The View from Landmark

Trends and issues in personal computing from Bud Stolker, a long-time PC consultant. The View from Landmark features tips and techniques to make time spent with your computer more productive and rewarding, commentary on new personal computer policies and trends, plain-English explanations of new hardware, software, and network designs and their relevance to you, and answers to common questions. There may be personal material interspersed if Bud believes it is of general interest.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A visit from the master

Ed Stolker in tuxTomorrow night at this time Dad will be in town for a special visit.

If you've been a Landmark client for a few years you may remember him. Chances are he built that Landmark 286 or 386 computer you have stashed in the attic. For a while he was the primary custom builder of our PCs.

More recently he helped build a temporary shop for us at Landmark. Before that he helped build our facility at Ameri-Tech Concepts (from whom we separated last year).

Dad knows things. He understands electricity and sheet metal and power tools and plumbing and internal combustion. He has all the artisan skills that sometimes skip a generation. And he's got all the answers to my questions -- usually the right ones.

You might say he's my personal Google.

Ed Stolker, Los Angeles Police DepartmentDad's current claim to fame is as Los Angeles' oldest police officer (84 years of age). In October he'll be named Reserve Officer of the Year for rough, tough Van Nuys, his home district of 30 square miles with over 325,000 residents.

That would be an exceptional achievement for anyone else, but for Dad it's about par. When he joined the LAPD in his late 70s -- without fudging the rigorous physical exam -- it was just his latest career move. This guy has credentials as a Naval shipfitter (he helped build the battleship Wisconsin, Army intelligence officer, refinery instrument mechanic, home escalator installer, nuclear plant engineer, and several other occupations.

His colorful life has included . . .
-- riding atop a coal delivery truck as a kid because he didn't have trolley fare,
-- lugging around a machine gun (and being shot at) in Germany in WWII,
-- owning a butcher shop near a Gypsy encampment in the Philadelphia swampland,
-- joining Mensa because he "felt like it", and
-- raising a couple of sons whose skills, though not insubstantial, pale next to his.

He has survived it all with grace, and without noticeable wear. As he travels east to see his newest two great-grandchildren, I salute him.

Though in the photo he's taken his hat off, it's my hat that's off as always to Ed Stolker. He makes me proud to be named Ed Stolker, Jr.

Ed and Bud Stolker in Venice, California