Saturday, February 7, 2009

Who Exactly is Running for Mayor?

In keeping with the spirit of the times, I put a little poll on our sidebar concerning Racine's mayoral election. In creating the poll, I copied a list of candidates from another site. Then I voted. In checking out a different site, though, I found some apparent candidates that I'd left out. I went back to add their names to our poll, but it won't allow editing once someone has voted. So, I created a new poll. I hope it's right. This is the current list:

Jodi Harding
Greg Helding
Lesia Hill-Driver
Pete Karas
Gregory Klema
David Maack
Nola Ratliff
Austin Rodriguez
Q.A.Shakoor, II
Jim Spangenberg
Robert Turner

51 degrees, what are we doing to break cabin fever?

I thought the kids and I would take a nice ride. Drive by the light house, go through Pet's (if they let us), drive by the fish hatchary. Any other thoughts of some sites in Racine we can drive by? It's going to be muddy so not much running around but anything to get them out of my house for awhile!

Urban Hack Attack - Episode 1

There's nothing on Snopes about this. It's been on YouTube for over two months. It just seems too good to be true. Like, how would the man in the building know to look out at two guys jumping around on a bridge and blame them for (all he knows) lights blinking on and off in his office? First place I'd be looking is at the light switch, the fixtures, circuit breaker, calling maintenance, etc. Anyway, it's a good video.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The answer to the mystery video

No Credit Score For You!

Following up on my blog about your ability to bring down my credit score comes news that I won't even be able to find out my credit score from Experian! Checking verifies that they have an announcement to that effect.

I don't need to tell anyone how important the FICO score is. It determines if you can get a mortgage, car loan, and what interest rates you will pay for them. Financial advisors recommend checking your FICO score before applying for big loans so you can be in a good negotiating position when you go in or do something to improve your FICO before making big purchases. Now we are starting to lose that option.

Federal law requires only that you get access to your credit report. You can check your report, be sure no erroneous information is included and request corrections be made if needed (and if they don't make corrections, you can add a letter of explanation to your credit report). There is no requirement that they tell you your FICO score which really is the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR CREDIT HISTORY!

I would like to give a shout out to Johnson Bank here. I have gotten mortgages through them twice (they operate here in Arizon as well as Wisconsin) after comparison shopping. Both times, the loan agent told me my credit scores from all three reporting agencies after getting my credit report. This was information I could use in my loan comparisons with their competitiors to try and get a lower rate and they shared it freely.

People like to tout the power of the free market. Free markets only function properly if BOTH parties have access to the relevant information. If one party can quote whatever loan terms they desire and then simply say, "Oh, it's your FICO score" and you have no way to know what your score is...well, that is NOT a free market...that is a fixed market...and it's not fixed in your favor.

Sugaring off time

While it seems a bit early to do so, the next series of days are going to be perfect for sap sucking. Better get out your drills, bungs, and buckets as we will have warm days and low nights. The sweetest sap comes during these times. If you watched last year and yearned for the sweetness two of us gained with a little down home ingenuity, it's time to get it in gear.

This year I'm going to make it easier on me. I'm going to menards and getting three hose barbs. One will be a 90*, and two will be Ts. There will be three taps on the tree, with plastic hose hooking them together and then hose running from the tree to my front porch via the old dog run. No more struggling in the slop with the wheelchair, it's all going to0 be production like Down Town. I'm already eyeing the pancake mixes and teas for my syrup.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I'm sure most of you are familiar with 'Maxine' a cranky out spoken woman.

Someone sent this one to me today..

Oh Abby....

How does someone E you?

Why Not?'s New Arrival

Why Not? has been too busy with her new baby to learn the complexities of posting pictures here, so I'm doing it for her.

Below are photos of her older daughter, Mina, and the new arrival, Maia.

They are beautiful children, Why Not?

Cramps Frontman Lux Interior Dies

I guess it's a musical day on the JTI.

RIP Lux.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lost Video Trivia

The first person to identify the movie this song is is in will be crowned tonight's music master. Either you know it or dont know it.... no googleing, people. Also, Mde Zoltar is also exempt due to her powers as well! Good Luck

Bonus Video... Is that David Gilmore?

in 1984 David Gilmore from Pink Floyd released a solo album containing the song "Blue Light". I am putting the version with just the album cover on because some jack ass director thought he would take the guitar god and make him look like a idiot in a "Concept Video" It's so bad that it takes away from the song which rocks. Please enjoy "Blue Light".

