Thursday, July 30, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday

It's Thursday! Go visit Pseudonymous High School Teacher for more tips.

One of the treasures of Texas is Big Bend National Park. (Wikitravel also has a great article on the park.) Visiting Big Bend is not for the faint of heart. It's isolated. It's located in the northern end of the Chihuahuan desert and near the Davis Mountains. The nearest town is Marathon, about 40 miles from the northern boundary of the park. The closest city of any size is Midland, about 230 miles to the north. El Paso is the largest commercial airport and 330 miles to the west. The only preactical way to visit the park is to drive.

The park itself is 1252 square miles. Aside from the developed areas around the park headquarters, the majority of the park is back country. The best way to see the park is with a four-wheel drive vehicle and your own two feet. Consider getting a primitive camping or backpacking permit. Big Bend gets only about 350,000 visitors a year. Most of these will be concentrated in the developed areas and along the river. Venture into the desert or mountains to avoid the crowds.

The busy season is mid-Novemeber through the begining of January. There is a spike in March, as well, around Spring Break. Avoid visiting during the summer. There's a reason that the National Park Service home page for Big Bend has a section entitled, "How NOT to die in the desert".

From personal experience, I would recommend March. It's still going to be cool enough and even though this is a busier time for the park, you're still going to be to find plenty of nature. And that's what it's all about at Big Bend. Wide open spaces, varying geography, flora and fauna are in abundance. Because of it's sheer size, it really takes more than one day to get a real appreciation for the park. There are miles of hiking trails, primitive and improved roads and all are worth your time.

When last I visited Big Bend, one of the things that surprised me were the Bluebonnets. We were there in March and the Bluebonnets were in bloom. For those of you not in the know, this is the state flower of Texas. The Texas Department of Transportation seeds the roadsides with these and other wildflowers. In the Big Bend area, the bluebonnets are almost four feet tall. For someone used to the other species of the plant that are no more than 6 inches high, it came as quite a shock.

The most important thing I can tell you about planning a trip to Big Bend is; Be Prepared. Since much of the park is isolated, you will be on your own for a while if anything happens. Make sure you have plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing. Fuel your vehicle often since stations are few and far between. Before you make a backcountry visit, take a Red Cross first aid class. Preferably a Wilderness First Aid class. (Check with your local Boy Scout council). Cell phone service is spotty, at best, so don't depend upon them. There are public pay phones in all the developed areas.

This is one of the last pristine areas of our country. It's worth the time and effort to get there.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weird Wednesday

So, it's Wednesday again. Time for a stroll into those dark corners where the strange folks live and, luckily for us, breed.

We start with a sign of the times. The Colombus, OH offices of JP Morgan Chase were evacuated after an employee reported a suspicious device. Seems like they may be a mite nervous after listening to people complain about the bail out. The police are called and they do their due diligence. What do they discover? A timing device to keep presentations short. You know the kind that flashes a warning light at you when you have diarrehea of the mouth? It looked suspicious all right- flashing lights, a timer and wires. Whee!

From there we move on to our obligatory item from Weird Asia News. A trucker in China was pulled over when police spotted water draining from the cab. They discovered the driver in a jury-rigged shower. When you read the description you are left wondering how the driver could see the road. He had a shower curtain hanging from a bicycle tire above his head and his wife was holding up a tarp to protect the instrumentation. He was, as you might suspect, given a ticket.

You were always told in school that spelling counts. Well, it does outside the classroom as well. A Swedish couple left their hotel in Venice and set out for the island of Capri. Except that when they entered the name into the rental car's GPS, they spelled it Carpi. And ended up 400 miles away. They asked for directions to the Blue Grotto in the town square and were amazed they were in the wrong place. The mayor was amazed they hadn't realized they had failed to cross any water to reach an island.

Some people are the life of the party. A 28-year-old Georgia woman is the life of the neighborhood after "running a strip club" out of her home. Here's the best part. She "faces a misdemeanor charge of maintaining a disorderly house and remains free on $1,300 bond." Friends say it was just a party that got a little loud. I say it was a fun time for all.

Our last two are animal tales. First is a British pup that managed to swallow 9 golf balls. His owners noticed something was amiss when he was walking funny. I suppose a tummy full of golf balls might make one waddle a bit. The dog is expected to recover fully after surgery. I thought my dog was weird when he swallowed a pecan whole. But this is defintely much, much worse.

As always, I saved the best for last.

What is that odd looking plastic doggie? Well, it's a doggie sex-toy. Yes, you read that right. It a toy. For dogs. To hump. I love the photo where the one guy has to show the other guy where parts are supposed to go. I like her expression:

It's called the DoggieLoveToy And it's still a prototype. Wonder what the product testing sessions are like?. Now that that image is burned into your mind, my work is done. Have a good week!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I can't stop laughing...

Twitter is good for something.


Well, Twitter may be good for something but NBC sucks. They've disabled the embedded code of the video. Go here to view it instead.


Curses! Foiled again!

Well, her maneuvering didn't fly and the House voted 378-0 to pass House Resolution 238 honoring Hawaii's 50th anniversary and oh, yes, saying that Obama was born in Hawaii.

Bachmann voted for it. Surprise.  What's really telling is the 55 members of the House that abstained. While they didn't chose to vote No, they were still able to distance themselves from that sneaky line, "Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii". Now, they can tell their crazier constituents that they didn't support the measure and still have wiggle room to cast doubt on being a Birther in truth.

So, thank you, Ms Bachamnn, for placing this on the public record. May it come back to bite you in the ass.

H/T to Think Progress.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

News Flash!!! Bachman still a whack job!

So, in what I find to a piece of brilliant political maneuvering hidden in the guise of a simple resolution recognizing the upcoming 50th anniversary of Hawaii's entrance into the Union, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) hoped to force the Birther's into the open by inserting the line: “Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii”. Something they were sure to find questionable.

Who took the bait? Why our most favorite CongressCritter herself, Michele Bachmann. Just as the resolution was about to pass by a voice vote, Bachmann objected on the grounds that there was not a quorum present. The vote on the resolution was postponed.

What happens next? Well presumably since the vote has just been postponed, it will come up again. By inserting the idea of a quorum into the mix, Bachmann is forcing the hand of the GOP. A voice vote doesn't record who voted, just the number of Yays and Nays. Now we'll have a record of who votes against this resolution. So, as unlikely as it seems, I have to say, "Thank You, Ms. Bachmann."

Now we shall see what we shall see. (Insert maniacal laughter here)

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Excuse me while I rant

It's been a few days since my last post. The goings on in the world and the heat have conspired to make me a bad blogger.

