Man hands an IPhone to a woman in a hall

Apple CEO Tim Cook saw an iPhone in a nearly 350-year-old painting


Apparently the iPhone was invented nearly 350 years ago, according to Apple boss Tim Cook's interpretation of a painting. During a chat at the Start-up Fest event in Amsterdam on Tuesday, Cook spoke to former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes about topics ranging from health to the future of TV. But the pair shared an anecdote from the night before when Kroes took Cook to Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. "Do you happen to know Tim, where and when the iPhone was invented?" Kroes asked Cook on stage. The Apple chief executive explained that in one painting at the museum he thought he saw the subject holding an iPhone. "You know, I thought I knew until last night. Last night Neelie took me over to look at some Rembrandt and in one of the paintings I was so shocked. There was an iPhone in one of the paintings," Cook jokingly explained.
Comment: Image source = Wiki


Visit to childhood home and thoughts of "The Game of Life"

Kathee and I returned last Thursday from a 15 day trip of 4,300 miles to:

  • Foley Alabama (to see a niece)
  • Inverness Florida (to see Kathee's brother)
  • Tallahassee Florida (we looked at houses - possible move)
  • Cincinnati Ohio
    • Drove by my childhood home in Delhi OH (5408 Alomar) (1960 to 1971)
    • Had breakfast and visited with Eric E, a friend from High School and College
    • Spent two days with Kathee's sister in Loveland OH
  • Onto Grand Rapids MI
    • Dropped in on Colorado friends in Centerville MI
    • Spent two days with cousins in Alto MI
    • Connected with friends in Byron Center and Walker MI
    • Saw cousins in Hastings MI
  • Finally we drove through the UP and onto Phlox WI to see Kathee's parents' graves and then home
The home on Alomar looks quite nice. When I lived there there were several large trees in the front, but otherwise about the same.

In my childhood we played many a board game  - on a hot Summer day we would be outside under a covered patio playing games like Monopoly, Stratego, Risk, Chess and The Game of Life. Of those games, Life as it was known, was infuriatingly simple and stupid:

The game attempts to mirror life events many people go through from going to college, raising a family, buying a home, working and retiring. The intent of the game is to have the most assets at the end of the game, assets are earned primarily by working and earning tokens with dollars amount on them. Additionally the first person to complete the course gets additional money tokens. There is a very linear board that you move along by spinning a wheel or landing on spaces that tell you to move to a specific space or forward or back. There are a handful of intersections where you can choose to go one direction or another but they ultimately have similar spaces and meet back up quickly. There are a handful of choices regarding insurance and investments but for the most part it is a game of luck.
The winner of Life is the one with the most assets (money) at the end. Having just retired (July) and Kathee having just retired (May) and being back at the old haunts made me think about that game and indeed about life itself.

For a Biblical perspective:
  • “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" (Matthew 6:25)
  • And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15)
  • He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
  • [Jesus] Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (John 6:47)
  • whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)
I observe that:

  • Things I had often thought important aren't important at all! Like:
  • How much one has saved for retirement (this is not to be taken as advice not to save and invest!)
  • Things like cars .. how nice one's house is ... et cetera are, in light of eternity, really nothing at all!


Retirement Party

The cake

Kathee in her office for the last time

New adventures await

Waterford crystal from Nancy

Nona - a long time friend
Rick - Kathee's close co-worker / Don in background

I really did a poor job taking pictures. So many people there. 


Kathee Retires - May 2nd, 2016

Kathee's career

  • Kathee graduated from Florida State in 1973 with a degree in Math (4.0)
  • Offered a job with the IRS ... declined
  • Hired by IBM and sat across the desk from a very handsome guy
  • Worked for IBM ... then Mellon Bank ... then again for IBM
  • Was a stay at home Mom for 9 years
  • Hired by the Rocky Mountain Tariff Bureau for 2 years
  • Hired by Norwest Colorado (just after Norwest acquired United Bank of Colorado)
  • Moved to Minneapolis in 1996 (20 years ago)
  • Retires as an Application Engineer 6 (Application architect) and Vice President
I am so very proud of her!


The International Space Station (ISS) - Where is It?


Comment: Bottom 2 images are screen grabs from above two links.


