Saturday, November 1, 2008

Letting It All Hang Out For Democracy

Well, this might actually be able to keep me away from the polls (in more ways than one!) or at least get me to vote absentee. The Caliente Resort near Land 'O Lakes, Florida wants a nude polling place. Pasco county is a hotspot for nudists in Florida...according to the article, there are an estimated 12,000 nudists there.

Any decision has been put off until after 2010, but it looks like nude voting is legal in Florida if the county gives the go ahead.

I don't need to know how excited you are for your candidate or to see whose polls are rising!

Something to Ponder

I went to a college football game this past Saturday. As the band was marching in, the PA came to life with "Please stand up and remove your hats for the playing of our national anthem." And likewise everyone stood up and the men removed their hat except for an older guy a few rows down from me. From the back, I heard someone yell "Take off your hat!" He wait for a response, then yelled it again "Take off your hat!" The old guy just stood facing the field, watching the band march on. I could hear the guy behind me say to his friend "Stupid old fart won't take off his hat." As the band began the Star Spangled Banner, the old guy raised his right hand to the brim of his hat, and there it remained, shaking until the song was over. Then as everyone sat down, he turned around and looked down at where he was going to sit. On the front of his hat was embroidered: "U.S. Army Vet Korean War".
At this point, I really don't give a shit who you vote for, or if you are going to do it legally or illegally, or even if you vote at all. But remember this, there are many, young, old, men, women, alive and dead who spent part of their lives in hell to allow you to make that decision.

Daylight Savings Time Screw Up Arizona Too!

Some people think I am lucky that Arizona does not observe daylight savings time and we don't have to change our clocks. Well, adjusting to the rest of the country is still a pain.

First, a lot of electronic devices automatically adjust for daylight savings time now. I have to go around twice a year and un-adjust the clocks!

Then there is television. NFL early games had been starting at 10:00am...starting tomorrow, they begin at 11:00am. Regular prime time network schedules do not change. However, I get the east coast feed on my Directv so ALL cable shows suddenly have their start time moved an hour later! Fortunately, the DVR records at the new times, so I only have to worry about shows I might watch live.

Finally, I have to remember the change when I call friends and families in other time zones.

So set your clocks back tonight, but don't envy us Arizonans!

Recovered drawings from Lizardmom’s BIG bus trip.

Earlier you may have read the KKdither mentioned she made a drawing but was trying to blame the bus driving for her drawing not looking too good. Actually this is what she said and I quote, “You should have seen mine. The bus was swerving, not my fault they weren't as good.”

Well...unbeknown to her I snagged up her drawings when we where cleaning the bus! I thought now would be a good time to share them with the rest of the group!

What happened to Halloween?

I had less than 20 kids come to my door. Mostly tots with parents. My block with about 22 homes (has culdesac in middle) had about six, just six houses with porch lights on. Here I sit with $.75 size bags of M&M peanuts. Sam's had a sale and I bought a 48 count box thinking they'd evaporate. You know, big treats for kids, tiny treats for thugs. Not a single kid over 12, and only two of those. Now I'm stuck with mini Snickers too. Bah, they worry about Xmas, and All Hallows Eve gets shoved aside.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Yogi Berra-isms

Whats a Yoggi Berra-ism? You've seen that insurance commercial with the duck when Yogi is in the barber's chair and he says "And they give you cash, which is just as good as money."
If you heard any others, or have some of your own, here's the place to share them. Here's a couple to start:
"Things will get better if they don't get worse first."
"If you're going to count your chickens before they hatch, you'd better count the eggs too."
An yours is......

A Trick or Treat Treat: The Moon and Venus

NASA just put out a press release about the Moon and Venus in the western sky after sunset. The Moon will be slightly below Venus tonight, next to it tomorrow night, and between Venus and Jupiter Sunday night. No telescope needed as the Moon, Venus and Jupiter are the three brightest things out there after sunset. You do have to look fairly soon after sunset because they will set fairly quickly (the Moon sets at 7:00pm in Racine tonight). Next month, things get really cool when Venus, Jupiter and the Moon all have a really close gathering December 1st (don't worry...I will post a reminder!)

However, knowing weather in Wisconsin, I would check them out tonight since the forecast is for clear skies!

It's beginning to look a lot like Festivus

The Racine Post has a great story and photographs here on downtown Racine's holiday (don't say the C-word!) tree going up yesterday. I happened to see it arrive when I was at the Post Office. Of course, it got me to thinking more about Festivus, for the rest of us. Who do we see about erecting a Festivus Pole on Monument Square this year? Do we need a permit to perform the customary Feats of Strength and Airing of Grievances on December 23? What about the holiday parade? I have a small trailer - we can put a Festivus Pole on it, put some JTI banners on the side, and show Racine how Irregulars celebrate the holiday. I think this is a great idea - as long as someone else does all the work. Happy Festivus to all!