The AC in our vehicle died again and since it's going to take almost $400 to fix, we've been without it for going on two weeks while we wait in a sweaty stupor for pay day.  Our 30-45 minute drive to work isn't so bad in the morning since it's generally still in the 80s but the same drive home is like sitting in a blast furnace. It's been over a 100 for so long now that when it cools down to 95 it seems wonderful.  It's getting fixed Tuesday, so that torture is almost over.

Getting home hot and uncomfortable does not make for much intellectual capacity. Add to that the fact that the office has been sitting at 68 or so most of the week and blogging at work has been uninspiring as well. Too cold. Surely the drastic change in temperature isn't good for one's health.

I've been watching the crap fest that is the Henry Gates tempest with dismay. First we have the Pennsylvania pool being openly racist to a group of kids who paid for the privilege and now this.  I'm pretty sure that the truth of the matter lies somewhere in between what we've heard from both sides, but listening to the entire thing has been disturbing.  There is so much anger and resentment from both sides. Some justified, perhaps, but in the final analysis completely unhelpful.

So with this background percolating in the back of my head, I was watching BBC's Torchwood and was suddenly struck by what I was watching. People of color were all over the series. And fit not a single stereotype that we see on every American television broadcast. I realized that throughout this series and others from the BBC, I'd seen many persons of color in both minor and major roles.  They held various jobs- doctor, military officer, scientist, barista, secretary. Some were the good guys and some were the bad guys but I never got the feeling that they were chosen for that role on any other basis than the skill that they brought to the screen.

Add to that the ridiculous battle we're having over universal health care and the heat, and I suddenly thought that it was time to move to the UK.

Time to just pack it in. I'm so tired of the general level of idiocy of the media. Tired of every time my governor puts his foot in his mouth and the resulting Texas bashing that ensues. Tired of hypocritical liberals belittling conservatives yet trying to claim the moral high ground with the very next breath. Tired of watching politicians more concerned with lining their own pockets than actually trying to do something constructive. Tired of my piece of shit house that just needs to burn down and be done with it.  Tired of being considered crazy and dangerous because I profess a faith in God that dares to call itself Christian because everyone assumes that I buy into the Christianist garbage that flows from the media and internet.

I'm tired. Tired of the divisiveness that seems to be the status quo in America. Tired of the seeming inability of Texans to vote into office anyone to represent our state that is something besides a flaming lunatic.  Tired of the fact that even when we have, those people never get time from the media, thus perpetuating the image of Texas as composed of racist, homophobic idiots.

I'm tired of the idiocy that gets time on prime time news. From G. Gordon Liddy mumbling about the President's mother running an ad in the Honolulu Advertiser so her son could claim American citizenship to Republicans who use delay tactics concerning health care reform after taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the health care industry to rude and profane behavior and comments on online forums that degenerate the level of conversation to that of  a high school locker room.

It is madness.

We are children with the capability and seeming determination to destroy our planet and each other. What is there worth saving when an 8 year old girl is gang raped by boys ranging in age from 9-14? Or when being black and male makes you a target and suspect just by breathing? What about a people that sent this woman to congress to tell us that Americans don't need health care reform? We're doing just fine, thank you very much.

I'm not feeling very patriotic these days. The people of this country, those great masses that avoid the Internet and get their news from mainstream media, don't seem to want to engage. They're more concerned about their next pay check and feeding their kids, keeping the electricity on and paying for gas. They can't be bothered with learning about the issues and rely on an increasingly polarized media to tell them what to think. That the media can't even get it together enough to feed them one homogenous message only makes things worse.

As Tommy Lee said in that great masterpiece of American cinema, Men In Black, "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."

That has seemed never more true to me than in the last few weeks.  Hello, hand basket. Got room for 304,059,724 more on your trip?
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Those contrarian Iowegans

So I was perusing the blogosphere this morning and caught this tidbit from Joe.My.God. They have a poll showing that Jon Stewart is now the most trusted newscaster in the US. What caught my eye was that Iowa was the only state that voted in majority for Katie Couric. It kinda stood out as the only state of its color.

Since I am designated dog-sitter today and staying home to make sure the puppy doesn't try to kill herself as she recovers from her spaying, I thought I'd look at the other polls. You know, they had those nifty "next poll" and "previous poll" buttons just sitting there. They called to me.

Anyway, I soon noticed a trend. Iowa seemed to stand out in a lot of these very unscientific polls. So I started at the beginning with the question, "Should the US put North Korea back on the list of countries designated terrorist states?" and ran through 40 polls all the way to "Has President Obama been too vague about what he wants in a health-care reform plan?". An amazing 16 times, Iowa popped out as bucking the majority trend.

And often it wasn't simply that a slim majority that made the difference. We're talking completely polar opposites. In that first question for instance, Iowa was the only state that voted No in the majority. Nationwide the results were 78% yes to 22% No. In Iowa, it was 82% no to 18% yes.

Some of the polls were about celebrities. Like the one that asked whose late night show are you watching this week? Nationwide 58% said Stephen Colbert. Only two states voted in majority for someone else. Iowa was 84% for David Letterman. Okay, we now know that in one state at least, Letterman is still king.

The next one was a bit of a shocker. "Who would you vote for in Iran's Presidential election?" Nationwide the vote was 88% Mousavi and 12% Ahmadinejad. Iowa voted for Ahmadinejad by 91%. Let me say that again. 91%

The next question should come as no surprise. "Was Iran's election rigged?" 87% yes to 13% no nationwide. In Iowa, 82% said no.

Of course, they then turn around and contradict themselves by answering this question: "Should the Obama Administration take a stronger stance on the Iranian Electoral crisis?" Nationwide 76% said no and 24% said yes. In Iowa, 86% said yes, take a stronger stand. What's with that? Are they saying, we don't think it was rigged but since you do, you should do something about it?

70% of Americans don't believe the feds should bail out California. 86% of Iowans do.

65% of Americans think Gov. Mark Sanford should resign. 91% of Iowans think he should remain in office. That matches nicely with the 71% of Americans that think his wife, Jenny, should send him packing and the 80% of Iowans that think she should stand by her man. Only 7% of the country agrees with Iowa. More people think she should try e-Harmony that stay with the philanderer.

This segues beautifully to the 88% of Americans that think Sarah Palin's resignation will hurt her chances on running for President and the 83% of Iowans that think it will help.

When asked who should get custody of Michael Jackson's children 57% of Americans think they should go to their biological grandmother Katherine Jackson, 31% think they should stay with their mom and 12 % think they should go to the state. Guess where those 12% live? That's right. Iowa, where 81% think they should enter state run foster care. Who are these people? And even though they think the state should get his kids, they think Congress needs to pass a resolution honoring Jackson as a "global humanitarian". 86% of the country thinks its a stupid idea. 83% of Iowans think it great. And they're the only state to vote Yes in the majority.

