Sunday, November 29, 2009
Swiss Approve Constitutional Ban on Mosque Minarets - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News - FOXNews.com
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Saturday, November 28, 2009
We made our first Christmas shopping purchase this afternoon with astounding ease.
We walked into the store not really expecting to find the doorbuster special that I considered lining up for at 5 a.m. Thursday and damned if they didn’t have a ton of them at the same low price.
One credit card swipe and we were done and gone.
Now we’re at Barnes & Noble where Maria is continuing her quest for the perfect calendar and I’m sipping coffee and blogging.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Or, for that matter, that she believes anyone cares what she thinks about Sarah Palin.
Speaking to a reporter outside a charity event last week, Stewart opined, "She's dangerous. She speaks ... she's so confused, and anyone like that in government is a real problem."
Stewart also went snarky on Rachel Ray:
"She professed that she cannot bake," Stewarttold "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden. "She just did a new cookbook which is just a re-edit of a lot of her old recipes. And that's not good enough for me. I mean, I really want to write a book that is a unique and lasting thing. Something that will really fulfill a need in someone's library."
I hope she’s nicer to her parole officer.
The sun sets in the south-southwest and it’s in perfect alignment with U.S. 49 from the Farville curve to the Stadium-Johnson split. Coming up the incline at Hilltop, it’s positioned right behind the stoplights.
I wouldn’t make this trip at this time except that I promised Maria I’d pick up a couple of prescriptions for her and I spaced it out when I was in town earlier. I must remember to take the back way (Ark. 351) next time.
The Who will perform in the BRIDGESTONE SUPER BOWL XLIV HALFTIME SHOW on CBS Sports at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida on Sunday, February 7, the NFL announced today during halftime of the Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys game on CBS.
This could be dangerous. The crowd may not want to go back to the football game and just keep Pete and Roger and the rest playing all night.
Here’s the commemorative t-shirt you can order now from the Official Who Store.
It kinda pisses me off that the little Google ads that show up under the first three posts on my blog are for the delusional global warming hoaxers.
They’re supposed to relate to the topics being discussed on the blog, but I don’t like to appear to promote the dangerous craziness.
I barely managed to find a parking space this morning to get my coffee and Internet fix at Hastings.
This is, of course, Black Friday and this normally moribund shopping center has suddenly become popular. I can only imagine what kind of clusterfuck is going on in the parking lot over at the Mall at Turtle Creek.
I’m in an odd Janis Ian mood, listening to her Society’s Child: The Verve Recordings album on my iPod. I had all of those tracks 41 years ago on vinyl in the form of the very obscure The Secret Life of J. Eddy Fink album. (Her birth name was Janis Eddy Fink.) I probably would never have found that musical gem if Verve hadn’t sent a review copy of it to The Indianapolis News back in ‘68.
For those too young to remember, Janis Ian became an overnight star at 13 when she wrote and recorded Society’s Child (Baby, I’ve Been Thinking) about interracial dating. She also wrote and recorded the exquisitely beautiful and painfully introspective At Seventeen, released in 1975.
I’m surprised at how well her stuff holds up after all these years. Or maybe it’s just me being nostalgic.
I just gulped down the last of my coffee and am now out of excuses for plunging into the mob of Christmas shoppers. I shipped another four books this morning and exhausted my supply of padded envelopes. That means a trip to Office Depot or, if I want to save a couple of bucks, Sam’s Club. Either way, it’s going to be a hassle, but I gotta have ‘em because my Amazon.com book sales are picking up.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
It’s Thanksgiving night and I’m winding down from an admittedly low-key day.
Since Maria signed up to work the late shift, we substituted a brunch for usual turkey dinner. She whipped up a spectacular meal of killer French toast (a recipe from a charity cookbook that benefits a local hospice), eggs, hash browns and patties of Tennessee Pride sausage.
I spent a few hours this afternoon and evening filling in more blanks in the family tree on Geni.com. I’m up to more than 950 relatives and have run a couple of branches back to pre-Revolutionary War Europe. Specifically, the Flora/Flory branch back to Switzerland and the McCains (on my mother’s side) back to Scotland, by way of Ireland.
