Monday, May 31, 2010


Saturday Cliff and I drove up to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to once again visit the California Academy of Science building. We quickly discovered that we weren’t the only ones, for when we arrived we discovered that the building’s big garage was full. We thought we’d found a handicap spot out on the main drive, but the policeman on duty explained why we couldn’t park there. He did allow us to park just a few feet away.

It was a beautiful day, and there were many people just walking along, enjoying the scenery, including this young lady who was walking her dog.

The dog took a fancy to Cliff,
and I think the attraction was mutual.

This building is where we were headed. Note that bump on the
room clear to the left. We'll be up there shortly.

No wonder the garage was full!
All these people!

Many tourists ...

including kids on skateboards

like these.

This is this the concert shell, and there was a concert going on.
This shot was taken from the roof of the
Academy of Sciences.

An open-air observation terrace enables visitors to get a close-up look at the roof's lush canopy of plants. The view encompasses the densest concentration of native wildflowers in San Francisco. The expansive vista is also an ideal location for watching Northern
California’s birds, butterflies and insects.

That dark building across the way is the rebuilt DeYoung art museum. Those blue dots
at the bottom of the photo are part of the solar canopy which contains 60,000 photo voltaic cells.

Skylights above the larger domes open and close throughout the day, enabling sunlight to reach the exhibits below. The steep slopes of the rooftop's hills draw cool air into the open piazza at the center of the building. Weather stations on the roof monitor wind, rain, and changes in temperature to help inform the automated passive ventilation systems.

The more typical black tar-and-asphalt building rooftop leads to a phenomenon called the “Urban Heat Island” effect. The endless swath of black rooftops and pavement trap heat, causing cities to be 6 to 10 degrees warmer than outlying greenbelt areas. One-sixth of all electricity consumed in the U.S. goes to cool buildings. The Academy's green rooftop keeps the building's interior an average of 10 degrees cooler than a standard roof would. The plants also transform carbon dioxide into oxygen, capture rainwater, and reduce energy needs for heating and cooling.

Assembling a 197,000-square-foot rooftop to accommodate a living tapestry of native plant species is challenging enough. Add to that the technical problems posed by the roof's extreme dips and slopes. How to keep the plants and soil from sliding off? The developers patented a solution called the BioTray®. They used 50,000 porous, biodegradable trays made from tree sap and coconut husks as containers for the vegetation. These trays line the rooftop like tile, yet enable the roots to grow and interlock, binding the trays together like patchwork.

I was told there was an elevator that would get me to the Living Roof in my scooter, but when Cliff and I reached the third level, we discovered a flight of steps leading to the roof. So I handed the camera to Cliff, and asked him to go up and take some shots. I waited below. Then I was told I’d taken the wrong elevator to the roof by a young lady employee who
was bringing up some of these BioTray®.

The Living Roof´s 1.7 million native plants were specially chosen to flourish in Golden Gate Park´s climate. After experimenting with thirty native species, the finalists were all able to self-propagate. Nine species, located inside and outside of the special exhibit, will thrive with little water, resist the salt spray from ocean air, and tolerate wind. The roof will provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. A future project will seek to introduce the endangered San Bruno elfin butterfly and the Bay checkerspot butterfly to this new habitat.

Fun --

On our way home Saturday we passed a sign on the highway:


* * *
Go on the 30 day diet. (I'm on it and so far I've lost 15 days).

The trouble with bucket seats is that not everyone has the same size bucket.

Tomorrow: Inside the building.

Friday, May 28, 2010


PLEASE NOTE: Cliff and I will be away Saturday, so I won't be back here until Monday. Yup, that's Memorial Day.

I don't know where people get these ideas, but some are really clever.

Now go wash your hands, and feed the fish.

Geometric shapes

You'll find it in the bottom step!

Wired -- for sound, or electrocution?

Two for the price of one

Now if you could get those "hands" to change the diaper ...

I'm not sure how this works. Do you have to replenish the fish every time you flush?

