Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

The 11th Commandment

March 8, 2017

So the Old Testament has 10 commandments as delivered to Moses in Deuterotomy 5.

Deuteronomy 5:1-5 ESV

[1] And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. [2] The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. [3] Not with our fathers did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. [4] The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, [5] while I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said: …

And so forth and so on.

And in the New Testament it is written,

Matthew 22:34-40 ESV

[34] But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. [35] And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. [36] “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” [37] And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

So I propose an 11th commandment that incorporates all of the above. It works for all religions including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Atheists. Do this and we can all get along better.  I doubt that I am the first person to say this but it is worth repeating.

Don’t be an asshole!

Nuff’ said.


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Hamilton

January 1, 2017

Well I finally finished reading “Hamilton”. I had been reading it off and on since this past June. That was a long hard slog. The book runs a total of 800 pages. Though, the main part of the biography runs only 730 pages. It’s a good read and worthy of your time to read.hamilton

So where do I start? I learned so much that I never knew. Here is an excerpt from the blurb on Amazon:

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party…

Here are a few things that I learned (more than I ever learned in HS History):

  • Hamilton was an illegitimate child born on the island of St Kitts in the Caribbean.
  • Republicans and Federalists despised each other. Much like political parties today. Maybe even more so.
  • The duel that ended Hamilton’s life occurred in New Jersey, because New York state had outlawed dueling. Although New Jersey was in the process of outlawing it too.
  • Both Hamilton and Burr were carried across the East River by (separate) row boats at the crack of dawn to avoid detection by local authorities.
  • Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury (under George Washington)
  • He fought in the Revolutionary War.

So much more. You can read the Wikipedia entry here. But don’t let that stop you from reading the whole book (click here for the Kindle copy)

Minor League Baseball

April 28, 2016

milbWell, as many of you know I am a huge (or as Donald Trump would say “Yuge”) baseball fan. So last week I learned that the son of one of our friends in OES is a pitcher in minor league baseball. More about this later on in my post.

Forgive me if you already know this. Minor league baseball is divided into classes with Single A at the bottom and triple AAA at the top. As players get better at the sport they move up from one class to the next with AAA players potentially moving to the Majors.

The various minor leagues tend to be somewhat regional in nature probably to keep travel costs and ticket price lower . There are three AAA leagues. The International League is mostly in the Northeast. The Pacific Coast League is mostly in the west. And the Mexican League is in (drum roll please) Mexico.

There is an excellent web site that covers all of the players and teams in Minor League Baseball. MiLB.com covers all you could ever want to know about players, teams, stats, scores and standings. The site is free unless you want to watch games on streaming video.

Going to a minor league baseball game is a lot more affordable than major league games. When I was living in Massachusetts, there were several teams that played close by. We would often go to see the Lowell Spinners (Single A) or the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) for a fraction of the cost it take to go to a Major League game. The ball parks tend to be a lot smaller. You are always close to the action. There are no “nose bleed” sections. Even the beer is cheaper.

Alas, here in LA there are no AAA teams within an hours driving time. eg. The LA Dodger’s AAA team is in Oklahoma City.  There are several Single A Advanced league teams in California. Closest is probably the Inland Empire 66ers. But still that’s 2-3 hours on the freeways. The closest AAA team would be either Las Vegas 51’s or Fresno Grizzlies.

Minor league team names always seem to be interesting. The names often have a local flavor to them. Here are the logos for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (that’s one nasty looking pig) and the Albuquerque Isotopes:

 

6254_rochester_red_wings-primary-2014So back to my original subject. So our friend’s son is a pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization. Jason Wheeler was called up to the Twins’ AAA team (Rochester Red Wings) this week. He pitched in his first AAA game yesterday. He pitched seven innings. He gave up a home run and got a “no decision”. You can follow Jason’s progress here.

 

 

 

 

Chicken Recipe from 1959

December 24, 2015

So the other day, we were looking for a new way to cook some chicken thighs. So Paula was browsing through various cookbooks and we found a newspaper clipping tucked inside one of Mary’s cookbooks. The recipe was one where you dip the chicken pieces in evaporated milk and coat with crushed corn flakes. Okay, we haven’t done that in a long time. Let’s try it.

But that’s not much of a story. What is more interesting is the ad on the back side of the recipe. It’s an ad for diet pills. It doesn’t say it but my guess is that it’s some sort of speed/dexedrine. So, I scanned and included here.