Wednesday Nights Lost Video

Originally known as The Pockets, Saga formed in 1977 from the nucleus of Canadian rock band Fludd. In June 1978, they released their self-titled debut album. in 1981, the band's 4th album Worlds Apart was released. The lead single "Wind Him Up", finally broke them into the Top 40. A second single "On the Loose" also fared well, and in December of 1982, proved to be their breakthrough in America where it peaked at #26 on the Billboard Charts in March of 1983.

I still have the cassette from Mainstream Records cantaining "On The loose". Someone on Youtube made a cool space pic video for the song. If you have heard this before, then I hope this brings back memories. If hearing for the first time, your in for a treat. Enjoy!

Roger Dean and Yes

I've been listening to a lot of Yes lately. It always been one of my favorite bands. I love the color they add to rock and roll. This progressive rock band employes artist Roger Dean to do some of the artwork to some of their album covers. He also does work for Asia, Uriah Heep, Budgie, and others. Very colorful and unique artwork. More links to his artwork. Below a video of his artwork to the tune of Yes And You and I, from the classic Close to the Edge album.

Here's one of my favorite songs from Yes, a reunion show featuring the classic line up. This version be found on their Keys to Ascension album. Ladies and gentlemen, America.

I did see Yes on tour at Alpine Valley on 8/11/1984 during their 90125 Tour. I still want to see the classic line up.

So what are your favorite album covers?

It Sure Didn't Take the Gun Nannys Long

I just go into recreational target shooting this past year. I am not a hunter. The caliber of gun that I have (.22LR) is basically useless for self defense (unless you are close enough to the perpetrator to kick him in the nuts). But HR 45 being introduce will do nothing to take one gun out of the hands of someone who A) Is not legally entitled to have it or B) Has obtained a weapon legally or illegally with the intent of committing an unlawful act or doing harm. In essence, it like most gun control laws, would have no impact on a criminal, and would make criminals out of normal law biding citizens. Also, the information required by this bill intrusive and has the potential for abuse. If the Congress is stupid enough to pass this, and Obama is dumb enough to sign it, I for one will have no intent of complying. I think it was Ghandi and King that called it "Civil Disobedience".

The whole purpose of the Second Amendment as provided by the founding fathers was to allow an armed citizenry ( a militia totally seperate from the government unlike the National Guard or Regular Armed Forces) to be an equalizer to a potentially oppressive government. I hope to God we never reach that point.

(This is probably the ONLY post I will make of a political nature, but it did touch a nerve.)

(This is from an e-mail I recieved

"And so it starts!!

Are you ready for the House Bill titled 'HR 45, Blair Holt Licensing and Record Act of 2009'. It will make it illegal to own a firearm unless it is registered with the database in Washington D.C.. As a gun owner you will have to be finger printed, you will be required to provide your DL#, SS#, you must maintain a valid address at all times, submit to mental amd physical health records being put on file, you will also be required to file any address changes and you any ownership changes even if private sale. Each update will cost $25 and if you fail to comply you will lose your right to own firearms. This bill and its language mirror almost completely one defeated last year in the House of Representatives by soon to be Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. We the citizenry be as lucky this time?"

I'm drinking wine without ice!

Beejay a formal THANK YOU........goes out to you......Red wine needs no ice.............I'm liking the Cabernet.....Love the red warm!.....Now white is another stoy.

More RX Recalls

Here is the lastest I have rec'd on the recalls:

