Saturday, January 30, 2010

Art Consultants in Racine: 2 Days = $12,500

"RACINE - A consultant's report on the city's fledgling artist relocation program in Uptown found that city officials need to learn more about the art market as they continue to try to attract artists to Racine.

"The city paid for Artspace's $12,500 consulting fee with federal block grant money allocated to Racine County Economic Development Corp.

"Consultants from the firm spent two days in the city in November meeting with groups and evaluating the city's artist relocation program."

The article stresses that the consultants did not tell Racine to abandon the artist relocation program, just to "fine tune" it. And what consultant would ever tell you that you are throwing away money?

I am so fed up with these a-holes burning up public funds.

Party on, lying John!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Convenient Ring Around the Moon...

Okay, I had my shot of the Moon and Mars all planned out, rising over the mountains. It was going to be beautiful. And then the clouds were there...

But sometimes the shot you get is not the one you expect. I got a craving for a Sonic chocolate malt around 9:30 and when I stepped outside, there were high, thin clouds but the Moon and Mars were poking through. Better yet, there was a ring around the Moon. Ran back inside, got the camera and tripod, positioned a spooky tree in the shot and...

As usual, click to embiggen. Mars is just to the left of the Moon. To the right and above is Procyon. Pollux is visible at the very top of the image (I cut off Castor). The little greenish splotch right below the Moon is a lens flare caused by internal reflections and scattering in the lens system. And of course there is the nice ring.

Rings such as this are formed by Moonlight interacting with ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. These ice crystals are shaped like hexagons.

So, not quite what I was expecting, but a pleasant surprise tonight.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Friday Afternoon Grin

I was at the store yesterday, and I ran into Tarzan! I asked him how it was going and if he was into anymore movies.

He told me that he could no longer make anymore movies as he had severe arthritis in both shoulders and could no longer swing from vine to tree.

I asked how Jane was doing, he told me she was in bad shape, in a nursing home, has Alzheimer's and no longer recognizes anyone, how sad.

I asked about Boy, and he told me that Boy had gone to the big city, got hooked up with bad women, drugs, alcohol, and the only time he heard from him was if he was in trouble or needed something..

I asked about Cheeta,
He beamed and said she was doing good, had married a Lawyer and now lived in the White House!!!

Can Anything Good Come out of this Cold Weather?

I only know of one thing, you can get a fairly cold glass of water right out of your kitchen faucet.

Friday Morning Grin...

A group of 40 year old buddies discuss where they should meet for dinner.

Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen restaurant because the waitress's there have low cut blouses.

Ten years later, at 50 years of age, the group meets and once again they discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because the food there is very good and the wine selection is good also.

Ten years later at 60 years of age, the group meets and once again they discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because they can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free.

Ten years later, at 70 years of age, the group meets and once again they discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because the restaurant is wheel chair accessible and has an elevator.

Ten years later, at 80 years of age, the group meets and once again they discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because that would be a great idea because they have never been there before.

We have a winner!

Once again, the people of the Irregular nation have spoken and their voice has been heard. Many deserved to be honored for their ineptitude this week, but one group rose above all. For conduct unbecoming, General Apathy, Major Boredom, Private Interests and in need of Corporal Punishment. For trying to do the will of the people without asking the people, and for not doing a damn thing to change the city, it's image, it's safety and it's economic condition, we hereby honor The Racine City Council

with the Stone Cold Steve Austin STFU flip the bird award. JTI 3:16 says we just flipped you off! Give me a Hell Yeah!

The Full Moon and Mars

Mars is just past passed closest to Earth a couple of days ago. This happens once every couple of years. The distance between Earth and Mars hasn't changed much in the last few days, so it is still very well positioned for observing and nice and bright in the sky.

Friday night (January 29th) we have the added bonus of it being very near the full Moon. This positioning will make Mars very easy to pick out as it is the brightest thing in that part of the sky (other than the Moon, of course!) Here is a chart I made for 7pm as seen from Tucson.

