Saturday, October 9, 2010

Petrifying Spring Pictures

Indian Summer is here in Wisconsin. Days of blue skies, autumn harvest and warm temperatures. Perfect weather for a walk in the park! Petrifying Springs Park nearby Kenosha that is. The kaleidoscope of amber, burgundy and sunburst orange filled the trees!








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Post Crash Recovery

As most of you know, I was in a pretty big accident last month and escaped with what in the long term should be negligible injuries (although there is still some soreness...it is decreasing each week). I just thought I would share a bunch of random things that have come up over the last month as a result. Oh yeah, that's the car I was in.

First, the accident itself. I was driving on I-1o to Safford for a teacher workshop about 8pm. I saw a truck overturned on the interstate in front of me. I stopped...the truck behind me barely slowed down. I heard an officer at the scene estimate he may have been doing about 70mph when he rear ended me. Fortunately, I was not crushed between the trucks, but pushed off to the side. I have not seen the accident report yet (Arizona DPS is dreadfully slow at such things) but I think I ended up in the interstate median.

First, I have to say I was very impressed with modern automotive engineering. Looking at my car, you can clearly see the crumple zones that saved me. I didn't walk away from the crash...I could tell I was hurt with potential back and neck injuries so I stayed put to let the emergency crews do their job. However, if there was a fire, I am pretty sure I could have gotten out if absolutely necessary.

I passed out briefly from the collision. When I first came to, I couldn't breathe at all. Not even a little bit. That's just an awful feeling if you have ever had it. I didn't know what happened, whether I had punctured/collapsed lungs or just the wind knocked out of me. During this time I remember doing something that, in retrospect, seems stupidly habit driven: I reached down and put the car in park even though the engine was off. After a minute or two, I passed out again. Second time I can to, I could breathe. Good sign! Emergency crews were not there yet, so I couldn't have been out long. There was a woman assuring me that she called 911. Never got her name.

I had to be cut out of the car. They put a towel over my head to protect from flying glass and debris. I asked for a pair of goggles so I could watch. They seemed pretty confused by this request. I didn't get goggles in the end.

A lot of my friends have (sincerely) asked if I considered praying during this. No one has tried to be a jerk about it, but I still have some christian friends who are hoping I may eventually come around. My response has been no. It's not like I thought about praying and decided not to. I am a real non-believer so praying is something that just never occurred to me as a course of action.

I got the helicopter ride back to UMC, just a few blocks from where I work. The helicopter was a little short for someone of my height, my left leg was bumping into something and I couldn't straighten it. Got the X-rays and CAT scan. They get you in quick when you come from a wreck like mine. One thing I found out is that it took more than 20 minutes to get me out of the car (although I was conscious, I didn't have a great sense of time during the rescue). That little tidbit right there is passed on to the emergency room and is considered a very serious accident so they don't mess around.

It didn't take long for me to get the news which they warned me was good, but painful: four broken posterior ribs. Good news, no other broken bones or internal injuries, no evidence of a concussion or anything else. The next morning I had double vision and got a small (~1mm) corneal abrasion added to the list, but that was pretty minor and healed quickly.

I stayed in the hospital for three days. Could barely get out of bed at first. Would lay there for a couple of hours just dreading the pain involved with getting up. Doctors told me I could walk as much as I wanted. Started short, but quickly worked up to walking several miles a day. About three weeks until I tried the first run. Now I am up to a long run of 10 miles (but still slower than before...hope the speed will come back). I hope to do the Disney Marathon in January, but I am behind my usual schedule on that one and may have to settle for finishing rather than going for time. Lifting weights is much tougher. I am doing what I can and slowly adding my usual exercises into the mix as I heal. Doing most of them by now, but a lot less weight than before. Again, I expect this to improve as time goes on.

I was supposed to run the Disneyland Half-Marathon on Labor Day. Since my accident was the Wednesday before, that didn't happen.

I got a new car...thinking about blogging about the new car buying experience as it has changed a lot since my last new car in 2000 (and I had no plans to get a new one in the near future since it was running well and I liked it).

