Saturday, October 31, 2009

Only in the Storm

Only in the storm can you see the art of the real sailor; only on the battlefield can you see the bravery of a soldier. The courage of a simple person can be seen in how he copes with the difficult and dangerous situations in life. (Daniel Achinsky in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 28 October)


I'm enjoying looking at, and reading, blogs and genealogy websites that other people have created.

Some folks working on genealogy caution that it is not wise to count on funeral home or newspaper obituaries to always be available online. They suggest that it is a good idea to capture our own copies.

Mr. Dickie

Friday, October 30, 2009

Keep Silent

Keep silent. Give rest to your tongue more often than to your hands. You will never regret that you have kept silent, but you will often regret that you spoke too much. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 14 October)

Only if we put first things first will all things take their proper place -- and love come first. (William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (DSB), p. 189)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We Are Not In Charge

If you want to do a good deed, do it now. The time will pass, and you will not have the chance again. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 18 October)

It's ... essential to find some time to be alone every day so you can turn within and pay attention to what your higher self is telling you. (Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Day 282)

I can find a healthy balance between my time with others and my time along. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 27 October)


I tried to register online so we could add funds to our Western Union phone card. I couldn't get through the process and I couldn't understand their cryptic error messages. When I called the 800 number they wouldn't help me because the card is in Melva's name. I have a hunch that it would have been possible to help without violating any security issues if the person on the phone had been willing to work on the problem. When I got fed up with the conversation I just hung up and went back to adding funds by making a phone call to another 800 number like I have been doing for a couple of years.

I watched a report last night about the demolition of houses in Flint, Michigan. There are about 10,000 abandoned houses. It looked like many of them have been burned or trashed by squatters. The city is knocking down the houses and clearing the land. One of the leaders said they will turn the land into gardens and parks. I suppose there are other cities where the same thing is happening. The home owners in our development need to put our county authorities under pressure to stay on top of the situation where we have vacant homes.

Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Amphibian Death Traps

There are good days and bad days and mediocre days. (Food For Thought, 19 October)

Do not be concerned too much with what will happen. Everything which happens will be good and useful for you. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 21 October)

Changed circumstances can play havoc with our lives. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 16 October)

You must clear your mind in order to think clearly. (REH after Suzanne Somers in 365 Ways to Change Your Life, Day 316)


I read an interesting report I found on the Internet, written by the NTSB in 2000, about the seaworthiness of amphibians of World War II (Ducks) and Vietnam Era (LARCs). There are still something less than 300 of them in use. Many are used to give rides to tourists at the various tourist traps such as Branson, MO. Neither vessel was designed to transport people. The old Ducks have eight to twelve inches of freeboard at the stern when loaded. This means that the vessel can be swamped and sink in six or seven minutes if the hull is breached. The report listed the names and locations of the companies that use these vessels to carry tourists. There were recommendations that water-tight bulkheads and additional flotation devices be installed in all vessels. I suppose NTSB didn't have authority to mandate that these safety improvements be made. Please think about this before you let any of your family members take a ride in any of these death traps.

I found the Zip disc with my genealogy GIF image files. I also found some additional free genealogy GIF files on the Internet. I'll use some of them on my genealogy blogs in the days ahead. This morning when I started the computer it ran a check on the Zip disc. I wonder what that was about.

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Did It Again

Some people have a way of acting as if their life is not their responsibility. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 19 October)

I will work on keeping a peaceful mind in order to smooth out my rougher days. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 20 October)

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. (Victor Hugo in Courage to Change, 19 October)


I woke up at 5:30 a.m. Both sides of my nose were blocked. Once I was awake I didn't try to go back to sleep. I did my daily reading, read some of the newspaper, put on a Brahms CD and the headset, and turned on the computer. I'm ready for another day.

I did it again. Twice in the last month I bought CDs at the thrift store that weren't really CDs. I mean to say, they were samples or promos. They looked like CDs but both of them only had two songs. Oh well, I only spent a dollar. I hope I got the message. I'm not really looking at what I am buying.

I noticed in the book I am reading about Google Apps that I can assign "labels" to my document files that I save in the Docs App. I missed that the first time I read the chapter about this application.