Is this so you can see where you're going when you start to sink?

Gee, you can time the dunk!

Well, that's certainly convenient

That's very comfortable, dear.


Humor --

How Do Crazy People Go Through a Forest ? 
They Take The Psycho Path.

What Do Eskimos Get From Sitting On The Ice too Long? Polaroids

What Do You Call a Boomerang That Doesn't work? A Stick

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Time for fun

There are some days when there is simply nothing worth writing about. Oh, I could tell you what I had for breakfast or lunch. Wow! That sounds exciting!

Instead, here are a few videos.

This is one of the great old videos that bring back memories of yesteryear! We sometimes forget that both Cagney and Hope started in the business as vaudeville dancers!

For you young folks, here is something you will never see again.
For us older folks, this is the best of the best, of James Cagney and Bob Hope.

And this one is courtesy of LynnM...

And from the archives ...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


... unless you're feeling a little mulish.

Thought you might appreciate these ultra modern photos showing the latest in, um, the latest,
the ... well, see for yourself.

A casual ride to display the latest fashions by the seashore.

Modern transportation on a modern bridge - boat - whatever.

Typical traffic jam.

Look out! Here the comes the fire truck, er, wagon, uh, horses?

"I'll be down to get you in a taxi, honey..."

The very first curbside eatery.

Ah, the latest cheesecake.

Nice day for a ride in the country.

For those of you who are not in northern California, IT'S STILL RAINING! Would someoneplease tell the weather(or not)man that this is the month of MAY -- not February. Thank you.

Humor --

Last summer, down on Lake Isabella, located in the high desert, an hour east of Bakersfield, CA, some folks, new to boating, were having a problem. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn't get their brand new 22 foot boat, going. It was very sluggish in almost every maneuver, no matter how much power they applied. After about an hour of trying to make it go, they putted into a nearby marina, thinking someone there might be able to tell them what was wrong. A thorough topside check revealed everything in perfect working condition The engine ran fine, the out-drive went up and down, and the propeller was the correct size and pitch. So, one of the marina guys jumped in the water to check underneath. He came up choking on water, he was laughing so hard. Under the boat, still strapped securely in place, was the trailer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Everybody knows what High Fives are. I mean, every body. See for yourself.

Humor -

To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying “Your end of the boat is sinking.”
* * *
A printer consists of three main parts: The case, the jammed paper tray, and the blinking red light.

Monday, May 24, 2010


That’s what they call it. This is now the third year that we have had this event at the clubhouse. It starts off with a potluck dinner. Everybody brings a little something, and it’s amazing the variety of food we have. Then we have the White Elephant Gift Exchange. Everyone who wants to participate brings some kind of gift very neatly wrapped in a brown paper bag. (I did see one white bag.) We are seated in a big circle, and all these lovely “gifts” are placed in the center. These are the rules: The one running the show picks a person to start things off, and that individual goes and picks one of the bags. No peeking or rummaging around allowed. Then that person opens and displays the gift, and places it on the ground in plain sight.

We move around the circle counter-clockwise, so the next person repeats what the first one did. The difference is that the second person may keep the one picked, or swap with the first person, placing it in full view on the ground. And so it goes around the circle, with each succeeding person either keeping the chosen gift, or swapping with any opened gift.

I was about fifth or sixth in the rotation. The person two to my left happened to get a rather nice looking clock. The fellow next to me swapped for the clock. My turn. My gift turned out to be some stationery. I swapped it for the clock. Two persons later the guy swapped his bedroom slippers for the clock. Pretty good exchange, except the slippers were only about three sizes too big for me. But Cliff lucked out -- the slippers fit him just fine! I hope that clock had working parts.

Humor -

Looking for a job? Try these (apparently) real newspaper ads:
“Police seek vandals for graffiti work.”
“Analyst’s Couch Maker Finds a Niche in Shrinking Market.”
“Volunteers needed for suicide Program.”

