Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Super Bowl Shuffle:'85 Bears"

This was requested by Anonymous. Please don't blame me.

This does bring back memories, though. I lived in Chicago during that period. At a Chicago bar during a Bears - Packers game, my mother-in-law (from Wisconsin) yelled out encouragement for the Packers. The entire bar turned and looked at us with hate stares.

Open Blog - Weekend

Enjoy the last weekend of 2013.

Friday, December 27, 2013

"Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco! (Dec 2013)"

Published on Dec 24, 2013
"This shocking video was taken December 23rd 2013 with a quality Geiger Counter at Pacifica State Beach (Surfers Beach), California.

"Background radiation is 30 CPM. Near the ocean it's 150 CPM. The fine mist coming from the ocean waves seems to be what makes the Geiger Counter jump. More thorough readings need to be done! Where is the useless government/media?"

Read more:

Google the news for "Fukushima radiation."  None of the big media news names mention it.   

Racine County Eye

There's a new local news site added to our sidebar list of Local News, called Racine County Eye:

Check them out on Facebook, too:

"Shhhhut Down Fat Talk - Special K'

Saguaro Star Trails

Just a quick star trails shot I did last night...well, if you can call 43 minutes quick. This is 103 exposures of 25 seconds each put together with StarStax to create this image from Saguaro National Park east in Tucson. I used my Canon 60D and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens at 11mm and f/2.8. I wanted the saguaros in the foreground. I didn't center on polaris since the farther west I pointed, the more the lights of Tucson interfered. Hope you like it.
Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas like I did. Didn't expect the miles of snowy roads though.... Anyways, here are the final questions of year....

1) What is your best memory of 2013?

2) What are you looking forward to in 2014?

3) What was your favorite song, movie or TV show from 2013?

4) What was the best thing you bought in 2013?

Enjoy your weekend!

Open Blog - Friday

If that's your weekly paycheck, you might need help blowing it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Couldn't go out on the Deck

Couldn't go out on the deck today it had 29" on snow on it.

"Merry Christmas 2013 (Also at Vimeo, apetor... )"

Never, ever, put your tongue, or any other body part, near the chain of an operating chainsaw. Never.

Otherwise, I recommend everything else in this video.

"November Property Report"

From Property Reports:

"It has been a while since I have reviewed the property sales for The City of Racine as recorded in the Wisconsin IPAS – which stands for: Integrated Property Assessment System. For the month of November, the IPAS records show that 154 documents were recorded. Foreclosures were down, with only 29 foreclosures recorded for November 2013. The disconnect between assessed values and sale prices continues to grow. It becomes apparent, from looking at the data, that the City has grossly over-assessed the older and poorer neighborhoods – thus shifting a greater tax burden onto the backs of the working poor."

Read more:

Happy New Year!

The Conversation Continues

Dashcam Mayhem

This video was submitted by legal stranger. He has added a dashcam to his car. If you're going to have an accident, please try to have it in front of legal stranger.

Our Christmas Up North!

We left on Monday morning and we ended up running into some snow on the way up north. The roads got bad in Appleton when I dropped my youngest daughter off with my older daughter. Then we stopped in Shawano to drop of some gifts for Christmas Eve morning by my son's house and seen his girlfriend and the Grandkids. Then we finally made it to Pickeral by Drew's parents and let me tell you I was so happy to get out of the car for the day.

On the way to Drew's parents right before Lily Wi. we seen a Juvenile Bald Eagle. I was really neat it flew across the road in front of me twice and then went into a tree. So I stopped on a Hwy 55 a main road and it was snowy to get pictures. Here is a picture of the Juvenile Bald Eagle:

It was so nice to finally sit down and talk with his mom and dad when we got there. We miss being up north with both families so much. I have to say we all had a lot to sit there and talk about to get caught up and look at pictures too.

Then the next morning we had breakfast and then back to Shawano to open presents with the kids, Grandkids, my mom and younger sister. It was so funny with the Grandkids first they wanted Grandpa then they would come and sit on Grandma's lap and kept going back and forth. This was funny Ace only wanted to be on Grandpa's lap to open his presents and Skylee wanted to be with her Daddy to open hers.

Drew got the Packers Santa hat, a stocking and ornament from my older daughter and Ace wanted the hat on but Daddy kept taking it off him and Ace would take it back to Grandpa so he would put it back on him.

Grandpa seen this drum set and said we had to get it for Skylee so she can drive mom and dad crazy. You have to believe me we actually found it at a thrift store and in perfect condition. We also found Ace a little guitar there too.