Just for grins - I had to check Google

The Master Crayola Artist. Don Marco was born in Northern Minnesota in the late 1920's. .... The first email today comes from Mr. Logjam, who writes: - 273k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

JT IRREGULARS: Talk About Crayons on the Bus...Check This Guy Out
Oct 29, 2008 ... Don Marco..... The Master Crayola Artist. Don Marco was born in Northern Minnesota in the late 1920's.His interest in art was evident even - 6 hours ago - Similar pages - Note thisMore results from »

Hubble Rises From the Ashes as Phoenix Fades

The Hubble Space Telescope is back working! And just to strut it's stuff check out its first image.

This pair of galaxies is known as Arp 147 (from Halton Arp's list of peculiar galaxies) and has been dubbed the Perfect 10. The galaxy on the left seems to have just plowed through the middle of the galaxy on the right setting off a round of star formation (massive young stars tend to be nice and blue like you see in the ring).

On a sad note, the Phoenix Mars Lander entered safe mode due to low power. It is heading toward winter in the northern hemisphere on Mars and the lander is getting less power (possibly compounded by dust building up on the soalr panels). They are shutting down various heaters on it and other instruments to save power and keep it going as long as possible. We knew this was coming. Soon the Sun will set for the long winter. Snow will probably build up on the solar panels and break them so no one really expects it to wake up again in the spring. It has been a good mission, achieved all its goals and a few bonuses, and has lasted longer than its original 90 day mission.

Phoenix has served us well.

Reprinted with permission form the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

ExxonMobil posts biggest quarterly profit ever, $14.8 billion

In other news, Congress reported today that they still can't figure out why retail gasoline prices rose so high in recent years or where the money is going.

"The free market is a funny thing," snorted Senator Pocketstuffed, "especially when it ain't free."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Chesire Cat Gravitational Lens

I just found this gravitational lens from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which has been dubbed the Chesire Cat.

Hopefully you can see the eyes and the smile near the center of the image.

The two eyes of the cat are two massive elliptical galaxies about 4.5 billion light years away. These galaxies are bending and distorting the light of more distant galaxies (at least two different galaxies have been identified) to form the smile. These more distant galaxies are about 8 billion light years away.

Gravitational lensing is one of those weird things predicted by Einstein. He said that a massive object (say a galaxy) could warp space. Light from a more distant object would follow this strangely curved space time and creates all kinds of interesting patterns such as arcs, crosses and circles.

Gravitational lenses are useful for mapping dark matter. By looking at the pattern we see, we can calculate how much matter is present and how it is distributed. We can also look at the matter we see and conclude that what we don't see is, well, dark matter!

You can see the Chesire Cat and a bunch of other gravitaitonal lenses from the SDSS at at the CASSOWARY Graviational Lens page.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Death From the Podcasts

Last week I blogged about my friend Phil Plait and his new book Death From the Skies. It turns out he is doing a virtual book tour and you can join him.

First up is an interview with my friend Pamela Gay at Astronomy Cast. You can hear him talk a lot about the topics in the books. This podcast is free to download or you can listen streaming.

Next stop is an interview on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe. This one is in my mp3 player now, waiting to be listened to. I have been listening to this podcast for a while so I have no problem giving it the recommendation.

Some people say they will wait for the movie of the I guess we wait for the podcast!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Talk About Crayons on the Bus...Check This Guy Out

Don Marco..... The Master Crayola Artist

Don Marco was born in Northern Minnesota in the late 1920's.His interest in art was evident even before starting school. As a young adult in the Army Air Corp, he began his life's career in Air Traffic Control, which continued until his retirement from Honolulu International Airport in 1973. Much of his spare time was spent as a professional artist. Before retirement, Don started developing a technique to create fine art, using Crayola Crayons. Shortly after retiring, he published his first print. Living in Southern California , his work was in demand, including commissions from Burt Reynolds and a one-man show at his Dinner Theater in Florida. Hard to imagine these are done with crayons!!!
There are many images so I posted them here to save space.......

“Mr. Crayola”

Oh No Another Game to Play

Hangman...and I suck at it....


A Translation of Joe Cocker at Woodstock

Those who listen to Joe Cocker know sometimes he is very hard to understand. This video has illustrations and captions of all the words when he sang “With a little help from my friends” at Woodstock.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Boo to you, my ghouls and goblins! Happy Halloween! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Please enjoy my holiday blog.

The first email today comes from Mr. Logjam, who writes:


With Halloween coming up, I am in need of your vision into the mystic. Looking forward into my past, is my younger self going to get the good candy this year Trick or Treating or am I doomed to a bag full of Tootsie Rolls like in the past?

My gratitude to you is as always.

Dear Logjam,

Your query brought a tear to my eye. Looking forward into your past, I was filled with melancholy at the prospect of young Logjam facing another Halloween with nothing but little logs of hard, stale, chocolate taffy to show for it. Therefore, I did something that I rarely do; I altered the space-time continuum. Oh, don’t worry, not by much. Just enough to give young Logjam a Halloween filled with Hershey bars and Three Musketeers bars and Snickers and Milky Ways and gobs of other goodies this year. Please let us know how the memory feels as soon as you receive it, Mr. Logjam.

