Saturday, March 12, 2011

Follow Up to the Early Sunrise in Greenland

In January, I blogged about the Sun rising two days early in Greenland. Over on my blog, a spirited discussion ensued that led to an explanation of this strange phenomena.

I decided it would make a good 365 Days of Astronomy podcast and it aired today. You can check it out here (free of course!)

No spoilers, but it is pretty cool and important info was provided by a physics teacher in Greenland!

"Third Grader's Amazing Buzzer Beater"

I'm posting this for the sake of some upbeat, positive vibes. We've all seen buzzer beaters before, but it must be especially sweet when you're in the third grade.

Daylight Saving Time Starts Tomorrow

Daylight Saving Time starts tomorrow, Sunday, March 13, at 2 AM.  Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight or you'll be late for church tomorrow morning. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Culver's is Coming to Tucson!

Yep, Culver's is opening its first Tucson locations later this year. I always liked them in Wisconsin and hope they are as good here.

I also respect George Culver. He is one of the few Republicans who supported raising the minimum wage when I was there. He walked the walk as well. I believe it was in an interview with him on WUWM where he talked about paying his employees a good wage and treating them well so he didn't constantly lose them to another place paying 10 cents an hour more. It might cost marginally more than other fast food joints, but I always thought the small premium was worth it for the quality of the food and service. Not gourmet or anything, but an important step above the competition.

Better yet, the one on Broadway Place is on my side of town!

A Little Humor

Community Meeting with Eric Marcus at Dino’s Restaurant on March 22nd

From Racine Uncovered:

"Mark you calendars…
A community meeting is going to be held on March 22nd at Dino’s Restaurant 1816 16th Street with Eric Marcus. 5 p.m. - 8ish. As everyone is aware Eric Marcus is a candidate for Mayor of Racine and is currently an aldermen for the City.

"This is a great opportunity to meet and speak with Eric, ask questions and enjoy some great food and beverages. $7.95 buffet all you can eat chicken, mostaccioli and potatoes, profits go to Eric’s campaign fund for run for Mayor!!!! Even if you don’t come and eat, still come and meet what positive changes could happen to Racine!!"

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Welcome back after a week filled with Mondays... This weeks' questions are about gambling.

1) How often do you buy a lottery ticket?

2) Have you ever been to a casino?

3) Ever bet on a dog/horse race?

4) What would you do if won the lottery?

Enjoy your weekend!

Open Blog - Friday

I'm smiling, I'm smiling.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I know people are upset but seriously......

MADISON - The State Department of Justice confirms that it is investigating several death threats against a number of lawmakers in response to the legislature's move to strip employees of many collective bargaining rights.

Among the threats the Justice Department is investigationg is one that was emailed to Republican Senators Wednesday night. Newsradio 620 WTMJ has obtained that email.

The following is the unedited email:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we've had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die. We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it's going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it's a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head. However, we decided that we wouldn't leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so "high" on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol, and well I won't
tell you all of them because that's just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it's
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will "get rid of" (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it's worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!

Orbs, this one's for you

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Will Wisconsin become a right-to-work state?

Making it harder for unions to recruit new members is likely a part of the state Republican legislative agenda. Although Republicans, including Scott Walker, avoided the term "right-to-work" during the campaign, Democrats fear the emboldened GOP majorities will make it a part of their pro-business platform in the coming months.

Under right-to-work statutes, employers are forbidden from entering "closed shop" agreements with employees, which make membership in a union a requirement for all employees.

Right to Work

Personally I think it is wrong that a person is forced to join an organization to be able to work and feed his/her family!

And I also think it is TOTALLY wrong that businesses treat their employees so bad employees have no choice but to have a union. Racine Unified is one of those “businesses” which require a union because of the way they treat their people.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my consummate friends! How are you? I must say that Mr. OrbsCorbs’ blog about the little green shoots coming up in his backyard made my week. I am so tickled by nature’s annual renewal. I know it is a show that I’ve seen many times before (well, not that many times – I’m a lady and don’t reveal my age), but the gradual greening up of lawns, the small buds breaking open on trees and shrubs, the sprouts sticking up through the soil, the twitter and tweets of birds returning to the landscape, the slowly lengthening days - all of it still thrills me every time that I witness it. Spring is my favorite time of year. I predict that we will have a good one.

I received an email from our illustrious Mr. SER, who wrote:

“Dear Madame Zoltar,

“Do you foresee the day all the ‘tree huggers’ and the crazy environmentalists will stop blocking drilling for oil here in the United States?

“We know where it is and it is a very large amount, but for some asinine reason these environmentalists must want us to purchase crude oil from foreign countries.”

