Saturday, February 26, 2011

Awesome Shuttle Launch Video

Here's a new way to see a shuttle launch...from a plane. One of the advantages of having lots of compact recording devices, when something really cool happens, someone can record and share it.

The is a pretty wide no fly zone around shuttle launches, so this plane was pretty far away. The very end of the video look like the SRBs just burnt out. Most of the smoke and flame you see on launch come from the SRBs as the shuttles main engines emit much less smoke and flame.

Oh, and watch it in 720p, full screen mode!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Fire at McNeece Leatherworks & Hogg Heaven Tattoo

Pictures where taken around 9:30am and at that time the building is still smoking. Many firefighter on the scene from Caledonia and Franklin

beer label quiz

Test your knowledge of beer manufactures..

I got 11 out of 15 correct

Beer Test

Friday, February 25, 2011

Six days to go. Are you prepared?

There is no signed Federal Budget. The destruction of Unions in Wisconsin will be complete in less than two weeks. It's a done deal. Get used to it. What happens afterwords though will be interesting. There will be layoffs. Walker will use his powers to lay off workers even with the new rules he said he needed so he wouldn't lay off anyone. Classroom sizes are going to get MUCH bigger. Students will do worse, but... we are forgetting all the other state workers.

DMV? state workers
HWY? State/city/county workers
Inspections? Infrastructure will not be inspected as often. Expect Hoan Bridge type problem to arise.
Ball parks, out buildings, parks in general will not get the upkeep they need. less manpower, and less funds for paint and supplies.
State campgrounds/Parks will have hours and days cut. Parts of the Parks will be shut down to use due to these problems.
Schools will see less care as the tap from the State is turned nearly off.
Pot holes, tarring cracks so water doesn't seep in and freeze causing more problems will be curtailed.
Workers are going to work s l o w e r. Disgruntled workers always do. Can't prove they are though, they won't have the needed supplies to do anything quickly.

The worst thing is if we stop paying on our debt. No budget, no debt payments. What happens when you don't pay on your house? Germany found out post WWI. It's what bred the anger that created WWII. Ounce of gold went from under 8 DM to over a MILLION DM in 14 months. A loaf of bread had the same inflation. You might want to do a little hoarding. You might want a three month supply of your meds if you need them. You might want some dry goods like beans/lentils/rice and canned meat.

Not laying blame, don't want to hear it. Just saying this is what we are headed for if we do not have a budget in time. If tomfoolery happens, and it doesn't get signed into law, the possibility of strange events finally happening go up exponentially. In other words, the other shoe will drop. When the shoe drops, this IS what is going to happen. You always end up paying the piper, and we've laid one hell of a tab at the bar. Even if it doesn't drop this time, this is our fate when it does.

Are you prepared?

Old Ads That Wouldn't Fly in 2011

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Wow, it's Friday-thank God! It's been an interesting week....This weeks' questions are just off of my head this morning...

1) Do you think the world today is more greedier than it was back then?

2) Do you think technology has your life easier and less stressful?

3) What was your most embarrassing moment?

4) If you were an animal, what animal would you want to be?

Enjoy your weekend!


You pick up a hitchhiker, a beautiful girl. Suddenly she faints inside your car and you take her to a hospital. Now that's stressful.

But at the hospital , they say she is pregnant & congratulates you that you are going to be a father.

You say that you are not the father, but the girl says you are. This is getting very stressful, So then...... you request a DNA test to prove that you are not the father.

After the tests are completed, the doctor says that you are infertile, and probably have been since birth. You are extremely stressed but relieved.

On your way back home, you think about your 3 kids at home.

Now, that is stress!

Open Blog - Friday

I hope your weekend is ducky. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Undocumented Alien wife hunting.

Okay, how do I do it? They used to have mail order brides. I think I could use one. Sure not happy with my prospects around here when it comes to available women. Maybe even a five year indentured servitude for bringing em in country. Where would a guy start?

"Shop to make breast milk ice cream"

"(Reuters) - A specialist ice cream parlor plans to serve up breast milk ice cream and says people should think of it as an organic, free-range treat.

"The breast milk concoction, called the 'Baby Gaga,' will be available from Friday at the Icecreamists restaurant in London's Covent Garden.