Christmas morning we had breakfast with Drew's parents and then we had to go to Appleton by my older sister for an early dinner. We left there about 4pm and didn't get home until around 8pm because of the snowy highways. But of course I got us home and was so glad to be home and I stayed home all day today.

We had so much fun and enjoyed ourselves so much with both families. We really didn't want to come home because we just love it so much up there. I just can't wait for the weather to get better so we can go and see the family more often. This is how our trip up north was and we are so happy that we actually was able to make it to see everyone!

Hunting the Horsehead (and Other Christmas Eve Sites)

When I was in grade school and first getting into astronomy, the Horsehead Nebula was one of the most intriguing objects in the sky. It was on the top of the list of things I wanted to see. When I got my first little 60mm refracting telescope, I spend hours scanning Orion looking for it, never finding it...and of course never listening to people who told me (correctly) that it was WAY beyond the reach of a 60mm telescope!
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of going out on a shoot with an excellent astrophotographer, Sean Parker (if you don't know his stuff, go look now!) He wanted to try out the iOptron Skytracker I had and he had borrowed a Canon 5D Mk III and a 70-200 f/2.8 lens so we had some great equipment to play with.
He took several shots of Orion using different exposures and got the Horsehead! I was thrilled to see this, but since this is a lifelong obsession of mine, I wasn't quite satisfied. I wanted to get a pic of it with my camera and my lens (even though neither my camera or lens are as good as what he was using). So Christmas Eve, I went out with my Canon 60D and EF-s 55-250mm zoom lens. Since my lens can't operate at f/2.8, I had to use longer exposure and higher ISO, but am pleased to report that yes, I got everything (although I didn't take and blend multiple exposures...I have a way to go before I get as good as Sean!)
IMG_8953The Orion Nebula is at the bottom right with the Running Man just to its upper left. In the far upper left of the image is the Flame Nebula. Now look closely in the pinkish haze to the lower right of the Flame and you will see a VERY small dark horsehead shape. I got the nebula! Yes, I nerd out over that.
Although this is the shot I really wanted, I of course took some others as well. I will start off with the Andromeda Galaxy.IMG_8943Next I will go for the Pleiades. Notice the gas around it. We used to think (and some astronomers still mistakenly will say) that this is the cloud of gas and dust in which these young stars were born. However, the IRAS (Infrared Astronomy Satellite) mission showed that the stars were plowing through this gas at a high rate of speed. IRAS showed the shockwaves as the stars interact with the gas. Given the very different velocities of the stars and gas, this is almost certainly not where they were born.
The constellation of Auriga has a wealth of star clusters as it is in the heart of the winter Milky Way. A wide shot can capture three of them at once. M37 is the bottom of the three, M36 is the middle and M38 is at the top. The Messier objects aren't really in any particular order around the sky! These are all open clusters. The stars were born at the same time from the same cloud of gas and dust, but they are not gravitationally bound to each other so the stars will scatter around the galaxy as time goes on. They are not quite close enough together to get all three in the field of view of my 8x42 binoculars at one time...I can get either the two and the third will be just outside the field of view!
I will make one more stop here. This pari of galaxies is M81 and M82 about 10 million light years away in Ursa Major. M81 (on the right) is a spiral galaxy much like our own Milky Way. M82 on the left is an irregular galaxy (sometimes nicknamed the Cigar Galaxy) that recently passed nearby M81. The gravitational interaction between the galaxies led to a burst of star formation in M82. M82 is called (appropriately) a starburst galaxy.
IMG_8977Winter in Tucson is a great time to observe. The nights have not been too cold and the skies have been clear. I hope to get out and do some very wide field stuff in the next few days and hope that it is clear this weekend as we have our great ISS passes coming up.
Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Open Blog - Thursday

Is that a ring-tailed poot?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ring-Tailed Poot Sighting, No. 2

The one that got away.

All kitchen cabinets must be kept open for inspection at all times.  Seriously.  If not, he pulls a cabinet door slightly open, then lets it bang back shut, over and over again.  He sleeps on the top shelf of the left cabinet.

Never high enough.  (Just like his old man.)  A lot of cats are like that.

The Christmas goodies he received from Aunt Mary.

"6 Tricky Terms in Christmas Carols"


Everything you ever wanted to know about figgy pudding and more.

