Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Boy Singing to his little sister.....

You are My Sunshine, My only Sunshine'
(Be prepared to get watery eyes! Have a box of tissues handy!

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.

They found out that the new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in mommy's tummy.

He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee

In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor.

Would a C-section be required? Finally, after a long struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville , Tennessee

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.

Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.

Michael however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. I want to sing to her, he kept saying.

Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over.

Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not.

If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket.

The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, 'Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed!'

The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line.

'He is not leaving until he sings to his sister' she stated. Then Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside.

He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live.

After a moment, he began to sing.

In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:

'You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, You make me happy when skies are gray.'

Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady.

'Keep on singing, Michael,' encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.

'You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don't take my sunshine away.'

As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr

Keep on singing, sweetheart.' 'The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms'

Michael's little sister began to relax as rest,
Healing rest, seemed to sweep over her.

'Keep on singing, Michael.' Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

'You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't take my sunshine away.'

The next day...the very next day. The little girl was well enough to get out of ICU..... She went home two weeks later.

Woman's Day Magazine called it The Miracle of a Brother's Song.

The medical staff just called it a miracle.

Karen called it a miracle of God's love.

Lincoln Day Dinner Protest

These pnotos where taken yesterday at the Lincoln Day Dinner Protest on Hy20 by the Marriott hotel from around 4:30 until 6pm. Lots and lots of people, great turnout!!!

"Dream Deferred"

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

--Langston Hughes

"James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best-known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Green Flash Through a Tree

I was out at a star party last night in Sells, Arizona. The western horizon behind some trees so I didn't really expect any great photographic opportunities. I stepped outside a couple of minutes before sunset and based on experience, thought the Sun looked like it might produce a green flash. I didn't even have my tripod with me so I had to hold the camera by hand (forutnately, using very short exposures you can get away with that!) I had very little time to adjust the settings and think these would have been even better with just a touch longer exposure. Still, I was quite happy to get a unique shot through the tree branches. Here are the pics.

Visibly, these were bright and distinctive green flashes. I saw one on the left and one on the right as the Sun was bisected by tree branches. I showed photos to people at the star party and lots of them didn't even know you could see a green flash from Arizona, subscribing to the mistaken notion that you had to watch sunset over the ocean.

This makes the third night in a row I have seen and photographed green flashes (the one from Wednesday wasn't as impressive as the other two).

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Old Teachers Who Made a Difference

No, this is not a political blog, but a remembrance of an old teacher of mine, Mr. Nelson (henceforth Mr N.) who I found out passed away after a long battle with cancer Wednesday night. I knew he had cancer for a long time, maybe ten years or so.

Now I had a lot of good teachers I remember for different reasons. Mr N. was was my sixth grade teacher. I think I was one of the first classes had had after joining the school. I was in his homeroom and he taught math and science primarily (we rotated to other teachers for different subjects at that age). He was the first teacher I had that wasn't visibly scared of me and my science knowledge. There was a good reason for it...he actually knew more science that I did (at least when I was in sixth grade!) In grade school, most teachers have minimal science background and it shows. Mr. N. knew his stuff and we finally got to do some cool experiments. I remember when he did the electrolysis of water. He said one test tube contained hydrogen and to expect a "pop" when he held the match beneath it and nothing happened. He looked puzzled and said the other tube contained oxygen so the match would burn furiously when exposed to the oxygen. He put the match under that test tube and there was a "pop". He had a goofy grin on his this day I still suspect he did that intentionally! Oh, he had an offbeat sense of humor as well.

There was no science fair in grade school when I went through. Mr N. changed that after I was there. My brother had him three years later and had to do a science fair project. Mr N. let him do a science fair project on home brewed beer. Try getting away with that one today!

The last time I saw him was in 2006 when I visited that small town in Iowa and saw him briefly. Mr N. you are remembered fondly by myself and I am sure many other students. Thanks for all you did.

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Welcome back to For for Fridays after another irregular week...I'll leave you with some questions to ponder...