I also determined that Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle, the legendary Butler University basketball coach for whom Hinkle Fieldhouse is named, is my fifth cousin, once removed. And I found a connection with Claude Wickard, Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Agriculture.
Most of the actual research was done by other people – a massive Flora/Flory online genealogy and an impressive genealogy of the McCain family in the form of a book my parents had in their library. All I’ve done is pull it all together in family tree form on Geni.com and invited several relatives to fill out their particular branches.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
My Alma, Colo. BMW friend Tim Balough posted this photo in the Indianapolis BMW Club Facebook gallery the other day to my delight and surprise.
I’d never seen it before.
It’s me aboard my Pearl Silver 1991 BMW K100RS, negotiating Tim’s gravel driveway in the summer of 2002. It doesn’t look like a motorcycle with more than 150,000 miles on the odometer, does it?
I can’t tell whether it was shot during the day or two I spent at Chateau Balough before riding down to the BMWRA rally in Red River, N.M. with Tim or when I visited after the rally and a week in Big Sur with Maria. Either way, it’s makes me feel good to look at it.
That was a wonderful machine. It took me to every state west of the Mississippi and two Canadian provinces, plus all of the states in the Southeastern U.S. before it developed a terminally expensive engine problem.
It broke my heart to part it out and sell it on Ebay but every year, when I go to the BMW MOA National Rally, I wonder how many parts of my old bike are there – still in the wind and making BMW riders happy.
I buy it there because it’s on Walmart’s list of $4 prescriptions.
They offer me two choices
- By mail for $6.76/month
- At the local Super D drugstore (there is no CVS in this area) for $9.73/month
Hmmmmm. What a dilemma: $4 versus $6.76 versus $9.73. Clearly we have a need for healthcare reform here.
And my solution for healthcare reform?
Piss off, CVS Caremark. I’m staying with Walmart, who can cut my cost further by mailing (free) me a three-month supply for only $10. That cuts my monthly cost to $3.33.
Of course, my insurance (read CVS Caremark) tells Walmart they won’t pay for a three-month supply. Well guess what? They weren’t paying for a one-month supply either. I told the Walmart folks to just ignore the insurance, bill me 10 bucks and send me the three-month supply.
I love the free market.
Here’s the lineup in the four “Fuel Efficient Vehicles Only” parking spaces at Best Buy this midday.
As you can see, my little ‘94 Honda del Sol (30+ mpg) is surrounded by SUVs. The one on the far right is a new Nissan Rogue which, compared with the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Explorer, is indeed a fuel efficient vehicle. The EPA says the Front Wheel Drive Rogue gets 22 mpg city/27 mpg highway, and the All Wheel Drive version delivers one mpg less in each category. (So if you’re going to drive an SUV, Going Rogue (heh, heh) is a good idea.)
But the Expedition (which has a handicapped plate) and the Tahoe both get 14/20 mpg. How anyone can suggest those are fuel efficient vehicles is beyond me. (I've mercifully blacked out the license plates but you know who you are.)
But then Best Buy doesn’t post the criteria for fuel efficiency, so I guess we all get to decide for ourselves what that means.
This video has been taken down from YouTube on the rationale that its placement there violates NBC's copyright on SNL material. However, pretty much all of the other SNL stuff, including the Palin parodies, remains on YouTube.
Obviously, someone can't take a joke.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Having liquidated most of my extensive CD collection, I’m culling books from my library – most of which is still in boxes in the garage – for sale on Amazon.com.
I came to the conclusion the other day that there are only a handful of books in my library that I’m likely to want to re-read and only a few references worth keeping. When we lived in Thorntown, my library filled about eight bookcases in the attic and office, representing an accumulation of about 50 years.
Happily, it turns out that some of them are long out of print and in some demand. When I list a book, Amazon.com tells me what used copies are selling for and I consistently set my price a penny lower than the lowest current listing.
The trick to quick selling is to constantly review my inventory and revise prices downward so as to always have the cheapest price for any particular book or CD I have listed.
I’ve got 54 titles listed and plan to dig out another box or two from Box Mountain this afternoon for listing. Amazon.com’s generous shipping and handling allowance makes it worthwhile to list books even if the going rate is only one cent.
