Sunday, April 29, 2007

Non-Gliese 581 Post! Red Sox Take Two of Three In Bronx. Rockies Turn Unassisted Triple Play Against Braves.

This non-Gliese 581 post is brought to you by Listerplus, watcher of two major-league baseball games this afternoon...

Red Sox Take Two of Three from Yanks

The Red Sox best the Yankees this afternoon in Yankee Stadium 7-4, taking two out of three in their weekend series versus the Pinstripes in the Bronx.

David Ortiz, Alex Cora (who should be the regular second baseman - NOT Dustin Pedroia) and Manny Ramirez all homered while starting pitcher Julian Tavarez went five-plus innings to earn his first win of the season. His only blemish was a three-run homer to former Red Sox first baseman Doug Meintciewicz to give the Yanks a short-lived 3-2 lead. Cora's two-run homer, his second of the season, gave the Sox the lead again, and the bullpen, first with Hideki Okajima, aka, the OTHER Japanese pitcher, continuing his outstanding pitching. Mike Timlin surrendered an 8th inning homer to Derek Jeter before Jonathan Papelbon closed things out in the ninth for his 8th save.

Ortiz's homer was his seventh of the season. Manny's was just his third. Manny is under .200 for the month, but he has hitting the ball hard lately. It just seems that most of his shots are right at somebody. Bobby Abreu made a nice running catch of a potential gapper Manny hit in the at-bat before his homer.

Since the Sox have tomorrow off, they end the month of April with a 16-8 record, four games ahead of the second-place Toronto Blue Jays. Next up, the Sox host the Oakland Athletics for two games beginning May 1st.

Rockies Beat Braves. Turn Unassisted Triple Play.

The Colorado Rockies best the Atlanta Braves this afternoon at Coors Field 9-7. This was a game the Braves basically gave away, as their pitchers gave up 13 walks, including five to Todd Helton. But the Braves escaped trouble several times as Matt Holliday hit into two double plays in the middle innings. But Holliday would be the hero in the end, as he hit a two-run game-winning homer in the bottom of the 11th inning, with Helton aboard, to end this wacky contest.

Part of the wackiness came when Rockies Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki converted the 13th unassisted triple play in major league baseball history in the seventh inning when, with Chipper Jones at the plate, Kelly Johnson on second base and Edgar Renteria on first, Jones hit a screaming liner right at Tulowitzki as the runners were off on the pitch. Tulowitzki grabbed the liner for the first out, stepped on second base for out number two, then tagged Renteria for the third out.

This non-Gliese 581 post has now reached its conclusion. Over and out...

Friday, April 27, 2007

More Exoplanet Information. Red Sox Invade the Bronx.

The news about Gliese 581c has grabbed the collective imaginations of quite a few people in my wage slavery containment facility. Because of my status as a part-time astronomer, I am usually the go-to guy whenever anyone with whom I work has a question about breaking news stories, general observing tips, advice about telescopes and binoculars, software, etc. To this end, I took the liberty of scouring the Internets and came up with a great site to peruse.

Go to the site. This is a comprehensive site that contains vast amounts of information about nearby stars, bright stars, habitability projections and a whole lot more.

The first stop on this site, as it relates to how I opened this post is the Gliese 581/HO Librae page. It gives a rundown of the entire system: The physical characteristics of the host star, and what is currently known about its three planets.

The second stop is a page of notable nearby stars, with links for each star that give similar information modules to that described above. Have fun!

In Red Sox news, the team, having won its last two games in Baltimore against the Orioles, after having lost two straight to the Toronto Blue Jays, travels to New York for the three-game series against the Yankees in the Bronx. Action begins tonight with Daisuke Matsuzaka taking the mound for his second straight appearance against the Pinstripes. Andy Pettitte takes the hill for the Yanks.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Exoplanet Discovery to Renew SETI Efforts?

In a follow-up to yesterday's post about the discovery of the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered, one of the co-discoverers hopes to be able to detect signs of life on this, and other exoplanets, within the next twenty years. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

GENEVA - Swiss scientist Michel Mayor, who heads the European team that announced the discovery of a new potentially habitable planet, has his sights set on an even bigger target, detecting signs of extraterrestrial life.

