Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marriage; Social Security Move; Beaten Burglers; Police Texting

Sunny and coolish.. not bad day.

"Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity." 
George Bernard Shaw  (1856-1950)

01. New York Marriages

New York Times:  I did some more analysis on marriage announcements shown in the New York Times for 9/28/14, and came up with these amazing figures:

A total of 22 couples had their vows administered by these ordinary religious folks:

Catholic Priests              =  5 
Episcopal Priests            =  5
Rabbis                            =  4
Lutheran Ministers         =  3
Presbyterian Minister     =  1
Methodist Minister         =  1
Baptist Minister              =  1
Church of Christ Min     =  1
Non-denominational M  =  1

Other people who administered vows:

Catholic Arch-bishop  =   1
State Judge                  =   1
Federal Judge              =   2
Justice of the Peace    =    2
State Official              =    1
Town Manager           =    1
Town Mayor               =    1

The largest category of people who administered vows was those who became Universal Life Ministers just for the occasion:  10 people did that.

And.. out of the 41 couples in the study:

There were 3 gay marriages.
There were 2 interracial marriages.
There were 2 couples whose pictures indicate that they could pass for twins.

As I've mentioned before, the people who have their wedding information shown in the New York Times all appear to be professional folks, with advanced college degrees and interesting occupations.  For instance, one gay couple both have major composing and directing roles on Broadway.  The write-up on their wedding was an extremely lucid view of how rich folk celebrate in the New York area.

02.  Social Security Move

Carroll County Times:  An article mentioned that the Social Security Data Center will be moved to the Frederick, Maryland area from Woodlawn.  This was news to me.  But then again, even though the Alumni group has an office in Woodlawn, we have no need to have access to internal Social Security activity.

This information opens up lots of questions for me:

Who (specifically) will move to the new building?
What will become of the old data center in Woodlawn?
Was the Union involved?
How long will it take to move?
Who thought this up?
Have the Congressmen in the Baltimore area lost out to the ones in Frederick?
When will this all occur?
How will this affect my son who is a computer expert at Woodlawn?
How does this affect the Social Security Savings and Loan?

03.  Mysterious Crime Situation

Carroll County Times:  An article mentions that two men broke into a Mount Airy, Maryland house at 4 am and threated the 4 occupants with guns.  From what I can make out of the article, the four people did not want to give up their money and began to fight with the intruders, who were getting beaten up as the front door opened and State Policemen entered to capture them.  Mug shots were shown, and both men looked as though they had been in a tough fight.

I have lots of questions about this story:

Were the victims karate experts?
Were all four victims in the same room?
How did the State Police know to come in at just the right time?
Why didn't the Perps use their weapons?
Is there a lot more involved in this story?

I think so.  We will have to wait for more Police information.  Intriguing though.

04.  Texting while policing

CC Times:  Carroll County police are increasing their use of electronic media, including implementation of a text notification system.. where people will be forewarned of problems by police-prepared text messages.  I personally hate texting.  When I had it on my phone, I would get spam texts and each one cost me $1.. so I had it taken off.  Besides, who needs to text me anyway?

That's enough for today.  Lots of other things to do.  Bye.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Rain; WWII Planes; ISIS; President; Barbarism; Rich Crooks; Climate Change; Mother Nature; Sweetness; Trivia; Humor; Inversion; Oaths

Overcast day.. the first one that I can remember for quite some time. 

Did you know that Baltimore, Maryland has the same amount of rain per year as Seattle, Washington?  I know that is hard to believe because it's always raining in Seattle, but apparently most of our rain comes during the night.. just like in Camelot.  Aren't we lucky?

"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly!
Like a teatray in the sky."

Lewis Carroll  Alice in Wonderland

01.  A Chance to Soar

Next week, some World War II planes will be coming back to the Carroll County Regional Airport in Westminster, Maryland, and we will have a ringside seat on our deck to watch these well-kept antiques flying through our valley.  Three planes will be showcased: 

B17 Flying Fortress
B24 Liberator
P51 Mustang (dual control)

To fly in one of the bombers will cost you $450 for 30 minutes.

To fly in the Mustang (and maybe take over one control) will cost $2,200 for 30 minutes, or $3200 for a full hour.

World War II veterans "get in free"... I think that means that the vets will be able to get free tours of the planes, while ordinary folks will have to pay $12.  Where I live (Carroll Lutheran Village) has lots of guys who served in WWII.  I missed out by 7 years, but me and my buddies kept the home front free for democracy.

02. Make ISIS into WASWAS?

Yesterday, warplanes struck ISIS strongholds in Syria, as ISIS moved its adherents into the homes of civilians (nice guys!)  The news of the strikes was posted inconspicuously on page A7 of the Carroll County Times, while news about a local presentation ceremony occupied page A1.  Who was it that said that all news is local?

03.  In Defense of our President

The Progressive Populist:  Boehner said: "The president appears to view the effort against ISIL(ISIS) as an isolated counterterrorism campaign, rather than as what it must be: an all-out effort to destroy and enemy that has declared a holy war against America and the principles for which we stand."

"Our conclusion: Obama has plenty of feck.  He has enough sense to deny ISIS the reinvasion of IRAQ by American troops that the jihadis want. And he has an air force to supply cover for any native army that proves to be worth covering.  And once again, thank goodness John McCain isn't making the call."


04.  Random Barbarism Foiled

New York Times:  Australian PM Tony Abbott said that police foiled an ISIS plan to carry out a beheading of a random member of the public.  At the same time, the New York City police went on high alert because of ISIS warnings of attacks on Jews celebrating New Year.

05  Rich Criminals

Towson Times:  In the unit block of Texas Station Road a cashier behind the counter at Lowe's home improvement store was robbed at knife point.  The robber escaped in a Jaguar.

06  Climate Change

Tribune500,000 people marched in New York City for Climate Change.. the event was covered on one of the back pages only.

07  Mother Nature

Just when I thought that we had survived a nice Summer season without any nasty events, a strong wind came up out of nowhere and blew over my deck umbrella, squashed some flower plants, harvested some green tomatoes, and tore a hole in the screen door. 

08  You Sweet Thing, You!

New York  Times:  I didn't know this before, but aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar.   Apparently, this bothers Nutra-Sweet, because they are getting out of the aspartame business.  Is this the yellow, blue or pink envelope?

09  Entertainment Trivia

a.  Name 3 musicals based on Shakespeare's work

1.  Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate (Taming of the Shrew)
2.  Rodgers and Hart's  The Boys from Syracuse (The Comedy of Errors)
3.  Bernstein's West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet)

b.  What are the names of the street gangs who slug it out in West Side Story?

Jets and Sharks

c.  How old was Irving Berlin when he died?


d.  What was Fred Astaire's real name?

Frederick Austerlitz

e.  Who was the famous singer who sang the role of stevedore Joe in the 1936 film version of Show Boat?

Paul Robeson

(Once, when Robeson was reviewing a script of Porgy and Bess, he asked the director what all the "Dis", "Dat", and "Dose" words meant.  Paul had no experience with folks that used those words.)

10  Who knew?

Car Talk:  The guys mentioned witzelsucht, which is a condition of excessive facetiousness and inappropriate or pointless humor.  People with this condition have trouble relating to the humor of other persons.  I'm sure we have all met some folks who are suffering with this condition.

11  Inversion News

New York Times:  Senators Sherrod Brown and Dick Durbin have written a bill to levy an additional tax on those companies going offshore.. at the point they depart.

12.  An Option

Carroll County Times:  The United States Air Force has now made the words "so help me God" optional in their oaths because of the threat of legal action by an atheistic airman.  This should generate a lot of comments.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Christmas Gifts; Feet Wheels; Animal Pillows; Wine-filled Bra; Bumpers; Poo Poo; Leg Lamp; Mason Jars; Cushion

Sunny and warm.  Nice Fall Day!

"Tous les jours, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux."

Emile Coue (1858-1926)  His formula at his Nancy clinic.

"Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better."

Every year, I let people know about items that they can consider as Christmas gifts.  Some folks can't wait to see my "picks".. others don't give a damn, but here goes for Christmas in 2014:

(All of these items were found in Kotula's (The Guys with the Goods) Catalogue)

01.  Orbitwheel.. portable transportation.

Large wheels that you fit on your feet to give you the thrill of a skateboard or inline skates.  Can be easily taken on subways or in the car.  Just step into the circles and begin to "go."  Fun for ages 10+.
And only $99.99!)