And since I go to the post office every day to pick up our mail, it’s not really an inconvenience to include shipping in the daily routine. Interestingly enough, while the reduced rate for Media Mail is the way to go with hardbacks, the lighter stuff actually goes cheaper by First Class – something I discovered when I was selling CDs.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Attention: Charlie Gibson
Posted By Derrick Roach On November 23, 2009 @ 7:23 am In ACORN, Exclusives, Featured Story, News, Politics | 510 Comments
On October 1st, 2009 California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced that an investigation had been opened into ACORN’s activities in California, resulting from undercover videos showing employees seemingly offering to assist the undercover film makers with human smuggling, child prostitution and even tax advice to boot.
Although ACORN has denied any wrongdoing, some of the employees involved were terminated, and ACORN has publicly stated that they would fully cooperate with any investigations that followed.
Interestingly, the local head ACORN organizer in California, David Lagstein was caught on tape earlier this month speaking to an East County Democratic Club.
Mr. Lagstein stated: “…the attorney general is a political animal, but certainly every bit of the communication we have had with them has suggested that the fault will be found with the people that did the video and not the people with ACORN.”
Continuing, Mr. Lagstein stated: “…we are fully cooperating, some of the investigators visited our office this morning and I think they really understand what’s going on.”
Shockingly, we now learn that the ACORN office in National City (San Diego County) engaged in a massive document dump on the evening of October 9th, containing thousands upon thousands of sensitive documents, just days prior to the Attorney General’s visit.
BigGovernment.com has learned that not only did this document dump occur, but the documents in question were irresponsibly and brazenly dumped in a public dumpster, without considering laws and regulations as to how sensitive information should be treated.
I am a local licensed private investigator. I took it upon myself to keep an eye on what the local ACORN office was up to, in light of the release of the undercover videos. I retrieved these documents from the public dumpster.
Documents shared with BigGovernment.com include information exposing not only the inner workings of ACORN in California, but also personal, sensitive information belonging to employees, members and clients of ACORN. ACORN and its few remaining defenders insist that the “good” ACORN provides outweighs the transgressions exposed in the recent undercover video sting. But, ACORN’s massive dumping of these documents and the cavalier manner in which it betrayed the trust of its supporters betrays that talking point. (Unlike ACORN, we have redacted sensitive and personal information.)
ACORN’s political agenda is also exposed, with thousands upon thousands of documents revealing the depth of the political machine that is ACORN, and its disturbing ties to not only public employee labor unions but some of the most radical leftist organizations.
The laws governing how sensitive, personal information such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, immigration records, tax returns, etc. must be treated are very stringent, and thus it seems as if ACORN may have committed serious violations in that department alone, with thousands upon thousands of potential plaintiffs.
Included throughout this post are a couple of photos showing the dump site, as well as just a small sample of the type of documents summarily dumped by the San Diego office of ACORN. In addition the video clip, from the evening of the document dump, shows ACORN operatives clearly engaged in some kind of discussion – likely related to the activities of that evening.
Over the weeks and months ahead, BigGovernment.com  will continue to release information from this shocking document dump by ACORN, slowly revealing the ugly truth of ACORN: the fact that their stated mission of helping the poor and downtrodden is just a ruse and a cover for an organization that is highly partisan and highly political, and thus rotten to the core.
If California Attorney General Jerry Brown and United States Attorney General Eric Holder refuse to truly investigate ACORN, and if the mainstream media refuses to engage in the investigative reporting that they used to do, then it will continue to be up to citizen journalists and investigators to expose the dirty, rotten underbelly of ACORN.
My father, Charles Myron Flora, died 12 years ago today.
Here we are in the back yard of our house at 609 E. Franklin Street in Delphi, Ind. in October, 1950.
He would have been 99 years old this year.
I think about him every day.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I just made the horrifying discovery that BMW Group is partnering with Coca-Cola and more than 100 other companies pushing a United National climate treaty to bind the U.S. to cap-and-trade emissions regulations, commit the world's wealthiest nations to a potential $10 trillion in foreign aid and, possibly, form a proposed international "super-grid" for regulating and distributing electric power worldwide.
