Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Pretty Site Sunday Night

Sunday night is a good chance to see a pretty grouping in the western sky after sunset. The show starts with the very thin crescent Moon poppoing out shortly after sunset. It will be only about 5% lit. Earthsine should illuminate the dark side of the Moon, always a pretty site.

As the sky gets darker, you will see elusive Mercury pop into view slightly below the Moon. Mercury never gets very far from the Sun, but this is its best evening appearance of the year and will be easier to find than usual. If you have binoculars, train them on Mercury. Mercury goes through phases just like the Moon...can you see Mercury's phase? How does it compare to the Moon's phase?

Finally, look closely between the Moon and Mercury for the Pleaides, also known as the Seven Sisters. This young cluster of stars is visible to the naked eye from a dark site, but you might need binoculars if you look before ti gets dark enough.

Unfortunately, I am traveling and do not have my good camera with me, so I probably wont' get my usual photos (unless I can find one to borrow here!).

Here is a finder chart for tomrrow night I made using Stellarium for Tucson, Arizona (click to embiggen).

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

The Event Coordinator's Report - In a word - AWESOME!

WOW is a great way to describe today-
THANKS TO BEEJAY for being an amazing hostess!!!

It was so nice to finally meet Logjam and Whynot,
and don't get me started on those beyond adorable kids!

The food was great, the company was the best,
and the laughter, we forgot about the cruddy weather!

I had a wonderful time,
ok guys, time for you to fill in the rest!!

PS. Next outing will be June 27th, a Saturday,
get it on your calendars!

Hey Zoltar, am I supposed to wear shorts to the picnic or what?

Another Benefit of Illegal Immigration

Dozens killed

Swine flu outbreak alarms Mexico

In U.S., eight affected, but no deaths reported

Swine flu sounds so terrible. Maybe we should rename it Becker flu.

You didn't really think Becker was going to do time, did you?

Becker to judge: Suppress evidence

Defense motions challenge police search, seizure in mayor porn case

Funny, when I went into treatment for alcoholism they told me that the ONLY way to recover from an addiction is through brutal honesty. There are specific steps that you must take to assess the damage that you've done to others, admit it to them, and make amends wherever possible. I guess sex addiction is different. The steps for recovering from that must include wiggling out of responsibility for your actions.

The man is a pig. A coward. A piece of shit. I knew it the moment I first saw him staggering down 6th Street, and confirmed it when I stared into his beady little eyes while he lied at the blogger's meeting. He has crapped all over Racine and no one in this city will hold him accountable for it.

No one.

Party on, Racine!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Franks Fishing Show 2

I did not make this video. I stole it from SER.

Rock and Roll Revival

Hey everybody! What's sup! The weather is getting warmer, summer is around the corner, and the JTI Spring Bash is this Saturday. What does that mean? PARTY TIME! Whoo Hooo! As we all know rock and roll is full of partying tunes. I could easily name a dozen of the top of my head. So, what I wanna know is, what is your favorite party tune? The one that makes you crank up the volume (and dance to). The one that gets you going?

Here my friends, from their El Loco album, Party on the Patio, by ZZ Top

Follow Up to KK's "Child Endangerment"

No wonder grandma had such a happy childhood!!!
Bayer's Heroin
A bottle of Bayer's heroin.
Between 1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine.
It was also used to treat children with strong cough.
Coca Wine
Metcalf Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines
with cocaine on the market.
Everybody used to say that it would make you happy
and it would also work as a medicinal treatment.

Mariani wine
Mariani wine (1875) was the most famous Coca wine of it's time.
Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time.
He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal.

Produced by Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York.
It was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after every meal.
Children should take half a glass

A paper weight
A paper weight promoting C.F. Boehringer & Soehne (Mannheim, Germany).
They were proud of being the biggest producers in the world of products containing Quinine and Cocaine

Opium for Asthma

No comments...

Cocaine tablets (1900)

All stage actors, singers teachers and preachers had to have them
for a maximum performance. Great to "smooth" the voice.

Cocaine drops for toothache

Very popular for children in 1885.
Not only they relieved the pain, they made the children happy!

Opium for new-borns

I'm sure this would make them sleep well
(not only the Opium, but 46% alcohol!!!!!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Marketing in the Schools

I was listening to the NPR show Marketplace today and they had a piece titled "Marketers Push Brand Loyalty in Schools". The focus was on a Proctor and Gamble program aimed at fifth grade students called Always Changing. They claimed it reaches 85% of fifth graders, so there is a good chance, if you have kids, they will or have gone through it.

The program focuses on changes that go on in puberty and include samples of deodorants and P&G products, a teacher powerpoint, and videos for Boys and Girls. P&G has a few other educational programs for students as well.

I am a former high school teacher and was always uneasy with blatant advertising in the classroom. Duncan had a yo-yo education program for example. Exxon-Mobile sponsors several different programs as well. I am sure there are countless other in different subjects.

Do students know they are being marketed to? At what age do they gain this sophistication? From my experience, high school students are not as wise as they like to think they are and don't recognize even thinly veiled marketing ploys. What chance does your average 5th grader have?

What are your experiences with marketing in the classroom, either to you or your children? Are you aware when it goes on at your schools? If you are not aware of it, are you sure it is not happening? Should we allow corporations in the classroom so to speak?

Just some food for thought tonight.

"Friedel: ‘state of the city is good’"

Mayor Tom Friedel gave Racine's State of the City address last night. He said “the state of the city, in a word, is good.”

The bullshit never stops in Racine.

Party on!

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my regular Irregulars! How are you? Hasn’t this weather been something? And people say that I am windy.

Our email this week comes from Mr. SER, in a missive entitled “You:”

Madame Zoltar,

I have read all your articles. People asking for help, like my winning numbers to the lottery, etc.

My question is, “Are you going to make it to the Blogger party this weekend at Beejay’s”? I realize you’re a very busy people but it would be nice if you showed.
Additionally, how about telling us readers of your plans for the summer, a vacation to somewhere, fighting crime, or just “chill’in”?


My dear Mr. SER, I believe you when you say that you have read all of my blogs, but perhaps your winnings in the lottery have distracted you and affected your retention capabilities. In last week’s blog I stated, ”I also want to announce that I will be attending the upcoming bloggers’ bash. I will give a complimentary teaser psychic reading to anyone who so desires. After that, my customary 25% discount for Irregulars applies.” In any case, I still plan to be there. I’d also like to formally predict excellent weather for the event, even if only above Beejay’s house.

Thank you for you inquiry into my summer plans, Mr. SER. How thoughtful of you. I intend to do a little of all three of the activities that you mentioned. I hope to vacation in Bulgaria later this summer. There I will make a pilgrimage to the home of my mentor, Madame Vanga. I will further pursue my research into the mysterious and the arcane while enjoying the rich local culture, which may include a couple of the rich local men.

As for fighting crime, how did you know that I was preparing to offer the city of Racine a new service at a nominal cost? My Psychic Crime Predictors (or PCPs for short) can predict crime before it happens – before even the felons know what they are doing. My prognosticators are a trained group of psychics and clairvoyants who zero in on the criminal mind and could put law enforcement officials in a position to prevent crime in Racine. Of course, LEOs in Racine have repeatedly stated that they are a reactive force and not in the business of preventing crime, so the politics of this may have to be sorted out before anything could be implemented. In any case, my network of PCPs will be available to the city of Racine for a small percentage of the stimulus funds bursting out of the seams of City Hall. For that matter, the courts could remove the GPS unit attached to former mayor Becker because my PCPs will tell you when and where his next “date” will be. In fact, they could tell you that he is currently in violation of his bond and reading this online himself, right My-name-is-Gary-and-I-am-a-sex-addict?

As for chillin’, Mr. SER, you know that I know how to do that. I will be all over downtown Racine this summer like a cheap suit, kicking back and partying with the best of them. Party, party, party! There’s no better way to deal with the recessionary blues than by getting liquored up and ignoring reality. For the 95% of Racinians who cannot afford to partake of the partying in “their” downtown, they will be allowed to look, as long as they do it on off days and keep moving along. Perhaps the city could even supply shuttle buses to give the poorer residents of our city a (quick) ride through downtown so that they, too, can experience how well Racine is doing.

That’s my blog for this week, my dears. See you all at the get-together this weekend. Thank you, Beejay, for hosting us and supplying so many of the goodies. I’m casting a special good luck spell on you for your trip to town.

Don’t forget to send your comments and questions to

Hasta la bye-bye.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Well, folks, I think I have my machine up and running...took an hour on the phone with AT&T cuz everything is 'new.' think. Anyway, those of you who have my e-mail, I will be on line and you will see me here while I am in the cool climes of WI...

Abby, I will call you when I get there and we'll set up time for the fun of shopping and lunching with Liz! No wine for me before 5 pm...otherwise, you get to drive me home and put me to bed!

DA, I do expect to have a drink with you on...Wednesday afternoon, right....oh my brain is fried.

For All The Bird Lovers Out There

My favorite is the Wood Ducks...beautiful birds.

Kleptomaniac, A little grin for Today

Sargent Friday and Johnny Carson......

PARTY-TIME is almost here!!!! It's not too late to come!

OK boys and girls, it's almost party time!!!!

For those of you that still don't know if you're brave enough
to meet the gang, let me assure you, we do not all look like this!!

If you haven't committed to coming yet, please consider it.
I am very happy to be part of this group.
I have met many of them, and no matter
how kookie we can be on here,
we're rather sane, and good folk.
Come see for yourself!!!


Whynot is even here from Sweden,
what could you possibly have going to keep you away??
Curiosity at least should bring you out :)

questions, comments, anything at all, email me,
I'm here to help!!

Hubble's 19th Birthday Picture

Hubble was launched 19 years ago. Instead of taking a picture of Hubble for its birhtday, it took a spectacular image of a couple of interacting galaxies (Click to embiggen or download the high res images).

This is an amazing mashup...I will let you read about what's going on here at Unvierse flight leaves soon!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Venus and the Moon: An Occultation and See Venus in the Daytime

I got up early today to head to the airport and saw Jupiter, the Moon, Venus, and even caught Mars rising. It happens that the Moon is heading toward Venus for a remarkable encouner tomorrow morning (Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009).

Depending on where you live, the Moon may pass directly in front of Venus! In the western US, this will happen before sunrise. Farther east, this happens during the day but since you can see Venus and the Moon during the day, it is worth trying to see. People east of a line running from roughly Ohio to Louisiana will not see an occultation as the Moon will merely pass very close to Venus. You can estimate the time to look by using the charts at Sky and Telescope or you can download a free program such as Stellarium and really nail down the best time to look.

Looking at the maps, in Racine Venus disappears between 7:40am and 7:50am local time (CDT is 5 hours behind UT). The forecast looks promising...sunrise at 6:00am and clear skies tomorrow morning. It helps to find the Moon and Venus before sunrise and follow them for a while. They can be tough to find during the day. Another trick you should use is stand near a building so the building blocks your view of the Sun. When the Sun is in the east, Venus and the Moon will be above the Sun so this trick works well in the morning (not so well in the afternoon when the Sun is above Venus and the Moon in the west).

Go ahead and try this...if you go to work at 8:00, you can watch it in the parking lot before you go in and make your coworkers wonder what's up as they arrive. It looks like Venus will reappear around 8:30am in Racine.

Unfortunately, I am on my way to Florida for vacation and there is no occultation visible there (thank you Albuquerue's free wifi for allowing me to post now) while I would get a great view if I stayed home in Tucson!

From the Half-Astrophyscist Blog.

Do You Think You Have Been to the Four Corners?

Then you my friend, are probably mistaken. The Four Corners, where Utah Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet has a nice marker so you can stand in four states at once. The problem is a new survey shows the marker is in the wrong spot! Guess they didn't have GPS satellites back then. The real four corners is about two and a half miles away.

There is a monument at the fake Four Corners where they charge $3 for the opportunity to be in four states at once (I wonder what happens if you commit a crime while standing in four states? Who gets jurisdiction?) I see a great opportunity for some enterprising person to build a new monument at the real boundary and charge even more money! Capitalism at work!

The Big Picture: Cassini

Boston Globe's Big Picture series continues this week with a look at the awesome images being returned by NASA's Cassini probe which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. It's hard to pick a teaser image for you as there are so many good ones.

Those are the rings of course. The Moon in the distance is Mimas, sometimes called the Death Star Moon.

Be sure to check out all the images! You won't be disaapointed.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Does anyone write code here?

I'm about to teach myself how to program a MCU, and wondering what the best programing to learn and be done with it. I have a book on beginners Embedded C and wonder if I should be using a different program language. I want to just suffer the pain of one language, not several. So far it's making sense. Mostly I just want to sequence LEDs in various ways.

Our City Before Sunrise

I forgot to add the pic of Main St bridge...

Some of the pictures are kinda fuzzy, must be the early morning DT's.
These are before the sun was up.

Racine Water Plant

Downtown Area
The Sun coming over the lake

A few shots of North Beach area

Some of Racine's early morning fisherman

A Racine icon....

I was attemping to catch half of a building with the top being lit by the sun as it rose.