[insert STUPID] Indiana University students mistake Priest in line for frozen yogurt for KKK member

Priest mistaken for KKK member while getting FroYo


Panic ensued on a college campus last week when social media fueled rumors that a member of the Ku Klux Klan had been spotted. The man, as students later realized, wasn't a Klan member, but rather Father Jude McPeak, an ordained priest from Evergreen, in line for frozen yogurt while wearing his habit. Students from Indiana University took to Twitter to caution fellow students of a man "dressed in white robes" who was seen on campus "carrying a whip." A university dorm resident advisor subsequently sent out a cautionary email to students in his building, and campus-wide chaos ensued. While a mix-up between a Klansman and a priest seems unlikely, McPeak, who serves as the director of campus ministry at the Saint Paul Catholic Center at Indiana University, said he could understand the confusion.
Comment: The order responded with help identifying them

USPS: Just how long should it take for the mail to arrive?

USPS 1st Class Service Standards

Comment: Helpful interactive map

The Great Chicago Rail Loop - Why It's Needed

Executive Offers $8 Billion Remedy for Midwest Rail Logjam


A software industry veteran is taking on one of the toughest problems facing the U.S. railroad industry: the chronic traffic bottleneck surrounding Chicago that can take more than a day for freight trains to move through.

Frank Patton, 73 years old and chairman of fledgling Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc., wants to build a privately-financed rail route through Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana that would allow trains to loop around the congested rail hub.

Mr. Patton’s proposed 280-mile line would reduce the about 30-hour train travel times through Chicago to eight or 10 hours. It would take about five years to permit and build and cost $8 billion, he said, monies that eventually would be paid off by user fees from the six major North American railroads the line intends to serve.

Its hurdles are many. Great Lakes Basin Transportation still has to assemble financing and obtain regulatory and environmental approvals. And the plan faces opposition from affected landowners and a so-far cool reception from railroads, which are pushing their own plan to dislodge the Chicago rail logjam.

But Mr. Patton is undaunted. “Anybody who looks at the projections for a 60% increase in traffic by 2040, they know something has to happen,” he said. “The Chicago terminal is one snowstorm away from disaster.” He is moving quickly to get regulators’ approval and to line up financing.
Comment: Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. See The Chicago Railroad bottleneck:
Shippers complain that a load of freight can make its way from Los Angeles to Chicago in 48 hours, then take 30 hours to travel across the city. A recent trainload of sulfur took some 27 hours to pass through Chicago — an average speed of 1.13 miles per hour, or about a quarter the pace of many electric wheelchairs.


Guns rights activist to grace the $ 20

Harriet Tubman to Appear on $20 Bill


The Treasury Department will announce on Wednesday afternoon that Harriet Tubman, an African-American who ferried thousands of slaves to freedom, will replace the slaveholding Andrew Jackson on the center of a new $20 note, according to a Treasury official, while newly popular Alexander Hamilton will remain on the face of the $10 bill. Other depictions of women and civil rights leaders will also be part of new currency designs. The new designs, from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, would be made public in 2020 in time for the centennial of woman’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. None of the bills, including a new $5 note, would reach circulation until the next decade
Comment: Wiki article:

Tubman also carried a revolver, and was not afraid to use it. The gun afforded some protection from the ever-present slave catchers and their dogs, however she also purportedly threatened to shoot any escaped slave who tried to turn back on the journey since that would threaten the safety of the remaining group. Tubman told the tale of one man who insisted he was going to go back to the plantation when morale got low among a group of fugitive slaves. She pointed the gun at his head and said, "You go on or die."

Image source: Harriet Tubman: A Passage to Freedom 


Just how large is the Sea of Galilee? In comparison to a lake near you

The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias


The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias (Hebrew: יָם כִּנֶּרֶת, Judeo-Aramaic: יַמּא דטבריא, Arabic: بحيرة طبريا‎), is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 mi) in circumference, about 21 km (13 mi) long, and 13 km (8.1 mi) wide. The lake has a total area of 166.7 km2 (64.4 sq mi) at its fullest, and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m (141 feet). At levels between 215 metres (705 ft) and 209 metres (686 ft) below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake overall (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake)

30% of the size of  Mille Lacs (64 square miles vs 207 square miles)

About the size of Lake Vermilion (41,216 acres vs 39,371 acres)

Double the size of the City of Plymouth (36 square miles)


5.2 times the size of Joe Pool Lake (7,740 acres)

Slightly larger than Lake Tawakoni 

New Hampshire

90% of the size of Lake Winnipesaukee


15 % of the size of Lake St. Clair (64.4 sq miles vs 430 sq miles)

New York

About the size of Seneca Lake  (68 sq miles)

See List of Largest Lakes in the United States by area