This is horrifying because I’ve owned and loved BMW motorcycles for nearly 30 years.
The coalition is behind a website called Hopenhagen that invites visitors to sign a petition demanding world leaders draft binding agreements on climate change at the Dec. 7 U.N Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
This outrageous plan to abrogate U.S. sovereignty, along with that of all other participating nations, in the name of one-world government is, of course, based on the bogus assertion that human activity is causing global warming. The evidence, however, indicates global temperatures have been dropping for the past several years – something several climatologists who are wedded to their junk science conclusions have conspired to deny.
The veil fell from the coverup earlier this month when someone hacked the computer system of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit and posted emails in which scientists there discussed a “trick” to “hide the decline” of global temperatures.
"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate," said one e-mail.
Further, an e-mail exchange suggested the suppression of information: "Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He's not in at the moment – minor family crisis."
The director of the CRU confirmed that the hacking took place and that the emails are legitimate.
Besides BMW Group and Coca-Cola, other supporters of Hopenhagen include Newsweek, the Discovery Channel, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Siemens, Warner Bros. Digital Media, Clear Channel, Yahoo, Google, and AOL. You can read the complete list here.
Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, asserts the real purpose of the U.N.'s meeting in Copenhagen is to use concern over "global warming" as a pretext to lay the foundation for a one-world government.
Monckton warns the proposed Copenhagen agreement would cede U.S. sovereignty, mandate a massive wealth transfer from the United States to pay reparations for "climate debt" to Third World countries and create a new "world government" to enforce the treaty's provisions.
The treaty calls for unprecedented levels of international regulation and wealth redistribution and includes measures Monckton decries as an effort to "impose a communist world government on the world."
The bottom line: The sky is not falling, we are not causing global temperatures to rise because global temperatures are actually decreasing. There is absolutely no good reason to wreck our economy and surrender our national sovereignty on the basis of a massive junk science hoax being perpetrated by people who are either desperately ignorant or worse.
We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel this morning and I was reminded anew of how much I hate their coffee.
It’s the watery truck stop excuse for coffee that dominated American eateries for decades until heartier darker roasts began to shoulder that nasty stuff aside.
It should be a horrible embarrassment to Cracker Barrel that you can get a better cup of coffee at McDonald’s or any bookstore with a cafe.
But there is no accounting for taste and apparently there are enough Philistines who like Cracker Barrel coffee that they can actually sell the stuff by the pound ($7.99). Here’s how they hype it on their web site:
Not so long ago, most folks woke to the sound of a rooster’s call. Even then, folks knew how a fresh hot cup of coffee could help start the day. At Cracker Barrel, we searched out the finest beans and hand-selected a blend that we hope you’ll find as smooth in flavor as it is in aroma. Enjoy the same coffee at home as you do in our restaurant. Blended, roasted and ground to the exacting specifications of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®. 16-oz. package.
If I had to drink that swill at home, I’d give up coffee and get my caffeine fix from cola.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The first video covers the segment from Parker Road up Caraway and west on Matthews. You can see Deb and her red bike on my right. Charlie is directly in front of me most of the time.
The second video covers the end of the ride as we proceed west on Matthews, north on Bridge and into the Clopton Clinic parking lot.
What started out as a chilly overcast day turned out to be perfect warm sunny weather for the 2009 Association Motorcycle Club/ABATE of Arkansas Dist. 2 Toy Run.
Maria and I participated in the annual event in November, 2007, but skipped it last year. Maria begged off since she had grocery shopping and other things to do today, so I rendezvoused with BMW friends Charlie and Deb Parsons at the staging area around the Harley-Davidson dealership on Jonesboro’s southeastside after stopping at a variety store en route to pick up a toy to donate.
Deb and Charlie rode their BMW /5s – Deb on the red one and Charlie on the green one.
The ride started at 2 p.m. and we were fairly near the front of the pack as we wound our way down Industrial Avenue to Parker Road, west to Caraway, north to Matthews and Washington and north on Bridge Street to the Clopton Clinic parking lot.
