Global Warming, a hoax or real problem?

Mining operation in Peru

I used to think the global warming issue was just a scare tactic, that in reality, the earth is just going through her natural cycles. As I learned in Geology last semester, yes, the earth has gone through many ice ages and thawing periods. The CO2 levels fluctuate accordingly, high during warm melting periods and low when freezing. Over the millennia, these cycles have been very repetitive and consistent, kind of line teeth on a saw blade. That is, until now. Now we are thousands of years beyond the expected cooling period and CO2 levels are substantially (almost 1/3) higher than anytime in the last 750,000 years, and rising at a steeper rate than ever before. This is based on ice core and sea floor core samples that are a very accurate record of the atmosphere and climate over hundreds of thousands of years. Increased population of man and animals accounts for much of this increase in CO2 levels, since that is what we exhale. We really can’t do anything about that, but the other main cause of increasing CO2, and this unprecedented heating cycle, are industrial processes and burning fossil fuels. Our generation probably will never realize the consequences but if the current trend continues, causing sea level to rise more quickly than current rates, billions of dollars of coastal real estate will soon disappear into the ocean. I generally disagree with doom and gloom predictions because of the “self-fulfilling prophecy” effect, but I also recognize that this is a real problem, one that we can do something about. It is not a joking matter. Plant more trees. Stop buying wood products from the rain forests. Recycle aluminum. Did you know that aluminum mining destroys rain forests to get to the bauxite ore and to build hydroelectric plants for processing the ore? See: Did you know this affects the whole planet since trees use CO2 and give us O?

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Second semester update

I finished my first semester as a full-time student at GSU in December 2010. It was a very hard semester, and I had a tough time staying on target with school work. During that same time frame I house hunted for hours and days on end to find the perfect house we ended up buying in Statesboro. I car shopped on Ebay and and ended up buying a 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera S from a fellow in Kansas City, Kansas, and made a 3-day road trip to bring it home.

Not enough distractions, I also planned and bought tickets/reservations/etc. for a 4-day, 3-night NYC vacation for Sandra and I to enjoy during the Winter Break. Somehow it all turned out great, including making a B in CHEM 1147, an accelerated Chemistry class that was way over my head. I made an A in College Algebra, and a B in Health, which was anything but a freebie (lot of studying and hard tests).

Unfortunately I made a C in American History, the result of an F on the final exam, which I am still considering contesting. I’m afraid I offended the professor by one of my answers where I questioned the truthfulness of a claim he made in class, that the US Military “rented” slaves from southern plantation owners during slack times on the farms, using “gentleman’s agreements,” to use them for building military forts near Pensacola Florida around 1830. While I conceded that propositon is plausable, I simply wrote on my final exam that I found it questionable, with nothing on the internet to support it. Later I learned that my professor, Thomas Hulse, is the author of the only story on the internet about “slave rental” for building Military Forts. Apparently this article was something he wrote for his Masters Thesis.  In the nuclear industry we had to learn to have thick skin, to not take negative feedback so offensively. I guess the collegiate world is not so receptive.

This semester I have English Comp I, which I love, Geology, which is very interesting, Engineering Graphics, where I am learning AutoCad, which I’ve always wanted to learn, and Trigonometry, the last prerequisite for Calc I which I have already registered to take this Summer. I just withdrew from Political Science when I found I didn’t need the class for my degree. All these classes are easier than anything I had last semester. So after this summer semester I will be on track to graduate in 2014.

Sandra on the Brooklyn Bridge, view of lower Manhattan.

Meanwhile, I just turned 56, and remain a university freshman until this fall. Married life just keeps getting better, if that is possible, for, “Bofus,”(the nickname Sandra and I share). Maybe some day we will write a book, as she suggests, with her writing a part, me a part, then Bofus the final part.

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Got the Statesboro house, the Porsche, and lost more weight

Lamar's newest toy a 2005 Carrera S

We closed on our new house in Statesboro Friday, as scheduled but haven’t started moving yet. We plan to start moving this week.

Last Friday Sandra and I flew to Kansas City MO and completed the purchase of the Porsche I found on Saturday morning. We drove to Nashville, and visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Sunday morning. Then we headed east toward Knoxville and spent the night. On Monday we had the pleasure of driving through the Smoky Mountains and on part of the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way home. The car averaged 25.6 mpg which is quite good for car capable of 182 mph. Of course we had to watch our speed closely and let people in Honda CRV’s pass us on the interstate but that’s okay. It was still a blast to drive on the curvy roads through the mountains.

