CAROUSEL AND CALLIOPE

WHAT SAYS SUMMER BETTER THAN A CALLIOPE


I added some calliope music for the calliope enthusiasts (I am one!) and those who have never had the pleasure of hearing a real, old-fashioned steam calliope. Enjoy!

72-jubilant-carousel_016

There is no music that makes me as nostalgic as the pumping of a steam calliope on an old carousel. There aren’t many working calliopes remaining, so if you get a chance to spend time with one, don’t miss it!

And, if you play a keyboard, playing a calliope is truly something else!

IF TELEVISION WAS REAL – BY TOM CURLEY

I watch a lot of TV. Probably too much. I’m fond of action shows. I’m really fond of all the various comic book shows.


The single thing these shows have in common is they all have at least one computer genius. A girl or guy geek who’s the best hacker in the business. They always have at least a half-dozen computer monitors in front of them. Each one has 10 or more windows open with lines of data scrolling by at about a hundred miles an hour. They can do anything and everything. Instantly.

falcontradingsystems.com

falcontradingsystems.com

BOSS: I know this is illegal, but I need you to hack into the CIA, NSA and FBI servers. They have the most secure and impenetrable firewalls ever designed. Can you do it?

COMPUTER GENIUS: I was into all three 15 seconds ago, sir. The ones that work for the FBI can find anything in 10 seconds or less.

FBI BOSS: Our serial killer is male, early thirties, white, and probably living in a two square mile region south of Albany, Georgia. He’s left handed  and likes string cheese. We need to narrow our search …

FBI COMPUTER GENIUS: Found him! His photo, home address and a copy of his permanent High School record have already been sent to your phone.

Not the real bad guy

Probably not the real bad guy, but this got me to thinking. What would these shows look like if they were happening in the real world?

BOSS OF SUPER SECRET GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION TASKED WITH SAVING THE WORLD FROM SUPER BAD EVIL DOERS:  OK, listen up. You two are the world’s best black hat and white hat hackers. We’ve brought you here because a Super Bad Evil Doer has stolen software that will allow him to access all the world powers’ nuclear codes. He is demanding 1 trillion dollars in ransom or he will launch all the missiles at once and destroy the Earth. You each have a whole bunch of computer screens in front of you with dozens of boxes open scrolling lines and lines of stuff. You have less than 10 minutes to somehow find our Evil Doer and figure out a way to block him from launching those missiles. Can you do it?

HACKER #1: Yes, but we will need to write some specialized software, at least 10 to 20 thousand lines of code.

BOSS: My God!  Can you do it in time???

HACKER #2: Already done sir. Now all we have to do is upload it to the Evil Doer’s computer. Ready to send in 3, 2 ….

HACKER #1: NO! NO! NO!

HACKER #2: What’s wrong? OH GOD NO! NO! NO!

BOSS: What’s happening?!

HACKER #1: My computer is shutting down!!

HACKER #2: MINE TOO!

BOSS: Are you being hacked? Have your computers been infiltrated by some kind of malicious software? Does the Evil Doer have a genius hacker of his own???

HACKER #1: WORSE! Windows just installed updates! It’s rebooting so the updates can take effect!

windows shut down

BOSS: Can you stop it!??

HACKER #2: It’s too late! Look! It’s already started rebooting and configuring the updates!

windowsupdateinstalling_40853_l

BOSS: There’s nothing you can do???!

HACKER #2: No sir. Look at the screen. It says “Please do not power off or unplug your machine while updates are in progress”!

windows updates 1

BOSS: How long will it take to reboot?

HACKER #1: God only knows! Look! It’s still installing update six of ten! This could take an hour! Even more.

BOSS: We have less than ten minutes before nuclear Armageddon! What are we going to?

HACKER #1: Wait! I’ve got it! I can use my smart phone!

HACKER #2: Yes! We will have to adapt about 15 thousand lines of code but …

HACKER #1: It’s done! OK now all I have to do is input and send the kill command. “NEUTRALIZE ALL NUCLEAR LAUNCH CODES”. And … done!

