Over-55 and active

Random musings from a guy who's old enough to know better!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Henry Louis Gates, Jr, and the Law

Who's telling the truth?

"Professor Gates, who has taught at Harvard for nearly two decades, arrived home on Thursday from a trip to China to find his front door jammed, said Charles J. Ogletree, a law professor at Harvard who is representing him.

"He forced the door open with the help of his cab driver, Professor Ogletree said, and had been inside for a few minutes when Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department appeared at his door and asked him to step outside.

"Professor Gates, 58, refused to do so, Professor Ogletree said. From that point, the account of the professor and the police began to differ.

"According to his lawyer, Professor Gates told the sergeant that he lived there and showed his Massachusetts driver’s license and his Harvard identification card, but Sergeant Crowley still did not seem to believe that Professor Gates lived in the home, a few blocks from Harvard Square. At that point, his lawyer said, Professor Gates grew frustrated and asked for the officer’s name and badge number.

"According to the police report, Professor Gates initially refused to show identification.

"In the report, Sergeant Crowley said a white female caller had notified the police around 12:45 p.m. of seeing two black men on the porch of the home, at 17 Ware Street. The caller, who met the police at the house, was suspicious after seeing one of the men 'wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry,' according to the report.

"Sergeant Crowley said that as he told Professor Gates he was investigating a possible break-in, Professor Gates exclaimed, 'Why, because I’m a black man in America?' and accused the sergeant of racism."

Given that Professor Gates was confrontational, I believe the cop -- that Gates refused to show ID.

I certainly hope that if a neighbor of mine saw two people -- any people!! -- apparently forcing entry into my house, they would call the cops. And I also hope that the cops would ask for ID.

And I'm sorry to say that if someone sees two black men forcing their way into a private home, there is a chance that they are up to no good. That's not "profiling"; that's statistics!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Never Buy A Gateway Computer!! OOPS!!

I bought a Gateway DX42000UB001A from Dealtree.com )a BestBuy company) via eBay at the end of April this year and got it on May 5th.

It began emitting random beeps -- random in frequency of occurrence and random in the number of beeps per occurrence.

After a number of emails and telephone calls to Gateway's Technical support (both levels 1 and 2) for troubleshooting, I was permitted to return the unit to Gateway's Repair Center in Texas (on my dime!) They got it on 6/27 and shipped it back on 6/30. I plugged it in and the beeping problem was still there.

I went through the same process as before and sent it back, this time on Gateway's dime. They got it on 7/11 and shipped it back on 7/15. It still beeps.

I called tech support again and eventually got to a level 2 person who told me that Gateway has a "repair-only" policy and that I could not get a replacement computer!!! So today I'm sending it back again. I guess I will continue to do this until they get tired of me.

Oh, yes. The first time they returned it to me, one of the feet on the bottom of the computer as missing. The level 2 person told me that they do not stock feet and I would have to PURCHASE MY OWN REPLACEMENT!!!

Here is the last suggestion they sent me on June 8:

Please restart your computer and press F8. Advanced Boot option will appear. Please get into safe mode and check out whether the same problem occur. If the problem still persists, lick on Start Menu-->Right click on My computer-->Go to properties-->Select Hardware-->Device Manager-->click on View Menu-->click on Show Hidden devices-->click on Non-plug and play drivers-->right click on Beep-->DISABLE IT. Really!

I checked the warranties for Dell, Micro Express, eMachines, Lenovo, Acer, Sony and Toshiba and they ALL have "repair or replace"!! Polywell does not.

Update: I just checked Gateway's warranty and they DO have "repair or replace"!! That guy LIED to me!!!

I have learned my lesson.


Problem solved!!! During its third visit to Gateway Repair, my computer met a tech who called me and asked if I had had it plugged in to a UPS and when I said "Yes", she asked, "Along with how many other computers?" Gulp!!

I have a 550VA UPS and never thought that a Dell with a 350W PS and a Gateway with a 300W PS could overload it, but when I got the Gateway back today, I connected it to a Kill-A-Watt and then directly to the wall socket. At idle, it drew about 200 VA. When PRIME95 was running, the reading shot up to about 300VA!! And there's no beeping.

So I owe Gateway Repair an apology.

In retrospect, the ironic thing here is that had I disabled the on-board beeper as was suggested in desperation by a level 1 person, I would have realized that the beeps were not coming from the computer!!!

Live and learn.

Friday, March 13, 2009

February Trip to Beantown

It was cold but not snowing when we made the Winter 09 pilgrimage to New England, where the Bruins and Celtics were winning and the Red Sox and Patriots were distant memories.

