Fizz Buzz

Fizz Buzz is a game used as an aid in teaching children about division.  In addition, writing code to implement an automated version of Fizz Buzz has become a popular test of basic computer programming skills.  Subject matter experts say that if one cannot write a basic Fizz Buzz program in 15 minutes or so, chances are their coding skills are probably somewhat lacking.

Having spent a number of years back in the day as a software developer, I decided to try my hand at writing a Fizz Buzz program.  I actually did get a basic version working in less than an hour in spite of my typos and programming language syntax errors.  It took a bit longer to “beautify” it and make it fit for public consumption.  Feel free to take a look at my halfVAST Fizz Buzz page. 

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Groundhog Day – 2017

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, so we can look forward to six more weeks of winter.

Potomac Phil, his “stuffy” counterpart here in the DC Metropolitan Area, concurred and had this to say: “Sorry folks six more weeks of winter and six more months of political gridlock!!!”  Based on the current political environment, six weeks of gridlock may be a very conservative estimate!

Groundhog image courtesy of It is subject to the usage terms and conditions cited therein.

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Beat the Press!

POTUS45 – the horse is dead, you can stop beating it now!

Source:, 28 Jan 2017, 0830 EST

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Orange is the New Red

“We are going to put American-produced steel back into the backbone of our country. This alone will create massive numbers of jobs.” Donald J. Trump in Monessen, PA, June 2016[1]

Today at approximately 12:00 noon, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th POTUS.  His mode of operation is quite different than those who have served as POTUS since I arrived on the scene.  However, he does share one thing in common with them.  Like others who preceded him, he has made a number of campaign promises, some of which I personally think are “Mission Impossible.”

One of the major reasons he won the election was his appeal to the those in the Rust Belt who have been seen their way of life and standard of living decline as a result of globalization and automation.  Many of these folks are depending on his promise to bring back manufacturing jobs and open up the coal mines.

Pittsburgh Steel, Monessen, PAI grew up in a Rust Belt town back in the days when the local steel mill was a 24×7 operation and the river was dotted with boats hauling barges loaded with coal.  The steel mill is long gone and so are the coal mines that filled the barges.  And the once booming downtown is filled with dilapidated, boarded-up buildings rather than shops and businesses.

Good Luck President Trump.  I hope your promise to “Make America Great Again” includes Monessen, PA and all the other down and out towns in the Mid-Mon Valley.

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The Leak

We had a natural gas leak in our front yard.  We called Washington Gas and they dispatched a technician to check it out.  He verified that there was indeed a leak emitting a small amount gas that was being dissipated into the air and therefore not capable of turning our neighborhood into a blazing inferno.  He said he would put in a work order to have it repaired.  A few weeks passed with no feedback or activity by Washington Gas so we decided to call the Fire Department and ask them to check the gas line and make sure the leak hadn’t gotten any worse, and hopefully “light a fire” under Washington Gas.  The firemen checked the entire gas line, including the meter and the internal feed to the furnace and water heater.  They considered it serious enough to make a call to Washington Gas to send a technician to check it out and to stick around to observe what he did and said.  A second technician arrived who essentially told the same story as the first guy and put in another work order to have it fixed.  It seems the first work order was either lost or perhaps never entered into their system.  The technician also said that the work order would go to the end of the queue as the leak was so small.  About a week later “Miss Utility” showed up and marked all the gas and electric feeds.  A few days later a Washington Gas crew showed up and repaired the leak.  They found that the leak had been caused by a tree root pressing against the pipe and stressing it enough to cause the pipe to crack.  Guess it was just coincidental that the fire department made the call and the repair was effected shortly thereafter.

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