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Last night I watched the DVD movie, Charlie Wilson's War. This is the true story of a rather obscure Texas congressman, Charlie Wilson, who partnered with CIA operative Gust Avrakotos to launch a program to support the Afghan mujahideen in their resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

I found this to be an intriguing movie, especially since it is a true story. But what had me puzzled was this -- who on earth was playing the part of Charlie Wilson? Now if you’ve seen the movie, you know full well who played the part. But I was confused. First of all, he was not listed in the credits. Then the DVD envelope in which they place the disc typically lists the major actors, along with a brief description of the plot. But the envelope did not show anyone playing the part of Charlie Wilson! Perhaps I should have recognized him. He did look vaguely familiar, somewhat like Tom Hanks. But not quite. In some scenes -- not really. In others -- well, yeah, a lot like Hanks. Did Tom have a brother?

Well, as I said, if you’ve seen the movie, you know it was Tom Hanks. Strangely, though, he was unlisted in the credits -- for the role. He was listed as the producer. I couldn’t stand it, so this morning I sat down at the computer and Googled it. And sho ‘nuff, Hanks was right there at the head of the cast listing.

There were some online reviews of the movie, and some thought the movie was lousy, that the representations of the Texan characters were stereotyped, among other complaints. One reviewer, though, said he was from Texas, and knew real people just like those portrayed. Ha!

Humor --

A group of tourists were watching a re-enactment of an ancient Egyptian ritual. One man turned and pointed to an icon that was being praised, and asked, “Pardon me, but what was the name of that god?” “Why do you want to know?” asked the guide. The tourist shrugged. “Just idol curiosity, I guess.”

* *
A man and wife were sitting in the living room. He said to her, “Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine.” So she got up and unplugged the TV.

See you on Monday.

Friday, May 21, 2010


For many, many years there has been a data base on my computer of all the residents in this mobile home park. The purpose is twofold: First, it provides the information for the annual park directory; it also serves as the source of information from which the monthly birthday greeting page is made for the park magazine.

The other day I was glancing down the list, and realized just how diverse a community we have. Have a look: from O’Donnell (Irish) to Winkler (English) to Rezendes (Portuguese), Medeiros (Spanish), Gao, Wang and Lee (Chinese), Tamada and Yamaji (Japanese), Kaelemakule (Pacific Islander, I think), Swartz (Danish, he told me), a Peterson and a Petersen, Hopkins, and Chandler. And let’s not forget Sokolvskaya (I don’t think she’s Cuban).

Mrs. Morinaud (English) married a Frenchman. Rood really isn’t. Spear is pretty sharp, and Winner probably is. Oh, and certainly “common” names: we do have a Smith and a Jones.

Friction among residents is extremely rare. Of course this is a senior park -- 55 and over -- so perhaps we are a bit more tolerant than younger folks.

Humor --

…which may or may not be true but ARE funny…

~ Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words: "Give me all your money or I'll shoot", the man shouted, "that's not what I said!"

~ A man spoke frantically into the phone: "My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart." "Is this her first child?" the doctor asked "No!" the man shouted, "This is her husband!"

~ In Modesto, CA, Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun. Unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

AVENIDAS a senior health care center for adults, with two locations -- in Palo Alto and in my hometown of Mountain View. Today I had the opportunity to be given a tour of the local facilities. They have various activities including lectures, exercise classes, arts and crafts classes, outdoor gardening (for those so inclined) when the weather is nice. There are raised beds outside in a fenced courtyard. There are nurses as well as both physical and occupational therapists for those who need that service. They also serve a hot lunch.

I found every member of the staff to be most friendly and eager to help. My own interest is that it is difficult for me to get out and meet with people, and it is the social interaction that interests me the most. The major problem is that membership is expensive -- more than I care to afford. However, I will probably be able to join because the Veterans Administration will pay for it -- when they have the funding, perhaps in a few months. I’ll keep you up-to-date as developments occur.

Humor --

…which may or may not be true but ARE funny…

~ Police in Oakland, CA spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them in the police line, shouting, "Please come out and give yourself up."