We have pictures of darling Sara with Cathy, Lisa and Erica; the hand that Sara painted (isn't Cathy a saint to put up with that?); the snow that came off A&A's roof (more than we got in NJ!!); Sara practicing her piano lessons; Lisa and Sara; Sara painting Cathy; Desert; Cathy and James; Jenn and Lisa; James; Sara's tea party; Alisa's mom; Alisa; Erica; and Alan.

(Hit the symbol in the lower-right corner to get full-screen!)

Downhill Skier

I present the following pictures w/o comment. :-)

(Hit the symbol in the lower-right corner for full-screen!)

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I've had this respiratory thing for several weeks now and went to my primary on Jan 13. He put me on an antibiotic and a nasal spray and told me to use my "rescue" inhaler four times a day. I got immediate relief.

I went back to him on Jan 27 and he did a PFT (pulmonary function test - you take a deep breath and expel it hard and fast into a device that calculates FVC ("forced vital capacity") and FEV1 ("forced expire volume in the first second"). Then he calculated the significant ratios FEV1/FVC and FEV1/predicted FEV1. The predicted FEV1 comes from a formula that is derived statistically from clinical tests of healthy people. It depends on age, height, gender and ethnicity. I found a paper by Hankinson (“Spirometric Reference Values from a Sample of the General U.S. Population”, JOHN L. HANKINSON, JOHN R. ODENCRANTZ, and KATHLEEN B. FEDAN, AM J RESPIR CRIT CARE MED 1999;159:179–187 should you care to look it up!) and he has the most complex equation because it also uses the square of the age and the square of the height in the calculation.

To make a long story short, my ratios are

FEV1/FVC 0.816
FEV1/predicted FEV1 0.793

However, my primary made a miscalculation and came up with 0.70 and 0.73, respectively. That he said is stage II COPD!!!

Stage I COPD has ratios of 0.80 or higher and less than 0.70, respectively.

So despite his diagnosis, I do not have COPD.

The question is, do I tell him? :-)

In the long view, it probably doesn't matter because COPD is not curable and he will probably then get on my back about losing weight and exercising! I am limiting my between-meals eating and sticking to just breakfast and dinner, and I'm doing Cathy's back exercises but I should get on the stationary bike and the exercise machine.

P.S.: I'm feeling much better now and have just about stopped using my rescue inhaler.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Political Spectrum Quiz

Now that the election is over, I'm finding who I am. :-)


My Political Views
I am a left social moderate
Left: 4.36, Libertarian: 0.37

Foreign Policy:

On the left side are pacifists and anti-war activists. On the right side are those who want a strong military that intervenes around the world. I scored: -0.85

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -0.85


Where are you in the culture war? On the liberal side, or the conservative side? This scale may apply more to the US than other countries. I scored: -3.13

What are you?

Political Spectrum Quiz

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Congratulations, Judy!!

My sister called me from Honolulu, excited to tell me that she had finally achieved the goal of all duplicate bridge players. She became a Life Master!!!

Mazel tov, Kiddo!!! Keep rolling up the master points!!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year

Ah, where to begin? It's just past New Years Day so let me wish all of you a happy, wealthy and -- dare I say it? -- prosperous new year. Like everyone else, my pension account took about a 20% hit so I guess we won't be going to Hawaii this year. :-)

In other areas, it was a pretty good year. Cathy got certified in a whole bunch of things, so she's pretty close to being certifiable. (Just kidding!!). And I got a bunch of master points in bridge. Not enough challenge my sister-the-bridge-maven, but enough for me. :-)

I have lots of pictures for you, starting with Thanksgiving. (My, I am behind, aren't I!)

We had Bill & Drew and niece Wendy over for dinner. Here are a few pictures.

To celebrate not having to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years Day for the first time in 11 years, Cathy made Christmas dinner for us, Steve, Wendy and Wendy's housemate, MingZhu. The photos show some of our (really Cathy's!) decorations.

Cathy had been given a Chinese bowl -- perhaps brass - by Joanne and Sturge and it had some Chinese writing on the bottom. MingZhu read it as Ming Dynasty, 1429!!

And we had a "Lucky Strike Extra" visit from Sara and Alan over Cathy's birthday. She made dinner (so what else is new?) and Bill and Drew came to visit their niece.

While they were here, Alan, Cathy and Sara went to a children's museum in Cherry Hill and we also lighted the menorah! And Sara got new shoes, too.

In sports, I'm looking forward to seeing just how far the Eagles can go in the post-season. It was a shame that the Patriots didn't get into the playoffs but they did that to themselves. The Celtics are having another great year and the Bruins are a happy surprise. I'm glad that Mark Texeira didn't sign with the Red Sox because I believe that (a) Kevin Youkilis will have another great year and (b) Mike Lowell will come back from his injuries to provide another steady performance.

Ta ta!!