02.  Creature Pillow

Cuddly 4 foot long creatures keep the kiddies in blissful sleep.  Choice of Large Mouth Bass, Dolphin, or the favorite Crocodile.  Great for lounging or watching their live brethren on TV.  What else could you get as good for 30 bucks??

03.  Wine Rack

This is a marvelous piece of clothing.  You won't believe it.   Its a sports bra that holds a litre of your favorite booze.  You can wear it anywhere you can image. The drinking tube is quite long, so you can sneak a swallow in any situation you could imagine... and best of all, nobody but your boyfriend will ever be the wiser.   (only $29.99)

04.  Sumo Bumpers

Imagine being able to experience the thrill of a confrontation between Sumo wrestlers.. that is just what awaits you if you wear the Sumo Bumper Bopper.  Fill the bopper with air, step in and bop away with your friends.  (a steal at $17.99)

05.  Prohibition Killer

For only $24.99, you can be the proud owner of this enormous stainless steel flask.  It holds an entire gallon of your favorite booze.  It has a lifetime warranty.. however, the lifetime might be very short if  you drank that gallon.. but it might be fun for a while.  I wonder how you would fit this flask into your hip pocket?  My grandfather would have loved this flask and would have snapped it up to hold the embalming fluid he was forced to drink during Prohibition.

06.  Poo Poo Platter

No, not the Chinese version.  This is an actual ceramic chip-and-dip plate with a center bowl that is shaped like... poo... Well, some folks might like it and spring for just $29.99 to be the life of the party for Honey Boo Boo's family.

07.  Here it is, Ralphie! Finally!

The famous lamp that was displayed in "The Christmas Story".. Fishnet stocking, stiletto heel, fringed lampshade.. all that good stuff that thrilled Ralphie's father and bugged the hell out of his mother.  On sale at  $149.99!)

08.  Mason Jar Stein

Why carry those heavy ceramic beer mugs during Oktoberfest?  Instead, buy one of these mason jar beer steins.. each handled gem holds a half-gallon (64 ounces.. almost a six pack) of your favorite beer.  Just think, you only have to fill it once and you are set for the night until you pass out or puke, whichever comes first, just like at Munich. ($19.99)

09.  Cushy Tushy

I've saved the best for last.  A painted cushion for the ladies.  It holds a picture of a female backside with a tattoo and a minuscule red thong.  The ad says that you will be getting a lot of attention at the next sporting event.. you can say that again!  You will be getting a lot of attention at the next sporting event... ($19.99)

Okay.. let's grab the catalogue and order these things before they are sold out!

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mass Shootings; Extradiction; Shoot Out; DC Guns; Deer Culling; The Call; Young Dinosaurs; Happy States; Childhood Mortality; White House; Money; Cloaking Device

Another fine Fall day.. 75 degrees and sunny.

"When I was a little boy, I had but little wit,
'Tis a long time ago, and I have no more yet;
Nor ever ever shall, until that I die,
For the longer I live, the more fool am I."

Wit and Mirth, An Antidote against Melancholy 1684

(How true!)

01.  Guns

Tribune:  The number of mass shootings in the U.S. has almost tripled in recent years.  The reason: copycat killers and the ready availability of firearms.

From 2000 to 2013 = 1,043 casualties (486 killed and 557 wounded)  This can't be right.. every year in Baltimore, Newark and Detroit, at least 3,000 people are killed every year (3 per night usually).. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

02.  Nasty Lady

Carroll County Times: A very tough looking lady has been extradited from North Carolina and charged with fraud and second degree assault.  Our TRIAD co-leader, Jim, usually escorts extradited people into Carroll County.. so I wonder if she gave him a hard time and hence the assault charge.

03.  Shoot-out

CC Times: Hagerstown, Maryland (40,000 population) experienced a movie-style shoot-out through its streets last week.  After a high-speed chase, one of the cars was abandoned.. its rear window shot out.  The pursuing car disappeared into the night.

04.  Guns

WAMU DC:  I believe that I heard that DC now allows concealed guns to be carried.  OMG!  Do they think that this will lower the incidence of stick-ups?  Potential victims may be carrying.. so watch-it, perpetrator!  Welcome to Dodge City.

05.  Cull the Herd

CC TIMES:  2,800 Bambi's will be shot in the next 5 years at 3 Maryland and Virginia battlefield sites.  Sadly necessary, I'm told.  Otherwise they will destroy all of the green shrubs.  I hope that the meat will be distributed to those who need it.

06.  Heeding the Call

Former Carroll County Commissioner Robin Frazier had said that she will wait for God to tell her whether she should become a write-in candidate for the position she lost in this year's primary.  Well, guess what?   God has apparently finally spoken to her directly and she has filed as a write-in candidate.

07.  Young Dinosaurs

I just spoke to Reverend Lou Piel about his recent religious session.  His agenda listed talks about the 4,000 year old dinosaur about to be put on display in the Creationist Museum.  He said that his session was very well attended, although not by many folks ready to dispute issues.  He will have another session in November, and I hope to attend with a pocketful of irreverent questions.

08.  Happy States

New York Times:  Maryland was ranked as the 15th "happiest state."  We were beaten out by Utah, Nebraska, and even DC.  However, Maryland has the 4th lowest incidence of depression and suicide.

09.  Where have all the children gone?

New York Times:  The US mortality rate in 2010 was the 4th highest of the world's most developed nations.  6.1 infant deaths per every 1,000 live births.. this is way more that Finland, Japan, Portugal and Sweden. (We should be ashamed of our selves.)

10.  Open White House

WAMU:  When Andrew Jackson was President, any of his frontier buddies could barge into the White House at any time .. and other Presidents have wanted to keep it open as the "People's House"  for tourists.  However, since Reagan let lunatics be released from mental institutions, there are lots of nuts around who would also love to visit the White House.   Case in point:

A gentleman busted into the White House last week, through the unlocked front door. Although he probably just wanted to shake Obama's hand, he was a bit roughed up and searched.  He had only a pocket knife in, of course, a pocket.  However, in his car he had:

a map of the White House in a Bible;
2 hatchets;
a machete;
800 rounds of ammunition;
camping equipment;
2 dogs.

Earlier in the week, he had been arrested for possession of:

a sawed off shotgun
a sniper rifle
5 handguns;
other weapons.

Also.. he was out on bail.

What do you think? Nutcake? Tourist? Politician?  Lobbyist?  Terrorist? Democrat? Republican?

11.  Accountability

CC TimesMitch Edelman is on the attack.  In his weekly column, he talked about the Carroll County Education Opportunity Fund.  This fund of $800,000 is directly under the control of Audrey Cimino, who does not have to account for even a penny of how it is used.   It is assumed that it will be used by giving it to the parents of children who are not in Carroll County Public Schools.  Audrey seems like a very honest person, but a large fund like that deserves some accountability.\

When I first started to work at Social Security, a lady ran the Credit Union.  She did not take a salary because she received her Government pay, but she did drive a gold Cadillac.. something that people at her grade level usually could not afford.  As it happens, she was tapping the funds so that she could afford her new car, her new home, her vacations, etc.   She just could not resist temptation while she was responsible for large sums of money.  I know that Audrey would not be like this lady.. but what about someone who might be helping themselves, unknown to Audrey?

I wonder if anyone will agree with or dispute Mitch's article.  Time will tell.

12.  The Disappearing Ship

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me:  In 1943, the USS Eldridge Destroyer Escort  was tied up in the  port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while it was involved in the secret development of a "cloaking device." Apparently, some folks thought that they could find something in the Unified Field Theory that could be used in World War II.  During one experiment, the ship disappeared from Philadelphia, leaving a green fog in its place.

It then suddenly appeared in Norfolk, Virginia for a short time; then it reappeared back in Philadelphia.  Meanwhile, all crew members were nauseous, and some of them found their arms and legs encased in ship metal.  All of the crew had to be brain-washed to make them forget about the experiment.

Do you believe this?  Some people do.   Others think it is a hoax.  There are no records to be found.

