Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Great Cache Hunt

I took a day off from indexing today and went geocaching. I found more caches today than I have ever found in one previous day of caching: 30. The caches, for the most part, were conveniently strung out along a stretch of country road (gravel mostly). There was a cache hidden about every one-third mile. We saw very little traffic. There were two cattle trucks which passed us going in the opposite direction. They raised a lot of dust.

Most of the caches were microcaches, meaning the cache contained a small log and were not larger than a 35mm film canister. Most were hung from a branch of a tree. A couple were hidden under rocks; one was on the back side of guard rail. These finds brought my total number of finds up to 238.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Events of the day

I have finally reached the end of the book I am indexing. Now comes the fun part: editing the index. It is the most enjoyable part of indexing. Going through the index and correcting mistakes, pullling it all together, tightening it up, making it all hang together in a consistent way. It will take a few days to complete it.

Earlier today we had been at the Fitness Center and walked three miles and did 100 reps on the abs machine at the 110 lbs. setting. While I walked I listened to Respighi: Pines of Rome, Roman Festivals, Roman Fountains. On the way home we stopped at Subway and got a five-dollar footlong. We got a tuna on honey oat bread. We brought it home and ate it.

My son called today and asked if I would like to hunt for a couple of geocaches. I said Yes, and after the evening news we went to the area where the caches are hidden. They are located close to the TCC Fitness Center. He found the first one; I found the second.

We are planning on going back out tomorrow and doing some more caching.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vacation planning

We plan to take another vacation before the year ends. We will go first to Springfield and stay there a night. Then we will go to Troy, Missouri (home of Jim and Kay) and stay a day or two there. From there we will head up to Hannibal for a day. Then we will cross over into Illinois and go to the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. We might even work in a volkswalk and do some geocaching. We will take our laptop with us to keep in touch.

Galen, I got your message. Thanks for writing. I will try to provide you with even more sermon material in the days to come. Ha-ha.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel

I'm up to page 310 now in the book I'm indexing. Recent chapters include "The Ghassanid Sedentary Presence," "Architecture and Decorative Art," "The Monastery as a Cultural Center," "The Arabic Script," "Chivalry: The Birth of an Ideal," and "Poetry." Tomorrow I will finish up the chapter on poetry and then move into the next chapter.

There are a lot of Arabic names in this book, and I'm not sure how they are divided for sorting.


This afternoon I went guessed it, the TCC Fitness Center and walked three miles. While walking I listened to a recording on my MP3 player of ikon by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen. This is the music I listened to two and a half years ago as I recuperated from brain surgery. To hear a short sample of one of the tracks, click on the link below. Then select No. 2, "Song for Athene" (my favorite selection). Sample some of the other selections on this album. They are all good.

To hear the entire song sung by Chanticleer, click on the link below.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A broken record

I know this blog is starting to sound like a broken record. My activities from one day to the next are pretty much the same. This morning we went to the TCC Fitness Center and walked three miles, just like yesterday. Then we came home, stopping first at Papa Pat's, where we bought two pork barbecue sandwiches. He makes the best barbecue sandwiches around these parts.

After I inhaled the sandwich, I turned to indexing. It was a long hard slog, but I made to to page 290 by the time I decided to quit for the evening. That was around 9 pm. To relax, I looked at some YouTube videos. Then I went to the piano and played a few pieces. Next, I watched some Letterman.

I'm looking forward to getting a good night's sleep. In the morning, I expect to get up and do the same thing all over again. All of my freethought events for the month are over. The next happening will be Movie Night at the Bradleys, which will be the first Saturday in September.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The piano is my only relief

Gail went to a funeral this morning, so we moved our duet practice to this afternoon. Gail came over around 1:30 and we played duets for the next hour and a half.

Prior to that, J and I went to the TCC Fitness Center and walked three miles.

The reminder of my time has been spent for the most part on working on an index. It seems like a never-ending index. Will I ever get to the end of the book? I have space for an 18-page index.

Healthcare reform quote of the day

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid; Penguin; 288 pages. The following is from a review of the book in this week's Time magazine:

The U.S. health-care system is in a remedial class by itself. In no other industrialized country do 20,000 people die each year because they can't afford to see a doctor; nowhere else do 700,000 a year go bankrupt because of their medical bills. When it comes to health-care policy, an economist tells T.R. Reid, the U.S. is the "bogeyman of the world." The question Reid poses, however, isn't, What are we doing wrong? It's, What are other countries doing right--and how can the U.S. learn from them? A Washington Post correspondent with a nagging shoulder injury from his Navy days, Reid traveled the world to see how other countries' health-care systems would treat him. From Germany to Canada to Taiwan, he finds several different models for success, all with one thing in common. When considering whether a government has a moral obligation to provide access to health care for all its citizens, Reid notes, "every developed country except the United States has reached the same conclusion."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Two recent events

Over the weekend I attended two events: the Humanist Food & Fellowship on Saturday and the Tulsa Atheists Meetup on Sunday.