Useless Information

 Did you know:
Racine use to have many movie theaters.
These are the ones I can remember:
Granada                Rialto
Venetian                Uptowner
West Racine
Marcus Brothers Theaters
     Perry & Washington Ave
     Rapids Dr. & Mount Pleasant
     Regency Mall
Westgate Outdoor - Ohio & Washington
Mid City Outdoor – Hy32 & Chicory Road
Going south is the Keno Outdoor – Hy 32 South of Kenosha
Going north was the 41-Twin Outdoors – 27th Street in Franklin, WI


Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, Santa’s helpers! How are you?  Merry Christmas!  Rejoice, rejoice!  I hope that Santa brought you everything that you wanted.  I hope everyone has thermal underwear.  Santa must have one heck of a heater in that sleigh to stay comfortable in these temperatures. 

Winter started strong this year and has remained so thus far.  I encourage everyone to dress properly for the weather.  We all know the mantra: layers.  Wear layers of clothing and put a hat on your head.  Drinking alcohol will give you the illusion of warmth, but in reality it takes heat away from your body core.  When it’s very cold out there, stay home if you can.

As everyone in the civilized world now knows, our stupendous Green Bay Packers lost last Sunday.  That was entirely their effort, and it wasn’t enough.  Thankfully the Chicago Bears also lost.  They might have had a little help with that.  Ahem.  This Sunday, our phenomenal Packers face those same Bears, at Soldier Field, for the NFC North Division title.  The Packers-Bears rivalry has never been stronger.  We must beat our archenemy on his turf.  May the force (and a few other things) be with you, Packers!

The Irregular Football League’s season has ended with Mr. Hale-Bopp’s Half-Astrophysicists in first place and my Screaming Psychics in second.  The rest in order are:  Racine Irregulars, third; Fighting Mongrels, fourth; Orbliterators, fifth; and The Mighty Bears, sixth.  Congratulations to everyone who played.  Hip-hip-hooray for us!

I hope that you’re enjoying all of the love of the holidays and feeling none of the stress.  This can be a very difficult time of year for a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons.  Reality may pale in comparison to expectations.  Memories of Christmases past may haunt.  Even the short, overcast days contribute to the problem.  If you suffer from depression or distress during the holidays, be assured that you’re not alone.  There are many like us.  Talk to your pastor or spiritual leader about it.  Or seek help from a social services agency.  Or from your doctor.  “A problem shared is a problem halved.”

While I lolled in Cancun last week, Junior and Señor Zanza finally decorated the outside of our home.  When I fist saw it, I thought, “It looks like a drunken idiot did it.”   I later learned that Señor Zanza was drunk when they did it.  And I suspect Junior was taking sips of Señor Zanza’s beer when he wasn’t looking.  Well, it’s the thought that counts.  They meant well, even as our home has been attracting UFOs ever since.

Did anyone get something very special for Christmas?  Would you like to share with us about it?   Señor Zanza gave me a ring.  (No, not an engagement ring.)  It’s a beautiful ruby which his mother once wore.  It’s breathtaking.  Thank you, my sweet Señor.

Thank you, reader, for dropping by to check out my blog.  May the blessings of this season be multiplied in your life and in your heart.

Enjoy the holiday.  If you’re off from work, enjoy the break.  Take it slow and steady on winter streets and roads.  If you’re drinking, let someone else drive.  Telestich!            

Open Blog - Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Instant Karma Prank!"

You have to give to receive.

"The United States of America: Tougher Laws On Bullying"

Petition by
Karen Aber
Racine, WI

"A young lady in my hometown of Racine, WI, took her life with bullying being a factor in December of 2013. I want The United States of America to recognize that bullying is an epidemic and hold those doing it accountable for their actions. Join me in making this need for change known."

Read more:

I don't know if laws need to be changed or made, but I was bullied by classmates at a vulnerable age.  To this day, I can't stand being in a crowd. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I expect to be attacked by a mob.

Local Loyalty - Funky Hannah's

Welcome back to another edition of Local Loyalty!
Today's feature, is one of my guilty pleasures, 
Funky Hannah's Bead and Art, 
324 Main St, Racine.
Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat. 10-5, Sun. noon-4
Check out their website!

Gift Giving Bonanza! | Funky Hannahs, November 9, 2013 
Funky Hannah's has been in business for 16 years, Black Friday. 
I enjoy making my own jewelery, and for the most part, it's much cheaper and you make it just the way YOU want it.  The selections is great, and everyone who works there knows how to work with everything and can help with any project you may find yourself in to. It is our only bead shop in town. Sure, a few other stores have beads but none that are solely focused on them and helping people do different projects with them. 
They have classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
The 3 words Amanda chose to describe her store - 
and Healing. 
Healing may sound crazy to some of you, but sitting down with a project, takes you out of whatever crappy day you may have had and is incredibly therapeutic.
OH - and the story about the Hannah of Funky Hannah's, it's Amanda's mom, who is one of those cleaver, crafty, talented sorts. I don't possess the creative gene, but do enjoy making simple things to match whatever I need. 
They have some jewelery already made and great for gifts. 
Gift certificates are available as well. 
Guys shop there too! 
During our visit, an older gentleman came in to pick up a few things for a project he and his wife were working on. How sweet!
Of course, he also picked up a gift certificate :)
Stop in and check them out!!