Recall -- Firm Press Release
FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.
ETHEX Corporation Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall Of Prescription Prenatal and Iron Supplements To Wholesale Level
Contact:Ann McBride, ETHEX Corporation800-748-1472
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- St. Louis, MO, February 3, 2009 – ETHEX Corporation, a subsidiary of KV Pharmaceutical Company (NYSE: KVa/KVb), is issuing a voluntary nationwide recall of the products identified below (all lots within their expiration dates) at a wholesale level. The Company is taking this action as a precautionary measure, because the products may have been manufactured under conditions that did not sufficiently comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP).
Patients who may have these products in their possession should continue to take them in accordance with their prescriptions, as the risk of suddenly stopping needed medications may place patients at risk. Patients should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using these products, or to obtain replacement medications or prescriptions.
Products Recalled to the Wholesale/Distributor Level:
Prescription Prenatal Vitamin Products:
Advanced NatalCare® Tablets Advanced-RF NatalCare® TabletsCal-Nate™ Tablets CareNatal™ DHA TabletsComBgen TabletsComBiRx™TabletsNataCaps Capsules NatalCare Gloss TabletsNatalCare PIC Tablets NatalCare PIC Forte TabletsNatalCare Plus Tablets NatalCare Rx Tablets NatalCare Three TabletsNataTab FA Tablets NataTab RX Tablets NutriNate® Chewable Tablets NutriSpire™ TabletsPrenatal MR 90 FE Tablets Prenatal MTR w/Selinium Tablets Prenatal Rx 1 Tablets Prenatal Z, Advanced Formula Tablets Ultra NatalCare TabletsPrescription Iron Supplement Products:
Anemagen Caplets Anemagen Forte CapletsConison™ CapsulesFe-Tinic™ 150 Forte Capsules
Any wholesaler inquiries related to this action should be addressed to ETHEX Customer Service at 1-800-748-1472, faxed to ETHEX Customer Service at 314-646-3788, or e-mailed to Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm CST.
ETHEX Corporation has initiated recall notifications to wholesalers nationwide who received any inventory of the recalled products, with instructions for returning the recalled products.
This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). At this time, the Company is unable to determine when distribution of these products will resume.
Patients with questions about the recall should call the telephone number above, or contact their healthcare providers. Any adverse reactions experienced with the use of these products should also be reported to FDA’s MedWatch Program by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088, by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, by mail at MedWatch, FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787, or on the MedWatch website at
The recall announcement is posted on

Charges possible in Racine County child-care cases

The Journal Sentinel Online reports:

"Racine County child-care regulators turned over two cases to the district attorney's office on Tuesday for possible criminal fraud charges inside the Wisconsin Shares program.

"County Executive William McReynolds said the cases involve people described in the Journal Sentinel's recent investigative series 'Cashing in on Kids,' but he would not disclose names.

"While it's unclear exactly who the cases implicate, they do not include the child-care providers themselves, said Debra Jossart, director of the Racine County Human Services Department."

So, the four sisters get to keep the half-million dollars in taxpayer money given to them for babysitting their own children. I understand that one is buying a house with the money. It's a good time to be buying. I wonder if I can get the state to give me money for doing what I already should be doing? I feed myself and clean up after myself and clothe myself and everything. Where's my half-mil? :(

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my lovely gardenias! I hope that you are coping well with this wintry blast. I know I am. Bottoms up!

Our first email this week comes from Mr. Logjam, who writes:

Dearest Madame,

We up here in da Nort have been experiencing this winter for a good number of weeks now. Our good friend Beejay had the sense enough to move to Florida with the warmer weather and snakes. Now, I don't want her to get homesick and too used to 69 degree winter temperatures, so do you think you could zap her with a 20 degree day or two just to give her a feel of the old stomping grounds?

Your humble Irregular,

Oh my, Mr. Logjam, how kind of you to express your concern about Ms. Beejay’s ability to adapt to such a sudden shift to warm weather. You may be right about her needing a little reminder of home, but I’m not sure that cold weather would be fair to the rest of the Floridians and snowbirds in her general area. I’m going to need a little time to brew on this one, but at this point I’m pretty sure that snakes will somehow be involved. I’ll keep you posted. Thank you for writing.

Our next email arrived from Mr. OrbsCorbs today:

Dear Most Exalted and Supreme Being Madame Zoltar,

What’s up with the Journal Times comics page? For a long time, they were burying it in the sports section, or next to the casserole recipes. Lately, though, the comics have been appearing more and more in the “A” section (the real “A” section – not the “B” section labeled like an “A” section), and today they were on page 4A. Does this migration towards the front of the newspaper signify anything of import, and if so, what? Will the comics finally make it to the front page?

Your much more humble than logjam Irregular,

Dear Mr. OrbsCorbs, perhaps the publisher of the Journal Times is subconsciously making a statement, similar to the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. As each day’s news grows progressively grimmer, especially on the economic front, maybe the comics are being moved up in the newspaper to provide humor and relief as soon as possible after the bad news. In that regard, the Journal Times might want to look into beefing up their comic forces, because I don’t foresee any relief on the near horizon. As for your question concerning the comics and the front page, many people in Racine are of the opinion that the comics have been on the front page of the Journal Times for years already. It was very kind of you to contact me.

Finally, an email from a non-Irregular who has been spamming my account for weeks:

Dear Madame Whatsherface,

Do you ever predict anything that actually happens? Ha-ha!


Yes, Mr. Enema, I predict an end to your taunts. That will actually happen, too, and not just because I predicted it, but because I gave Nick and Vito $1,000 each to make it happen. Have a nice day, while you can still walk.