The biggest news story of the day is one that has barely begun to break and will continue to reverberate for months or years to come. Someone hacked into a computer at the University of East Anglia's Hadley Climatic Research Centre, one of the main centers of anthropogenic global warming research. The hacker downloaded 62 megabytes of data from the server, consisting of around 1,000 emails and a variety of other documents. He uploaded them to an FTP server, where they were available to the public, apparently, for only a few hours. The event is described here.
Before the documents disappeared from that location, several people had downloaded them and posted them in other locations. I downloaded all of the material earlier today and have begun to review it. The emails are stunning. They are authored by many of the leading figures in the global warming movement: Michael Mann, James Hansen, Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, Stephen Schneider, and others. They are remarkably candid; these individuals talk to each other with the knowledge that they are among friends.
The emails I've reviewed so far do not suggest that these scientists are perpetrating a knowing and deliberate hoax. On the contrary, they are true believers. I don't doubt that they are sincerely convinced--in fact, fanatically so--that human activity is warming the earth. But the emails are disturbing nonetheless. What they reveal, more than anything, is a bunker mentality. These pro-global warming scientists see themselves as under siege, and they view AGW skeptics as bitter enemies. They are often mean-spirited; the web site American Thinker is referred to as "American Stinker;" at one point an emailer exults in the death of a global warming skeptic; another one suggests that the Ph.D. of a prominent skeptic should be revoked because of an error he made decades ago in his dissertation; another says that he is tempted to "beat the crap out of" the same scientist. The emails show beyond any reasonable doubt that these individuals are engaged in politics, not science.
They also suggest that pro-global warming scientists fudge data to get the results they are looking for. Just over a month ago, on September 28, 2009, Tom Wigley wrote to Phil Jones of the Hadley Centre about his efforts to get the right-sized "blip" in temperatures of the 1940s:
Phil, Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I'm sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean -- but we'd still have to explain the land blip.
I've chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips -- higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from. Removing ENSO does not affect this.
It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with "why the blip".
This and many other emails convey the impression that these theorists are making the "science" up as they go along, with data being manipulated until it yields the results that have been predetermined by political conviction.
Left-wing politics is a common theme of the emails. Thus, Michael Mann, author of the notorious "hockey stick" hoax, attacked those who don't buy the AGW theory on September 30, 2009:
Its part of the attack of the corporate-funded attack machine, i.e. its a direct and highly intended outcome of a highly orchestrated, heavily-funded corporate attack campaign. We saw it over the summer w/ the health insurance industry trying to defeat Obama's health plan, we'll see it now as the U.S. Senate moves on to focus on the cap & trade bill that passed congress this summer.
This sort of paranoid thinking is odd, since the vast majority of the money in climate science is on the pro-global warming side. Among themselves, the pro-AGW scientists make no bones about their desire to get their hands on some of that cash. Thus, a British scientist wrote last month:
How should I respond to the below? [an article questioning AGW theory] (I'm in the process of trying to persuade Siemens Corp. (a company with half a million employees in 190 countries!) to donate me a little cash to do some CO2 measurments here in the UK - looking promising, so the last thing I need is news articles calling into question (again) observed temperature increases--
No wonder pro-global warming scientists are dogmatically committed to their theory, no matter what the data say: their livelihoods, as well as their professional reputations, depend on it. As a result, they conduct themselves like a secret cabal. Outsiders--that is to say, independent thinkers--are viewed with suspicion. One of the most striking emails I've come across so far is from Michael Mann to Phil Jones. It replies to an email from Jones that was copied to another scientist named Andy, relating to a recent fiasco in which tree ring research that was a basis for the U.N.'s IPCC report on global warming proved to be inaccurate if not fraudulent. [UPDATE: A reader says that "Andy" is Andy Revkin of the New York Times. That's possible, but I can't see anyplace in this email or elsewhere where "Andy" is identified.] Mann included this postscript in his reply:
p.s. be a bit careful about what information you send to Andy and what emails you copy him in on. He's not as predictable as we'd like
A world in which those who are "not as predictable as we'd like" are viewed with suspicion is a world of politics, not science.