At the time involved, some say the ship was undergoing degaussing to make it hard to detect on radar type equipment, and the story blossomed from that.  Over the years, articles about the "disappearing ship" have appeared in magazines and books, some insisting that the story is true.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Maestro Dworkin's Visit

Sunny coolish  Fall day.. in fact, a glorious day.

"Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so."

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

01.  Are your happy yet?

This was a wonderful day at Carroll Lutheran Village, our current home town, because the Maestro came to visit and impart some of his vibes.  Maestro Dworkin, what a fantastic man.. at age 80, he moves like he is 30.  A constant whirr of activity.  He came to tell us how to live longer.. he brought some batons and we swung them about in time with some beautiful classical music.  

Everybody moved their arms and the ladies moved their hips as well.  In fact, at one point, the Maestro played Offenbach, can can music.. and some of the younger ladies amazed us at how high they could kick their legs.

I hope that I am as spry as the Maestro when I'm 80 years old.   Hey, wait a minute.. I am 80. 

The Dworkin family is quite famous.. Dan, David, Andrea, etc etc.  I see their names everywhere.. mostly in liberal media.. and some of the family is involved with certain ethical movements in the U.S.  

Anyway, the Maestro got everybody moving, even the grouchy man whose wife dragged him to the session... he was determined that he would not enjoy himself.. but the Maestro handed him a baton and suddenly the grouch became docile and facile with the instrument.

Of course, the batons turned out to be half of chopsticks.. but so what.. we drew them around and pretended we were Kousevitsky.  I don't know how Lynn Glaeser got Mr. Dworkin to appear here.. but I congratulate her for doing so.  As I said, a wonderful time was had by all.


Gotta go now.. busy busy busy day today and time has just flew by.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Robert Benchley; Venice; Horses; TV Infomercials; Elite Folks; New York Times Marriages

Nice Fall day... 60's and sunny.. lots of fat clouds, but no rain.

"I had never had a piece of toast
Particularly long and wide,
But fell upon the sanded floor,
And always on the buttered side."

James Payn (1830-1898)

01.  "There must be a pony in here somewhere."

I'm reading a book about Alexander Wolcott and his friends.  The book is full of funny stuff, and this is an example:

Humorist Robert Benchley and a friend took a trip to Venice, the "canal city"  in the 1920's.  They carried with them, two suitcases filled with horse manure.  "Why?" you ask.

Well, they had read that there had never been a horse in Venice.  So Benchley and his friend went out secretly after midnite and spread their manure appropriately, here and there.  You can be sure that there was a bit of excitement in Venice the next morning.

02.  "They" don't want you to know about this...

BerkeleyWellness.com:  Another trickster, but on a criminal level, Kevin Trudeau, was sentenced to ten years in prison for lying in TV Infomercials.  You remember him... he's the sweet-talking guy who pushed magic juices, colonic irrigation, bee pollen, enzyme pills, and lots of other ineffective or harmful procedures and products late at night, when the audience's resistance was low.

Some of the information that "they" don't want you to know:  sunblocks cause cancer; AIDS is a hoax; you should never have surgery; microwaved foods will poison you. 

Trudeau has been fined millions of dollars over the years because of his false and misleading advertisements.. but apparently, he has never paid any of them.  He is currently appealing his ten year prison sentence and while the appeal is ongoing, he is probably going to make some more TV appearances.  There must be lots of gullible people who haven't yet sent him $19.95.

03.  The "Elite" among us

New York Times:  Elaine loves to look at the marriage announcements in this newspaper.  One notice in particular is a classic example of information about WASP privilege (at least in my opinion.)  I'm sure the parties involved are fine folks and I apologize for picking on them.

SSM, the daughter of SCM and RPM or New York, was married Saturday to WHC, a son of DHC of Mountain View, Ala and GMC of Dallas.  The Rev. Dr. TFP, an Episcopal priest, officiated at the Beaulieu Garden, an events space in Rutherford, CA.

The bride will continue to use her name professionally.  She is marketing director for a magazine publisher in SF.  She graduated magna cum laude from Lehigh.

Her father is the chairman and chief executive of CG Asset Management, an investment advisory service in New York. Her mother is the executive director of the New York Society of Mayflower Descendants.

The bride is a descendant of five (count 'em) Mayflower passengers: John Alden, William Brewster, Stephen Hopkins, George Soule and Richard Warren.

The groom, is an owner of a SF company that wholesales promotional products and rock 'n' roll memorabilia.

His father is the vice chairman of MSW, an Insurance Brokerage; he works in Dallas.  The groom is a stepson of MAC.

(They all have good American names; the men are "chairmen" of American companies; the mother and daughter are proud to be related to the Mayflower folks (five of them... yaya.. we are related to eleven)  ..  lots of keywords here... and no Hispanics, African Americans, Italian Americans,..  nobody but good old fashioned well-heeled Yankees.  Kind of reminds one of Mad Men.)

I wish them many many years of happiness together.  I don't think they will have any problems in their lives (except maybe divorce.)

04.  More marriage diversity

New York Times:  As I said, Elaine likes marriage announcements.  Here are some more.. people that do not look like the "elite" WASP couple above:

Julia and Joseph (a Jewish couple)
Jill and Harrison (an African American and Jewish couple)
Florencia and Ali (a Moslim and Catholic couple)
Elisa and Mo (a Catholic couple)
Pedro and David (a gay couple)
Amy and Jacob (Spiritual Humanists)
Blair and Jonathan (a  Protestant couple)
Jody and Kyle (another Jewish couple)
Allison and Brian (married by ministers of the Church of the Latter-day Dude)
Nancy and James (a free-thinking couple)

All of these people are "professionals" of some kind:  Doctors mainly.  I wonder what it costs to get an announcement in the New York Times. 

Closer examination of these notices reveal some "common" words and sentences, like: event space;  cum laude; will keep her name professionally; ... and many more.  There must be a form that the New York Times provides the couple, and when returned is used to feed a notice prepared by an intern, as one of their first jobs on the paper

Enough for now. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Gifts and Tax; Monarchs; 16 Year Old Voters; Chinese Drivers; Smelly Politicians; Read Slowly; Trivia; CEO Pay; America's Got Talent; Scotland; Gender Abuse

70 degrees and sunny. nice.

"This maiden she lived with no other thought
       Than to love and be loved by me."

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn,
    Is how to love, and be loved in return."

Nature Boy 1950's

01.  Tip for the Generous

You can give a gift of up to $14,000 to anyone you want, without any tax consequences either for you or the person you give the gift to.  Remember this in your dotage, when you are going to have money left over.

02.  Butterflies

There was an article in the Carroll County Times recently about tagging Monarch butterflies.  Why? A picture showed what looked like a round circle covering part of a Monarch's wings. Again.. Why?

An article today said that the Monarchs you see flying south were just born here, and they will fly down to Mexico for "hanky panky" and their descendants, not them, will fly back in future years.  So.. why tag these Monarchs?

03.  Young Voting

During the recent balloting for Scottish independence, 16-year olds were allowed to vote.  Just think what that would mean in the U.S.  Our 18-year olds are too busy thinking about NASCAR, Baseball, Football, Sex (not in that order) to think about voting... Remember this European saying:

Europe puts the man in boys too soon,
America keeps the boy in men too long.

04.  Chinese Drivers

I read somewhere that China is instituting special driving lanes just for cell phone users.  I wonder how long that will last.

05.  P.U.!

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me:  A study has shown that Republicans smell differently than Democrats.  Some factors:  Unscented soap; smoking; drinking; sex; garlic; ....however, who uses which?  Will we be told?  Will this be raised in the final hours of the election?  I think that Congress already stinks to high heaven!

06.  Stop and smell the book print

New Zealand is instituting "Slow Reading Clubs".. these are groups that meet at quiet locations and read without the distractions of the 21st Century.  Good idea.   Adherents cite: it improves concentration, reduces stress levels, deepens the ability to think, listen and empathize. 

07.  Trivia Question

Q.  How many years have Nathan Detroit and Miss Adelaide been engaged at the beginning of Frank Loesser's Guys and Dolls?

A.  14 years.

08.  Another Trivia Question

Q.  Which sophisticated songwriter was once a member of the French Foreign Legion?

A.  Cole Porter

09.  CEO Pay

Harold Meyerson says: "From 1978 to 2013, CEO pay rose a mind-boggling 937%."