Oh my, Mr. SER, that is a politically charged question. I believe that there are responsible and caring people on both sides of the issue. And there are “crazies” on both sides, too. To be honest, I’m not sure of the best way for us to progress on energy issues. A continued, deep dependence upon oil, whether foreign or domestic, doesn’t seem advisable, especially as renewal resources become more affordable. At the same time, I don’t see us kicking the oil habit anytime soon. Our entire economy and infrastructure is built around it. So, the answer to your question? I believe that depends upon the situations in the Middle East more than environmental concerns in the United States. If our overseas supplies of oil are seriously imperiled, we will have little choice but to drill for our own, whether that is too little, too late, or not. The President is already talking about releasing gasoline from the federal reserves. Again, I believe all of this hinges on the Middle East. And, to be honest, I would prefer not to issue an official prediction on that situation. No one likes the bearer of bad news….

I’m sorry, but I must report that all of the turmoil occurring in our state has taken its toll upon me. When so many people get so upset and clash, it causes great discord in the ether. As someone finely attuned to the ether, the discord then affects me. As I’ve stated previously, I am putting out as much positive energy as I can, but there is no way that I can overcome such an immense outburst of anger and resentment. Instead, I must retreat to blocking out as much of the ether as possible. I do that by occupying myself with other things, like watching this classic 1936 cartoon, “To Spring.” It beautifully portrays the actual processes which turn winter into spring.

Mother Nature once introduced me to some of those slumbering spring elves. Let me tell you, those little rascals get more than a little horny after sleeping all winter. Oh my!

Thank you for reading my blog this week, my dears. I adore every moment that we spend online together. My regular and irregular regulars and Irregulars make me happy. I love you all. I’m sending you a psychic smooch as you read this. Did you feel it? A little sloppy.  That’s the Zoltar® love. You are special.

Send your equations and permutations to:

Have a wonderful week, each and every one of you. Don’t let our differences destroy us. We are much more alike than unalike. We share common dreams. May we share common sense. Ramiferous!

Open Blog - Wednesday

It looks like a lucky Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


An old fella was celebrating 92 years on this earth.

He spoke to his toes. "Hello toes.", he said. "How are you? You know, you are 92 today. Oh the times we've had! Remember how we walked on the park in the summer every Sunday afternoon. The times we waltzed on the dance floor? Happy Birthday toes!"

"Hello, knees.", he continued. "How are you? You know you're 92 today. Oh, the times we've had! Remember when we marched in the parade? Oh, the hurdles we've jumped together. Happy Birthday, knees."

Then, he looked down at his crotch. "Hello Willie! You little bugger.

Just think. If you were alive today, you'd be 92.

Coffee, Cafe, Java, Cuppa joe, liquid gold.....

If your a coffee drinker, what kind (brand) do you make at home? Do you go for a big name brand, or whatever is on sale. Do you switch around , or are you a "dont you dare change my brand" person? Starbucks/Caribou/Dunkin/Altera at-home brew? Make at home or drive thru/stop off on the way? Whole bean or ground? What ya drinking in the morning these days?

Awesome Saturn Flyby Video

Ever want to fly around Saturn, its rings and moons? This is about as close as we are going to get for a while. A website called Outside In is working on an IMAX movie fly through using Cassini images. No CGI here, this is the real thing.

5.6k Saturn Cassini Photographic Animation from stephen v2 on Vimeo.

On a side note, I want people to remember that this is one of those great things about having NASA data freely available to the public. People can use the images to create new works of art without lots of red tape and restrictions.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jupiter and the Moon

Just a couple of more pics from earlier tonight. Jupiter is the bright guy below the Moon.

Another one from later when it is darker and you can see Earthshine.

The Moon was next to Jupiter last night but there were too many clouds to get the shot here. Jupiter will have a nice conjunction with Mercury later this month...will post a notice about that when it happens.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Discovery and the ISS

I got out and got some pics. I am just going to post them all in sequence here. The first pics was a shorter exposure time. I like it better. I lengthened the exposure time to try and get longer trails. Unfortunately, I didn't go anywhere, just outside my townhome and the church parking lot across the street really lit up the sky on the longer exposures. I did get the shuttle and ISS passing into Earth's shadow. In these pictures, west is to the left and they were moving to the east. Watch in the last images as they both fade out.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Lyden Moon

Lyden Moon.... I've been raving about these guys for some time now. I've seen these guys a few times now in the local music scene. Hailed from Kenosha, WI.,these are really good! I did manage to find a video of them. Check it out!

Classical Music Online

If you like classical music, try for their wide variety.