Another question was about Bernie Madoff's sentencing. 54% think it was about right, 31% that it was too lenient and 15% that it was too harsh. Iowa was the only state that the majority thought the sentence was too harsh. By 91% they thought it was too harsh.

Iowa thinks Oprah should run for the Senate even though 56% of Americans think Jon Stewart should. At least they're not Wyoming where 50% think Bill O'Reilly should run. *shudder*

Oh, and apparently Bing is only popular in Iowa. Google is preferred by 58% of Americans. Iowa likes Bing. And they're the only state to vote Yes in majority.

Now, what does all this mean? Probably not a whole helluva lot. There were a couple of instances where the quality of the poll seemed poor. For instance, Time screwed up it's color key twice. On that Google v Bing poll? The whole country is red except for blue Iowa but the key says that Bing got 58% of the vote. On that global humanitarian nonsense, they got the numbers right but had the colors switched. If they can't get something that simple right, maybe they can't count either.

But still it makes you wonder. If Iowa is the only state to legalize gay marriage through the legislative process, are they really the bell weather we're hoping for? How can a state elect representatives that can pass this kind of legislation and then turn around and tell Time they would have voted for Ahmadinejad by an overwhelming majority? There's a serious disconnect there.

I guess what it really means is that polls can't be trusted. Certainly not these.

Travel Tip Thursday

I visited Pseduo today and got another lovely tour of Honolulu. While I was there I not only discovered that the Foster Botanical Gardens are amazing, but that she hosts Travel Tip Thursday where fellow bloggers are encouraged to write their own travel posts and share them.

I got to thinking that maybe this was something that I could do. I like to travel, though I rarely get to do so, and I really enjoy planning trips. In fact, it's one of the prime skills I learned from my tenure as a Girl Scout leader.

Trip planning is essential to a fun-filled and enjoyable trip, especially if you're taking a big group. I've used the skills I learned herding 10 Girl Scouts and 5 leaders in 2 minivans to Savannah, Ga. in planning trips for my family and thought I'd share them.

First of all, and really it's the only thing you need to know, the interwebs are your friend. You can find a wealth of information about your destination using the internet. In fact, I just discovered a really cool website when I started researching this post. it's called Wikitravel. More about it in a moment.

If your trip includes travel by air, I suggest Mobissimo. My husband travels a bit for business and this is the site he uses. It picks up the airfares from the major sites, like Orbitz and others, and collects them in one place. Be warned though. It can take quite some time for the searches to load on a dial-up connection.

Now, on to Wikitravel. I discovered it by Googling "Austin travel". (Never ever be afraid to use teh Google.) You can use this site as a starting point if you're not sure where you want to visit. It has a nifty Random Page link. You can also narrow your search by clicking through the geographic regions beginning on the home page in the upper right under the title bar.

Let's begin with North America since that's where most of you are located. On the next page I can choose from either regions, countries or territories. Let's go with USA. From there I can choose from either regions, states or cities. Let's see where Texas (it's own region) takes us.

Once on the Texas page, I can again choose from regions or cities. I'm going to chose Austin, just to see what they have. There are a wide variety of links on this page that will lead to me the city webpage, the city newspaper (it's not free, by the way. $1.50 on Sundays and 75¢ during the week, I think. I don't read it.) local restaurants and more.

Let's say you've heard of this little shindig we throw every year called SXSW (South by Southwest). Austin bills itself as the live music capitol of the world and this event is the showcase. Every March there is both a film and music festival. If you're interested in attending, plan ahead. Hotels sell out in the downtown area far in advance of the festival dates. The venues are often crowded and even if you have one of the coveted wrist bands, you may be turned away. Arriving early and paying the cover fee is usually the best way in. Be warned, passes for the event are not cheap. Last year's passes ran from $300 to $1145 depending on the level of activities and how late you waited to register. Early registration for 2010 opens in August.

If you're traveling to Austin by air, be prepared to transfer planes at least once. Only a few airlines have direct flights to Austin. If you're staying in one of the larger downtown hotels, there should be a shuttle bus at the airport or you can take the Airport Flyer for 50¢ one way. As long as you're staying in the downtown/University of Texas area, Capitol Metro is the cheap way to get around. You can use Dadnab, a text messaging service that can give you Metro routes when you text them your location and destination. If you're planning on going anywhere outside of the city center, renting a car is your best bet.

Weather in March can be unpredictable. While rarely very hot, you can expect anything from warm, muggy days to cool, rainy nights. Weather Underground or the local cable news site, News 8 Austin, are both good resources for planning your wardrobe.

If you have time, visit the University of Texas campus. There are several museums on campus, including the LBJ presidential library. All are free. The Texas Capitol also has a free tour. Another free sight will be a sunset visit to the Congress street bridge over the Colorado River (also known as Lady Bird Lake) in downtown. There you'll get to witness the largest urban bat colony in the world leave for its nightly feeding. From my experience, it can take up to half an hour for the colony to exit. In March, the colony will still be small. These are maternal colonies (there's another large one in Round Rock where I live) and don't reach their full "capacity" until around July-August. Anywhere along the Town Lake hike and bike trail will work to view the bats. Shoreline Grill on San Jacinto is another great location but reservations are recommended to reserve seats on the patio if you want to dine while you watch.

Austin is a worthwhile place to visit at other times of the year as well. The Wikitravel page lists several festivals that range in price. Austin is also a good place to use as a jumping off point to a variety of nearby locales. Within a 100 miles of Austin is the nation's best waterpark, two caverns, a Sea World, Fiesta Texas (part of the Six Flags chain) and numerous state parks. During the spring, Texas roadsides are covered in wildflowers. The timing will varying depending on rainfall and temperature variants. Check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website for more information. News8Austin also keeps track of wildflower blooming in the spring. The best places to see bluebonnets, indian paintbrush or the other 5,000 species of wildflowers will be on the smaller roads. Be prepared to wander.

A word of caution in regards to central Texas weather. From late May through September you can expect to see temperatures between 80 and 100. June, July and August are generally the hottest months. Even when the temperatures are below 100, the humidity is often high. This summer has been one of the hottest on record, with almost a solid month of 100+ degree highs. If you come to central Texas in the summer months, respect the heat and wear lots of sunscreen. And visit Barton Springs pool! Where at least once a season someone gets pulled out with hypothermia.