P.S. To all of you: messing with the s-t continuum usually has some side effects like people and/or other forms of life suddenly fading into and/or out of existence in the present. And buildings. And maybe a few other things. And history is changed. You’ll get used to it. Or dematerialize. You should check out who is running for president now!

The second email today comes from a “Ms Awa Dominic,” who has a familiar way of saying things:

Hello Dear,

In the galaxy where all is beauty i fine it necessary to approach your Platform these way, well i apologies if my mode of contacting you will any way offend you,as well pardon me for the inconvenient it will take you in listen to my magistrate,i got your contact when i was searching for business partner,one fact to know is that, the essential sadness is to pass through life without experience, yet is also sad to pass through life without sharing once experience and weakness to others,if this is true of me.

I am Ms Awa Dominic, From Sudan,my mother die when she was giving berth to me,and my father Mr Dominic Dim Deng,is a military delegate whom die in the recent plane crash, see the web I am residing is Senegal since the war of Sudan,I want you to assist me retrieve my late father sizable asset , so that i come over to your country for investment.Thank for your anticipation.

Dear “Ms Awa Dominic,”

Or should I call you Stella the Stargazer? Or Andrea the Mystic? Or whatever other names that you, Shirley Deister, of Brookfield, IL, are going by now? I recognize that “Awa Dominic” alias from Cook County jail over 20 years ago. Shirley, I knew that you were low, but I never thought you’d stoop to email scams. This is my territory, so hit the road, “Dear,” and take that flakey assistant of yours, Thomas P. O’Dea, with you! If I'm lucky, you both dematerialized after you sent me that spam.

I have more online tricks and treats for you this week:
Try out Ben & Jerry’s Halloween Experience.
Be sure to visit BlackDog’s Halloween Party.
Check out
And my personal favorite, Halloween with Boowa & Kwala.

Finally, my friends, I just have to put in a good word for the Burlington Vortex Conference this weekend. (Journal Times story here.) My booth will be the one with the flashing neon JTI sign. I hope to see you there.

Don’t forget to email your questions and comments, phantoms and apparitions, possessionss and visitations to: Have a haunted week.

Dosvidanya, dears.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Don't Turn Your Back, don't look away, and don't blink. Good luck!"

Such is the warning given by the Doctor in the wonderful episode of Doctor Who titled Blink. Given that is it Halloween and this is a classic horror episode, now is the time to rent the DVD (its in season 3 of the current revival).

For the unititated, Doctor Who follows the adventures of a Time Lord known as the Doctor. It first aired on the BBC in 1963 and kept going until the late 1980's. It was recently revived and reimagined by the BBC.

Blink starts with young woman named Sally Sparrow exploring an old mansion. She finds a message with her name on it under some old wallpaper telling her to duck. She duck just as a rock passes over her head. She returns to the site with Kathy, a friend of Sally's. Kathy disappears. Sally instantly meets a young man who claims to be Kathy's grandson with a letter for her. And thus begins the mystery.

This is a classic horror story. You never see the monsters...they are always just out of sight, waiting for you to look away...or even blink. Only two people die in the episode, no blood or gore, but the story is written so you care about these characters which gives their passing more impact.

Fans of Back to the Future will recognize lots of the same time travel paradoxes played with here. The creepy ending will leave you jumpy the next time you see a gargoyle.

So rent this for a good scare this week...and whatever you do, don't turn you back, don't look away, and don't blink!

Dining out in the World

This is a neat little quiz about etiquette around the world.

“Dining out in the World”

From your coordinator -little, managable, irregular, minor glitch..

Hi everybody, this is your humble events coordinator.
Please answer the following so we can get something in the works,
Question #1 - How does a bowling/darts/pizza night sound?
Question #2 - When are you guys available?
Check your emails, you should have one
with the alternative dates,
Please let me know what works and what doesn't.
(At Paradise West on Hy 20)

Input? What works for you? Does this sound like a decent plan?
Any questions, please email me at

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here’s one for all the cooks out there......

Should be something for everyone.....

“Goodies for the Holidays”

BRRRR... Frozen Monday OPEN BLOG!!!

Time to pull out the long undies, it's cold out there!!!
Last week was a very long week with tragedies to start the week,
the reality of it all didn't hit me until this morning,
between that, and the cold, and the very fact that it's


How about we start this week with some good humor,
So what do you have to help this week start out better???
SER, I know you have plenty, lets get the giggles going!

Is anyone else having trouble with this site using Firefox?

Since yesterday evening, I cannot properly view this site in Firefox, my favorite internet browser. (The blogs are stretched across the page and the sidebar appears at the bottom of the page.) I'm using Internet Explorer to post and read this, and that works fine. The JTI CHAT page appears OK in Firefox, as do all the other blogspot blogs I've visited. So, is it just me?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Liberal HollywoodFor Obama

Okay, it was funny enough seeing Ron Howard do this, I had to post it.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die