Saturday, July 30, 2016

Somebody out there loves me.

Tracking blog stats can reveal a few unexpected things.  Isn't it fun?  I will know I have truly arrived when they start trolling me.  My hobby at the moment is trolling the trolls.

Note the sudden jump in page views in mid-July
All this in the last couple of weeks
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Goodbye, Adobe Acrobat XI; Hello NitroPro 10

A fit of pique can be expensive.  Like $200 expensive.  But it can also be well worth it.

Ever since I began using a computer on the internet, I thought, like many others, that Adobe Acrobat was the only PDF program in town.  I have been using it since version 4.0 was released in 1999, upgrading religiously to XI in 2012 when I hast got a new computer.

Even the regular version (not the Pro) got bigger and clunkier, with hundreds (thousands ??) of useless features and functions that are better performed on Office programs.  Adobe also has the world's worst search feature.  Looking to find how to do something?  If you don't know the exact words to describe the function, you are screwed as it only highlights the words you search for.  It is not intuitive like Google or Office. If I needed to know how to do something in Acrobat, Googling it was far likelier to bring up a useful answer.

Service is a huge problem.  Sometimes regular updates would download and install and sometimes they wouldn't.  Chief Dan George would understand. "Sometimes the magic works; sometimes it doesn't" (Little Big Man). Downloading a fully revised version was a total exercise in futility.  The last straw was continual messages telling me to "uninstall and reinstall".  I unistalled and it refused to reinstall, just kept up with the "uninstall and reinstall" message

Of course their website has "Support" and "Contact us" pages.  Trying to reach a human directly is impossible.  I found a phone number but was put on indefinite hold (This is the Incontinence Help Line.  Can you hold, please?).  There is as a last resort the "group discussion"  pages.  LOTS of people had the same problem, apparently.  It was declared solved.  Yeah, right.  I went to the recommended page and tried to follow the extremely complex directions, though half the stuff I was supposed to do didn't show up on my computer screen.

Sent in a support request.  Two days later a reply came.  I was directed to another page which directed me to a Contact Support link.  How stupid do they think I am?  I have been trying to do that for days now.

The GOOD news is that there is an alternative.  Nitro Pro 10 is the latest release of a PDF software package that is user friendly (Office style ribbon user interface), intuitive and does what I need it to do without a lot of useless extra garbage.  You can try it free for two weeks, even.  I loved it.

Click to enlarge
AND my PDF files have thumbnails again, not just Acrobat icons.

Furthermore, there is a direct link to real support right on the ribbon.  When I first installed it, a minor error message would pop up on the introductory page when I opened the program.  So I contacted support and within a few hours (time zones) got a reply that acknowledged the problem and told me what to do to stop the error message while the company worked on the solution. I was sold! Also they have since fixed the problem.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is still on my system but Acrobat XI is long gone.  Now, to find a replacement for Photoshop Elements that is actually user friendly. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Links re Turkey, Russia, DNC

I have been following the events in Turkey as anxiously as I expect Americans followed the RNC and with every bit as much trepidation. Erdogan was a great prime minister from 2002 to 2012, when he began giving his dictatorial tendencies free reign, pushing the country more and more towards autocracy and Islamization. Erdogan's philosophy has become "I have the majority of votes so I can do what I want". Including creating (though not legally yet) a highly centralized presidential republic with a rubber stamp parliament. And anyone who opposes him is an enemy of Turkey to be destroyed.

The failed coup of 10 days ago was so clumsily executed that it was easily put down, especially when it did NOT have popular support and Turks turned out in the streets to defy the troops and tanks.  Initially at least it was all men and all were mustachioed, the sign of devout Muslims in Turkey.  they were not there to defend democracy, they were there to defend Erdogan and the destruction of Kemalist secularism in Turkey.

The speed with which thousands were arrested and tens of thousands dismissed indicated that lists were drawn up well in advance of the coup.  Meaning the purge was already planned and the "gift from God" was just an excuse to trigger it and add a bunch more names to the list.  About 1/3 of Turks believe Erdogan staged the coup himself, though they cannot say so or risk arrest as "Gulanists".