"Icecreamists founder Matt O'Connor was confident his take on the 'miracle of motherhood' and priced at a hefty 14 pounds ($23) a serving will go down a treat with the paying public."

You cannot make up stuff like this.

Games, games, games

Do you like games? I don't, but a recent comment on a blog led me to these sites:

Hooda Math -

Hooda Word -

Hooda Brain -

The Hooda Math site contains resources for teachers to get students involved. It states, "Hooda Math was created by Michael Edlavitch, a middle school math teacher. Web design is done by his wife Teresa. Last year Michael left classroom teaching to focus on Hooda Math full-time. How else would Hooda Math put up 3 new cool math games a week? Michael and Teresa recently had their first child born on labor day, and no we did not name him Hooda. Michael discusses Hooda Math regularly with several classroom teachers."

It looks like a ton of fun for those who enjoy online games.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Madame Zoltar....

Isn't the portly one a long lost son of yours? His etiquette is impeccably gypsy. How much for your daughter? Classic!

A political statement

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my winter warriors! How are you? Snow, freeze, ice, thaw, snow, freeze, ice thaw. That’s the pattern that we’re locked into. How do we open the lock? Persevere, my dear Irregulars, persevere winter’s wrath. Though this winter fights tenaciously to keep its icy grip on our land, we know that the calendar, the sun, and the planet are on our side. Mr. Hale-bopp could explain it: it is inevitable. We’re going to warm up and nature is set to burst forth from the soil and trees once more. To paraphrase, “Damn the icicles, full speed ahead!”

Madame Zoltar® Editorial Comment: I am deeply saddened by the strife which has gripped our state capitol and much of our nation. I am putting forth as much positive energy as I can possibly muster. I think about how US citizen is pitted against US citizen in this bitter battle. I worry for my people and my country.

With crappy weather and crappy news, it’s not hard to get into a crappy mood. My solution? Get drunk! Oh my, no, tee-hee, I was joking. I’ve done it before here, and I’ll do it again: there’s nothing like an old cartoon or two to put you into a better mood. (For severe cases of depression, I recommend Marx Brothers movies.) Here are a couple of Donald Duck cartoons. The first is “Winter Storage.”

Next is “Donald’s Snow Fight.”

I know that those didn’t solve our problems, my dears, but that’s the best I can do online. Of course, I do offer a wide variety of elixirs and mood enhancers, as well as personal consultations, for those who can afford them. To learn more, or to learn what “they” don’t want you to know, contact me at

Thank you so much for reading my blog today. I love each and every one of you. The time we spend together is special. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Don’t forget to persevere, my dear Irregulars. One day at a time, we’ll get through winter. One day at a time, we can get through anything. Wapentake!

Open Blog - Wednesday

What a cutie!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is This a Union House?

In the interest of humor...

A man walks into a brothel and asks the Madam, "Is this a union house?" "No, it is not" replies the Madam. "I'm sorry, I only patronize union houses".

So he does into a second brother and asks the Madam, "Is this a union house?" "No, it is not" replies the Madam. "I'm sorry, I only patronize union houses".

He tries a third brothel and asks the Madam, "Is this a union house?" "Yes it is," she replies.

"Great, I'd like to see Candy" he requests. "I am sure you would, but Ethel has seniority!"

"German sledders dare to be bare"

This is what prolonged exposure to winter does. People start to act irrational and delude themselves that it is fun. Spring cannot come soon enough.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sugaring off time!!!!

If you have a Maple tree, this week is the time to drill a hole or two and tap some sap. They don't sell better syrup than what you can make on your own. I have some stiles (sap taps) if anyone here wants to try it. My friend from Maine sent me a small bag of hose barbed stiles and hose. I'm buying a different drill bit for this year. A "Brace drill bit." Last year i used a spade bit and tapped too early. The tree closed off the tap holes and you shouldn't drill too many per season. The little bit of syrup was gone in two pancake breakfasts, but oh so sweet and buttery tasting. Roll your eyes and moan good.