That's it. I could go on, but I'll let you explore. And if you should decide to visit Austin, drop me a line.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Weirdness

Okay, okay, I'm late. I know it. But in my defense, it's still Wednesday, dammit. Plus, I promise it was worth the wait. Today I found some good ones, including an update on an earlier entry.

We begin in Iquique, Chile where apparently even a little rain is too much rain. Less than 1/100th of an inch of rain fell Monday and caused power outages and damaged 4,000 roofs. Since the region gets less than .02 inches of rain a year, their homes are not built to take the rain and generally have flat roofs. Kinda takes the fun out the whole experience.

Here's a story worthy of a Japanese monster movie. Nomura's Jellyfish grows up to 6 feet wide and can weigh in at 440 pounds. It's large enough that it clogs the water coolant intakes of nuclear reactors and can devastate fisheries. When they're attacked, they release millions of sperm or eggs, thus resulting in more of the monsters. And they're headed for Japan. Godzilla, eat your heart out.

It pays to be a careful shopper when bargain hunting at your local Goodwill. But usually the most you have to worry about are items in disrepair. Not so at the Arvada, Colorado Goodwill where an employee discovered a Claymore mine. The bomb squad was called and the strip mall where the store was located was evacuated.

In Haverford, PA it's apparently not okay to have that childhood tradition, a lemonade stand. A neighbor called police when he encountered some children selling lemonade door to door. He felt they weren't being properly supervised and police responded. They in turn told the kiddos they were breaking the law by selling lemonade without a permit. (Turns out they were a mite overzealous. The law doesn't apply to anyone under the age of 16.) But don't you know that selling lemonade is a gateway crime? They'll figure out "that if you let the lemonade sit and ferment you got yourself alcohol." The comments are sometimes the best part of these stories.

And last but not least, the barrel monster creator has been sentenced to 50 hours of community service for stealing highway construction barrels to build his creation. The company who owns the barrels wants the artwork for advertising. Too bad the Raleigh police dismantled it. Despite its own fan page on Facebook, both the monster and the artist have had to face the music.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To Boldly Go...

No, this isn't a Star Trek review. And yes, I realize I'm a day late.

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I've written about my personal memories of that event before, so I won't bore you with it again. What I do want to talk about is the space program and what it means today.

As a teen and young adult, my favorite reading material was science fiction. Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke, the grand poobahs of the Golden Age of science fiction shaped my early thinking on humanity and where the future lay. I still believe that we need to explore and, more importantly, live in space. If for no other reason than the survival of the species. Confined to the mudball we call Earth, we are subject to the changes in climate caused by our own greed and stupidity, at risk of global warfare that has the potential to destroy us all and the whims of the cosmos throwing some out-sized chunk of ice or rock that could take us the way of the dinosaurs.  With colonies on the moon and other planets, space stations and more, our species would be guaranteed the chance to survive whatever catastrophe befell the Earth.

But beyond this grandiose idea, the benefits we've already reaped from the space program have touched our lives in so many ways.  From smoke detectors to disposable diapers to cordless drills in our homes. From mechanical hearts to cool laser angioplasty and a digital imaging breast biopsy system. From semiconductors and cell phones and satellite TV. The list is truly enormous.

It's been esitmated that for every dollar spent in research and development on the space program, the return on investment has been $7. Many people decry the amounts spent, but proportionally they are tiny when compared to defense spending. Some say that we should think of Green Energy technology as new space program but I say, the space program is already working in that area. Where the hell do you think solar cells came from in the first place? Not to mention flywheels and zeolite crystals. Technology that already exists because of the space program that can be used in the manufacture and design of electric vehicles.

Here's a short long list of things we have because of technology first created for the space program or technology co-created by NASA. H/T to Ethical Atheist and NASA for the lists and information.

