society.

In the future, the challenge will be continuing to add new contexts and improve existing ones in order to help people live better, happier, lives. So that no matter where you are, what you are doing, who you are with, or what you are thinking, it is always in context.

Gounod: Faust: Ballet Music Gets your blood flowing

January 20, 2010

tres petit are our television comics

Is one of the qualifications of a television comic that they must be meaner than the devil. They are being tres petit it seems to me. Leno may be the biggest putz in the world, but enough is enough I think. Somehow they don't seem that funny to me anymore.


A very effective image by Tim Gough accompanying an article in the New York Times about Haiti.

January 19, 2010

Robert B. Parker Dies

This is really bad news for Parker's fans. Gone forever are Spenser and all the rest of the great characters he created. I will surely miss his work. RIP Parker. According to the press release he felt great and didn't know it was coming. He died of a heart attack while working at his desk.

1941 Milestone Omega watch face

I love the face of this reissue of a 1941 watch. All the hands remind me of the movie Modern Times.

January 17, 2010

Paper Chase and the scary Professor Kingsfield

The television version of THE PAPER CHASE. I loved this show. I understand that the show is coming out finally on DVD. I've seen many of the old shows and I think they hold up pretty well with the passage of time. But how would you have liked to drag yourself into this guys class each day.

Go to the blog CLASSIC TV HISTORY to get some good history about the PAPER CHASE, and everything else about television. A really good blog.

The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein

The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that too."

The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.

Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."

"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."

And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

January 16, 2010

Much ado about nothing with these comedians

I don't know about you, but I am sick of reading about Leno, O'Brien, Kimmel, Letterman and all the rest of the super rich, super ego'd employees of NBC and kibitzers from other networks go at each other, and Leno in particular. Are there a shortage of comedians? I don't think so. What would be wrong with having a different host as has been done many times before, and pick the best. Let O'Brien go to Fox, they're kind of a bunch of funny guys over there and he'd fit right in. Leno is so rich by now I would think he would enjoy some free time to look in his garages and see how many cars he has. It will give us the audience a chance to see some different humor from different comedians. Put an end to this much ado about not much of anything.

The Rich get richer, the poor get poorer....

From some oldie song there is the line: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer..
Well it seems true that the rich do catch a couple breaks on their way to getting richer. According to Harper's Index figures as of December 2009:

Number of executives at Wall Street banks so far who have been tried on criminal charges related to the financial crisis: 2
Number acquitted: 2

Percentage tax rate that Goldman Sachs paid on its profits for year 2008: 0.6

January 14, 2010

I've been thinking...

It seems to me that China and Internet freedom form one huge oxymoron.

It also seems to me that any marriage councelors working with this pairing would end up throwing their arms up in despair.

We older folks measure each new adventure very carefully

round man

childhood security in spades

January 13, 2010

George Will talks baseball with Charlie Rose


Big Banks Pay Nothing For Savings

Posted in Investing by CrankySaver
January 10, 2010 10:00 AM
It’s come to this: The biggest banks are paying nothing for our savings.

Or at least nothing for the money we put in our savings accounts.

Here’s the return the four largest banks are now offering on their regular savings accounts:

Big Banks Pay Nothing For SavingsBank of America: 0.10% on all balances

Wells Fargo: 0.05% on balances up to $25,000

Citi: 0.25% with a $500 minimum balance

JPMorgan Chase: 0.01% all balances

For all practical purposes, that’s zero. Nada. Nothing more than pennies for your hard-earned savings.

Unfortunately, this is the entirely predictable result of the Federal Reserve’s campaign to shower commercial banks with all the free money they could possibly want. (It does that by charging them 0.0% to 0.25% for short term loans.)

The policy made sense when the banking industry on the verge of a calamitous collapse that would have plunged the world into another Great Depression.

It guaranteed a great yield spread between what banks paid for money (including deposits) and what they charged for loans.

And let’s be clear. The Obama administration and Federal Reserve have been willing to do almost anything over the past year to help the banking industry.

They’ve certainly done far more for the banks than they’ve done for the typical family coping with the economic fallout from the financial crisis caused by all of the banks’ irresponsible lending.

What Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke clearly didn’t anticipate was the industry’s ungrateful response and the public backlash those arrogant bankers have unleashed.

This policy requires millions of us to sacrifice even a modest return for our hard-earned savings to help a banking industry that slaps us in the face at every opportunity.

The banks won’t help us save our homes from foreclosure by modifying our mortgages. They relentlessly raise the rates on our credit cards to unconscionable heights, cut our credit limits and impose all sorts of fees and penalties if we’re a second late with a payment.

Whatever public support existed for bailing out the banks has been squandered and Obama is going to pay a fearful political price if he and Bernanke continue on the current course.

January 12, 2010

Is America going to hell?

Is America going to hell?

Not according to James Fallows. He thinks it's cyclical and it's an American thing to keep analysing and comparing ourselves with other countries. He says we've been doing it since the pilgrims landed. He has been living in China for two years and has now returned and when asked about China versus the United States, he made the point that most Chinese still do not have indoor plumbing, so even though it seems they are on our doorsteps and getting ready to take over, he doesn't think so. Read his article in the Atlantic and/or watch the video.

January 11, 2010

January 9, 2010


On a previous post, I spoke of finding to my great delight that my super market stocks MALLOMAR cookies. As a sort of update I must tell you I have finished consuming the entire box and thought I would pass along box text about the cookie.

