Saturday, May 9, 2009

Not Only In Florida

We also have stupid ones in Wisconsin....

An alleged shoplifter with a bottle of whiskey in his pants decided to take one more gamble before leaving a Washington County liquor store: filling out a raffle ticket


Story at Not Rapped to Tight

Paul Revere And The Raiders - Kicks



Haw, haw, haw!

"Police: Missouri bank robber makes off with $3K, but leaves his wallet behind"

"KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police didn't have to dust for fingerprints to find this suspect — they just rifled through the wallet he left behind at the scene. Albert Vincent Perkins was charged with robbing First Federal Bank in Kansas City on Thursday. Police said he walked into the bank, handed the teller a plastic bag and ordered her to give him all of the $100 bills. Then he walked out of the bank — but left his wallet sitting on the counter."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-us-odd-robbery-gaffe,1,6352760.story


Dang, dang, dang.

Sun Goes Out For a Few Seconds

Sun Goes Out For A Few Seconds

May 7, 2009 | Issue 45•19


TUCSON, AZ—Officials at the Kitt Peak National Observatory are saying that, while the short period of utter darkness and intense cold was distressing, there is "no immediate cause for alarm" over the sun's six-second outage Monday. "We're not sure what caused our sun, which is in essence a self-sustaining fusion reaction, to defy science and just go out for a moment like that, but I wouldn't worry too much," astronomer Stephen Pompea said. "There is a slight chance it could repeat, like sunspot activity, a more common—whup! There it goes again. You seeing this? Kind of weird how it—okay, back on." Observatory personnel said they would give their full attention to investigating the phenomenon as soon as they figure out why last night's moon was blood red and took up half the sky.

For the record, Stephen Pompea is a real person who works in my department...someone at the Onion must know him!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thank You Friends

Thank you. You know why. I appreciate each and every one of you.

The flowers were beautiful. Your emails were thoughtful. The hugs were appreciated. Your support is amazing!

It was really a lovely day. She would have been very happy.

Becker and Fisk do a deal!

Party on....... with a family company!

h/t Racine Post

http://news.racinepost.com/2009/05/sc-johnson-becker-traded-tax-exempt.html

Can College Presidents Get Admitted to Their Own Colleges?

I don't know how many people here have dealt with or are dealing with the college application process right now. I am a former high school teacher (at private college prep schools) so I remember the multiple stresses, from college counselors, parents, friends and teachers, that students go through during the college admissions process. I wrote my share of recommendations for students. I also work for my college as an admissions rep...I do interviews with local students who are interested in the college, attend college fairs, etc.

So it was with great interest that I saw the Wall Street Journal challenged 10 College Presidents to write an admissions essay that met the guidelines for their colleges. You can read all their essays (look for the links on the left side of the page). Looking at the list of colleges (one of which I attended...bonus points if you can guess which one...I may have mentioned it on the blog before...two others were on my short list) is a who's who of small liberal arts colleges around the country. These colleges tend to place a heavier emphasis on the essays as they get a smaller number of applicants than the larger universities.

I remember applying to college and writing a couple of essays. I put them off until the last minute of course. I only applied to two colleges (the thought I should apply to safety schools in case I didn't get admitted never occurred to me...I just assumed I would be admitted wherever I applied...you can call it egotistical, naieve, or both). I had just done an illusion called Metamorphosis at our school's Swing Show so I tossed off a couple of pages on illusions (without revealing secrets, of course!)

So what's your experience with college essays...either yours or, if you have been through it with your children?

Summer and Memorial Day is Coming

What does summer and Memorial Day have in common? Higher gas prices.

I see yesterday the thieving bastards raise gas 10 cent per gallon again. I think in the past week it has gone up over 20 cents.

I’m guessing it is going to hit $3.50 by Memorial Day.


Racine Gas Prices

Note: At the top of the page, type in Racine, WI to get the local prices.

Roll Call II

Looking back eleven months ago to June, 2008, Stu posted a Roll Call blog which disclosed 16 new members. It was both surprising and fun to look back to see our "roots."