Mayor predicts that top researchers are less than two decades away from being able to detect real signs of such life — if it exists. "There's only one thing we can do. We can do science, we can do experiments. We have the methodology, the ability to do this simply on science, so let's do it," the University of Geneva scientist said Wednesday.

Mayor, who was credited in 1995 with co-finding the first planets outside our solar system, said the scientist in him was unsure of the presence of other life forms in our universe. "But, personally, I feel comfortable with the idea of life existing elsewhere," the 65-year-old said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Leading astronomers are describing the discovery of the new planet as a big step in the search for life in the universe because it is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles (20.5 light-years) away.

But there is still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, named 581 c, discovered by the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile. The telescope, which Mayor helped design, has a special instrument that splits light to find wobbles in different wave lengths, revealing the possible existence of other worlds.

"It is an absolutely fantastic instrument with great precision," Mayor said, but added that the planet's diameter, atmospheric makeup and contents have yet to be confirmed.

Stephane Udry, the discovery team's lead author also based in Geneva, speculated that the new planet is probably full of liquid water, but conceded that he bases the conjecture on how planets form, not on any evidence.

Mayor said many more planets meeting scientists' requirements for habitability would be found, but that that the most significant short-term discovery would be that of a low-mass planet even more similar to Earth. 581 c is about five times heavier than our planet, but is still the smallest found exoplanet, or one that is outside our solar system.

Mayor predicted that NASA's
Terrestrial Planet Finder and the European Space Agency's Darwin satellite would make increasingly significant contributions in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He said these institutions will be able to directly look for "signatures of life" on other planets, similar to the high presence of oxygen in our atmosphere, within 15 to 20 years.

Full Story

As stated yesterday, this planet seems promising, but until we have more data, we really cannot speculate on the prospect that life exists there. Gliese 581c would be about 7 million miles from the host star, at such a close distance, this planet is probably tidally locked, like the Moon, keeping one face pointed to the star. This means that one half of the planet would be in constant sunlight, and the other in constant darkness. What this would do to weather patterns on the planet is anybodys guess -- especially since red dwarf stars are notorious for having significant flare activity. At that distance, flares from even a low-mass red dwarf would likely fry anything alive on the surface. At least Mr. Mayor and his team have their eyes on the prize, so to speak. I look forward to seeing more from this team, and others doing this exciting work.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Found

The discovery of the first legitimate candidate for being a potentially habitable planet outside the Solar System was announced today. The planet is slightly larger than earth, and orbits a tiny red dwarf star called Gliese 581 in the constellation Libra. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

WASHINGTON - For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe."

The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.

There's still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it's worth noting that scientists' requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth's with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.

"It's a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe," said University of Geneva astronomer Michel Mayor, one of 11 European scientists on the team that found the planet. "It's a nice discovery. We still have a lot of questions."

The planet was discovered by the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile, which has a special instrument that splits light to find wobbles in different wave lengths. Those wobbles can reveal the existence of other worlds.

What they revealed is a planet circling the red dwarf star, Gliese 581. Red dwarfs are low-energy, tiny stars that give off dim red light and last longer than stars like our sun. Until a few years ago, astronomers didn't consider these stars as possible hosts of planets that might sustain life.

The discovery of the new planet, named 581 c, is sure to fuel studies of planets circling similar dim stars. About 80 percent of the stars near Earth are red dwarfs.

The new planet is about five times heavier than Earth. Its discoverers aren't certain if it is rocky like Earth or if its a frozen ice ball with liquid water on the surface. If it is rocky like Earth, which is what the prevailing theory proposes, it has a diameter about 1 1/2 times bigger than our planet. If it is an iceball, as Mayor suggests, it would be even bigger.

Based on theory, 581 c should have an atmosphere, but what's in that atmosphere is still a mystery and if it's too thick that could make the planet's surface temperature too hot, Mayor said. However, the research team believes the average temperature to be somewhere between 32 and 104 degrees and that set off celebrations among astronomers.

Until now, all 220 planets astronomers have found outside our solar system have had the "Goldilocks problem." They've been too hot, too cold or just plain too big and gaseous, like uninhabitable Jupiter. The new planet seems just right — or at least that's what scientists think.