Maryland Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen has introduced a bill that in part strips tax deductions on pay in excess of $1 million.  But, of course, it's dead in the waters in the Republican controlled Congress.

10.  America's Got a lotta Talent

Did I mention that a magician won America's Got Talent this year.  He beat out some great talent, but he did some amazing tricks.  Grand illusions worthy of Houdini.  We'll be seeing lots more of him in the future.

11. Scotland Independence Again

Reuters polled some Americans about secession from the U.S.  A few said that they definitely would favor secession.   When asked what they did for a living, each and every one was collecting disability payments.  Shows you something.. right?

12.  Abuse Switch

In the current flurry of activity about gender abuse.. everybody seems to be zeroed in on male hitting female cases, like Baltimore's Ray Rice situation.   However, last week, a man was heard yelling "Help!" from his car window.  He was being beaten up by his girlfriend, who was irritated with him for "tapping his cup."   She was arrested for assault and he was bandaged up.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Solomon Grundy; TRIAD; Scams; Viral Disease

Low 70's and sun... nice.

"Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday:
This is the end
Of Solomon Grundy."

Nursery Rhymes, ed. J.O. Halliwell (1842)

01.  TRIAD Meeting

Today was our monthly TRIAD meeting, where we talk about scams and criminal activity.  Some of what we talked about was:

a.  Whether local police got donated equipment from the Federal Government.. like tanks and such.  We don't think so, but some localities did.

b.  A policeman did a vehicle check in a parking lot without a complaint.. was it legal?

c.  Phoney IRS calls asking for money owed.

d.  Scammers looking into written obituaries to get the names of grandchildren to call to the widow.

e.  Credit card theft  from secured and unsecured lockers at gyms in the area.

f.  Calls from "court" saying that you missed jury duty and must send money for a fine.

g.  Shoplifters who come back later to get a cash refund on clothes they stole before.

h.  Call from the "Court bailiff" .. relative needs bail money.

i.  Your caller ID shows your own name and number.  (You've been hacked.)

j.  Hacking in general.. and the Hackers' Journal.

k.  Is synthetic marijuana treated as regular marijuana legally?

l.  Squirming guy who had 100 bags of coke in his rectum.

m. Missing guy was selling Scooby Snax at the local Oceanic Gas Station.

n.  A daughter who was stealing from her mother.

o.  A student who was making bio-toxin ricin in his college dorm.

p.  Ray Rice.

q.  Call.. you've won $X.. how will you spend it?  "Vacation."  Hangs up.

r.  The Elephant in the Matchbox rule.

s.  Call.. free equipment, Medicare will pay  (after they get your number to sell).

(If any of these topics is of interest to you, come to our TRIAD meeting at the Westminster, Maryland Senior Center on the third Thursday of every month at 10 am.)

02.  Watch out for this virus

A respiratory viral disease is sweeping the country.. it's not yet in Maryland, but is in Pennsylvania and New York.  It affects mainly children and the elderly.  We are being advised to wash our hands often and with lots of soap.
(Well, we just spent hours in a Doctor's office and I am pooped.. so I'll resume tomorrow.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Turn About is Fair Play

Cool at 7 am: 50 degrees... yes, it looks like Fall is almost upon us.  I'm still getting tomatoes from my containers on the deck.  My zucchini crop never materialized.. I got only one fair sized zuke.  I did get a couple of fair sized yellow squash and one is growing right now.  Still.. not enough to warrant trying to grow them again.. .. any way, got to be in the 70's later in the day.

I went to my MSCHF Board Meeting.. always fun there.  We have 36 or 38 folks to induct this year. Surely there are  more  volunteers out there who are over 65 who would qualify.  We just have to spread the word better.

"We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs.  He most lives
Who thinks most - feels the noblest - acts the best."

Festus.. Philip James Bailey (1816-1902)

01.  Turn about

Fast Company:  Baratunde Thurston writes about Big Earl's Bait House and Galley CafĂ© in Pittsburg, Texas.   A gay couple dined at the restaurant and on their way out , a waitress told them they were not welcome back because "we don't serve fags."

Rather than getting irate, the couple, together with hundreds of people on the Internet did something different.  They tried to turn Big Earl's roadside diner into the #1 gay hangout in Texas. 

(Big Earl had this sign posted on his front door:  "Welcome to Big Earl's where men act like men, women act like ladies.  No saggy pants.  We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. ")

Suddenly, Internet postings like the following appeared:  "...I think gay men would love this place because there are so many hot guys there."

Well.. we'll never know what the outcome was.. other than knowing that Big Earl did erase all of the comments that he could find. 

Like the posters in this situation, I think it is better to invest a little humor in our reactions to bigots.  Maybe it will shame at least somebody in the bigot's family to think a bit.  Why get mad at ignorance?

Speaking of ignorance, I'm cutting this short because I have to get the TV programmed to tape more of the Roosevelt series of shows while watching who won America's Got Talent.. regardless of your thoughts about this show, the six finalists are extremely good performers.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Flushables; Archbishop Sheen; ISIS; Religion; Spoonerisms; Mensa; Intertel; Amazing Grace

Low 70 degrees and sunny. Nice day.

Dites- moi
La vie est belle.

La vie est gai.

Chere Madmoiselle,
Est-ce que
Parce que
Vous m'aimez?

South Pacific by Rogers and Hammerstein

01.  Not Flushable after all

Carroll County Times:  The editor says that  certain Wet Wipes are not really flushable. This is a problem.  Lots of blockage is occurring around the civilized world.. not the 3rd world, because they use their left hands instead.  Sadly, Charmin's Fresh Mates and WalMart's Equate flushables are actually not flushable.  However, Cottonelle Fresh Care and Scott Naturals are flushable and they dissolve neatly.

02.  A Tale of Two Cities

New York TimesArchbishop Fulton J. Sheen died in 1979 and church people in Peoria, Illinois are trying to get him canonized.. only one miracle to go.  However there is a snag.. his body is in New York City and should be in Peoria since his canonization memorial will be there, and that is where he grew up but the New York Bishop wants the body to remain in New York, where he lived his adult life.  A piece of each Saint normally resides in either a special church or a cathedral.  Both cities would qualify in this regard.

There is a way that they can go on this.. they could divide his body like Saint Catherine, whose body is in Rome and whose head is in Sienna, Italy.  It's not known if this will be the solution, but we should know soon.

Incidentally, for those of you who never heard of Archbishop Sheen, he had a TV program entitled "Life is Worth Living", that aired from 1951 to 1957.  I am old enough to have seen this program and I enjoyed it immensely.  The Archbishop was a great speaker and story teller.. and I'll bet he is on YouTube. 

03.  Inhumanity

New York Times:  94% of Americans said that they saw the ISIS beheading videos.. and they are mad!

04.  Religious Issue

Diane Rheem Show and New York TimesThe Children Act by Ian McEwan is a novel that tells the story of a family of Jehovah's Witnesses, who do not want a 17-year old to get a blood transfusion that will probably save his life.  Even the 17-year old does not want it .  A London judge must decide on whether to force him to have the transfusion or not.  (I believe that a similar case was before the US supreme court at one time.. I will have to look that up).. anyway, McEwan paints very believable intelligent characters for us to think about.

The New York  Times reviewed the book and they faulted the author for not going into the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses more deeply.  I completely disagree with the reviewer.. that was not necessary at all to tell this story. It could have been about any number of different religious sects that are in the world today. 

If I were the judge, you all know how I would rule.. this kid has been brain-washed by his parents to be a member of their sect... (but that is the way most people get  their religious ideas, from their parents, no matter how stupid.. look at the Westboro Baptist Church family of idiots.)... Save the kid's life.. and maybe he will someday thank us for letting him live in what may be a wonderful life for him.. that is, if he runs away from home and starts a new rational way of living.

05.  Spoonerisms

One of the fun things I do for myself, is read comments about the  New  York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle each week.  First, I do the puzzle, and then I go out to Rex Parker's website.. Rex bills himself as the Crossword King (or words to that effect).. each Sunday, he quickly solves the Times puzzle and then talks wittily about it on his blog/site.  This results in hundreds of comments from fellow crossword puzzlers.. and some of their comments are wonderful to read.  Such as, comments about "Cryptic Spoonerisms" this week:

Remember the Reverend Spooner's toast to Queen Victoria:  "Here's to our queer old dean."