We are trying to get all of the plants Melva brought inside under the lights. I made some adjustments to how the trays sit under the lights. I also moved some of the chains that suspend the shoplights in order to make better use of the length of each chain. I didn't do a good job when I bought the chain and cut it into pieces. Some pieces are too short. We get the best results when the lamps are close to the plants.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gmail Labels

Am I thinking too much and doing too little? (Alan L. Roeck, Look To This Day, 17 October)

Do not be concerned too much with what will happen. Everything which happens will be good and useful for you. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 21 October)


Yesterday I learned how to apply "labels," with color, to my Gmail. This feature allows us to quickly group messages together and to visually spot messages by their labels. Labels are somewhat like folders with more versatility. I think I'll find this useful. I also started to create some Gmail groups.

We are busy trying to put all of the plants we brought inside under out lights in the basement. We had to buy another fixture because the Chinese junk that Loew's and Home Depot sells usually doesn't last very long.

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Phone Calls

The purpose of your life is not to do as the majority does, but to live according to the inner law which you understand in yourself. Do not act against your conscience or against the truth. Live like this, and you will fulfill the task of your life. (Marcus Aurelius in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 23 October)

Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was. (Richard L. Evans in One More Day by Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, 16 October)

The educated person sins greatly if he continues to behave in a way he knows is wrong. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 24 September)


I'm behind one day in my daily reading. It seems as soon as I catch up I'm willing to slack off the next day. I think today is the 298th day of the year. I need to stay on top of my reading program if I am going to finish all of the books on the last day of the year. I've already set aside two stacks of books that I want to read in 2010.

This morning I had a nice long phone conversation with one of my former co-workers from The Library of Congress. I'm trying to remember to take advantage of the fact that we now have unlimited long distance calling. During the week I called, Jo, my long friend in genealogy. We also keep in touch via Email.

I've been reading some of the accounts about the Vietnam tours of duty written by members of the 1099th Transportation Company (Medium Boat). I'm impressed. I don't think I had much of an idea about what was going on in this unit while I was in Vietnam. I take my hat off to all of the men who served in that unit.

Mr. Dickie

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Remembering Cat Lai, Vietnam

Photo: Transportation Corps Museum
(1099th Transportation Company (Medium Boat) - Cat Lai, Vietnam)

[Don't] ... waste time pretending that things are okay when they are not. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today!, 15 October)

I am seeking a saner approach to everything I encounter. (Courage to Change, 13 October)

... the attitudes and activities which undermine our integrity have to go. (Food For Thought, 13 October)


Yesterday I worked on a project to create Delicious bookmarks for Transportation Corps websites. I found one for an association of Vietnam vets, others for the 11th Transportation Battalion, one for the 1099th Transportation Company (Medium Boat) and one for the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. I enjoyed looking at all of the photographs and reading the text. I'm reminded of how much I have forgotten about that year at Cat Lai, Vietnam. For example I have forgotten the exact dates I was in there. I know the period was in 1967 - 1968 but can't remember the starting or ending month. There must be a record around here someplace.

Mr. Dickie

Friday, October 23, 2009


When we speak or act hastily or rashly, the ability to be fair-minded and tolerant evaporates on the spot. (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p. 91 found in Daily Reflections, 12 october)

Meditation is the quiet and sustained application of the mind to the contemplation of a "spiritual truth." It's purpose is to deflect our minds from the problems we are experiencing, to raise our thoughts above the grievances and discontent that color our thinking. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 17 October)


I found another nice set of web pages, about serving at Cat Lai, Vietnam, written by Rich Walters a member of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade (Redcatcher) Communications Platoon. I think I'm in one photograph taken at a formation. I'm thinking about trying to gather the URLs to all of the pages I've found by posting them to Delicious.

The computer club website committee chairman asked me if I could post some URLs to Windows 7 articles that appeared on the Smart Computing magazine website. We finished that project yesterday, on the first day of the Windows 7 release. I also added links to PC Magazine, PC World magazine and the CNET website all of which had good coverage of the topic. The other day I installed a link to the City of Bowie links page. There visitors can find links to many of the clubs and other organizations in the Bowie, Maryland area.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 - Release Day

To be alive is to experience a certain amount of anxiety. We will never be completely rid of all fear. (Food For Thought, 8 October)

Perhaps you fear the changes that death will bring? But a similar great change already happened at the time of your birth, and nothing bad came out of it. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 10 October)


Today, October 22, 2009, is the release date of the new version of the personal computer operating system, Windows 7. Are you going to rush out to buy a copy? Isn't that just what Microsoft wants? Since the beginning of Windows they have made a great living by continually producing what seem to be bug filled programs and selling new versions over and over again. Should we expect this time to be any different?