Definitely time to repeat this blog. Time to stand up and make your presence known! I KNOW we can beat the 16 replies from the first shout out....

p.s. you don't have to be a regular-irregular to make yourself known.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Using NASA as an excuse for Nuclear Arms

NASA is running out of Plutonium 238. It's used for power generation on long distance probes that travel too far from the sun to utilize solar energy for power. Using this as an excuse, the department of energy is goin g to start making this poisonous millennium lasting material again next year. They are not talking about reprocessing the material from tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, they are talking about manufacturing new material.

I'm a strong space exploration advocate, but I have real problems with using NASA as an excuse to continue building our weapons grade stockpiles.

Very Cool Pictures

Some of these are from Hale-Bopp's world........

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Rock and Roll Revival

Hello! I'm back again folks! Let me share a memory with you. I started listening to rock and roll in the late '70's when I was a kid. At the time, I was a Kiss freak. I had an older friend that lived in the same neighborhood as me. He had a huge collection of music. He would say to me, "You can do better than Kiss!" So we hung out at his place. Played cards and listen to music. I remember him pulling out record after record, turning me on to a wealth of music. There I was reeling it all in. Those memories pretty gave birth to my music collection.

So my friends, what memory of music you have? Was it the song that you heard on the radio at a special moment? Please tell.

This is one of my favorite tunes that I rocked out to back then...

Drink Up?

Sitting here downing my third cup, this story should make me feel pretty good. I *have* to have my coffee in the morning!! I remember how much I missed it when my OB doctor told me it was a BIG no-no during pregnancy...

The problem is, tomorrow, or next week, there will be something in the news telling me of some ghastly disease they've determined is linked to drinking coffee or consuming caffeine.


http://health.yahoo.com/experts/healthieryou/10497/9-reasons-to-drink-more-coffee/

Much like with anything, moderation will most always be your best choice. Can I claim that 6 cups of coffee is moderate, or is that pushing it?

It's An Odd Day...

In the ongoing series of "Days only a math geek could love," today is Odd Day. Odd Days occur when the month, day and year are three consecutive odd numbers. Today is 05/07/09. Odd days occur only six times each century so enjoy this truly Odd Day.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

"The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy"


The above map comes from The Pop vs. Soda Page at http://popvssoda.com:2998/. On their site, the map is interactive.

I was reminded of this "controversy" recently when a woman on another site said she could tell I was from the north because I called pop soda. If you look at the map above, though, you can see that just south of the Illinois border they call it pop. It's pop in Chicago, hardly a southern city. Anyway, in the real south, they call it coke. So go figure.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Amazing Pictures of Ocean Waves...

These photos where taken by Clark Little. I have posted them without his or owners permission. It’s okay, you can look at them without your eyes falling out. They are really cool. There are many more you can see on his website and even purchase some if you have a large bag of money.


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The Cost of Ignorance...

With the changes taking place in the US and world economy, having a scientifically and technically literate workforce is growing in importance all the time. It seems we get a lot of studies coming out showing how low US students score in math and science which begs the question, what price do we pay for our low achievement?

Although it has been out a while, I just had someone forward to me a link to a report by McKinsey & Compay on the cost to the US economy of our failure to educate students in science and math. You can download the report as well as lots of supporting graphs and charts. They explore lots of different topics, but the big, bottom line stat is

"If the United States had in recent years closed the gap between its educational achievement levels and those of better-performing nations such as Finland and Korea, GDP in 2008 could have been $1.3 trillion to $2.3 trillion higher. This represents 9 to 16 percent of GDP."

Even the lower end of that estimate is a LOT of economic activity we are missing out on and drives home the importance of math and science education.

The problems with our education system are many and varied and don't have a single silver bullet solution. Other sections of the report look at differences in achievments in different ethnic groups and students of different income levels in the US illustrating the scope of the problem.

I haven't been able to find a lot of info on McKinsey & Company outside of their Wikipedia page...if anyone knows more about them, please feel free to post a comment.

