Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cougars; Cat Loans; Hindenberg; Perception; Old Bay; Typewriters; Spy Dies; Credit Reports; Libertarians; Weapons; Peeping Tom; Tomatoes

Overcast with an occasional thunderstorm and torrential rains.  Nice Sunday to do the New York Times Crossword.

"Men, because of a tragic genetic flaw, cannot see dirt until there is enough of it to support agriculture."   Dave Barry (Funny Paper)

01.  Sexy Senior Citizens

Wait, wait, don't Tell meGovernor DaVol Patrick of Massachusetts said that when he was visiting a nursing home, a rather elderly lady came up real close  to him and said: "I'm a cougar."
Governor Patrick said he wasn't sure what she was talking about and said: "Good. And I'm a Leo."

02.  $  Incentive

WWDTM:  Russian banks, to get more money into the system, are offering cats to people who request loans.  The cats are only lent to the people.. they have to give them back when they finally pay off their loans.  (If the cat should die, Mr. Putin will probably require you to take out another loan to cover the cost of the cat.)

03.  Survivor Extraordinaire

New York Times:  Werner Franze died at age 92 this week.  As a 14 year old cabin boy in 1937, he was cleaning dishes on the Hindenberg zeppelin, when it erupted in flames in New Jersey.  He spotted a hatch, kicked it open, and when the ground was close enough, he jumped out and ran away.  He suffered no ill effects, and lived a long and productive life thereafter... except for a mandatory stint in the German Luftwaffe during World War II.

04.  Perception

Elaine and I were talking about perception and how your childhood experiences color how  you handle situations as an adult.  That reminded me of this story:

Two Irish ladies lived next door to a notorious House of Ill Repute.  One day, as they were sitting on their front porch, they noticed the local minister walking by, looking around, and carefully going into the front door of the House next door.  Mrs. Leary said to Mrs. Riley:  "Ain't that disgusting.. a so-called man of God patronizing a whore house!"  "Aye, that it is," agreed Mrs. Riley, shaking her head.

A couple of hours later, they observed Father Thomas walking by and heading to the House next door.  Carefully looking around, he walked through the front door.

Mrs. Leary said to Mrs. Riley:  "My.. there must be somebody very ill in that house."

05.  A Great Baltimorean!

Carroll County Times:  Have you ever heard of Gus Brunn?  Well, you should of.  He was a great man.   He is the guy who invented Old Bay seasoning for Maryland crabs!

06.  Clickety Clack

WWDTMRuppert Murdock wants his newspaper workers to be comfortable, so he has had a giant loudspeaker installed in the newsroom of the London Times.  From the speaker comes the typewriter noise that nobody hears anymore.  Mr. Murdock thinks that it will make his workers feel like they are in a real (1939 type) office.

07.  Master Spy Dead

New York Times:  Spy family leader, John A. Walker, Jr, died at the age of 77 in a North Carolina Federal prison where he was serving a life sentence.  He had run a very successful spy  ring for 20 years.. with his son and brother and a friend.  They were all caught in the 1980's.  John's son served 20 years and was released.  His friend has over 300 years to go.  I don't know about his brother.

They had a very lucrative business going in supplying Russia with Cryptographic information. (I worked with crypto stuff for a few  years in Germany, but nobody approached me with a money offer.  Besides, my orders were to "shoot to kill any Russians who infiltrated my perimeter."
Luckily, they stayed away and I didn't have to kill anybody or wound myself in trying to figure out how to shoot my "burp gun."

08.  New Credit Report Agency

New York Times:  Apparently there is a new credit reporting agency:  INNOVIS.  Where have I been?  I've never heard of it.   So, now you need to interrogate four agencies to make sure nobody is hacking your information and using it to get credit cards and such. 

09.  Libertarians

New York Times:  Two persons have sent letters to the NYT recently about Libertarianism

CM says:  Libertarianism is the belief in the abilities of individuals over bureaucratic entities, be they corporations or governments.  It is the belief in limiting the power those groups can exert over individuals."

AK says:   "While keeping the government out of your life might sound fine when you're 25 and healthy, it may not be so great at 70... I find libertarians to be rather heartless when it comes to providing for those less fortunate.  Do libertarians really believe that we don't need to provide food stamps, heating assistance or care for the elderly and disabled?"

10.  *Crime ..  A New Weapon

Carroll County Times:  A new weapon has appeared in the arsenal of those who feel they must hurt their fellow humans.  A 12' long metal chain was thrown at the victim's shoulders, as the perpetrator ran away.  At least it wasn't the usual machete or kitchen carving knife.

11.  Mr. Peepers

Carroll County Times:  A 48 year old man was arrested for being a "peeping Tom" at the Columbia, Maryland Mall.  Detectives say that the "peeper" followed girls into a ladies room and attempted to look at their genitalia.  He supposedly did this 31 times in a 2 hour period.  How did they know this?

This poor nut sounds desperate.. hurry up and buy him an anatomy book.  I wonder if he is related to the Johns Hopkins doctor who secretly photographed the private parts of his female patients for several years.  Some more reasons why sex education should be taught in our schools!

12.  Tomatoes?

Baltimore Sun:  In Burrol, Spain, the populace was at it again this week.. throwing ripe tomatoes at each other in a fun time called La Tomatina.  Yearly, one hundred tons of tomatoes are thrown and everybody loves it.  But.. why do they do this?  Couldn't they sell some of it?  Maybe they do.  Does your spaghetti sauce taste different lately?


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Zucchini Bread; Tattoos; Burger King; End Time; Governor Pence; London Bobbies; Giant Snails; Guns; McDonald's; Gunboat Diplomacy; UZI; Prison Complaints

Muggy.. looks like rain.. maybe not.

"Fools' names, like fools' faces,
Often appear in public places."   Anon.

My son, Chris, brought me a zucchini bread he made, using a recipe that his mother made famous.
1:30 pm  Elaine and I begin to eat zucchini bread.
1:45 pm  Zucchini bread is now half gone.  Delicious!

I'm afraid  the bread will not survive tonight, or at the most, tomorrow afternoon.

01.  *Great Idea #1

Tax tattoos.

02.  *Personal Cooking Observation #1

Celeste Pizza for one is lousy!  In my opinion.

03.  *Burger King and Tim Horton

Carroll County Times: Burger King's acquisition of  Tim Horton's and move to Canada may offer big benefits  to its controlling shareholder: 3G Capital, a New  York investment fund which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.  A very complex matter.  I wonder what it will do for my Tim Horton shares?  Will bad publicity hurt Burger King shares in the U.S."?

04. *Religion  .. End Time

Carroll County Times:   Reverend Mike Taylor writes in his periodic religion column that we are in "the end time"..  I would advise interested parties to read a well-documented bible/history book like "The Passover Plot by Hugh J. Schonfeld.  According to that book and many others, the people of Jesus' time thought that the Messiah was coming because, based on "certain signs",  it was definitely the "end time."  

The predicted "end time" did not take place.  However, some preachers did not get the message and have been scaring their flocks with "end time" baloney for centuries.  In addition, the Apocalypse Bible information was written specifically for the years when Rome ruled the world, and not for 2014.  This is not just me talking.

Also, the Reverend says that "all have sinned."  How does he know that?  Does he have inside information from on  high?    He seems like a very nice man, but I'm afraid I must disagree with him on many points.

05.  *Politics .. Governor Pence

Carroll County Times:  Indiana Governor Mike  Pence is making sounds like he wants to run for President in 2016.  His platform consists of only one part:  "Permanently reduce the size and scope of the Federal Government."

Come on, Mike.  That's the tired old Republican standby.  How about coming up with something new?  

06.  Bobbies on Alert

Carroll County Times:  I never thought that I would see a picture of Bobbies patrolling Downing Street with machine guns at the ready.  The U.K. is being prepared for a suspected terrorist strike. 

07.  They are here!

Internet:  Giant African snails are a hot collectors' item these days.  These snails can grow as big as a rat and they are ravenous.  As omnivores nothing is safe from them.  Agricultural department personnel are trying to corral them before they get out of hand.  There  is one bit of hope though.. some people eat them and think they taste good.  Let's cook up a couple and put them on the menu of a high-class restaurant and see if our top 1% folks think they are delicious.  If so, they will buy up all they can get and the problem is solved.

08.  *Guns .. Pry them out of this guy?

Carroll County Times: R.M.  is under a court prohibition to have no contact with guns.. because he was involved in 9 Virginia felonies: 4 for breaking and entering; 5 for larceny.    However, he needed to get some personal objects from his home, where he was also prohibited to enter.  He called for a policeman  to help.

As he filled his bag with belongings, a loaded gun fell nearby and a close examination of his belongings bag revealed another firearm.  Nice try, R.M.

09.  *Crime  ..  McDonald's

Carroll County Times:  An obviously inebriated 47 year old lady squatted and peed in a McDonald's Parking Lot, where she was arrested.  I guess she was unhappy with the food.

