Author Archives: Octopusgrabbus

About Octopusgrabbus

Works as a programmer in municipal information technology, performing database and web programming, systems integration, and data conversion.

Does anyone remember Major Mudd (Greater Boston)?

Long before the Boston Red Sox reversed the curse, when I was in the 4th grade, I met my first television personality, Major Mudd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT7bkXXvDLM . It was down at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, MA. He had a weekday morning cartoon show, including a serialized non-cartoon about two brothers traveling down a river and going back in time.

We remember you well, Major Mudd.

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Filed under Annecdotes, Persons of Note

A Valuable Summer Job

It is because of my summer job long-ago at September Farm of Rye, NH that this afternoon I was able to lug a 50lb bag of wild bird sunflower seed out to the car.

A very nice clerk offered twice to provide help, but having once hefted bails of hay and bags of Purina Oats and Omolene for the horses, I was able to take it out to the car ,and my back is fine.

So, thanks, September Farm. Although after mucking out the stalls, I needed to — as the late Moe Howard would say shower and use cologne — working there gave me good hoisting strength.

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Filed under Annecdotes

Learning Less Stressful Ways of Navigating Life From Children

I work with amazing people in our municipality. One of them has a young mobile, talking, pre-school daughter, and I get to hear about her daughter’s latest sayings.

I plan on incorporating two of them in the never-ending struggle to get work done and offending as few people as possible while keeping most of them from commandeering my time.

Mom swears she does not know where her daughter picked up these phrases.

These sayings are:

No, I’m good.

Not right now.

And here are some examples:

Parent: Don’t you think it’s time for bed?

Toddler: No, I’m good.

Early Childhood Teacher: How do you feel about going to pre-school? [How do you feel about advancing a grade?].

Toddler: Not right now.

So, adapting these to municipal life:

Elected Official: Come to a meeting to discuss implementing a software solution in one week that should take a month.

Municipal Employee: Not right now.

Boss: Would you come to a meeting with me that will be like having your teeth drilled without Novocaine?

Municipal Employee: No, I’m good

Now, what do we have here? Language that can be spoken in front of children, maintaining calmness, and communicating with short, concise answers.

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Filed under Musings

Baklavillin Walnuttobutericin

A Baklava Safety Warning

A Baklava Safety Warning

It is that time of year. There are a lot of Greek festivals at local churches. I have always had very good baklava from those festivals. Home made baklava  is made from the pure stuff, honey, walnuts, butter, and filo dough. Some people even use rose water, though it is rare. A friend of ours who makes baklava put this warning on a package of home made. I took the warning seriously.

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Filed under Musings

Bone Marrow Drive (Greater Boston, MA)

My friend and colleague, Scott Enwright needs a bone marrow transplant. If you feel like participating, we would appreciate it very much. Thanks.

Here is the link:

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The Green Phone

Many years ago at the end of the Carter Administration, Paul Volker was appointed chairman of the board of governors of The Federal Reserve System, August 1979. A few years later I was married, and came to appreciate my wife’s thriftiness and ability to deal with financial figures quickly, almost effortlessly. This was a talent I sorely lacked. Around about the same time, my mother-in-law, who also worked effortlessly with finances, and found both a several thousand dollar and a $0.10 error in two different bank statements. Now, because of that, I built up a mythology around my mother-in-law, kind of like William Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi, but requiring less talent. I imagined she had the financial equivalent of the direct-connect phone connecting the White House and the Kremlin, only this was to discuss financial matters. I called it the Green Phone, which meant in a financial crisis, Mr. Volker could pick up the phone and get advice from the very same person who had found a $ 0.10 error in a banking statement. The dinner time stories including fixing the accounting of several German financial institutions, when my mother-in-law was touring Germany along the banks of the Rhine, to saving the U.S. from economic disaster. She was embarrassed by all this, and, since the mythology included Paul Volker, like Wagner’s Ring cycle, the mythology concluded after Alan Greenspan was appointed the next FED chairman, much to my mother-in-law’s relief.

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Filed under Musings

Birds and Ladders

Years ago we lived with three birds. Back then, our birds needed a way to get from their cages to each others’ cages and to the floor. Pookie The Cockatiel is the oldest, and lives alone now, but he still needs a way down to the floor.

The method we employed involved purchasing a couple of three-foot wooden ladders. Each ladder had hooks, so it could be held safely to the cage, and was long enough to reach the floor. I quickly dubbed these ladders the Viking Ladders, because they looked like miniature siege ladders used in the middle ages.

Pookie hangs out on his ladder or the stool that sits next to it. But, when lovebirds lived with us, they used to park themselves on these ladders and hold the resident of the cage semi-captive. In fact they were laying siege to the cage.

Recently, another bird on twitter asked Pookie what a Viking Ladder was, so here are some pictures.

Pookie and The Viking Ladder

Pookie and The Viking Ladder

Just relaxing out on the ladder porch

Just relaxing out on the ladder porch

 

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Filed under Bird Stories