Even if their estimates are off a factor of 10, we are still talking about hundreds of billions of dollars per year. As the old saying goes, You think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Play it Again, Sam?

It's all over the news. Do we even have anything more to say on this topic?

Don't Take Your Kids to Work Day...

I saw this last week, but the practice seems to be more widespread than first thought. During the Take our Sons and Daughters to Work Day, at least three prisons in Flroida decided that it would be a good idea to demonstrate their handheld stun guns...on the children!

No, the children were not misbehaving. The guards even got permission from the parents for the demonstrations! Are the parents either that sadistic or that clueless about what these stun guns do? They are designed to bring down large unruly prisoners. At least one parent who was not present is suing (they parents are separated and the parent who was not present filed the lawsuit).

Stories like this make me wonder what hookers, drug dealers, and mafia bosses do on Take Out Sons and Daughters to Work Day.

John Dickert Wins Racine Mayoral Election


Thank you, Mr. Dickert, for bumping Mayor Mini Me off of the Journal Times' web page.

If you grow a beard, I will personally set it on fire.

Oh No

I've taken a small break from my normal head-banging, alternative, emo-ish crap songs of late....They do say variety is the spice of life. I picked up a couple of cds by Andrew Bird. Windows Media classifies his work as "pop"... egad, woman, what am I thinking? Not to worry, I'll be back to my childish mosh-pit self again real soon!

There is something about his music though. Great for a cloudy, almost raining morning. Great to have on in the background, while you think, blog or just putter around doing those mindless chores.



As always, I couldn't just let the art flow. I had to know more.... I wanted to understand what some of the cleverly crafted lyrics meant, like what is meant by:

"In the salsify minds of what was thought but unsaid
all the calcified arhythmitists were doing the math
it would take a calculated blow to the head
to light the eyes of all the harmless sociopaths
oh arm and arm we are the harmless sociopaths"


I found a blog that he wrote to the NY Times about this song from his latest album, Noble Beast, including the source of his inspiration. He write
s:

"In the instance of this song I was on a flight from New York back to Chicago and a young mother and her 3-year-old son sat in front of me and it was looking to be the classic scenario of the child screaming bloody murder. However, I was struck by the mournfulness of this kid’s wail. He just kept crying “oh no” in a way that only someone who is certain of their demise could. Pure terror. Completely inconsolable. It was more moving than annoying.

So when I got home I picked up my guitar and tried to capture the slowly descending arc of that kid’s cry. It fit nicely over a violin loop that I had been toying with which moves from C-major to A-major. "
http://measureformeasure.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/26/words-will-tell/

How can this, come from that? Let's me know that I have no talent whatsoever. The left side of my brain must have taken a beating at some point in my lifetime. All I can do is sit back and enjoy that which others have created.

Another Sex Scandal in Racine?

Fred Dooley's Real Debate Wisconsin broke the news last night of a Racine police officer arrested for inappropriate conduct with a 14 year old. You can read the blog post here: http://realdebatewisconsin.blogspot.com/2009/05/breaking-news-another-sex-scandal.html

The Racine Post's brief coverage of the story is here: http://news.racinepost.com/2009/05/racine-police-officer-arrested.html

I hope this story isn't true, but I doubt that Mr. Dooley would post it if it wasn't. The Post confirms that an officer has been arrested.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my cool cucumbers! How are you? Have you been enjoying the wonderful weather these last few days? Spring is literally bursting out all over.

Congratulations to Racine Mayor-elect John Dickert. Good luck, Mr. Dickert. I predict big things for you. Very big things.

