Saturday, July 23, 2011

It Doesn't Get Better

A little parody from Funny or Die. One of the cast is a former student of mine, one went to the school I taught at if Florida (he transferred before I had him in class but I worked tech in theater so I knew him from there) and the director of photography is an old friend from theater in Florida. Give them some love,

As a disabled person, all I can say is WOW.

Friday, July 22, 2011

We're #4!

Fourth highest personal tax out of all the other states per a study of all states. Notice the taxes businesses pay, and Scooter wants to tax them even less?

#4 . Wisconsin
Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income: 11%
Total state and local taxes collected: $41.7 billion
Pct. of total taxes paid by residents: 77.9%
Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents: 22.1%

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin relies more on income and property taxes for its revenue than most states. In fact, both are approximately 25% higher than the national averages. The state receives a smaller portion of federal money than most others, leaving little room for this money to offset state spending. Worst still, taxes on industrial property owners rank among the bottom half, and often the bottom third, of the country, while residential taxes are among the greatest. According to a study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Wisconsin's middle class pays a bigger share of government spending than any other state, except for New York.

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Four Fridays after a sizzling hot week! So pull up a chair and grab a cold glass of water, because here are some random questions for you...

1) What did you do to stay cool in the heat?

2) When was the last time you ate out at a restaurant?

3) Would you rather be buried or cremated?

4) If a genie would grant you three wishes, what would your three wishes be?

Enjoy your weekend!

Open Blog - Friday

See you at the get-together.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Before Dawn

It just came to my attention that the band Before Dawn is playing at McAuliffe's Pub in Racine this Saturday night (probably about the time my plane lands). I hope I get there in time to race from the airport to see them.

So why would I be so excited to see them? Well, they are pretty entertaining. I have their CD and they did a pretty good video of their song Proof. The male singer has a bit of Fred Schneider (of the B 52s) going on at times. But the real draw is Kate, one of my former students from when I taught in Florida.

Don't believe me? Well, here's Proof.

Free health check

Holy CRAP! Food inflation is 20%

If it wasn't for the deflation of property, we'd be seeing inflation like the 70s. Yes I horde when I see a sale. After a month or two I go stock up again, and tonight my jaw hit the floor at the meat prices. Just nuts. I also found that WalMart isn't the low cost leader anymore.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Sewer geyser lifts car"

"Yesterday, there was a thunderstorm in downtown Montreal, causing much of its sewers to overflow. Something tells me this car isn't going to fetch too much at the used car dealership."

If this happened in Milwaukee, the car, and everything else, would be covered in poop.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my griddle iron all stars! How are you? Isn’t this heat something? And that something is: hot! How hot is it? It’s so hot that I thought I was entering menopause. Oh my. Thank God (and Thomas Edison and Westinghouse and whoever else) for air conditioning. I know that Mr. hale-bopp has probably grown accustomed to this type of heat, but we Midwesterners still consider it extraordinary. Or at least something to hype all over the news. What they say is true, though: stay in air conditioning if possible, or out of the sun and near a fan; stay hydrated; and check on your neighbors, especially the elderly, infirm and ill. Don’t be a fool and lose your cool. I just made that up. Or did I? Maybe I heard it somewhere else…

I’m so looking forward to seeing my dear Irregulars again at the upcoming get-together. I can hardly wait to introduce you to the wonderful Senor Zanza. He, too, eagerly awaits meeting you all. Let the good times roll!

The downtown Music on the Monument series continues this Friday, July 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the Roy Edwards' Group Therapy Band (blues, rock).
Sunday, July 24, the Racine Concert Band will perform for free at the Racine Zoo Kiwanis Amphitheater starting at 7:30 p.m. Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets.
Unfortunately, the downtown Micros on the Monument auto show scheduled for Saturday was cancelled.

Here’s an interesting item from the Journal Times regarding our heat wave: “CONTACT THE JT: Are you without air conditioning?” If you don’t have a/c, let them know and maybe you’ll become famous.

Finally, here are some life-saving tips for dealing with heat exhaustion from my friend, Captain Joe Bruni. I’m so happy to see that those acting lessons have helped him become more confident in front of the camera:

Thank you for beating the heat with a cool sip of my blog today. I so appreciate your loyalty. My readers are the best readers in the world. Hip-hip-hooray!