Actor John's Step? =   Wayne Gait

Oral Stories about Actress Meg? =  Ryan Lore

Sporting Actor Harrison?  = Ford Sighting

A Blushing Crow.

Sly Drool

Peter Abbot

I don't know the creators of these gems enough to give them credit, (except for somebody named Loren Muse Smith) but "they know who they are".. and they certainly are Mensa material. (My brother, Joe, is a word expert and probably has lots more of this kind of stuff.)

06.  Speaking of Mensa

Mensa members have had to prove that they have IQ's that place them in the so-called "Genius" level.  This is the 98th percentile in terms of the population.

However, those of us who are members of Intertel have had to prove that we tested in the 99th percentile on a couple of IQ tests.  No.. Intertel is not a group of  undercover agents skulking around in Europe, it is a group composed of those folks who know how to "ace" IQ tests.   However, there is a stated "purpose" to the group: 

a.  To  encourage meaningful intellectual fellowship.
b.  To foster an exchange of ideas on any and all subjects.
c.   To assist in research relating to high intelligence.

See... we actually do have a purpose.  And we ain't afraid to exploit our smarts!

07.   Amazing Story

Daily Bread:  Philip Yancey writes:   "John Newton had the misfortune to be 'pressed' into service by the Royal Navy.  However, because of cursing and blasphemy, he was kicked out for insubordination.  (smart trick)  He then served on a trans-Atlantic slave ship, working his way up to Captain.  One day, he had a dramatic religious conversion and became an evangelical preacher and a leader in the abolitionist movement, even appearing before Parliament to give eyewitness testimony to the horrible things he had seen in the slave trade.  But his main claim to fame was that he wrote the lyrics to the most famous of all hymns:  Amazing Grace."

That's enough for now.. good night.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Benghazi; Voter ID Law; Abortion Law; ISIS Evil; 666; Pink Cabs: Survival Reality Show; Microbes; Math Magic; Aim High; Genealogy; EB-5; Genie; Caesar

Sunny but cool.. in the 60's.. a nice Fall day in Summer.

"Snowy, Flowy, Blowy,
Showery, Flowery, Bowery,
Hoppy, Croppy, Droppy,
Breezy, Sneezy, Freezy."

The Twelve Months by Sir Gregory Gander (George Ellis) 1745-1815

We were just sitting on the deck, enjoying the cool sunny weather.  I was reading in my book about Alexander Woolcott, when the smell of neighbor Burnie's burning pine pallets overwhelmed me and SuZee, and we had to retreat to the inside of the house.  So, it's blog time again.

01.  Not again!

Carroll County Times:  Ex Commissioner, Michael Zimmer is back to his attack on the Benghazi situation.  If it wasn't for Benghazi, what would Michael and his political buddies have to talk about?

02.  Other Attacks

a.  Wisconsin's Voter ID law is under review.  The law mandates the showing of a photo ID for one to be able to vote.

b.  Texas' Abortion law is under review.. it requires all Texas abortion clinics to adhere to the rules for other "care" facilities.. if upheld, abortion clinics will only be available in the biggest Texas cities.

03.  Pure Evil Again!

New York Times:  Another evil act has been perpetrated by ISIS.  This time they have beheaded a British aid volunteer.  Before they executed him, they forced him to read a statement against British leader, David Cameron.   These people are animals, and even though I deplore our getting involved in Iraq again, I do feel that analytical flights and drone attacks may be necessary.  One problem seems to be the unwillingness of Turkey to show belligerence toward ISIS because they are dealing in oil with them.  (I still think that my idea on developing a countermeasure that would render gun powder in all forms unable to ignite could bring some reason to world bullies.)

04.  Numbers, Numbers, Numbers.

Radio Lab:  I've written about the Biblical number 666 several times before.  Whole religious cults have been built around it and people have actually used it to determine the date of the end of the world (many times).. Today, the Radio Lab program talked about it.  "666" for many years has been the "sign of the beast", however, recent scholarship reveals that the number is really "616", which means that all those books, magazine articles, sermons, mountain top expectations, schools, religions, etc.. have been the useless results of misinformation. 

The next edition of the "Standard Bible"  will still show "666", but will have a foot note telling people that it might really be "616"... take your pick.  Anyway, as you know from my earlier rants, why would people think that a part of many such documents that were written to indicate disapproval for Roman Rule in the century before  Jesus lived, and were stuck into what was to become "The Bible" have any relationship to modern times?  Come on, guys, think about it!

05.  Did I hear this right?

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me:  I just caught these words from a distance, so I may have them wrong.

a.  New York now has pink cabs for women to use.  They are being driven by female cabbies.

b.  A new reality show is about to be instituted.  It is about two House Representatives who are marooned together on a desert island.  How do they work together to survive, because.. yes, you guessed it.. one is a Democrat  and the other is a Republican?

06.  College Study and a Job Opportunity

TED Radio Hour:  A whopping 20% of the snot in your nose has not been analyzed, and it supposedly contains millions of unidentified microbes.  Those damn microbes are everywhere, and hardly anybody is studying them.  So: microbiology is the way to go if you are looking for an up-and-coming study area that will provide lots of jobs in the future.  Right now, the field is wide open. 

07.  Magical Number

Great Courses:  Here is an example from a "mathematics magic" course available from the Great Courses Company:

"Think of a any number between 1 and 10.  Triple it.  Add 6.  then triple again.  Now take  your answer, probably a two digit number, and add the digits of your answer.  If you still have a two-digit  number, add those digits again.  You should now have the magical number 9"

08.  Never Too Late To LIVE

Daily Bread:  A  paraplegic Australian woman named Pascale Honore had wanted to be able to surf for 18 years.  Finally, a young surfer, appropriately named Ty Swan, figured out a way to strap Pascale to his back with duct tape, and now takes this wheelchair-confined lady out into the ocean to "catch the waves." (This reminds me of my Elaine, who, because of something called CMT, had been told she would have to maintain a very quiet, non-risky life.  She had always wanted to sky-dive, so, against all advice, she did so.. a number of times.  She is, of course, much braver than I am.)

09.  Genealogy Course

Great CoursesDiscovering your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy has come way down in price and I may purchase three copies; one for me and Elaine; one for Chris; and one for Elizabeth; I don't think Diane is interested right now.. she is so busy with plants and eBay and other interests.  The info about the 15 chapters is intriguing, so I will print them out for you here in case you are interested:

01. Interviewing Kin and Mining Home Sources
02. Genealogy Online .. Gems and Junk
03. The Library.. Shelves Full of Family History
04. Military Service and Homestead Records
05. How to Build Historical Contest
06. Your Ancestors in Ship Passenger Lis ts
07. Your Ancestors in Naturalization Records
08. The Genealogical Proof Standard
09. Your Ancestors in the County Courthouse
10. Your Ancestors in State Records
11. How to Write Biography
12. Dos and Don'ts of Writing History
13. Searching in Your Ancestors' Backyards
14. Assembling an Account of your Discoveries
15. Extending Your Family Tree Overseas

10.  Have you heard of EB-5?

Fortune.com:  I'll bet you haven't heard of the government immigration program known as EB-5, which allows rich foreigners to obtain U.S. Citizenship by plugging $500,000 each into a venture that creates American jobs.  EB-5 is short for the "government's fifth employment-based visa 'preference'" .. The law was born in 1990.  It was supposed to generate jobs in high unemployment or rural districts.  Immigrants seeking EB-5 visas must invest their half-million dollars in a new business that will create 10 full-time U.S. jobs in those areas.

EB-5 has bicameral bipartisan support.  Even billionaires like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates like the program.  Since it is unregulated, there are problems; but many successes. According to a study, the program contributed $3.4 billion to the U. S. economy and produced 42,000 jobs in 2012.

11.  That Genie Again

MENSA Journal:  To paraphrase Janet Williams: 

A guy finds a lamp on the beach, and when he dusts it, a genie appears.

"You can choose one of two wishes.
Either: I want superior intelligence .. or .. I want an endless supply of money."

The guy considers the options and says: "I choose intelligence."