I had an unpleasant start to this week, and have been recuperating after a brief illness. No, it wasn’t the swine flu, or H1N1, or whatever that horrid bug is. Unfortunately, I’ve been too ill to prepare much of a blog. There were no urgent emails this week. The rest is a blur of toilet paper and yucking it up with Uncle Orky. In any case, I’m cutting short my usual prognostications and banter in order to further rest my ravaged body and soul. Even a psychic can get sick when she doesn’t take care of herself. Sometimes, you know, that’s the hardest thing to do: taking care of yourself. Somehow, I’m going to find the time to take care of me, even if I have to give up some of those $400 an hour sessions with members of the local judiciary. There’s no way, though, I’m cutting into the $650 an hour I get from the feds.

Don’t forget to email me at: madamezoltar@jtirregulars.com.

Please make sure to get out and enjoy the season. This is my favorite time of year. My blessings are upon you until next week, my dears.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Friends

I am sitting here and thinking how very, very lucky we are to have each other. When we started blogging on the JT site we found this group and cemented relationships. I think of how far we have come from those days.

When people come into your life, it is for a reason. I know that to be a fact. Thanks for being my friends and thanks for letting me disagree with your opinions, but still respecting my opinion. This what friendship is about.

Yeah, I know I am a sentimental sap...what you see is what you get. Will I ever change? Nah, you guys are stuck with me the way I am. And, I know the same way you will always be there for me, I will be there for you.

An Evening Under the Stars



As some of you may be aware, Astronomy Day was last Saturday. After reading Hale's blog, my son and I decided to take advantage of this event and go to the Modine-Benstead Observatory in Yorkville. We had a great time. My son was AMAZED! We saw up close view of the moon on the telescope in the main building. (see top pic) In the other dome, we saw Saturn and it's glorious rings, through the telescope in the second pic. There were many amateur astronomers outside with telescopes of many different sizes and shapes! All open for viewing.
Again, my son was amazed. He didn't want to leave. On the way out, we saw a shooting star. What do you think we wished for? :)

Don't Layoff the dog.

Washington city may lay off drug-sniffing dog

SNOHOMISH, Wash. – The Snohomish City Council may decide Tuesday night to trim the budget by laying off a member of the police force — Dixie the drug-sniffing dog. Dixie finds drugs and money for the reward of playing with a chew toy, but the 7-year-old shepherd-collie mix costs about $16,000 a year in vet care, food, grooming, kennel and training costs.

The Everett Herald reported Snohomish plans to keep its other police dog, Kizar. The German shepherd is needed to track criminals and is a younger dog.

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Information from: The Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com

VOTE - Or I Will Keep On Blogging!


Voting is so easy, even my cat did it.

I live in District 1, Ward 1. I voted at 11:30 this morning and I was only the 22nd voter. A poll worker assured me that was a good showing thus far for our district and ward. I know that more people vote during lunch and especially after work, but I'm still smarting from the poor turnout for the primary and I suspect we won't beat 20% participation this time.

Just so you all know, if this kind of crappy showing at the polls is going to be how it is in Racine, then I'm going to continue with my crappy carping, complaining, and criticizing of everything and anything. Not only is that a threat, it's a promise. If you don't care enough to vote for whomever is supposed to lead us for the next two years, then you'll just have to tolerate the usual onslaught of gibberish from me, too.

Ha! Party on.

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As "Fun, Watchable"


Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

You just can't please some people!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Smokers Should Move to China...

I have been told I should move to other countries more than once in my life, so it's kind of fun to turn the tables once in a while. In this case, smokers who complain about anti-smoking laws are the ones who should move to China, Hubei province in particular.

Why is this such a smokers paradise? The provincial government, in an effort to buck up its economy, has ordered its local officials to smoke more (including teachers) and even imposed quotas on how much they have to smoke! The bad news is you have to smoke the prescribed brand of cigarettes so you might not be happy if you can't get your usual Marlboros.

And, in a turnabout of the dreaded PC police in this country, they have established a special taskforce to enforce their new cigarette quotas. The bad influence state (as opposed to the nanny state) is on the rise!

Life is Short

I just received this terrible news from friends in Texas.

On March 20th, a young man named Victor (a friend of mine's son) wife (Carolyn) felt a little dizzy during an anniversary dinner with friends. She deteriorated rapidly and was taken to a hospital. She was diagnosed with a stroke. Over the next few weeks, her status roller coastered between critical and improving. She passed away on April 29th.