10.  *Great Idea #2

Our tax money is going to the Cayman Islands and Belize.. let's send a U.S. gunboat down there and take them over as U.S. Territories.. and then we should be able to get our money back.  In return, we would make them into major vacation places, so they shouldn't go broke.

Elaine and I went on a small tour of  Belize as part of a cruise.  We were told that there had been some recent "unrest" but we should not worry.  We did see some policemen with machine guns, but they looked friendly and we did not have any trouble.   Besides, one can look at cable TV and see houses being sold in Belize to American citizens every day.   And wasn't it earlier British Honduras?  Everybody speaks the Queen's English. 

11.  *Guns .. UZI

Diane Rheem Show:  Diane Rheem says:  "There is absolutely no reason why a 9 year old girl would hold an uzi."  AMEN!

12.  *Crime .. Prison Complaints

The Week:  A suspect in a double murder case has filed a 15 count complaint about conditions in the jail in which he is being held.  A few of his irritants are:

Towels are too small.
Breakfast is served at the indecent hour of 6:15 am.
The books in the library are not up to date.

The Sheriff's Deputy Chief says: "We're not a hotel; we're a jail."


Friday, August 29, 2014

National Aquarium; Tail Tales; Yawns; Bees do it; Volunteering; Burgers; Guns; Hamas; Fitbit; FOIA; Shoplifting; Immigrant Kids; Afghan Kids;

Hot and sunny.. summer day.

"Many man smoke, but Fu Manchu."    Charlie Chan

No entry yesterday.   Elaine and I took her grandkids to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  Lily is 7 and Luka is 4.  They were very good.  Lily takes good care of Luka... like a little mother.   Anyway, we expended a lot of energy walking (and me pushing) for almost six hours.  Good exercise.

The Baltimore Inner Harbor is even cleaner than it was a couple of years ago when I last had business down there.  The old Candler Building is all spruced up.. I'm told that it still has the old Social Security pictures showing.  I was involved in a program there a little while ago.

We ate lunch (fast food) at the Hard Rock Café.. my ear drums are still ringing.  One thing surprised me though.. they played a video of Willie Nelson singing "You are always on my mind."  I didn't think that was a rock song.  (We need to remember not to get chocolate ice cream next time for Luka. Vanilla covered clothing doesn't need to be changed as much.)

On the walk over a bridge to get to the  aquarium, we saw thousands of fish in the water, wheeling around and around in an ever increasing circle.. an amazing sight that I thought I would never see in Baltimore's harbor.

They no longer have a Dolphin Show.. but you can watch them fooling around in their watery home. We didn't even get splashed.   They do have a special exhibit on jellyfish that is spectacular.  How come I never heard of blue ones, and brown ones, and ones with star points, and ones that race around, etc, etc... this alone is worth the trip.

It is rather expensive to tour the aquarium, park, and get something to eat.  I think it cost $230 for the four of us before the day was over, and that was without giving in to the kids on toys to buy for them and the $39 that the aquarium charges for a "keepsake" picture of yourselves.   Enough is enough.

But... all in all.. it was a great day and I think the kids enjoyed it.  Elaine and I passed out early in the evening and slept very late... worn out completely. 

01.  How's it waggin'?

National Geographic:  NG sez that the way a dog wags its tail can tell you more than you thought  about what the dog is thinking.   If the wag leans to the right... a dog is excited.. in a nice way.  If the wag leans to the left, it means the dog is nervous and may be perceiving a threat.  They say that watchful dogs can recognize each other's moods based on subtle flicks of the tail.

What about cats?  And what about dogs without tails?  What does a pit bull do.  Yesterday, there was a large pit bull near where we had to walk in the Inner Harbor.  He kept a wary eye on me and, as I've been told, to never never never look a pit bull in the eye,  I did not.

02.  Are you bored too?

National Geographic:  NG also sez that a dog who sees his master yawn, will yawn too. 

How about cats?  I don't think so.  Cats are not so in tune to their owners.  I'll try it, but I doubt our cat would even notice.  Besides, she sleeps most of the day, gets up and yawns, and then goes back to sleep.

03.  An icy buzz?

National Geographic again:  NG also sez that male bumblebees can fly higher than Mt. Everest.   Why would they want to?  Ain't no pollen up there, man.

04.  Volunteer Hours

Carroll Lutheran Village, where we live, likes to know the number of hours residents spend in volunteer activity.  The more volunteerism, the higher the score for the organization in the land of the Continuing Care Communities.  For August, I gave 53 hours to the groups that I volunteer for.  That is not very much.. averages only 14 hours a week or 2 hours a day.  So, I guess I am a part-timer.

Of course, as an old dude, living with a Baby Boomer, we have lots of doctors' appointments and drives to the store to pick up prescriptions.  Plus, we have some entertainment activity that we like.   And also, we go swimming at least twice a week.   Elaine needs some help, but not much.  At least we do not sit in our rocking chairs and wait for "the End"  like people used to do back in the "dark ages" (before Social Security and Medicare.). 

05.  Burger, ey?

Yes, it probably will occur.  Another "inversion".  To hell with U.S. taxes, let's pay Canadian taxes, sez Burger King, as it gets ready to merge with Tim Horton's and move to Canada.  I was surprised to learn that Tim H is bigger than Burger King.  Tim had sales of 3.2 Billion Dollars last  year, while Burger King had only 1.1 Billion Dollars in sales.  Like I said before, I have Tim Horton stock from some other merger and Tim is very good about sending me regular (but small) dividend checks.

06.  *Guns .. BB?

Carroll County Times:  Rick Blatchford of Mt. Airy, wrote some more on the "BB gun in WalMart" story.  According to the AP, the guy in custody "waved an air rifle at customers".  Several scared customers called 911.  The so-called non-lethal gun was a Crosman MK-177, useful for target practice and shooting small game. 

(I've seen those machine-gun looking "toys" at WalMart and I could not believe how much they look like the real thing. In a "carry" State, somebody might have engaged the guy in a "shoot-out. Can you "carry" a machine gun?")

It's funny, I hate gun violence, but my favorite "old time radio" show remains: "Gunsmoke" and I seldom miss a Sunday episode on a DC station.

07.  Hamas Victory?

Tribune Reporter Lauren King: "With word of the Egyptian-brokered truce, thousands of Palestinians poured into the streets of Gaza and the West Bank, many waving the green flag of Hamas to celebrate what was proclaimed to be a victory."

(Over 2,100 Palestinians are dead, electricity is gone and clean water is lacking.  Around 70 Israelis are dead and society functions as it has been functioning.  How is this a Hamas victory?)

08.  A Little Bit Fit?

Well, maybe I told you...  I bought a Fitbit..  now, if I could only figure out how to get it charged and put together and used.  The company recommends a YouTube video of instructions.  I looked at it and saw a pretty English girl speaking rapidly with an accent that I don't recognize.. and no closed captions.  I'll figure it out.. I have talked to other people with Fitbits and they all bemoan the lack of a manual. 

09.  Freedom of Information ..  Disappointment

Somewhere online I got information and sample letters to allow me to file freedom of information requests with the FBI and the CIA.  Why?  Because I had a Crypto Clearance when I was in the Air Force, and I was told at the time that it was higher than Top Secret and required surveillance of my peregrinations (good word?) throughout Europe. 

I got two identical official letters today from the FBI, saying that there is no normal file of records on me. (However, records could still be kept on me, if I met some extremely rare requirements.. which I do not now and never have.)  So.. I have to realize that I am not the important personage that I thought I was  (or pretended I was) all these years.

10.  *Crime .. Losing Again

Carroll County Times:  Two ladies awaiting trial for shoplifting hardware from Loews, were arrested yesterday for stealing $69 worth of school supplies at WalMart.  I'll bet these ladies have been shoplifting around the area for years and are only now getting caught because they are getting older and slower.. also, surveillance cameras are probably more technically proficient these days.

11.  *Immigrant Kids .. Finding Jesus?

A Gentleman wrote the Carroll County Times a rather confusing letter (at least to me). He said that the immigrant kids don't need to come to the U. S. to find Jesus.  He says he has been a missionary for many years and when he goes "into the world, to spread the gospel", he finds Jesus there, waiting for him to bring him (Jesus) home with him. 

(I'm afraid that religion is being now invoked on both sides of the issue.  However, these kids are here legally, whether some people believe it or not.  There is a U.S. law that says so. Signed by none other than George W. Bush, with bipartisan agreement, when there still could be bipartisan agreement.)
12.  *Afghanistan .. Good Impact?

The Week:  Did we really have any impact on Afghanistan?

When the U. S. invaded in 2001, fewer than 1 million Afghan children were enrolled in elementary schools, and only 5,000 were girls.  In 2014, 8 million Afghan children go to elementary school, including more than 3 million girls!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Potato; Chicken crosses road; Misotheists; NY Morning Herald; Deportation; Onionhead; Tea; Appetite Neurons; 1964 World's Fair; Cleaning; Opera Drop

Now we're into Baltimore summer weather.. 90 degrees and sunny.