The Dark Skies Crusader Rides Again!

Today's episode of the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast once again comes from NOAO and features our Dark Skies Crusader as he helps the Swanson family participate in GLOBE at Night.

I write the Dark Skies Crusader segments and try to have a little fun with them. This is a bit of a writing philosophy blog here I guess. I put them in a style of a Saturday movie serial (except done for audio only). It's a bit of a lost style. Usually you have an overly dramatic narrator setting the scene at the beginning of the episode, very clearly defined good and evil, and overly earnest hero helping a squeaky clean family (there is a bit of the Tick in the Dark Skies Crusader if you have seen that show). The Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network has elements of this genre. The writing style intentionally evokes a simpler time.

The Crusader himself is not a traditional superhero, but a regular man who tries to fight light pollution. The intention here was to communicate that there are simple things that everyone can do to help fight light pollution with just a little knowledge.

I throw little jokes and references in the episodes that you might not catch. I frequently use what I refer to as the Stan Lee naming convention. Many characters have alliterative names (think Peter Parker, Dr. Doom, Fantastic Four, Bruce Banner, etc.) In the sea turtle episode, they were going to Euphemia Haye, a real restaurant on Longboat Key in Florida. I took a dig at Vegas and Penn and Teller at the end of the episode. In the human health episode, the teacher's little quips at the end of class were inspired by the scientist in the lab of the television series Police Squad who always told the little boy what they would learn about next time (this always had a very '50s vibe to it). The end of this episode had a riff on the old Superman
"Truth, justice and the American Way" motif. I can't claim credit for the Denebola joke in the current episode...that was contributed by the student who played Stan!

In addition to today's episode, we have done stories on the effects of light pollution on wildlife and human health. There may be one or two more episodes coming. My colleague, Connie Walker (director of GLOBE at Night) wants to do one on energy issues associated with night time lighting. I already have the outline sketched out in my head but haven't fleshed it out yet. There initial idea includes homages to the Simpsons and Happy Days in that one!

I feel like I have just written the director's commentary for the Dark Skies Crusader DVD! I hope you are enjoying them and you might catch a few reference you might have missed the first time through.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Daylily Sprouts - March 7, 2011 - Racine, WI

Oh yeah, baby!  Those perennials are coming up next to the apartment building's foundation - it's warmer there - west side.  That's all I need to know that spring is on its way.  I assume we'll get more cold and snow.  It doesn't matter.  Every day brings us closer to warmth and sun.

What first got my attention were a few green spots on the backyard's turf (which was buried under two feet of snow a couple of weeks ago).  Our cold season grasses and early perennials are accustomed to our climate.  Go, plants, go!

Last Chance to See ISS and Discovery!

Much of the U.S. will get a chance to see the International Space Station and Discovery flying in tandem the next two nights. This will be the last chance to see Discovery as it is being retired. We get a short, low pass here in Tucson tonight. You can check info and times for you location at Heavens Above or Spaceweather's Simple Satellite Tracker (although Spaceweather's interface is easy to use, they don't show all the passes...they don't show the low pass that takes place in Tucson tonight!) Various apps are available for cell phones to help out as well (search your preferred market).

The ISS is always easy to see and the Shuttle will be slightly ahead of it. Here is a pic I took of a Shuttle/ISS flyby a while ago.

I know in Racine it can be tough to find a break in the clouds at this time of year but I had to post just in case!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Something Different

The Budget will be signed some day..........

World's Largest Army

The world's largest army ... America’s hunters!

A blogger added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion:

There were over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin. Allow me to restate that number. Over the last several months, Wisconsin's hunters became the eighth largest army in the world. More men under arms than in Iran. More than in France and Germany combined. These men deployed to the woods of a single American state to hunt with firearms, and no one was killed.

That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania and Michigan 's 700,000 hunters, all of whom have now returned home.

Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and it literally establishes the fact that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

The point? Foreign invasion with that kind of home-grown firepower will not go according to plan!

Hunting -- it's not just a way to fill the freezer. It's a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY!

Ten Years After - "I'd Love to Change the World"

I realize that some of the lyrics to this song could be construed as "socialist." Given the tenor of our times, I feel it necessary to point out that I advocate NO political position by posting this song. It's just a kick-ass tune from my youth.