The Food and Fellowship was held at Monterrey's on the east side of the Fontana Center. Fourteen of us met there for some real good Mexican food. I had Chicken Cancun. Excelente! There were about four conversations going on simultaneously.

This afternoon at 1 pm was the August meeting of the Tulsa Atheists Meetup, for which I am organizer. This meeting was also held at the Fontana Center in a place called the Agora Coffee House. I will be turning this job over to Kenny in November. Our treasurer is resigning, and the group wants me to take that job. We had, I believe, 15 people at TAM today. It used to be that conversation at these meetings would gravitate to talk about the war in Iraq. Now, conversation ends up being about health care. Most of our members favor some kind of national health care with coverage for all. Presently, 47,000,000 Americans have no health coverage at all! Out of that number, approximately 40,000 die prematurely each year. Never complain about having to walk down the hall to use a common toilet; just be glad you are alive and remember the 40,000 who are not as fortunate as you.

Bill D. suggested that at the upcoming vigil to be held to bring attention to the healthcare problem, that we hold up signs which read "WWJD." That, of course, stands for What Would Jesus Do? The silence from the clergy is due to the clergy being in bed with the Republicans. The clergy do not want to displease their benefactors. During the Bush years many resources were shifted to the churches. In effect, they have bought the silence of many Christians. Of course, not all Christians have been bought off. Just the Christians on the Right. I have nothing but admiration and respect for such Christians as Jim Wallis and his Sojourners group.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Goldwater quote

“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent.

If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me ... that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?”

Senator Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona, Congressional Record, September 16, 1981. Born Jan. 1, 1909. D. 1998.

Want to know why we need healthcare reform?

Please view the following:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Passed the halfway point

I am up to page 185 in my indexing job, which means I have passed the halfway point. Tomorrow I will spend some time practicing piano. I should do that every day, but when I'm doing an indexing job I tend to forget about everything but indexing.

I did manage to go to TCC and walk three miles today. While I walked I listened to the remainder of Jacques Louissier playing Bach and most of Ian Hobson playing Rachmaninoff's Etudes-Tableaux.

I did make another trip to Atwood's where I bought another six bags of cedar mulch. We had previously bought six bags in the morning. J has a big project going in the back yard.

I have a few comments to make about health care reform in response to Marti's comments, but I am too tired right now to get into that. It will have to wait until another day.

The Local Table

Yesterday, J fixed an excellent breakfast for me: three fried eggs, two sausage patties, and a biscuit. Then I got to working on my index. I got some more feedback from Joel at Dumbarton Oaks, who looked over the first third of the index and said it is gong well. Only two-third left to go. I went through another 20 pages.

That afternoon I went to TCC, walked a couple of miles and used the abs machine and the leg press machine.

In the evening we went to the Mid-Month Social of the Tulsa Atheist Meetup held at The Local Table, a Tulsa restaurant. There were 19 people there, including Monty H. from Stillwater who I saw earlier this year in a musical performance at Pratt Library. Monty is a musician, and I am hoping he can join us at Secular Singers, and perhaps give us some advice.

Folloing the meetup, we returned home. I was looking over my e-mail and decided to open a few which had come in from Nelson in the last couple of days. It seems he has a new girlfriend (fiancé) in the Philippines. (His previous fiancé was also from the Philippines, but I never heard what became of her.) His new fiancé is a gung-ho Christian and has influenced Nelson in a religious way. Nelson has been kind of a on and off Christian the last few years; he is currently on. Anyway, I was looking at some e-mails he had forwarded to me, the usual Christian glurge that is passed around, when all of a sudden the bells and whistles go off on my computer warning that I was being attacked by a virus. We stopped what we were doing and immediately ran the anti-virus software. It takes two and a half hours to do a complete scan.

I'm guessing the anti-virus software prevented my system from absorbing the virus, for when it finished running it said I had no viruses. I need to be more careful about opening e-mails from unknown sources.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It was the battery

Monday morning I called AAA and they had a guy out here within five minutes. He gave me a jump and the car started right up. So I drove to Wal-Mart and got a new battery. They even gave me an allowance of about $35 on my old battery. I guess it did not live as long as it was guaranteed for. While there we did our grocery shopping.