"The Sun shall not be up so soon as I, to test the fair adventure of the day!"

Henry VI  (Shakespeare)

01.  Important Information

National Geographic:  The heaviest potato on record weighed ten pounds 14 ounces.

02.  Why?

The Week:  Oregon police got a call to report that a chicken was trying to cross the road.   The chicken's attempt  to cross an extremely busy highway had snarled traffic for miles.   By the time that the police got there, the chicken had apparently answered the question and disappeared.

03.  Agonistic misotheists

Free Inquiry:  Some people who struggle with a negative relationship with God, but who believe in that God, are called agonistic misotheists.  People like Mark Twain, Rebecca West and Elie Wiesel.   Joyce Salisbury writes that she feels it would be easier for such people to become atheists, especially Elie, based on his Holocaust experience.  However, such people are not able to give up their faith, and instead, curse the deity that has such a stranglehold on them.

04.  An Amazing Newspaperman

In 1835, editor James Gordon Bennett issued the first edition of the New York Morning Herald, a sheet  devoted to colorful and in-depth reporting of crime.  Bennett was the first to publish that kind of material, which is now more or less the norm. 

He led a campaign against prudery in 1840.  At that time, the word "petticoat" was taboo. Bennett thought that was ridiculous and wrote: "Petticoats--Petticoats--petticoats-- there, you fastidious fools, vent your mawkishness on that."  Thereafter, he was called some interesting names: obscene vagabond; leprous slanderer; profligate wretch; turkey buzzard.

After a gang beat him senseless in the street, his wife left him, saying: "He had no friends at the beginning, he has made none since, and he has none now."  He died in 1871.

05.  Result of Deportation

Baltimore Sun:  At least five undocumented immigrants recently deported back to their homes in Honduras have turned up dead at the morgue in San Pedro Sula.  (What do you think will happen to children that we return?)

06.  I love you, boss!

Funny Paper:  The new York customer service company United Health Programs of America was blessed with a federal lawsuit  by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over its requirements that employees pray to God on the job and say "I Love You!" to their managers.   The EEOC reported that this activity was suggested by an aunt of United's owner, who got the idea from an obscure "truth and compassion" movement called: "Onionhead."

07.  I didn't know that!

Harvard Medical School:  Although tea sellers want us to belief that decaffeinated tea is just as rich in beneficial flavonoids as regular tea, that is not true, because the decaffeination process reduces the flavonoid content drastically.  (Now, if I just knew what the hell a flavonoid is...)

08.  Turn me off

California Institute of Technology scientists accidently found that by manipulating neurons in mouse brains, they could cause them to lose interest in eating.  They hope that similar neurons are in human brains.. this could be the solution all of us chubby persons are longing for.

09.  Birth of the blues?

BBC Music:  Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras, in c.545 BC, was passing a blacksmith's shop and noticed how hammers of different weights striking against anvils could create agreeable harmonies. This caused him to experiment by plucking a string.  He found that a string's vibrations, moving in sync, produced pleasurable sounds. (And the rest is musical history.)

10.  The Future is Here

New York Times:  Fifty years ago (1964) guests to the New York World's Fair experienced GM's Futurama II and G.E.'s Progressland, which gave them a view of a future that was full of promise. Isaac Asimov (fellow Mensan and famous SciFi writer) made  predictions about the world of 2014. I will try to get a copy of it.  I'm told that his prophecies have been "taken apart" or "laughed at" and I want to know why.

11.  How to know

Funny Paper:  Jo Brand sez:  "How do you know if it's time to wash the dishes and clean your house? Look inside your pants.  If you find a penis in there, it's not time."

12.  The Opera

Victor Book of Musical Fun:  "Eugene Goossens reports this incident during his engagement as conductor of an opera company in Liverpool.  In the last act of Die Goetterdaemmerung there are two drops, one showing the Gods in Valhalla being consumed by the flames and a lower drop which accounts for the fire.  Something went wrong at this particular performance and -- though the top appeared, showing the Old Gods being merrily toasted.. the bottom drop failed in its duty, and instead the rear wall of the stage was exposed on which was printed a tremendous NO SMOKING sign.  Needless to say the bottom dropped out of that performance in more ways than one."


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fast Food Merger; TRIAD; Cat Beating; Bomb Threat; Drug Money; Earthquake; Gov Perry; Common Core; Local Bands; Playboy Bunnies; Mensa; German Clarity

Warm sunny Summer day. 

"Senator Ted Yoho (R-Florida) called a tanning salon tax 'racist' because it penalizes white people."
                     (Chuck Hersch in Funny Paper)

01.  Fast Food Merger?

Burger King may buy Tim Hortons and pull an "inversion" move to Canada to avoid US taxes.  The US Corporate Tax rate is 35% while the Canadian Tax rate is 15%.

I like Tim Horton's stock.. I get dividend checks in the mail regularly from old Tim.  Not much, but still a lot more than Bank interest.  The merger may never take place because of the bad US publicity it would generate for the King.  Time will tell.

02.  Pound of Flesh

The obnoxious old lady that was ejected from our TRIAD meeting has now called the Sherriff's office to complain, even though I apologized and she "accepted."  She will probably continue until she gets all the mileage she can, or until she hits on some other perceived "injustice."

03.  *Crime .. Cat Beating may not be

According to a Carroll County Times delivery guy, he was the person who was front page fodder for animal cruelty to a cat.  His story is, the cat was in the road and he accidently hit it, then picked it up off the ground, when it hissed and tried to bite him, causing him to drop it.  In the early hour (5:30 am) it may have looked as though he threw it on the ground.  Case closed?

04.  *Crime .. Bomb Threat

The Giant employee who was accused of making a Courthouse bomb threat, has had her charge dismissed.. no reason given.  She still will be required to defend herself for allegedly threatening an officer while in custody. 

05.  *Crime ..  Drug Money

My Police contacts tell me that I was wrong about drug arrestees usually having large amounts of money on their persons.  Normally the dealer has an accomplish hold the money so the police can't confiscate it.  That's a lot like pickpockets who immediately transfer the wallet or purse to an accomplice. 

06.  Earthquake

It looks like the main victim of the magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Napa Valley, California was wine in barrels. I hope the wine didn't all spill out.

07.  *Politics ..  Rick Perry

Did the lawyer for  Texas Governor, Rick Perry get a dismissal by saying it is unjust to prosecute the leader of a state because he used a veto?

08.  *Education .. Home Schooling

A Carroll County Maryland mother pulled her child out of public school because of Common Core.  Her son, a former A+ student in math, started coming home from school "stressed out."  (I'm sorry, but I would have looked for "bullying".. it seems to me that an A+ student in Math is smart enough to adjust to new .. and easier .. methods of teaching that subject.)

09.  Music?

Sandy Miller, the director of the Westminster Band says that at one time Westminster, Maryland had close to 50 different community bands.  Now there are only 2 or 3 left.

Where are these 3 bands?  How come I've never heard about them before? Were those 50 bands all in one year?  If so, did they have competitions?  Concerts? 

Sandy says that the band travels to Baltimore and Lancaster.  Why Lancaster? Serenade the Amish residents?

10.  Playboy Bunnies in Town

A Playboy club opened in Baltimore in 1964.  Some of the serving ladies (bunnies) came back to Baltimore last  week for a convention. In the pictures the Sun Paper published, most of these ladies still look good. 

Baltimore  had a Playboy Club, DC did not. Nya Nya!  To enter the club, you had to buy a membership for $100. I visited a couple of times and I know I did not pay such a price.  I must have been a guest of somebody.  The Bunnies had to go to a "Bunny Boot Camp"  where they learned to pour drinks in such a way that customers would not get "boobs in the face."  The club closed in 1977.

11.  Mensa Material?

"I once scored a perfect 100 on my IQ test."  Gary Beadle (Mensa Bulletin)

12.  German Criticism

Daniel Haufler in the Berliner Zeitung writes:  "... the higher  the black population in a state, the lower that state's social spending.  Ongoing white resentment of the civil rights movement that took away their privilege is the reason the U.S. is the only developed country in which a major party, the GOP, 'wants to abolish the welfare state.'  That party is  also actively trying to change state electoral laws to disenfranchise African-Americans. It isn't just the police that must change.. it's the entire culture."

(How come we can't see what this German.. and the rest of the world.. sees?)


Monday, August 25, 2014

Fat Pets; Elevators; MUFON; Longevity; The Cloud; Poem; Women; Pete Seeger; Idea for Congress; Advertising; Spermaceti

Sunny and warm.  Plants are all smiling and happy.  Some yellow squash are getting bigger and one lonely zuke is starting to get a little larger.

"Many could forgo heavy meals, a full wardrobe, a fine house, et cetera: it is the ego they cannot forgo."  Mohandas Gandhi

01.  Is Your Pet too Fat?

The Associated Press reports that fat Labradors and Poodles now have Pilates ("pawlates") and yoga ("doga") and can play "Barko Polo" in the pool.  Morris Animal Inn has a 5-day fitness camp for dogs in Morristown, New Jersey. 