Mars is bright enough you can see a reddish/orange tint to it, hence the name the Red Planet.

This full Moon is the largest of 2010. The Moon orbits the Earth in an ellipse, not a circle, so sometimes it is a bit closer to Earth and sometimes a bit farther away. The Moon is near its closest to Earth (called perigee) tonight so it will appear larger than average. The apparent size of the Moon is about 14% larger when it is at its closest point to Earth than when it is its furthest (called apogee).

So brave the cold my northern friends...for my southern friends, enjoy a pleasant evening of planet hunting!

Update: I made a small mistake...the Mars is at opposition tonight, January 29th. I was correct that its closest approach to Earth was a couple days ago on January 27th. Sometimes closest approach and opposition do not occur on the same day and that one bit me this time!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Four for Fridays

Hello Everybody! This weeks' topic is on literature...

1) What are you reading now?

2) What's the last book you have read?

3) What is your favorite book or novel?

4) What do you often read?

Enjoy your weekend folks! See ya at the party!


I just saw that mathmatician Arthur Benjamin is the guest on the Colbert Report tonight. Bejamin is one of those masters of doing mental math in his head faster than you can even punch it into a calculator. I have heard interviews with him before and he is very entertaining. Here is a good one from the O'Reilly Media Emerging Technology Conference in 2007. Give it a listen (for free!)

I'll post a link to the video here tomorrow when it becomes available.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

And here is the video...

You Decide...It's your money

Meet 'Giant George,' the 7ft-long blue Great Dane

"Standing at nearly 43 inches tall from paw to shoulder and weighing a staggering 245lbs could this be the world's new tallest dog?

"Pictured here in the parks of Tuscon, Arizona, George, a four-year-old blue great dane, looks more like a miniature horse than a dog."

Check out more amazing pictures and the rest of the story at:

MadTV Was Prophetic...

This aired on MadTV back in 2005...

You can listen to an interview with the sketch writers on All Tech Considered.

Speak your mind - Bird of the Week voting

Bird of the Week
John Dickert
Recycle Bin pushers
Brett Favre
The entire Racine City Council
Jim Doyle
The RUSD Board free polls

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hand in Hand

"I got this via email.... story below (I don't know origin)

"In a Chinese modern dance competition on TV one very unique couple won one of the top prizes. The lady, in her 30's, was a dancer who had trained since she was a little girl... Later in life, she lost her entire left arm in an accident and fell into a state of depression for a few years.

"Someone then asked her to coach a Children's dancing group. From that point on, she realized that she could not forget dancing. She still loved to dance and wanted to dance again. So, she started to do some of her old routines, but, having lost her arm, she had also lost her balance.

"It took a while before she could even make simple turns and spins without falling. Then she heard of a man in his 20s who had lost a leg in an accident. He had also fallen into the usual denial, depression and anger type of emotional roller coaster. But, she was determined to find him and persuade him to dance with her. He had never danced, and to dance with one leg... are you joking with me? 'No way!'

"But, she didn't give up, and he reluctantly agreed thinking, 'I have nothing else to do anyway.' She started to teach him dancing. The two broke up a few times because he had no concept of using muscle, how to control his body, and knew none of the basic things about dancing. When she became frustrated and lost patience with him, he would walk out.

"Eventually, they came back together and started training seriously. They hired a choreographer to design routines for them. She would fly high (held by him) with both arms (a sleeve for an arm) flying in the air.

"He could bend horizontally supported by one leg with her leaning on him, etc. In the competition, as you will see, they dance beautifully and they legitimately won the competition. Really quite amazing!"

I also received that video and message in my email today, eight months after the above was posted on YouTube. Whatever is true, they're an extraordinary dancing couple.

Finally, it's been explained!

Sylvester and Tweetie

It's back!