Cheap feed contest

I'm thinking cheap. I manage my expensive hobbies by living a beans and rice life. Because of that, I can cook good meals that freeze well and I end up with a large variety of choices in my freezer. I cook a lot of stuff from scratch. I manage spices when i find them on sale and in big containers. We've all got things we make to stretch the buck, and I think it'd be fun to have a "Feed ten for $8": contest. I'm thinking some allowances need to be made like charging the portions worth that you use from bulk items. Two cups of flour from a five or ten pound bag should be prorated at the 2 cup portion of cost. Not a contest for folks that think buying three boxes of cheap mac and cheese along with a loaf of bread is a contestant.

Soups, stews, chili. Cheap cuts of meat. In season vegetables. A full meal extra points, i.e. salad, main course and desert. Eighty cents per person. Dandelion salad and other greens are fine IF they are in season. Food piramid points. Novel ideas points. Eating enjoyment points.

What do ya think? To me it sounds like a fun challenge. We could even come out with "The JTI Scraping the Bottom Cook Book."

It goes full circle

The President's Song

It ends with Clinton since this is an old clip. I learned a lot about the presidents.

What Does Presidents' Day Mean to You?

I was talking with mom this morning and she reminded me that today is Presidents' Day. My thoughts? No mail, no banks, no school. I must admit, it doesn't mean much more to me. Even when we observed Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, I more or less ignored them. I assume that we are supposed to take time today to reflect on the presidency and our presidents. How many of us, other than children in parochial schools, will?

Personal Lawsuit Filed Against Mayor Dickert for Slander

"10:23 a.m. – MADRIGRANO, AIELLO & SANTARELLI, LLC located at 1108 56th Street, Kenosha. Wisconsin, has filed a lawsuit against John Dickert-Mayor and Candidate for Mayor of Racine. The law firm is representing William Bielefeldt, who is a former city employee who reported NSP violations to the State of Wisconsin. As stated in the complaint and documentation, this is a personal lawsuit and not one filed against the city"

My previous blog on the subject:

Party on, lying John!


Edit: the Journal Times now has a story up:

Open Blog - Monday

Winter is back.  Boo.  Hiss. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

GLOBE at Night 2011

I have blogged for several years now about the annual citizen science light pollution measurement campaign GLOBE at Night. The 2011 campaign takes place in two parts. The first one starts tomorrow (February 21st) and runs though Mach 6th. After March 6th the Moon interferes too much for a couple of weeks. The second campaign is from March 22nd to April 4th for the northern hemisphere (March 24th to April 6th for the southern hemisphere...investigate the positions and elevations of the Moon north and south of the equator in late March/early April to find out why the dates vary a couple of days).

Okay, first, the idea is simple. Go outside after it's dark and find the constellation Orion. Find the latitude and longitude of where you are with a GPS unit or a website like Google Earth. The light pollution data consists of matching what you see in the sky to one of seven magnitude charts. Pick the one that matches what you see best and enter it into our database online. Multiple observations are encouraged from different points around town. I take bike rides at night after sunset to record data. Each night I ride a different direction and take lots of data around my area of the city AND get exercise at the same time!

For the late March campaign, you might notice Orion is getting a little low in the sky. This year we are using Leo (northern hemisphere) and Crux (southern hemisphere) for the late march campaign. Other than that, everything else is the same.

An added feature this year is the reporting page functions on mobile phones. If you use a web enabled cell phone, it will take the date, time and GPS coordinates from your cell phone to make your life even easier (the first time you use the site, you might get a message asking permission to access your phone's GPS. You will have to say yes for this feature to work).

Once you submit your data, you can go back and look at it on the map viewer. You can zoom in all the way down to street level to see your observations.

Data from GLOBE at Night can be used to raise awareness of light pollution issues. The more data you have, the more research you can do. In Tucson, GLOBE at Night data is being combined with Arizona Game and Fish Department data to look at the effects of light pollution on bats. Tucson had over 1000 points of data last year, so you need a lot of data to do this type of work, but it can be done.

We had 16,000 measurements last year, so that's a big hill to climb. The first we we did this, there was hardly any data from Racine. Last year, there were a few handfuls of data from around the area. I would love to see the number of observations keep increasing.

I would love to see some cities give Tucson a run for its money in terms of number of observations. Just a warning, we have our act together this year recruiting various community groups school classes, amateur astronomers and others to adopt streets and take multiple measurements along their designate street! So bring it on!