Our cat, Soo Zee will never get fat because she has Boulemia.   She eats normally, but throws it all up a few hours later.  Why?  I wish to hell I knew.  Our beige carpeting is covered with throw-up stains.

02.  *Just one of Life's Mysteries

"Why don't people talk on elevators?  To quote Joel Achenbach: "Stare at shoes. Glance at ceiling.  Study elevator button panel as though it's the Rosetta Stone.  One minute on an elevator with a stranger takes about as long as the Jurassic Period."

03.  MUFON Convention

The 2014 MUFON Symposium began on July 18, 2014 at Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  I would have liked to have attended, but that was impossible. Maybe next year.

Lots of UFO observers, researchers, authors, followers, believers, disbelievers, sneerers, abductees, artists, etc  were there...  I wish I could have gone.  The subject interests me immensely.  I've written about my experience with a UFO before.  Suffice it to say.. I am a believer.. except that I can't believe the U.S. Government could keep UFO information secret.. but I do believe some of what the observers say.  Now, with all the cell phones out there, there should be some good photos of UFO's popping up. 

04.  Live Longer!

The Harvard Medical School reports that scientists now agree on the best way to boost longevity:

Eat less Calories!

05.  Billion Dollar Idea!

Fast Company offers this idea:  "In a distinct geographic area, give large sums of money randomly to people who are exceptionally nice... You could built hype around it through covert Public Relations.  It relies on the concept of intermittent reward, which is addictive.  Call it senseless acts of kindness.'"  Think about this!

06.  Question of the Day

What if "the cloud" crashes?

07.   Think Again

Here is a poem, written by fellow Intertel member, Richard Kovac:


We are
cartoon characters
rebelling against
the One who drew us.
The ink spills.
The blood flows.

08.  Women vs Men

Jen Nichols argues that the Biblical assertion that women were created by God for men and must submit to them is just baloney.  She reminds us though that for much of human history it has not been uncommon for menstruation to be considered the proof that women are less worthy than men in the eyes of the creator, and for the agony of childbirth to be regarded as punishment for Eve's disobedience to God.  Jen regards these conclusions as quaint, inadequate and insulting.

All mammalian life-forms (with minor exception) reproduce via live birth. "In this context, the female body is quite remarkable.. a specialized machine capable of producing completely formed, fully functioning miniatures of the most cognitively advanced life-forms on the planet."  Don't downplay its fantastic role in our wonderful world!

09.  Folk Singer Extraordinaire

I was just  reading an old obituary about Pete Seeger, who died 8 months ago at 95.  He wrote favorites like "Where have all the flowers gone?" and "Kisses Sweeter than Wine."  He also had his hand in the writing of "If I had a Hammer."  His efforts to raise money for clean up purposes, made the Hudson River a no longer polluted waterway.  And, of course, we all know that he gave a lot of assistance to civil rights causes.  RIP, Pete.

10.  Congress

Leigh Anne Jasheway sez (in Funny Paper) "Another Republican Congressman has been caught on video having extramarital relations.  I say we start an 'affair jar.'  Every time a lawmaker is caught in one, the minimum wage gets raised a nickel."  (I think that is a good idea!)

11.  Advertising Theory

An old magazine sez that the Ruthrauff and Ryan advertising agency had this philosophy: " and women in the mass are apt to have incredibly shallow brain-pans.  In infancy they are attracted by bright colors, glitter and noise.  And in adulthood they retain a surprisingly similar set of basic reactions." 

12.  Spermaceti

Why do we call New Bedford's favorite whale a sperm whale?  Because the early whalers found enormous amounts of white waxy material in it's snout.  The whaler's figured that it looked like another material important to human reproduction and therefore named it "the seed of a whale" or "spermaceti."  This material does not have a role to play in reproduction and is therefore misnamed.  In fact, other than that it might be used for sonar navigation, humans really do not yet know what purpose it serves.  (If my New Bedford Whaling Museum friends tell me otherwise, I will change my thinking in this regard.)


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Buying Congress; Criminal likes Dogs; Purchasing waiting period; Serial Killer dead; Jean Redpath; Robert Sherrill; Lost City; Sexual Offenders; Nose Hair; Voting Prize; Viagra; Sponges

Nice sunny Summer day.

"A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to philosophers to be obviously progress.. although whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known."  Bertram Russell

01.  Money Solicitation

Juleanna Glover, Republican political consultant likes the following solution to the 4-hour solicitations for funds that Congressmen make each day:   "...adjust the rules to say 'a member of Congress may not solicit political contributions while Congress is in session.'"

(Sounds like a great idea to me.)

02.  *Crime ..  But don't forget the dog.

A 43 year old Maryland man apparently argued with his 54 year old friend and murdered him; afterwards setting his body on fire.  After the smoke settled, he  took his victim's dog for a nice long walk.

03.  Purchases .. 3 day waiting period?

Donna Engle, retired attorney, said today in her column, that Maryland law does not provide a 3-day cooling off period for buyers to change their minds and cancel contracts, except... and then goes into a long explanation that you will have to read to understand.. I can't, but then again, I'm not an attorney.

04.  Serial Killer Dead at 75

Robert Hansen, convicted serial killer of 17 women who he kidnapped and then hunted down with a rifle in the Alaskan wilderness, died while serving a 461 year prison term.  Oh, and he also raped 30 other women.  He was the subject of a 2013 movie: The Frozen Ground, a film I will never see.

05.  Singer passes at 77.

Jean Redpath died last week.  She was a famous Scottish singer who had memorized all of Robert Burns' poems (or so it is said.)  I enjoyed her many appearances on Garrison Keillor's radio show.

06. Grouchy writer dies at 89.

Nation writer  Robert Sherrill died this week.  One of his books had this title:  "The Saturday Night Special: And Other Guns With Which Americans Won the West, Protected Bootleg Franchises, Slew Wildlife, Robbed Countless Banks, Shot Husbands Purposely and by Mistake, and Killed Presidents .. Together With the Debate Over Continuing Same."  Yes, he was "for" gun control but did not like some of the advocates for it. He also did not care much for hunters; he described them as "a swinish lot".

07.  The Lost City

Once again, the weather maps in the New York Times show the nation, with Boston, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Richmond.   But... where is Baltimore?   ..  lost in a fog of violence near the East Coast.. if we forget about it, maybe it'll go away... however, where do film crews go to make movies and TV specials showing large city scenes.. yes, that's right, Baltimore,  home of John Waters, H.L. Mencken, Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, and much more.  Even with a high amount of crime, it's a marvelous place to live.

08.  Sexual Offenders

My TRIAD law enforcement friends tell me that I was wrong when I said that a person would be put on the "sexual offenders" list just on the basis of an accusation.  It requires an actual conviction. 

09.  Bodily Orifice News

Funny Times/Jerry Perisho:  "A judge ruled Shelley Sterling can sell the LA Clippers to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.  the judge also ruled that the Clippers will remain the only professional team named after a device designed to trim nose hair."

10.  Cash Prize for Voting

The Week:  L.A. Ethics Commission President Nathen Hochman said they are considering a random drawing for up to $50,000 just for people who vote.  (Sounds like another good idea to me.)

11.  Extra Ingredient

Also: The Week:  An enterprising Chinese liquor maker boosted sales by adding Viagra to his rice wine and not mentioning it on the labels.  He was arrested when his customers started noticing some unusual side effects when drinking his wine. (Sounds like another good idea to me.)

12.  Dirty Sponges

Life Line Screening:  The kitchen sponge is probably the dirtiest and germiest thing in the kitchen, I know it is in ours.  To get it back to its pristine shape, it is recommended that we wet it and then microwave it for two minutes to kill the germs.  Or, one could put it in the dishwasher and run it on the "sanitizing cycle" (whatever that is).  I'll have to look into this more.

(Sounds like another good idea to me.)


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cat Hater; Immigrant Kids; Corn; Live Life; Animals; Prohibition; Clean Underwear; Baseball; Age; Saturday Mail; Bundy; Justice

A rainy day for a change.

"I went to the 30th reunion of my preschool.  I didn't want to go, because I've put on like a hundred pounds."  Wendy Liebman (per Funny Paper)

01.  A Person to Hate?

The Carroll County Times had the picture of a sad looking cat on its first page.. the cat was in the hospital because "a large, muscular tank-top wearing brute" slammed a pet cat onto the concrete and broke a lot of its bones.  It will live, but probably will have a hard time walking.  Right now, the cat can't move its legs at all.

Why would someone do that?

This would be termed a misdemeanor in court and would not get a very long jail sentence, if any. 

I'm reminded of my brother in law, Moe.  He and his friend, Jimmie, would terrorize their neighborhood cats and throw them in the sewer.  He knew that I didn't like that, and he may have reformed, but I doubt it. 

Who did do this?  Was it a neighbor who didn't like the cat peeing in its garden?  I predict that it is a 25  year old, whose medulla oblongata has not yet matured.