BOSS: Thank God!

HACKER #2: Oh NO! You entered “NEUTRALIZE ALL NUCLEAR LUNCH CODES”!!

HACKER #1: What?! Damn you AUTOCORRECT!

autocorrect

BOSS: What do we do now!!

HACKER #2: You know what? Pay the ransom. I’ve had it with Windows. I mean look, it’s still on update 6 of 10! We’re going to be here all day!

HACKER #1: I agree. Pay the money. This is just too much trouble. I’m telling you, ever since my phone updated to iOS 9.0.1, nothing works right.

HACKER #2: Tell me about it.

ios-9-overnight-update

As the two hackers walk off into the sunset discussing whether or not upgrading to Windows 10 would make the situation better or worse, small mushroom clouds appear in the distance.

doodleordie.com

doodleordie.com

Yeah, that’s pretty much how it would happen. Here’s the actual TV show.

 

VOLUNTEERING – MAKING IT WORK – BY ELLIN CURLEY

When I lived in New York City in the 1980’s, I did volunteer work for AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. They are not a PAC, despite those letters in their name. They are a lobby group, dedicated to promoting a strong American-Israeli relationship and supporting pro-Israel policies in the U.S. Congress. As part of that larger mission, they strive to keep Americans and their government informed about issues relating to Israel and the Jewish community all over the world.

The point of this story has nothing to do with AIPAC’s overall purpose. It has to do with my little area of influence – volunteers in the New York City office. My job was to organize the volunteers and find something for them to do. No one before me had figured out what to do with these interested and enthusiastic people.

I came up with a brilliant idea. I decided to provide educational programs in the form of discussion groups. So I started planning social evenings, usually at my home but sometimes at the home of another volunteer. I always had a few other volunteers working with me on the logistics for these evenings.

AIPAC and I provided the food and drink for the event and the speaker. I managed to find interesting speakers with expertise in a wide range of issues. It turned out to be a very popular format. The interactive discussions were very lively, enjoyable and informative.

Some of these subjects involved specific issues faced by Israel and the Arabs in the Middle East. Some involved the plight of Jews being persecuted in other parts of the world. I remember there was a crisis in Ethiopia that resulted in a mass emigration of poor Ethiopian Jews to Israel. This caused serious assimilation problems in Israel, which we talked about. Another major topic was antisemitism in the U.S. One evening focused on Louis Farrakhan, a charismatic black religious leader and activist who praised Hitler. We had a video of a speech he gave saying that Hitler’s main failing was that he didn’t do a thorough enough job on the Jews.

I kept these events going for about two years. We got good turn outs and rave reviews. This was the only ongoing AIPAC program in the entire New York area.

I was proud that I created a successful format that got people involved and educated. But sadly, I couldn’t find anyone to run the program when I left. I’m afraid it just died out. But I took what could have been a pro forma, nothing job and turned it into something. And I had fun doing it.

HISTORIC DOGS – PETITE BASSET GRIFFON VENDEEN – AT THE BRIDGE

Three sleeping PBGVs (Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen) from left to right, Tinker, Griffin, and Pagan. Now at the Bridge. I hope you have the comfiest sofas for your naps.

Tinker as a pup

Once upon a time, we had three furry noisy smelly hounds called PBGVs, or Petites … or, correctly, Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen. Shaggy long-backed short-legged French rabbit hounds. They were funny and smart and had the most musical … and loud … voices I’ve ever heard. Tinker was insanely destructive till the day she passed. Griffin was a cuddly and always ready to entertain you. He loved to make you laugh. Pagan was the sweetest dog I’ve ever known.

They’ve all passed on … Pagan way too early for causes unknown, the other two in their time. The house is cleaner and quieter, but no dog will ever make me laugh like Griffin the clown could make me laugh, or be as totally weird as Tinker was, or as passionate about nap time as Pagan was. We’ll always miss them and never forget them.