Open Blog - Monday

Put on your best Monday face.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

BLB at Lambeau Field

Our own BL Basketcase represents the JTI as she watches today's Packer game from the 40 yard line.

 Update: BLB has received VIP treatment from the Packers organization and placed in the warm press box.

Update:  The Packer organization invited BLB into the luxury press box for the second half.   Interviews to follow.

Update: After a few vodkas from her own cauldron, BLB secures her interview with legend Vince Lombardi.

Christmas Lights 2013 Part 4!

Sorry to say this is going to be the last of the Christmas decorations unless I get some really nice pictures of some from up north. The reason for this is we are leaving tomorrow to go up north for Christmas with our families. I hope everyone enjoys these pictures I am posting and yes there is going to be another theme with the exception of the first picture. Here are the pictures:

I seen Winnie the Pooh and Tigger on the Teeter Totter on my way to see Drew for lunch one day and I could not resist getting a picture of this. I thought it was so cute!

The Waterfall is back at the Racine Zoo Wheary Lights on Main St. Racine Wi. I was so happy to see this back.

                           The Train are at the Racine Zoo Wheary Lights on Main St. Racine Wi.

                         The Tugboat are at the Racine Zoo Wheary Lights on Main St. Racine Wi.

                      The Penguin Slide are at the Racine Zoo Wheary Lights on Main St. Racine Wi.

              The Walrus and Penguins are at the Racine Zoo Wheary Lights on Main St. Racine Wi.

Then we have Santa Claus waving hello to you at the Racine Zoo Wheary Lights on Main St. Racine Wi.

I hope everyone is enjoying the pictures I have been posting. I really do enjoy going out to take the pictures to share with everyone. I would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas!

When "blogger" is a bad word :(

Bumping this post due to recent activity. 
This blog has drawn quite a bit of outside comments that are not friendly in nature. Lizardmom has been mediating her blog and responding on her own. Since most of us look only to the most recent posts, many of you may have been unaware of the activity taking place. 

Regardless of our own views on this subject, agree or disagree, we need to support the right of all our blog authors to post without fear of bullying in return. When we post we understand we hold a responsibility to be fair and honest, and acknowledge that our individual views may differ from others. In return, we expect not to be personally attacked. 

I am sharing this post again because we need to put it to rest. As my most recent comment after stumbling upon this continued conversation said, "If something ugly needs to be talked about, we do, but we aren't here to flame."    -kkdither

Yesterday, I visited and interviewed a handful of down-town businesses. As always, they were so very gracious and kind to take time out to speak with me about their business. I always get the warm fuzzies after being in the small, locally owned and run businesses.
I only had 2 confirmed interviews set up but stopped in and was able to get a couple more. My last impromptu visit, was with a wonderful, very kind lady. She was very welcoming and warm. When I told her that I was part of a local blogging site, I could tell she tensed up. I was perplexed by that, but as she spent time with me, she began to open up about something.
Her business, and even her, personally, has been hatefully, and very hurtfully attacked by some bloggers. I was shocked and deeply saddened. No wonder when I said the word "blogger", it made her uneasy. There is a chance that one of our own family may have hurt her :(
I'm not going to go into details, but the things that she has been attacked for were all based on misinformation and for personal relationships she has with particular people. I know I don't want to be judged by the people I know for other people I know and am friends with, especially if I haven't been spoken to and asked about things before being berated.
We left our original 'home' because of the mean, ugliness that was prevalent. To think that possibly one or more of our own has hurt her, I felt crushed.
This is the only blog I am part of, I don't follow any local blogs, I don't dabble in politics, as it's an instant, ugly thing most of the time.
These small businesses need our support. We have watched so many businesses, huge, big, small, we've seen them all shapes and sizes go out of business. If we don't take the time to support these local shops, shame on us.
If you think you know something about a business but haven't given them the chance to confirm or deny what you're accusing them of, please consider stopping in and talking with them for the real story.  Remember, we're the good guys :) Behind every small business are real, live human beings. Give them a chance.