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Swim Lessons at Maca

Old European Days at GFS


Pittsburgh Downtown

Pittsburgh Zoo

I can't wait until Midnight, May 30th 2051!

Dead Man's Toes!

Who needs a truck?

Towner's Woods in Portage County

Backyard Barbeque

Cousin Keith Visits


All American Soap Box Derby

Soap Box Unlimited Update

New Mustang and the New/Old Volvo

  Previous Month's Blog Entries:  

We support Ron Paul for President 2012.  

I think the founding fathers would be very disappointed in what has become of the American government and its leaders; we now have a corrupt empire that largely ignores its own constitution and tramples on individuals' liberties.  The founding fathers would like Ron Paul, however.  Congressman Paul consistently votes no on issues that are unconstitutional. If elected Ron Paul will end our wars, close our hundreds of military bases across the globe and end our unsustainable, financially irresponsible empire.  Ron Paul has more support from US troops than all other presidential candidates combined!  Dr. Paul is critical of government corruption and believes in protecting whistleblowers.  As a congressman, Paul does not participate in the congressional pension, has never voted to raise congressional pay and as President he would draw a salary of just $39,336, which is the median salary of the American worker.  Paul believes the War on Drugs is not working, is a waste of money, and violates citizen's personal freedoms.  Congressman Paul has never voted for: raising taxes, an unbalanced budget, a federal restriction on gun ownership or an increase in the power of the executive branch.  Paul is the only presidential candidate proposing a viable balanced budget.  He voted against: the Patriot Act, the TARP bailouts, regulating the Internet and the Iraq war.  Search YouTube for " Ron Paul predicts " to see how Paul has predicted many of our current major problems and crises years or decades before they happened.  Please do not waste your vote on the status-quo; elect Ron Paul for US President in 2012.  - David & Joan Hall


Blog #343



New Mustang and the New/Old Volvo

   It's been 15 years since I've owned a convertible and 16 years since I've painted a car.  I've been sort of looking at convertibles for months but I've always had a hard time parting with more than a few hundred dollars for a car.  I wanted something that could fit all three girls since four of us will be going to school this year.  Ten days ago Joan and I drove an hour north to look at a 1995 Mustang convertible.  It seemed like a good, mechanically sound car at a fair price, so I trusted my instincts and bought it.  The body and paint have lots of little dings, scratches and peeling clear coat, but it looks fine at 15 feet with 20/30 vision.  I had my mechanic change the oil, tune it up and check it out; he agrees that it is a good car.  It's just a basic 3.8 liter, but it such a joy to drive.  I've yet to drive it with the top up.

   A few days later I sanded the surface rust spots on Nana's Toyota and repainted the metal to prevent rust holes.  Ohio's humid air and salted roads are hard on old cars and the Camry is in remarkable shape for a 96.

   Whenever we go anywhere in the 89 Volvo, we always say, "Yea! It started!"  We say this because sometimes it doesn't; I think it's only an issue in the hot summer months, however.  It has some rust holes, the odometer went out at 190,000 miles, the grey paint and peeling clear coat looked awful, the sunroof crank doesn't work so I just slide it with brute force, etc.  The car is a beater.  I was considering replacing it too; I've had it for a long time.  It's fantastic as a truck though.  The roof rack will hold anything: three boats, two file cabinets, a stack of plywood or even a pair of bicycles.  I thought a new happy paint job might revitalize my appreciation of it.  So I derusted and patched the most visible holes and gave it a new $100 spray paint job.  I also derusted and semi restored the Thule roof rack while I was at it.  I'm quite happy with it and the kids love it. 




Before, old grey paint.


Note the clear smear on the crackled faded tail light lens.  I found that I light coat of polyurethane takes off a good decade of wear. 

Masking the checkers.


Soap Box Unlimited Update

Car number 905 driven by Sheri Lazowski set a new track record of 26.844 seconds on Saturday.  Way to go!