Our bathroom scale broke a couple of weeks ago and I was pleasantly surprised that our new scale shows I continued to lose weight, now down to 140 from 166 a few months ago. I feel great too! I completed a fitness assessment at the gym at Georgia Southern a couple of weeks ago and was very pleased with the results. Thanks be to God!

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Porsche, House, Freshman and Jenny Craig updates

2005 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Race Yellow gauge faces too

If you are reading this on Facebook, follow the link to my blog to see pictures. You can sing Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz song, “…My friends all drive Porsches…” with a little more truth now, because I am your friend and I drive a Porsche. Or at least I will when Sandra and I fly to KC MO airport this Friday to pick it up from the seller. It is a 2005 911 Carrera S. It is a beautiful Race Yellow specimen. We are driving it home via the Smoky Mountains to add 150 miles and a whole lot of fun to the drive home.

In other news, the closing date for our house was postponed 2 weeks, now September 24. Due to the falling housing market the appraisal was 5% less than the sell price we agreed on. Well, that is good news for us, but not for the sellers who had to lower the price.

Lamar & Sandra's new house in Statesboro

Our new house is 6 miles north of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and I hope to commute by bicycle weather permitting. I am enjoying school this semester, taking American History, Chemistry, Chem Lab, College Algebra and Health. I ride my bike on campus because the classes are so far apart. There are 20,000 students on campus. My first two semesters as a part-time student were with other non-traditional students, going back to school after being out for a while. This is my first semester as a full-time 55-year old freshman. Before it started I wondered how it would feel being the only mature student in auditorium size classes with 140 or more 18-19 year old students, and being older than some of the professors. No problem. I have not felt particularly weird, even if I do look out of place with the graying hair and lines on my face. I am enjoying everything about it, although the work is very challenging; especially the Chemistry. There isn’t much interaction between students in the large classes but in Chemistry Lab we work in teams of 3 and that is going good so far, after completing two experiments.

Update on the Jenny Craig diet: We only bought the Jenny meal plan for 2 months but it got us started eating smaller portions and loosing weight. I have gone from 165 lbs and needing to buy larger waist pants to 145 lbs and needing suspenders. Sandra noticed my underwear waste band showing and commented I could be fined for that in Dublin, where they are cracking down on the sagging pants style. Yea Jenny for getting us started eating right. Sandra has lost about 15 lbs and looks fabulous!

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Podcast Review for my FYE1220 class at GSU

Believe it or not, I have never owned an iPod or MP3 player, other than my Garmin GPS navigator and maybe a cell phone, which I almost never used for music. I have Sirius radio in one car and XM radio in the other and both cars have CD players. I hate listening to commercials so AM/FM radio broadcasts have long been my last choice for music or news. If I had to listen to radio, at least public broadcasting was relatively commercial free, so I became familiar with some of the shows on NPR like Fresh Air, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, Car Talk and Prairie Home Companion, and became a supporter of GPB.

So, when our FYE1220 professor, Barbara Nixon wrote that she uses an iPod and the iTunes store to find and download programs she could listen to while driving, the light came on for me. I drive over 1 hour each way from home to school and what better way to get some homework done than to listen to Wait, wait or some other podcast I enjoy, while commuting. I went to Wal-Mart and paid extra bucks for an 8Gb iPod Touch (could’ve gotten it cheaper if time wasn’t of the essence for completing this assignment).

It took quite a while, many hours actually, to figure out how to use the iPod and iTunes but alas, I succeeded in downloading two podcasts, one from Wait, wait…, and one from Best of the Left. It was a great new experience for me to be able to listen to these shows, when I wanted to, whether driving to school or working around the house. Previously I might have accidentally heard one of the shows, but most likely not. This was a treat!

The hot news of the week was the firing of General Stanley McChrystal over his comments made in the Rolling Stone Magazine interview. Of course they had a lot of fun blasting the General and the magazine, on both shows. The Best of the Left is actually excerpts from various broadcasts all put together to cover the liberal point of view on whatever the top headlines are. In fact the Best of the Left podcast started out with an excerpt from the Wait, wait show, which I had listened to first. The portion used was funny enough to listen to again. In fact, while trying to learn all this new technology, I guess I have heard the line about Vice President Bite Me a dozen times at least.