02.  *Immigrant Kids ..  Closed Meetings Again

Neil Ridgely of Finksburg, wrote a letter to the editor today, in which he lambasted Commissioners Rothschild and Shoemaker for holding a closed meeting and stirring up the feelings of the community about the possibility of some "immigrant kids" having diseases.

Jim Rowe also wrote about his displeasure with Rothschild, and how he is going to go through with a write-in campaign.  Many would like to see Jim get in and bring some rationality to the group of commissioners in Carroll County.

03.  How high is an Elephant's eye?

The average corn height in Carroll County right now is 82".   (Almost 7 feet!)

04.  L'chaim!

The Reverend Ellen M. Dize quotes Billy Graham in her column today:  "Heaven will be the perfection we've always longed for.  All the things that make earth unlovely and tragic will be absent in heaven."  Ellen says that she is saddened by the quote and says: "Must we wait until after we die to experience joy, peace, abundance and serenity?"

I agree with Ellen.  Why spend your life being depressed about life and anxious to get to go to heaven and "walk on the road to the New Jerusalem"?  Look around you.. in spite of all the evil in the world, there is also joy if you just look for it.   For example: Look in the face of a smiling little baby.

Besides, why listen to Billy Graham (alias Elmer Gantry?)  According to him, everyone is a sinner and must repent and be "born again".. in other words "Don't snap for no seven to get ya to heaven.. "  just live a good life and adhere to one of the versions of the Golden Rule... because Life is Good!  L'chaim!

05. Animal trivia from WWDTM

On today's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, I was interested in the following information:

Love birds get divorced.  (say it ain't so!)

Hawaii is offering dolphin-assisted child birth.

A shoplifter was caught because his girl friend dropped her duck!

06.   United States Government Information .. Prohibition

I'm a member of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) group.   Their monthly magazine appeared today and had this tidbit of information:

"The U.S. Border Patrol was established in 1924 following passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the import, manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages, as well as the enactment of laws putting numerical limits on immigration.  In 2003, it became part of Customs and Border Protection, under the newly created Department of Homeland Security."

My late Aunt Mary's second husband, Afton Wilson, had a nice job during Prohibition.  Whenever a rum-runner's boat was stopped by the Border Patrol and its booze confiscated, Afton's job was to take over the now-empty boat and bring it to shore.  Mary said that he got to keep the confiscated boats, but I kind of doubt that.

My Grandfather, Arthur S. Vaughan, alias, The Senator, worked in the family funeral home during Prohibition and was known to imbibe a bit on embalming fluid.  It apparently didn't mess his liver up too badly, because he lived to the age of 87.

07.  Underwear Guilt

Dave Barry, in the Funny Paper sez:  "No doubt,  your mom always told you that  your underwear should be clean and free of holes or stains, because you might get into a car crash and be taken, unconscious, to the hospital, and people would see your underwear and possibly ridicule it.  Your mom was absolutely right, as we can see from the following unretouched  transcript from the emergency room of a major hospital.
   Doctor: What do we have here?
   Nurse:  We have a car-crash victim who has severe head trauma and a broken neck and massive internal injuries and is spewing blood like a fire hydrant.
   Doctor:  (briskly): OK, lets  take a look at his underwear.  .. WHOA!  How do you get Cheez Whiz THERE?"

08.  *Unsolved Mysteries of Life

Larry Anderson asks:  "Why does everybody stand up and sing 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' when they're already there?"

09.  How old are you, really?

Harvard Medical School sez that researchers calculate that 70-year-olds today are equivalent, healthwise, to 65-year-olds who lived 30 years ago.  (what about us 80 year old geezers?)

10.  Mail Delivery Retained

My NARFE magazine sez that despite two major attempts in the House to eliminate the six-day mail delivery requirement, it appears to have "weathered the political storm." But, don't hold your breath, the six-day issue is bound to pop up again... probably as a sneaky amendment on a bill not related to postal service. 

11.  Back to Bundy .. Logic

Members of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association were at Bundy's ranch, led by their founder, Richard Mack, hero to militia airheads.  Mack suggested that it would be good to put women at the front of their group so that, if shooting began, they would be the first to die and Federal officers would be depicted as savage brutes. 

12.  Win some; Lose some

Chuck Shepherd writes in the Funny Paper:  "A jury in Fresno, CA, decided that (the defendant) was guilty of burglary, but they accidently signed the "not guilty" form, instead, and by the time (the)Judge caught the error, he could not change it (because of 'double jeopardy'.) (The defendant walked out a free man, went to his sister's home, got into a fight hours later, and was stabbed to death by the sister's boyfriend."


Friday, August 22, 2014

Garlic; Water to Drink; Culture Minister; Sleep; Shoes; Scam; Ignorance; Dow Jones; Guns; Thinking; Buffett; Iron Lady

Overcast.. some rain.. 77 degrees.

"Time flies like the wind,
Fruit flies like bananas."


01.  Don't breathe on me!

Garlic contains allicin which produces antioxidants to help prevent heart disease and certain cancers.
Raw garlic preserves the antioxidant properties better than cooked garlic. (sez Sodexo)

02.  How much water should you drink? sez:  "To determine one's ideal daily water intake, divide  your bodyweight in half and use this number as the ounces of water you should consume."

So, for a 200 or so pound chubby person like me.. I should drink 100 ounces of water daily.. that is over 12 8-ounce glasses.  I don't think I make that.. so I'm probably constantly dehydrated.

03.  New Culture Minister

BBC Music:  The Culture Minister in Britain is 44 year old Sajid Javid, a "political high-flyer" marked by right-wingers as perhaps a Prime Minister someday.  He is a different British politician.. he is the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver, and a hard worker who has made himself rich as a banker.  He also managed to get into the cabinet without going to Eton.. a rare accomplishment.

Interesting.. but why does Britain need a "culture minister" anyway?  Does the United States need one?  Does he "ride herd" on the BBC?  I need to check this out.

04.  Nightie Night!

I haven't gotten much sleep for the past week because I've had to get up early to take care of some of my organizational commitments.  In a sleep study, it was determined that people who get less sleep than they need functioned at only 20% of the level of people who slept more.  I wonder about that.

A famous singer said that he never slept more than 3 hours each night.. but his friends said that he really got 4 hours sleep.  He finally burned himself out and died.  A sad loss for the world of music. Perhaps you remember his song:  Never Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd.  Yes, it was Roger Miller. 

I'm going to misquote Ben Franklin here:  Ben said:

4 hours of sleep is enough for a man
5 hours of sleep is enough for a woman
6 hours of sleep is enough for an idiot

I'm sure that I'm a little off on this, but you get the idea.  Ben didn't like sleeping when there were so many things to invent and marvelous places to go, and wonderful things to do.

05.  All pumped up!

Kellee Khalil, 29 years old, and founder of, New York.. says:  "When I first moved to New York, I had 65 pairs (of shoes), but closet space is an issue, so there was a purging.  I'm down to 35."

I'm sorry.. how many pairs of shoes does a person need.. at least a guy... one nice pair to wear to weddings; one pretty good pair to wear everywhere else.  That's it. Everything else is gluttony.

06.  *Crime .. Scam .. Driving School Referrals

In Tennessee,  a judge was sent to prison after an F.B.I. probe found that he was taking kickbacks for sending offenders to a driving school.  These kickbacks were estimated to be for thousands of dollars.

07.  Ignorant "Thinking" (if you can call it that)

The Washington Spectator reported on some of the "thinking" about the President and his "agenda" by outspoken critics, for example:

"Common Core curriculum has been developed to control our children, to brainwash them."

"When they have the data, they will control the population.  They will take away our individuality, our individual rights."

"Our President is a puppet."

"The President terrifies me... he's taking away our freedoms.. I worry about my grandchildren."

(These people have probably been spending too much time with Fox News and perhaps listening to the likes of Texas and Louisiana politicians.)

08.  Happy Days are here again!

The Dow Jones average nudged above the 17,000 mark again today.  Also, Pepco notified me that my shares will be increased if an upcoming merger goes through.  Ah.. to be in that upper 1% again....

09.  Are you holdin'?

A young black man was shot by police for carrying a bb gun through a WalMart in Ohio.  Ohio is an "open-carry state", and holding a gun is legal as long as it is visible.  So why did this man get shot?  Maybe its against the law to carry a replica of a real gun in Ohio?

10.  More "Thinking"

Dean Minnich and Lou Piel are always asking folks to "think"... well, that is all well and good for the average citizen in Maryland (can't say as much for other states).. however, some of our politicians have tried this thinking thing but weren't very good at it, so they gave up.

11.  Failure to Report

I'm disillusioned, my hero, Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway company will be paying close to a million dollars fine because they failed to report a transaction as required by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Anti-trust law.  Of course, a million dollars is "chump change" to Mr. Buffett.

12.  Iron Lady

An Indian human rights activist has been on a long hunger strike to protest army atrocities.  Irom Sharmila, who runs the Just Peace Foundation was released yestertday.. she had been force fed through the nose three times a day for 14 years!  Every year she has been released and then rearrested for attempted suicide, a crime in India.  She is known as the Iron Lady of Manipur.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Day in the Life of Joe Vaughan

Overcast and a little rainy... very muggy and middle 80's.