"Whoosh!"  The genie disappears and the guy is now super intelligent.

This brainy guy now gives his first super intelligent pronouncement.

"Damn!  I should have chosen the money!"

12.  A Burning Question

Why Things Are by Joel Achenbach: 

In the play Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, Caesar gets done in by conspirators, including his friend and colleague, Brutus.  His last words are "Et tu, Brute!" This is in Latin, but he and everyone else talks only in English during the rest of the play. Why?


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Star Spangled Banner; Francis Scott Key; Fort McHenry; Tall Ships; Baltimore Inner Harbor;

Overcast, 69 degrees, a little rain and later Sun, just like it was in 1814 when the Star Spangled Banner was written by a Carroll County lawyer who was being held in confinement.

"Oh Say can you see,
By the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd
At the twilight's last gleaming."

Francis Scott Key  (1814)

Today was the 100th anniversary of the day our National Anthem was written by Mr. Scott, during the bombardment of Fort McHenry at Baltimore, Maryland.  A day of great celebration, right here in Baltimore.

I went on a bus trip with other people from Carroll Lutheran Village to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.  There, we joined one million or more others who were there for the celebration.  Let  me tell you a little about the day.

Elaine didn't go with me because she is in a wheelchair, and would not be able to handle the boat trip.  Yes, she probably could survive the long bumpy ramp up to the first deck, and the very narrow spaces to squeeze through to get the food;  however, there is no way she could get down a steep flight of steps to the rest room and then climb back up again.  I see no way that this boat could ever comply with ADA rules in that regard.

I sat next to a very nice lady named Dottie Bell. She has lived at CLV for two years.  Soon after she moved  here with her husband, he died.  This is a story that I hear very often.  Men move here from homes that they were comfortable in, and somehow lose all desire to go on living.  Yet, the women prosper here and outlive their men by many many years.

Poor Dottie. She had to hear my stories for one hour down to the Inner Harbor, and for one hour back.  I didn't look, but I'll bet her eyes were glazed.

Immediately off the bus, I bumped into my old Gamber neighbors, Pat and Pat.  They now live in Taneytown and were also  here on a bus trip.  The male Pat looks exactly like he has looked for the past 50 years.  The female Pat has put on a little weight, but still looks similar to her old self.  The only big difference is that she rides a scooter because of arthritis.  They ate on the boat as we did and somehow she got the scooter up the ramp.  I wonder what she did about the rest room?

The area of the Inner Harbor was chock full of white tents where all kinds of information and goodies were being given out.  One of the participating groups that seemed interesting was "Jews for Jesus."
Along that line, I picked up a couple of brochures for the Baltimore Jewish Museum that caught my intense attention.

The welcome center rest rooms were where men relieved themselves in 20 seconds and where women waited in line for 20 minutes.  Doesn't seem fair somehow.

Some massive tall ships were docked in the harbor and people were lined up to get a tour of each.  One of the most gaudy of them all came from Wilmington, Delaware.. and for $150. you could ride on her to Fort McHenry to see the fireworks and other festivities.  The advertisement indicated that although it was a rather high price, it was for an occasion that will never happen again... you don't want to miss it.

I have never seen so many people in one place as I did today at the harbor.  They were streaming in by the hundreds.  One thing I notices though was, that almost all of these people were white.  Wait a minute.. isn't Baltimore more than half black?  Perhaps they don't feel that this is their holiday since when the anthem was penned, people were still enslaved.

At 11:30, the CLV folks, the Taneytown folks, a bunch of Red Hatters, and a few assorted drunks pushed onto the ship, The Spirit of Baltimore, and we took part in a wonderful buffet lunch.  Our friend, Rose Marie sat next to me and we pondered whether a glass of $8 or $9 wine was a good deal.  We decided "no."  At least not for this time of day.

The dessert of cookies, cheesecake and decadent chocolate cake was left out for the whole afternoon.

I managed to climb up to the observation deck and do some observing.. Baltimore certainly does not look like it did when I first came here in 1960.  Now, there are sky-scrapers everywhere, two lighted ball fields, and a massive gambling casino.  Free buses take you everywhere you want to go downtown and I don't recall seeing even one taxi.. how could that be?

Two weeks ago, when Elaine and I took her grandkids to the aquarium, we paid $32 to park.  But it is a lot better than a $150. parking fine. All of the handicap spots in the downtown area have been turned into paying spots.  I'm surprised there hasn't been a lot of noise about that.  The problem was that many people have been obtaining handicap hangers illegally and people were using them to tie up parking spots all day while they worked.

Baltimore's outer harbor is filled with massive ships of all kinds.  I'm told that two of  the biggest were used in cable laying activity.   I thought that was completed a century ago.. but apparently it continues today.  Also, container ships lie high in the water, awaiting hundreds of containers filled with every conceivable material heading to all parts of the world.

The announcer on the ship talked about every ship and place that we passed... except that what he said left much to be desired.  For example, I don't know what he meant  when he said:  "We're now passing musglic glaven."  or  "On the starboard side is clavinal flagellant."  I guess I should have worn my hearing aid.

We could not get close to Fort McHenry because of all the rafts assembled for tonight's fireworks extravaganza.   I think that we might be able to see a little of it from our back deck if the night is dark enough.  If not, it will be repeated on TV at 11 tonight.  Meanwhile, Channel 67 is showing a Great Performances show taking place at the inner harbor, even as I write.  I just watched a little of it with Elaine.  Nicely done. 

When we left on the ship for our tour of the harbor, there appeared to be a million people on the quay.. now, on the way back, I could see that the crowd had increased.  We had to squeeze our way back to the bus.

Oh, by the way, before we got on the ship, a patriotic parade of happy dogs walked by us.  At least one hundred dogs of all sizes and shapes, dressed in variations of the flag.  Very inventive costumes.

Unfortunately, our outing was just to tour the harbor on a boat while eating lunch.  There were thousands of other things to do on this glorious day in this beautiful city.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Mary and Lamb; Happy People; Humor; Accents; Makeup; Water; Obnoxious Kid;

A marvelous day!  Lower 70's with lots of sun and low humidity. 

"Mary had a little lamb,
It's fleece was white as snow,
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rule,
It made the children laugh and play,
To see a lamb at school."

Was this the first poem that you remember?  I think it was for me.  My mother wasn't around much, but when she was, she recited lots of poems for me and sang songs that I still remember.   Every one needs some mother love.

01.  Happy People

Happiness is taken seriously by the members of the Secret Society of Happy People (SOHP).

SOHP has two membership options:

1. Amused membership:  this is free, and you get a poster, a newsletter and some email.
2. Playful membership:  ($9.95) and you receive:
     a. A Happiness Guide
     b. A Happiness wrist band
     c. A Poster
     d. Postcards
     e. Facebook presence

02.  Humor

A book that I dip into from time to time:  "Why Things Are" (Answers to Every Essential Question in Life) by Joel Achenbach.  Try it, you'll like it.

When one laughs, 15 facial muscles contract and breathing is altered.  To make us laugh, there usually is a conflict between overlapping but incompatible frames of reference.  Joel gives an example of that:

"My dog's got no nose."
"How does he smell?"

Another example:

"Doctor, what's wrong with me?"
"Well, you've got hepatitis, mononucleosis, AIDS, tuberculosis, and the common code."
"Can anything be done for me?"
"We can keep you in bed and put you on a diet of pancakes and flounder."
"Pancakes and flounder?  Will that cure me?"
"No, but it's the only thing that will fit under the door."

The main issue here is the surprise when the doctor suddenly changes from his normal reassuring demeanor to a not-so-reassuring jerk.  The surprise causes us to laugh.

03.  Accents

I've wanted to know this for a long time.  Why do British Rock 'n' Roll stars speak in cockney accents but sound like Americans when they sing?  Joel Achenbach tries to answer this:

British bands grew up listening to American singers, like American opera singers, who sing with an Italian accent.  Also, singing tends to mute accents. 

04. Makeup

Another thing I've wanted to know.. why do women subject themselves to the plastering of stuff all over their faces and eyes?  I think it makes them look terrible .. unreal.  Once, in London, I met a young lady at an evening function. She was beautiful, with a clear bright skin.. under some of the room's lights.. however, under other light, her face showed that it was caked up like a mask and looked weird.  Joel, tell us why women do that..