In the afternoon, I got a call from Saied's Music in Tulsa. The music I had ordered had arrived. I drove over and picked it up. While there I found two piano duet pieces which I bought: "Rhapsody Grandioso by Melody Bober and "Broadway Lights" by Robert D. Vandall. The sheet music which I had ordered was titled "Play Bach," and I had been listening to it on CD before ordering it. There are six pieces of Bach's music on the CD. It is a jazzed up version of some of his "standards."

Gail and I had deleyed our practice until today. Yesterday she drove her mother-in-law to the doctor's office. We played several pieces, including the two new ones. Melody Bober is one of our favorite composers of piano duet music. We had a good solid two hours of piano playing today.

This afternoon I went to the fitness center and walked three miles. There were only a few people there today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thoughts on health care reform

I am going to quote myself tonight. I wrote an entry just now for another blog I maintain: Liberal Action Network. I have five blogs in all: Dan Nerren (my personal blog), Humanist Association of Tulsa, Tulsa Atheist Rendezvous, Liberal Action Network, and FFRF Tulsa. Most of my postings are to my personal blog.

The August meeting of the LAN was held on the 11th at Zarrow Regional Library. There were four present at this meeting. Bob H., Fred B., Kathy C., and myself. We wrote letters on behalf of health care reform. The prospects of Obama's health care reforms passing Congress do not look good right now. He has had to make so many compromises that if the bill is passed by Congress, it is likely to be so watered down as to not have much meaning.

I favor the single-payer system in place in many other industrialized nations. It was never even considered. Obama's "public option" faced enough resistance that he has now moved to consider "co-ops." The insurance industry has such a stranglehold on this country that they might just choke it to death. I would like to see the middlemen (insurance industry) removed from the picture, but we may have gone beyond the point of no return on this issue.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Not much news

I'm exhausted once again. I indexed all day, with the exception of the two hours I spent at the Humanist meeting. We had 15 people at the meeting -- a pretty good showing.

Since I spent most of the day at my desk, I don't have much to write about. I am up to page 117, and I'm stopping there for the night. It is at the end of a chapter.

I will resume tomorrow. First thing I need to do is to get the older Saturn checked out. Maybe all I need is a new battery. I will have AAA come out and give me a jump. If that is not the problem, I will have the car towed to Same Day Auto Repair and have them check it out.

Gail will be coming over on Tuesday, rather than Monday. She needs to drive her mother-in-law to the doctor tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Indexing and piano duets

My head is swimming. I have reached page 100 in the book I am indexing. When I stopped yesterday, I was at page 80. Twenty pages a day is about as fast as I can go with this project. No wonder Kathy said I could have five weeks to do this project. If I can average 20 pages a day, I will have come to the end on August 27. Then I will move into the final editing of the index. The index is due September 10.

I will do another 20 pages tomorrow and then e-mail the index (in progress) to Joel back at the publisher for his comments. Joel has been a big help thus far. I know almost nothing about the subject (6th century Byzantine Arabs) and must rely on his guidance.

After so many hours of indexing, your brain starts to buzz. I am going to make a few notes here and then go to bed.

Yesterday, Gail came over for two hours of piano duet practice in the morning. Playing duets with Gail is one of the more enjoyable activities I engage in. It is a challenging task, but it is very rewarding when the two parts come together, as they should.

Playing a duet is a real workout, usually. The pieces we play vary in their level of difficulty. Sometimes I get really exhausted by the time we reach the end of a piece. I recall that a couple of weeks ago we were playing a Wagner “March,” and by the time we got to the end, I had perspired so much that I had to change shirts. I am usually so worn out that a nap is in order that afternoon.

That evening I attended a poetry group meeting at Border’s bookstore. There were eight of us in the group. We read some poems by William Blake and talked about them. Next month we will be reading poems by William Butler Yeats. Yeats will not be as hard to figure out as Blake. Yeats is closer to our age and that will help a lot. The meeting lasted a couple of hours.

I am going to suggest that we move upstairs. Meeting in the café as we did, I found to be too noisy. You are too close to the cappuccino machine. Ever time it starts up, you have to stop speaking until it finishes. I was with a group that held meetings upstairs there about a year ago. It is much nicer up there.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some concerns

I got up early this morning (around 4:30) and continued working on my present indexing job. I worked on it for a couple of hours then went back to bed. I woke up around 11:00 and went back to work on the index. I have finished making the changes Joel K. at Dumbarton Oaks suggested. Joel has done indexing before and knows how it works. Working with Joel has been a great help on this particular job. Joel is the editor in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks.