Today was a very strange day.. let me lay it out for the benefit of my progeny who may be interested in such mundane things.

6:30 AM  ..  Stagger out of bed
...Wash dishes; feed cat; fix my breakfast; prepare for TRIAD Meeting; read newspaper;
9:30 AM  ..  Leave for TRIAD Meeting
9:50 AM  ..  Conduct TRIAD Meeting
Meet Wils, Police Intern, "shadowing" Sargent Keith Benfer
Pick Keith's brain about Westminster Police stuff
Pick Stan Prouser's brain about his recent Australia trip for his daughter's wedding.

... Stan story:  While Stan was in Australia, a fisherman dropped his favorite lure into a lake.  He dove in to retrieve it and was eaten by "Michael Jordan"  a 14 foot long alligator.  The alligator was shot.

An enterprising gentleman had been leading trips across the lake for several years, and one of the attractions was feeding "Michael Jordan".. every day at 3PM, the alligator would show up next to the boat and wait while a large hunk of meat was dangled from a hook over his head.  The alligator would then leap out of the water and devour his lunch.  A great crowd pleaser and a money-maker for the boat owner. 

The day after "Michael Jordan" was shot..  the boat man and his guests anxiously awaited the alligator's appearance at 3PM... of course, he never showed up.   The boatman is now suing the guy who shot "Michael Jordan."  Sounds like the making of a folk legend.

Pick the brains of the others at the TRIAD meeting.. except for "the old lady."

Yes.. I kept her waiting until the last because I knew she would talk on and on and on.
She started by being very critical of all of us and how we conduct the meeting.
After a while, I got tired of her and kicked her out of the meeting.
Yes, I kicked a 90 year old woman in a wheelchair out of a meeting.  (You had to be there.)
She immediately complained about me to the Center Leader.. you could hear snatches of he tirade.. "respect".. "wheelchair"..  etc etc.

So, after the meeting, I gave the leader my side of the story.. and she was nice and listened.

Later, I saw "the old lady" in the hall, and I said: "I apologize."  She said: "Apology accepted." So I guess we are friends again.  I just cannot let her come to any more meetings if I don't want to lose the other members.

My action reminded me of an old Joke.   Max took his son on a train ride to his old home town.

When they got off the train at the station, a man came running up with his hand out to be shaken.  He yelled:  "Hey, Max, how are you?"    Max said: "Go to hell!" Max' son was shocked and embarrassed.

Later, the son was walking through the town alone, and he came upon the man from the station.  The son said: "Sir, I am very sorry for the way my father treated you this morning.  He really isn't like that, and I apologize for him."

The man from the station said: "That's OK.  Oh, by the way, is your mother still sleeping with the milkman?  And your sister, did she have an abortion?  And your uncle, is he still in jail for burglary?"

The son said:  "Go to hell!"

..... Ok.. other than that the TRIAD meeting was a success.  We discussed all of the crime that has taken place in Carroll County during the last week.  We learned that the Black Gorilla Gang members who were involved in taking over the Baltimore city prison, have been transferred to a California prison.. the only bad thing about that is... it's a swap.. they get our bad guys and we get some of their bad guys.

We also learned that the highly successful Carroll County Senior Expo will not take place in October of 2014, but will take place in spring of 2015.  It is being changed so that it will not interfere with similar expos in Baltimore and Howard Counties.

After TRIAD, I donated the uneaten cookies to the Senior Center.. nobody ate a cookie at our meeting.. I wonder why?  They were good chocolate chips.  Maybe it was because the guy with coffee never showed up.  Next time, I'll have to remind him, because I wrote in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper that we would be serving coffee and cookies at TRIAD.

11:30 AM: I had a little time available after TRIAD, so I went to Wendy's for a hamburger.  The counter clerk asked me what kind of cheese I wanted on my hamburger... I said: "No cheese"... This threw the young lady into a mini panic, and she had to go ask the manager how to handle my request.  Finally, I got a semi-dried burger on a cold white roll.  I'm a Wendy's shareholder and I should have written a note somewhere telling managers that a warm toasted roll makes a diner happy and eager to return.. and as a shareholder they should try my suggestion.

After Wendy's, I still had time and went to Staples to look at FitBit type electronics.  They all indicate that they record steps, calories, and sleep activity.  We'll see.. I have one ordered from Amazon.

12:30 PM  Now it was time to go to the farmer's market at the Hospital.  I bought 2 fat cukes, 2 fat cantalopes   and six chubby ears of corn.  Nice stuff that you cannot get at a regular grocery store... at least not as tasty.  Speaking of tasty, neighbor Stan Milligan brought us some more bright red tomatoes.. also very tasty. 

1:30 PM Next was gasoline.  The pump would not accept my credit card until I had submitted it 8 or 9 times. But it finally worked and my Giant Grocery points allowed me to spend 50 cents a gallon less than the going rate.

2:30 PM And for the finale.. it was the day that Dr. Goldman, retina specialist sticks a needle in my right eye to keep my macular degeneration from disabling me.  Now, I have two black dots flying around my vision.  One is very small and I'm used to ones like that.  The other, however, is big as a housefly, which is what it looks like to me.. and is why I keep trying to swat it.  Such is life when you get old.

I may have mentioned this before, but one time I had my eyes checked by a new guy at the retina office.  He was obviously a regular guy who was up to date on slang, because he told me: "Hey, man, your right eye ain't doin' so good, but your left eye.. it's smokin'!"

5:30 PM  On the way home, it started to rain and my glasses kept fogging up, and my eye-poke was hurting, and my eyes were dilated... so, I treated myself to a Boston Crème Donut at Dunkin' Donuts!
Just a little reward for a day of some aggravation. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Children Well-Being; Chocolate; Steak; Hall of Fame; Senior Citizens; Longevity; Savagery; Volcanic Eruptions; Glucosamine; Poem; College Entrance; Yorick; Bernstein

Hot, with a few showers and some sun.

"Truer words were never uttered
Food tastes best when buttered."   Anonymous

01.  Children .. How are they doing?

Tom Zirpoli reports in the Carroll County Times today about the Annie E.  Casey Foundation's 2014 take on the well being of the nation's children.

It was found that the top five states with economic, education, health and family/community well-being opportunities for children were Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Minnesota.

It the bottom of the list were:  Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Mississippi.

Maryland was somewhere less than the middle.

Only one state has 99% of the children signed up with health care...  that's right: Massachusetts.

The worst state in almost all areas of well-being for children was...  that's right: Mississippi.

02.  *Chocolate and Walking

(Per Bottomline, Personal) Now it has been found that people who eat some chocolate are able to walk farther than those who do not.  Apparently dark chocolate has a high concentration of polyphenols, which seem to improve blood flow to the legs.  (A shame I didn't know this when I was having all those problems with my legs.)

03.  Steak Time

Today, I visited the Omaha Steaks store in Towson, Maryland.  I bought 8 Top Sirloin Steaks for a rather cheap price.  Their meat is extremely good.  I usually cook the steak in the oven and Elaine and I both like it kind of medium rare.. but actually more rare than medium.  Ummmm Good!

04  Hall of Fame

Before visiting Omaha Steaks, I attended the Board Meeting of the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, of which I am a member.  We are finishing up plans for this year's induction of awardees.  It's amazing what Senior Citizens accomplish after retirement to make the world a better place to live.

Our induction ceremony will be in October in Glen Burnie, Maryland.  We will probably have 400 attendees to honor 40 or so awardees.  Four people will be given the Geri, which is the Senior Citizen equivalent to the Oscar.

05.  Longevity

(Bottom Line, Personal)  The World Health Organization says that "the average life expectancy worldwide for girls is now 73 years, and boys, 68.  The top country for male life expectancy is Iceland at 81.2 years, and females, Japan at 87 years."

I'm sure the worldwide averages are lowered by disease problems in some third world countries.  What about loss of life because of war? 

06.  Inhumanity

On the newsstands today is a full page picture in a New York newspaper of an American who is about to be beheaded.  The caption under the picture is:  SAVAGES!  (Amen to that. This, of course, will make blood boil throughout the United States.  I just  hope that our feelings do not get us into another unwinnable war, where our young men kill and get killed and accomplish nothing.  Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds have been killing each other for centuries.. it is idiocy for us to get back into the middle of the situation.  That is my opinion.)

07.  Thank Goodness!

I just learned (Bottom Line, Personal) that I may already have coverage in case of volcanic eruptions! It is included in standard homeowner's policies.

08. Really?

(Bottom Line, Personal)  A University of Arizona study indicates that Glucosamine, that millions of Americans take to treat osteoarthritis doesn't work any better than a placebo.   (Tell that to Elaine, who has been using it for years and swears that it  keeps her from debilitating pain in her joints.)