Taking our professor’s advice, I checked out the “Stuff you Should Know” podcast and I enjoyed it very much! The one I listened to was titled, “Did Thomas Jefferson rewrite the Bible?” I was very interested in that topic because so many of my Bible thumping friends are constantly talking about this being a Christian nation and I absolutely disagree. This podcast pointed out that Thomas Jefferson and several others of our founding fathers were deists, who believed in God as Creator, but didn’t necessarily believe Christ was the Son of God. I really have no idea where my friends get the idea that this is a Christian nation. Didn’t they go to the same schools I went to? Weren’t they taught that this country was founded based on individual freedom of choice, and in part to escape religious persecution, where you could be drawn and quartered, burned at the stake or any number of other sickening tortures if you dared to have a different religious interpretation from the king? Certainly then, this US government ought never to take any official stance on religion. Therefore, how can this be a “Christian” nation?

I also listened to a Bill Moyer podcast about net neutrality with comments from FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. Wow! That is another deep subject with 2 opposing sides. The answer for all of us must lie somewhere in the middle and I am confident we will find the right path.

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First Wedding Anniversary

Sandra and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by returning to the scene of that wonderful day of June 27, 2009. Our church in Savannah was offering a river boat cruise on the Bull River as a fund raiser so we made reservations for that and to stay at the Inn at Ellis Square on Bay Street on Friday night. The cruise was wonderful and the weather which had been threatening a thunderstorm a few minutes earlier, became perfect cruising weather with comfortable temperature and just enough breeze to keep the marsh insect population away from us.  The cruise began with some dolphin watching, and our boat captain even followed them up a creek through the tall marsh grass for a few hundred yards.

At the Bull River Marina

Back to the river we cruised on toward but not all the way to Tybee Island before turning back to the Bull River Marina where we started. The moon was full and rising, looming large and orangy on the horizon. So perfect!

By then our stomachs were growling so after arriving back at our hotel, we took a pleasant walk to Vinnie Van Go Go’s pizza shop at City Market. After a bit of TV watching with our pizza the sandman was calling us to sleep.

Saturday was a chance to sleep in, then enjoy a great breakfast buffet at the Inn. We have been looking for ideas and products for our upcoming kitchen and bath remodel and the Yellow Pages helped us find a great tile and stone store in Savannah that was open on Saturday. They have a great selection and beautiful displays at Garden State Tile on Abercorn Street! Prices were good too, but the tile we found for our kitchen backsplash was temporarily out of stock. We did buy a piece of granite tile off their display to be used to give some bling to the marble tile we are planning to use in the master bath.

After lunch at The Shrimp Factory on River Street (where we had our wedding meal last year, and both Sandra’s and my favorite restaurant), it was time to check in at The Gastonian Inn. Sandra made our reservation months in advance to be sure we would get the Casimir Pulaski room, the same room where we spent our wedding night.

The fountain in Forsyth Park, Savannah

The Gastonian Inn is a beautiful old home in the historic district, close to Forsyth Park where Sandra and I were married. So on Sunday morning after a delicious breakfast at the Inn, we walked to the big fountain in the Park where our minister, Arlene, married us exactly 1 year earlier. We exchanged no gifts this year, opting instead to do something wonderful and fun each year to celebrate our anniversary. We recommend it! What a great way to relive and celebrate our happiest day!

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Lamar’s retirement farewell address

Dear friends,

I’ve wanted to be a Mechanical Engineer ever since my second year at Dekalb Tech in 1976. I started my career here at Plant Hatch right after graduation in June 1977. It has been a rewarding career with so much personal satisfaction that I let go of my original idea of only working here for only a couple of years, just enough to get a good job in Atlanta, and continue my education at GT.

 Now, 33 years later, thanks to the wonderful wife I met here at Plant Hatch, I have the opportunity to pursue my degree as a full-time student. I am already enrolled in the Technical Options Program at GSU with hopes of transferring to GT in the GTREP program in 2 years. All my classes will be in Statesboro and Savannah but graduation will be at the GT Atlanta campus. At 59 years old do you think I will be the oldest BME graduate to walk that day?

 I certainly don’t plan on this retirement being the end of life; but rather a new beginning.

 Sandra, meanwhile, is working on her Masters Degree at Mississippi State and eventually her PhD. We plan to keep working, traveling, exercising, bicycling and socializing until we hit the windshield like two love bugs at about 105 years of age. Along the way we may get the chance to work in Europe and maybe Sandra will get her dream job as a SCAD professor. We can see ourselves living in one of the historic homes in Savannah near SCAD, with me having my own workshop for inventing and building stuff.

 That’s our vision. I hope your’s is equally satisfying.

 Until we meet again, I send you unconditional love, prosperity, happiness, health, safety, peace, and spiritual progress. I hope you will think positive thoughts, dusting off the doom and gloom forecasts of the naysayer from your shoes, and heading steadfastly toward good and beautiful things, always expecting the best from everyone, never the worst.

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