"This could be very important," said NASA
astrobiology expert Chris McKay, who was not part of the discovery team. "It doesn't mean there is life, but it means it's an Earth-like planet in terms of potential habitability."

Eventually astronomers will rack up discoveries of dozens, maybe even hundreds of planets considered habitable, the astronomers said. But this one — simply called "c" by its discoverers when they talk among themselves — will go down in cosmic history as No. 1.

Besides having the right temperature, the new planet is probably full of liquid water, hypothesizes Stephane Udry, the discovery team's lead author and another Geneva astronomer. But that is based on theory about how planets form, not on any evidence, he said.

"Liquid water is critical to life as we know it," co-author Xavier Delfosse of Grenoble University in France, said in a statement. "Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life. On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X."

Other astronomers cautioned it's too early to tell whether there is water. "You need more work to say it's got water or it doesn't have water," said retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran, press officer for the American Astronomical Society. "You wouldn't send a crew there assuming that when you get there, they'll have enough water to get back."
The new planet's star system is a mere 20.5 light years away, making Gliese 581 one of the 100 closest stars to Earth. It's so dim, you can't see it without a telescope, but it's somewhere in the constellation Libra, which is low in the southeastern sky during the midevening in the Northern Hemisphere.

A few weeks before the European discovery earlier this month, a scientific paper in the journal Astrobiology theorized a few days that red dwarf stars were good candidates. "Now we have the possibility to find many more," Bonfils said.

Full Exoplanet Story

How big is this discovery? Well, it would be a lot bigger if we could find a way to get there from here. It would take thousands of years with our current technology to bridge the 20.5 light-year gap between the two systems. And, since we can't seem to even get back to the Moon or to Mars without blowing stuff up, it stands to reason that, unless someone invents a hyperdrive in the next few years, we aren't going anyplace outside the Solar System.

Gliese 581 also has two other planets, much larger than Earth, and this newly announced body (8.5 to 15 times Earth's mass). Check out the Gliese 581 System Data.

I agree with Mr. Maran when he states that it is far too early to tell whether this world has water without any spectroscopic analysis having been done. Still, this planet is, by far, the most similar to Earth in terms of size, and that alone gives us reason to think that there may be some other similarities as well.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Red Sox Sweep Yankees With Help From Four Consecutive Homers

The AL Eastern Division leading Boston Red Sox are now 12-5 on the young season after having swept the Yankees last night at Fenway Park. Part of the fun was a record-tying four consecutive homers in the third inning off the bats of Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek. excerpt:

BOSTON (AP) -- It took the Boston Red Sox 10 pitches to hit four straight homers and three days to complete a sweep of the New York Yankees.

In another thrilling chapter in a rich rivalry, the Red Sox tied a major league record with the home run streak and got their third consecutive comeback win with a 7-6 victory Sunday night despite Daisuke Matsuzaka's shaky debut against the Yankees.

Depsite Matsuzaka's shaky debut against the Yankees...Well, yeah. Look, the Yankees are on a pace to score 1,000 runs for the season. Christ, Curt Schilling got bombed Friday night as A-Rod dented him for two homers, and it was only a rally against Mariano Rivera that saved the day.

I've avoided analyzing Matsuzaka because, quite frankly, three spring training appearances and four regular season starts is a pretty small sample from which to choose. People are on him because they don't think he can pitch from the stretch. Bullshit. I'm fairly certain that Matsuzaka, on at least one or to occasions in his EIGHT YEARS AS A PROFESSIONAL PITCHER IN JAPAN, HAD TO DEAL WITH OPPOSING BASERUNNERS. The reason this "analysis" is so prevalent is simple" 103 million dollars.

From what little I HAVE seen from Matsuzaka, he seems confident and in command of his pitches. He also throws harder than I expected. I suspect he will settle down okay and provide the Red Sox with 18 wins, and be right in the mix for the AL strikeout lead.

Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek connected against Wright, making his second major league start.

Lowell also added a second homer, his third of the season, a three-run shot in the seventh inning to give the Sox a 7-5 lead.

