Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kindergarten Class From China

Tap on the Shoulder....

A true story from the pages of the Manchester Evening Times . . .

Last Wednesday a passenger in a taxi heading for Salford station leaned over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate window.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab. Then, the shaking driver said "are you OK? I'm so sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me."

The badly shaken passenger apologized to the driver and said, "I didn'trealize that a mere tap on the shoulder would startle someone so badly."

The driver replied, "No, no, I'm the one who is sorry, it's entirely my fault.. Today is my very first day driving a cab. I've been driving a hearse for 25 years."

Have you gotten bit yet?

(picture thanks to National Geographic)

Have you gotten bit by the spring cleaning bug yet?

Common symptoms of such bites include but are not limited to -

- Unnatural urges to clean things that you'd rather not
- Strange compulsions to go thru things that aren't bothering you
- Need to evict of dust bunnies
-Abnormal inclination to go into great detail
while cleaning/organizing/sorting, etc
- Friends ask if you're feeling ok
- Kids and/or significant others look scared
- Friends are afraid to come over in fear they may catch it

No rashes are expected, but strange behavior is,
be careful out there, if you haven't been infected yet,
it could happen anytime!

If you have been bitten, hop to it, it's the only way to
flush it out of your system.

Morning Planets and the Crescent Moon

Last fall we had a nice gathering of four planets in the early evening sky. Now we have four planets gathering in the morning sky (but not the same four). The crescent Moon joined them this morning. I am on vacation in Florida and went out to the south side of the Sunshine Skyway to snap a some pictures. Here is the best of the bunch. It's a big file...I uploaded it at full res (you will see why).

Venus is the brightest one beneath the moon. Jupiter is just above the horizon and fairly bright. To find Mercury, you will probably need to click the photo and view it full size. You can find Mercury between Venus and Jupiter. It's not hard to find with the full size photo. Mars is really tricky. Use the full size photo and look just above Jupiter for a little smudge. That is Mars just barely poking through the morning twilight (I did not see it naked eye, just with the camera).

These planets will be hanging out together for most of May. Mercury and Jupiter will get a little farther away from the Sun each morning until May 7th when Mercury will turn around and start heading back toward the Sun while Jupiter continues to get higher in the sky each morning. Mars will also continue its slow climb away from the Sun. Venus is moving toward the Sun. With these movements, its clear that there will be several close encounters between planets in our morning sky in the coming weeks.

Uranus is to the upper right of Venus technically making this a five planet gathering, but that would take at least a good pair of binoculars to tease out.

Part of the problem is that the ecliptic (the plane along which the planets lie) makes a very shallow angle with the horizon this time of year in the morning sky. Therefore the planets are low in the sky even when they are relatively far away from the Sun. This low elevation makes them more difficult to observe. If you travel down to the southern hemisphere, the ecliptic makes a much steeper angle with respect to the horizon so all the planets appear higher in the sky and are easier to see. Steven Graham of Christchurch, New Zealand, took a pic of the four planets yesterday morning and posted it in the gallery. Trace a line connecting the planets and notice the difference in angles between Florida and New Zealand, the obvious result of living on a (roughly) spherical planet.

As Leondard Nimoy famous said in the Simpsons, "Ah, the cosmic ballet continues".

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton married

Prince William and Kate Middleton married in Westminster Abbey on Friday as 1 million people packed the streets and an estimated 2 billion more tuned in around the world to witness an event expected to revitalize the British monarchy.

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Four for Fridays. I want to thank Orbs for filling in for me last week. I think he did great! Now that I'm back, here are some questions for you...

1) When was the last time you saw a play?

2) What is your favorite flower?

3) What is the snack of your choice?

4) Do you dream in color or in black and white?

Enjoy your weekend!

"Existential Star Wars (In French)"

I am laughing my ass off, except that I don't have an ass. Therefore, my laughter does not exist.

Open Blog - Friday

Oh yeah!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Mighty Root is Full

I did get a couple pictures of a Blue Heron feeding along the river edge and a couple geese.