Fethullah Gulen has a world-wide organization called unofficially Hizmet (Service) which is mainly concerned with education and runs hundreds of charter schools and universities in many countries. It has been called a Sunni "Opus Dei" as it is huge, well funded and rather opaque in its organization and aims.  Erdogan claims that Gulen is plotting his downfall and sees Gulenists behind every tree.  Arrested people have confessed to being followers of Gulen. (I imagine they confessed, alright. Erdgan has declared a three month state of emergency AND suspended the European Convention on Human Rights.

Source: RFE/RL

Now this article leaves me a bit puzzled.  I hope that readers more familiar with this than I  (Cheryl Roffer, this means you as one of them) will comment.  It is not rocket science to see that Putin would love to tear Turkey away from NATO and the West but whether all the ideas voiced in this article have merit or not, I doubt.

Some links to articles about Putin/Russia, the DNC and Trump:

And a couple of general interest:


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Russian Athletes are Doped Dupes of the Kremlin's Foreign Policy

It is official.  The IOC will not allow the Russian Track and Field athletes to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. They should bounce the entire Russian contingent from this and all future athletic/sporting events until such time as Russia admits to routine state sponsored  doping and cover-up and cleans up their act. Athletes who did not/do not dope will be punished along with the guilty but the Kremlin should have thought of that ahead of time.  The intent is not to punish any of the athletes but the state.  The only way to do this is to ban them all.  Period.

The athletes apparently did not have much choice:
Athletes were expected to cheat and there were consequences for those that did not. As one coach, Oleg Popov, admitted, they “have no choice but to dope otherwise the athlete is ‘out’, meaning removed from the team”. Systems were in put in place to subvert usual international norms. So, when Russian athletes failed drugs tests, they did not necessarily get caught or punished.
The interference came from the top. The Russian sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, even issued direct orders to “manipulate particular samples” and there was “direct intimidation and interference by the Russian state with the Moscow laboratory operations”. Not only were its offices bugged but its director, Grigory Rodchenkov, was required to meet a security officer from the FSB weekly to update him on the “mood of Wada”.
But Rodchenkov was not an innocent party. As the independent commission revealed he was an integral part of the conspiracy to extort money from athletes in order to cover up positive results. Staggeringly he was also involved in “the intentional and malicious destruction” of 1,417 samples to deny evidence for the inquiry. A shadow laboratory that covered up positive doping results by destroying samples was also set up by the Russian state.
Once his laboratory was stripped of its right to conduct tests, Rodchenkov resigned, fled to the USA and turned 'state's evidence'.  He is wanted in Russia for (treason??).

The Russian official response is, of course, "Why is everybody always picking on me?" "It is a conspiracy". "It is political".  CIA, USA, etc etc.  Same old same old.

All countries have athletes and coaches who will cheat and when they are caught, they will be punished as individuals.  But when it is state policy, then the country as a whole must be punished. Russia seems to have decided that international laws or rules of any kind do not apply to them.  They need to be disencumbered of that notion.

After the blow out at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, I guess Putin et al decided that for Sochi, they better come up with something good.  If you cannot train superior athletes, then boost the ones you have and make sure no one finds out. Here is what they did for tests in Russia:

These are the results of the investigation conducted last year:
  • Russia is alleged to have 'sabotaged' London 2012 through systemic doping: Many of Russia's athletes at London 2012 had suspicious doping profiles, including 800m champion Mariya Savinova.
  • Some athletes are alleged to have refused and avoided tests: Athletes refused to take doping tests, gave incorrect phone numbers to anti-doping officials, paid money to cover up positive tests and returned from doping bans early.
  • Some doctors, coaches and lab staff were in on the alleged cover-up:Doctors and coaches provided banned substances to athletes, coaches and team officials hindered and bullied anti-doping officials, and laboratory personnel destroyed samples and covered up positive tests.
  • And so too was the Russian government: The Russian security service FSB allegedly operated a "culture of intimidation" at the anti-doping labs, and it was "inconceivable" that Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko did not know what was going on.
  • The IAAF was 'inexplicably lax' in tackling the problem: Athletics' global governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations failed to deal with the problem until it was too late, delaying its investigation of individual cases so long that suspect athletes were allowed to compete in London.
An independent investigation was conducted this year by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) led by Canadian Dr. Richard McLaren.
  • Russia decided to cheat following the "very abysmal" medal count of 15 at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.  
  • Cheating was "planned and operated" from late 2011 - including the build-up to London 2012 - and continued through the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics until August 2015. Russia's sports ministry "directed, controlled and oversaw" manipulation of urine samples provided by its athletes.
  • Russian athletes benefited from what the report called the "Disappearing Positive Methodology", whereby positive doping samples would go missing.
  • It began making positive drug tests disappear from its anti-doping laboratories in late 2011
  • Before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia created a storage bank of clean, frozen urine
  • Russia's security service, the FSB, worked in a building next to the Sochi laboratory, swapping positive urine samples for clean negative ones through a "mouse hole", adding table salt to make them weigh the same
  • A key FSB agent had access to the Sochi anti-doping laboratory, disguised as a sewage and plumbing contractor
  • But, in swapping urine samples, the FSB agents left miniscule tool marks on the bottles - later found by McLaren's investigators using a microscope
  • The Moscow laboratory destroyed 8,000 samples it held dated prior to 10 September 2014
The whistleblowers who started the investigations, VitalyStepanov and his wife Yulia Rusanova, are in hiding, fearing for their lives as they have been called 'traitors to the Motherland'. 

