Posted by: David | April 29, 2007

Some cool stuff

I recently helped a 90-year old fellow get a new computer for himself and listened to some interesting stories from his life. He was a crafty youngster and entered a national contest where participants each built a model from the same plans. The first years of this contest, the entrants built incredibly detailed scale models of these very ornate Napoleonic horse-drawn coaches.

(Click Here to see a really nice set of web pages on this topic. Thank you Jim Sponseller!)

This fellow’s entry was runner up nationally in 1935. His father had been a toolmaker, so he learned all about working with metals. He let me take a picture of his coach, which he keeps in a glass cabinet that he told me was “bugged”. The insurance company made him do that. Here’s the picture- through the glass.

Napoleonic Coach 2nd Place National Winner 1935

It’s really quite spectacular! Its wheels are cast lead. Many parts are cast bronze. The kid knew his metals! The door opens and the little window slides down.

This guy went from a 7 year old Dell running Windows ME to a new HP Pavilion with Vista Home Basic. I set Vista to look all “classic like” and since he has some vision limitations, all the icons and text are BIG. His old computer had been on the fritz for some time so he had almost 1500 messages waiting in his email account. The new version of Outlook Express, called Windows Mail, has a nice little spam filter that caught almost half of it. Old folks bear an unfair burden of spam. I think it’s because they believe the computer too much. If it appears on a computer screen it’s already got all the gravity of science and technology behind it. Just like those white-coated scientist-type folks at the Ponds Institute, who discovered a cure for combination skin back in 1990s … It must be great to have such gravitas …

But I digress.

Here’s another cool thing. This crazy woodcock came to our backyard twice in one early April week. It was nearly dusk so this picture is not very good.

Crazy Woodcock 

So this bird kept poking its beak into the ground. For like an hour or more. We have been feeding the birds black sunflower seeds for years now and get a fair amount of traffic. We have a pair of cardinals nesting somewhere nearby. I think we may have had a few generations of cardinals here. One of our late cats got one a few years ago. We were not happy with the cat but the cat could not have cared less. Maybe she thought the cardinal would be cherry flavored or something?

guineapig.jpg

This is my best friend’s daughter’s guinea pig. Her name is Emma. She’s pretty well behaved but had scurvy once. Arrrrgggh. (That’s old Sea Captain lingo- you know, scurvy and all?)

So this has to be one of my most interesting posts yet, eh? Steven Colbert would ask, is this a great post, or is it the GREATEST post? Hmm. Great I guess. One more random thing.

Bad Dog Game

This picture shows how NOT to play with your terrier. Tennis ball tug-of-war. When I finally wrench it from his mouth and throw it, he runs, gets it, brings it back, we wrassle with it, and so on. He never tires of this mindless entertainment, even though there are more important things in his tiny dogsbody life. He should have bumper sticker that says “I’d Rather Be Chasing Squirrels”.

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