1) When was the last time you've gotten a compliment?

2) Do you like to watch thunderstorms?

3) Have you ever gone to the movies alone?

4) Do you think the world has gotten more commercialized?

Enjoy your weekend!

Well, what are your thoughts?

"Curtis Johnson, former Diversey chairman, charged with sexual assault":

At first, the Journal Times allowed comments on their online story above. They even posted a separate story asking for people's one word response to the news of Johnson being charged. That is gone and the comments on the original story have disappeared. New comments are not allowed. Some people felt that was unjust and said so in the Journal Times' OPEN FORUM:

Some commenters in that forum say that the comments on the Johnson story were turned off to protect the victim. Then why hasn't the Journal Times turned off comments when other notable pedos have been arrested, charged, and/or sentenced? Check out the comments on this story, and the comments on the related stories linked to it in the article: Where was the supposed concern for the victim then? And for the victims of all the other pedo stories that they've posted?  Remeber the cop and the high school girl last year?  You could say anything you wanted to about that on The Journal  Commenters crucified Gary Becker there.  I know; I helped pound in some nails.

C'mon, we all know what is going on here.  It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes, from George Orwell's Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Open Blog - Friday

Oh yeah!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Muddy Waters of Root River

The water is going over the dam at a pretty good clip but it is not at a dangerous level. I looked at Island Park and Liconlon Feild and it would have to raise another 3 feet to become a problem.


I took a short video of the water to show how noisy it is down there.

Notice To Those With JT Irregulars Gmail Accounts

Hello Google Apps user,
Important changes are coming to your Google Apps account. Your account will soon be converted and start working more like a full Google Account.
What this change will mean for you:
  • Access to many more Google products. You'll soon be able to use all the Google services that your administrator allows you to access with your account.
  • New sign in option. You will be able to sign in to Google services from the regular sign-in pages (like Your username is your full email address.
  • Data ownership. All data contained in Google Apps accounts continues to be owned by your organization, and is subject to's terms and conditions. Learn more
Prepare yourself:
  • For more information, we encourage you to review the Transition Checklist. The Help Center also has answers to many common questions (note that you won't be able to view the full Help Center until you've been transitioned).
  • If you have other questions, please contact your administrator.
We hope you enjoy your new improved Google Apps account!
Your Google Apps administrator

Google said that we had to upgrade or it would be done for us. I sent the above message in an email to the accounts, but the upgrade took place before you could read it. I enabled all of the features that they offered.

When you go to access your account for the first time, Google will ask you to accept the upgrade and their terms of service. Please do. It may then ask you to switch accounts. Again, please do.

Report NSP Violations to the EPA Online

It's very easy to fill out and submit. I just said that we have a federally funded Neighborhood Stabilization Program that has already been caught violating lead abatement laws and is doing it again. It's been reported to the state, but they don't seem interested in doing much about it. And I posted links to news articles about the NSP lead violations and lack of follow-up, such as and You can submit a complaint anonymously.

One or two of those complaints will probably mean nothing. A few dozen might get them to start thinking about what's going on in Racine.

Party on, lying John!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Firecracker Wake Up Call Prank"

I suspect that the guys will like this video more than the gals. Personally, I realize that it is adolescent. Nevertheless, I find it hilarious.

"Dots on the Dam Wall”!!

My First Robin of Spring

I hurriedly shot that through a window at a distance, that's why it's fuzzy. I didn't downsize the photo, just cropped it.  The little bugger had his back to me for the pic and then flew away.  I know drew said he saw a robin during our blizzard, but I figure that guy just got blown off course.
Edit: I drove down Pershing Drive today so I snapped some pictures of the snow piles SER referred to in his recent blog: Their melting is also an indication of spring.  As you can see by the pics, we ain't quite there yet:

Mayor Dickert Bullies Marcus Backer at Local Restaurant

"Then, on Friday, Rubel saw the mayor at Rooster's Restaurant, 1521 Yout St. Dickert put his hand on Rubel's shoulder, spun him around, and told him he hoped he had a license for solicitation for making campaign calls for an opponent, Rubel told police. Dickert reportedly patted Rubel on the back and told him he would be keeping an eye on him."