Show your love:

Remember to protect yourselves from the sun, my dears. Wear hats, wear sun block, wear radiation suits. Stay in the air conditioning whenever possible. Or a bathtub full of ice. Botryoid!

Open Blog - Wednesday

That just needs a little whipped cream...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

10 Cent Drinks

Four old retired guys are walking down a street in Mesa, AZ. They turned a corner and see a sign that says, 'Old Timers Bar - All Drinks 10 Cents.' They look at each other, and then go in, thinking this is too good to be true.

The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room, "Come on in and let me pour one for you! What'll it be, gentlemen?"

There seemed to be a fully-stocked bar, so each of the men ask for a martini. In short order, the bartender serves up four iced martinis -- shaken, not stirred -- and says, "That'll be 10 cents each, please."

The four men stare at the bartender for a moment and then look at each other. They can't believe their good luck.

They pay the 40 cents, finish their martinis, and order another round. Again, four excellent martinis are produced with the bartender again saying, "That's 40 cents, please." They pay the 40 cents, but their curiosity is more than they can stand.

They have each had two martinis and so far they've spent less than a dollar.

Finally one of the men says, "How can you afford to serve martinis as good as these for a dime apiece?"

"I'm a retired tailor from Boston," the bartender said, "and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the Lottery for $25 million and decided to open this place. Every drink costs a dime - wine, liquor, beer, it's all the same."

"Wow!!!! That's quite a story," says one of the men.

The four of them sipped at their martinis and couldn't help but notice seven other people at the end of the bar who didn't have drinks in front of them, and hadn't ordered anything the whole time they were there.

One man gestures at the seven at the end of the bar without drinks and asks the bartender, "What's with them?"

The bartender says, "Oh, they're all old retired farmers from Wisconsin, waiting for happy hour when drinks are half price."


Monday, July 18, 2011

A Little Love For Radio Astron

There has been a lot of attention paid to the final shuttle mission and even the Dawn spacecraft going into orbit around the asteroid Vesta. Lost in all this is a pretty cool Russian led mission called Radio Astron. The final piece of this puzzle is now in place with the launch of the Spektr-R satellite last night.

Spektr-R is a pretty impressive piece of engineering. This satellite is a radio telescope that will unfold in space to a diameter of 10 meters (over 30 feet). It's been launched into a very elliptical orbit that will range from about 10,000km from the Earth to 390,000 km from the Earth, a little farther from Earth than the Moon (and the Moon's gravity will slowly change its orbit over time!)

Okay, so we have a 10 meter radio dish orbiting the Earth. We have much larger radio dishes on Earth, so what' the big deal? Spektr-R will be used in conjunction with radio telescopes on Earth. By combining its observations with those made by radio telescopes on Earth, it can obtain the resolution equivalent to that of a single dish up to 390,000km across! That translates into a resolution over 1,000 times better than Hubble (but in the radio part of the spectrum). You can find a whole list of the ground based facilities it will work with here, including my beloved Green Bank Telescope.

This high resolution will enable us to really zoom in on the active regions surrounding black holes at the centers of galaxies, probably one of the most exciting problems this project will tackle.

This project has been a long time coming. It was first proposed over 30 years ago and been mired in technical, political and funding difficulties. It survived the breakup of the Soviet Union. I spent a summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank in 2003 and they had posters up highlighting their participation in this upcoming mission. Great to see it launched. I look forward to a successful check out for them and the first science observations later this year!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Where to Retire?

I received this in an email. A few Irregular states are represented:

You can retire to Arizona, where... 
1.  You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade. 
2.  You've experienced condensation on your hiney from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
3.  You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town. 
4.  You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
5.  You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.
6.  The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!


You can retire to  California   where...
1. You make over $250,000 and you still can't afford to buy a house.
2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
3. You know how to eat an artichoke.
4. You drive your rented Mercedes to your neighborhood block party.
5.  When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.
6. The 4 seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud, and Drought.


You can retire to  New York City   where...  
1.  You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan . 
2.  You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from  Columbus Circle   to Battery Park, but can't find  Wisconsin   on a map.
3.  You think  Central Park   is "nature."
4.  You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.
5.  You've worn out a car horn. (Ed. Note if you have a car).
6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression.