The third-inning outburst made the Red Sox the fifth team in major league history to hit four homers in a row. The Los Angeles Dodgers did it on Sept. 18 last season against San Diego. Drew hit the second of those four homers as well. It was the second homer of the season for all four Boston batters.

Wright became the second big league pitcher to allow four consecutive homers. The other was Paul Foytack of the Los Angeles Angels
on July 31, 1963, in the sixth inning of the second game of a doubleheader against Cleveland. One of those homers was hit by Tito Francona, the father of current Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who turned 48 on Sunday.

J.D. Drew gets to be part of history twice, and Terry Francona gets the same by association with his dad Tito from what he did in 1963, and on his birthday no less. Not only that, but each of the homers was the second of the season for each batter. Is that the Twilight Zone theme I hear playing in the background...

Wright also tied a major league record for most homers allowed in an inning. He was the first pitcher to give up four since Randy Johnson
of the Yankees on Aug. 21, 2005, against the Chicago White Sox.

Red Sox Homer Binge

The Red Sox hope to keep the momentum going as they begin a two-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Fenway with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield matched against former Sox hurler Tomo Okha.

In other baseball news, Mark Buerhle tries to tie Johnny Van Der Meer's record of two consecutive no-hitters when he takes the mound tonight in Kansas City as his Chicago White Sox take on the Royals with their starting pitcher Gil "Ga" Meche. The White Sox lefty threw a no-no against the Texas Rangers his last time out. I wonder what the Vegas odds are of him matching Van Der Meer?

And yesterday, Barry Bonds launched his 740th career homer, leaving him 15 shy of Henry Aaron's all-time major league mark of 755 as the Giants beat the Diamondbacks yesterday 2-1 behind Barry's homer and Matt Cain's strong complete game outing at San Francisco's Lefty O'Doul Stadium.

Bonds is edging toward history, and for some he is doing it under the cloud of suspicion due to having used a cream that contained steroids (supposedly without his knowledge). Whether this affected his performance or not, he is still one of the best baseball players I have ever seen, and I hope he stays healthy and effective as he nears Aaron's magical mark.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Yanks Are Coming! McCain Is Unfit to Lead--And He's Not Funny Either...

The Red Sox, hot on the heels of yesterday's come from behind 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays in Toronto (I think Gibbons showed way too quick a hook with Roy Halladay--Thanks John!). welcome the New York Yankees to Fenway Park for a three game series starting with Curt Schilling versus Andy Pettitte tonight. A-Rod has ten home runs (including a game-winning three-run bomb in yesterday's Yanks victory over the Indians). Big Papi has five, and Manny hit his first yesterday (a game-tying shot off of Scott Marcum after Halladay was pulled). Let's start the insanity!

But now, here are is a news story I just couldn't ignore. Let's call it...

McCain Makes Bad, Old Joke

WASHINGTON - The liberal group is launching an ad against Republican John McCain and his joke about bombing Iran, arguing that the nation "can't afford another reckless president."

The group plans to spend about $100,000 to air a commercial on network and some cable television stations in Iowa and New Hampshire, states that hold early contests in the presidential nomination process, spokesman Alex Howe said Friday.

McCain, campaigning Wednesday in South Carolina, answered a question about military action against Iran with the chorus of the surf-rocker classic "Barbara Ann."

"That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran," he said. "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah ..." His audience laughed, but called the comment dangerous.

"America has lived through six years of a reckless foreign policy," an announcer says in the ad. "We're stuck in Iraq
. More than 3,000 Americans are dead. And thousands more wounded. "Now comes John McCain with his answer to what we should do about Iran. John McCain? We can't afford another reckless president."

The group ran ads in the same states in January, criticizing the Arizona senator's support for sending more troops to Iraq.

McCain defended the joke during a campaign stop in Nevada on Thursday. "Please, I was talking to some of my old veterans friends," he told reporters in Las Vegas. "My response is, Lighten up and get a life." Asked if his joke was insensitive, McCain said: "Insensitive to what? The Iranians?"

That response sums up perfectly why John McCain is not qualified to be president. He has become a Bush clone, and that is simply something we definitely do not need.