In 2010, Vitaly began sending WADA evidence that he said showed the cheating was systemic in Russian athletics, and Vitaly's employer, the Russian anti-doping agency, was not exposing, but, in fact, enabling the cheating. Vitaly was fired in 2011. Prior to that he had held several positions, including as an adviser to the director of the agency.
In 2013, Yuliya received a two-year ban from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because of past doping infractions. 
The WADA commission's investigation didn't begin until December 2014, and only after the Stepanovs went public in a sensational German documentary about their allegations. 

The IAAF apparently knew about Russian doping years before an done of their upper echelon is being investigated for his ties.  WADA wasn't all that anxious to get involved wither until Stepanovs went public.

Where this ends is hard to say but Stepanovs and Rodchenkov need to be careful with whom they have tea and avoid high rise apartments with balconies. Hard to avoid guns or car bombs though.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Some Statistics on Saskatchewan Rural Municipalities

Once in a while when researching one thing, my attention is caught by something else (Oh. Look! Shiny!) and I take off on a tangent.  Statistics interest me because by organizing them different ways you learn different things.  I was looking at changes over time to the population of the area I grew up in and decided to have a look at Rural Saskatchewan in general.  All data comes from Wikipedia.

Municipal governance is a responsibility of the provinces so it is different in each one of the Prairie Provinces.  Some of those differences are summarized in the table below:

Most of Alberta’s Rural Municipal Districts are classed as Counties under Alberta’s rural governance legislation. Several of Manitoba’s Rural Municipal Districts are quite small and densely populated, not really rural but not quite urban.

Of Saskatchewan's 782 municipalities, 462 of them are urban municipalities (16 cities, 146 towns, 160 villages and 40 resort villages), 296 are rural municipalities and 24 are northern municipalities (2 northern towns, 11 northern villages and 11 northern hamlets).

Initially I set out to look at means and standard deviations but had no faith in the numbers generated by Excel’s built-in functions.  Someone who knows about these things (Thanks, Ian) advised me to always plot my data and suggested Scatter charts. First time I ever used them and I love them.

Methodology as follows: Copy/pasted the data from Wiki to Excel.  Sorted four different ways (Area, 2011 Population, % Change Between 2006 and 2011, and Population Density) and removed six (in one case five) outliers for each one which are tabled separately. Removing extreme outliers makes the chart more useful as it distributes the remaining data better. Created a scatter chart for each of the items of interest.


The south half of Saskatchewan is surveyed into the standard grid of townships, sections and road allowances, areas deemed suitable for agriculture. Saskatchewan RMs were ideally to be three townships by three townships (18 miles by 18 miles), 324 sections or 207,360 acres, which works out to 840 km2.  Throw in topography such as lakes and rivers and the ideal goes out the window.

Two hundred and twenty-five RMs are within 500 to 1000 km2 but only 28 are in the 800 to 900 km2 range and 42 in the 700 to 800 km2 range.  52 are over 1000 km2, mostly in the north (trees and brush) or the south west (short grass prairie) and are not so suitable for farming.  Some larger ones are the result of amalgamation of RMS but those are few in number, although legislation encouraging amalgamation has been in place for years.