Perhaps it has its origin in the bordello, where prostitutes simulated the flushed color of sexual passion with rouge.

 But there are other reasons given:

a. It's fun
b. It's a disguise
c. Women are decorated objects (treated by men as expensive possessions)

And.. "as long as society trains people to perceive painted-up women as 'good-looking' it will be in their direct self-interest to keep doing it."  I guess that it is similar to the tattoo craze currently affecting our female population.

Years ago, makeup was also used to cover up the scars of smallpox.  Elizabeth I used it.

Some men used it to show that they had pale skin and were not "rednecks" that is, not workers, but rather, aristocrats. 

05.  Water

The Health and Welfare Wellness Committee says that we should not wait for "thirst" to replenish our bodily water lost through exhalation, perspiration and bodily secretions.   By the time we feel thirsty, we have probably lost 16 ounces of body water.  That is a lot of water when we need to have 64 ounces of water as input each day.

06.  Not Mozart

I forgot to mention that one of the contestants on America's Got Talent was a 9 year-old obnoxious kid who played the piano and sang.  He said that he has read 500 books in his short life and skipped 5 grades in school.  But.. he was talented, and knew it.  He got knocked off before his ego got to explosive size.

(Well.. enough for today.. plenty of other things to do.  I can't let myself be completely wrapped up in this blog, even though I enjoy writing it.)


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Puzzling Words; Hack Attack; Diet Drug; UZI; Bucket List; Housework

Sunny and coolish.. nice day to  work outside.. but I don't work inside or outside anymore.. I wish I did have enough ambition to do so.. instead I went swimming with Elaine at the CLV pool.

"Long years must pass before the truths we have made for ourselves become our very flesh." 
      Paul Valery (The Sun)

01.  Puzzling Words

I don't often do the Carroll County Times crossword puzzle because it is a wee bit easy; however, today I did, and I found 5 words of interest.  I thought I might share them with you.

erysipelas = acute skin infection caused by group A streptococcus bacteria.  It affects the upper layer of the skin on the legs and face.  It is often accompanied by high fever and chills and malaise.  It can be cured by penicillin.  My grandfather had a very bad case.  It may have been before penicillin was discovered.  I forget.

allonym = 1. pseudonym
                  2. work published under a name that is not that of the author

Example: Anu Garg writes:  "The Federalist Papers, a collection of 85 essays about the U.S. Constitution, was written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison in 1787 and 1788.  They wrote under the name PUBLIUS, a noted Roman involved in setting up the Roman Republic."

apeak = Held in an upright/vertical position:  "Oars apeak!"  Nautical command, which I had never heard before.  It also is related to having the anchor cable as near as possible to vertical, but without releasing the anchor.

In 1796 Charles Dibdin wrote in Nautical Philosophy =

"Thus the good we should cherish,
the bad never seek/
for death will too soon
bring each anchor apeak."

homiletics = the art of preaching or writing sermons (homilies)

I always wondered how preachers could get something new to talk about each Sunday.  Well, there is a company called Homiletics Online, where preachers can have access to all kinds of sermon information for only $69.95 per year. 

taal =  1. "rhythm" and the name of a famous 1999 Hindi "musical drama romance" film.
           2.  active Phillipine volcano on the island of Luzon.
           3.  Dutch word for "hippo"
           4.  International association of translators and interpreters.
           5.  Afrikaans language.

There.. don't you feel smarter?

02.  Home Depot

Carroll County Times:  The 2013 hacking attack on Target is said to have been "peanuts" compared to the 4 month "hack" of Home Depot, in which the hackers got information on 40 million payment cards!

03.  Hurry up, I need it!

Carroll County TimesNovo Nordisk's new diet drug SAXENDA supposedly does work and the Food and Drug Administration has to decide before November if it can go on the market.

04.  Kick the Bucket!

Tom Zirpoli writes about a little girl in his column today.  The little girl is 9 years old, and she had a little trouble firing an Uzi and killed her instructor at the firing range.  An Uzi is a submachine gun with a heavy recoil, especially for a 9-year-old.  Tom says that the girl wanted to fire the gun because it was "on her bucket list."

Tom also says:  "You know, when your 9-year-old tells you that shooting an Uzi is high on her "bucket list," you might want to take her in for counseling or review your family conversations at the dinner table.  Children don't normally grow up knowing what an Uzi is, never mind wanting to fire one." 


05.  Thoughts about Housework

The Funny Times published some quotes about Housework that I thought you might enjoy.

a.  Housework can kill you, but why take a chance.  Phyllis Diller

b.  Cleaning the house before your kids are grown is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing. Phyllis Diller

c.   You know it's time to do the laundry when you dry off with a sneaker.  Zach Galifiankis

d.   Men leave their socks lying around because we can  use them for oven mitts.  Mike Dugan

e.   Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop offs at tedium and counter-productivity.  Erma Bombeck.

Hey...  gotta go.. America's Got Talent is coming on!


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Middle East; Love; Chick-Fil-A; Indians; Education; Coffins; Common Core; The Big History Project; Francis Bacon's Secret to Learning

Overcast.. 75 degrees.. low humidity.  Not a bad day all in all.
Went to my dermatologist who says that my cancerous head lesions are all cleared up.  He spritzed a small growth on my left arm and I was "good to go."  I'll see him again in December.  (I don't have quite as many "barnacles" as before.)

"Never hire a cleaning lady named Dusty."  David Corrado (Funny Times)

01.  Middle East

Today, Mitch Edelman wrote his usual common sense column.. this time about the messes in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and how more boots on the ground and massive air strikes are not the way to build societies strong enough to handle terrorist attacks.

02.  Now that is love!

Two Iowa women in their 90's celebrated 71 years of living together by getting married last week.

03.  *Religion.. Same Sex Marriage

S. Truett Cathy died last week at 93.  Mr. Cathy was the founder of the Chick-Fil-A fast food chain.  As a Southern Baptist, he closed his stores on Sunday, did not think much of same sex marriage, and made sure that everyone knew his viewpoint on that subject.  I know several persons who stopped eating at his restaurants because of that viewpoint. 

04.  What is really important?

New York Times:  Anjali Vaidya recently married into a traditional Indian family and when she met her fiancĂ©'s grandfather, he immediately asked her how many degrees she had earned.  "This is usually the second question your Indian friends' relatives will ask, after they ask your name."  That is because they think education is one of the most important part of your life.   And, you know.. it is.

05.  Faith and begorra!

The SUN:  "Immediately before lowering the coffin into the grave, the Irish would remove the nails from the lid, so the dead would have no difficulty freeing themselves on "Resurrection Day."  So says Sy Safransky

06.  *Common Core ..  I didn't know that!

New York TimesThe Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated hundreds of millions of dollars to educational initiatives like the Common Core Standards Initiative.  Now it  is involved with The Big History Project which debuted in five high schools in 2011.   This Fall, it will be offered free to more than 15,000 students in some 1,200 schools.

The Big History Project is not a rehash of the usual History classes, where one studies a certain era, in a certain way and concentrates on dates and events within that era, to the exclusion of the outside world which was definitely continuing on at the same time.  This version of history aims to offer all-inclusive information.. for instance:  a discussion  held about the formation of stars would include "Einstein and the Hydrogen bomb".. and a lesson on the rise of life on earth would include discussion of the work of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. 

Big History is already being offered in South Korea, The Netherlands, and Australia.

This kind of teaching has been developed and promoted by Professor David Christian, and one can experience its effect by viewing one of his "Great Courses" as Bill Gates did. 

Christian also gave a TED talk entitled:  "The History of Our World in 18 Minutes," which has been viewed 4 million times online.

07.  The Secret to Learning

In 1620, Francis Bacon wrote (no..no.. not the works of Shakespeare, you dodo) about learning something new:  "If you read a piece of text through twenty times, you will not learn it by heart so easily as if you read it ten times while attempting to recite it from time to time and consulting the text when your memory fails." 

