The Eclipse

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been intrigued with eclipses. Witnessing a total solar eclipse? Never gonna’ happen, I thought. Now, it appears that I may! This year, Monday, August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will race across the continental United States, bisecting my home state of Nebraska (sadly, totality will completely bypass my native state of Iowa).

From NASA:

You can be hundreds of miles from the theoretical point of Greatest Duration [Trail of Tears State Forest in Southern Illinois] and still enjoy totality lasting within a fraction of a second of the maximum possible (as long as you stay within several miles of the central line). It’s much more important to watch the weather forecasts a day or two before the eclipse and choose a location with the best chance of a cloud-free sky during the eclipse. Even in Oregon, the total eclipse still lasts 2 minutes. Good weather is the key to successful eclipse viewing – better to see a shorter eclipse from clear sky that a longer eclipse under clouds.

My daughter and I got to see Halley’s Comet the last time through (1984). I hope to see this eclipse with my 3 granddaughters. The next total solar eclipse visible in North America will be in 2024 and beyond.

This is no April Fool’s prank! May you all enjoy clear skies and happy viewing!

Motions of the Sun Simulator

Hmmm…where’s Old Sol going to be relative to my shack, my crib, my cabin, my hammock, whatever, on July 16 at 4 in the afternoon? The answer and much more can be gathered from the Motions of the Sun Simulator, a nifty tool produced by the Department of Astronomy at the University of Nebraska. I suspect my friend Dave Kriegler had his hand in this.

Sen-Sen

As I write this, the flavor of one of my last Sen-Sen tabs lingers in my mouth. Over the years I’ve enjoyed Sen-Sen. I usually found them in pharmacies in bigger cities. Probably 20 years ago I bought a box of 12 packages from an internet vendor. I consumed most and shared the wealth with some of my friends. Now, sadly, they are discontinued. I’d like to buy the recipe, the machinery and go back into production.

Dr. L.R. Locher, the dentist in my home town of Farley, Iowa was a regular visitor to my dad’s store. My first memory of Doc Locher was the legend that early every morning he would walk the streets of town and throw money away! So the trick was to get up early and search the streets and alleys to see what treasures could be found. (This is just one example of the richness of our entertainment in our small town.) He turned me on to Sen-Sen and all manner of other oddities. He played baseball in his youth, and even through his undergraduate years at Northwestern. I think he was a catcher. Dad remarked that “Doc” had broken each one of his fingers at least once. He was quite athletic, even in his later years. He would open the neighboring Dyersville Pool season every year by diving from the high board. He was fond of challenging young turks to take their best shot and punch him in the stomach “as hard as you can”! Doc owned a bright orange red 1958 Impala convertible with a 348 which he cruised around in Dubuque County. He was a very sharp dresser. I don’t think he ever threw away any clothes. Styles come and go and invariably a 25-year old tie, sport coat or pair of slacks would come back into style.

Hackers vs. Crackers

Again, this morning, I found a news article confusing “crackers” and “hackers”. I feel it is a demeaning to hackers to include crackers in the same category. Unfortunately that ship has sailed, and the meanings of these words have developed such that it is now necessary to distinguish between criminal(hackers and crackers) and non-criminal(hackers and crackers).

When I use the word hacker, I never intend to cloak it with criminal gloss. Hackers are tinkerers who wish to understand life and its myriad of components, then adjust, tweak, patch and otherwise modify the pieces to achieve the end of their plan or vision. In the case of crackers, however, I guess I will have to be more precise and distinguish malicious security crackers from [just] security crackers. The latter being those who devote themselves to hardening security systems for a good, non-criminal purpose.

William J. Greenwood

My brother Bill passed away yesterday, on the Feast of Saint Therese “the little flower”. It has been said that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, one must be like a little child. Bill has always been child-like to me. Bill, from an early age, exhibited a kind heart and joyfulness that humbles me. It is indeed fitting that Bill would join the Church Triumphant on the Feast of St. Therese. (St. Therese died on September 30 and yet her feast day is October 1? Hmmm.)

Like St. Therese, Bill died young and suffered a lot during his years on this earth. But the events of later, recent years masked Bill’s true spirit. As a child and a young man Bill would do anything for anybody. He loved to joke and prank. His laugh was hearty and without reservation. He loved and was loved by his home town and everyone in it.

I will always remember Bill for his loving, gentle and joyful nature. I hope I can be more like him.

OTA Antennas

Recently I paid a visit to State Steel on Jeff’s suggestion. I’m building an antenna and needed some aluminum rods. The forums at Digital Home suggested Metal Supermarket. There are Metal Supermarkets in Minnesota, Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado, but none here. State Steel, however just opened a site in SW Omaha. I stopped out there yesterday afternoon and picked up a couple of rods. I would recommend anyone in this area to pay them a visit (enter from the East side) and be sure to take your kids! You order up front then drive into the warehouse, under the gantry cranes and stores of metal of all kinds and shapes.

Tsunami

Ok. This post (and older) have been imported from backups and copies I received from Feedblitz in an effort to repopulate the entries from the blawgcoop site which got overrun by spam. I think.

This site contains the, and links to the, best discussion I’ve seen about the situation with the Japanese nuclear reactors in the wake of the Tsunami. As I write this (3/15/11), the situation appears to be under control. Hopefully it will be even better by the time this post is published on April 1.

Charlie Louvin 1927-2011

The first Louvin Bros. song I ever heard was “If I Could Only Win Your Love”, which Emmylou Harris (and others) covered. Of course the harmonies were superb, but what really caught my attention was the structure of the song. It seemed like kind of a “round”, without the usual beginning, middle and end. Rather it seemed to begin in the middle, followed by another middle stanza, then the end.

Charlie died January 26, 2011. I don’t recall hearing about his passing in the news, but this weekend I found myself caught up in Louvin Bros. music and this morning I found the article about his death.

In my wanderings this weekend I found “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby” which is a very catchy song about a dream. Again, the harmony and phrasing is spectacular. I had to listen to it quite a few times to catch the story. Here are the lyrics. Do yourself a favor and find the song yourself. Enjoy!

Last night, my dear, the rain was falling,
I went to bed so sad and blue.
Then I had a dream of you.

I dreamed I was strolling in the evening,
Underneath the harvest moon.
I was thinking about you.

And then you met me in the moonlight,
The stars were shining in your eyes.
But Another was there too.

“I don’t believe you’ve met my baby”
You looked at him, you looked at me.
I wondered who you were talking to?

I shook the hand of your stranger,
But I was shaking more inside.
I was still wondering who?

Your arm was resting on his shoulder,
You smiled at him, he smiled at you.
His eyes were filled with Victory!

He said “My sister wants to marry”,
And then my heart was filled with ease.
I knew that you would marry me.