Belated spring yard chores, pool opening and patio cleaning

Posted By on May 25, 2019

It feels a late start to opening the “mudhole” I mean “muddy” pool … this year as our trips to Florida have set me back on the usual spring chores. I think the earliest we have opened the pool as been March, but this year is about the latest that I can recall, although I’ve been working on the yard and Brenda on her mounds and plants.

PoolCleaning190524

We are also unfortunately closing in on having to drain and fully refinish the pool since replacing tiles (lost a few more this year) and patching can only happen so many times. I no longer have any additional tiles to replace those that have broken and Gunite is flaking pretty bad in several location. The refinishing $$$ number is not one that is appealing … let alone the summer downtime after draining in order to begin the work.

For now, the pump is running and cover put away (thanks for the hand Taylor). Patio and furniture cleaning this Memorial Day weekend and hopefully I can start the mulch next week?

Political unrest is impacting economy and financial markets

Posted By on May 24, 2019

OilDeclines190523The political tension around the globe, along with the trade battle between the United States and China, have put a damper on what was a relatively good economy here in the U.S.  Add to those challenging international negotiations, the deepening divide between many Democrats still seeking to impeach President Trump in control of Congress are furthering their investigation into Trump’s finances, has added to investor’s concern.

On Thursday, the stock market took a big hit as money shifted from equities to fixed income and U.S. Treasuries. The oil market also took note as the sentiment shifted from a continued stronger world demand for oil to the possibility of a slowdown. The price of crude moved lower than the recent $60+/barrel number to $57+ as inventories build DJIA5day190523and oil traders question the recent economically positive news that pushed oil higher.

For traders … perhaps the volatility offers a chance to make money by trading… but for long term investors, the heavy selling on Thursday based on political wrangling and public animus is painful to watch.

My advice, if you are saving for retirement and have a longer time horizon, just don’t open your account statement this month.

Once upon a time when studying black and white photography …

Posted By on May 23, 2019

Edouard_Boubat_1943I had several hobbies as a teenager, but photography was one that I thought might lead to a career. It “sort of did” since it opened the doors to eventually starting a printing and publishing company.

When studying photography, several names of recognized photographers were published in the magazines and books. One French photographer that I was reminded of in a tweet this past week was Edouard Boubat (website)who survived the Nazi work camps of World War II in France and started taking photos in Paris in 1946. As a photojournalist want-to-be, I was attracted to his black and white common street scenes and recall trying to emulate his style. My study of his work was triggered by winning summer tuition at Ohio University when I was in high school (summer of my junior year) and seeing his photo triggered a Throwback Thursday #TBT moment. Interesting memories, but it seems like lifetime ago.

tumblr_pabo2aswfx1qdjto7o1_1280Paris, 1999

Server updates, out-of-date WordPress plug-ins and a test video

Posted By on May 23, 2019

It is time to work on a few long in the tooth server updates and one of them isn’t compatible with my “old” WordPress video plug-in – it is no longer supported. There are several options that I’m testing both for my site as well as customer installs so am testing one of them with a filler video in my post below the break.

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A good economy, but we are dealing with other political issues

Posted By on May 22, 2019

StockMarketAprMay2019

Yes … the U..S economy is in good shape … but if you are an investor, these last few weeks may not have felt like the stock market is responding as it should in a good economy? Enter trade with China well primarily China. Yet there is also unrest in the Middle East with Iran’s saber rattling, Hezbollah firing rockets into Israel, Venezuela shaking their military dictator in South America, Britain with their Brexit dilemma and most of Europe in dealing with their sluggish economy and changing demographics (might as well add Russia into the mix too).

So with all of that, improving our trade agreements with China and others who have been unwilling to play fair for decades, doesn’t seem unrealistic tradedealleadersof a request. Even our internal disagreements between Democrats and Republicans … or even deeper disagreements between the socialist left and conservative right … aren’t really unsolvable or unusual for an open country permitting robust debate and disagreement. Better to deal with all these issues when the economy is strong than when it is weak. So … all in all, let’s not get too down in the mouth in dealing with our issues.  Let’s follow through with at least correcting years of intellectual property theft, unfair tariffs on US products and manipulation of currencies in order to favor China and move into the primaries and 2020 election with choices. I’d personally rather have clear cut candidates with issues to vote for rather the only differences being personality.

Investors ended last week hopeful for a quick resolution to the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Those hopes were dashed after China said it would raise tariffs on U.S. goods and President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning telecommunications equipment built by “foreign adversaries.” Further talks between the U.S. and China seem to be off the table for now.

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Happy Birthday to my brother and remembering his trees

Posted By on May 21, 2019

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An odd subject line to be sure, but several “Native Ohio trees” grown by my younger brother Ron were planted in the back of our property and they always makes me think of him. Today is his birthday and wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday. (photo from Raspberry Pi cam yesterday 5/20/2019 … reminds me that I have yardwork to do.)

Music Monday: Doobie Brothers–China Grove

Posted By on May 20, 2019

China_GroveWhenever I hear the Doobie Brothers, I can’t help but think about being back in high school and listening to my high school pep band at basketball games (while I was behind the basket shooting photos for the paper). Several songs were regularly played as I recall … China Grove, Listen to the Music and Long Train Runnin in particular come to mind.

Besides the upbeat tempo for spirit, the music was definitely a 1970s rock and roll sound, but as it was for many bands, it was difficult to keep all members happily playing together.

The Doobie Brothers had a big change near their popularity peak and in 1975 the lead vocalist Tom Johnston quit the group. He was replaced by Michael McDonald and so began the debate as to which Doobie Brothers you preferred.  The first YouTube archived concert video is from 1974 with Tom Johnston.

The second below is with Michael McDonald in 1982:

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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.
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