09.  Another Poem

Mensan Richard Lederer wrote another poem about pronunciation:

Job's Job

In August, an august  patriarch,
Was reading an ad in Reading, Mass.
Long-suffering Job secured a job
To polish piles of Polish brass.

 10.  College Bound?

Bernard A. Weisberger wrote in American Heritage about entrance exams: (I am editing this a little, but not much.)

France: Youngsters were asked for a four-hour essay on one of three topics:

a. Soviet domestic policies
b. Resistance to the Nazis in Europe
c. Presidential power and the Constitution in United States foreign and domestic policy since 1945.

Germany: Youngsters take the Abitur, which differs in German states:

In Bavaria, three and a half hours were allowed for two essays from six topic areas:

a.  German nationalism in the period from 1830 to 1848
b.  The Germany of the Kaiser and the Great Powers.
c.   The origins of German industrial society
d.   The Weimar Republic
e.   National Socialism
f.    The "Cold War"

England and Wales:  two hours for three essays  on selected topics in British history from 1485 to 1714:

a.  Religious Wars
b.  Changes in agriculture
c.  Colonization
d.  The Rise of Parliament
e.   Why did James 1 find it more difficult than Elizabeth 1 to deal with the House of Commons?

 All of this was about History... how do you think American High School Graduates would handle questions similar to these about United States history?  Would they answer questions like the kids in "Jay Walking" TV episodes?  Probably.  Hello.... Common Core?  Needed?

11.  Alas, Poor Andre

(BBC Music Magazine)  The Royal Shakespeare Company has revealed that long-deceased concert pianist Andre Tchaikowsky has been appearing on stage in Hamlet.  He died in 1982, and according to his will, his skull was preserved until 2007, when it could begin to be used to portray the part of Yorick.

12.  Time for Leonard

XM-Sirius radio will be devoting it's Symphony Hall Channel 76 next week to Leonard Bernstein.  There will be talks by persons who knew him and of  course, a lot of performances of his works... especially music from West Side Story and Candide.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crime Wave; PFLAG; Space Station; Salt; Memory; News; Dow; High; Iraq; Reparations; Bicycle Seats

Sunny;  hot;  muggy; but nice Summer day.. with an occasional cool breeze.

"An herb store owner, name of Herb,
Moved to rainier Mt. Rainier,
It would have been so nice in Nice,
And even tangier in Tangier."

Mensan Richard Lederer

01.  Crime Wave

Today's Carroll County Times for Westminster, Maryland reported on all the crime that occurred in the past few days in this normally quiet town.

a.  A 19 year old with a bad  temper,  tried to slice his father up with a machete.  He also threatened police officers as they arrested him.

b.  A drunken 24 year old was holding a bottle of rum and a handgun when confronted by a State policeman.

c.  A clerk in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was arraigned for purchasing medical supplies for three  years without seeking competitive bids and without  requiring written contracts.

d.  A 19 year old was arrested for burglary with four accomplices. 

e.  A 32 year-old violated a protective order.

f.  A 28 year-old woman was charged with robbery, theft and assault.

g.  A 29 year-old violated a protective order.

h.  A 51 year old man was arrested for inappropriate "touching."

i.  A 56 year-old sex-offender was arrested for inappropriately touching a 15 year-old.

j.  A 34 year-old and a 26 year-old were stopped for a traffic violation; they had marijuana in the car.

k. A 27 year-old was arrested for robbery and assault.

What's going on?  Has the Devil been let loose on our  town?

02.  Nice party

The Carroll County Times did a major story about the PFLAG chapter in Westminster, Maryland. (PFLAG = Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)  Well written article and pictures from a cookout/party.  I wonder how the "haters" will respond to this story and pictures.

03.  Thar she goes

The International Space Station will be flying brightly over the Baltimore area at 9:09 PM Thursday (August 21, 2014) and 8:21 PM Friday  (August 22, 2014).  The flyover with begin in the Northwest and move Southeast.    For more information:  

04.  Germ of an Idea?

If we are supposed to only have 1/2 teaspoonful of salt each day, how about designing a salt shaker that can open each day to just the proper amount to be used that day?

Elaine, in her usual clear thinking mode says: "What about the salt we get from processed food?"

05.  Wisdom of the Elderly

The Grandma in the Family Circle cartoon said it:  "I've heard it all, seen it all, and done it all... now I just can't remember it all."

06.  All the News...

Last night, the Canadian Broadcast System's remarkable program: "As it Happens", interviewed Alain DeBotton by telphone.  Alain is half Swiss and British and lives in London.  He has crammed a lot of living into his 44 years, as a writer of several books, director of TV series, director of radio shows; giver of TED talks; developer of podcasts, etc.   Alain has had a love affair with the British rag, the Daily Mail, and has created his own news online: The Philosopher's Mail... where he outlines the news that people are really interested in...  a lot like the Daily Mail in fact..'

Example of a Daily Mail piece of news:  "Armed robbers attacked a British jewelry store with sledgehammers and tried to get money from customers.  The customers did not like that, so they subdued the leader and sat on top of him until the police came... a little too heavily though.. he died."

Alain looks at things through the lenses of his philosopher's eyes and supposedly sees things that the Daily Mail only hinted at.  (I could have all of this wrong. I need to read some of Alain's books.)

One of Alain's books was The News: a User's Manual  which covers 25 news stories, which are analyzed to show the effect of news on modern mentality.

Anyway, Mr. DeBotton quotes Confucius:  "The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions."

07.  Come on... I want to get rich..

The Dow Jones Average is inching back up to the 17,000 mark.  It closed Monday at 16,838.74.

08.  Let's get High!

ETR Associates (a non-profit organization) published a booklet with the title: 101 Ways to Get High Without Drugs.   Some of these ways are:

Listen to music
Play with your cat
Watch the sky
Milk a cow or goat
Make up a joke
Buy someone a present
Work a puzzle
Lift weights
Make weird noises
Lie in the grass

Noah Strycker wrote  The Thing with Feathers..
Hug someone!

09.  For  the Birds

Noah Strycker wrote The Thing with Feathers, the surprising lives of birds and what they reveal about being human.  I found it very interesting that mirror recognition, found in only a handful of big-brained mammals, shows in only one bird.. the European magpie..Strycker even claims that magpies have been observed holding "funerals" for fallen comrades, laying grass by the body and then standing vigil. 

A visit to Wikipedia reveals that gorillas do not recognize themselves in mirrors, and only an occasional chimpanzee does so.  One bird test was done on magpies.. a scientist put a yellow tag on a magpie's chest feathers and then let it look into a mirror.  Before looking into the mirror, the bird showed no interest in what was on its chest.. but immediately after seeing it in the mirror reflection, it began to peck at its chest.

10.  Iraq  .. let's get  it straight

The Nation, in an editorial, spells out some of the facts about what is going on in Iraq:

1.   "... the Iraq civil war is the direct result of the Bush Administration's criminal decision in 2003, illegal under international law, to attack a country that was not involved in 9/11, had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no threat to the United States."  This led to the destruction of Iraq's central institutions, including the army , the police and the Baath party.  The power vacuum resulted in Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish sections. "The countless dead left on the streets of Iraq's cities, then and now, are on George W. Bush's head."

2.  "The decision to withdraw entirely from Iraq in 2011 was signed in Baghdad by President Bush himself in 2008, as the price for that year's Status of Forces Agreement."

"Obama should provide humanitarian relief for the estimated half-million refugees who have fled the ISIS offensive."

11.  Pay up now

A columnist for an Egyptian newspaper proposes that Egypt sue Israel in International Court for reparations for the ten biblical plagues cast  from Hebrew curses, including boils, lice, locusts and turning the Nile River into blood.  (So says Chuck Shepherd in the Funny Paper)

12.  Flash!  For the Buttocks Challenged

One of the Airlines, I don't know which one, has decided  to provide some flyers with "bicycle seats."
Perhaps they will also have exercycles so that your flight will not be all wasted time.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Guns in Church; Guns in School; Guns for Babies; Goat lover; Spelling; Selling Art; Reality Shows; Bonhoeffer; Stengle; Eyesight; Success; Common Core

Sunny, hot, nice.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them."  Albert Einstein

01.  Guns for Jesus

Back in March of this  year, the Kentucky Baptist Convention started giving away free steak dinners and guns to encourage "unchurched young rednecks to come to church and accept Jesus.  (I wonder if the program was successful.)

 02.  Guns to  School

 In Idaho, students may bring guns to school.  Greg Hamilton, Boise State University professor asks what he should do if a student violently disputes a grade.  "Encouraging guns on campus."  "What a fine way to teach responsibility to thousands of hormone-filled young people experimenting with drugs, sex, alcohol - and now, guns."

03.  Guns for Babies

Steve Stockman, a Texas Representative was knocked out of the primary race.  His campaign used bumper stickers that read:  "If babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted."

04.  To Each His Own

 A Nigerian man who was arrested for having sex with a goat, said that he had asked the animal's permission first.  He told officers that the ruminant had consented and that since, he had sex with her on at least ten occasions.  His sentence: two weeks in jail.

