Jul 302009

Michigan, like most other US states is in dire economic troubles. For Michigan perhaps more than other states, it has been going on for a long time, perhaps too closely tied to the US auto industry.

In early July, Governor Granholm issued her Executive Order 2009-36 breaking up the HAL – the department of History, Arts and Library. Unless this order is vetoed within 60 days by the Michigan Legislature, it will take effect on 1 October. At this time the Library will fall under control of the Department of Education, whose Superintendent is instructed to take further cost saving steps.

Much has been written and postulated about what this might mean: Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:56 pm
Jul 262009

On Saturday 25 July, Don and I headed out from Grand Rapids to Owosso to see 8 working steam locomotives at “Train Festival 2009“. The star of the show was Southern Pacific #4449 – a monster steam engine (weighs about 433 tons with tender attached) from 1941 that had travelled from Oregon to be at this event. This locomotive was completely refurbished from 1974-1976 so that it could be “America’s Freedom Train” during the Bi-Centennial celebrations of 1976. SP4449 has its own website here, including a great video made during its cross country trip in July 2009 to get to Owosso.

Southern Pacific #4449

Southern Pacific #4449

Continue reading »

Jul 242009

A few hours after I wrote the below…

FamilySearch Indexing support replied to my eMail(s) to them with this link


which covers both Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5.


I noted with some excitement last evening that FamilySearch Indexing had a project underway with a New Zealand flavour to it – “New Zealand—Passenger Lists, 1871–1915”, so I thought this was the incentive I needed to get back to indexing – something I hadn’t done in quite a few months. But alas I couldn’t get the FamilySearchIdexing application to start up – no matter what I tried it generated an error “Unable to start the Application”.

Some Googling led me to this page https://help.familysearch.org/publishing/301/103757_f.SAL_Public.html which provided the hint as to where to look, but unfortunately those directions aren’t directly applicable to Mac OS X 10.5.7 which I’m running.

So this page lists what I did to fix this problem. NOTE – these instructions apply to Mac OS X 10.5.x

Go to your Macintosh HD ——> Applications ——> Utilities folder and find the icon “Java Preferences”. Double click that to open it, and then click on the Network tab

Picture 1

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:07 am
Jul 072009

Noticed this today while watering the garden around the ponds – the first frog seen in the pond this year. He was sitting up on a lily pad – watching all the little bugs running around on top of the water, eying them up for lunch perhaps?

The Frog and the Lily Pad

The Frog and the Lily Pad

 Posted by at 10:01 pm
Jul 052009

We went to downtown Grand Rapids after Dinner Club at Don and Mindy’s place – a nice 2 mile stroll with Don and Mindy, Rob and Geneann, Bob and Bobbi, Roger and Lisa. 2 cars with chairs, and a drinks cooler had been pre-positioned there earllier so we were all set. We sat in the Sixth Street Park and watched the fireworks which were  to the south of us along the Grand River.

Don had got us these really cool “Fireworks Glasses” – they look like the olde style 3-D glasses, but have clear lenses which somehow refract the light from a point of light giving a nice effect.

Jul 022009

It’s that time of year again it seems – young critturs are everywhere around the place. For a week or more we’ve been having the Downy Woodpeckers bringing their young to the suet feeder on the porch outside our lounge window to feed them suet and show them how this upside down thing works.

Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpeckers

Tonight as I went out the front door to fill the bird feeders I caught a glimpse of some brown on the grass to the south of the house, and wondered what tree limb had fallen down, but quite quickly realised I was looking at two fawns sitting down on the grass.



I managed to walk out onto the lawn to get a better view before they really realised I was there. Continue reading »

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