Population in 2011

Population of Saskatchewan RMs ranges from the sublime (Corman Park 8,354) to the ridiculous (Glen McPherson 73). Fifty-one RMs had populations of under 250 people (including my home RM of Reford with 235), 131 had populations between 251 and 499, while 80 had populations between 500 and 999.  The balance (34) had populations of over 1000, only 6 of which had more than 2500 people.  Five of these were close to urban centres.

 % Change

One hundred and one RMs gained population between 2006 and 2011; the other 195 lost population.  Net change to the rural population was -1%. Changes ranged from a gain of over 80% to a loss of over 40%.

Population Density

Population density for all 296 RMs in 2011 was 0.6 people per km2. 142 RMs had population densities of less than 0.5 persons per km2 while 123 RMs had population densities between 0.5 and 1.0.  Only 31 RMs had more than 1 person per km2 and only five of those RMs had more than 2.5 persons per km2.


The mandatory and optional Municipal Services/Functions are described HERE. There is far more to Saskatchewan RMs than just road maintenance.

RM taxes are based on property evaluation or land assessment.  Establishing land value for taxation purposes is complex as it is far more than just market value which fluctuates.  Each Quarter Section (160 acres, 64.75 hectares) is assessed a value based on several factors.  The RM tax rate is set as a percent of assessment across the entire municipality. RMs also collect the local school board taxes which are also property based.

Population does not equal farm numbers or ratepayer (RM taxpayer) numbers which are fewer than the population.  Each RM has an office and Secretary, though often RMs will share an office and staff.  Each RM has a Municipal Council with a Reeve and councilors.  With the low population numbers, as one Councilor said to me years ago, “I could easily phone all my ratepayers before breakfast every day to see what they want me to do that day”.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Rifles of the Old West

Two real posts just refuse to write themselves, one philosophical, the other scientific, and thinking is just too much work some days.  Neither is Roy Medvedev's Let History Judge: the origins and consequences of Stalinism reading itself.  I am stalled at 154 of 891 pages and it is heavy going, believe me.  So I have switched to brain dead mode.  With over 100 Louis L'Amour westerns loaded on my e-Reader, at one per day, I should be finished by fall.

Sometime back I did a post on a couple of pistols that get mentioned often in his books. Today it is rifles. Muzzle loading rifles using percussion caps were still much the norm up to the Civil War, and in fact were used by many of the soldiers on both sides, though by the end of the war, better weapons were available. Most of the information is from Wikipedia and the pictures are composites from all over.

Springfield Rifles: Model 1863 converted 25,000 rifled muskets to single shot .50-70 center fire cartridges by installing a trapdoor breech system. The Model 1866 was issued to U.S. troops in 1867, and was a major factor in the Wagon Box Fight and the Hayfield Fight, along the Bozeman Trail in 1867. The rapid rate of fire which could be achieved disrupted the tactics of attacking Sioux and Cheyenne forces, who had faced muzzle-loading rifles during the Fetterman massacre only a few months before. The new rifles contributed decisively to the survival and success of severely outnumbered U.S. troops in these engagements. The black powder Model 1873 continued to be the main service rifle of the U.S. Military until it was gradually replaced by the Springfield Model 1892 bolt-action rifle.

Sharps Rifles: A series of large-bore single shot rifles, renowned for their long range accuracy, were manufactured from 1848 to 1881. Although it came in a variety of calibres, the .50-70 and .50-90 were the most well known.  The Sharps Big 50 was the weapon of choice for buffalo hunters and was responsible for the most famous open sight sniper shot in history.  Billy Dixon was among the 28 men and one woman at Adobe Walls when they were attacked by a band of 700 to 1200 Comanches and Kiowas on June 27, 1874. After the initial onslaught was repulsed in close quarter fighting, the long distance fire power of the buffalo hunters' guns kept them at bay so the fight turned into a siege.

The stand-off continued into a third day, when a group of Indians were noticed about a mile east of Adobe Walls. It is said that Dixon took aim with a quickly borrowed .50-90 Sharps (as, according to his biography, he only had a.45-70 Sharps and felt it could not reach) buffalo rifle and fired, knocking an Indian near Chief Quanah Parker off his horse almost a mile away on his third shot. The Indians then left the settlement alone. 

