Dodged a Bullet

Bullet through Apple, Harold Edgerton, 1964

I dodged a bullet today, when I realized in the nick-of-time that an email I had received, purporting to be a receipt from the Apple Store, was in fact a spear-phishing attack. Said email claimed that I had signed up for a trial subscription to the Lifetime network. Really? Lifetime?? It said that after the free one-week trial offer, I would be charged $30 a month. The email contained a referencing link that I clicked on. It asked for my Apple ID login, which I entered and then I was told that my account was locked and was transferred to another page that asked for all sorts of personal information. It was only when I got to the line asking for my social security number that I got suspicious. I did not provide that nor the credit card info that was also asked for either. It was then that I noticed that the page’s URL looked suspicious too. I closed it all down, googled Apple and successfully logged into my real Apple account. I knew by then that even though I had divulged my Apple ID login info everything was still OK, because my Apple account is protected by a two-step authentication process. After I enter my user and password info, I got a texted code on my phone to enter, to complete the login process. I went ahead and changed my Apple ID password anyway. It just goes to show that in addition to the coronavirus, there are still all of the other thing to watch out for in life, like internet scammers.

The Avrocar


Before 9/11, anyone could visit the Air Force Museum’s Annex. A special bus would transport you from the main museum to the annex, but after 9/11 this bus service was discontinued, yet the annex remained open. It has been a few years since I last visited the place and I don’t know if it was ever reopened to the public, but I suspect that like everything else these days, it is shutdown for the duration. At the time I last visited the place, I was at Wright-Pat on business and as luck would have it, I had a couple of hours to kill, before my meeting. Since, I was already on base, I could just drive to the annex and park.

While the main museum mostly has production aircraft, the annex specializes in prototypes. It also has a more modern bent than the main museum, which covers the entirety of the history of the Air Force. There were even a couple of things that came from projects that I had worked on. While the Avrocar certainly isn’t the strangest aircraft on display, it is on that far-out end of that spectrum.

Like the Avrocar, the annex is populated with what could be termed failures in aviation. The problem with the Avrocar was that its shape resulted in making the vehicle inherently unstable and impossible to control other than as a low-speed ground effects vehicle. Designed and built in Canada during the Cold War, the Avrocar was originally envisioned as a vertical takeoff short landing (VSTOL) supersonic fighter. Because its development was paid for by the US Air Force, when the Avrocar program was eventually cancelled, its test articles reverted to the US Government. That’s how the pictured prototype ended up in Dayton.

The whole flying car thing aside, it is undeniable that the Avrocar has an other-worldly appearance that shouts UFOs and space aliens. Since, it was developed in the fifties this aspect of the design had to have some play back then. I have better photos of this craft, but I chose this backlit one for effect, choosing to shroud it in darkness and lending it an air of mystery. I especially love its dual plexiglass canopies. You can easily image and almost see, the heads of two little green aliens sticking-up out in them. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Avrocar Schematic

Kubo Cherry Tree at Isazawa

Kubo Cherry Tree at Isazawa, Namiki Hajime, 2001

Zoom-bombing is now a thing. Zoom is a video conferencing app that is now of course all the rage. Our school district is using it for online teaching and Anne uses it to do her virtual gyro classes. Speaking of which, while she was working out, I virtually virtual exercised, while playing Civilization in the next room. Anyway, on some of the more public uses of Zoom, internet trolls have hijacked the video feed and substituted objectional imagery. I think that more experience will halt this behavior, but this is the world that we now live in. 

I have placed my first delivery order for groceries with InstaCart. I have seen their green t-shirt clad shoppers in the store for months now. With one hand on their shopping cart and the other holding a cell phone, they ply the aisles looking for other people’s food. Their website seems up-to-date with what is still available and warns when an item selected is running low. Their surcharge is modest, but my order won’t be delivered until Thursday.

Well, it wasn’t just the rain that halted the water company from tearing up the street and more importantly, putting it back together again. I think that a week is plenty of time to cure concrete. Besides they still have the other half of the block to do. They worked last Tuesday. It rained (a lot) both Wednesday and Thursday. It didn’t rain of Friday, but they usually only work a half-day anyway. They never work weekends and there was no sign of them today. I’m afraid that a torn up street is now also part of the new normal, but as Anne pointed out to me, at least they are on the other side of the street. If this situation continues, I expect that our across the street neighbors, will first cut the yellow caution tape, so that they can start using their driveways again. Then the orange cone will get moved, allowing on street parking on that side too. Except for my across-the-street neighbor who was gifted with a gravel pile. Do you detect a little schadenfreude here? Well, let’s talk about sewer lines then. The shoe was on the other side of the foot back then, when all of the work was on our side of the street.

While the above artwork version of cherry blossoms is gorgeous, there is nothing quite like the real thing. Saturday was a beautiful day and Anne and I took advantage of this brief spell of nice weather and got out for a walk. Spring has sprung and there are many varieties of flowering trees in bloom.

Neighborhood Cherry Blossoms

Peasant Girl with a Straw Hat

Peasant Girl with a Straw Hat, Camille Pissarro, 1881

Camille Pissarro frequently engaged with Millet-like peasant subjects, as seen in this portrait of a young girl. She calls to mind Millet’s own images of resting shepherdesses. Influenced by Millet, Pissarro was born on the island of St. Thomas, now a part of the American Virgin Islands. Once grown, he left the island and eventually moved to France. There as an artist, he grew to prominence and became a leader of the Impressionist movement. On St. Thomas, he is still considered an honored native son.

It is a very rainy first day of spring today. No workmen on the street, because of that. The radar map shows a mass of green and yellow Oobleck passing over us, with flood warning boxes following in its wake. A walk in the late afternoon might be possible, but I’m just hoping that the rain lets up enough for me to go out and get the paper, which is probably just soggy pulp by now. We walked yesterday, but it took two attempts. On the first try, we only got a couple blocks, when the rain started again. I had thought that it has finished. Later, we did get our walk in together. There were not that many people out-and-about.

Yesterday, Anne went to gyro, or rather gyro came to us. They’ve closed the studio, but now offer virtual classes via the tele-conferencing app Zoom. I sat out this week’s session, but plan on participating next week, with Anne in our living room. As we adjust to the new normal, adaptation like this is necessary. In this regard, Anne is better situated than I am. She has her many crafts to occupy herself with. One of her yarn stores even offered a virtual knitting circle using Zoom. Currently, she is into quilting and after finishing a baby quilt, has started a new type of quilt. She has ordered most of her supplies for this project online for later delivery, but there were some items that she needed right away. We broke our quarantine and drove to the fabric store, where she was treated to curbside delivery. I brought the hand sanitizer. 

As we all hunker down, quarantining ourselves from one another (I hope), We are always on the lookout for new diversions. A big one will drop tomorrow on Amazon Prime. The movie that Dan worked on, will be available for streaming. Blow the Man Down is set in Maine, where it was filmed two years ago. Here is its trailer and a recent New York Times review. In the trailer, if you look closely there is a brief shot of a plywood lobsterman sign that Dan made. If you watch the movie, be sure to watch the credits too and see Dan’s name written there.