Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Computer Music

A few months ago I upgraded my desktop speakers to a pair of Bose. They're hooked up to my laptop. Now playing on the laptop is at a much higher level.

Right now I'm listening to AccuRadio-jazz the piano jazz section. For some reason they don't stick to the music you selected. For example they may play two or three piano jazz numbers and than an instrumental. But that's ok. But let me caution you. As the old idiom says 'There are no free lunches'. There are some commercials every eight to ten minutes or so. Some times they're for car insurance. But the ones I find really annoying is for Viagra. After hearing the third one I switch to another genre.

Sometimes I move on to the Latin tab. Once there, my favorite music is the Tango. [see the two Tango dancers--Wow!] My favorite composer? Astor Piazzolla, now I'm listening to my most favorite tango piece: "Adios Nonino" it's so lyrical, with shifting tempos. Oh my I can hardly write with this sensual music. I'm thankful to have this piece on a CD.

Once in a while I listen to Textures. One day I found the group: "Gotan Project". Textures played a couple of numbers and I was hooked. I bought the CD: "Lunatico". It's new Spanish music with a variety of beats and rhythms. Great music to listen to while on the elliptical trainer at the Livionia Community Recreation Center. With all of the different gentres at AccuRadio they don't half folk music. However there is Country/Western. So when I need my Folk music fix I move on to FolkAlley.

When none of the above is working for me I open up Itunes or turn on my Bose Wave Radio and listen to Music and Company, Tom Allen in the morning. In the afternoon (when I'm home) the variety of classical and a jazz in a while can be heard on "Studio Sparks" with Eric Friesen.

Eric's selection one day moved me to write my first post. has concerts on demand in a variety of genres. If you enjoy good music of all kinds it's worth spending some time exploring the rich sounds from north of the border. One odd point of geography. If you are looking at Windsor Ontario from downtown Detroit you will be facing south.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Give One Get One

Picture a child in a Haiti school room where kids are using their own laptop computers. A little girl is using her laptop's calculator. The student next to her is recording his poem that he just wrote onto his computer. Another student is drawing a picture on her laptop. All of them are connected to each other, as well as the teacher on her laptop.

Does that sound too good to be true ? Perhaps, but with the "Give One Get One" program that scene can happen. When a donation is made to One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) they will send an XO Laptop to children in either Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia, or Rwanda.

The XO Laptop is designed for kids to learn while they have fun at the same time. It’s designed to be used in some of the world’s most adverse weather. Here are some of the features I think are important:
  • Word Processor
  • Music Program- The kids can be very creative and compose their own music.
  • Built in Camera/Recorder- New friends can be made by sending their photos and recordings to those on the network.
  • Mesh Network- All of the computers in range can be connected. If one is on the internet than the others will be also. Teachers can supervise and assist their students while connected.

Let’s take a few minutes to watch a video by David Pogue in his review “Laptop With a Mission Widens Its Audience", NYTimes, October 4, 2007. The video is opposite the fourth paragraph. His column is quite thorough and gives us a picture of the XO’s features. It's loaded with software for learning.

How does the “Give One Get One” program work? When you donate $399 (plus shipping for your XO laptop) one XO Computer will be sent to either Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia, or Rwanda.

To place your order click here. Donations can be made by phone by calling 1-877-705-2786. For general questions please phone 1-800-201-7144. For other questions see FAQ. Since OLPC is a non-profit organization $200 of your donation is tax deductible. This program ends December 31, 2007.

Perhaps $399 is beyond your giving budget then consider asking your church, synagogue, mosque, employer or community organization to take on this project. There are other things that can be done to promote this worthy program. Send this link to others who might be interested.

The kids are our future whether they be in the U.S.A. or in other parts of the world. When children have their own XO laptops they will learn how to learn and be creative in ways they would not discover otherwise. An XO will be their window out to the world and a tool with which to think. Furthermore, independent interaction and exploring are a wonderful way to learn.