A while ago, I published a short blog about the medical side. I have good insurance and this was a workman's comp claim. I have had virtually zero out of pocket expenses. It is much easier when you know you don't have to worry about the cost of your treatment. I can't imagine being an uninsured person in that situation...I am sure that airlifts, emergency rooms, and a few days in the hospital can wipe out quite a bit of savings even for a responsible person.

The pain is slowly decreasing and strength is slowly returning. In the end I expect a full recovery and will have one of those life experiences. I have had the auto accident one...prefer not to repeat but it looks like I am coming out of it okay.

"72,000 stimulus payments went to dead people"

"Dead people were ineligible to get the payments. But, the report said, there is no provision in the law to recover payments incorrectly sent to dead people."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101008/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_stimulus_checks_dead_people

And the beat goes on . . .

Friday, October 8, 2010

My New Ride?



I'm thrilled that it comes in beige! :)

Friday Morning Grins.......

I've just come out of the shop with a meat and potato pie, large chips, mushy peas & a jumbo sausage. A poor homeless man sat there and said 'I've not eaten for two days' I told him 'I wish I had your f**king will power'

Top tip; if you’re camping in the summer and the attractive girl in the next tent tells you that because it's so hot she will be sleeping with her flaps open, it's not necessarily an invitation to casual sex........... Wish me luck; I appear in court next Monday.

I got fired on my first day as a male masseuse today.. Apparently the instruction ' finish off on her face ' didn't mean ' What I thought it did '

A fat girl served me food in McDonalds at lunch time, she said ' sorry about the wait ' I said ' don't worry fatty , your bound to lose it eventually '

Snow in the forcast! The TV weather gal said she was expecting 8 inches tonight, I thought to myself "fat chance" with a face like that!'

I have a new chat up line that works every time!! It doesn't matter how gorgeous or out of my league a woman might be, this line is a winner & I always end up in bed with them..............Here's how it goes 'Excuse me love, could I ask your opinion? Does this damp cloth smell like chloroform to you?'

Years ago it was suggested ' that an apple a day kept the doctor away ' But since all the doctors are now Muslim, I've found that a bacon sandwich works best!
I took my Biology exam last Friday. I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently "Blacks" and “Mexicans” were not the correct answers.

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Another Friday is here. Thank God! It's been a long week for me...Here are this week's questions.

1) What was the last movie you watched?

2) What's your perfect road trip song?

3) Where do you get your news?

4) Where do you get your music?

Enjoy your weekend!

Open Blog - Weekend


Alright, let the party begin!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I’m thinking of not voting

No one represents the ex-Democrat disaffected Libertarian anarchist with mental health issues anymore. I regret the last two major elections I voted in. The candidates that I voted for won, and I don’t like what they’ve done. It’s not that I think their opponents would have done better; I just feel bad for my part in their elections. Why should I give my vote to someone I disagree with, just because I disagree with his/her opponent "more"? It doesn’t make sense anymore. Maybe I’ll just write in “None of the above” in each slot. I don’t know what else to do.

Tear Jerker Movies


What movie is a good tear jerker for you?


The last one I watched was "Taking Chance", true story.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Response to Mme. Zoltar and Other Rantings

My dearest Madame... I just got home and was able to watch the video you posted in your weekly blog. I do so enjoy your weekly blog. The video is very worthy of a repost. Thanks. I love Kermit and miss the fact that Jim Henson is no longer with us, too.... I began to post a comment and found I had far too much to say on the topic for a simple comment.

These are the thoughts that went through my mind as I watched the video:

Last month, I sat in an audience and listened to Dr. Shaw, the Superintendent of RUSD say to about 300 people, mostly RUSD employees, "I really believe now is the right time to go to the public with 2 referendums... One for building improvements and the other for operational costs." I had to scrape my jaw from the floor. I'm thinking many in the audience had the same thoughts as I did, but, of course, no one called the emperor out that he had no clothes.