Do American students ever try to memorize?  Recite? Study?  I remember when I was going from Fraternity House to Fraternity House at Boston University trying to sell something.. I saw guys studying.. but what they were "studying" were copies of final exams that their fellow frat brothers had stolen somewhere.  But.. what the hell... questions on tests all fade away quickly upon graduation.. and I really don't think fraternity brothers get any education anyway... but that is my humble opinion.. and it is not "sour grapes" because as a "commuting, married, working veteran student", fraternity life was not possible for me anyway.

Enough for today!  Time to watch America's Got Talent on TV.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Classical Music; Human Age; God's Purpose; Eichmann; Diet Tips; Lemons; Boards; WWW; Aliens; Bees; Binary

70 Degrees, sunny, with a strong wind. At a supper picnic, on the deck between the Wakefield apartment buildings, we were near the trees and the wind was singing as it blew them every which way.  Nice sound!  We had that sound all the time in my Gamber home.. how nice it was to sit on the back screened-in porch, drink a little wine and listen to the music of  the  trees.   Now.. my daughter and her husband live there and can enjoy that, and I'm happy for them. 

"The man who is forever disturbed about the condition of humanity either has no problems of his own or has refused to face them."   Henry Miller

01.  Culture comes to Carroll County Maryland

McDaniel College is starting a free Monday evening series of music performances and discussion in an informal setting.  Faculty members will perform and answer questions from the audience.

The first evening, the performance will be of selected movements from Duo Mythologique for Flute and Contrabass by Lee R. Kesselman, as well as Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano by Claude Bolling.   Dr. Kesselman  teaches in the Chicago area and Claude Bolling is a well-known French jazz pianist.

I have never heard of either of these composers and going to tonight's concert would probably be mind-bending, if I went, but I can't, so the composers will just remain crossword puzzle answers to me.

02.  The Anthropocene

New York Times: The Anthropocene (The Human Age) is the subject of The Human Age, The World Shaped by Us, by Diane Ackerman.  The book talks about evolutionary robotics, urban design, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and biomimicry.

We are told about amazing things, such as Stockholm's Central Station, where engineers are now harvesting the concentrated body heat from 250,00 daily commuters to warm a 13-story office building. 

We are told how we are involved in heading to the planet's sixth extinction, even while we are producing synthetic species of creatures. 

We are told that incessant texting prompts a child's brain map of the thumbs to expand.

We are told  that some scientists are considering how to reintroduce mammoths to Siberia.

"In the plutocratic milieu of the 21st century, how do we ensure that innovations aren't by the few for the few, that they don't compound the trend toward islands of extreme affluence barricaded against the vulnerable multitudes?"

"At least pause to ponder this:  Is it ethical that as the superrich capture ever more resources, the poor, who have contributed least to our planet's undoing, are forced to bear the brunt of the chaotic effects?"

03.  Religion .. Life's Purpose

Free Inquiry:  Stephen Maitzen asks us to consider what theistic religions offer as God's actual purpose for our lives:  glorifying him and enjoying his presence forever.  .. "What's so great about that?"

04.  *Evil.. Eichmann

New York Times:  Bettina Stangneth has written:  Eichmann Before Jerusalem.. the Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer.

See Hannah Arendt's portrait of Eichmann at his 1961 trial.  She insisted that he was not a demonic Nazi sadist, but instead, a thoughtless bureaucrat doing his duty  and following orders. 

Stangneth mentioned that the ex-SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer boasted of his creative work to provide for  the mass deportation of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews,   Eichmann was a died-in the wool, unrepentant Nazi.. and was proud of his evil activity.  Cleverly, he had fooled Hannah Arendt.. but not Bettina Stangneth.

05.  You Fatso!

Brian Wansink, PhD,  wrote Mindless Eating in 2006.  I have read it a couple of times and want to point out some interesting items:

"Any sign with a number promotion leads us to buy 30 to 100% more than we normally would." (When the sign says 4 for $4, why do I buy 4 instead of the 1 or 2 I came in to buy?

"When we have plenty of food to eat, fat burning speeds up."
"When we have less food to eat, our furnaces slow down."

"Deprivation diets do not work."

Tip: Trim 100 calories per day and lose ten pounds in a year.

Tip: Make your lower calorie food look like higher calorie food.. e.g.: stuff hamburgers with lettuce.

Tip:  The "clean plate" notion gives us a target.. so cut in half before eating.

Tip:  Ditch short fat glasses and go with tall skinny ones; same with plates.

Book: Obese Humans and Rats  by Stanley Schachter and colleagues at Columbia U.

Tip:  The more hassle it is to eat, the less we eat.

Tip:  Eat with chopsticks.

Tip:  Repackage food into smaller containers.

Tip:  Always leave some food on your plate.

Tip:  Use smaller plates and cups.

Tip:  Share dessert.

Tip:  Divide entrees and take some home.

Tip:  Don't eat bread at restaurants.

Tip:  Try a smaller bowl of ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream.

Tip:  Ice in drinks burn calories.

WWW.eatright.org ..  American Diabetes Association

Campbell's ads were required to be run during 10 am to 1 pm, when it was storming outside.. and the ads would tout Campbell's soups as comfort food in storms.

06.  Joke (needs work)

The bartender was having some problems with his arthritis and could not squeeze the lemons for the drinks.  One of the patrons, a little scrawny guy said:  "Let me try."  The scrawny guy hardly touched the lemons and the juice ran out as needed.  After the scrawny guy left, the bartender asked if anybody knew who the strong little guy was.  One of the customers said that he didn't know his name, but that he worked at the IRS, where they really know how to squeeze the daylights out of all of us.

07.  More Diet Tips

Life Line Screening: 

Tip:  Order your coffee with non fat milk, instead of cream.  (Save up to 100 calories)

Tip:  Have an English Muffin instead of a bagel. (Save 100 calories.)

Tip:  Don't eat potato chips; eat popcorn.  (Save 90 calories)

Tip:  Get rid of the top piece of bread on your sandwich. (Save 100 calories)

Tip:  Use Mustard instead of Mayonaise.  (Save 90 calories.)

Tip:  Eat snap peas instead of a banana.  (Save 100 calories)

08.   I'm on the Board

Daily Bread: In England, at Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Stratford upon Avon, a tour guide told his charges:

The kitchen table was made with wide boards.  One side was for eating meals and the other for chopping food.  In English life, expressions came into being because the word board became associated with food, housing, honesty and authority.  An inn would offer "room and board".. eating and sleeping. 

In taverns, card players were told to keep their hands "above board" to make sure they were not cheating.  In the home, father had a special chair at the head of the table, where he was called "chairman of the board."

09.  I thought it was Al Gore

BBC MusicTim Berners-Lee is supposed to be the inventor of the World Wide Web, which has been a boon to people who like to listen to music. Tracks from recordings can now be disseminated around the world in seconds, and with a computer, the range of recordings available to buy has increased "beyond all imagination."  In addition, you can now cherry pick specific parts of operas and musicals, because there is no longer a necessity to download the whole thing.

10.  Credible Case of Alien Presence?

Mufon Journal:  Warren P. Aston writes: "...a famous medical figure, Doctor Eugene Torralba.. was joined by an energetic young man with very pale skin and blond hair, named Zequiel, who offered to assist the doctor for the rest of his life.  'El Rubio' .. the blonde, taught Torralba  the use of herbs and various advanced practices as well as honesty in his dealings.  Zequiel taught the doctor advanced theology, how to win at gambling and how to predict future events.

The good doctor's wealth and influence grew over the years.  The culmination came with Torralba's 1527 claim, that with Zequiels's help he had traveled from Spain to Rome and back by air in a single morning, carrying important news that only reached Spain more than a week later.  Unsurprisingly, this drew the attention of the Spanish Inquisition who charged Torralba with witchcraft; under torture he was unable to deny what had happened.  His young assistant of course was no longer to be found"

11.  Bzzzzz!

There is a CD with the title Burt's Buzz.  It's an intimate look into the world of Burt Shavitz, the co-founder of Burt's Bees.  "Wise and wry, ornery and opinionated, the reclusive Shavitz is committed to living off the land and keeping true to his humble beginnings, despite his celebrity status"

Burt is a kind of grouchy looking bearded man.  He does wear a clam shell belt buckle though, so I suspect he lives near the Atlantic Ocean, probably New Bedford, Massachusetts, where all famous grouchy people come from.

12.  For computer geeks only

George Whitfeld:  "There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary and those who don't."