Much more to come. In the morning, we'll see how liberal scientists circled the wagons to stave off criticism of inaccurate or fraudulent tree ring data.
UPDATE: This is the email that has gotten the most attention so far:
The language is certainly suggestive--using a "trick" to "hide the decline." This is one of many emails that suggest pro-global warming scientists manipulate data freely to achieve their desired political ends, but it's possible the words used could have a relatively benign explanation. The surrounding emails do not provide context that sheds any light on what those words mean.
UPDATE: More here.
She could have stopped this hideous healthcare circus dead. She could have become an instant heroine and secured her reelection in 2010.
She held the opportunity to free the Senate to move on to really important business.
But she caved and ignored the wishes of two-thirds of her constituents, offering a weasely excuse that she reserves the right to vote against the final form of the bill. And Reid will doubtless let her vote against it, knowing he only needs 51 votes for passage.
Blanche Lincoln forgot that she works for us, so it’s time to fire her.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Guess who’s fighting the proposal to dump the name “Fighting Sioux.”
The Spirit Lake Sioux tribe. They won a temporary restraining order last week to stop the University of North Dakota from retiring the nickname and logo. A hearing for a preliminary injunction is set for Dec. 9 in Ramsey County District Court in Devils Lake, N.D.
I find this interesting since Arkansas State University was forced to give up its “Indians” identity a couple of years ago. They’re now the Red Wolves. Nothing wrong with Red Wolves, but the change was, IMHO, unnecessary and driven by a moronic sense of political correctness.
"I don't think most people realize the Fighting Sioux is actually a source of pride to a majority of those in the tribe,” said Patrick Morley, a Grand Forks, N.D. attorney representing the tribe. “You can see Fighting Sioux jerseys everywhere when you go on the reservation."
The University of North Dakota remains the last holdout among 19 schools identified as having "hostile and abusive" mascots by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2005 and 2006. The other universities have either retired their Indian mascots or kept them after securing the approval of their namesake tribes.
But what about the Fighting Irish? Personally, I think every one of those schools should have told the NCAA to go fuck themselves.
I’m back at the same old stand this morning, but at least I came on two wheels.
The bank time and temperature signs I passed ranged from 51 to 55, but I was perfectly comfortable thanks to my Willis & Geiger Diaplex pullover under my BMW Savanna jacket. I had the great fortune to learn about Willis & Geiger stuff a few months before the company went out of business. Indianapolis News colleague Art Harris got me up to speed on W&G when he started showing up at work with really cool W&G clothes. Willis & Geiger was the primo expedition outfitter of the 20th century. They outfitted such greats as Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and Amelia Earhart, but they fell on hard times in the late 1990s. They were bought by Land’s End, but failed to flourish and the company was chloroformed by Land’s End bean counters.
The Diaplex pullover is probably the best W&G item I ever bought. Actually I bought one for myself and one for Maria. Diaplex is like Gore Windstopper on steroids – very lightweight and breathable. It makes for a sweater that is quite comfortable at room temperature, yet it stands up to really frigid wind.
Art hates being a human billboard, so he had the Willis & Geiger Diaplex patch removed from the left shoulder of his pullover. I, on the other hand, have no such qualms and kinda like the decorative value of the patch.
I love being able to ride this late in the year. It’s officially 56 degrees in Jonesboro, heading for a high of 64. If I were in Crawfordsville, Ind., where it’s only 43 (windchill factor of 41) going to a high of 53, I probably wouldn’t be riding today.
It’s a minor inconvenience, but the climate change has thrown off all of our seasonal weather cues. There is no way in hell that it feels like less than a week before Thanksgiving and Christmas here doesn’t feel a thing – weather-wise – like Christmas in Indiana. Of course, this little bit of cognitive dissonance isn’t anything like the changes Steve and Nicky went through moving to Las Vegas from Cincinnati. I haven’t heard any complaining from them either.
Sarah Palin drew a crowd of about 1,000 in a miserable cold November drizzle to the Borders bookstore in Noblesville, Ind. Here's a photo gallery from my former paper, The Indianapolis Star.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The U.S. Board on Geographic Names has adopted the name Salish Sea for the inland waters that stretch from Olympia north to Canada's Desolation Sound.