You can retire to Minnesota where... 
1.  You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco ..
2.  Halloween costumes fit over parkas.
3.  You have more than one recipe for casserole.
4.  Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
5.  The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.


You can retire to the  Deep South   where...
1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.
2. "Y'all" is singular and "all y'all" is plural.
3. "He needed killin" is a valid defense.
4. Everyone has 2 first names:  Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Mary
Ellen, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc.
5. Everything is either "in yonder," "over yonder" or "out yonder." It's important to know the difference, too.


You can retire to Colorado where...
1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.
2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home and so he stops at the day care center.
3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.
4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.


You can retire to Wisconsin
1. You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
2. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.
3. You have had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.
4. You end sentences with a preposition: "Where's my coat at?"
5. When asked how your trip was to any exotic place, you say, "It was different!"


FINALLY You can retire to Florida where.
1. You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
2.. All purchases include a coupon of some kind -- even houses and cars.
3. Everyone can recommend an excellent dermatologist.
4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
5.  Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people

Blonde Men do exist

The Naked Cowboy

A Sheriff in a small town in Texas walks out in the street and sees a blond haired cowboy coming toward him with nothing on but his cowboy hat, his gun and his boots. He arrests him for indecent exposure.

As he is locking him up, he asks 'Why in the world are you walking around like this?'

The cowboy says, 'Well it's like this Sheriff....

I was in this bar down the road and this pretty little red head asks me to go out to her motor home with her.
So I did.

We go inside and she pulls off her top and asks me to pull off my shirt....
So I did.

Then she pulls off her skirt and asks me to pull off my pants....
So I did.

Then she pulls off her panties and asks me to pull off my shorts....
So I did.

Then she gets on the bed and looks at me kind of sexy and says,
'Now go to town cowboy. '

'And here I am.'

Blonde Men do exist

Septoria leaf blight

Ohhhhhh I got fungus among us. Went to Steins and got a spray. No blight is right for my victory garden. Bunches and bunches of tomatoes. I've been watering from the top but will from the bottom from now on.

I just pruned my sweet basil. It was forming flowers and I read that you're supposed to prune them off before they bloom to promote bushiness and having the taste turn less sweet. The African basil doesn't have that problem and the flower stalks are so pretty. The plain basil and oregano have accepted their transplanting and are growing vigorously. The COOLEST thing is the watermelon vine. Supposedly all I am supposed to see is a pretty plant as we're too far north. Well, I just saw a 3/4" ball of fruit. Even if it doesn't grow larger than a baseball, I'll be tickled. Still no love or flowers on the red bell pepper plant.

Monkeying Around With Copyrights

I occasionally blog on copyrights as it is a big deal on the internet and for bloggers. A lot of people claim fair use, sometimes fairly sometimes not so much. One of the big problems can be determining who actually owns a copyright.

Photographer David Slater was in Indonesia and some monkeys got hold of his camera and started taking pictures of themselves...really. You an see one here. Copyright law says the person who took the picture owns the copyright. If I loan you my camera and you take pictures, the copyright on the picture belongs to the photographer, not the camera. Of course you can buy the copyright from a photographer (I do that for my acting headshots so I can reproduce them for example) but there is no evidence the monkeys transferred the copyright in exchange for a bunch of bananas.

Slater has been sending takedown notices for these pictures even though his claim is pretty shaky. Many websites automatically take down materials without actually checking out if they are infringing (a common tactic to surpress videos on Youtube, including politically charged videos). You can hear about this story in a segment in this week's On the Media or read about it at Tech Dirt.

Wonder if this will get a take down notice?

Open Blog - Monday

Sunflowers need rain, too.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Regarding next Sunday's shindig -

OK boys and girls,
our shindig is soon arriving.
Time for a final headcount - who's in?
I have received a decent number of RSVP's,
Can we get an official list here as well?

I emailed out the info. If for any reason you
did not get it, PLEASE contact me via email
and I will get it out to you.

We have a plan, as well as a back up plan
if the weather doesn't cooperate
(like last year...)

Time to get this show on the road,
next week is coming FAST
see you all soon!