Sunday, September 09, 2007 On The Blog

Check out the box on the right side, bottom of the Home page. There you will find a box to get your answer. I know what you're saying, answer to what? Well to just about anything. Perhaps you find a word you need a definition. Just copy the word in the box and get the definition and much more for some words. If you want to go to their home page then click on on the box.

Also, I've been hooked on for most of the year. Firefox is my browser and one of the add-ons is Answers. So wherever I am on the computer and need a definition or more information on a person or event then I put the cursor on the word press ALT and right click. That action takes me to to give me the information.

Go HERE to see tools for your browser or blog.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cost of Iraq War

First let me say the most tragic cost is in human life. With that said, Lets talk about U.S. dollars. Now it's over $430 billion. Click here to see an up to the minute figure. While your there check to see what that amount dollars could be spent on children's education, health care etc.

Now when the cost gets to $456 billion here is a eye opening break down:
  • $4,100 for every American household;
  • $1,500 for every American;
  • $3,400 for every taxpayer;
  • $11 million per hour and;
  • $275 million per day
In April 2006 I suggested: Click here for the complete post.

Tax war. Let’s start by imposing a tax on the cost of the Iraq war which is over $274 billion. That turns out to be $1099 [click 'Entire U.S. 'box on the right then select 'per person']for each person in America. Congress would direct the IRS to require every tax return to include a separate section for the Iraq War Surcharge. The surcharge would total $1099 times the total number of persons in the household. A separate check would have to be submitted for the surcharge.

Currently we went to war on borrowed money and as the war continues we will borrow more money. Some day we and my grandchildren will be taxed for this war. But maybe if we have to pay the bill now for this war, just maybe, the American voters will not be so quick to support another war.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Old Horsetail Snake: This Will End, Eventually

Sometimes one just has to laugh at a very good cartoon and a shaggy what? story.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Virgina Tech Tragedy

So much has been said, reported, video tapped and sung about the tragic events at Virginia Tech that I wondered what more can be mentioned until I found the following message from September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

To the Bereaved People of the Virginia Tech Tragedy:
The members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
send you our love in this hour of your terrible loss.
We pray you to know that we are with you
united in the terrible shared knowledge
born of such terrible shared experience.
We will be with you through all the days ahead
as you journey through a world forever changed
by the horror of the violence
which tore into your lives
and ended forever the world
as you’ve known it.
Know we will be with you
as you return to living,
guided as we were and are
by the timeless love given and received
from those who are gone,
and in the caring of those standing beside you
in your homes, your communities, your nation,
and, in spirit, throughout the world.
Your sisters and brothers
of the September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Movies-- Oh Yes Movies!

I fully enjoy movies. It seems as if I always did. Fond memories of walking the half mile or so to the Westown, theater, Detroit, in the 40s with my Mom to see those fantastically entertaining grade B movies. Oh those were the days. But so are these days.

Last weekend I saw "Breach". The story was based on a real life FBI agent who betrayed our country by selling top secrets to the Soviets. The acting was first rate. Chris Cooper, one of my favorite actors, played the the real life agent Hansen who is now spending the rest of his life in a Federal Pen. At least 50 people died as the result of his betrayal. I enjoyed this film in a theater. You know the ones with the big springy back where the cup holder arm rest can be swung down out of the way. While waiting for the flick to start a saw a man with a huge bucket of popcorn sit down next to three youngsters. That bucket was nearly the size of my pail that I use to wash floors. Why am talking about this experience? Well it's because the very best way to see a film is in the theater. The experience is more than watching a movie. You get a chance to see movie trailers where half way through it you hear yourself say, " Won't see that one". In fact more often than not that's what I say.

Now there are times when you want to snuggle up to the TV in a cold winter night and watch a flick on a DVD. Last Sunday night was just that kind of time. Watched "Osama". It is about a 12 year old girl who suffers under the repressive Taliban regime. This Golden Globe Winner, 2004 Best Foreign Language Film, was filmed in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. The cinematography is a gem. A must see flick.

