Friday, January 8, 2010
The Great American Think-Off 2010 is just getting underway. All you have to do is write a 750 word (or less) by April 1st addressing the question, "Do the wealthy have an obligation to help the poor?" by April 1st. Four finalists will be flown (all expenses paid) to New York City for the final debate on June 12th for the title of America's Greatest Thinker.
Based on the overall quality of writing by bloggers (and especially by the insightful people who leave comments) I expect this to be a bang up, knock down, drag out contest.
1) What shows do like to watch?
2) What is your favorite show of all time?
3) What is your worst show?
4) Do you watch the news?
Enjoy your weekend folks!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
CAUTION: Adult Language
I just went there a couple of days ago. Every visit is a novel, every encounter a short story. I've started talking loudly to myself while shopping there. It keeps away most of the whackos.
While looking at a post by Hale-Bopp I thought I would connect to the Hubble telescope using a little PFM (pure firkin magic) and my computer.
While looking around I thought I saw something moving inside the circle. So I zoomed in some more.
And to my amazement, there was a little spaceship!
I had to go for it, so I zoomed in even more.
And dang if it wasn’t Hale-Bopp cruise’in the stars!
All pictures posted without owners permission.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The other day, I bought some pumpernickel bread...got to thinking about the origin of the word 'pumpernickel.' Ran a search on the internet and found the direct translation to be: SATAN'S GAS
Now isn't that curious??? Apparently, the original bread made folks incur flatulence.
What kind of useless information do you have stored in your brain???
Let's see what you can come up with.
Of course, our tremendous and ecstatic Packers won the game against Arizona. Just like they will this Sunday. Same time, same channel. 1st string, 2nd string, whatever, it doesn’t matter; the Green and Gold will leave the Cardinals in tatters. Look for an exceptionally exciting second half this week, my friends. A little bird told me that special things will happen.
There were no epiphanies or profanities amongst this week’s communiqués.
I’ve been in a bit of a funk since the holidays ended. This always happens. All that hoopla and fuss and stress leading up to the holidays, and then afterwards, the bleak prospect of months more of winter. One of my favorite remedies for winter depression is old comedy movies. Most of you don’t know this, but I’m a Marx Brothers fan. Those silly men and their crazy antics keep me giggling and guffawing. I highly recommend a comedy to combat the blues. You can borrow films from the Racine Public Library for free. You can’t get a better deal than that.
In honor of my comic heroes, I’m going to spotlight a few of their films. First is the famous contract scene from A Night at the Opera:
Next is the renowned mirror sequence from Duck Soup:
Finally, the password scene from Horse Feathers:
Thank you my dear, dear friends for reading my blog. If you have the winter blues, I hope that the Marx Brothers, or someone else, can brighten your day for awhile. You know, that is what we literally need at this time of year: day brightening. We’re fortunate to be alive in an era when so many technological advances exist to protect and distract us from the elements. Or are we?
Please forward your last will and testament to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget Downtown Racine Carves Its Niche this Saturday, January 9, 10 am to 3 pm, featuring ice carvers and their sculptures at various locations in beautiful downtown Racine. At 3 pm, the sculptures will be judged by the glamorous and sophisticated Teresa Dickert, wife of Racine's notorious Mayor John Dickert.
Bundle up for the days ahead, my Irregulars. Take time to take care of yourselves. Read a book. Catch a movie. Watch a play. Swordfish!
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Or at least the first five. The Kepler Space Telescope today announced its first five extrasolar planet discoveries at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, DC. Kepler was launched March 6th, 2009 with the goal of finding Earth like planets orbiting other stars.
These first five planets, named 4b, 5b. 6b. 7b, and 8b (they skipped 1-3 since the first three detections were previously known planets that happened to be in Kepler's field of view) are not very Earth like. The smallest is about the size of Neptune and the largest are bigger than Jupiter. They all orbit very close to their stars with periods on the order of days. Their temperatures can be as high as a couple of thousand degrees Fahrenheit.
Since these planets pass in front of the stars, we can measure their diameters. Follow up measurements can give us their masses so we can find the densities of these planets. The most extreme world, Kepler 7b, has the density of styrofoam...for the entire planet!
It shouldn't surprise us that these are the types of planets Kepler finds first. It is easy to find big planets that orbit close to their stars. Finding planets that orbit farther from the star takes longer simply because they don't pass in front of the star nearly as often. As time goes on, Kepler will find more planets with lower masses, that orbit farther from their stars, and are more Earth like.
There are hundreds of signals Kepler has to follow up and see if they are planets or something else. The good news is that it is working well and that in a few years we will be one step closer to finding out how common planets like ours are.
Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.
Here at the American Astronomical Society meeting in DC today, they unveiled a spectacular new Hubble image. Check this out.
Click to embiggen or go and download the really high res image. For even more fun, check out the zoomable version. This image was produced by a combination of two cameras on Hubble: The Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3 (which was just installed earlier this year). Combining the different abilities of the two cameras lets you see more objects that cover a wider range of wavelengths.
This image represents a LOT of Hubble time...over 100 orbits of staring at the same little speck of sky. The payoff is getting this image of over 7500 galaxies dating back to the dawn of the Universe. At this point, we don't even talk distance anymore since the farthest we can see is 13.some billion light years. We have to talk about how much the light was redshifted. Look for the tiniest bits of red...those are the most distant galaxies. In this case, they are literally redshifted.So much great stuff is happening at this meeting...wish I had more time to see it all and write about it!
Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.
The video was made in Antwerp Central Station on the 23rd of March 2009 with no warning to the poor passengers passing through the station.
At 08:00 am a recording of Julie Andrews singing 'Do, Re, Mi' begins to play on the public address system and as the bemused passengers watch in total amazement,
over 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and various station entrances.
Remember - they created this amazing stunt with just two secret rehearsals!
Monday, January 4, 2010
THIS MAY COME AS A SURPRISE TO THOSE OF YOU NOT LIVING IN LAS VEGAS, BUT THERE ARE MORE CATHOLIC CHURCHES THAN CASINOS.
NOT SURPRISINGLY, SOME WORSHIPERS AT SUNDAY SERVICES WILL GIVE CASINO CHIPS RATHER THAN CASH WHEN THE BASKET IS PASSED. SINCE THEY GET CHIPS FROM MANY DIFFERENT CASINOS, THE CHURCHES HAVE DEVISED A METHOD TO COLLECT THE OFFERINGS..
THE CHURCHES SEND ALL THEIR COLLECTED CHIPS TO A NEARBY FRANCISCAN MONASTERY FOR SORTING AND THEN THE CHIPS ARE TAKEN TO THE CASINOS OF ORIGIN AND CASHED IN.
THIS IS DONE BY THE CHIP MONKS.
Note: this posting credit need to be applied to the girls. It was posted by SER for Beejay.
As you may or may not know, I wear two hearing aids and have for about three years now....I have tinnitus...a buzzing, hissing sound that causes you to not be able to hear conversation clearly. I am not shy about them, nor do I try to conceal the fact that I have a hearing loss. HOWEVER, I am a bit taken aback by the reaction from STUPID people. A hearing loss is a disability...a serious disability. My right ear has a 28% hearing loss, which is unheard of (excuse the pun) at my age.
When I was first diagnosed with this problem, I mentioned it to a fellow sitting to my right that I had a problem hearing him...he made fun of me...'huh---duh what...' Not funny...but what really hurt was when my nephew who has dyslexia, both audio and visually, made fun of me...and wouldn't stop...this is a 40 year old man.
Do people dismiss a hearing loss as a 'not real' disability??? I would never dream of making fun of the fact that it takes him six times as long to read something as it does me...nor will I remind him who helped him when he was a little guy with reading....
The guy in my life told me not to worry about it, he has great hearing and he will hear for both of us. And, yes, he is a gem...but a few weeks ago, I was trying to help out at his store and couldn't hear because someone had turned up the radio behind me. I don't think anyone did this intentionally, but I had a problem asking that it be lowered. It is embarrassing to me. When I say couldn't hear, I mean I couldn't make out what they were saying, just that I did know they were saying something!
People have no patience for someone with a hearing loss...like you think this is voluntary????
My line to folks has been, 'don't whisper sweet nothings in my right ear, cuz that's exactly what they will be 'SWEET NOTHINGS!'
I go for another hearing test on Wednesday to see why my hearing aids are not doing the job I want them to do....nothing will bring back the hearing I have lost, but if I could get rid the tinnitus, then the aids would improve my ability to hear immensely. A dream, I'm sure.....
A lot of you know me personally (well, okay, most of you do...duh) and know that I love music and love to dance and have fun...picture me in a bar with the music going...yeah, I can hear the music, but I can't hear you at all.....I want it all!!!!
BUT a friend and I did make it out to Eagle Lake to Eagle Lake Inn on the Lake where they held their 3rd Annual Polar Plunge for the Veterans.
The event drew crowds of people and (guessing) there had to be around 15 to 20 brave soles to take the challenge of plunging in to the icy cold water. Guessing again, the hole in the ice had to be 10’ x 8’. Jumpers entered on one end, made their way through the slushy ice water and where helped out on the opposite end. Their team members were laughing, but standing by with towels and blankets in hand.
Although I took many pictures, I have posted a few for your viewing pleasure.
One dark night in the small town of Garfield, NJ, a fire started inside the local sausage factory. In a blink the building was engulfed in flames. The alarm went out to all the fire departments for miles around.
When the first volunteer fire fighters appeared on the scene, the sausage company president rushed to the fire chief and said, "All of our secret sausage recipes are in the vault in the center of the plant. They have to be saved, so I will donate $50,000 to the fire company that brings them out and delivers them to me."
But the roaring flames held the firefighters off. Soon more fire departments had to be called in because the situation became desperate. As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer to extricate the secret recipes was now $100,000 to the fire department that could save them.
Suddenly from up the road, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came into sight. It was the fire engine of the nearby Lodi , NJ volunteer fire department composed mainly of Italian firefighters over the age of 65.
To everyone's amazement, the little run-down fire engine, operated by these Italian firefighters, passed the fire engines parked outside the plant and drove straight into the middle of the inferno.
Outside, the other firefighters watched in amazement as the Italian old timers jumped off and began to fight the fire as if they were fighting to save their own lives. Within a short time, the Lodi old timers had extinguished the fire and saved the secret recipes.
The grateful sausage company president joyfully announced that for such a superhuman accomplishment he was upping the reward to $200,000, and walked over to personally thank each of the brave elderly Italian firefighters.
A TV news crew rushed in after capturing the event on film. The 'on camera' reporter asked the Italian fire chief, "What are you going to do with all that money?"
"Wella," said Chief Pasquale De Luccinellavanti, the70-year-old fire chief, "de fursta tinga we gonna do isza fixa de brakes on dat truck!!"