Saturday, September 28, 2013

"N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens"

From The New York Times:

By JAMES RISEN and LAURA POITRAS - Published: September 28, 2013 

"WASHINGTON — Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials. 

"The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor."

Read more:

We can trust them, right?  They're a security agency.  They must be good guys.

Open Blog - Weekend


Friday, September 27, 2013

Why Wasn't I Informed Of This?

I didn't know that this film existed until today.  OMG.  I gotta see it.

When Television Shows End

I just posted this on facebook and it started a lively discussion so I thought I would share it here.


When is the last time the finale of a television series generated as much buzz as Breaking Bad? The biggest ones I can remember are M*A*S*H, Cheers and Seinfeld. I guess Friends is close to making that list. Newhart had one of the great finales of all time, but I don't remember a lot of hype beforehand, just afterward when the brilliant ending was revealed. I a probably missing some shows that were popular and had big finales that I just didn't watch. Other big ones I am missing?

So far some of the other suggestions have been The Sopranos, Star Trek: The Next Generation and ER. Someone suggested the Wonder Years, but I don't remember much hype at the time (it was obviously a show that meant a lot to her at the time). ER and The Sopranos are two of those shows that I never got watched but would qualify as big finales. Lost also fits that category.

So, what big finales do you remember...did they live up to the hype?

"'We Are Brothers' By Baddy Paris and Rufus Starlight. A Best Man Song."

Published on Sep 23, 2013
"At his wedding we pleaded for our brother not to leave us, in the only way we knew how to say it; through the the medium of 80s music and video. We thought we'd done ok, but he left us anyway.

"Robin & Helen: we wish you many many years of love and happiness! Xxxxxx

"Do not forget. You are our brother!

"Our heartfelt thanks to everyone on the team who sweated blood to make this work, Hal, Elisabeth, Djaave K and Zoe and especially Ferris & Gavin; without their genius Baddy wouldn't look half as cool.

"If you want to indulge in, or just spread the love..."
Follow us: @rufusstarlight,

Lyrics and more:

What a great tribute.  What a great song.  What a great video. 

"Will Racine’s Bond Rating Be Downgraded Again?"

From Racine Exposed:

The 2012 Audited Financial Report for the City of Racine is out.  It's too depressing to quote.  You can check out the story here: 

I'm going to eat some chocolate.

"BREAKING NEWS: RACINE- Project New Life Community Development to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Attorney Generals Office and the U.S. Department of Justice against the City of Racine’s Department of City Development."

From Racine Community Media:

"Project New Life will file a complaint alleging the Department of City Development has exhibited official misconduct , public integrity and violated civil rights, Department of City Development manages grant resources throughout the City of Racine.  A class-action lawsuit is also being considered as an option to eliminate the on-going disparity and poor administration by the Department of City Development in grant resource opportunities between majority and minority owned agencies.
"Included in the complaint is the unreasonable, biased and targeted effort of the Racine Department of City Development to 'Blacklist' certain agencies receiving funding to re-direct City funding to non-minority agencies.  This process of collusion ultimately eliminates these agencies for consideration of future funding opportunities and creates a disparity in the funding market.  Inequalities in grant management and scrutiny of  agencies compared  with non-minority agencies is also a factor that is part of the complaint to be investigated.  
"Project New Life’s request to the Department of City Development for a qualified low-income veteran to occupy the property located at 1017 Marquette Street on a lease-purchase agreement was rejected by the Department of City Development.  There is no substantiated or material grounds for the rejection of this proposed plan that would have allowed the property to be occupied by a qualified, low-income potential homebuyer while providing them the best opportunity to secure a loan for purchase in the primary lending market.

"A news conference to announce the filing of the complaint is scheduled for next month and will be provided to all media outlets shortly."


Party on, lying John!

Pumpkin Pies for Bake Sale

Pies are ready for Gabriel's Benefit Bake Sale.....

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Another week filled with overtime.... Legs and arms are tired. The days are starting to blur.... Today's Friday, right? I hope so. Anyways more questions for you.

1) What room in your home you are the most often in?

2) What internet icon/logo you are the most familiar with?

3) What do you think is the most difficult sport?

4) What event do you think signifies (or you identify with) the '70's?

Enjoy your weekend!

Open Blog - Friday

Everybody dance!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Help! I've fallen and I don't want to get up.

There’s something that came up when I was in the hospital a few months ago that sticks in my mind.  There seemed to be a lot of concern that I live alone. It came up numerous times, in numerous ways.  When the physical therapist heard I live alone, she asked who was going to help me negotiate stairs and around the apartment when I got home.  The cat, I told her. 

One of the nurses asked me who I talk to about my problems.  I said, nobody.  She indicated that’s not healthy.  What I was experiencing, in a small way, is the same concern that medical people expressed for my mother living alone after she broke her hip.  Of course, I was there for mom, three times a day (meals) and I did whatever needed doing.

I felt insecure, almost threatened, by the staff’s concern for my living arrangements.  I realize that this will only get worse as I age.  If I live long enough, the concern will be warranted by my deteriorating condition.  A nursing home or rehab hospital would be the next step. 

I really enjoy living alone.  Really really.  After I sobered up and got a place of my own, I realized that I had never lived alone prior to that.  It felt good.  Still does.  I can’t stand the thought of being placed somewhere to be taken care of.  If I am, I want the option to take a cyanide pill when it gets too bleak.

Unfortunately, my plan to live fast and die young failed.  Now it’s live slow and die old.  Given my past and my medical history, however, I don’t expect to live to a ripe old age.  Alkies don’t get away with anything.  It all catches up to us eventually.  My independence is important to me.  If I have to give that up at some point in order to survive, I’d rather be dead.   

Open Blog - Thursday


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"How The 1% Twerk"

Jerking your butt to classical music puts class in your ass.

"So if the vote was actually 8-6 for a 'NO' vote, why are we voting again?"

From Racine Community Media:

"Why was voting on the sale of the Indian Burial Mounds to the Maresh-Meredith Family such a big confusion, and why was voting done more than once? Why all of the confusion and problems? They just can’t seem to get the desired result. Judge for yourself and decide if something seems a bit out of order here. The vote was actually 8-6 AGAINST the sale of the indian burial ground!! But had to be changed to allow the Mayor to cast his deciding vote. (PART 5)"

Read more:

RacineUncovered has also linked to this story:

Also see: Racine Exposed's take on this:

Also see Racine in Ruins' take on this:

Also see Mayor John Duckert's take on this:

Racine Community Media has been covering the sordid affair of Dickert's dealings with the Racine Cemetery Commission and the Meredith family.  As the above video illustrates, lying John is bold as brass.  He doesn't care about the rules at all anymore and he doesn't care who knows it.  He didn't like the vote, so he just changed it to make it a tie, enabling him to vote the tie-breaker.  As I understand it, minutes from that Common Council meeting have been "revised."  Welcome to George Orwell's warning come true.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my fellow Racinians and expatriates!  How are you?  Fall is definitely in the air.  Some trees and shrubs are already turning colors.  The nights are cool and the days shorten.  Some of nature’s displays can be extraordinarily beautiful.  Still, it means winter is coming with the dreaded s-word.  Oh my.  Don’t go there.  Not until we have to.

Anguish and rending of garments took place all over Wisconsin last Sunday following the loss of our illustrious Green Bay Packers to the Cincinnati Bengals.  Woe and despair tortured the land.  How could this be, especially with the world’s best paid quarterback on the team?  Injuries have ravaged the Packers.  It makes me sad.  This is a bye week for Green Bay.  Their next opponents are the Detroit Lions on October 6.  I hope that our warriors can rest and heal up during the off time.  Take care of yourselves, oh mighty Pack!

To the right are the current standings of the Irregular Football League.  Mr. OrbsCorbs is doing splendidly, and I’m hot on his trail. In the league, I mean.  I asked Señor Zanza to coach a team when the league was signing people up.  He said he was “uncomfortable” with coaching a sport which was foreign to him.  Now if it were soccer, which he calls the “real” football, he said he would obliterate the Orbliterators.  Oh my.

I received an email from the wonderful and witty Mr. SER.  He wrote:
Dear Madame,

With all the terrible flooding going on in the United States is there any way you can do some kind of hoochy coochy thing and direct all the flooding waters into Lake Michigan thus saving the loss of life and millions and millions of dollars damage, and help fill the lake back up?

Oh, Mr. SER, that’s a brilliant idea.  The problem, of course, is Mother Nature.  Whenever I venture onto her turf, the psychotic crack whore (oh my) goes ballistic.  If I tried to reroute the water, she’d have a fit.  I think the best policy with her is to stay away. 

I do various types of “hoochy coochy things,” but that’s usually for Señor Zanza’s private enjoyment.  Oh dear, I’m blushing.

Thank you one and all for stopping by to peruse my scribbling.  It’s a joy to see you.  When I write my blogs, I think of each one of you. 

Hoochy coochy how-to:

Enjoy the days to come.  We should have some time before the s-word arrives.  It’s still September (and all the Halloween decorations are up in the stores).  Watch out for school buses and children.  I love you all.  Lucriferous!

Open Blog - Wednesday

I can relate.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"George Orwell - A Final Warning"

Uploaded on Jun 3, 2011
"From the 2003 Television docudrama: George Orwell - A Life in Pictures."

That's a bit of a downer.  I don't know if there are enough people of character to prevent future disaster.   And if there are, are they willing?

Mercury and Spica

I went for a tougher shot tonight: Mercury and Spica. These two objects had a fairly close encounter tonight. The first problem is that they were both very close to the horizon. The second problem is that I went to photograph sunset and forgot to take my binoculars making them very hard to find. I never did find them naked eye.
But right before Spica was about to disappear behind the mountain, I got them! Mercury is the brighter one on top and Spica is the dimmer one below and slightly to the left of Mercury (click to view the larger version of the pic if needed)

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

For Lizardmommy


Open Blog - Tuesday

Paint your day happy.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Andromeda Galaxy

I know there are lots of great astrophotographers out there with large telescopes in their own observatories and fancy dedicated astro-oriented CCD cameras. At this point in my life, I don't have the funds to have a setup like that or the time to dedicate to that type of astrophotography.

However, I do have some equipment and I like seeing how far I can push it. Tonight I went for the Andromeda Galaxy. The equipment included a Canon 60D, I used the EF-S 55-250mm zoom lens, a wireless intervalometer, and an iOptron SkyTracker.  It was a little tough to find the galaxy at first when I was shooting at 250mm so I backed off to 55mm to get a wider field of view. The wider field of view made it much easier to get my first pic. 
IMG_9725Once I found the galaxy, I was able to get a couple of pics at 250mm. My alignment wasn't perfect tonight so on the longest exposure (1 minute) you might notice a little star trailing.
IMG_9736IMG_9735In these images, you can see another small galaxy above the Andromeda Galaxy. The smaller galaxy is a companion to Andromeda, M110.  Slightly below and to the right of the galaxy is a bright object. This would be M32, another companion of M31. If you look closely, you can see some dust lanes, especially right above the nucleus. 

I think with practice I can do better, but I am generally pleased with the first attempts at capturing the Andromeda Galaxy. Even if you have relatively modest equipment, it's worth going out and seeing what you can capture. 

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Useless Information

Did you Know:
Reginald Kenneth Dwight is an English singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor.
In his five-decade career he has sold more than 250 million albums, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world.
Most of you know him as Sir Elton Hercules John


Grocery Store Opera

This flash mob is really neat....

Grocery Store Opera

The Grandkids Are Growing!

I know this is a couple of weeks late. I was just trying to figure out how to write this and my younger daughter is going to Gateway College and working. So I have been busy picking her up from work.

Two weeks ago Drew and I took a trip up north for our granddaughters second birthday. I talked Drew into taking that Friday off of work so we could get an early start on the road. We stayed by Drew's parents house for the weekend it was great to see them and spend time with them. Also we made a stop on the way to do some birding, I am sure that is not a surprise with us. We also made another stop on the way up there that would be by my son's house to drop off a couple salads I made for the party. Our grandson was taking his nap but our granddaughter was sitting on the steps outside eating her lunch. It was funny because she tapped my pocket that had my wallet in it and asked me what is this. So I took it out and showed her and she knew how to open it up and she seen my money and said me. So the nice grandma I am I gave her a dollar and then she told me daddy.

We did make one more stop that was by my mom at her house. I just can't believe with what Drew and I did to help them that they do not have everything out of there still. The ceiling is falling more and the window is about to bust out of the wall. To top that off my sister stays there with her cat. I just hope with all that installation still coming down that her cat does not get sick from that.

We did make it to Drew's parents house finally and I was just so happy to get out of the car. It was a very long day on the road in the car. But I can tell you one thing it is all worth it to see both families that we miss. We had dinner with his parents and we just talked all night.

When I got Saturday morning Drew was gone but the car was there. He went out early in the morning birding down the road. I was joking around with his mom and dad saying if he gets lost in the woods that was fine because I had the debit card and my car keys. He could find his own way home. The sad thing is Drew knows I would never leave him behind.

The party was at 1pm. and we left early to see if my son needed any help with anything also I had to stop at the store for a couple of things that they needed for the party. When we got to the park were the party was at our granddaughter was wearing a princess skirt she looked so cute. Here is a picture of her when we seen her.

The theme of the party was Minnie Mouse so that meant everything was pink, black and white. She was playing little miss shy with us when she seen us. Grandpa was having fun taking pictures and looking for different birds at the park.

Then our grandson seen us and wanted out of his highchair to come and play with us. So I went and took him by us at the table and mom brought his toys for him to play with. But I think grandpa was having more fun with the toys. Then come to find out a little while later our grandson is walking holding onto his dads hand and I am talking about only holding one hand. Here is a picture of him walking.

He is getting so big and a very happy little boy. He wanted to go walking when he came back by us so I took him walking and he went straight for the swings. I put him in the swing and he just loved it then when I went to take him out he started to cry until I put him down to walk back. We just enjoyed ourselves at the party.

Then Sunday on our way home we stopped in Appleton to see my older daughter. She could not make it to the party because she had to work. It was great to see her because it is hard to see her when we go up there because of the hours that she works. We spent about two hours talking to her and just getting caught up.

Then when we finally made it home I could not believe it my daughter had the whole house cleaned and we were so happy. My younger daughter could not go up north because she had to work. We really enjoyed our weekend with the family. We are going to be going back up north next month for our grandsons first birthday.

Just a Reminder

Gabe's Benefit is this coming Saturday if you can make....SER

Open Blog - Monday