RacinePost: "Top Five Reasons to Attend Today's Empty Bowls Fundraiser"

"Racine's Empty Bowls 2011 fundraiser is 11 am. to 2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Monday, March 7 at the Masonic Center, 1012 Wisconsin St. Here's five reasons not to miss this great local event:
  1. Lunch and/or dinner is taken care of. Show up and get soup prepared by Racine's finest chefs. 
  2. It's affordable. Lunch or dinner costs $15 per meal (you keep the bowl), $5 for children under 10 (plastic bowl) or $7 for "soup to go."  
  3. You get a handmade, ceramic bowl designed by local artists and students. See the photos below ... the bowls are beautiful, and so is the effort of the local schools and organizations who create hundreds of bowls for the fundraiser.
  4. All proceeds benefit local charities. Since 1997, Empty Bowls has donated more than $78,000 to hunger and homeless assistance programs in Racine. 
  5. People in our community go hungry on a daily basis. Empty Bowls is an opportunity to help people in need. Bring your kids and teach them there is always an empty bowl that needs to be filled."

Open Blog - Monday

Me, too.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why they say never kill a black snake...

This is from a guy living in Stuart Florida:

“All my life I've been told not to kill black snakes because they kill poisonous snakes, but this is the first time I've actually seen proof....!”

The guy who snapped these photos said the rattler was still rattling all the way down!!!

Thoughts for Food 2011-The Review

Like tradition, I made way down the annual Thoughts for Food Benefit. So far, I've lost track of how many times I have attended this event. This year the benefit was less crowded, yet the music was still great.

The first band we saw was Identity Crisis at Michigan Pub. I have heard of these guys before, but I've never have seen them perform. Not bad at all I say! They remind me of some the '90's grunge bands like Alice in Chains. Of course, what did they play? Alice in Chains "Man in the Box". They also kicked out tunes like Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times" and Stone Temple Pilots' "Sex Type Thing" They impressed me with their heavier version of Tom Petty's "American Girl". The singer (I never did his name) got a great set of pipes. Reminds me of a higher tenor version of the late Alice in Chains' singer, Layne Stanley. These guys I wouldn't mind seeing again, if an opportunity presented itself. I wonder if they ever played at the beach.

Decisions, decisions! Whom to see next? Two of my favorite local acts were playing at the same time. Lyden Moon at Coaster's and Mean Jake over at Chartroom Charlie's. We decided to split the shows in half, first stopping at Coaster's to see Lyden Moon.

Lyden Moon's Joe Satriani-like guitar work is legendary! STILL blows me away every time I see them! The finger tapping techniques and whammy bar flying solos! AMAZING! The rhythm section...bassist Joel Thierfelder and hard hitting drummer Dan Jung provide an excellent backbone for the instrumental progressive time changes the band plays! Although they have released a few CD's, I'm still scratching my head to why these guys haven't received the national recognition they deserve.

By the time we made it to Chartroom Charlie's to see Mean Jake, the place was PACKED shoulder to shoulder with people. Standing room only! Not surprising for these local favorites, it was the same way last year. This hard rockin' bar blues band, led by singer Craig Aude and riff master Brian Kubowski, slammed through catchy selections like Creendence Clearwater Revival's "Green River", Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire", Van Morrison's "Gloria", the Stones' "Under my Thumb" and the Kinks' "Who'll be the Next in Line". Yes, another blistering set from these guys! As usual as every time I see them, smiles were on the faces of the audience as many of them were dancing in aisles. Although I didn't see their full set, I pretty sure I'll see them at the beach again this summer.

I've been on an AD/DC phase lately. Never was really into them in years past, somehow they inched their way into my collection. Maybe it's that they've gained classic rock status or I'm just recently viewing them as a fun band. Nevertheless, I saw these guys before last October at the Party on the Pavement. Razor's Edge, an AC/DC tribute band. The singer, John Muse doesn't look anything like Brian Johnson nor the late Bon Scott, yet he sure the hell sounds a lot like them. The guitarist, Bob Beaudoin was dressed up in Angus Young's trademark school boy outfit, rocked the house down with his fiery solos as the band plowed through AC/DC's list of classics like "Jailbait", "Hell's Bells", "Highway to Hell", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and "You Shook Me all Night Long". The show's highlight was the bagpipe jam during "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Want Rock n' Roll)" The cool thing about the show, it brought people together, young and old, to celebrate AC/DC.

The last band of the night was at downstairs of the Eagles club. We saw my friend, Aaron James' band, Full Flavor. I haven't had the opportunity to see these guys often. Wish I did! Aaron is a red hot guitar player, who's band captures the classic sounds of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion", Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy", Doors' "Roadhouse Blues", Beatles "Twist and Shout" and Santana's "Soul Sacrifice" and rolls it up in a Latino beat. These guys are a must see for a beach event!

All in all, for a good cause, we had a great time and met a few people we knew. The crowds were not as bad it was last year. Can't wait till next year's benefit.