~ A man walked into a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Stop and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Book review, plus

By William Coughlin
A book review by Don Meyer

I picked up this book from our clubhouse, not knowing anything about it. I Googled Coughlin's name, and learned that he had written many books, and that there were a series of 4 of the Charley Sloan stories. This particular one was published in 1991, and Coughlin died in '92, so I figured that this was the last of the series. Wrong. It was the first, and the other 3 were published posthumously. I've now read what appears to be the second, and it is every bit as good as this one. I plan to read the other two in time.

Charley Sloan is a lawyer. He used to be a hotshot, big time attorney in a big city, but not any more. Alcohol was his downfall. Now he’s just getting by in a small town in northern Michigan, and he is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He’s not married now, but has been -- three times -- and he has a 19 year old daughter he has not seen in years.

A woman, Robin, he has not seen since perhaps high school shows up in his office to tell him that her husband has been murdered, and her step daughter is accused of the killing. Robin wants Charley to defend her. It seems that said husband was the owner of a firm that was the county’s largest employer, a very important man.

At first Charley is quite reluctant to take on this task. It has been several years since he last handled a high profile case, and he fears that his skills are pretty rusty. But Robin is absolutely insistent that he take the case, and refuses to take no for an answer. So Charley reluctantly agrees, and goes to the jailhouse to meet his client, Angel. It appears that she is appropriately named. She is an absolutely gorgeous 21 year old -- and she wants him to be her attorney.
Charley faces a number of obstacles. Of course the biggest is the case itself. He has little in the way of personal resources to match that of the district attorney. Though he has won difficult cases in the past, he is now unsure of his abilities. Then there is Angel herself. Lovely as she is, she exhibits virtually no signs of emotion. Is this woman stable? And finally there is his problem with alcohol. He used to “relax himself” both before and after a day in court, but he knows now that just one drink, and he will certainly be disbarred. Can he make it through the difficult preparation and the trial itself? He fears for both Angel and himself.
Some stories have surprise endings. This one has three major surprises at the end of the book.

Coughlin, who died 1992, writes in a straightforward manner, and his description of how the law works is quite understandable. Little wonder, for Coughlin himself was a former defense attorney and United States administrative judge in Detroit for twenty years A problem I have with some detective stories is keeping track of all the ins and outs of the plot. Now in its own way, Shadow of a Doubt is a detective story as Charley sorts out all of the implications of the case. But I had no trouble following this plot. And while this is a serious story, there are occasional places where I had to laugh out loud.

I highly recommend Shadow of a Doubt.
* * *
Side note: It’s raining again. The nineteenth of May. I was complaining to Cliff this morning, and he suggested I go out and do an anti-rain dance. Right.

Humor --

The Storm

They were together in the House. 
 Just the two of them. It was a cold, dark, stormy night.
The storm had come quickly, and each time the thunder boomed he watched her jump.

She looked across the room and admired his strong 
 appearance....and wished that he would take her in his 
 arms, comfort her and protect her from the storm.

Suddenly, with a pop, the power went out.... She screamed..
He raced to the sofa where she was cowering.

He didn't hesitate to pull her into his arms.

He knew this was a forbidden union and expected her to pull back.
 He was surprised when she didn't resist but instead clung to him.

The storm raged on....

They knew it was wrong...
 Their families would never understand... So consumed were 
 they in their FEAR that they heard no opening of doors... 
 just the faint click of a camera....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Impossible pictures by
Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson is a 23 year old student from Sweden

Road construction.

This looks questionable.

Walking the dog? Not much exercise that way.

This one had me fooled for a moment. You see what it is?

Painting the ocean?

Getting the floor wet!

Great way to travel

We have a winner!

I love this one!

Um, elevator?

Humor -

A man and wife had just returned from their first trip, and were showing their photographs to a relative. The highlights of the photos were the shots of the Statue of Liberty, taken from every conceivable angle.

“Wow,” said the relative, suitably impressed, “I didn’t know it rotated.”