Questions, problems, worries, embarrassments, gossip, outright lies? Send them to:

That’s it for this week, my passion fruits. I have work to do on conjuring an antidote to the gaseous clouds of noxious fumes which will soon be emanating from Racine’s other mayoral candidates. Be careful out there! Auf Lederhosen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Don't You Dare Bring Down My Credit Score!

But I might not be able to stop you. I have heard a couple of stories about this, most recently today on Marketplace. In the olden days, you make charges, pay your bills on time, manage your money responsibly and you have a good credit score.

But not anymore. Now they are starting to look at other factors like foreclosure rates in the neighborhood in which you live and even the stores you shop at. If you shop at discount stores, the reasoning goes, you might be in financial trouble, especially if you shop at the same store as lots of other people with credit problems! Wal-Mart should be very worried.

This could reduce your credit score or companies have been known to reduce credit limits. A reduced credit limit can hurt you since you are using a higher percentage of your available credit which can, you guessed it, lower your credit score making it harder to get loans or force you to pay higher interest rates in the future.

So think twice about the trip to Wal-Mart or to the liquor store. Look around before you check out to be sure you are shopping at a high end store to preserve your financial future. What will they think of next?

But you can fight sure to check out the New Credit Rules for advice on how to keep from being bitten and what to do if you are.

What's Your Oldest Appliance?

Huck's blog on his old microwave was timely. Consumer Reports just had a story on Great Old Appliances, Long Lives highlighting people who have products that have lasted a long time. The record holder for their article is a 1926 Stewart Stove.

Mine, as I already pointed out, is a 1978 Amana microwave. This is even more impressive when you consider the number of plasma balls I have created in it!

The other precious old item I have is an original Celestron 8 telescope circa 1978. It is the original orange tube they were known for making in the 1970's.

Another friend gone

I knew you for thirty years. You were always willing to heat up the occasion on a moments notice. One of the reliable ones, you never gave me grief. Sure, the years were starting to show, but you still kept on keeping on. Sadly I got the news yesterday morning that you no longer could take the strain of our relationship. When you held my breakfast hostage, I knew you meant business and could no longer handle your many years. After seeing if there was a way to give you a transplant to allow you more years of existence with me, I found out you're too old and past your prime. I guess it's time to put you down, but I'll try to save parts of you before I bury you with the other detritus of my life.

Rest in peace my Kenmore microwave. We had a long run. You'll be happy to know I've chosen one of your offsprings to carry on in your place. A kenmore convection/microwave. Moving on up. Hope she's as steadfast as you were.

The Screw Up

Please, my fellow oldtimers, stay current!

Monday, February 2, 2009

E.T., Text Home

Phoning home is so 1980s...its time for ET to text home. And he doesn't need a contraption made out of an old record player and Speak and Spell to do it. The service called Sent Forever will allow you to send a text message to the stars through the British Telecom transmission station at Goonhilly (really). You can send a message for free or pay for a premium package in which the receiver will be sent a certificate telling them what the message is. Be careful what you can never be unsent! (Maybe we need a system to prevent drunk Sending Forever like the one that prevents drunk emailing).

If you send me a message, I plan on inventing a faster than light mode of travel and going out there to receive it personally!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

That rotten Groundhog (fat rat) saw his shadow!

6 more weeks of winter!
Snow's expected tonight!

Very Bright International Space Station Pass

A lot of people don't know you can see satellites with the naked eye. The International Space Station (ISS) is very large and has huge solar panels. Not only can you see it, the ISS is sometimes one of the brightest objects in the sky.

Racine has some excellent passes this week. Tonight at 5:58 pm it will rise in the west-norhwest and pass almost directly overheard before passing into Earth's shadow at 6:01 pm. It will be almost as bright as Venus (which will be in the southwest).

Tuesday night's pass starts at 6:26pm and won't be quite as bright, but will still be brighter than the brightest star in the sky (but not as bright as Venus). The pass again starts in the west-northwest but hugs the horizon, only getting about 30 degrees up.

You get one more really bright one on February 4th which will again rival Venus in brightness. This pass starts at 5:18 in the west-northwest and rises until it passes almost directly overheard.

If you want to take a picture of it, just point your camera in the general direction and leave the shutter open for 20 seconds or so. The satellite will show up as a streak on your picture like this one I took of the ISS (the second fainter streak is the Space Shuttle, click to embiggen) last year.

You can find information on the passes at or go to the more extensive You may notice that they provide information on the infamous ISS toolbag which was lost during the last mission. You can see it, but probably need a pair of binoculars to pick it out.