I decided to go up to TCC and walk at the Fitness Center. I got in the old Saturn but the car would not start. When I turned the key the car made a brief response but did no more. I hope the problem is nothing more than that I need a new battery. You never can tell. I was fortunate that I was at the house when this problem occurred. I took the other car to TCC instead.

I went by the HAT PO box and found we had some responses to a letter Bill had sent out to candidates in the upcoming mayoral electioin in Tulsa. We had replies from two candidates, and one of the letters came back marked "Refused."

I walked three miles at TCC. All the while below on the basketball court a group of people were setting up for a banquet. A slide projector was being checked out, too. The stage was being set up with curtains erected behind the speakers platform. Doing that eliminates the possibility of telling the photos were taken in a gymnasium. I don't know what kind of event will be taking place there. While walking I listened to music by Karl Jenkins. He is the composer who wrote the music for a commercial promoting diamonds. That was a few years ago. You can buy his CD Diamond Music which has the song on it. However, the CD I listened to today is titled "Adiemus: Dances of Time."

After I left TCC I stopped by Subway and bought a 6" Black Forest Ham sandwich on Honey Oat bread. To which was added American cheese, lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, and onions. I took the sandwich home and ate it there. After eating the sandwich, I snacked on some kettle corn. I think the kettle corn is losing its crispness.

It will soon be time for the NBC Nightly News. After I watch the news I will water the plants and then get back to indexing.

Marti has not posted to her blog in four days. Her last posting indicated that her mother, soon to be 86 or 87 years old, was ill. I hope she will make another posting soon so we will know what is happening with her mother.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fish restaurant

We had lunch today at White River Fish Market on N. Sheridan. That place is packed between 11:30am and 12:30 pm. And the food is not cheap, either. A fish dinner will cost you about $15. But the food tastes great. You can also buy fresh fish as in a supermarket to take home and cook. There were six of us there: Dave T., Gail S., Marilyn G., Dave H., and Rick P. Plus myself, of course. We ate our meals and then sat around and shot the breeze for awhile.

Afterwards, I returned home and resumed work on an index.

Home alone

Well, I haven't burnt down the house yet. I would say things are going okay. J left for Florida yesterday. She will be returning this Saturday. Before she left, she lined up some chores for me to do, mostly watering the plants. I have eight empty milk jugs on the kitchen cabinet for outside watering.

Last night I went to the meeting of the Liberal Action Network at Zarrow Library. There were four of us there. In addition to myself, there were Bob H., Fred B., and Kathy C. We wrote letters to Inhofe, Coburn, and Sullivan supporting the President's health reform plans.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Church and more

This morning I went to church -- Church of the Restoration. There were a total of eight people there, and that included the speaker and her husband, 25% of the congregation. The others included the pianist, Edna; Bill A., Rosemary P., Patrick B., Mary R. and myself. That was it. Today's speaker was a lady who works at the Tulsa Central Library. She told us about all the opportunities to learn using the library. She brought with her some hand-outs.

Once I got home, I resumed working on an index. It is a more difficult job than my previous index. More about that in another posting.

We mowed the grass also this afternoon. J likes to collect the clippings and put them in the trash; I prefer to let them fall to the ground and biodegrade.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dinner at Jamil's

Today was my 33rd wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we went to Jamil's Steakhouse. The place has atmosphere. Soft music was playing in the background, and I'm sure the food is excellent if you like Middle Eastern cuisine. But the ribs, baked potato and steak were excellent. A lot of famous people have eaten at Jamil's over the years. Their pictures are on the walls.

Indexing again

I'm back to indexing again. Last night we ran into a problem. The book I'm currently working on uses many strange characters. Sky Index (the indexing software I use) has a character map which allows for rarely used characters to be accessed. However, I have not found a way to create some characters I need. Once I move the index over to Word, there is no problem. I'm guessing that what I will have to do is use a placeholder in Sky, and once I get my index moved to Word, then I can do a "find and replace" under the edit menu. At least, that's the only solution I see now.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Meanwhile back on the ranch...

We got our day started by going over to Nick’s house and taking Jennifer and the grandchildren on an outing, While Nick remained home in his downstairs office, we took the remainder of his family to the Tulsa Air & Space Museum for an outing. There were five of us on this trip. We looked at the aircraft (both the real thing and the mock-ups) until it was time to go to the other building for a showing of an IMAX movie on what conditions might be like on other planets in the universe. The grandkids seemed to enjoy the film. They were well-behaved for the 40-minute showing. Perhaps, since momma was with them, they were more cooperative than usual.

