Wasting time fixing a cheap quartz clock to put back on Encore

Posted By on March 19, 2019

QuartzClockRepair190317Nothing like getting bogged down in wasting a weekend trying to repair a quartz clock that should just be replaced!

I had the best of intentions on Saturday morning as I was up early and had my weekend project list ready to start. Initially I started to organize my workbench after ordering new bearings and seals for the Volvo diesel water pump and for a “keep away the birds” project that I’ll share tomorrow …but instead caught myself trying to fix a “cheap” quartz clock off Encore for a second time. Initially, I suspected salt air and high humidity corrosion, but after cleaning the battery terminals it still would not tick. So instead of sticking to the project list, I cracked open the case and dumped all the tiny gears all over the bench. At that point I knew I should just throw the old $10 battery clock away … but curiosity got the best of me and I needed to figure out “what makes it tick.” quartzclockin_aniEventually quartzclock_aniI cleaned the corrosion off the contacts and was able to get the mechanism to jiggle the initial gear (left). Of course I could not stop there so with a magnifying glass proceeded to put the tiny gears back together over and over again by trial and error.

Success! I now have a working clock again.

Music Monday: Eric Carmen songs and a memory from Brenda

Posted By on March 18, 2019

Here’s an Eric Carmen song (Make Me Lose Control – 1988) for Music Monday with a personal connection based on where we lived in the 1980s.

Brenda and I were talking about my blog and the fact that I include music with the occasionally a memory that it triggers. Hungry_EyesShe wondered if I included Eric Carmen, a singer/songwriter (and original Raspberries lead) that was a customer at her pharmacy in Shaker Heights, Ohio when we lived in east side suburbs for Cleveland, Ohio (University Heights, Aurora and then Hudson)?

“Nope I did not” … but even if the music wasn’t exactly my taste, it does make for a good excuse to include the above video and the below, Hungry Eyes from the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing. By the way, it was recorded in Beachwood Studios (Beachwood, OH).

  Eric Carmen – Hungry Eyes | 1987
  Raspberries – Go All The Way | 1972

A question from a novice investor planning for retirement

Posted By on March 17, 2019

Years ago I thought I could outsmart the market … and in the 1990s when the tide was lifting all boats, I could … but that was before algorithms and computerized trading. I’ve since learned not to continue that dangerous “day-trading game,” at least for the most part. Ex-dividend-dateStill, new investors see a “system” working for a few trades and often stay with it too long … things change.

An acquaintance, with a healthy retirement portfolio, asked me if I owned any dividend stocks … my answer was “yes, that it is a priority.” He questioned, “is there a best time to buy so as not to miss capturing the dividend?”

Again the answer is “yes” since most dividend stocks pay their dividend on a set schedule (often quarterly). But I sensed he was getting at something else … like, “can I buy, capture the dividend and then sell?” Again, the answer is yes, but it is not as simple as he was thinking.

A company’s’ shares, all financial things being equal, generally decrease in value about an equal amount for the dividend they pay out. For example, if a share of XYZ is selling for $100/share pre-ex-dividend date (you must buy before that day to capture the dividend) and pays out quarterly at 4% ($4/share or $1 each quarter), then the share price should and usually does drop about $1. moneymakingcloud_aniIn other words, you can’t really beat the system by buying shares pre-ex-div and then selling a day later. Also, the shares of high dividend paying stocks will often trade UP days/weeks before the ex-dividend day, depending on markets.

My advice is not to bother trying to play that game, but to own a diversified portfolio of dividend paying stock as you enter retirement. Buy good companies, watch them carefully so you’re not stuck when management short term mistakes and arrogance (happens way too often), and be happy collecting dividends. If you are reinvesting or putting money to work (for the long run), pick moments of stock market nervousness when high-quality companies are “on sale.” I personally avoid reinvestment of dividends on or near the ex-dividend date. Management of most regular dividend-paying companies are wisely planning ahead, knowing that the investors who own their company stock will likely hold it a long time … IF they continue having a stable stock price, pay consistently and regularly increase the dividend.

Great little tidbits from innovative old school woodworkers

Posted By on March 16, 2019


There are times when trying to hold or clamp irregularly shaped pieces can be difficult. Usually I resort to using my Jorgensen Handscrew clamps, but obviously with a little “old school” ingenuity, there are simpler ways! The photo above is one of those woodworking tidbit where a picture is worth a thousand words.

For more great ideas, check out Harry Bryan’s tips at Off Center Harbor.

WordPress update to 5.1.1 – testing the Editor Performance

Posted By on March 15, 2019

Just upgrading blog to WordPress 5.1.1 and needed a little text copy to try out the new editor (below). It does seem a bit snappier?

BTW, did you know WordPress now powers over 1/3rd of the top 10 million sites on the web?

Site Health

With security and speed in mind, this release introduces WordPress’s first Site Health features. WordPress will start showing notices to administrators of sites that run long-outdated versions of PHP, which is the programming language that powers WordPress.

When installing new plugins, WordPress’s Site Health features will check whether a plugin requires a version of PHP incompatible with your site. If so, WordPress will prevent you from installing that plugin.

WordPress has detected your site is running an outdated version of PHP. You will see this notice on your dashboard with instructions for contacting your host.

Editor Performance

Introduced in WordPress 5.0, the new block editor continues to improve. Most significantly, WordPress 5.1 includes solid performance improvements within the editor. The editor should feel a little quicker to start, and typing should feel smoother. Nevertheless, expect more performance improvements in the next releases.

Tech Friday and some etymology history of the word Emoji

Posted By on March 15, 2019

I enjoy receiving the occasional email on words from Science Diction (Science Friday folks) and this one from the word emoji was a good one.


READ the full history here  … or on the archived WaybackMachine LINK

Ancestry: Allen George Howard’s horse was named Gus #TBT

Posted By on March 14, 2019


Throwback Thursday posts can be interesting, especially when archiving a couple of my old photos from the early 1990s and tidbit of information that is likely not saved any MDHowardBroctonPorch1996place else (the horse’s was named Gus).

Here’s a little Howard family history (my wife’s side of the family): Brenda’s grandfather, Allen George Howard died young; it was only 4-1/2 AllenGHoward_marker170121months after the birth of his only son Frederick (Brenda’s father). Allen grew up as a farmer in western New York and learned early how to take care of animals, including horses. When World War I came, it was natural for him to work with the horses in the 307th Field Artillery unit of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front in Europe. That duty set him up for working as a mail carrier (initially horse and wagon) after the war. He married Mabel Mawhir (Granny), lived and worked in Brocton, New York and  kept his work horse in the the small barn/garage behind their house on Blood Street (more photos & Google map below).


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!