Mallomars were created by Nabisco in 1913 and first sold to a grocer in West Hoboken NJ. The metropolitan New York City area boasts the most loyal Mallomars fans. More than 70% of all Mallomars sales are generated in the shadow of the Big Apple.

I love them still, but I must tell you my love will have to be shared now with a johnny come lately product that is very very similar to the Mallomar. It is Pin Wheels also made by Nabisco. I will have to buy a bag of Pin Wheels next time we're at the store and make a completely unbiased comparison, but I am sort of reluctant to say I think the new cookies I think will win. Ah so sad, but no, now I can have two great cookies to choose from.

Move your money-Part two

Just before New Years I ran a video about moving your money. It was sort of a little shot at big banks. Well it seems it is catching on a little. Here is the latest.

January 8, 2010

Missing, sort of.

OMG I have to confess, I may be responsible for the disappearance of hundreds of those poor, but very tasty cookies if I may be so bold to call them that.

An interview with David Brinkley

My personal favorite of the big three television anchors who co-anchored with Chet Huntley on NBC.

Walter Cronkite-A REPORTERS LIFE

An interview in 1997 with Brian Lamb on Booknotes. One of the best, if not the best television journalists. Video runs about an hour.

January 7, 2010

going home from new world symphony

The Face of George Washington

The face of George Washington was painted by many painters, that depicted his appearance differently in almost all of them. Luckily George allowed face masks to be crafted from time to time so we have a much better idea of how he really looked in life.

The real face of George Washington.

Find out more about Early America at this site.

How to Justify a $3,000 Coffee Maker

At first glance, this would seem like insanity. BUT,

This Christmas my wife bought me one of those one serving coffee makers which I have fallen in love with. We are starting to get a small collection of different brands and some ground from beans. This will probably be as exotic as we will get, except you can purchase pods of coffee so you don't have to measure it out yourself, but I can almost understand how you can get addicted to the beverage. Read the figures and it adds up.

How to Justify a $3,000 Coffee Maker

January 6, 2010

George, George he is everywhere-from NY Times

All about George Washington, not too serious and kind of fun to read, and scan the pictures. I used to live just up the parkway from Mt. Vernon many years ago, and looking at the picture of the chairs on George's porch overlooking the Potomac was a little nostalgic.


I remember it well. One day it was the neighborhood gang of boys who were at the center of every activity that boys can think of. There was sports of course, baseball specifically, bicycle riding, comic book trading, soda pop swilling, and every other thing under the sun from dawn till darkness. It was filled with male companionship and the world was good. And then...

One day everything changed. The neighborhood gang didn't know what happened. All of the sudden it was one member short. I had discovered that girl. What exactly was it about her? Granted she was much better looking than the gang. She never threw out an ultimatum, the gang or me, but it was no contest, she won hands down. Like all boys I found the non-boy who I wanted to be with as much as possible. She was not as certain about me though. In those days going steady was a passage we went through, and steady with me was not something she was too certain about. Breaking up though was not something that deterred me for long. In that contest I prevailed and that slim young girl has been with me now for over fifty-four years. She still is as good looking as she was in the days when I left the neighborhood gang as all boys invariably do, and even though I remember the gang warmly, it was indeed no contest.

January 5, 2010

Small pleasures do the trick for me now; Sweet.

As you age things you never much thought of can make your day, or mine to be more specific. We visited a different supermarket today to pick up a few things and saw that this store stocks products that we thought were no longer available. As I said before small pleasures can make our day. My wife pointed to an item that has been off our shelves for many years. It was Mallomars, a little chocolate covered marshmallow cookie. It made my day. It was like I was revisiting my youth. We found another item that seemed to be gone but has made a new appearance in this new to us store. More discoveries were made and very soon now I will remove the box of Mallomars from the fridge, pour a big glass of milk and celebrate the cookie I thought I would never taste again.
Guy Talk

The Cleveland Indians signed two players yesterday to minor league contracts. I like it. One is David Duncan's son Shelly Duncan who led the international league in HR's last year; and the other is Austin Kearns, former Cincinnati Red of a few years ago. Kearns has been a bust since leaving the Reds. Both deals offer no risk to the Indians, and you just don't know what might happen. Lighting may strike.
Three funny cartoons from the New Yorker

I keep getting that feeling that I would like some interest offered on certificates of deposit.

January 4, 2010

living in a plastic box

Living on nothing but food stamps


I read these two articles yesterday in the New York Times, and could not get them out of my mind. I try to put myself in these peoples place and it is nightmarish to even think about. I can't use the old bromide and catchall phrase of 'We're America, we ought to be able to do something about this'. But no, it's all over the world. Can you imagine living in the plastic box. I guess that is one step up from on the street, but OH MY GOD. What a life of desperation, or fear, of need and want. God, let me die would be my nightly prayer.

January 3, 2010

Hey old timers, there is a program on PBS called Life (Part 2) I just discovered. A little late maybe, but I've perused some of the past programs and I like it. Here is just one on a topic that all of us over a certain age think about. Video is about a half hour long. Subject is how our bodies age.

January 2, 2010

A video book review.

General Grant, the great soldier and Mark Twain, American writer, who it was said hated war became fast friends while Twain helped Grant write his memoirs. Here is about an hour interview with the author of the book. It was written in 2004 by Mark Perry and he is interviewed by Brian Lamb of C-Span.
Ohio State wins

ESPN recaps it all.
From Shorpy this view of a unique architectural wonder, the flatiron building in NYC. Click full view and view the surroundings. It's a history lesson.

From Ger Appledoorn's Fabulous Fifties.
This is funny, but I am struck by how some people think funny and can find humor in most any subject.