  1. Topographical maps of the Earth.
  2. Ultraviolet protection suits
  3. Heart pump based on technology of space shuttle's fuel pumps. Co-created by Michael DeBakey and NASA engineer David Saucier.
  4. Efficient autos and planes benefiting from NASA wind tunnel and aerodynamic expertise.
  5. New metal alloys based on research for the space station program.
  6. Thermal protection blankets used in everything from fire fighters suits to survival gear for cold environments.
  7. Robots and robotic software with wide-ranging uses.
  8. Lightweight composite materials that benefit cars, airplanes, camping gear, etc.
  9. Perfect protein crystals grown in zero gravity; used for more pure pharmaceutical drugs, foods and an assortment of other crystalline-based products including insulin for diabetes patients.
  10. Better understanding of the Earth and its environmental response to natural and human-induced variations such as air quality, climate, land use, food production as well as monitoring quality of our oceans and fresh water.
  11. GeosynchronousOrbital satellites that provide satellite TV transmission, GPS, communications and more.
  12. Automated maintenance functions for buildings and new lower-cost building construction techniques.
  13. Smoke detector
  14. Air purification system
  15. High-bandwidth and optical communications systems.
  16. Growth of zeolite crystals that have the potential to reduce the cost of petroleum and to store new types of fuels like hydrogen, which is abundant and pollution-free. This technology could be used in hydrogen-powered cars.
  17. Fire-fighting systems that battle blazes with a fine mist, rather than environmentally harmful chemicals.
  18. Sunglasses that block certain types of light - blue, violet, and ultraviolet - that could hurt the eyes. These sunglasses block the hazardous light, while allowing light that is good for vision to pass through the lens.
  19. Solar power collection.
  20. Air filtration systems that can kill all types of harmful bacteria - even anthrax -- and remove allergens from the air with better than 90 percent efficiency.
  21. Ultralight solar concentrators that gather power from the Sun and efficiently convert it into electrical power. Applications for this technology on Earth are limitless.
  22. Water purification methods using ions (an atom or group of atoms carrying a positive or negative electrical charge). Used in water filtering systems to remove lead, chlorine, bad taste and odor. Newer purification systems also remove contaminants such as perchlorate and nitrate.
  23. Disposable diapers.
  24. Devices for collection and real-time analysis of blood, and other bodily fluids, without the need for centrifugation.
  25. Lighter artificial limbs that are virtually indestructible; based on foam insulation used to protect the Shuttle's external fuel tank.
  26. Computer-aided tomography (CATScan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for imaging the body and its organs.
  27. Light-emitting diodes used in photodynamic therapy. These diodes are used in a form of chemotherapy that kills cancerous tumors.
  28. Infrared sensors used in hand-held optical sensor thermometers. That in the ear thermometer you use on your kiddos.
  29. Compact laboratory instruments for hospitals and doctor offices that analyze blood in 30 seconds what once took 20 minutes.
  30. Land mine removal using flare device and leftover fuel donated from NASA.
  31. Technology which allows vehicles to transmit a signal back to a home base. Lojack.
  32. Cutters using small explosive charges used by emergency rescue personnel to quickly extract accident victims.
  33. Image-processing technology used remove defects due to image jitter, image rotation and image zoom in video sequences. Used by law enforcement agencies to improve crime-solving videos; doctors in medical imaging; scientific applications and even home video cameras.
  34. Gas leak-detection system used by Ford in natural gas-powered car.
  35. Method of labeling products with invisible and virtually indestructible markings - used on electronic parts, pharmaceuticals and livestock -- in fact it could be used on just about anything.
  36. Fire resistant foam used as thermal and acoustical insulation in aerospace, marine and industrial products. Also used as for fire barriers, packaging and other applications requiring either high-temperature or very low-temperature insulation. Used by Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Airbus for for major weight savings in aircraft.
  37. Hand-held camera which firefighters use to pinpoint the hotspots of wildfires.
  38. Safer soldering base for jewelers using torches in jewelry assembly. Based on heat-shield tiles of shuttle instead of hazardous asbestos bases previously used.
  39. Quick-connect fasteners used by firefighters and nuclear power-plant repair technicians.
  40. Game-controlling joystick for computers and entertainment systems.
  41. Spray lube used for rust prevention; loosening corroded nuts; cleaning and lubricating guns and fishing reels; and lubricating and reducing engine friction.
  42. World-wide television broadcasts.
  43. Home insulation system which provides significant savings in home heating and cooling costs - uses technology of aluminum heat shield developed for Apollo spacecraft.
  44. Laser technology used in artery catheters to spot areas of blockage and fire short bursts of laser beams to vaporize them - a "cool" laser providing thousands of patients with an alternative to heart bypass surgery.
  45. New charged coupled devices (CCDs) used in breast examinations (mammographies) which images breast tissue more clearly than conventional x-rays. Doctors then use a specially designed needle to extract a tiny sample (instead of a scalpel) saving time, money and pain.
  46. "Smart" forceps made of composite material, with embedded fiber optics. These obstetrical forceps allow doctors to measure the amount of pressure being applied to an infant's head during delivery.
  47. Small pill-shaped transmitters Used to monitor intestinal activity; blood pressure and temperature of infants still inside the womb; body functions of athletes and high-stress professionals such as firefighters and soldiers.
  48. Technology to quickly arrange and analyze human chromosomes and detect genetic abnormalities that could lead to disease in infants.
  49. Image processing software used in dermatology analysis to "decode" the shadow patterns and provided accurate heights and depths.
  50. Roofs based on moonsuits that look stiff, but are flexible and expand in heat and contract in cold. Used as covering of malls, stadiums and new airports like Denver International.
  51. Padding in helmets, shin guards, chest protectors and aircraft seating.
  52. Golf balls with greater accuracy and distance.
  53. Lightning protection systems for aircraft.
  54. Windshear detection and warning system for aircraft.
  55. Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TACS) now used by virtually all passenger aircraft.
  56. Monitoring system which scans important documents at certain times and compares the differences between the images. The system detects changes in contrast, shape and other features. Used by museums and the National Archives to monitor historic documents and plan a way to stop any damage.
  57. Landsat imagery to discover unknown archeology sites; reveal ancient coastlines; manage the harvesting of fish in the world’s oceans; calculate how well crops are doing, etc.
  58. Robotic mother pigs which keep piglet formula (milk) cool until it is needed then heats and delivers the right amount at feeding time.
  59. Improved spray nozzles for crop dusters.
  60. New breathing system for firefighters made up of a face mask, frame and harness, warning device, and air bottle. Weighs one-third less than old gear.
  61. Virtual reality simulators
  62. Hydroponics used by vegetable farmers to grow crops without soil.
  63. Fluorometer instrument used to monitor plankton in the world's oceans. Instrument measures amount of glow given off by plankton and other marine life that consume sunlight in their photosynthesis process. Much of the world’s oxygen comes from plankton.
  64. Oil spill cleanup using beeswax microcapsules. The beeswax balls absorb oil and keep water out. Absorbed oil is digested by microorganism enzymes inside the ball. When the balls get full of digested oil, they explode and release environmentally safe enzymes, carbon dioxide and water.
  65. Software to match and track whales.
  66. DirectTV.
  67. Satellite radio.
  68. Fire-Resistant Aircraft Seats.
  69. "Cool suit" which helps to improve the quality of life of multiple sclerosis patients.
  70. Pacemaker that can be programmed from outside the body.
  71. Instruments to measure bone loss and bone density, without penetrating the skin.
  72. Implant for delivering insulin to diabetics that provides more precise control of blood sugar levels and frees diabetics from the burden of daily insulin injections.
  73. Device for growing ovarian tumors so that tumors can be studied outside the body, without harm to the patient.
  74. Bar Codes
  75. Low cost ballistic parachute system that lowers an entire aircraft to the ground in the event of an emergency.
  76. Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI) Technology. Designed to address the need to clean up the ground of the historic Launch Complex 34 at KSC that was polluted with chlorinated solvents used to clean Apollo rocket parts, the EZVI technology provides a cost-effective and efficient cleanup solution to underground pollution that poses a contamination threat to fresh water sources in the area. This technology has potential use for the cleanup of environmental contamination at thousands of Department of Energy, Department of Defense, NASA and private industry facilities throughout the country.
  77. An atomic oxygen facility first designed to test the destructive nature of this element in space is now being used to restore art work by safely removing the layers of soot and grime that mar the surface without actually touching it.
  78. NASA invented a system (really a seven-step guide to monitor and test food production) to try to assure that the astronauts on the way to the moon would not get food poisoning. Twenty-five years later, the Food and Drug Administration and the Agriculture Department adopted that safety system for all of us, and a year later, according to industry, the number of cases of salmonella dropped by a factor of two.
  79. Multispectral imaging methods used for seeing and understanding the Martian surface have been applied to badly charred Roman manuscripts that were buried during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Examining those carbonized manuscripts under different wavelengths of light suddenly revealed writing that had been invisible to scholars for two centuries.
The list goes on. We have benefited in ways that don't seem obvious from our efforts to put a man on the moon and continued space exploration. The goal of a manned mission to Mars would provide much needed innovation.

Yes, we have lots of problems here on Earth. But many of those same problems will exist for us as we move into the solar system. Technology to make Mars' environment sustainable could help us repair our own. Finding alternative energy resources will be absolutely necessary to space exploration.  There are no oil deposits that we know of on the Moon. There will be no drilling for oil. But there are a plethora of other minerals on the Moon we can mine. Learning how to harness solar power and transmit that energy to wherever on the planet it's needed will be technology that is based in no small part in what we've already gained from the space program. Making that technology viable can be done with the assistance of the space program.