So, in a month's time, they went from celebrating their third wedding anniversary to this.

Each of us are a breath away. I try to live EVERY day to its fullest. My prayers are with my friends, and I pray that Victor finds comfort in the knowing his friends and family are with him in his time of need.

And From "Are You Sure This Is An Italian Cruiseliner?" Dept...

Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid wouldn't have done something this stupid.

From The Times of London

Oops! Pirates Captured After Threatening Wrong Ship

Monday, May 04, 2009

From a distance the large ship on the horizon looked like the perfect target, ripe for a successful spot of piracy.

But as Somali pirates sped toward the vessel sailing near the Seychelles Islands on Sunday, they were horrified to see two boats and a helicopter set off from their target and launch their own counter-attack.

They had failed to spot iin the dazzling sun, that the "merchant ship" they thought they were intercepting was actually a French naval ship bristling with cannons, radar technology and armed commandos.

When the three pirate boats were spotted heading toward them the frigate Nivose, one of the ships patrolling the region as part of the European Union anti-piracy mission Atalanta, headed into the sun to camouflage its true identity before turning to confront its attackers.

When the boats were close enough, Lt. Commander Jean-Marc le Quilliec sent his commandos out on outboards, with a helicopter to provide air support.

The helicopter fired two warning shots to stop the three boats from fleeing and within minutes the 11 pirates had surrendered.

Two of the attack boats were small skiffs which the pirates used as attack vessels and the third was a 30-foot mothership, used to transport supplies such as petrol, water and food.

Only one pirate was left on board the mother ship which had nothing on board except fuel and potates, according to Lt. Commander le Quilliec.

"He apparently thought the pirates had hijacked us," he said.

Click here for more on this story from the Times of London.

Bad Statistics

Last week, the Daily Show sent John Oliver to visit CERN, the big particle collider in Switzerland. There is some nice footage of the accelerator and its instruments.

Of course they had to interview one of the "We are going to be destroyed by black hole" whack jobs who claims there is a 50% chance it will create a black hole that destroys the Earth.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Large Hadron Collider
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days


By his logic, there is a 50% chance I will die from the swine flu...after all, I will either live or die. That's a 50% chance, right?

A little giggle for ya.

The only way to pull off a Sunday afternoon 'quickie' with their 8-year old son in the apartment was to send him out on the balcony with a Popsicle and tell him to report on all the neighborhood activities. He began his commentary as his parents put their plan into operation:

There's a car being towed from the parking lot,' he shouted.'

An ambulance just drove by!

''Looks like the Andersons have company,' he called out.

'Matt's riding a new bike!'

'Looks like the Sanders are moving!'

'Jason is on his skate board!'

After a few moments he announced,

'The Coopers are having sex!!'

Startled, his mother and dad shot up in bed! Dad cautiously called out, 'How do you know they are having sex?''

Jimmy Cooper is standing on his balcony with aPopsicle.'

May the Fourth Be With You

Today is (unofficially) Star Wars Day, a play on May the Force Be With You. Maybe if Daffy Duck tried to say May the Force Be With You, it might come out that way!

Star Wars is one of my guilty pleasures. For a long time I was reading the pulp paperbacks...I want to get back into them and catch up if I can find some free time. The Timothy Zhan books and the Kevin Anderson ones were my favorites.

One thing that bugged me was how they always seemed to be fighting such superior well organized and armed foes that you wonder how the rebels (and later the Republic) always won. I really like the book Darksaber (a Kevin Anderson book) where they finally got to fight a totally incompetent enemy who pretty much blew himself up...it was a fun change from the usual narrative (and a cautionary tale about outsourcing your weapons production!)

To celebrate Star Wars Day, I am going to give you two of the best Star Wars parodies. First, the classic Hardware Wars from the 1970s.



Next, the first episode of Chad Vader, which follows the adventures of Darth Vader's younger, less fearsome brother, Chad, who is a manager at a supermarket.