Lou Yost, the board's executive secretary, said the name was approved Thursday, meaning Salish (SAY'-lish) Sea can now be added to maps and other materials. The name was proposed to describe the region's far-reaching ecosystem, which until now has not had an official name but includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia - all well known marine waterways in the Pacific Northwest.
Bart Webber, a retired marine biology professor at Huxley College of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University who proposed the name, said it seemed appropriate because the indigenous people in the region are connected by various Coast Salish languages.
"The Salish people were here first," Webber told The Herald of Everett. "It's not a perfect fit - the Makah Tribe at Neah Bay are not Salish people - but it fits pretty well."
Washington state's Board of Geographic Names approved the name late last month. The Geographical Names Board of Canada also has approved using Salish Sea for most of the marine waters between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland. Approval by the British Columbia government is needed before the name is official.
The Washington side of the border often is called Puget Sound, but the U.S. Geological Survey says technically that name only refers to the waters south and east of Whidbey Island, including those off Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Everett and Bremerton.
The British explorer Capt. George Vancouver named it after Lt. Peter Puget, a member of Vancouver's expedition who surveyed the southern sound in 1792.
The Salish Sea on the U.S. side includes a number of passages, bays, inlets, ports and channels, and one erroneously named canal - Hood Canal, which actually is a fjord. All their existing names will remain unchanged.
Marlin Fryberg Jr., the Tulalip Tribes board secretary, said the name Salish Sea reflects the region's history.
"The Salish Sea has provided travel ways for our ancestors and people for decades," he said. "It is part of our past, present and future."
The state board turned down Webber's initial request for the name in 1990, saying there wasn't a need and no historical evidence that anyone had ever grouped the waters together. But use of Salish Sea by businesses, tribes, artists, educators and others grew over the years and Webber decided to try again.
Caleb Maki, secretary of the state board, said there were a few objections from people who thought the name wasn't necessary or was simply a way to be politically correct.
"We could hem and haw, but the name is in common local usage," Maki said. "This has been a cooperative effort with British Columbia, and nobody foresees the new name cluttering up the maps."
Longtime Everett commercial fisherman Jim Leese Sr. said he can see the logic of the collective name.
"If you need to call it one name, Salish Sea probably will be fine," Leese, 83, told The Herald. "It just might be hard for some of us older fishermen to get used to."
Hoosiers lined up early Thursday morning, November 19, 2009 at the Borders Bookstore in Noblesville, Ind. for a chance to see Sarah Palin at a book signing later this evening. Wristbands were handed out to the first 1000 in line so they can return later tonight for the Palin appearance. Those at the front of the line began lining up at 9 p.m. Wednesday, spending the night in their cars in the parking lot outside the store. (Sam Riche / The Indianapolis Star)
Notice that the line winds out of the frame at the upper right. Indiana may have gone for Obama, but only because of the concentration of black urban voters in Indianapolis’s Center Township and in Gary. Hamilton County, where Noblesville is the county seat, is one of the most Republican counties in the nation.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
That’s my ‘94 del Sol parked next to a Chevy Malibu LS and a GMC Terrain in the “fuel efficient vehicles only” section in front of Best Buy.
My del Sol averages 32+ mpg while the Chevy has to stretch to make 30 mpg on the highway and the Terrain may do as well as 32 mpg on the highway.
Interestingly, the Terrain belongs to a fellow Hoosier – it had an Indiana plate from Bartholomew County (Columbus), but I didn’t hang around to meet the driver.
My doctor has me taking Lisinopril for blood pressure. It’s one of those $4 prescriptions at Walmart and I’ve been driving down to the southside Walmart every months for refills.
The last time I went online to refill the prescription I noticed a reference to their refill by mail program, whereby I could get a three-month supply at a reduced cost with free shipping. It seemed like a good idea, so I tried it. That was on Nov. 3. As of today (Nov. 18), I have still not received my Lisinopril and have been without it for more than a week.
Isn’t it ironic that they choose to piss me off and elevate my blood pressure by taking their time with… my blood pressure meds?