We must continue to explore space. And by we, I mean the human race. If the Chinese are the ones that finally get a man on the moon after a 40 year absence, then so be it. I care not whose flag gets planted where. We who remain on Earth can only benefit from their bravery and curiosity.

What I want, and what I would hope you want, is for mankind to boldly go where no one has gone before.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Sungha Jung not only plays like a pro but he composes as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

News Flash from the Nome Nugget

I particularly love the line "Well, hit us with  box of quackers, lame duck yer Aunt Fannie."  H/T to the Mudflats.

I am off to see if I can find a Texas paper that lets loose on Gov. Big Hair with as much straightforward, no nonsense prose.

UPDATE:   Plenty of editorials after the secession fiasco but nothing that compares to the Nugget. I'm going to stop looking because the comments are pretty damn depressing. When did people decide that the anonymity of the Internet excused rude behavior?  I must have missed that memo.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weird Wednesday

Ok, it was pretty slim pickings today. So much so that I almost didn't post but after some digging I managed to come up with a few gems plus one that made me laugh out loud.

We begin in Thailand where Mocha, an Asian elephant, got fitted for a prosthetic leg. She lost her right front leg several years ago after stepping on a land mine. The leg is made of canvas and filled with sawdust. Vets actually believe they'll be able to release her back into the wild soon. Cool.

Following up with another animal story, a couple in New York has started an all-animal airline. Called Pet Airways, the airline has pet carriers instead of seats and will fly your pet between New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles for $250. Pets have flight attendants who check on them every 15 minutes and walk them at stops. They're already booked solid for the next two months.

Next we have a 19-year-old from Illinois who had too much to drink at a concert. Travis Peterson decided he couldn't drive home and went to sleep in his car. Sounds good so far. But then he was awakened by a state trooper who told him he had to leave. Once he exited the parking lot he was arrested for DUI. A Wisconsin appeals court (the concert was in Milwaukee) commended Peterson for doing the right thing and said the lower court was wrong for not allowing him to argue entrapment. So, we have a kid trying to sleep of his alcohol intake who gets woken up and told to leave so the police can arrest him. Sounds like entrapment to me. Course the weird part here is the headline: "Wisconsin court praises drunken concert goer". I told you the pickings were slim.

This one is better and worthy of a giggle. Authorities in Bay Minette, Alabama arrested a 22-year-old for trying to rob a gas station with a toy gun after the attendant foiled the robbery with a...wait for bat. In Alabama. The best part about the story are actually the comments. I reprint them here for your enjoyment:

Commentor 1: Who plays cricket in Alabama?

Commentor 2: Cricket bat? I'm guessing the station was owned by someone from South Asia, where the game is wildly popular. They probably had it stashed there for the employees.
I looked it up, and there is a cricket league in the area. All the names are South Asian.

Commentor 3: Cricket is baseball on acid.

Next we have the sad story of a wandering badger in Germany. Seems he ate some over-ripe cherries and staggered into town. Where he promptly parked himself in the middle of the intersection and refused to budge. A passerby called the police to report a dead badger in the road but when they got there they discovered one very much alive, but pretty damn cranky, badger. The police tried to scare him off but, and I quote, "having failed to scare the animal away, officers eventually chased it from the road with a broom". And that was laugh out loud worthy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Universal Healthcare

I just finished watching Michael Moore's Sicko. It was a truly amazing film. One of the segments that I found most enlightening was with Tony Benn, former member of Parliament. I transcribed an entire section because I found it to be the most coherent explanation of how we find ourselves in our current situation.

If you have power, you use it to meet the needs of your community. This idea of choice, choice depends on the freedom to choose. If you’re shackled to debt, you don’t have the freedom to choose. People in debt become hopeless and hopeless people don’t vote. If the poor in Britain or the US turned out and voted for people who represented their interests it would be a real democratic revolution.
I think there are two ways people are controlled. First of all, frighten them and secondly demoralize them. An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern and I think there’s an element in the thinking of some people- we don’t want people to be educated, healthy and confident because they would get out of control.

Remember this. I'll be referring to it in a bit.

President Obama's health care plan calls for a public option to be added to our current system. The idea is to provide choice, thus driving down the costs of healthcare because insurance companies will have to do so in order to compete, never mind that every place this has been tried it hasn't worked. Seven states have tried this mixture of public and private plan and not one of them is a success. The choice they provide is illusory. As long as the private for profit health care system remains in place, costs will remain high. And as long as debt, or the fear of debt, exists, the poor have no choice. They, like Benn said, become hopeless.

So what if you think Michael Moore is loony tunes and not to be trusted? How about listening to a doctor? Dr Sidney Wolfe testified before the Subcommittee on Health last month. You can get the transcript here.

He believes, and the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office agree, that our current level of spending, if switched over to a national plan, would be sufficient to cover everybody in the US with no co-pays and no deductibles.

Think about that for a moment. Every person in the US with health insurance. Where would that money come from? Your taxes. The amount that you're currently paying for health insurance would leave your paycheck and, instead of lining the pockets of Blue Cross or Humana, would go to the government. They would pay the doctors and the hospitals just like they now pay the firefighters and the teachers. And these doctors and hospitals wouldn't be government employees. The financing would be provided by the government but the system would remain private. We do it already with Medicare.

Who would this benefit? Only the 45 million US citizens without health insurance. Who would this hurt? The health care industry, of course, and by that I mean the insurance companies since they would cease to exist. Some how that doesn't bother me.

We don't trust the insurance companies. With good reason. They've been claiming they would cut costs for decades. Just a month ago, they promised to cut 2 trillion dollars in costs over the next 10 years. Wolfe says "the amount that can be saved over the next ten years by just eliminating the health insurance industry and the $400 billion of excessive administrative costs it causes each year is $4 trillion, in one fell swoop. "

Medicare has problems, certainly, but those mostly stem from the health care industry trying to make sure they keep getting paid. Like Bush's 2003 Medicare prescription plan that was supposed to save seniors all this money but actually ended up costing them more. The plan was pushed by Big Pharma. In fact the congressman who championed the plan left Congress to work for PhRMA, the drug industry's largest lobbying group. At a salary of several million dollars a year.

It's not just health care costs that are skyrocketing. The cost of higher education is growing more and more out of reach every year, placing a college degree out of reach for millions of Americans. In our increasingly technology dependent economy, this means these people will have fewer opportunities.