McCain, for those of you who haven't been paying attention, lost whatever credibility he had during Campaign 2000 when he became a waterboy for then Governor Lazy SOB, even after the future Preznit's campaigners lit up the phones of South Carolinians prior to Super Tuesday to tell voters that McCain was "unbalanced" from his time in Vietnam as a POW, and that he had fathered a black baby. Instead of fighting back, he surrendered, then became one of Bush's biggest cheerleaders.

McCain's idiotic remarks show how completely unfit for command he truly is. He and Joe Lieberman (D-R in Sheep's Clothing) have so thoroughly tied themselves to Preznit Flight Suit Fantasy that there they are in the Land of No Return. Their moronic "surge" plan is now in place, and they now share in the blame for the tragedy that is going on in Iraq. McCain's phony walking tour of Baghdad, which was followed by the worst single day of violence in that city since the invasion shows how out of touch he is on this issue.

I ackshully voted for him in the Massachusetts primary as a pre-emptive strike against Bush, not because I believed for one nanosecond the bile he spewed from the "Straight Out Of His Ass Talk Express" (He once took three different positions on abortion in a 48-hour span), but because I saw the momentum that Bush's campaign had been getting. That and the fact that the "liberal press" refused to ask him anything more complicated to answer than: "What's your favorite color?" I figured that McCain, as flawed as he was, was bound to be better than Bush. Little did I know to what depths he'd crawl to ingratiate himself with the man and his crooked family.

To say McCain has been a disappointment would be a HUGE understatement. I used to value his independence, and thought that he might make a fine president one day. Those thoughts were quickly wiped away once I saw how eager he was, and how far he was willing to bend over for the BFEE. A close friend opined, during Campaign 2004, before John Kerry (D-I'd Rather Be Windsurfing) chose John Edwards as his running mate, that McCain would be a good choice for the job. A "dream ticket" was the description used. I quickly persuaded my friend that such a notion was fatally flawed, and McCain quickly fulfilled my lowered expectations as the war dragged on, as Bush got a second term, and even now with the Democrats forgetting they are now the majority in Congress. Well, if there is any solace to be taken in all this, it is that John McCain has as much chance of being inaugurated President on January 20, 2009 as I do of marrying Jessica Alba and living a life of indolent pleasure in a penthouse suite overlooking Sydney Harbour. Buh-Bye John...

McCain Dumbass Joke Full Story

Saturday, April 14, 2007

In Memory of My Father

My father passed away on April 2, 2007. Dad had been battling a number of health problems for the better part of a year. These included COPD and a minor stroke he suffered last summer. He had just turned 73 on February 20th, and I'm glad I got to spend that week with him. Here is a copy of the eulogy I read at his funeral service, held last Saturday, April 7th:

Clarke McCullough Rainey was born on February 20, 1934. My sisters and I knew him as our father, but he was also a son, a brother, an uncle, a husband, a grandfather and a friend.

He liked to say that he was born in the middle of a snowstorm, which is why he was always trying to get warm. When he was born, one of the hospital nurses thought he looked like the baby from the comic strip “Baby Bunkie”, and from then on, he was known to his family as Bunk. As he grew up, friends and co-workers knew him as Red.

As a child, one doesn’t get to know their parents as anything but a parent, but my sisters and I have been lucky to have been able to get to know our Dad as a youngster and a young man through the countless stories we heard from longtime friends like Red Harvey and Charlie McCarthy, and our Uncle Bob and Aunt Gloria.

Dad himself was also an entertaining storyteller, and as children, my sisters and I would listen to many of his stories at family gatherings—many of which he told again and again. One of our favorite stories had to do with the time his brother, our Uncle Bob, who was six years older than Dad, had been scaring Dad by telling him that the shadows of trees were ghosts flying around their house. Dad became so scared that our Grandfather made Bob crawl the perimeter of the roof, with Dad watching from the windows, to show him that there were, in fact, no ghosts. The brothers also had teasing rhymes. Bob would tease Dad by saying “Skunky Bunky can’t go out, Skunky Bunky sit and pout”, and Dad would reply with “Slobby Bobby can’t go out, Slobby Bobby sit and pout”.