Spencer Repeating Rifle: The lever-action, seven shot repeating rifle produced  between 1860 and 1869 (when it was sold to Winchester) was fed with cartridges from a tube magazine in the rifle's buttstock. The weapon used copper rimfire cartridges based on the 1854 Smith & Wesson patent stored in a seven-round tube magazine. A spring in the tube enabled the rounds to be fired one after another. When empty, the spring had to be released and removed before dropping in fresh cartridges, then replaced before resuming firing. Rounds could be loaded individually or from a device called the Blakeslee Cartridge Box, which contained up to thirteen (also six and ten) tubes with seven cartridges each, which could be emptied into the magazine tube in the buttstock.
By later cartridge designations the Spencer was a .52-45, however it was referred to as a .56-56, the first number referred to the diameter of the case just ahead of the rim, the second number the case diameter at the mouth; the actual bullet diameter was .52 inches. Cartridge length was limited by the action size to about 1.75 inches. The original .56-56 cartridge, was almost as powerful as the .58 caliber rifled musket of the time but under-powered by the standards of other early cartridges such as the .50–70 and .45-70. Its big advantage was its ability to fire multiple shots before reloading
The Spencer repeating rifle was adopted by the Union Army, especially by the cavalry, during the American Civil War, but did not replace the standard issue muzzle-loading rifled muskets in use at the time. The reason was that the army thought the soldiers would waste ammunition with a repeating rifle.  Also they could buy several Springfields for the price of one Spencer. It was ever thus.
Henry Repeating Rifle: The lever-action breech-loading tubular magazine rifle famed for its use in the hands of the Sioux and Cheyenne at the Battle of the Little Bighorn was the basis for the iconic Winchester rifle of the American Wild West. About 14,000 of the 16 shot .44-40 Henry were produced from 1860 to 1866. It was highly popular until replaced by the Winchester 1873.  The .44-40 cartridge was used by many pistols, so carrying one cartridge did for both weapons.  What it lacked in long distance punch was made up for by the rapid number of shots.
Henry Repeating Rifle
Winchester Rifle: The series of lever action repeating rifles evolved from the 1860 Henry. The first Winchester, the Model 1866 used the .44-40 Henry rimfire cartridge. It was an improvement over the Henry, with a loading gate at the side and a sealed magazine covered by a forestock.
The Model 1873 was one of the most successful Winchester rifles of its day, gaining the reputation as "The Gun that Won the West". Still an icon in the modern day, it was manufactured between 1873 and 1919. It was originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, allowing users to carry just one type of ammunition. The Model 1873 was produced with a 24-inch barrel rifle, or 20-inch barrel carbine, The easy to transport and handle carbine was the most popular. Due to feeding problems, the original Model 1873 was never offered in the military standard .45 Colt cartridge, although a number of modern reproductions are chambered for the round. The popularity of the original Model 1873 led Colt to manufacture a .44-40 version of the Single Action Army revolver called the "Frontier Six Shooter". In all, over 720,000 Model 1873s were produced. 
Winchester Model 1894 is the most prevalent of the Winchester repeating rifles. The Model 1894 was first chambered for the .32-40 cartridge, and later, a variety of calibers such as .25-35 WCF, .30-30, .32 Winchester Special, the .38-55 Winchester. Winchester was the first company to manufacture a civilian rifle chambered for the new smokeless propellants, and although delays prevented the .30-30 cartridge from appearing on the shelves until 1895, it remained the first commercially available smokeless powder round for the North American consumer market. Though initially it was too expensive for most shooters, the Model 1894 went on to become one of the best-selling hunting rifles of all time—it has the distinction of being the first sporting rifle to sell over one million units, ultimately selling over seven million before U.S.-production was discontinued in 2006. The Winchester .30-30 configuration is practically synonymous with "deer rifle" in the United States. In the early 20th century, the rifles designation was abbreviated to "Model 94", 

Winchester Model 1873

Monday, July 4, 2016

What is the fuss about Brexit?

The United Kingdom held a referendum about leaving the EU.  LEAVE won 52% to 48%.  All hell has broken loose.  One has to wonder why?  Nothing has happened yet nor will anything for likely a couple of years, if ever. Yet the economy has gone to hell and racist bigots are out in the streets making life unbearable for anyone who is not "just like them".  Northern Ireland may look at joining the Republic of Ireland (Hallelujah) and Scotland will hold another independence referendum if UK leaves the EU.