But the question for me is what movie is worth spending the time watching? I've been looking for a resource that will give me a review. Well I found just the place. Joared at "Along the Way" linked to such a site. At DVD Journal they give you numerous full and quick reviews with lots of details on the length and features of the DVD.

If your looking for elder movies, check out ElderMovie List at "Time Goes By". There you will find more movie links.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Fun of Tying Knots

Tying knots was always a challenge for me. Several years ago I had to learn the bowline. This very popular knot is used by sailors and others alike. I had a purpose and that was to secure a jib sail at the bow of a 23' sailboat. For several nights I sat in my living room practicing this well known, useful knot. Over and over again I practiced it. A few days later, I'm now on deck at the bow ready to tie the bowline. For me to tie it properly I would have to be positioned on the water side of the boat. All of my living room practice sessions did not take into account. Thanks to Josh's February 23, 2007 post at Song From Me there is site we can all go to and see just how to tie many knots for sailing, climbing, construction and other purposes. Animated Knots by Grog is one of the best sites I've seen for tying knots.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Lenten Message

Well once again yesterday was Ash Wednesday. Here is a Lenten message worthy of reading everyday for the next 40. What does it mean to me? To others?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Little Entertainment Always Helps

Joared at Along the Way linked to a very entertaining act by a French performer, Jerome Murat. It runs 8:19 minutes but worth the time. Illusionists are quite intriguing. My first illusionist act experience was seeing Blackstone the Magician at the Shubert Theater in downtown Detroit in the 1940s. As many wonderful old buildings in Detroit are no longer there but my memory is still well constructed as I now see Blackstone standing on stage with the over-sized flowing black cape covering his black tuxedo. He stands next to a table with a large flower pot filled with a leafy green plant. As his classical looking glistening black silver metal tipped magic wand glides over the plant, it is instantly filled with red flowers. He plucks off the flowers and tosses them into the cheering, applauding audience.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Did you know it is Pet Dental Care Month? Neither did I. But indeed it is.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Harvard vs. Mayo Clinic Newsletters

Last May I started receiving "Healthbeat", Harvard Medical School's email newsletter. I'm not sure how I come about finding it. I wanted some reliable, current medical information. At first it seemed that the content was sufficient. However they always left me wanting more about the topic. So if you wanted to get more information lets say about "Cholesterol" than "Just click Here" to buy their $16 pamphlet on the subject. It's overpriced. Oh yes Harvard Medical School is prestigious name. But it's still overpriced. I sought out a booklet from my local library and found out that they too thought it was too much and they didn't buy the booklets. Lately "Healthbeat" gives very little information on the topic but a full description of the related pamphlet and it's table of contents. And then when you visit their web site the only health information there is about their publications. Both the email newsletter "Healthbeat" and Harvard Medical School web site are nothing more than an extension of their marketing department.

Last month I was searching for some health information and found the Mayo Clinic web site. I found all of the medical information I was seeking. They too have an email newsletter called "Mayo Clinic Housecall". I subscribed to it. The first edition arrived in my inbox yesterday Feb. 6. It is a very well designed newsletter. It contained 11 brief descriptions of articles ranging from new research about Drug-eluting stents:Do they increase heart attack risk, stress and end of life issues. Included were 4 recipes for healthy eating and a link to the Healthy Recipes Center . Here are some of the articles that provided sufficient analysis and practical ways to use the information: "Prevent Stress Setbacks", "Time Management:", Stress Center (contains several stress related articles) and "Cholesterol Test:Sorting Out the Lipids". The Cholesterol piece provides information to understand the test results provided by the doctor. Often times the doctor will tell you whether your numbers are in the acceptable range and that's about it.

I'm looking forward to next week's Housecall.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Buchwald Says Goodbye

Buchwald's last column was not very funny but exceptionally meaningful. He wrote the last column, which was to be printed after his passing, on my last birthday February 8, 2006. He always took what a major politician did or said and put not only a humorist twist to it but often showed that is was a dumb idea.

But reading Jeffrey Brown's, PBS News Hour reporter, interview with Buchwald was funny and as usual meaningful.