EPSON MFP image

 

Oh by the way, here’s the recipe. Tasted pretty good.

EPSON MFP image

 

Christmas Letters

November 29, 2015

Every about this time I start working on my Christmas Letter. I started doing this annual letter back about 1998 or 1999. I felt that sending a Christmas card with just a signature was too little work and hand writing news on each and every card was way too much. My in-laws had been doing Christmas letters for as long as I have known them. Back then Mary did the writing and typing on her IBM Selectric and took it to the copy shop for duplication. Computers made my job so much easier.

I still have copies of previous editions going back to 1999. Some years, I would send my email. But I didn’t like that very much. The initial editions just had generic Christmas clip-art. Eventually, I started including pictures. I figured our friends would rather see a few pictures than some lame clip-art.

Now a days, I do a press run of 120 copies. 120 is a nice round number. There are 30 address labels per page and 24 e-stamps per page. Both numbers divide evenly into 120. I still send a few email copies for folks not in the USA. Besides, going past 120 gets into serious money for postage.

So I already have a rough draft done. And I have started printing stamps and labels. Some years when I was working, I didn’t get the letter out until after Christmas.

So without further ado, here is my 1999 Christmas letter (this was the text only version sent by email):

December 1999

Well it is December again and time to do some writing to our friends and family wherever you may be. This year Paula and I decided that she would write her Christmas cards the normal way (ie. Christmas card, pen, envelope, stamp, etc.).

I decided to do another Christmas letter, but this year I would send it via email. I have added several hyperlinks for your web-surfing enjoyment. So without further ado, here is the latest news at the Bowker family:

Mike finished his freshman year at Northeastern University. He made the Dean’s list for the Spring Quarter. He is majoring in Electrical Engineering or as Dave Barry calls it “Big Scary Equations”. This fall he is working at his Co-op assignment at Ezenia Corporation in Burlington.

He continues to be active in NUHOC (NU Hiking and Outing Club). Click here to see a picture of him last winter at a NUHOC Ice Climbing event. He is eagerly awaiting the first good snow of the season. It has been unseasonably warm in New England this December and for that Mike is quite unhappy.

Mike continues to train at Kwon’s Tai Kwon Do in Tewksbury. He tested and received his 2nd Dan (2nd Degree) Black Belt in December. He will be returning to campus in January, to start his sophomore academic work (Physics, Math, Circuits).

Neil is in his junior year at Shawsheen Vocational Technical High School where his shop specialty is Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (ACR). Neil spent the summer working at a local Air Conditioning contractor. He was spent many a weekend diving off of Cape Ann. He passed his Advanced Open Water Dive certification. 

Neil got his drivers license this spring and Billerica roads have not been the same since. In June, he decided that he really needed a car, so we found him a 1990 Jeep Wrangler. Neil is rapidly learning the hassles of owning a car.

Paula is still working at Chelmsford Pediatrics as a staff nurse. There are unfortunately no web pages for Chelmsford Pediatrics. Paula and I try to spend as many weekends as we can up at our condo in Plymouth, NH.  We never seem to have enough time to get away. Here are a couple of pictures of the place. The condo is located at Tenney Mountain in Plymouth, NH.

I have been asked by some of our west coast friends whether we would be out in LA this Christmas. Unfortunately we will not be traveling this Christmas. One of the reasons for staying home is that I will be working over the New Year’s weekend keeping the world safe from the Y2K problems. Paula’s parents will however be coming out to visit for Christmas.  We are looking forward to their visit.

I continue to work for Compaq (or as we are fond of calling it: the company formerly known as DEC). I am doing more or less the same job in Customer Services doing either solving complex customer problems or consulting in the High Availability Systems area. I am currently working on a project for AT&T where I get to spend weekends in New Jersey. This is not quite the international travel I was becoming used to. Whatever, it’s a job.

This past weekend we finally had a taste of winter. Temperature got down to 32F and winds of 25 knots gusting to 30-40 knots. BRRRRRRR!!!!. Paula and I spent Saturday Christmas shopping starting with Amazon.com to gift shops to Wal-Mart and so forth. Mike decided to forego the pleasure of joining us and went skiing instead.

Well, that’s enough. May all of you and happy and joyous Christmas. Keep in touch.

Joe, Paula, Mike and Neil Bowker

Tooth Ache

September 8, 2015

The absolute worst time to get a tooth ache is the Saturday of a long weekend. So Saturday morning, I woke up with nasty tooth ache on my #3 molar (upper). I tried taking Ibuprofen for the pain. Didn’t come close to easing the pain. I hung on until this morning to call the dentist. The receptionist set me up with a 11:30 AM appt to see Dr Tooley.