The LEAVE group never expected to win and has absolutely no plans for the future. And people are changing their minds as fast as they can. The vote is not legally binding, though one can argue that it is morally binding.  Only the British parliament can make that decision.

Cameron resigned the Tory leadership and Farage today resigned the UKIP leadership.  Corbin is under pressure with the Labour Party as most Labour MPs voted REMAIN while Labour rank and file voted LEAVE. British political parties must elect new leadership and a general election must be called with each party clearly declaring its position on the EU.

Once a new government has been elected, then and ONLY then, can a decision be made and notice given, if in fact it is given at all.  Until then, it is all hysteria over nothing.

An acquaintance of mine sent this quote this morning: 

Edmund Burke, the intellectual father of British Conservatism, understood that a representative democracy was not a menu from which you chose the issues you were electing representatives to decide — and the ones you retained a personal veto on.  Our politicians are elected to make the hardest and most painful choices, not merely to decide what to spend where.
Burke defined the obligation eloquently for his Bristol voters, in a declaration that is powerful and relevant, two and half centuries later:

“Government and legislation are matters of reason and judgment and not of inclination ... Your representative owes you not his industry only, but his judgment: and he betrays instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

In other words, governments are elected to govern.  The images of a waiter in a black waist coat, with a white towel over his arm, taking orders from the customers, that "serving the people" seems to conjure up in the minds of some people is nonsense.

Party platforms are there to provide voters with an informed choice at election time.  Parties lay out what they intend to do, based on input from their members and voted on a convention.  Once a government is formed it is up to the elected members to implement their platform.  Failure to do so, without the ability to convince the voters there was good reason, should result in their removal at the next election.  The notion that they should hold referenda rather than make decisions is a recipe for disaster.

That is why the selection of men to run for office and the selection of the voters is critical. In a democracy, the government is elected by YOU; they are not some alien other that appeared out of nowhere.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Celebrating Canada Day July 1, 2016

Source: Wikipedia
On July 1st, 1867, the British North America Act, passed by the British Parliament and signed by Queen Victoria, came into force, creating the Dominion of Canada.  Initially Canada consisted of a federation of four provinces while the remained of the provinces and three territories joined later.  Prior to that time they were administered by Great Britain. The BNA Act, Canada's Constitution was amended 16 times by the British Parliament, at the request of the Canadian Parliament.

The Canada Act, passed in 1982 by the British Parliament at the
Source: Wikipedia
request of Canada finally returned the Constitution to Canada and direct Canadian control.  The Brits would have done this long ago but the Canadians could not agree on a formula for amending the constitution until then.  The problem is Quebec and Ontario make up 23% and 38.5% of Canadian population respectively.  Alberta and BC together are slightly larger than Quebec.  The provinces rarely see eye-to-eye on anything. So we need a formula that is fair and is perceived to be fair, as the saying goes:

To change the Constitution using the general formula, the change needs to be approved by 1) the federal Parliament, 2) the Senate, and 3) a minimum number of provincial legislatures. There must be at least seven provinces that approve the change, representing at least 50% of Canada's population.

July 1st used to be called Dominion Day.  This was changed to Canada Day after 1982.

So what did we do today to celebrate Canada Day?  Went shopping for shoes in Krivii Rih.  Our taxi driver, Vitalik, collected us at about 9:00 am and we picked up Masha and Lina.  I needed shoes badly and am hard to fit.  They don't carry size 49 (14) in many stores for some reason.  Vitalik knew where the big Sport Master store was and that is where we went.  Two pairs of summer running shoes, a pair of winter running shoes and a pair of sandels later. . . 

None of their clothes fit me but they did have clothes Lina's size, so Lina and Tanya looked at them while Masha and I looked at bicycles and other sporting goods.  I found bike horns, with squeezy bulbs.  Took the biggest they had and went quietly up behind Tanya and honked it in her ear. Old geezers get bored easily and can always find something to do.

The little strip mall also had a Gloria Jeans so we went in there to look for clothes for Masha. No chairs.  I cleared a spot on a display bench and sat down to read.  That lasted until the manager caught me.  She sent me back to the dressing rooms where they had little seats.  Somehow being the lone male in a female dressing room area just didn't seem right. I went outside.

I got my McDonald's fix and we were home by 3:00.