Water level is next to flood level, I would say it has a couple more feet to go to become a problem, but it is moving right along!

Assisted suicide

In the news is a Gal that has been selling suicide kits for $60. Cheap! Included in her kit is the book, "The Final Exit." Great book. Back in 1994 I was given a year to live due to a terrible cancer. Someone gave me that book. I'm a fighter and fought hard. I had two thoracic surgeries, chemo and rad, and when all seemed at the end, I told my Docs I was going on vacation, and went. The plan was to do my last vacation and finish my exit when I got home. I'm glad I went on vacation instead of pulling my plug too early as I went into remission. The Docs now say I can use the word "Cured." Before all the Thumpers start praising their gods, let it be known I'm an Atheist and have been one for fifty years.

The secondary problems caused by the intensive cancer remedies are causing their own problems and someday I will use the Final Exit. I live life on my terms though and would NEVER bow out due to depression. Life is always full of surprises and we never know what tomorrow might bring. That's why I'm still around. Through the pain, discomfort, heart attacks and other problems, my curiosity always has wondered, "What will happen tomorrow?"

A few weeks ago I was informed a good skydiving buddy, JJ, had pulled his plug. I asked what the med prob had been and was told no med prob, it had been depression. Mary was shocked at my vehemence over JJ's exit. I'm sorry Orbs, but I do NOT forgive the use of suicide to relieve depression. I too fight depression, but realize that tomorrow might be so interesting that today's depression is forgotten. I'm not saying I won't ever go the route of letting myself out the door, in fact my close friends know that if I have a stroke caused by the blood clot I'm currently fighting, I'm gone. I just can't see sitting warehoused in a nursing home as a stroked paraplegic. At that point there aren't anymore tomorrows that would interest me. Until then the book is on the shelf and the ice cream in my freezer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shampoo Warning:

I figured out why I have been gaining weight.

The shampoo I use in the shower that runs down my body says......"for more volume & extra body".

So now, I am going to switch to Dawn dishwashing liquid. It says....."dissolves fat that is otherwise difficult to remove".

So glad I figured this all out.

INCREDIBLE. Man struck by lightning 2x and walks away

This has to be a fake, but it's a good one.

Arvo Pärt - "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten"

Sorry for the depressing video, but I think the music is beautiful and haunting. I just "discovered" Arvo Pärt thanks to Colorado Public Radio:

Lend a hand??

Hey there

I am wondering if you could help me out. I know you all have a wealth of knowledge and many connections  I write a column for Mount Pleasant/Sturtevant Patch called Knowsy Neighbor. It is a character piece really...human interest...short bio thingy. The subject simply has to work, live or volunteer in Mount Pleasant or Sturtevant. They don’t need to be a well known – or known at all. They don’t need to own a business or hold a community office. Just regular people. Our neighbors. Everyone has a story or something to share – that’s my belief anyway. Sooo...I am searching for people to interview.

It is super easy. All by email if possible, but I can also meet with them or do it over the phone. I ask a few questions and then start writing. If I need follow-up info I simply email them. The story will then run on a Tuesday and I will email them the link. I will also need a picture to go with the piece. That’s it!!

If you could get the message out and/or let me know of some people who you think may fit the bill – I would be forever grateful!!

Please let me know and have a great day!!

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my sonorous songbirds! How are you? Have you been watching the crocus and daffodils and early tulips pop out of the ground? Trees and shrubs are budding. The grass is greening and the weeds are making their annual appearances, too. What a glorious relief from the wicked ways of winter. Spring forth, noble plants!

Here is an AP headline from a few days ago: “Gypsies take refuge in ancient Rome church.”
Here is the article:
Here are my thoughts: Roma. Rome. Always to roam. When will my people be free?

For those of you with inquiring minds, yes, I did meet with Senor Zanza. Out of respect for him, I have decided not to publicly discuss our “affairs” at this point in time. (But I must let my dear Irregulars know: oh my!)