I discovered an Army Transportation Association Vietnam (ATAV). I spent time yesterday reading some of the pages on their website. I saw a posting by Don Mangus. I think he's a friend from years ago when I was active in the Art Cover Exchange. I sent him an Email.

Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This is FIOS, This is Big!

[When someone says,] "To be honest..." or "To tell the truth..." or "Let me be straight with you" doesn't that mean that all the rest of the stuff they've said was pure crap? (after Wake Up and Smell the Coffee by Andrew Frothingham and Tripp Evans, 11 October)

Listening to other compulsive[s] ... helps us to see ourselves and our own situation more objectively. (Food For Thought, 15 October)

People are taught to speak, but their major concern should be how to keep silent. (Anonymous in A Calender of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 14 October)


Ever since we had FIOS installed I've worried about a problem with the battery backup that's attached to the wall in the basement walk-in closet. The power outlet for the two-box system is mounted in the wall a few inches away. I noticed that the installer had trouble with the installation. The alarm kept going off. Yesterday, while working on a project to put away things that had accumulated on the bar I put two small boxes back on the bottom shelf in front of the battery pack. I must have touched the battery pack. The alarm went off and we lost the video and sound to the television sets. I called the FIOS help line to discuss what needed to be done. The help desk gave me very good service. He suggested that I run an extension cord to the battery pack. I did that and it worked. Then he said I needed to check the outlet with a hair dryer. Funny it never occured to me that the outlet could be bad. So much for being a great Systems Analyst. As soon as I tried the hair dryer in both sockets of the outlet I realized that the outlet was bad. I had a replacement outlet on hand and knew the steps to make the change. Once I accepted the fact that I'd have to move the shelf to make the repair things went smoothly. I didn't reach that conclusion before first laying on the floor trying to do the job the lazy man's way. At the end of the project I was still shaking my head and asking, "Why didn't either of the two FIOS installers tell me that outlet was bad?" I know the answer, they didn't want to deal with it.

In the evening I discovered that Lt. Jerry Long, one of the officers I served with in the 11th Transportation Battalion in Cat Lai, Vietnam, posted his recollections and photographs on the Internet. I also found another account from a member of 1099th boat company which I didn't have time to read. I plan to revisit these webpages.

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good, Bad & Ugly

Daily Tip:
Delete Average Photos, Too

A lot of experienced photographers offer this tip: When you return from a shooting expedition and you're reviewing images, don't be afraid to delete some of your average images. Don't delete just those images that are blurry or improperly exposed. Get rid of some of the so-so pictures, too. In doing so, you'll reduce the number of weak images in your catalog, and more importantly, you'll refine your photographic eye and do a better job of figuring out why some images work and others don't.

Smart Computing - Daily Information 18 Oct 2009

Flashing Light

We are small and insignificant, but our society tells us we are mighty and important. As we learn more about the intricacies of God's creation may we respond honorably and respectively. (Pamela J. Crosby, in The Upper Room Disciplines - 2006, 17 October)

Any departure from accepted traditions and customs requires a large and serious effort, but true understanding of new things always requires such an effort. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 12 October)

I do not need to have and do what everyone else has and does, but I can recognize my desires and preferences and satisfy them when doing so does not injure [myself] or anyone else. (Food For Thought, 11 October)


We went grocery shopping yesterday. We used two carts. I took the list and went ahead while Melva shopped in the produce and deli areas. I'm able to finish all of the other shopping in the time it takes her to select the items she wants from those two areas. At the end I noticed that the amount of items we put in the car is less and less while the amount we spend continues to go increase. It's hard to imagine that the country has fallen on hard times when prices continue to rise and bonuses continue to be paid.