Afterwards we went to McDonald’s for lunch. The McDonald’s we went to had no playground. So lunch did not last as long as it might have. After we got momma and the two kids back to their house, we went home. I took as brief nap and then we headed for the TCC Fitness Center. J walked for 40 minutes, and I walked for an hour. Then I did 60 reps at 110 lbs on the abs machine. While I was walking I was listening to a CD by the title of “Play Bach” by Jacques Loussier. As I listened to the CD I wondered if the sheet music of Loussier’s interpretation of Bach was available. After I finished walking, I phone Saeid’s Music and inquired about the sheet music. As it turns out, the entire album is available as sheet music. The store did not have copy, but they ordered a copy for me. It should arrive in ten days.

The album contains eight selections, mostly preludes and fugues. The first selection is one of my mother’s favorites: the Prelude No. 1 in C major from the Well Tempered Clavier. What I like about the Loussier interpretation is that he plays the piece pretty much as you have always heard it; but then, he shifts gears and plays it in a jazzy style. He does that for eight of Bach’s best-known preludes and fugues. I am looking forward to this book coming in.

After the exercise, we came home and showered. We were home not long when the doorbell rang. It was the Fed-Ex delivery person. She had the page proofs for my next indexing job: Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century. I opened up the package and took a quick look at my next job. It is about 400 pages long.

I watched the NBC Nightly News, and then we headed to Tulsa. We went first to Best Buy. We did not see anything there that interested us, but there is a Staples store across the way. I had a few things in mind to buy in conjunction with indexing. I got three things: a new desk, a new keyboard, and a new document holder. The desk is the kind you assemble yourself. It weighs a ton. Well, maybe not that much, but it is heavy. Lots of particle board in the thing, and you know how heavy that stuff is. To get it into the car we had to lower the back seat cushions so that the trunk area was increased considerably. That’s a nice feature of the 1996 Saturn. Otherwise, it may not have fit.

When we got home with it, I could tell it was too heavy to lift by myself. I simply opened up the cardboard bos, and we took it into the house in pieces. It seems like it has a hundred pieces, and that’s not much of an exaggeration. I’ve got my work cut out for me tomorrow.

I bought a new keyboard because the one I’m typing on now sometimes does not shift when you hold down the shift key. You really have to be mindful to hold it down firmly. Sometimes when I proofread my work I will notice a lowercase letter where an uppercase letter should be. Another thing about my old keyboard is that the letters are wearing away from the keys. The “n” is gone completely; the “a” and “e” are but specks of their former selves, and other letters have bits and pieces missing.

The new document holder is made of metal, unlike my old one which is plastic. It was always falling apart. All you would have to do is look at it real hard, and it would come apart and fall down. The new document hold is made of metal and looks like an inverted “V.”

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

August 2009 Calendar

August 2009
Activities of Interest to Freethinkers

Sat.., Aug. 1, 7:00 PM
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 6705 E. 54th

Sat., Aug. 8, 2:00 PM
Secular Singers, Storey House, 4630 S. Victor

Sun., Aug. 9, 1:00 PM
Humanist Study Group, Bradley House, 6705 E. 54th St.

Tues., Aug. 11, 7:00 PM
Liberal Action Network, Zarrow Library, 2224 W. 51st St.

Wed., Aug. 12, 12:45 PM
ALGAE Luncheon, White River Fish Mkt., 1708 N. Sheridan

Sun., Aug. 16, 1:15 PM
Humanist August Meeting, Hardesty Library, on 93rd east of Memorial. Brian Hill will review When I’m Sixty-Four.

Wed., Aug. 19 , 7:00 PM
TAM Mid-Month Social, The Local Table, 4329 S. Peoria

Sat., Aug 22, 11:30 AM
Food & Fellowship, Monterrey’s, east side of Fontana Center

Sun., Aug. 23, 1:00 PM
Tulsa Atheists Meetup, Agora Coffee House, Fontana Center

Sat., Aug. 29, 10:00 AM.
Road trip to Ponca City We will have lunch at The Grind Café, visit the Marland Mansion, then return to The Grind for dinner.

To print out this schedule on a calendar page, click here:

Questions? Contact Randy at 622-6975 or Dan at 798-3629.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Daily activity

I started my day by playing piano duets with Gail for almost two hours. Then we talked about blogging. I think Gail may be starting a blog of her own.

Then we went to the library and turned in books which were due (and overdue). Then we went to the Crescent Care for lunch. In the afternoon, I went walking at TCC. We made us a couple of sandwiches for our evening meal and watched the news.

I sent my index off to UNM Press Sunday evening. I am expecting another job, this one from Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. It should arrive sometime this week.