On top of this outright blunder, there is an ungodly plan to make the public pay for a new administration building. No referendum required, just a simple vote by the school board puts the charge on the hard working citizens of Racine's tax bill. Unified claims that this new building will actually save them money. When does buying a new building and moving EVER not cost you more money? Their "funny" financial figurings are corrupt, and I believe, bold lies to the public.

What the heck world does this man live in? Does he eat a fine steak dinner and have cake for desert every night like Marie Antoinette?

Doesn't he realize that there is a high percentage of people in Racine who have lost their jobs, have had foreclosures on their homes, are concerned about insurance premiums, the cost of utilities/gas, car payments and whopping medical bills? Does he really live in a fantasy world where he is totally immune to what is going on around him?

The sad fact is that the school system is not producing the North Star results. Our children are still failing at the basics. The graduation rate is not climbing no matter how the numbers are tweaked. The schools are still not meeting AYP (adequate yearly progress.)

I try really hard to not write a political blog. I try really hard not to bash the system. I know there are people within the Racine Unified School District that give 100% of themselves to the students and children of Racine. Let me make it perfectly clear that children can succeed, thrive and excel in Racine schools. There are plenty of students, teachers and support staff doing amazing things.

Unfortunately, there is also tremendous waste happening: a get it now, while the getting is good mentality. There is also a subset of students who don't succeed. This subset is growing. The minority achievement gap is significant and frightening. We have community issues that are having a direct impact on the failure of the whole. How can the public be asked to fund anything when a large percentage of the final product is not marketable?

Building a new empire for the administration is shameful in light of cuts to staff in the schools. Class sizes are at maximum level. Special Education students are incorporated into regular classrooms at very high levels without adequate support personnel. Educational assistants are being cut from the schools. Jobs are being reduced from full time to part time. People are working for the second year without settled contracts. The unions are filing unfair business practice documents and grievances... yet the public hears from Unified leaders that all is well.

The truth is not easy to find in the local news. The Journal Times only reports bits and pieces of the truth. The district has someone at the JT in their pocket or they fear that the hard facts aren't something that they want to get involved with.

Announcing the 2010 Ig Nobel Prizes

It's that time of year again, the 2010Ig Nobel prizes were awarded last weekend at a gala ceremony at MIT. The Ig Nobels celebrate the stranger side of science, research that may seem strange, might make you laugh, but can have surprising implications.

Some of the prizes were awarded for

  • Engineering: Using a remote control helicopter to collect whale snot.
  • Medicine: Discovering that some forms of asthma can be treated by riding roller coasters.
  • Physics: For showing that people slip on ice less in winter if they wear socks outside their shoes (this could be a dual prize in the fashion category).
  • Peace: For proving that swearing relieves pain.
  • Economics: I must quote this exactly: "The executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof."

There are other prizes of course. The ceremony includes a little girl who keeps acceptance speeches from boring anyone (most of all her), the Welcome Welcome speech, A Bacterial Opera, the 24/7 lectures, and the ever popular Win a Date With a Nobel Laureate. Video of the ceremony is usually posted online a few weeks later. Science Friday airs highlights of the ceremony the Friday after Thanksgiving. Truly a can't miss show for geeks and nerds!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

New Word

I invented a new word for the Dictionary today......

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my fervent friends! How are you? Have you had enough of political ads yet? Ha, ha, they’re only just beginning. There’s four more weeks of this to come. I predict it will get nastier, too. At least our weather has been fair. The trees are putting on their yearly show of bright red, yellow and orange. There are beautiful panoramas throughout our city. Take a look; it’s very well worth it.

Hurray for our illustrious Packers in their win over the Detroit Lions. We’ll take them anyway we can get them, right? May our glorious team from Green Bay dominate and decimate the Washington Redskins this coming Sunday. Hurray, hurray!

