Walk with Bebop – June 3, 2020

From the New York Times Metropolitan Diary:

Tall Order

Dear Diary:

An exchange overheard on the Upper West Side:

“I want a dog that doesn’t know it’s cute,” one woman said to another.

— Sara Latta

Since I’m a novice at dog ownership (or partnership) I had no idea that dogs have an ego!  They certainly do!

On Monday, Bebop scored two walks.  In the morning, a retired couple paid Bebop absolutely no attention, as Bebop strained at the leash and expressed her desire for their attention.   Giving credit to her, she did it in the best manner:  looking cute, wagging all over and making not a sound!  The couple was fast-walking and Bebop dragged me for a block to get their attention.   In her failure, she did seem dejected.

In the evening,  as Terri, Bebop and I left the park, I steered us toward the sidewalk where we would approach a young family with 3 kids on small bikes.   As we met, Bebop was being her wiggly, cutest self, and one of the kids said, “I LIKE YOUR DOG!”

I responded, “Thank you.  We like her too!”

Bebop turned to me and smiled.  No, actually she gave me that doggy laugh!

“See!  Everyone knows I’m adorable.”

Bebop gets the last laugh.


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Walk with Bebop – May 31, 2020

Bebop enjoys the sights and smells of our walk, but she is also alert to threats. We got started a half hour late this morning, and she heard something new when we approached the first intersection. We heard a small dog barking behind a tall fence across the street. She was all over me for protection, which was a bit uncharacteristic. Usually she can handle a little bark like that. I thought she was just tired, so I said “OK, let’s go home”.

We went home, but kept right on walking past, and did our usual park tour from the reverse direction. Funny little dog. Everything was just great, she says.

Home again after a fine walk.

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Walk with Bebop

I’m finally calling myself “retired”, and we made a good decision. We acquired Bebop, the dog!

Bebop: February 15, 2020  (she was newborn on December 28, 2019

Bebop joined us in February, just before the Covid-19 pandemic started changing lives here.   It was in the nick of time!   She is our constant companion and home entertainment package.

Bebop: May 20, 2020

Terri has taken the lead in training both me and Bebop.  We are a great team!    At five months old, Bebop has acquired many good habits, but she has also taught us how to be dog owners.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve adopted the routine of  a morning walk with Bebop.   She has liked it from the start, but as we jointly form the routine, she is in love with it.   After her morning yard duty at 6:30, I ask her if she wants to go for a walk, and usually the result is a whimper of joy!

Our usual route: Just about 1 mile.

Our  usual route is shown above.  It’s all fun, and full of great things to smell, but the park is the best part!   A few days ago, though, I made a mistake.   Starting out on our street, I walked on the north side of the street, instead of the south!  It was upsetting to Bebop.  Even after turning north at the corner, she still was whiny.   She was upset at the park too, and we didn’t complete our usual tour.   When we started for home, all was OK!  She just said, “Let’s go!”  This is the dog, training me!  Since then we have started out on the south side of the street, and we like that!   That’s what the books say:  routines are important!



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Terri’s Garden 2020

Showing off some of Terri Dunbar McGuire‘s work. She can’t, because it’s never done! I love seeing this beauty in our corner.

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Getting it done

You might say that I’ve been thinking about building some steps on the east side of the deck for a while. You might also say that I’ve been procrastinating for five years. I bought supplies at Lowes at 6:00 am, and got to here at 2 pm. Who told me to get this done? Bebop, of course.

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A fence for Bebop

Quarantine Project: the Bebop fence. For years, it has been known, “You can’t have a dog. We don’t have an enclosed back yard.” Well the dog arrived, and the fence is now complete. This was a challenging project, from a design perspective: The fenced area shown was the pathway for driving trucks and trailers into the backyard for projects. Hence two five-foot sections and a central post are removable for access. It was also challenging because my body rebels a bit for all the up and down work. But after two weeks, this two-day project is complete. Terri has volunteered to stain it. Thanks!

(Click a pic for a better view)

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A sequencer for Jazz Chord Practice

As I work to develop my “Jazz vocabulary”, I wanted an electronic flashcard tool that would help me with ingraining jazz chord patterns at the piano.   Since I didn’t find what I wanted, I wrote the app.

Here’s what I came up with:   A Sequencer for Jazz Chord Practice

The app will present chords of your choice in random order or sequenced by intervals of your choice.   Have look.  Let me know what you think.

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Quick Change Bit holders

I bought a collection of quick change driver bits: square, phillips, hex, torx, and straight. Some came with holders for the set; some did not. I saw this as an opportunity for some precision “woodworking”.

Well, actually it wasn’t woodworking, but I used woodworking tools. The material of choice was polyethylene plastic sheet.  Very conveniently, the material was cut from an inexpensive Walmart cutting board (more on that later).  Here’s the result, comparing my work with the commercial equivalent:

Commercial holder on the left. Shop-made holders on the right.

As you can see, I set myself up  for a precision boring challenge.  The polyethylene sheet that I had available was sized similarly to the commercial version :  0.347 inches (11/32 inches).   The bore needed for a friction fit of the bits was 9/32 inches, which left 1/32 of an inch margin.   The material would work with that small a margin, where wood would not.   Achieving precision was the challenge.

That challenge was met nicely at the drill press with the compound slide table that I’d bought recently for another purpose

Compound slide table from Grizzly

In setting up the operation, I carefully aligned the edge of the top vise to be within a hair’s breadth (0.001 inch) of the drill bit cutting surface when the table travelled from one end of the vise to the other.   With that complete,the material could be placed in the vise and positioned for each bore with the left-right adjustment wheels.   As it turned out (pun intended), the holes were positioned by turning the wheel 3-1/2 turns (whatever distance that was).

As I mentioned earlier, the material was from a Walmart kitchen cutting board:

The price was right ($9.95) for this application. Working with it, I could see no difference in strength or workability from from industrial UHMW polyethylene sheet ($30.47 plus shipping)

I was tickled with the process, price, and result!


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Front Door Handleset Repair

Yesterday I got an oops text from my wife:


I recognized immediately:

  • These handlesets are expensive.
  • I’m a woodworker, not a metalworker.
  • But I fix stuff.

So despite being unqualified, I tore into it this morning.

I found that the thumb latch rotates on a pin inserted in a pair of holes bored in the pot metal casting. There’s not much material around the bore, and one side had broken out.

I knew that I had some solder recommended for work with disparate metals and pot metal castings in particular.   It’s a solder that melts at a low temperature (around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, I believe), and can be worked with a heat gun.   Bingo.   I had some stuff that might work.

I cut out a chunk of 1/16″ aluminum stock and prepared the casting for soldering.

Ready for solder.


A new hole was bored through the repair.

The repair was trimmed using an abrasive disk, leaving more material around the bore than the original casting did.

The repaired part is ready for reinstallation in the handleset.


It works.   Ask me about it a year from now!  I think it will still be good (unfounded confidence of a woodworker).

Here’s the material I used, soldering with a heat gun:

Super Alloy 1 Multi-Metal and Pot-Metal Solder


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Occasional observations of Duane McGuire