Then I got a call from the receptionist asking if I could come in bit earlier. I said no problem. I’m on my way.

I checked in and was shown into the treatment room. Hey, I said to dental tech, this room is backwards. Is Dr Tulley a southpaw? Yes she said, indeed he is. In all of my many years of visiting dentists, this the first time that I have ever seen a left handed dentist. I told him I wouldn’t hold it against him.

So in talking to Dr T, I found out he came from Agawam MA and went to UMass Amherst and Tufts Dental School. So we talked a bit about baseball and the pitiful performance of the Red Sox and life back in MA.

So the technician, does some x-rays and Dr. T pokes and prods. We narrow it down to problem area. It seems that the tooth in question had had root canal sometime in the past. I think about 10 years ago. The second tooth from the left on the x-ray is the one that had the root canal. You can tell it by the lines roots that are all lit up.

So I had choices, another root canal or yank the tooth. I choose the root canal. So the receptionist made me an appointment for 1:30 in Torrance. I figured either way it will cost a bucket of money.

So on my way to Torrance I had some time to kill, so I had the oil changed on the Jeep in preparation for our trip to Lompoc this weekend.

I got to the endodontist at about 1:00 pm. A endodontist is a dentist who drills down deep enough to get to your wallet. So, I had to fill more paper work out. It was about 20 pages of gobbledygook. That finished, I got into the chair. More x-rays. Couldn’t you use the x-rays from Dr T. Oh no, that won’t do. Bah.

So Dr Kwon, finishes the drilling which lasted about an hour. It felt like 4 hours. So we schedule a follow-up for next week. He gives me 2 prescriptions. One for pain and one for antibiotics. Back next week to drill some more. The pain is beginning to ease somewhat. So I had to pay for the prescriptions completely. Pharmacy doesn’t take Kaiser and Kaiser won’t fill Rx’s from doctors outside of Kaiser. Luckily the prescriptions weren’t too much.

So, once the work with the Endontist is done, it will be back to dentist to get a new crown. $$$$

So I finally was done. Got home at about 4 pm. Took a pain pill and laid down until Mike and family arrive.

All done.

Saturday update

June 7, 2014

Today is Saturday. We are getting ready to head home. We will do about 450 miles today stopping in hot Las Vegas. The scenery at first is mostly farm and grazing land. As we get to southern Utah and northern Arizona the scenery turn to desert. We go through some beautiful orange cliffs and canyons.
 
 So back to the subject of Mary. We stopped in last night to check on her and talk to the nursing staff. She was resting comfortably. Nurse Brian came in to do vitals and give her evening meds. Ever notice that there are a lot more male nurses these days?
 
 She is at the Jordan Valley Medical Center which is a small community hospital. The facility is fairly new. One idea that I had never seen before is that staff uniforms are color coded. Nurses are navy blue and PT’s are beige. Each room has a picture of the color code map.
 

 We had visited earlier in the day. Around 12:30, we headed up to Ruth’s Diner in Emigration Canyon. Ruth’s is one of favorite places to eat while in Utah. Ruth’s had been reviewed by Guy Fieri on his TV show “Diners, Dives, and Drive-ins. They have garden seating out back is a shaded garden. Always good food.
 
 So after lunch we headed back to West Jordan. The ladies wanted to do some shopping so we headed to the Kohl’s at Jordan Landing. Neil and I found some comfy chairs in the patio furniture department. We made ourselves comfortable while our wives shopped.
 
 Then we did some laundry at Neil’s. Neil had to go to bed, because he was going to be working the graveyard shift. Once laundry done, back to the hospital for a brief visit.
 
 We expect that Mary will be transferred on Sunday or Monday to an acute rehab facility. I expect that Paula will be flying back up to SLC next week for a few days to see how things are going.
 
 We expect that her stay in rehab will be about six weeks. We don’t know how we are going to get her back home to LA. Driving is clearly out of the question. Probably have to fly. We’ll just have to wait and see.
 
 One final comment. Paula’s Aunt Donna who lives in Louisiana (Mary’s Sister-in-Law) is suffering from end stage colon cancer. She is not expected to survive much past the end of the week. We have been in touch with one of Paula’s cousins who had been keeping us updated on Donna’s condition.
 
 That’s all for now.
 
 Joe
 
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