At age 11, Dad became an uncle for the first time. His sister Gloria had eight children and numerous grandchildren to whom Dad was an uncle and great-uncle. And for over six decades, Dad enjoyed friendships with Red Harvey and Charlie McCarthy, friendships that sustained him in good times and bad times, and we should all be similarly privileged.

Dad was also a lifelong baseball fan. He got his love of the game from his father, and he passed this love on to me. As you all know, being a Red Sox fan is far from easy, and I’m glad he got to see them finally win a World Series, and I’m especially happy that we watched the Series together.

Dad had a wonderful sense of humor, and he was always there for my sisters and I as an advisor and mentor. He wouldn’t always give us the answers we wanted, but he was always there to help pick up the pieces when needed.

Dad was always fairly easy going, and he and our mother Lenore were married for 38 years at the time she passed away on February 5, 1999. The old adage that opposites attract was true in their case, as Mum seemed to worry about everything whereas Dad tried to take everything in stride. Somehow, they both knew when to laugh at themselves and with each other.

One of our mother’s quirks was her fear that some small animal or animals has somehow gotten into the house because she would hear noises that she couldn’t readily explain. Dad would dismiss this as her simply hearing things or saying that “the house was settling”. One time, while watching TV at their home in Clinton, Mum thought she saw something zoom by out of the corner of her eye, and she told Dad about it. He dismissed it in typical fashion saying that it was just her imagination. The next thing Dad knew, Mom was screaming, “It’s a bat!” and then hit the deck. Dad’s response was “Lenore, what are you doing? You’re hurting yourself, there’s nothing there!” At which point, the non-existent bat dive-bombed Dad, which put an end to his usual easy dismissal of Mum’s claims.

Mum and Dad also loved their three dogs. The first dog was Silky, who joined the family in 1971, which did not thrill Dad at all. In fact, he was adamant that he’d have nothing to do with “it”. Of course, that proved to be the opposite of what happened as he soon began teaching the dog how to bark. Samson joined us in 1978, and was only around for a couple of years, but he would always make for Dad’s easy chair whenever he left the room. Foxy joined us in 1993 and was the constant lap dog companion, first to Mum, then to Dad until she died last year, and she was definitely Daddy’s baby girl. Not too bad for a man who at first wanted nothing to do with animals—especially dogs.

Both Mum and Dad shared a love of big band music, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and all the crooners. As kids, my sisters and I were subjected to Saturday evenings watching Lawrence Welk. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, the torture would be increased when they would sing along and dance to the show’s music. This could be one factor that explains my love of heavy rock and heavy metal music. Judy, however, got our revenge by making him watch American Idol when he moved in with her. Dad also became quite a fan of Nickelodeon and Noggin as a result of his grandson Conor’s influence. Dad would counter by threatening to change the TV to the news whenever Conor misbehaved.

For nearly a year, Dad had been battling severe health issues—issues that led us to the painful decision to move him last September, to western Pennsylvania to live with Judy, her husband Ron and son Conor. This is ironic given the fact that, in the middle of Judy’s college years, Mum and Dad moved from Ashland to Clinton without giving Judy a forwarding address or phone number. Chris thought that we were in the clear, but Judy eventually tracked us down, despite our best efforts.

During most of the last six months Dad got to be with Conor, which was time well spent enjoying his grandson’s liveliness and developing personality. Although the house was far from quiet, with two dogs (Midas and Murry) and a four-year-old running around, the energy within probably helped him sustain his health better than he otherwise would have.

While Dad was in hospice, he made it clear to everyone that he was a Massachusetts boy, and the nurses all referred to him as Mr. Boston. He wasn’t able to talk on the phone, but he did ask us to call all of you, Gloria, Harv, Charlie and the rest of you, to say that he was thinking of you, and how much he loved all of you.

It’s impossible to tell you all about our Dad in just a few minutes. We have tried to share with you some of the highlights and interests of our family. He was very special to us and we will miss the stories, the laughter and the love.

My Mother, Lenore, passed away on February 5, 1999, long before I began blogging, so this tribute to my father is also, as you can read, a tribute to her. I'll be taking a break from posting for a bit due to the demands on my time in tying up some loose ends having to do with Dad's estate. My thanks to those friends, neighbors and co-workers for you support for me and my sisters during this difficult time. It means a lot to us.