The Weather Underground says it is clear in Racine now, but could get dicey later today. The ISS is very bright, so if you can see any stars, go out and try to bag this one.

For people not in Racine, you can go to and enter your zip code for pass times where you live (Beejay, you start getting passes tomorrow night!)

Still having problems

kk, Orbs, et al, I am still having computer problems...for some reason, it is associated with my MSN account. I want my old screen Anyway, I restored to a day last week and it is at least up...I have run every diagnostic tool I can find on this damn thing. I think, perhaps, it has to do with an update I ran last week or prevent some sort of virus. No viruses have been found.

I am so frustrated.

One question I have is that if the update reinstalls AOL could that conflict with my MSN stuff? And also, should I just remove Comcast and put it back in? Any other suggestions, short of tossing it in the pool, would be appreciated.

Thank you.

'Lost in CyberSpace'

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Super Miscue...

You can imagine a lot of people in Tucson were watching the Super Bowl with the Cardinals playing and some of them got an eyeful. The Comcast standard definition feed of the Super Bowl was interrupted by porn. It happened at the worst possible time...right after Fitzgerald's touchdown pass to take the lead!

Oh, and I get Directv which was not affected (and I was watching in hi-def!)

If you can believe it........

Brand new car....... hit/bumped probably in a parking lot. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
wtF?? Husband washed the car this morning and noticed a 'ding' by the back wheel well. I noticed the smear on the tire. I'm sick over this. I just want to wrap the entire car in bubble wrap!

Truth still stranger than fiction - why me??

Oh me, oh my... this is going to be a wild week or so!

Here are the facts -

Mating season is in the FALL.
This is NOT FALL.

Max turns brilliant orange when his hormones are raging.
His hormones only rage during mating season.
Max IS GLOWING orange.
Max's object of affection - you guessed it.... ME...

They show affection by biting.
I do not show affection by biting!

Yesterday, my chowder-head clamped on the shoulder
of what I was wearing. He gave me a 'come hither' look,
which was really funny... I think I shattered his ego when I laughed.
He wouldn't let go...
It took 10 minutes and many attempts before he let go,
and that was only to try to get a better grip!

We sprayed him with water.
He closed his eyes and seemed to like it.

I pulled on his upper jaw, couldn't budge it. He's really strong!
I pulled down as hard as I could on his dewlap to
the point I was sure I was hurting him, nothing,
couldn't budge it at all.

I took him in the bathroom to the mirror where he likes to
bob at himself, thinking that would work... nope.

I took him back to his enclosure, thinking he would release
and go back without argument.... nope...
worse yet, he tried dragging my shoulder
and me
back to his love den....

That poor boy REALLY needs a girl friend!!!!!

Til his color returns to normal, he's GROUNDED!

Remembering Columbia

Six years ago today, on February 1st, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up high over Texas while coming back to Earth. The problem started shortly after launch when a piece of insulating foam broke off he external tank and damaged the thermal protection on the left wing. During reentry, the failure of the thermal protection system led to the destruction of Columbia.

After the accident, many people asked my how it could be so easily damaged. When I was teaching, NASA had a program where you could get Shuttle tiles for classroom use. I have a thermal tile from the shuttle. It is very light and brittle. Handling the tile you can tell how easy it is to damage the thermal protection system.

I was living in Racine at the time. Laurel Clark went to Horlick High in Racine. I remember driving by Horlick about 6:00pm that night and seeing all the major network news trucks parked outside. Racine honored her with the Laurel Clark Fountain (which I sometimes ran through in the middle of warm summer runs). I bought one of the special Christmas ornaments produced by the Racine Kiwanis Club that honored the Columbia astronauts.

Columbia's last mission was a pure science mission. It did not visit the International Space Station (and was in a very different orbit without enough fuel to reach the ISS even if they realized the damage in time). They did recover some data from the experiments, including data from a severely damged hard drive on the flow of xenon in microgravity.

There have been several changes to the shuttle program since the accident, especially in looking for damage to the orbiter before it returns to Earth. The accident almost forced the cancellation of the final Hubble servicing mission, but NASA has decided to proceed with a backup rescue shuttle ready to go.

I have felt the Columbia has gotten short shrift for some reason. It does not resonate the way the Challenger accident does with the general public. Perhaps becuase not as many people were watching (fewer watch landings that liftoffs). Maybe because it was not the first.

The Columbia Crew made the same ultimate sacrifice and should not be forgotten.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicsit Blog.