05.  Spellbound Poetry by Richard Lederer (Mensa Bulletin)

Tough Stough

1.  The wind was rough.
The cold was grough.
She kept her hands
Inside her mough.

2.  And even though
She loved the snough,
The weather was
A heartless fough.

3.  It chilled her through.
Her lips turned blough.
The frigid flakes
They blough and flough.

4.  They shook each bough,
And she saw hough
The animals froze ..
Each cough and sough.

5.  While at their trough,
Just drinking brough,
Were frozen fast
Each slough and mough.

6.  It made her hiccough --
Worse than a sticcough
She drank hot cocoa
For an instant  piccough.

My brother Joe, an expert on the English language, writes often about the atrocious spelling of English words.

06.  Don't Sell Your Art!

The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington is trying to raise money by selling some of its famous art works.  This has upset the Association of Art Museum Directors.  They think that cash-strapped museums should sponsor events that would raise money, rather than selling their treasures.

The museum sold a painting by William Holman Hunt: Isabella and the Pot of Basil and they are planning to sell two more works:  Winslow Homer's Milking Time (1875)  and Alexander Calder's "The Black Crescent.. a mobile.

The Hunt and Homer works are masterpieces... but the Calder's is a hunk of junk.. one of Calder's frauds perpetrated on the nouveau riche  trying to buy entre into the so-called "upper class."

07.  Reality Shows?

Michael Ian Black, in reviewing Arts and Entertainment by Christopher Beha, writes:

"... When a show about a family of bearded duck-call makers  becomes a national phenomena, ... (it... reality shows) provide bubble-gum morality plays  in 30-minute increments without having to get dressed up on Sunday mornings."

08.  Fight against Tyranny

Randall Balmer reviews Strange Glory,  A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Randall writes that Bonheoeffer gave his blessings to those who conspired to murder Hitler, while affirming the non-violence of the Gospel.  He invoked Luther's dictum "to sin boldly."

His disillusionment with the Fuehrer began in 1931 when Nazi banners began to be displayed in churches.. when one minister declared: "Christ has come to us through Adolf Hitler."  His first protest against the regime began when the so-called Aryan paragraph passed by the
Reichstag on April 7, 1933.  It mandated the removal of all Jews, even baptized Jews, from civil service, which included the churches.

A gentle man with  a deep belief in God.. He was executed by the Gestapo.

09.  Management Theory

"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided."
Casey Stengle

10.  Macular Degeneration Avoidance

Harvard Medical School says:  Macular Degeneration is the main cause of severe vision loss in older people (I know this from experience).  Tips:

a.  Don't smoke.
b.  Wear Sunglasses.
c.  Eat kale and spinach.
d.  Exercise.
e.  Eat Fish and Nuts
f.  Keep your weight down

11.  Success

Someone asked a famous man whether youth is a necessary factor in success.  
He replied: "Well, to answer that question, I turn to my favorite philosopher, myself.  a  man is young if a lady can make him happy or unhappy.  He enters middle age when a lady can make him happy , but no longer unhappy.  He is old and gone if a lady can make him neither happy nor unhappy.  Well, I am still a young man!"

What the hell does that all mean?

12.  *Common Core  ..  ideas

Southern Poverty Law Center writes:  "Many Christian Right activists claim the Common Core will indoctrinate young children into the 'homosexual lifestyle' and instill anti-American, anti-Christian values.  Their fight has been joined by radical antigovernment groups like the John Birch Society, which claims the standards are part of a global conspiracy to create a totalitarian 'New World Order.'  Glen Beck, meanwhile describes the Common Core as 'evil' and 'communism'.  U.S. Senator
Rand Paul has called it 'dangerous.'"

Unbelievable!  Come on, Guys...let's use a little common sense on Common Core!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Immigrant Kids; Perry Indicted; Sewage Spillage; FBI Celebrity; Donuts; Police; 911 Memorial; Licia Albanese; Container; Garrison Keillor; Freud

More sun .. plants are loving it. Corn is now 81" high!

"I know nothing about art."  Michael Miller, CEO and Director of the Delaware Art Museum.

01.  *Immigrant Kids  ..  Missed Opportunity

Reverend William Thomas, pastor of the Hereford United Methodist Church, in his religious column today chastises Carroll County for missing a "Christian" opportunity to hold some of the immigrant kids.  (Perhaps the Commissioners were too busy writing their meeting opening prayers.)

02.  Other United Methodists Activity

The Johnsville United Methodist Church had its "Peach and Pickle Festival and Yard Sale today.  Do those two foods mix well? Sounds good  to me.

03.  Perry is indicted

Texas Governor, Rick Perry, has been indicted by a Grand Jury for "abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant."  Abuse is a first  degree felony which could result in lots of jail time.  Coercion is a 3rd degree felony, which could result in up to 10  years in jail.

04.  Maryland Sewage Collection

More than 3 million gallons of raw (but diluted) sewage spilled into the Patapsco River and Jones Falls during and after Tuesday's massive rain downpour.

What happens to this sewage?  Does it get mixed with the other water in Chesapeake Bay?  Does it stay sewage as it gets to the ocean?

05.  FBI Story.. maybe

Tim Gunn was interviewed on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me this week, and he had a story to tell:

His father worked for the FBI, and one day took 9 year old Tim and his 7 year old sister to work with him.  At one point, Tim's father asked the kids if they would like to meet Vivian Vance, Lucille Ball's TV sidekick.   The kids liked that TV show and yelled: "Sure!"
Ms Vance was in FBI Director J Edgar Hoover's office, and met the kids there and was very charming to them.

Nine years later, the kids were recalling the visit with Ms Vance, and Tim wondered why J. Edgar wasn't in the room with Ms Vance, and how a TV star could get into FBI headquarters.  A friendly FBI friend checked the sign-in records and other visitor logs for that day, and could find no record of any Ms Vance ever being in the FBI office.

06.  Relate to World Events

Chinese Proverb:  "He who rides a tiger can never get off."

07.  Donut Heaven

Westminster, Maryland policemen  are spending 30 hours on top of the local Dunkin' Donut Shop to raise money for Special Olympics.  Our police department has a good relationship with the city's population.  some of our policemen are retired from the Baltimore Streets and enjoy the peacefulness and law abiding spirit of a small town.

08.  911 Memorial

If you go to New York to see the 911 site, remember, New York is not the most friendly restroom city in the world.  However, things are changing somewhat in that regard.  Trinity Episcopal church at the foot of Wall Street and its nearby satellite Chapel, St. Paul's now have restrooms that are open to the public, and well cared for. 

By the way, the Episcopal parish that includes Trinity and St. Paul's is quite rich.  It has real estate holdings estimated at $3 billion and an annual income of over $193 million! So.. what do they do with all that money... around $150,000 is used to keep those rest rooms in good shape.. and they also hand out brown bag lunches to the homeless.   What about all the millions??

09.  A Famous Soprano Passes

Licia Albanese died Friday at the age of 105.  She sang in more than 400 productions of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

She was a Puccini specialist, and was a perfect Butterfly and also Mimi.  She was hailed as a notable Tosca, Violetta in LaTraviata, and Liu in Turandot.  She was an expert at "expiring" on stage, as in La Boheme, La Traviata, Manon Lescaut, and Madame Butterfly.  She was known to have gargantuan disputes with Met Manager, Rudolf Bing.

10.  Surprize!

Loud screams and hammering was heard as a shipping container from Belgium was being unloaded at a London dock.  Inside were 35 people, one of whom was dead.  Nobody understood their languages, so it is not known where they were from.

11.  Bad books?

Garrison Keillor was interviewed this week by the New York Times and I found the last questions interesting:

NYT:  "Disappointing, overrated, just not good:  What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn't?  Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?"

GK:  "'Winesburg, Ohio,' by Sherwood Anderson, is pretty dreadful, and it inspired a lot of bad books about sensitive adolescent males needing to flee the philistines in their hometowns.  As for putting books down without finishing them, I do that all the time.  When you pass 70, you are no longer obligated to finish what you've started, not a book, not a meal, not even a sentence."

12.  Freud in Paris and Vienna

Vivian Gornick reviewing Becoming Freud by Adam Phillips, writes "... (Freud) received a medical degree in 1882 and went to Paris in 1885 to study with the neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, who was treating hysteria with hypnosis."

(Doctor Charcot's name was applied to a problem my late wife had: Charcot Joint.. where small bones in the foot were breaking down.  His name was also applied to the condition that Elaine Lottes has, called Charcot Marie Tooth. CMT.. Doctors Marie and Tooth collaborated with Doctor Charcot.)

Later, he set up private practice in Vienna.

The Key:  "Freud formulated the idea that many neuroses originated in traumatic experiences that had occurred in the past and, too painful to be lived with, had remained hidden from our conscious selves.  He concluded that there was an unconscious wherein reside a huge amount of information about ourselves, that if brought to light, would relive us of our mental distress."

Important books by Freud that I have not read and don't have enough life left to read:

The Interpretation of Dreams

The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious

Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality