Friday, October 17, 2008

Odd Ad

This ad appeared in the Friday, October 17, 2008 print edition of the Journal Times. Page 3A, in the center, small, 2 x 3-1/2" ad. Maybe it, or a variation, has appeared there for some time. I don't know. But for some reason, it caught my eye today.

When I first read the copy, I couldn't believe it. What the...? Anyway, I visited Thera-Gesic's site, and it seems normal enough:, so I don't know what's up with their print ad, but the tone seems a little off to me. I mean, I'm not sure that beating off would-be car burglars is the best way to advertise pain relief results, even if it is done jokingly. Or is it? It's not that I'm offended - I guess I just don't get it.

Stay Alive With "Stayin' Alive"

A study from the University of Illinois College of Medicine has shown that the song "Stayin' Alive" helps people perform CPR correctly. It is recommended that you give 100 chest compressions per minute when doing CPR, very close to the 103 beats per minute of "Stayin' Alive". There are other songs that have close to 100 beats per minute, but few probably known as universally in the U.S. as "Stayin' Alive."

And everyone should know CPR. So everyone go out, put on your platform shoes and get to the local Red Cross or American Heart Association class and get certified so you an save a life.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Early Friday!! Open blog!!

It's close enough to Friday to start being happy!!

Here's an early edition of the Friday open blog.

How was your week?

Did you survive?

For kicks, here is a link to my personal blog,
you can see exactly how my week ended,
and it wasn't pretty!!!!!!
(but my rant ended up rather funny!)

McCain Suddenly Doesn't Like the DMCA (and Rightly So!)

According to an article on Cnet, the McCain campaign is protesting YouTube's take down policy. They claim several of McCain's ads have been removed from YouTube due to Digital Millennium Copywright Act take down notices being filed. The McCain campaign says the material in question is covered by fair use. He may be right (although the letter to YouTube does not list specific examples).

The problem is the DMCA is pretty draconian. If a content provider such as YouTube takes down a video when they are notified of infringement, they are not held liable for damages. If they left it up (as the McCain campaign is suggesting) they could be sued. So places like YouTube do the safe thing and take it down. YouTube has fired off a response to the McCain campaign according to Wired suggesting he (or Obama) introduce legislation to amdend the DMCA. Our current Congress and Senate aren't helping as they just passed a new anti-piracy law upping the penalties for infringement that was signed by Bush on Monday (bet you didn't hear about that one in the news!)

McCain has proposed YouTube handle political ads differently and review them for fair use before taking them down. That is totally missing the point. The DMCA tramples on EVERYONE'S fair use rights, not just those of political campaigns. What McCain (and Obama) should do is stand up and tell everyone the DMCA needs revision to protect fair use and pledge to pursue such changes in their administration. As bloggers, we should all be supporting DMCA reform.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophyscist blog.

A grieving family needs your help - Update on Band and contests!

New Update: I just wanted to bump this up again. We have received some really cool Silent Auction items, which I will post soon, but I just wanted everyone to know that tickets are still available, and that we still need donations of time, talent, cash (to offset costs so all proceeds go to the family)and raffle items. Thanks again everyone!

Update: The band Unlikely Heroes ( ) will be playing at the Sprague Benefit, and there will be an adult and kids halloween costume contest. There will also be raffles, silent auctions and a 50/50. Of course, donations of time/talent/items/money are still being accepted. Tickets are now printed and available. Please let me know if you need tickets.


Original Post:

Today’s post is not about anything political, musical, or funny. Today, I am coming to all of you on behalf of a family that needs your help:

Please join our community in remembering Wendy Leittl-Sprague. Wendy courageously battled cancer for four years and was only 48 years old when she passed away on August 31, 2008. She leaves behind her husband, Rick, her 9 year old son Austin, her 23 year old daughter Michelle, and many, many relatives and friends.

Wendy and Rick met at Acme Die Casting where they both worked.

Wendy also worked at Andis Clipper Company for nearly 10 years. Her slowly deteriorating health forced her to quit working in December 2007. At that time she had already battled skin cancer and thought that she had won the fight but in December a brain tumor was detected. It was removed successfully. She needed to go through radiation therapy but she soon developed more cancer, which sadly led to her loss of life at such a young age. This courageous woman was an inspiration to every person who knew her!! She will live on in our hearts forever!!

We are asking for your help in covering the funeral expenses and also establishing a trust fund for Austin. As you are probably aware, the medical costs for treating Wendy were exorbitant! We're not asking that her medical expenses be covered but just a bit of relief to all of those involved in putting her so peacefully to rest and to secure an education for her young son. A benefit to celebrate the life of Wendy will be held November 1, 2008 from 5:00 to 12:00 at Hiawatha in Sturtevant. This will be a Halloween themed celebration for Wendy and her family. Admission is $15.00 for adults and $7.00 for kids 12 and under, and includes food, beer and soda. There will be many items up for raffle and auction and entertainment throughout the night. Come in costume!

If there is anything you or your company could donate? We are in need of items for raffles and auctions, money to offset the cost of food and drinks and to put on the benefit itself, baskets of like-minded goods for raffle and anything else you could think of. Please look inside your heart and see if there is anything you can do to help make this a success for the family. Anything you can give will help.

Despite our differences, Racine is a giving community, and I trust we can pull together for another family in need.

Please feel free to contact me through this site if you have any questions, or need further information. Thank you.

The Sugar Maple on 12th & Main

September 25, 2008:
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) trees are noted for their fall color displays. Over the years, I've noticed that this one, on the northeast corner of 12th and Main Streets, puts on a particularly spectacular show. I see the tree almost every day, and today I had the idea to chronicle, in photos, the tree's progression through the color chart over the next few weeks.

Every so often, I'll take a picture of the tree, post it here, and bump this blog. That way we can all watch the colors change as autumn steals into southeast Wisconsin.

October 2, 2008:
If you ask me, the tree looks worse this week than last. :( Looks like the crown is thinning out. The winds have been fierce lately. I hope there's something left before it goes orange and yellow. That is, if it goes orange and yellow.

October 10, 2008:
Now we're getting there. Orange, orange, orange. Not as bright as I remember it, but memory tends to exaggerate.

October 16, 2008:
Well, it has lost a considerable amount of its leaves, but the neighbor across the street is just beginning to turn. I spent a little time today looking at the fall colors I encountered on my errands and on a couple of short walks I took after I got home. I was thinking about how you should make time to do that because this show is fleeting. Next up, winter. Ugh. Anyway, I was thinking along those lines, and I took a few pictures, and then I encountered Pete Selkowe's beautiful photography in the Racine Post: Take time to enjoy the view... That about says it all.

The Power of Blogging

The Racine Post has an interesting story entitled The power of Dooley, about the brouhaha in RUSD over the appearance of some of Sen. Barack Obama's writings in a textbook. I haven't followed this too closely because I am FED UP with the inane nitpicking by crazed campaigners on both sides of the election. In the Post piece, Dustin Block points out that a complaining parent has not been identified, nor has a formal complaint been made, but Unified is now reviewing its textbook policies - all because Mr. Fred Dooley's Real Debate Wisconsin blog posted an anonymous complaint.

Go bloggers! Go web 2.0! I hereby challenge JT Irregulars bloggers to come up with an equally explosive tidbit, fact, or fiction to rattle Racine's cage with. One of us must know something that will put the Journal Times and/or city officials in a tizzy. I can't believe that anyone would be better at raising a stink than we are. So, come on JTIs, spill your guts and the beans. Irregular minds want to know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Ultimate American Right

A small victory for those of us who believe that the right to vote is the most precious right we have.

I don't care which person you vote for in November. If enough fraud is uncovered, you will never be sure if your choice really won or really lost. Ohio could very well decide the next President.

The same person who ran the Indiana ACORN registration drive that has been the subject of raids and identified registration fraud, is running the registration drives right here in Wisconsin.

Even though ACORN is supporting Obama, it was a Democrat in Indiana that blew the whistle on the fraudulent registrations. No one seems to be watching these folks in Milwaukee.

Voter registration needs to be taken back into an official government run process (City Hall, DMV, etc.) and out of the hands of these organizations.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, everyones! Never fear, Madame Zoltar is here. In uncertain times it is good to know at least one thing for certain: Madame Zoltar knows all!

Our first email today comes from the redoubtable Ms. kkdither, who writes:

Dear Mme. Zoltar,

Please be kind enough to answer a couple of questions for me. No one seems to be able to come up with an acceptable response. These may only be best answered by you, madame:

If you shoot a mime, is it necessary to use a silencer?

When you choke a smurf, what color does it turn?

If you were to throw a cat out of a car window, does it then become kitty litter?

And, what was the best thing before sliced bread?

Dear Ms. kk, and dear readers, my responses, in order:

Although it is not necessary to use a silencer when shooting a mime, it is considered good etiquette to do so. However, if a silencer is unavailable, good etiquette still demands that you shoot the mime.

I haven’t choked anything in quite some time, so I had to consult my crystal ball on this one. The answer: black and blue.

If you were to throw a cat out of a car window, I would make someone throw you off of a building.

And the best thing before sliced bread, my dear, was me. Best thing after, too.

Our next email comes from “Wall_Street_in_Wisconsin,” who writes:

Dear Madame,

I work on the exchange. Should I fish or cut bait?

Dear WSW,

If I were you, I’d save the bait for food.

Finally, this note was slipped under my door the other night:

“If you ever want to see OrbsCorbs alive again, put $10,000 in small, unmarked bills in the glove compartment of the abandoned car in the alley behind your parlor.”

Dear Whomever,

Aha –ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Aha –ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Excuse me, ah, aha –ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Aha –ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Aha –ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

That’s all for this week, my friends. Don’t forget to send your questions and comments to I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you. I hope you all have a wonderful week.


On the Shoulders of Giants

I just downloaded and listened to a new song from the Chromatics called On the Shoulders of Giants. It is a very good acapella song commissioned for the Johannes Kepler Project for the International Year of Astronomy. The song echoes the sentiment that we managed to get where we are today by standing on the shoulders of giants, all those people like Galileo, Newton, Kepler, etc. who did a lot of the early work in their fields.

I have been a longtime fan of the Chromatics and have their Astrocapella CD, a CD of acapella astronomy songs. The Chromatics are composed of a lot of people who work at the Goddard Space Flight Center, so the songs have good science content in addition to being catchy. I finally had the pleasure of meeting one of their songwriters, Padi Boyd, at a meeting last summer.

The International Year of Astronomy is coming quick…I will be blogging more on it and the exciting plans that are coming together!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Mentalist

I have just started watching a new CBS show called The Mentalist. I am not much of a crime series fan, but I am cautiously optimistic about this show.

Simon Baker stars as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigations. He was a psychic in his past. Without revealing any spoilers, his career as a psychic did not end well and he now admits he was a total fraud and is using his skills to solve crimes (and not always by the book!) He uses the tricks of the trade of psychics, cold readings and astute observations. Of course realism is not 100% in this show. they don't reveal all the tricks and I would expect that the techniques would not solve every crime, but you can make that criticism of almost every crime show.

The thing I really like is that he openly says he was not psychic and that psychic powers do not exist! How many shows take that sort of attitude? I would like to see him blast astrology and other such nonsense as well. We need more skeptical thinking portrayed on television and less mumbo jumbo. The Mentalist is well produced and hopefully will spawn a few imitators.

So, any other good new shows I am missing?

Pretty Tree!!

Here is the tree I watch every day. It's very cool to watch it change.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Google Goggles for Gmail

So it's Friday and you went out at the end of a long week and had a few drinks. What's on your mind? How much you miss your ex and you want to tell him/her how you really feel? You want to send your boss a nasty email and tell him what to do with your job?

Technology can save us from ourselves. A couple of years ago, LG introduced a phone with a built in breathalyzer. The phone would keep you from drunk dialing.

But people we not that easily deterred and would go home and get on the computer and send an email. "I will show that stupid phone!" seemed to be the prevailing attitude.

Now Google has introduced Mail Goggles to stop drunk emailing. You can set it up with your Gmail account. You tell it what hours of the day you want protection, and you will not be able to send email until you answer a series of math questions. Math! I have heard you can set the difficulty level. I don't use Gmail, but would love to go in and set it to the highest level to see if it really could stop me from emailing! (Maybe they should introduce a version for techies where we have to interpret a Tennyson poem or something instead...that would probably slow me down more than a math problem!)

I am not sure this is a good can't can't email, I fear that people will get in their cars and drive over there!

Sunset Picture

Took this picture at Linwood Park in Calendonia on Saturday.Hope you all enjoy!

The Sun as You Have Never Seen it Before

This week’s Boston Globe’s Big Pictures features the Sun


This animation shows the Sun over the course of six days starting June 25, 2007. You can clearly see the rotation and some flares and prominences. Animations like this really drive home the point that the Sun is a dynamic body and not just the constatnt light we see with out eyes.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Big Picture: The Sun.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

GM to Janesville workers - "Merry Christmas and BOHICA!"

General Motors now being called Grinch Motors as they tell 3000+ workers to grab their ankles TWO DAYS before Christmas. At least they could have let them work out the year...

Simple Procedure for Setting up DTV

As we all know all TV will go 100% digital February of 2009. The following video show a simple procedure for setting up your TV...

“DTV Setup Procedures”

This weeks open blog!! Happy Monday!!!!

Welcome to this week's open blog.
What are you up to this week?
Having a good day?
Having a bad day?
Why is it a 'Happy Monday'?
I have off today!!!!!!!! :)
Tomorrow tho, I go back to the grind...