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Blog #342



All American Soap Box Derby

(Unlimited Speed Division Tuesday Practice)


   Yesterday Svea and I went to watch practice runs of the Unlimited Division of the All American Soap Box Derby at Derby Downs in Akron.  Akron has a few claims to fame and this is one of its biggest.  The championship races will be this Saturday.  Over 500 area champions from around the US and the world will be competing in three division: Stock, Super Stock and Masters.  These cars are made from kits and are all nearly identical within each class  Perfect alignment, nearing the maximum allowable weight, smooth paint produce slightly faster cars.  Driving efficiency comes down to keeping ones head down and steering straight and smooth.  Races are usually won by less than 1% or hundredths of a second.  Photo finishes are standard.  Many of the paint jobs are fantastic.


  The Unlimited Speed Division, seems to be somewhat of a sideshow.  These cars are usually completely homemade and incorporate many innovative ideas.  In my mind, the Unlimited Speed Division is infinitely more interesting than the three main divisions combined. 



The red one in the foreground (Zero-Error Racing Team) set a track record last year.




I'm pretty sure this silver one is a car top carrier with roller blade wheels.


Notice how the driver has to contort herself to squeeze in.


Not much of a window, but that's all a driver needs.


The starting line is under this tent; the finish line is just past the grandstand.




This one was very interesting; all wheels are in fairing pods.  Note how low the window is; how can you possibly see out of a window that is only an inch from the top of the head bulge?


Mirrors!  The driver's head is laying flat and she looks straight up; the mirrors are at 45 degrees to give her a forward view.  Brilliant!  It must be a bit tricky to steer when everything is reversed through mirrors, however.


A very clean machine from Tennessee.  Some of its parts were built by a machine using CAD 3D drawings and lasers to melt powdered plastic together into a solid form.  I love the fairinged wheels.


I wonder if the downward swept axle reduces drag by keeping the vehicle out of the ground effect zone.


Car and driver.


Basic, but nice and clean.


I didn't notice that this reporter was from NPR.  Joan noticed the logo in the photo.


Small wheels and a very small frontal area; I bet this one will do well.


I love the WWI style leather helmet.


Also extremely clean and should do well.


Stock cars topside.




I think these are Super Stock on the left and Masters on the right.


The lady bug was my favorite.


Many of the paint jobs look as if they were done in custom car shops.





Stock cars assemble in four to six hours and are driven by kids as young as eight.



One of the first things I noticed was that the Alaska State Flag was flying upside down.  The last thing that we did before we left was to notify the officials who seemed genuinely surprised and assured me it would be corrected immediately. 


From the finish line.



   The new/used mower has a great bagging system.  It fits in the garden shed with two inches to spare lengthwise but was exactly the width of the old doors.  It had to squeeze through the doors and sometimes would take a door off.  I decided to widen one side and make bigger doors.  I also decided that the windows didn't need to be rectangular and went for a cartoon-like Dr. Suessian look.  Joan decided that it needed some fun color and offset the now unsymmetrical front with a big red star.



The junk shed couldn't stand to be completely outdone so I replaced the old rotting ramp and Joan gave it some color.  The handle is an old bugle/horn instrument painted blue.



Cousin Keith Visits

  While growing up, my family would visit my mother's sister, Jeannie, her husband Paul and their son, Keith regularly.  Aside from my immediate family, Keith Krasnowski was my closest relative.  Somehow, in our busy adult lives in different states we've been out of touch.  The last time we saw each other Svea was a baby.  Keith is now a rocket scientist; actually more of a rocket parts engineer.  He is now working on a Mach 7 scramjet engine shroud and has worked on low thrust spacecraft ion thrusters.  Keith married last year and he restores very old cars including a 1930 Ford Coupe hot rod and a semi stock 1927 Ford Model T Speedster Pickup.  If you are into air racing, aviation cartoons, hot rods or birds be sure to check out his website:


Discussing kayaks.


Well what do you know, we have the same taste in shirts; he's a bit more subtle though.


Backyard Barbeque

We held our annual backyard barbeque last weekend.  Honestly it was too darn hot to do much more than eat and talk.  The kids played and kept cool in a pool, slide pool and bubble pool.









One of our neighbors a few houses down recently commissioned a sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi.  She had a 65 foot tree removed except for the bottom 12 feet which was chainsaw carved into this sculpture.


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Blog #341




Towner's Woods in Portage County

A few times we have biked past what looked like a nice park in Portage County.  Yesterday we hiked through Towner's Woods, took pictures, ran into an IHM family and visited a 2300 year old burial mound.










