Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cuba arms; Disney lines; Baltimore riots; Televangelism; Naughty Transplants; Free Community College.

Those who read this blog know that I have a "liberal" point of view.   However, I do try to see both sides of issues.. so, I recently subscribed to the "National Review" to see what I have been missing.  I must say that most of what I am reading is out and out un-fact-checked BS.. but there are a couple of  gems IMHO.


Let me quote this NR scary entry exactly:  "Two years ago, a North Korean cargo ship was stopped going through the Panama Canal.  The ship was bearing sugar from Cuba.  It was also bearing tons of war materiel, bound for the Kim regime.  Just the other day, a Chinese ship was stopped in the
Colombian port of Cartagena.  The ship was steaming toward Cuba.  The captain said it was bearing grain.  The grain turned out to be 99 missile heads, 100 tons of gunpowder, 3,000 cannon shells, etc.  You might get the idea that the Castro regime and its fellow communists in the east are up to no good"


I quote: "Disney amusement parks used to let disabled visitors cut to the front of the line for rides and attractions...some people with disabilities started hiring themselves out as 'guides' for families who wanted to skip the 2013, Disney instituted a new system...the disabled can schedule a time to take a particular ride and visit other parts of the park in the meantime...parents of autistic children sued Disney, claiming it had violated their kids' rights by making them stay too long in the Park's busy environment..."


Rioting and looting:

Those of you who do not live in Baltimore, must think that this it is a terrible place to live.   Not so. 
The rioters that you are following on TV right now are in a very small area of this enormous city.  And, as you know, I am a strong advocate for gun control, but I must mention that if the rioters enter any of the old working class Baltimore neighborhoods.. gunfire will break out and people will die. I think the looters know or sense that and will stay where they can, unfortunately, destroy their own neighborhoods. 

Here are a couple of interesting items from The Week (March 27,2015)

Good old Creflo Dollar, televangelist, had to give up his plan to funddrive  $65 million for a Gulfstream Jet, because of widespread ridicule.  I have no doubt that he'll get that plane somehow.  Watch out, little old ladies with money in the bank.. Creflo will be eying you up.

South African doctors  reported that they had performed the first successful penis transplant in medical history.  (I suspect they will go in business.. they might name their business:  The John Holmes Memorial Stitchery.)


Peter Morici, professor of business at the University of Maryland says President Obama's free community-college plan is a bad idea.  He says that money would be wasted on community colleges, which he says are "diploma mills" staffed by "bureaucrats" who are not good at education matters.  He says that the liberal arts are a "useless" waste of time, and especially hates English classes.

Well... that's enough.. as Reverend Lou Piel says:  Think on it!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Copy Editing; New Yorker; BBC Music; Musical Records in the Guinness Book

Just a bit of this and that today:

01.  Between You and Me (Confessions of a Comma Queen) by Mary Norris.   Reviewed in the New York Times Book Review by Patricia T. O'Conner, author of Woe is I.

Mary Norris was a copy editor for the New Yorker magazine and has come up with some memorable information... like the name of the person who was responsible for the hyphen in the title of Moby-Dick.. it wasn't Melville, we are told.

She also doesn't feel too bad when a friend of hers said, while looking for sunglasses, "Are those they?"  She also has a chapter on dirty words and is a fan of all kinds of pencils.   Sounds like a book my brother Joe in Ohio would love to read.

02.  BBC Music Magazine this month has an article about musical records.  Guinness World Records is 60 years old, and since it's inception in 1955, these musical records have appeared in it's pages.

A.  U.S. Composer John Cage's Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow As Possible) was written in 1987 and began to be performed in 2001.  The organ keys are held down mechanically until the next change of notes is required.  Such changes happen usually once or twice each year.  However, there is currently an extra long note being played, and the next note is scheduled for 2020.  The total piece will finish in 626 years time.

B.  The fastest that Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee has been played on the violin was  by Ben Lee, who in 2011 played it in 54.24 seconds.

C.  Mark Gottlieb, violinist, played a solo adaptation of Handel's Water Music under water in Olympia, Washington, in 1975.

D.  Tim Storms is a basso profundo extraordinaire from Indiana, who can sing all the way down to the G seven octaves below the lowest note on a piano.  He also can do high notes and may be even more versatile than Ivan Rubro of the Soviet Union.

E.  In October 2010, Dutch maestro, Bas Clabbers used a baton measuring 4.25 meters to  keep the players of Netherlands ensemble Harmonie Amiciticia in strict tempo.  Isn't that a stick around 12 feet long?!

