Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Night Video

Big Head Todd and the Monsters were one of my favorite bands to came out in the 90's

Here is Circle,from their Sister Sweetly album.

JTI Picnic: the Brats and the Bees

Hi childrens!

We had a great time at the picnic! I was summoned early on to help by telepathically broadcasting directions to those who were unsure of their way. Once on the grounds, there was this hint:

A special thank you to dears SER and Lizardmom for staking out a claim early. (I happen to know that they spent the time sharpening their skills in a certain criminal activity. Oh yes, you two, Madame Zoltar knows all!)

Unfortunately, even I couldn’t keep away the swarms of killer bees. Or yellow jackets. Or whatever those pesky little things are. I promise to have a potion ready for the next get-together.

I’m sorry, but I was much too preoccupied reading palms to notice who brought exactly what food. I know the burgers came from Timt49 and were delicious. Mr. drewzepmeister brought his fabulous chicken wings again. A veggie plate was contributed by our mystery guests. Only JT Irregulars and psychics may know their identity. Ooooooo-eeeeeeee-oooooooo!

I saw Huck Finn there and Cyndi and kkdither. Please, anyone who was there, please give credit where it is due for the food.

I’ll take credit for the weather, which was gorgeous.

See you all at the next soiree, dearies!

Friday, September 19, 2008

HAPPY FRIDAY!! Time for another OPEN BLOG!!!

YEAH!!! We made it to Friday!!
How did you survive this past week??
(full moon and all!)
Who's up for a picnic?

Mayor Becker to Discuss Immigration Issues with Members of Racine Interfaith Coalition

In a related development, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents annonunced that they will discuss Racine's financial, infrastructure, business, industrial, employment, criminal, educational, transportation, and environmental issues.

Agent Bob O'Link, spokesman for the United States' ICE agency, stated, "With Becker handling the immigration issues in Racine for us, we thought we'd return the favor and do his job for him. I mean, somebody has to do it. It's great when government agencies can help each other out like this."

MIlwaukee Public Schools to Explore Dissolving District

Money pressure brings board’s surprising vote

"While it is extremely far from this step to MPS going out of business — and the action might turn out to be largely a symbolic protest of the MPS financial situation — it was by far the board’s most dramatic reaction to the pressures it is under. Those pressures include wide demands for better student achievement, a tightening money vise and the strong prospect of a double-digit increase in the property tax levy to be imposed this fall.

“'We have ample evidence the current model is going to move us to ruination sooner or later,' [school board member Danny] Goldberg said."

“'Anybody else running it — good luck,' [budget committee chair Terry] Falk said."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin Email fiasco. It's all bad.

Yahoo bad for giving out the password.

Hacker bad for exploiting a broken system.

Net sites bad for posting the emails.

I'm bad for actually reading what should be private.

And Palin is bad for having lied about trooper gate.

)It's a small cruel world out there.

What did he say???

OK, here is the 'did I hear that right?' blog.

This week, Monday, I think,
We were asked "what time do you serve breakfast til?"

We answered "til 10:30 on weekdays and 11:00 on weekends"

This obviously led to great confusion by the one that asked,
to which the following question was asked....

"But what about Mondays???"


What is the oddest thing you've ever been told or asked??

Science Friday Live From Tucson

NPR's show Science Friday will be airing live from the Mars Phoenix building here in Tucson tomorrow 11am - 1pm MST (no daylight savings time here) which is 1pm-3pm CDT. They will be talking about Mars (duh!), chili peppers, and Arizona astronomy. I hear they are scalping tickets on Craigs List if you can believe that.

Unfortunately, I will not be in the audience as tomorrow is a special workshop for a program called Project Astro that pairs teacher with astronomers to do education. As an astronomer volunteer, I visit the classroom of my teacher to help lead activities and teach astronomy during the year. And our workshop goes all day tomorrow!

They may talk about a project I have a pretty good role in and that has some exciting Racine and Kenosha connections as well...I will post a follow up blog Saturday (I have to listen to the podcast of it first and, since we take the teachers up Kitt Peak Friday night, I won't even get to listen to the podcast at all tomorrow!)

You can try to find a station that airs Science Friday near you, but I don't know if you can pick any of them up in Racine. Or you can listen live streaming. If all else fails, you can be like me and listen to the podcast at your leisere.

So here is your heads up...more on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


See You (22,500 years) Later, Alligator!

Here is the discovery of a cosmic oddball with the not so poetic name of SQ372. The minor planet was discovered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)about 2 billion miles from the Sun (about the distance of Neptune). The unusual thing about this little guy is that its orbit is elliptical...very elliptical. It takes 22,500 years to complete one orbit and ends up about 150 billion miles away at its farthest point.

They were not even looking for asteroids or comets but supernova. The SDSS was scanning the same area of the sky every clear night looking for supernova. When you get this type of data, you can also find moving objects, but it takes a different computer program to find them. So they wrote the program and you can see the discovery images in the animation below.
Doesn't exactly jump out at you, does it? This guy is probably less than 30-60 miles across and has a composition similar to a comet. Unlike comets, it never gets close enough to the Sun to form a tail.

The significance of this discovery is that it is an object that appears to have originated between the Kuiper belt (a collection of icy bodies between Neptune and about 5 billion miles from the Sun) and the Oort Cloud (which should lie about a trillion miles from the Sun). Astronomers have dubbed this area the Inner Oort cloud (not exactly a creative name) and its existence is still controversial. However, a previously discovered body named Sedna (it was big enough to get a name) and now this guy are starting to provide a little more evidence for the Inner Oort Cloud model of the solar system.

This discovery is a nice example of science in action. Observations are made, predictions are made and tested by more observations and experiments. Ideas are revised based on new observations. I am looking forward to more discoveries as we try to piece together the mysteries of the outer solar system.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, everyones! Welcome to my weekly Wednesday blog.

Madame Zoltar is not pleased. I was working on my blog this morning and had it nearly completed when there was a sudden power outage. I should’ve been OK because I have a battery backup for my computer manufactured by APC. I just tested it a couple of weeks ago. However, when the power went down, so did my computer, and I lost everything. Power was eventually restored and I rewrote the blog. All’s well that ends well, though, and I hope that the CEOs of WE Energies and APC enjoy their new incarnations as a jackass and platypus, respectively.

Today’s first question comes from one of my favorite contributors, Mr. Avenging Angel, who asks, “If Rocky fought Rambo, who would win?”

Why, Sylvester Stallone, of course: just think of all the money he would make! Seriously, though, this question reminds me of that old conundrum about an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. In that scenario, I like to think of Rambo as a collection of protons hurling in one direction inside of the Large Hadron Collider. By the same token, Rocky would be a different collection of protons hurling in the opposite direction. Then, if they were to collide, space and time as we know it would cease to exist. That’s not a big deal for me because I’m used to slipping in and out of the material world, but it may pose some problems for the rest of you. In short, Mr. AA, the answer to your question is that no one would win, but we would all lose. Let’s just keep the great, patriotic Americans like Rocky and Rambo fighting together for our side.

Our next comment comes from someone who wants her “name withheld for anonymity,” and once you’ve read the message, you’ll know why: “Dear Mme. Zoltar. I have been having these ‘special feelings’ about you lately. I am totally heterosexual and strictly into men though. Could it just be patient/psychic transfer that I'm experiencing? Please help. I am so uncomfortable having this sexual angst hanging over my head....”

My, I’m feeling rather flushed. Ah, er, yes, it’s that transfer thing, or something… Perhaps your feelings for me are really an expression of gratitude for the insight and wisdom I have brought into your life with my special powers. Or maybe you’re just horny. In any case, I recommend cold showers whenever you have those feelings – for both of us.

Here’s a query from a locally elected official: “Why do bloggers feel they have the right to comment on and criticize a public figure? Just because I campaigned for office and am paid by their tax dollars, they seem to think it’s OK to discuss my job performance. Why don’t they understand? I was duly elected by the people – now leave me alone!”

Sorry, but bloggers are a notoriously thick lot who can’t seem to shed those silly notions of democracy and civic duty that some damn fools drummed into their heads. Tell you what, for the right price (contact me), I can cast a spell that will blind them with celebrations and commercial distractions. They’ll be so busy with partying that they probably won’t even hear the gunfire in the distance.

Finally, here are my prognostications for this weekend’s JTI picnic: perfect weather, outstanding food, and great company. Remember, if you want me to make an appearance, gather into a circle, join hands, close your eyes, and chant my name. I will be there shortly. If that hussy “Bloody Mary” Worth shows up in my stead, please tell her to take a hike.

And don’t forget to email me at to see your questions and my answers published here every week.


September 17th....ahhhhhh!

Down here in the desert, September 17th is a somewhat important day in is the average date of the last 100 degree day of the year. Right now, no more are in sight. We could get another, but the odds are going down and we wont' get weeks at a time of them.

The saying here is that our first 100 degree day in the spring is when the "Ice breaks on the Santa Cruz River". Yep, here ice doesn't break until 100 degrees is hit.

So here we go for the nice fall weather, hikes in the national park, and road racing season picks up.

Enjoy the fall!

Fed in AIG Rescue - $85 Billion Loan

Government response reaches dramatic new level: U.S. will take 80% stake in nation's largest insurer to prevent global financial chaos.

I'm not a high finance type guy, so I wouldn't pretend to know about these kinds of things, but even an idiot like me is getting a little worried. Our government is now financing 80% of a privately owned company, the nation's largest insurer, correct? And this is in addition to the previously announced bailouts, correct?

Just so you know, OrbsCorbs Inc. has suffered tremendous losses in the recent economic turmoil and is in great danger of collapsing, which would send ripples of uncertainty throughout the blogging community. How do I go about applying for one of these federal bailouts?

And where's my FEMA trailer?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Fish pic from IKE

Umm not sure if this worked......

Moonrise on Lake Michigan Revisited

About 7:30 this evening, I was down by Samuel Myers Park (aka 11th St. Beach). I looked off to the east, and there was a beautiful full moon just beginning to rise over the lake. It reminded me of the Solstice Moon that we discussed a few months ago:

I thought of the great photos that drew took of that moon: I didn't have my camera with me and the light was fading fast, but I wanted to try to get some shots of this moonrise. So I raced home, grabbed my camera, and raced back down. By the time I arrived, it was almost dark. As I trotted toward the rocks, I suddenly remembered the tripod that I had left at home. Isn't it fun to get old?

Anyway, I tried to get some decent pics, but I was too winded to hold the camera steady, and very ticked off at myself for forgetting the tripod. The picture above is the best of the lot. And the one at right, well, I'm not sure exactly what happened there, but it reminds me of the 60's.

I'm boycotting political posts

There is the saying is that the one thing that can ruin a good friendship between a guy and girl, (two guys, two girls what ever) is marriage. The same can be said about politics. In some of the past blogs, we all may have shed some light on our leanings. I know mine came out. Some I agree with, some I don't. I don't thinks there is anything that anyone can say to change mine, and likewise for me to do the same to someone else. And I sure as hell don't want politics to come between the intelligent conversations, the unintelligent conversations, laughs, and general BS of my irregular friends. However crapping on the Bears and Cubs is still fair game!

This Week's Big Picture: Hurrican Ike

This week's Boston Globe Big Picture focuses on Hurrican Ike. Really tough to pick a sample picture this week.
Okay, someone else post...I am starting to feel like a blog hog here!

Fun with Telemarketers

On Orb's spam blog, the conversation turned to telemarketers, so let's start a new one here.

I refuse to put my number on a do not call list. I want these idiots to call me. They can be a tremendous source of amusement, if you play them right.

Over the last few months, I've gotten:

The auto warranty calls

The credit card consolidation calls

"Dave" or "Steve" or whatever the idiot's name is for satellite tv

Subscription for the RJT

Life insurance from JC Penny

Here's why they don't call anymore:

Auto Warranty:

I claimed to own an '86 Ford Pixar. Idiot stayed on the phone with me for 30 minutes trying to find it in her system before abruptly hanging up. Someone must have finallytold her that "Pixar" is the name of a movie company.

Credit Card Consolidation

I spent 15 minutes detailing the charges on 23 different ficticious accounts. I think I tipped my hand when I claimed to have a $643 balance on my "Vista" card from the "Bank of Racine". They hung up.

Satellite TV.

I listened to the entire pitch (about 10 minutes), then asked: If the picture is coming from a satellite, will all I see is space? I kept up this curious line of questioning (will I see planets? The moon?) until they hung up.

Subsrciption for the RJT

I listened to that whole pitch, then asked if the paper was available on audio or braille because I'm blind (I'm not). The woman mumbled an apology and hung up. She must have put something in the notes because the very next day, RJT called again. It went like this:

Me: Hello?
RJT: Hi I'm calling from the Racine Jour......Sorry, have a good day.

They never called back.

JC Penny life Insurance

As detailed on the other thread, JC Penny began calling me looking for "Annie". Even though I explained 6 or 7 times that there was no "Annie", they kept calling back. Finally, I asked why they were calling:

Me: Can you tell me what this is about?
JCP: We're calling JC Penny card holders with an offer for Life Insurance.
Me: So, if I kill the bitch, you pay me?
JCP: Excuse me?
Me: I said, if I kill the bitch, you gonna pay me?
JCP: Click

They never called back, but I kind of expected a visit from the cops. lol

All in all, I consider anyone calling my number to be fair game for abuse.

Just In Case You Missed SNL...

Very funny introductory bit...Tina Fey really has Palin's mannerisms and cadence down. I bet Fey almost wants Palin to win so she can do this for the next four years.

If Gore Invented the Internet then McCain Invented Cellphones and Wifi

First, a review. In an interview with with Wolf Blitzer, Gore said,

"I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system. "

Conservatives jumped on this and said Gore claimed to invent the internet (I note the lack of the word "invent" in there but that's just me.)

Fast Forward: 2008. Science Debate 2008 asks a series of questions of the candidates. On the first question about innovation, McCain claims,

"Under my guiding hand, Congress developed a wireless spectrum policy that spurred the rapid rise of mobile phones and Wi-Fi technology that enables Americans to surf the web while sitting at a coffee shop, airport lounge, or public park."

Sounds a lot like what Gore was claiming...being a part of the legislative process that helped spur the development of a modern technology. Or maybe McCain is claiming he invented cell phones and wifi.

Although an advisor of McCain did indicate that he (McCain) created the Blackberry. When asked about McCain's experience on the Senate Commerce Committe,

"Pressed to provide an example of what McCain had accomplished on that committee, Holtz-Eakin said the senator did not have jurisdiction over financial markets — then held up his Blackberry, telling reporters: “He did this.”"

At least McCain seems to realize this is silly.

"Meanwhile, McCain senior aide Matt McDonald said that the senator "laughed" when he heard the comment.

"He would not claim to be the inventor of anything, much less the BlackBerry. This was obviously a boneheaded joke by a staffer," McDonald said."

So, either we drop the Gore invented the internet nonsense or I get to make fun of McCain for inventing mobile phones, wifi and the Blackberry!


Note: I am going to blog on the candidates science policy (now that McCain has answered the Science Debate 2008 questions...his answers were posted yesterday and Obama's have been up since late August.) Just need a little more time to digest them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Night Groaner

One night, as he finished his last beer, Joe's doorbell rang. He answered the door and found a six-foot cockroach standing there. The bug grabbed him by the collar and threw him across the room, then left.

The next night, the doorbell rang, and he found the same six-foot cockroach standing there the big bug punched him in the stomach, then left.

The same thing happened the next night. This time, he was kneed in the groin and hit behind the ear as he doubled over in pain. Then the big bug left.

The following day, Joe went to see his doctor. He explained the events of the preceding four nights. "What can I do?" he pleaded.

"Not much," the doctor replied.

"There's just a nasty bug going around."

Have you ever bought anything JUST BECAUSE??

Have you ever bought anything just for the fun of it?

Some of you may remember a blog on 'that other site'
that my husband did on eating utensils.

He is an avid fork person.

I am preferential to spoons.

I actually prefer the ever popular SPORK.

And guess what??

I surfed for fun on EBay, and what do you know -
I found a good price with free shipping
and couldn't help myself.

When he saw the confirmation email,
he thought I was off my rocker, but I'm tickled with them!!!
That was a totally 'for fun buy'. What have you ever gotten
I used mine for supper much to his chagrin :)
oh ya, so worth it!!!

(do you know spell check doesn't recognize 'spork' as a word?? geez!!

Ninja cat comes closer while not moving!

Mysterious stalker assassin.

Have You Noticed an Upsurge in Email Spam?

My Road Runner accounts are getting bombed. I don't know about web-based mail (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.); I don't pay much attention to them. I have a spam filter that works well, so it's no big deal, but I couldn't help but notice the rising amount over the last few weeks. Also, a big spammer had his conviction (and the law) overturned recently: Virginia Supreme Court Overturns Spammer's Conviction

The spam I used to receive was almost all for erectile dysfunction pills or mortgage ads. Then it must have died off. I really didn't notice. However, the stuff I'm geting now is for everything and anything. A lot of "As seen on Oprah" or "As seen on CBS," etc. Yesterday I checked my business email account - 1 valid message and 25 pieces of spam.

On an unrelated (or is it?) note, I've received a number of telemarketing calls over the past few weeks, even though my telephone number is on both the state and national do not call reigistries. Same thing for my mom. When I have attempted to communicate this to the telemarketers, they hang up. Damn, that is so frustrating!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Is there a "No Travel" list???


If there are 'no-fly' lists, then if there was such a thing
as a 'no travel' list, I'm sure we'd be on it.
Maybe we should do a voluntary house arrest of ourselves
to save other states and even our own from natural disasters.

3 (?) years ago, we went to Florida to be with a friend of mine.
My sister said she could tell exactly where we were based
on national weather forecasts.
We took record cold temps and bad weather with us.
Maybe you remember the 14 inch snowfall on Dec. 1st??
THAT WAS US. We're VERY sorry.

We were coming back from Florida, stayed with my sister
the day before coming home, then heard their forecast of a
surprise huge snowstorm coming... See just looked at us...
so we went home early.
They ended up with only an inch only and WE got 14,
when we were forecasted very little.
AGAIN, we're sorry!!

Early this summer, we went to the Dells. Do I need to say more??
To Tommy Bartlett, we're SO SORRY!!!!!!!!

We just got back from my sisters house in Indiana.
It rained from the time we got there, thru the time we left.
Soon after leaving their dam broke and the town is now
a national disaster zone.

We're afraid to leave home and yet have a trip to Florida in the future.
If there was such a thing as a 'no travel' list,
I'm sure most of the states we've traveled thru would ban us :(
Maybe I should contact China, I know they're trying to
manipulate the weather and avoid the bad stuff.

I now know how the born loser felt...

Laser magic

We all know magic is based on slight of hand and misdirection. But this high-tech trick defies explanation.

Laser magic

A Couple of Kitt Peak Pictures for You

I was up at Kitt Peak last night and caught the Moon rise over the McMath Pierce Solar Telescope.
It was a special event for the Tohono O'odham and they had the McMath Pierce telescope set up to watch sunset. It projects an image of the Sun almost a meter in diameter on a table.
You can see the projected image has the same orange color as the Sun would if you looked at it naked eye. The Sun is setting behind a distant mountain as you can see in the picture.

For this event, a couple of the large telescopes were open for visual observing including Steward Observatory's 2.3 meter telescope and the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope. They things rarely have eyepieces on them, so it was a real treat to get to look through the big scopes. The 3.5 meter telescope is now officially the largest telescope I have looked through visually.


This is funny.. if you have free long distance on your phone,(I don't know if it charges if you don't)
call this number.. and send it to all your friends. ;)