After a holiday hiatus, it is time for the return of Bird of the Week. We are in full "State of..." season, and i know there must be something brewing in your craw's. Who cut your cheese. Who made your blood boil. Who makes you want to show them you think they are number one. Please leave your nomination and reason in the comments.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my cream-filled Ho Hos! How are you? I’ve been enjoying the relatively warm weather we’ve been having. I had the car washed (no, I don’t astral project everywhere) and even raked up a few pieces of debris that appeared on the lawn where the snow melted. We’re supposed to start dropping back into the single digits, though, so our January thaw must be over. I’m still working on a potion or spell that I can cast on myself that will make me oblivious to winter. So far, a few shots of Jack with a beer back are the best I’ve come up with.

Well, I did what I could to make sure that Mr. Favre isn’t going to the Super Bowl this year – at least not as a player. That interception near the end of regulation had the mark of Zoltar® all over it. I almost wish that the Vikings had won the overtime coin toss so then maybe I would have had to hurt Mr. Favre, slightly, to prevent their win. In fact, I do wish it. Oh my. But, of course, my animosity towards Mr. Favre is strictly business and has nothing to do with his professional antics. Pay your debts, sir, and the shrinkage will stop. Pay them quickly and it might even reverse.

I just received an email from the delightful Ms. Mary concerning the weather in Oklahoma:

Hello My Dearest Madame Zoltar

I hope the stars are aligned in your favor on this lovely day (well here in OKC it is lovely). My request is this. On Thursday we are going to have our second major winter storm here. Although it is not supposed to be like the blizzard on Christmas Eve which brought us over 14 inches of snow, it is still going to be a bad one. When they put Winter Storm Watches out 4 days early, you just know it will be bd.

I am asking you to use your powers in helping us get snow instead of the sleet and ice that is predicted. All three are predicted but I really do hate ice storms as they cause such havoc. I (as always) am eternally grateful for anything you can do.

Your humble servant,

Dear Ms. Mary, I just checked some of your local weather forecasts, and, as you say, they are predicting a winter storm on Thursday with “100%” probability. It amazes me how often meteorologists are 100% wrong on their 100% probability predictions, yet they continue to issue them on a regular basis. If I was wrong on my predictions as often as they are, I would be out of business within weeks. And what really galls me is that all of them rely upon the National Weather Service, which is funded by taxpayers, for the majority of their inaccurate forecasts. I contacted the NWS once in an effort to offer some constructive criticism, one professional forecaster to another, but they replied with smug condescension, pooh-poohing my proposals. You have no idea of how tempted I was to curse them and their children’s children, but out of respect for Mother Nature (and a little fear, too), I held back. She seems to enjoy taunting the meteorologists, playing like a cat with mice, and I dasn’t interfere. But I digress…

Ms. Mary, I will be pleased to do what I can to help you in the avoidance of as much moisture as possible in the coming days, and in the preferred form of snow if it must occur. As I have stated in the past, I avoid confrontation with Mom Nature on weather-related requests and use a more indirect method of attempting to influence the spheres that contain us all. (Of course, tweaking the spheres has been known to cause the occasional freak January tornado &/or earthquake, but I’m sure we’ll be OK this time - I think.) The greatest help that others can contribute to this cause is simply positive thoughts. I have anecdotal evidence of numerous storm avoidances precipitated by positive mental energy. The more people that direct their thoughts to a positive meteorological outcome on a given day, the more likely it is to occur. And pay absolutely NO attention to the hysteria on the local news, Ms. Mary. Their job is not to inform, but to inflame. Yak yak yak. Ratings, and readers, and hits, oh my! Ratings, and readers, and hits, oh my!

In an effort to turn our attitudes and energies positive that we may better confront the realities of winter wherever we may be, I am posting a video of the late Israel "Iz" Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole doing his rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow:”

You just have to feel better after listening to that. It wouldn’t dare snow now.

In case it does, though, email your winter supply list to:

Thank you for reading my blog this week my dear, dear dears. You are each so dear to me. Oh, dear me. I love sharing this time together with you. See you at the JTI Christmas Party. Onomatopoeia!

This is the Bailout We Were Looking For...

I don't know how I missed this...who rang the opening bell on December 22nd, 2009. The symbolism is strikingly appropriate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The U. S. S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers).

However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log, "On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum."

Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping."

Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum.

Then she headed for the Azores , arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.

On 18 November, she set sail for England . In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each.

By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland . Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.

The U. S.. S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water.


politicians sound the same every where


On August 19th, 2007, an oil tanker off the coast of Australia split in two, dumping 20,000 tons of crude oil. Senator Collins, a member of the Australian Parliament, appeared on a TV news program to reassure the Australian public.This actual interview is so funny, you'd swear it was a Monty Python skit. But it's the real thing.

Do we have an attorney in the house?

Is it illegal to use public taxpayer money earmarked for the strict purpose to operate a school district, to open a for profit private health clinic that would limit access to it's employees only?

Lying John Dickert To Hire Another Liar

"RACINE - Officials think they need someone to help them work on the city's image. They're tapping 'Mr. Racine' to help in that effort.

"The city's Finance and Personnel Committee on Monday approved a 10-month, $25,000 contract with the Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce, to provide public relations services.

"The man RAMAC has picked for the job is Mark Eickhorst, dubbed 'Mr. Racine' by RAMAC President Roger Caron. Eickhorst, a former alderman and local radio personality, has earned that title before for his work throughout the community. Eickhorst has worked with RAMAC in a variety of positions. His contract would start Feb. 1. It must be approved by City Council."

After campaigning on the lie of no city administrator, Mayor John Dickert appointed his cousin to a $95,000 job as city administrator. After campaigning on the lie of a 10 year plan, Mayor John Dickert has no plan. After campaigning on the lie of jobs, Mayor John Dickert has provided no jobs, except for his cronies, paid for by taxpayers. Now we get this: $25,000 of our dollars for a mayoral public relations man.

Party on, lying John!

Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Say Sorry to a Police Officer

Language caution

Fear the Boom and Bust

One of the podcasts I listen to is the excellent Planet Money on NPR. They have been doing an outstanding job covering aspects of the economy from health care to financial reform to corruption in governments around the world with fun and humor.

Today they featured a rap video called "Fear the Boom and Bust" made by George Mason economist Russ Roberts. The rap is a debate between Keynes and Hayek and the dis each other quite a bit (some people might miss the insults since the words have more than four letters).


If life was more like NASCAR

With the Dayton 500 coming up on Feb 14th, I am getting excited about the new season and was wondering how things in NASCAR would play out in everyday life:

1. If someone cuts you off on the highway, you could put them in the wall.

2. Your car would be so safe you could walk away from any accident.

3. Before you start work, you would honor God and country.

4. You would be encouraged to show your personaltiy at work.

5. You would be nicer to your "fans" (Family and friends) cause they helped you become who you are.

6. You would get 2 1/2 months of vacation each year.

7. Your drive home from work would have a sponsor " My commute sponsored by Mautz Paint and Schlitz Beer".

8. Cool uniforms at work.

9. There would be one hell of a celebration after completing that project, or nailing that contract!

10. You would always have a teammate there to give you a nudge to the front!

WTF, Garry Trudeau?

Have you been spying on me? Watching how I woo the ladies?

(Bonus points for the first person who knows the name of the non-Newtonian fluid made from corn starch).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter In Tucson

You might have read or seen news coverage of the winter storms that rolled through the southwest over the last week. The one Friday night dumped the most snow. I snapped these pics yesterday afternoon but didn't get time to post them before I was off to the airport.

These were taken right outside my place and is the basically the view from my master bedroom window. Snow didn't make it down to the valley...was in the 50s on Saturday and will be back into the 60s tomorrow.

See, we get snow least in the mountains!