It's not just the poor that have concerns about the cost of health care, either. Medical bankruptcies accounted for 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007; 92% of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5000, or 10% of pretax family income, according to study published in the American Journal of Medicine. 75% of these people had health insurance.

This all adds up to fear and demoralization. Remember how Benn said you control people with fear and demoralization? A person unable to afford to attend college faces severe difficulties in today's job market. I'd personally find that pretty damn demoralizing. Knowing that you were one hospitalization away from bankruptcy makes for a lot of fear. So does not feeling able to change jobs because the one you have gives you insurance and with rising costs you might not be able to find another that did. Those 45 million Americans without health insurance at all live in fear every day. What happens if they get sick or injured? According to Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, 50 people a day die because they lack health insurance and wait too long to seek medical care. That's 18,000 a year.

And that my friends, is the source of all our problems. Some say that to change to a single payer plan would be disruptive. President Obama says so. It would certainly be disruptive to the health insurance industry. Think it can't be done? That no one has ever done so? Think again.

Taiwan did it. In 1995, Taiwan moved to a single payer plan. Before, 40% of their population had no health coverage. Today 90-95% are covered. It just took the political will to do the right thing.

Obama wants to find and build consensus. He believes that despite the fact that 60% of Americans feel we need a national health program, he has to work with the health care industry and Republicans to create a compromise. Despite the track record of the health care industry over the last 40 years that proves in no uncertain terms their only interest is in increasing profits, he thinks he must work with them. Meanwhile, single-payer proponents have to beg to be heard. Any industry that considers paying a medical claim as they contracted to do is a loss, has no interest in being an advocate for reform. It won't happen. It's simply not in their best interest.

And so I remind you, Mr President, you were elected on the idea of hope. Hope for true change in health care cannot be found by working with the insurance companies or Big Pharma or the AMA. You and Congress must do the right thing. Not the expedient thing. Not the thing that brings in the most money for your campaign coffers, but the right thing.

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Thank you, Patrick Murphy

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) has intitated legislation to repeal DADT.  Sign the petition and let Congressman Murphy know you're behind him.

Let your Congress Critter know you support Murphy's legislation. Let the President know.

Let them know in no uncertain terms that DADT needs to go the way of the Dodo bird. It's wrong-headed, hurtful and dangerous.

In case you haven't seen it, Murphy was on the Rachel Maddow show last week.

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More Evidence that Sarah Palin is an Idiot

I suppose the subtitle to this could be: The Washington Post Editors are Also Idiots.

Ms Palin has an Op-Ed in the Washington Post. In the Post's defense, the piece is in the opinion section and thus less likely to be confused to hard news. Still, it is more evidence of the paper's clear slant. What happened to the days of journalistic integrity and the ideal of objective news gathering? Cause this here Journalism major is here to tell you, they are long gone.

Palin's editorial argues that the President's proposed cap and trade legislation will destroy the American economy.  Now, I'm no expert on cap and trade but the general idea, as I understand it, is to fine those who exceed their cap on harmful emissions and thus encourage growth in green technology. Palin seems to think that this legislation will cost thousands of jobs and hurt the economy of years to come.  She talks about how if those nasty bureaucrats would just give Alaska permission, they could drill and get us enough oil to solve all our problems.  Plus she talks about how clean coal is becoming.  Um, Sarah? News flash. There is NO SUCH THING as clean coal. It doesn't exist. It probably will never exist.

Conor Clarke over at the Daily Dish has a couple of great posts about Palin's editorial. He talks about how she basically ignores the reason behind cap and trade and focuses solely on her tired rhetoric of drill, baby, drill and how the great state of Alaska can solve America's energy problems if those nasty environmentalists will just go away. Of course, she doesn't phrase it quite that way but if you paid the slightest bit of attention last fall its pretty easy to fill in the blanks.

And I love that at the end of her rant, the Post adds this tidbit at the end in case you didn't recognize Palin from her by-line: The writer, a Republican, is governor of Alaska. They forgot to add: Until the end of the month.

If this is what we have to look forward to after Palin leaves office, I'll pass. It's more of the same only slightly more polished. She should stick to print and maybe she'd sound a little less stupid. Hey! I know!

Palin should start a blog.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Family Reunion

I am off today to our annual family reunion.  My Dad had 3 brothers and 3 sisters. The descendants of the 7, as we call them, meet every year or close to it.  This year, only one of the 7 is still living and I don't believe she'll be making it to the reunion.

Without the 7 to pester their kids, the reunions have gradually grown smaller and smaller. I suspect that within a few years, they'll stop being annual events.  23 people have RSVP'd this year.  That's significantly smaller than when I was growing up or even when my kids were little. At our peak we probably had in the vicinity of 75-80. Not the largest but not bad. Mind you these are direct descendants from 2 people to the 3rd generation. That would be my grandparent, my dad, me and my kids. Actually, I think we're up to great-great grandchildren of the original pair, but only recently. I guess that makes to the 4th generation.

Anyway, I feel I have to go. My Dad really enjoyed the reunions and was always disappointed when one of us couldn't make it. This year, all four of us are going. It's been a while since the girls were both available. 

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Is it just me?

Or does the map of my visitors remind you of the Canadian flag?  Lots on the west coast. Lots on the east coast. One lone nut in middle America.

Hmm. Wonder who that lone nut is?

Spin Cycle: Driving

The topic this week at Sprite's Keeper is driving. Hmm, broad topic but with so much potential.

I learned to drive in Houston, Texas in the late 70s. Like Pseudo, I learned to drive when high schools still offered driver's ed as part of their curriculum. Oi, the hassles we had to go through to get our daughter's license! Anyway, I had the single wide trailer with the driving simulators and the whole ball of wax.

The first time I got to drive on the highway was in driver's ed during a thunderstorm. We'd driven out I-10 to Katy (west of Houston, or it was then. Now it's all part of the same suburban sprawl. I digress.) I got to drive back. It wasn't just a light sprinkle. No this was a full fledged, the heaven's have opened up and are dumping on your head, thunderstorm. We survived but I have to say it was unpleasant.

So I had my license. Even though I didn't do so hot on the parallel parking part of the test. I think it was telling the DPS guy that I was within walking distance to the curb that sealed the deal. I don't generally hit the cars, or in this case the poles, in front or back of me, I just can't get the damn car close to the curb. To this day.

Any way, I got to drive the family station wagon. No doubt because it was a big-ass piece of shit that my parents' felt was going to protect me in case of an accident. It was a boat. The best part about driving that car was the fact that on the day it was to be traded in for a new car for my Mom, I totalled it. Some ass hat ran a stop sign cause they thought I had one (I didn't), took one look at the behemoth bearing down on them and stopped dead in the intersection.

I T-boned him.

Lovely green goo leaking out of my radiator. My door wouldn't open. I was hysterical. I was also off campus for lunch and my companion in the car was not a Senior. She boogied. My parents were no where near as upset as I thought they would be. Probably because I acted like the world was about to end and they felt sorry for me. Plus it wasn't my fault.

My mother still got her car. I got her old one. A lovely 1976 Mercury Monarch. I drove that car to college. That was back in the day when I thought it was fun to see how fast I could get from UT campus in Austin to my house in west Houston. It's miracle I didn't die. I never really found out the top speed of that car since at about a 110 it developed a disturbing vibration in the right front windshield frame. If I recall correctly it was a visiable vibration. I never made it home in under 3 hours though I had friends who swore they could.

In self defense this car started to literally fall apart. First it was the rear view mirror falling off, then the driver's door inside handle broke off in my hand as I was getting out. I did get a new car out of it.

So, as I said at the beginning, I learned to drive in Houston. Like most large cities, traffic in Houston is nuts. When I got to Austin, things were quite different. First of all, Austin has a section of I-35 that is split into two decks. The upper deck is a by-pass of sorts. It skips past UT and dumps you downtown. The entrance and exit ramps on the lower deck are ridiculously short with really crappy sight lines. Pseudo jokes that her entrance ramps were designed by someone on weed. We say that the upper/lower deck was built by Aggie engineers. (Just google Texas and Aggies and jokes and see what most UT grads think of their rival.)

As if the maddness of the upper and lower deck wasn't enough, in the early 80s Austin was still a small town. And people drove like they'd never been on an Interstate before. I once was entered I-35 at Riverside Drive (where the entrance ramp was appropriately long) and encountered an idiot who got to the end of the ramp and stopped. I might have locked up the brakes attempting to avoid him. I sat behind this nit wit and cursed as he let holes in the traffic pass him that a Mac truck could merge into. I finally got so pissed off that I pulled around him, into one of the many holes in traffic he was too chicken shit to merge with, while honking my horn and giving him the single finger salute. Can't say I had the empathy for him that Pseudo had for hers.

Austin is now much more like Houston. Lots of idiots. You know, the people who drive in a downpour the same way they do when it's 102 and sunny (like today). Weaving in and out of traffic at 75. Tailgating. You know the type.

These days, I don't do much driving. With only one vehicle, I don't get much chance. Though there are times when I'd like to take over from Hubby. He makes me nervous. He's not a bad driver, really, it's just not me behind the wheel and some day the lack of control gets to me.

Drop by Sprite's Keeper for more tales of driving woe.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weird Wednesday

Slim pickings today, I'm afraid. While I can always find a plethora of stupid criminal stories, after a while they all start to sound the same. Though I did find a few with a new twist.

We start in Gwinett County, Georgia where a police recruit is in hot water. He was caught burglarizing an acquaintance's apartment. He claims the PlayStation he was caught with was his. He has resigned pending felony burglary charges. Oops.

A man in Kenya had his dog arrested. It ate his rent money. Police were not too interested in helping catch the criminal until the owner paid them 50 shillings. The district officer wasn't too happy to hear this and fired the officer for taking a bribe and returned the dog. The owner is still mad though. He's trying to sell the dog. And just so you know, 50 Kenyan shillings is worth about 64 cents.

This next one kind of makes me sad. A father in Albuquerque was arrested for child abuse after police caught him with his 5-year-old daughter in his lap. He was behind the wheel at the time and was teaching her how to drive. Now I know 5 is a bit young but I seem to remember doing something similar when I was younger. Much younger. It's an old time honored tradition to sit your young'un in your lap and have them "steer". Could be this guy got in trouble because he was speeding and apparently giving his kiddo a bit too much control of the car.

Next we have a momentof stupidity brought to you by a teacher in Maine. Paul Rosenblum "married" his fourth grade student in a playground ceremony. Seems that some folks found it a mite disturbing. If you can find a make-believe game of dress-up disturbing. Still, he should have known better. Something like this makes all the crazies that think any man who teaches elementary school is a closet pervert feel vindicated. Course they're nuts.

I leave you with a video from Air New Zealand. Somehow, I bet people watch this one a bit more closely than previously.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

RTT- Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blogger

Well, it's Tuesday. Man, they come around fast. It's almost like it's a regular occurance. Go visit the UnMom for more

Oi. So Blogger has been giving me fits. First of all, the damn Followers widget won't accept my color changes. No matter how many times I try, half of it is still in dark grey which is barely legible. And I've given up trying to ask for help from Blogger on this issue. It's just gonna have to look sucky.

Speaking of followers. When I wrote my 300th post, I really had 29 followers. After I posted it I was mysteriously down to 28. To whomever I pissed off, I'm sorry.

And what is it with the damn spell check? Grrr. it has a mind of its own. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. And speaking of doesn't, why the hell doesn't Blogger know how doesn't is spelled?

Sigh. Blogger likes to toy with me. Some days everything works perfectly. Others? Not so much so.

I have no new pictures of the dogs but I will say this about the puppy: She's a ninja beast. She can reduce a roll of toilet paper to confetti faster than anything I've ever seen. She also has a hate on for Danielle Steele. My only copy of Ms Steele's works is only in my house because I was too lazy to return it to the book club. Aibhne has nibbled the corners. It may well be unreadable. More so than it already was. (An abject apology to any Danielle Steele fans out there. Don't unfollow.)

Youngest has returned safely from Missouri where she was the maid of honor at a friend's wedding. By the way, she met that friend IRL for the first time at the airport. As in, they had never actually physically met until said friend picked her up at the airport. Hence the IRL (in real life to you losers out there) tag.

She left the next day for the beach with her best friend, her boyfriend and a male representative of the posse. They went without reservations and still managed to find a reasonably priced hotel. Though we certainly had a few. Reservations, I mean. There comes a time when you must either trust your children or die from the anxiety. Since it would have been seriously inconvenient to die, we opted for the only choice left.

I will say this. It's been nice and quiet without her and her posse around. (If you're reading this Youngest, no insult was intended. Any you infer is your own responsibility.)

We went to the dog park again. It was fairly crowded this time and all the beasts had a good time until one pit bull mix decided Rowan was his bitch. And humped him.

Rowan was not happy.

Aibhne, on the other hand, thought this dog was cool and ran after him wherever he went. Clearly, she has not been in heat yet because he was uninterested in her "in that way". Thank goodness. Time to get that girl fixed.

I am running out of random things to say so I will say goodbye. Drop by Keely's for more randomness.

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