We also went to the thrift store yesterday. I had an incident while we were there. I selected several CDs that I was interested in purchasing. I've learned to always take them out of the case to examine the playing side. Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all. When I turn the disc upside down I usually moved it back and forth to catch the light while I look for scratches. As usual, I did what I always do. Afterwards I went to the back of the store to look at the books. When I got there I noticed that I was having vision problems. From past experience I knew I was going to get a migraine headache. I'd selected one book to purchase when this happened. Before we left the store I realized what I'd done. When I caught the light with the CD I flashed it directly into my eyes. That's what set off the migraine. Oh, by the way, when we got home I somehow didn't have the book I thought I was going to buy.

My friend, Betty Cronin, shared two letters written in November 1980 and February 1981 by Dorothy (Rankin) Gay of Norman, OK. Mrs. Gay got into the DAR based on her Yoho ancestry. I looked in my old Yoho file on the desktop computer and found where her family belonged. She wasn't in the file. Then I looked on the Internet and found some information about her family, including a brief biography of her husband. I combined these two pieces of information with what I found in the letter and produced a descendant chart that I posted to my genealogy "News" blog. I hadn't done any genealogy work like this in a long time.

One of the CDs I bought for $1.06 at the thrift contains 3,500, not very good, JPEG photos. There are no use restictions and I didn't have to install any programs to read the photo files themselves. I'm going to experiment with some of the shots to see if I can increase the exposure to improve the image quality.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Can't Remember

Just for today, make sure that what you know about yourself is reflected in what you say about yourself, because what you say about yourself influences what you believe about yourself. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until today!, 1 October)

I face challenges every day - some public, but many private. I will try to do my personal best. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 24 September)

The joys that today offers must be personally claimed, by each of us, or they will pass by unnoticed. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 12 October)


I've started to gather the books I plan to read from each day in 2010. So far I've been able to find all of the ones that came to mind. I was surprised by how many I found that I've never read. I have a few favorites, that I'm reading now, I intend to read some of them again next year. I wish I could remember how many years I have been following this practice.

Today there is an article in the Style section of The Washington Post about Facebook. The author's contention is that Facebook has now run its course. It's strange that the press is writing these articles when Facebook just became profitable and passed the 300 million member mark. Does the press invent stories when they have nothing else to report? If you don't think so, just reflect back to last week to examine the coverage given to "The Balloon Boy" story.

Yesterday I had trouble with my memory. I was trying to remember where my old website pages (in HTML) are stored. The worst part of it was only a few days have gone by since I last looked at the files. I know from past experience to just "let it go" when this happens. The more I obsess about it the less likelihood there is of getting what I want out of my brain. Oh well, I suppose my self-help books tell me that this is part of the joys of growing older.


Mr. Dickie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

People Come and Go

People [come] ... and go; situations rise and fall; it's all preparation for better things. (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 294)

Much of what I find wrong in my life is related to my opinions - that is, my prejudices, assumptions, self-righteous stances, attitudes. (Courage to Change, 14 October)


Melva and Cyndi went to see the ballet, Don Quixote, at the Kennedy Center last night. One of Cyndi's friends gave them tickets. I waited for Melva at Cyndi's apartment. I read my Smart Computing magazine, my HTML for Dummies book and watched the very long baseball game between the Yankees and the Angels. The Yankees finally won in the 13th inning. We were in heavy rain both going to and coming from Cyndi's apartment. Surprisingly there were only a couple of minor delays on the way to Bethesda.

I wonder why I didn't bring the CD player from the basement to the computer room a long time ago. I can tell already that I am going to enjoy having it in a place where I will use it more often.

At the end of the week I enjoyed nice long responses to some Emails I wrote earlier in the week. I really enjoy keeping in touch with friends I have know for 40 or 50 years. Without the Internet and Email I don't think any of us would be inclined to make the effort.

I found a website that allows us to use their photographs if we provide a hyperlink on the page where the photo is used. I tried this yesterday. It worked!


Mr. Dickie

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Music to My Ears

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. (Soren Kierkegaard in Courage to Change, 11 October)

There are two ways not to suffer from poverty. The first is to acquire more wealth. The second is to limit your requirements. The first is not always within our power, but the second is always in our power. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 3 October)

...give me wisdom and insight into my own life and the lives of others, that I may know when to speak, when to listen... (The Upper Room Disciplines - 2006, 16 September)


I brought a CD player up from the basement and placed it on the top of the bookshelf that's behind me when I sit at the computer. I also brought up a headset and an extension cord for the headset. My goal is to listen to more of the music on my CD collection while I am using the computer. I know some of you are going to say, "Why doesn't he just play the CDs with the computer?" That's another story. That doesn't always work well with the somewhat damaged computer I'm using now. To avoid the occasional aggravation it was easier to move the player that wasn't getting much use in the basement. The only time I needed it was once in a while during January and February when I used the treadmill. Now that we have FIOS I'll just use that service when I want music while in the basement.

Mr. Dickie


Friday, October 16, 2009

Windows 7

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end of life. (Robert Louis Stevenson in One More Day by Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, 24 September)

[I'll] ... add a spiritual dimension to my life; then I will never be alone in dealing with whatever troubles may appear. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 4 September)

We can change negatives into positives, but it requires time and great emotional effort. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 9 October)

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden,
Than anywhere else on earth.


Yesterday at the Computer Club meeting one of the members talked about the factors to consider before making a decision whether to upgrade your computer to Windows 7. Afterwards I got to thinking, "I've become obsolete." He discussed what people using Windows XP would need to consider and what people using Windows Vista would need to consider. He didn't mention Windows 2000 and I didn't bother to ask. Windows 2000 Professional is the operating system installed on my laptop that broke and the desktop computer I'm using now. Maybe that's fortunate. If I want to use Windows 7 all I need to do is buy a new computer with the operating system installed.

I'm having fun making Facebook friends with some family members of the younger generation. For the first time some of our relatives in the United States have become my friends.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Joan Baez

The root of much griping, depression, and sorrow lies in our failure to remember, claim, and celebrate God's graciousness. (Marilyn E. Thornton in The Upper Room Disciplines - 2006, 27 September)

Make an honest assessment of what behaviors in your life do not match up to your values so you can become aware of how they are affecting you. (Ric Engram, Pace Yourself, 2 October)

Illnesses of the mind are much more dangerous than illnesses of the body. (Marcus Tullius Cicero in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 6 October)

Yesterday evening we had rain and the temperature continued to drop. Melva asked me to turn on the furnace for the first time. I alway enjoy this moment because it seems like it takes ten to fifteen minutes to make the cut-over from air conditioning. I'm always anxious until I feel some heat coming from one of the vents.

I worked on updates to the Computer Club website. We are converting the course descriptions to PDF files. I've done all I can. There are two web pages on the Senior Center website that need updates to complete the necessary changes. I'm not certain who to contact. Maybe I'll find that out tomorrow.

In the evening I watched the hour and a half PBS show about Joan Baez on American Masters. I thought it was moving and inspiring. I didn't realize how involved she was in the Civil Rights movement. There were many film clips and stills of times when she was alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. She is a wonderful example to all of us of a person who has lived her beliefs all of her life.

It seems like every time I sign up for some Internet service there is a request to create a profile. I wonder if I have lost track of the number of times I've done this. I know I have a profile on AOL. I'm not certain whether it is an AIM or a Bebo profile. I have another profile associated with my four Google blogs. And there's another Google profile that's part of Gmail and other Google applications that I'm using. Last night I updated the the Google profile associated with the Gmail and other applications. This profile is interesting because it includes a display of photos from my Picasa account and it allows me to create a list of hyperlinks to other webpages. Here's the URL for this profile.

Mr. Dickie's Profile on Google

Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Google Reader

No one is innocent beyond childhood. (Touchstones, 8 October)

Just for today, get clear about the differences between what you need and what you want. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today!, 27 September)

Opportunties for spiritual growth, as well as new character defects, pop up like weeds in a newly mown lawn ... (Courage to Change, 6 October)


Yesterday I discovered a program on my desktop computer that I must have forgotten about. I probably never used it. The purpose of the program is to convert a text file to an HTML file. I think it is also supposed to convert RTF files to HTML. That didn't seem to work. Because text files don't have any typesetting commands I don't see much usefulness in the program. Finding it got me thinking about whether there are other programs on my old desktop computer that I have forgotten.

I'm using Google Reader. Until yesterday the only blogs I was following were on Google. I installed a link to a blog on WordPress. It worked.

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Focused Search

My daily life should be a living demonstration of the principles of [my] ... program. (Alan L. Roeck, Look To This Day, 29 September)

My health difficulties can strengthen my attitude and my actions. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 22 September)

[Often] Without realizing it, we're looking for trouble and are ready to fasten on little things that we could easily pass over if we really wanted our own peace of mind. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 8 October)


I've been practicing with a way of entering search terms when I'm using Google search. I also tried it with Lycos. This method focuses the search on a particular website. It's very useful if you are doing genealogy.

For example, you can use this search string to find all of the "Henthorn" occurrences on GenForum. To the left of the word "site:" enter "Henthorn" followed by a space and to the right of "site:" with no space enter the abbreviated (I leave off the http://www) URL of the website you want to search.


I'll write more about this on my genealogy "News" blog.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, October 12, 2009


We don't make significant progress in our thinking if we're only listening to ourselves think. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 29 September)

...magical thinking... will take you on a carpet ride to nowhere. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today!, 3 September)

Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself. (Louisa May Alcott in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 25 September)


I used my neighbors saw to cut away the damaged flooring in our shed and I bent all of the protruding nails in the walls out of the way. There's lots of work left to do before I'll finish the project. It's hard work for an old back and knees.

When my laptop computer stopped working I lost track of what I have to do in order to sign on to my Verizon FIOS accounts. I was relying on some desktop icons that the installer placed on my computer. I looked for a 3x5 card with a record of what I needed to know. Of course, there wasn't one. Luckily I finally remembered enough to get signed on. I paid attention to business this time and prepared a card. Once I got signed on Verizon asked me to verify my Email address. I don't know what that's all about. They had to send me a three-digit code as part of the process. For some reason they sent the message twice with different codes. I tried the first code and it didn't work. That was because the code in the second message took precedence.

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stand Together

Spirituality is living our faith and believing from the heart, the very center of our being, that we are loved by God. (Gary Holloway in The Upper Room Disciplines - 2006, 28 August)

We need to stand together to oppose the destructive forces around us. (Touchstones, 5 October)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Mess in the Shed

Photo: Aztech New Media

Today, I will do what I can within the limits of one day... (Touchstones, 30 August)

Procrastination is the thief of time. (Edward Young in Touchstones, 30 August) whatever it takes, whatever you need to do, to order your life, let go of excess baggage and consciously focus on what is important. (Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Day 269)


Fifteen years ago, in 1994, I built a storage shed from a kit. The floor of the shed was chipboard. I wonder who thought that was a good idea. I also wonder why I didn't replace the flooring that came in the kit without something better. A section of the flooring, two feet side and eight feet long, soaked up water like a sponge. It finally fell apart under the vinyl tiles I'd put on top of it. Yesterday I worked for several hours to remove the bad section and clean up the mess. I have two pieces of treated plywood, left over from when I had new shed doors built. I think I can repair the damage once I purchase another treated 2x4 to place in the middle of the opening.

Mr. Dickie

Friday, October 9, 2009

Back in Touch

It may be difficult to break a long-established pattern of depression, doom-sayings, and complaining, but it's worth the effort. (Courage to Change, 5 October)

When we allow ourselves to grieve, we release the negative thoughts and emotions that make it easier to accept the change. (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 30 September)


Recently I enjoyed getting back in touch with two friends I made through the genealogy hobby. I appreciate that the Internet, Email, Facebook, websites and so on makes it more likely that we won't lose touch with people we enjoy.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We Can Choose to Do Without

At some point, we chose everything in our lives. If we wish, we can choose to do without .... When we feel suffocated by our possessions and obligations, it's good to clear our minds and think about what we really want. Many of us don't think about our values consciously until they become a source of pain. (The Promise of a New Day, 17 September)

Don't make the mistake of thinking you have no choice. (Kay Arthur, Search My Heart, O God, 28 August)

I will spend more time with myself in this lifetime than with anyone else. (Courage to Change, 3 October)
Yesterday I continued to work in the yard. I dug up another azalea from the flowerbed by the front porch. We haven't decided where we are going to put it. I also removed the spreading grass from around three azaleas near the kitchen door. While clearing the grass I was reminded that at one time I placed marble chips on the ground near the side flowerbed. Now I regret doing that because it is going to be difficult to remove them. I've long since forgotten why I put them there in the first place.

Yesterday I had a very nice surprise when I received an Email from Gene Conger of Cincinnati, Iowa. We hadn't been in touch for a long time. He wanted to know what happened to my AOL website which was taken off the Internet at the end of October 2008. And he told me that he had moved his family website to It took me quite a while to find his homepage. I actually didn't find it the first time I looked. I think I spent at least a half-hour searching for it. I never did understand why I had so much trouble finding it. I posted the URL to my "News" blog and to my Delicious. Maybe this will make it easier to find.

While searching for Gene's website I discovered a nice biography for Sarah Jane (Pike) Conger who was married to Edwin Conger who served as a U.S. Ambassador. I posted that URL to the "News" and Delicious.

Jim came for an evening visit. He told me an interesting story about what happened when his laptop screen went "white." Blank screens are gut wrenching.

This morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m. I didn't try to go back to sleep. I put the new Concierto de Aranjuez CD in the player and listened to it with my head phones while I did my daily reading. I'm almost caught up. I'm seven days behind in reading from "Until Today!" a book that I recommend highly.

Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Opps! They Did It Again

The cure for discouragement is encouragement. (Kay Arthur, Search My Heart, O God, 17 September)

When we cleanse, heal and bring ourselves into balance, everyone in our lives will do the same or disappear. (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 20 September)

... an honest appraisal of many of my reactions shows me I have too often resorted to futile and childrish tricks to acheive what I wanted. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 21 September)


The other day a general or generals spoke out about the war in Afghanistan. Almost immediately the current administration ordered the generals to stop talking to the news media. We are back to business as usual. The government wants to wage war and keep the American people in the dark. I think the leaders justify this by saying, "The facts would be too upsetting to the people." Isn't the real reason they don't want us to hear the truth because they know that the people of this country would demand the withdrawal of our military if they they had the facts?

A few days ago the Chancellor of the District of Columbia school system fired 200 teachers. There is a reason she is called Chancellor and not Superintendent. But, that's another story. We are now a month into the current school year. Isn't that too late for rebuilding the teaching staff? How is this leader going to replace 200 teachers while school is in session? What are the children going to do in the meantime? What was the school administration doing during the summer months? Who hired this woman and what were her qualifications?

I don't believe a single person in a leadership position when they tell us, "I (we) have the situation under control."

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When Kings Quarrel

Is there anything more absurd than a person having a right to kill me because we live on two opposite banks of the river, and our kings quarrel with each other? (Blaise Pascal in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 29 September)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Maintaining and Expanding Contacts

Most people act, not according to their meditations, and not according to their feelings, but as if hypnotized, based on some senseless repetition of patterns. (Anonymous in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 28 September)

Sometimes you have chosen to overlook certain behaviors for so long that you will be unable to see how negative they are. (Ric Engram, Pace Yourself, 27 September)


I had a good weekend expanding and maintaining my contacts. On Sunday I enjoyed two nice phone calls, one with my cousin Fran and the other with my genealogy friend, Bob. It was also a good weekend for adding Facebook friends. My Conger family friend, Job, and I established a Facebook friendship. I also made friends with cousins, Jean and Julie. And I sent friendship requests to cousins, Jodie and Kristyna. And, I'll probably send another request to cousin, Melanie. I had a nice Facebook chat with our niece, Samantha, in Panama. I posted the URL of the website of John, our artist friend in Panama, to Mr. Dickie's Blog and to my Delicious.

I see I repeated myself. I guess that's because I want you to know what I'm excited about.

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, October 4, 2009

John L. Haines - Artist

The website of our artist friend, John L. Haines. He and his lovely wife, Esther, live in Panama. Melva and I own two of John's paintings.

Genealogy Blogs

Photo: Aztec New Media

Negative thoughts can rule our lives as compulsively as an addiction. (Touchstones, 14 September)

The most helpful thing we can do for someone is to listen and care; then we need to be ready to let go of the outcome. (Touchstones, 16 September)


Yesterday we finished the project to build a two-course retainer wall around the smaller flowerbed in the front yard. I had to break one block and place it in the bottom course to make everything come out even on the top course. Melva also helped me plant some of the zoysia grass in the backyard where I want to kill the clover.

Cousin, Jean, and friend, Job, became Facebook friends. I also joined the GeneaBloggers group on Facebook. My genealogy "News" blog is registered on GeneaBloggers and the "Obits" blog is registered on Genealogy Blog Finder. Job wrote a five-chapter autobiography and posted it to the Internet. I created a posting on my "News" with hot-links to each of the five chapters. I enjoyed reading the first autobiography chapter in the evening.

Mr. Dickie

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Email Me From Google Blogs

When a person drowns himself in negative thinking he is committing an unspeakable crime against himself. (Maxwell Maltz in Touchstones, 14 September)

Nothing is either good or bad. It's thinking that makes it so. (William Shakespeare in Courage to Change, 15 September)


Yesterday I posted a collection of Henthorn genealogy research extracts to my genealogy "News" blog. The information came from different sources. It describes the early presence of members of the Henthorn family in this country. I'm pleased that this information is once again available on the Internet after a years absence.

I spent three hours yesterday working in the yard. The end is now in sight on the project to put retainer blocks around the smaller flowerbed in the front yard. I went to buy the stones for the second course as part of my effort.

I'm somewhat concerned that it isn't easy to print information from a Google blog. In the case of genealogy information there are two ways to look at this issue. Do I want to make it hard for viewers to obtain copies of my work or do I want to make it easy. I think I discovered a way to get around the problem. If this is something that is troubling to folks reading my blogs you can ask me about it.

Did you know that you can find my Email address in the profile of my Google blogs? Look for the profile introduction in the blog sidebar. There's a place at the bottom of the box where you can click to bring up the entire profile. Then look for the "hot spot" on the left and click on it to send Email.

Mr. Dickie

Friday, October 2, 2009

Five Hundredth Posting

Photo: Aztech New Media

Just for today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. (From Just For Today found in Courage to Change, 27 September)

...we can get unlimited benefits from changing our way of thinking. No realistic, reasonable person would consider this an easy task; indeed, there is nothing more difficult in life! (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 24 September)

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. (Winston Churchill in One More Day by Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, 15 September)


Yesterday I made the 500th posting to Mr. Dickie's Blog.

Yesterday I attended the computer club meeting in Bowie, MD. All of the officers, except the Vice President/Program Chairman, agreed to run again. Dan, the outgoing Program Chairman, will be sorely missed. He has done a great job finding speakers. Thank you Dan for the work you did for the rest of us. Several of the club members discussed what appeared to be rather serious issues with their computers. Everyone is struggling constantly to keep their machines running. In my opinion, it's no fun.

In the evening I added a "gadget" to my Arrow Prayers blog that will display "Words of Jesus Christ." I'm not sure I like how it works because there are some ads at the bottom of the scrolling window. It will be fun to see how it works and to see if anyone comments about the ads.

I'm enjoying being able to post to my Google blogs and to Delicious from the Firefox browser. I think in time I will wean myself away from AOL and it's version of Internet Explorer.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The National Parks Struggle

The PBS program about the history of the National Parks system is interesting and the narration and the photographs are very appealing. There's one point that keeps coming up. Creating each monument or park was a stuggle and very often it was a close call whether the places would be destroyed before the government could protect the land. Another critical part of the process of setting aside these parks was that the Congress often failed to appropriate funds. Many times the land was purchased with the money of the rich, which was ironic since many of them made their money in the railroad, timber, oil and mining businesses.

Watch Ken Burn's PBS Show on the National Parks

Photo: Aztech New Media

Good judgment, a careful sense of timing, courage and prudence - these are the qualities we ... [all] need ... (From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, found in Daily Reflections, 13 September, p. 83)

It is good to have some unplanned, unstructured time in each day. (Touchstones, 21 September)

We all can name people in our lives who are wise: people who bring out the best in us, people whose lives make our lives gentler or more noble or more inspired. (The Upper Room Disciplines - 2006, 21 September)


I went to Lowe's yesterday to buy concrete retainer blocks for Melva's second flowerbed project. This circle will be small in diameter. I bought the smaller and cheaper blocks. I don't know how to estimate the number of blocks needed. I took a guess and bought twenty-five blocks to start.

Today is the election meeting at the Computer Club. I'm not sure they have a candidate for the position of Vice President/Program Chairman. That's a critical position because the meetings wouldn't be so interesting if we didn't have formal programs.

I hope you are finding time to watch, at least some of, the Ken Burn's PBS program about the National Parks. I think the words used in the narration add a great deal to the program.

Mr. Dickie