I don't know about the spying, but I know the incident at the retaurant occurred because I have spoken to others who were there.  This is our mayor, who also sends the police to the homes of residents he wants to intimidate. He is a bully and a liar. We deserve so much better than lying John.

Firefox 4 is Now Available

You can download it here:

Has anyone installed it yet?  Firefox is my main browser.  I've downloaded version 4, but haven't installed it yet. I hope to do so later today. Once I have, I'll let you know how it went.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my wonderful wiener schnitzels! How are you? Happy, happy spring! Oh joy, oh joy! I know it’s been damp and gloomy in the weather department lately, and they’re even saying it might snow later today, but the vernal equinox has come and gone, my dears. We are officially over the hump and old man winter is down and soon to be out. I was reading an article in the Journal Times the other day about people who start their vegetables from seed this time of year. Some have little greenhouses attached to their homes. I would so love that. I would grow poinsettias in late fall and Easter lilies in early spring. And everything else in-between.

I’ve sat here for nearly a half hour now, staring at the computer monitor, unable to come up with something to blog about. Well, that’s not entirely true. While my week was uneventful, there is plenty happening in the news. However, from Japan to Libya to Washington to Madison to Racine, I can find little to comment on that is not tragic or polarizing, or both. Enough with the depressing events and enough with the fighting amongst ourselves. Let’s dance:

Oh my, that got my heart pounding. Now I feel a little better. I hope you do, too. Just in case you don’t know how to dance, here’s an instructional video:

Thank you so much for stopping by to read my blog. Each week, the days have grown a little longer. It is lovely, just like my readers.

Please sling your political mud at:

There are a lot of angry people out there, my friends, so please be careful. I can’t even begin to counter the vibes emanating from the planet anymore, so I’m concentrating my psychic efforts on covering my Irregulars and friends. Oh my, it just thundered outside. I’ll take that as an assenting opinion. Demephitize!

Open Blog - Wednesday

Suddenly, I feel like getting into trouble. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pole Dancing For Jesus

I can only think of totally inappropriate remarks...

Mercury at Its Evening Best

Mercury is hard to see as it never ventures very far from the Sun. Due to its elliptical orbit, its maximum separation from the Sun ranges from about 18 degrees to 28 degrees (depending on whether it is near or far from the Sun at that point).

The best time to see Mercury in the evening is near the spring equinox (for observers in the northern hemisphere). Near the spring equinox, the ecliptic points almost straight up after sunset. Therfore, if Mercury is 18 degrees from the Sun, it is also 18 degrees above the horizon (if the ecliptic is at a sloped angle, Mercury could be 18 degrees from the Sun but substantially less above the horizon).

Tonight Mercury was as far away from the Sun as it gets this spring (a relatively poor 18 degrees as Mercury is about as close as it gets to the Sun right now). That is still good enough to get Mercury well above the horizon a half hour after sunset or so. Here is my pic from tonight. Mercury is to the right of the tree.

If you want to see Mercury, don't dally. It will be fairly good the next few nights before it starts a rapid dive toward the Sun. There is not much else out there bright right now, so it should be easy to pic out.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Another Beautiful Sunset and Green Flashes

Great night in Tucson. It's been a while since I have tried sunset photos between camera problems, travel, weather and just life in general being a little hectic. Tonight I finally got back out there to work with my newest lens, a 70-3000mm zoom lens.

The action started a little early tonight with mock mirage flash. The mock mirage flash is that little bit at the top that looks like it broke away from the Sun.I happened to catch one shot (a little overexposed) but didn't keep shooting so I missed it moving away from the Sun which is typically when it turns more greenish. Click them to enjoy bigger versions.

Now the sun setting over the mountains is nice because every sunset, you see a different pattern as it sets behind a different section of the mountain. The clear atmosphere even let me get a hint of blue in the last image.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.