Now that you are astounded, let me say adieu for today.  Lots to do.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cotton-Kraihanzel, Income Tax, Skype, Oriole Fan Bird, Thoughtful Items, Headlines

I still have a big guilt feeling for not having attended my Cousin Charlie Kraihanzel's memorial service in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but it was probably a wise decision, considering my macular driving skills and Elaine's illnesses. 

I always thought that Charlie would outlast me by many years.  It's a shame we don't have a method to retain brilliant brains, like Einstein's or Mozart's.. if so, I think that Charlie's brain would qualify.

By the way... the Physics procedure that Charlie and a co-worker developed, is called the Cotton-Kraihanzel method (I think.. look it up).

Today is when Elaine and I file for Tax extensions.  Our usual returns are a nightmare.. especially Elaine's... and just when I needed them, my figures locked up inside of my old Satellite laptop (you know, the one I ran over with my Toyota in New Bedford).. At the moment, I can't figure out how to recover.. it's not related to a virus because only input from me goes into the PC.. no email or downloads at all.   Just those damn money amounts that I need to do my 2014 Income Tax.  Oh well, with the extension, I will have an extra  6 months to work on the problem.

How about... today:  Just for "fun":   I will go through our local newspaper (The Carroll County Times) and comment on some of it.

Robbery Hearing May Use Skype

A Panera Bread store in Westminster, Maryland was robbed last September by a masked man.  Employees were not hurt and told the police that the robber seemed to have inside knowledge of the place. They also said that they recognized his voice, and that he was someone they had worked with.  So that person was arrested

The lawyer for the defense wants to bring in an expert witness to testify if the employees' voice recognition is reliable.  Since time is important, the defense lawyer wants to use Skype as a communications link to the expert.

Of course, you realize that what I write here may not be completely accurate.. but you get the idea.. here is a case where plans are to use the modern Skype technology in Court.  Sounds good to me, but I would not bet that it will happen.

Rogue Oriole "Fan Bird" Sighted in Westminster

An unofficial "Oriole Bird" has been sighted here and there in the city of Westminster.   Sometimes it is seen dancing, singing and twittering.  While it's coat of feathers is not as classy as that of the famous Baltimore "Oriole Bird", or even as classy as that of a real Baltimore Oriole bird, it  has been adopted as a Westminster institution. 

Several years ago, the Sons of Italy in Reisterstown invited the original "Oriole Bird" to a meeting.  They also invited all of the members' kids to come and see him.   Well, he came on strong, and danced around and tried to tell some bird jokes... however, after two minutes, the kids ganged  up on him.. with the littlest ones hitting and kicking him (in a good-natured way  of course)... some of the kicks caused real pain in the bird's shins and groin, and he became a grouchy bird. Parents of the kids just  stood around laughing.. I guess they thought that it was ok for their kids to beat someone up. (Sound like the Lord of the Rings?)

After 5 minutes of this killing abuse, the Oriole Bird got himself up off the floor and limped quickly out the door, yelling: "To hell with this job!"  

Viva Socrates!

The Reverend Doctor William, Louis "Lou" Piel, pastor of the Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Finksburg is a neighbor of mine at the Village)  He wrote one of his periodic columns.. this one was titled: "In the Light of the Empty Tomb".  As usual, there's a lot of meat  in his columns.  He isn't too happy with "Sunday only Christians".   He dislikes the ideas of the "I want it now" advocates.

I would like to quote him now, because, in my opinion, he has uttered brave words to put out in our Conservative County. 

"For me, discerning the will of God means dealing with issues like loving our enemies when they want to kill us, death with dignity, health care for all, faith conversations about abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage and people, especially children, who go to bed hungry when our food stores are full of available food."

I have lived in this County for 40 years, and have been involved directly with Carroll County groups of all kinds for over 20 of those years.  I love my Carroll County neighbors and would do anything to help them.. but, my philosophy of life is sometimes quite different from theirs.  I've learned to respect their views on all of the subjects mentioned in Lou's statement above. 

I am labeling Lou a Liberal  who has come out of  a free-thinkers' closet, and now has a wonderful chance to convert those Conservative Finksburg parishioners or at least to get them to "continue the dialogue."  As always, Lou asks us to "think on these things."

.. Finally:  Headlines to consider:

Westminster Man Charged With Allegedly Biting Woman

Carroll (County) Designated Medically Underserved Population

Body Found in Burning Car in Rosedale

Bicyclist Injured in Rosedale Hit-and-Run

Alleged Mumbai Attacks Mastermind Leaves Jail

3 In Custody after Guns, Device, Found at (Middle) School

Head-on Collision Kills 33 in Southern Morocco

Do these headlines depress you?  Unfortunately "Good news" isn't sexy enough for newspaper readers.