Oh my, wasn’t that Ferris wheel incident at Party on the Pavement something? I was so scared. I went to the event incognito because DRC said I wasn’t welcome to ply my trade there. If I went dressed normally, as myself, I would have been swamped with fans asking me for readings and such. Not wanting to ruffle anyone’s feathers, I went in disguise, just for the fun of attending. I had a wonderful time, too, until the Ferris wheel malfunctioned. I must say that everyone acted professionally and properly. All of our city employees did an outstanding job of dealing with the situation and rescuing the stranded passengers. Thank you, thank you so much you wonderful, wonderful people! The people of Racine are very fortunate to have brave men and women like you looking out for us. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I also played a small part in the rescue. Given the high winds and unstable situation, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to add my psychic powers to the efforts of the rescuers. Besides the crane and front-end loaders stabilizing the Ferris wheel, there was also a little psychic shoving going on last Saturday. I mentally leaned against the wheel as an added brace. It can be difficult to concentrate so much force at a distance, but I did my best. Whether it helped or not, I cannot say, but all’s well that ends well. That was definitely too much “party” for me.

Finally, here is a compelling video entitled, “Homeless Man Under Pressure.mov.” In order to get the wide screen effect, I suggest that you click again on the video below after it starts playing to be taken to the YouTube page hosting it.



Thank you so much for reading my blog today. I do enjoy sharing my time and thoughts with my dear Irregulars and others. We are family.

Please send your fevered whisperings and childish rants to: madamezoltar@jtirregulars.com.

Don’t forget to vote for What’s-His-Name, or is it Who-Is-She, this November 2nd. I predict that one of them will win, but most of us will lose. Oh my, that’s a terrible way to end a blog. Think happy thoughts! I love you. Semasiology!

Open Blog - Wednesday


You must obey the red butterfly.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bad Universe Episode #2

Tomorrow night (October 6th) is episode #2 of Phil Plait's Bad Universe. As they say, check your local listing for the time. The topic this time is alien invasion. What would happen if aliens tried to take over Earth? How would they do it? If you read his book Death From the Skies, you have a clue that you are in for some surprises. Here's a teaser.


The first episode was a lot of fun...unfortunately, I am traveling again and will have to wait until I return to my trusty DVR next week to see it!

'World Championship rings'

Some sports 'World Championship rings' are so diamond-encrusted, they're worth more than your house.
Here are a few examples of championship rings from baseball, football, and hockey..........

Philadelphia Phillies


Pittsburgh Steelers



Pittsburgh Penguins


Chicago White Sox



Chicago Cubs





Broccoli, walnut, mushroom

Something Different

Something different, some music to listen to while you enjoy this great JTI site!

Baraboo / Madison - WOLK

Birthday Celebrations!

Happy Birthday to Princess Mina!



Monday, October 4, 2010

The Watchman



That video is almost a year old, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online has a story about the Watchman today: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/104252724.html. They also have a very nice video, but it can't be embedded: http://www.jsonline.com/general/37714089.html?bcpid=8725036001&bctid=619327446001.

I have mixed feelings about this. I like the idea of citizens taking a more active role in crime prevention, but I don't know if people wearing maskes or dressed up like a bird (check out "Blackbird" in the JSOnline video) is the way to do it. Perhaps more groups like the Guardian Angels would be appropriate.

Open Blog - Monday


"HAPPY-MONDAY" is the name of that image.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Party on the Pavement

Yesterday, I went to one of Racine's biggest festivals, the Party on the Pavement. Although the weather was a balmy 57 degrees chilled by strong northern winds, thousands of revelers crowded the streets of downtown. Donning on a jacket to stay warm, I wandered the closed off streets aimlessly, soaking in the sights. Stores were open to customers. The taverns were full. Merchants sold brats and beer on the streets. Several bands played out there in the cold. Vendors showed off their art. I had a great time! Ran into some old friends.

The top story of the event was the Ferris wheel getting stuck. It took firefighters over two hours to get everyone down. I felt sorry for those who got stuck up there.




Getting rescued on the Ferris wheel





Revelers crowd Main Street





Clock sculptures on display





AD/DC tribute band, Razor's Edge, plays at the Monument Square





A rainbow to end a wonderful day!

For more photos and stories of the Party on the Pavement, check out the Racine Post.