The French Do It Best

Sleeping and eating, that is. I knew early on that I liked the french lifestyle.

retuers.com/article

"Italian men have nearly 80 minutes a day of leisure more than women. Much of the additional work of Italian women is apparently spent cleaning the house."


You have to be kidding me. No way. My grandma always said that dirt was around long before we were and it will continue to be there long after we are gone.

If you come to visit me.... don't look too hard. I'm doing much better things with my time than cleaning.

Foolproof Watch

Abby, We know Beejay can relate to this one!!!!!

This watch always shows the correct time

This is how it works:

You go to the pub, buy a beer and attach the receipt on the pin


To check the time simply read it from the receipt

To adjust the watch, buy a new beer and it will be showing the correct time again.

Bombay, India






THIS IS INDIA . IT'S WHERE YOU CALL WHEN YOU HAVE A TECHNICAL PROBLEM WITH YOUR COMPUTER.

Tomorrow's Election


I've stated elsewhere that I believe that the residents of Racine have already lost this election. The two official choices are liar/thief Number 1 and liar/thief Number 2. Both of their current positions call for quick-witted lying on the spot, so I'm sure that either one will fit in comfortably with Racine's current crew of alderliars and thieves.

What has been bugging the hell out of me recently is the above still of Mayor Mini Me and Governor Doofuss stuck on the main page of http://www.journaltimes.com/. Their smug faces remind me of the Beckerphile whenever I click on that page; that taunting stare that says, "We screwed you, we are screwing you, and we will continue to screw you."

After tomorrow, Mayor Mini Me will be no more and he can go back to facilitating the public rehabilitation of the Beckerphile. I'm sure that before this saga is over, we will have a statue of the Beckerphile atop the monument in Monument Square, perhaps with the likeness of Mayor Mini Me below standing guard before his trusted friend and confidant.

Party on!

How to automatically fail a breathalyzer

What do you think Abby, can you relate to this?


ABBYS take on the movies....

First I'll start with:



X-MEN ORIGINS/WOLVERINE...........with HUGH JACKMAN.

What A stud this guy is, This movie had scenes of him naked and all I can say is WOW.

The movie and the plot left me thinking WHY THE HELL DID I WATCH THIS AGAIN?

The movie started off slow but found it's way into a lot of action. Most of it predictable. Even my 7 year old was saying what he thought would happen next, and it did! Over all this was and action packed film and I think you action junkies will love this one. Unfortunately the ending left me thinking they may want to do ANOTHER MOVIE (I hope not). MY favorite line from the movie was "They finally figured out how to shut you up huh"

I'll give this film 1 and 1/2 glasses of wine.







TAKEN.............with LIAM NEESON



This movie had us all on the edge of our seats. We where all saying "what the hell was that"......"why did he do that"........"who was that"......the movie all just happened to fast, I was looking for the rewind A LOT. Liam was a die hard in this movie. I didn't care much for the end. This movie just left me tired and with too many unanswered questions. I'll definitely buy the DVD so I can play back some of it. I know it sounds like I didn't like this one but I did. When you wake up the next day still thinking about it you know it was good. It proved to me how sheltered and blind some of us are to the real world around us. I'm glad to be an American. My favorite line from the movie was" Read this card for me......."Good luck"..........

I'd give this one 4 glasses of wine!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Scary Thing to Color

How do we miss these things that are on the web for six years before someone notices and complains about them? In order to help children cope with disasters such as 9/11, fires, floods, etc., FEMA published a coloring book called A Scary Thing Happened. It was posted on the FEMA For Kids website in 2003 (my favorite page is the interactive map where you can click on your state to find out what disasters you are prone to).

It sat there largely unnoticed until last week when it was pulled after complaints about the content including images of the planes flying into the WTC. Sometimes I wonder if these things disturb the kids or the adults.

Fortunately, other web sites have copied and made available the pdf of A Scary Thing Happened so it will live on.