Svea took this one of Brigitta -really, it isn't that Svea can't focus the camera, Brigitta is just always in motion.


Annika took this one of a lake.



Joan took these macros.








Moss on the shingles of a small pavilion.


Towner Mound Inscription.


Dead Man's Toes! 

(A form of mushroom) - Joan



Brigitta jumps in during a lesson


Working with ceramic clay.



Who needs a truck?

(When an old beater Volvo will haul as much.)


I can't wait until Midnight, May 30th 2051!

(My download will be complete!)


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Blog #340



Pittsburgh Zoo

   The second day of our "vacation" began Friday when we drove from our hotel near Idlewild to the Pittsburgh Zoo.  The Pittsburgh Zoo is quite uphill from the parking so they provide huge escalators and elevators.  I like the the Pittsburgh Zoo more than the Cleveland Zoo, especially since the most zoo-like feature of the the Cleveland Zoo is the parking and traffic flow.  We love that our Akron Zoo passes have reciprocity with the Pittsburgh Zoo. One of the girls' favorite things is the aquarium inside the Pittsburgh Zoo; they could spend almost a whole day in watching the fish and petting the Manta Rays.















Pittsburgh Downtown

    After visiting the zoo, we drove around downtown Pittsburgh to see the big city.  We we intrigued by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Place and fountain.  The complex featured modern steel and glass skyscrapers with a distinctly Gothic feel. We found a parking spot nearby and walked about and played for a half hour.  The fountain was an unexpected surprise.  The girls cooled off in the oscillating water jets until the fountain turned off.














I just love this photo!







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Blog #339




   Last Thursday we drove Idlewild Amusement Park in Pennsylvania.  Idlewild claims to be voted the number two kids amusement park in the world.  Parts of the park date back to the thirties.  We were at the park for just over five hours and we took over 1,000 photos.  The best 65 are below.


The Howler




The Ball Pit











Jumpin' Jungle

Net Climb




Bigfoot's Mudslide



Tarzan Swing



Tree House


Alligator Swamp


Blow Balls






Old Idlewild

Super Round-Up

Svea and Brigitta did this ride three or four times in a row.  It was my favorite as a child as well.









Note that the Skooter in the background is the bumper car ride that dates back to 1931!



Balloon Race






Raccoon Lagoon














Red Barron





Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood

This ride was a red trolley that toured the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe".


Tea Party





Dino Soars


The Howler (again)


Storybook Forest

This theme area was added in 1956


The Crooked Little House


The Little Engine That Could (Conductor)


The Sword in the Stone


Mary Mary, Quite Contrary


Magic Carpet Ride


Back to the Ball Pit


On the way back to our hotel we had much debate as to where to eat, we settled on Burger King.  Svea was amused by rule number 6 on the BK Kids Playground Rules sign that read: "If you see anything weird, tell the manager immediately."




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Blog #338



Swim Lessons at Maca

   The girls have been taking swim lessons at Maca Park this summer.  Annika has made great progress and is no longer afraid to submerge. 


   While on the topic of swimming and water safety, I would like to publically thank my brother Mark for recognizing the signs of drowning when he was ~8 and I was ~2 and saving my life.  I had wandered out on the dock, knelt down and reached into the water. I leaned too far and went over head first, totally under. I started the drowning response, gulped water and then I just magically rose out of the water.  Mark had run down the dock, reached in and pulled me out by the back of my shirt.  I certainly would have drown had it not been for Mark.  Joan, Svea, Brigitta and Annika thank you as well!  You were the only one there; I would have surly drown had it not been for your quick action.  I also encourage all parents to read the article, "Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning".  Most people do not recognize drowning victims; children sometimes drown with their parents watching.






Old European Days at GFS

   Last weekend we celebrated Old European Days at the German Family Society.  The girls danced on Saturday and Sunday, I grilled German Sausages on Sunday and Annika was chosen as an attendant at Sunday Mass.  They celebrated and honored the German heritage and all of those GFS members who had passed away.  Like the other attendants, she wore a white and blue dress and held a ribbon attached to a statue of Mary.  She was very honored and pleased to have been chosen.


























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