On our city’s home front, I want to make note of the controversy surrounding Great Lakes Brew Fest, the Kilties, VenuWorks, and the City of Racine: Oh my, indeed. A blog or two ago, I said I was sure that some sort of amicable agreement would be worked out in this situation, but I am no longer convinced. The vibes have changed. It is not yet clear what exactly is going on, but, again, some bad mojo seems to be at work. Deal with the devil and you will get burned. I can’t imagine Racine without the Kilties. At what point do we say to our politicians, enough is enough? I will try to decipher more on what is happening here and keep the Irregulars posted.

Also on the local beat, Racine’s Police Chief Kurt Wahlen announced his retirement: Thank you, Chief Wahlen, for your many, many years of service to our city. I predict a long and happy retirement for you.

Well, I’m quite the reporter today, aren’t I, hopping from news story to news story. Here’s a final one I have to comment on. From Reuters: “Members of Kyrgyzstan's divided parliament slaughtered seven rams before their morning session on Thursday, in a sacrifice they hope will banish ‘evil spirits’ disrupting their work.” Ha ha, good luck, you fools. I see you took Esmerelda’s advice instead of mine. Of course, hers was cheaper, as your results will be. When you want me to straighten out the mess, let me know.

Thank you one and all for reading my blog today. I had a wonderful time writing it and I hope that you enjoyed reading it. Blogging for the JT Irregulars is the highlight of my week. I so look forward to spending time with you.

Psst, Kyrgyzstan:

Enjoy the spring my dears. I love you all. Remember, “April showers bring May flowers.” And the Mayflower brought the pilgrims. Oh my. Pelmatogram!

Open Blog - Wednesday

Ladies and gentlemen, the King of Rock 'n' Roll!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gas and Spending

I Owe My Mother So Much

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE .
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
" Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC .
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about.."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS .
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONIST.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA ...
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13.. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION .
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING .
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

And my favorite:

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE .
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!"

I just learned to Text Message!

"Looney Tunes 3D - 'Coyote Falls'"

A Road Runner cartoon from occasional contributor Cynthia, who wrote, "Always felt sorry for the stupid coyote - always so near and yet so far."

I can't watch those cartoons for too long. They remind me of my life. :-P

a girl in the park





Rio Got the Sunrise Backwards

Those of us who really know the sky notice little things in movies and television shows that might just slide past most people. I saw the movie Rio yesterday and noticed they had a little issue with sunrise.

Sunrise is a little different when you are south of the equator. First, let's take a look a a northern hemisphere sunrise. I am biased, I live in the northern hemisphere. Here is a time lapse of a sunrise in Vancouver.

This is a nice (but random) video I found on Youtube. Notice how the Sun does not rise straight up, but rather up and to your right (south) when looking east. Now let's contrast that to a sunrise taken from Rio (isn't youtube grand?)

Note how the Sun rises in the east and moves to your left (north) when you are in Rio! As you have probably figured out by now, the time lapse sunrise they showed in the movie Rio showed the Sun moving up and to the right (south)as it would north of the equator.

Sometimes movie and television producers get lazy and will film a sunset and run it backwards to illustrate a sunrise. That's not so good either. When the Sun sets in the northern hemisphere, it sets down and to the right (north). If you run this backwards, the Sun will appear to rise up and to the left (again north since the Sun rises in the east) which suddenly transports all the action to the southern hemisphere!

I know some people might think I am nit-picking a movie about talking birds and my expectations for accurate science shouldn't be too high. But would it have killed a major plot point for them to get this one right? For sky watchers, these things jump out at us. So just get it right for crying out loud!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Jersey Shores Gone Wilde!

Oscar Wilde was known for writing comedies of manners and you could argue that Jersey Shore is a modern comedy of manners (or lack thereof). So it only seemed natural that the cast of the Roundabout Theater's production of the Importance of Being Earnest would dramatize transcripts from Jersey shore. Here is part 1.

You can find part one as well as the rest of the thrilling series here.

Open Blog - Monday

The same to youuuuuuuu!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Snake Removed From Car's Engine "

Darn. It would hsve been nice to post this before Beejay left on her trip. Were her and Biggie D driving?