The good news is that my BP was down within normal limits when I saw the doc last month, so it’s probably not a crisis. Just an annoyance.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I watched most of yesterday’s Oprah Show because I was curious to see how the interview with Sarah Palin went. I missed the first 5 minutes or so, but suspect I didn’t miss anything important.
There was really nothing startling. Sarah came across as comfortable and frank. Oprah seemed a bit tense and distant.
No big deal.
That’s what this girl and her friend have been doing since before I arrived some 90 minutes ago. As a consequence, I’ve been running on battery power. Fortunately, the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 does pretty well on battery life.
All of this is to say that I can’t think of anything remotely interesting to me – let alone a visitor to this obscure outpost on the Internet – to write about this morning.
Maybe something will come up later today…
Monday, November 16, 2009
Maria called my attention to a painting hanging in the newspaper’s hallway art gallery the other day. It’s a mountain scene with sheep, but the style reminds me of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (“The Scream”) only this image is whimsical rather than disturbing.
Maria loves the sheep faces. So do I. The one in the back looks a bit like Ruthie the Wonder Dog.
It’s a chilly gray mid-November Monday that started out with rain and falling temperatures. I’m still in the process of getting acquainted with Windows 7 and so far, I still like it.
I took a break after lunch and came in to town for a big cup of Rio Azul coffee at Hastings.
Realizing that rain was on the way, I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon with the leaf blower in the fenced area of our back yard. Maria grabbed a rake and helped me herd the huge pile of oak leaves over to the fire pit where we torched them. Yeah, people still burn leaves here in Arkansas.
The rest of our 1.23 acres is covered with a carpet of leaves that I may or may not mulch with the mower when things dry out again. The point of clearing the fenced area is to minimize the volume of leaves the dogs track into the house. I made the mistake of mulching that area last fall and we paid for it all winter in tracked-in leaf fragments.
Austin completed his flying round trip to Indiana about 4 a.m. today. Maria heard him come in. I slept through it. Fortunately, he didn’t have to be at work until noon, so he had time for some sleep after his seven-hour bullet run from Thorntown.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Our next-door neighbor Sophie celebrated her birthday at a local fitness center with friends and family last evening. Part of the entertainment was faux wrestling in Sumo wrestler suits.
Here’s one of the early bouts between Sophie (being helped up at the beginning of the video) and her sister Becky.
Friday, November 13, 2009
But when I opened our post office box this afternoon, I found only 1½ envelopes. The one with a disk in it contained, of course, Disk 2 – the second half of the movie. The other was about 70% of the address side. Missing was Disk 1, which contains the first half of the movie.
I showed it to the deputy postmistress and she observed that they’ve seen several such mutilations lately. The problem, she speculated, is probably dirty or maladjusted sorting equipment at the Jonesboro Post Office through which all of our mail comes.
So the first half of Gone with the Wind is just that – gone with the wind. How appropriate.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I dropped by Best Buy this afternoon and noticed four primo parking spaces have been newly reserved for “fuel efficient vehicles.”
What do they consider a fuel efficient vehicle? Depends on who you ask. The girl at the service counter had no clue, but bit when I suggested that might mean hybrids. She directed me to the manager, who was busy with another customer.
So while I was loitering, waiting to ask the manager, another Best Buy blueshirt came along and asked if he could help me.
I told him I’d just noticed the marked spaces and was curious to know what their criteria is for “fuel efficient.” He said he didn’t even know the spaces existed, but speculated that they certainly included hybrids.
What about motorcycles that get 40-50 mpg? Yeah, they should qualify. What about my ‘94 Honda del Sol that consistently delivers 30+ mpg? Yes, he figured anything that got more than 25 mpg could be considered fuel efficient.
The manager was still otherwise occupied by the time our conversation wound down, so I left still wondering what the real, informed, official word is.
But you can bet that’s where I’ll park my del Sol or my motorcycle next time.
It was lunchtime. I was feeling cheap, but didn’t want to reheat last night’s chicken pot pie at home.
So I decided to find something fast on my way into town to get a prescription filled.
I’ve never cared much for Burger King, but I decided to try the new one just east of Hilltop.
Scanning the menu, I quickly concluded that I wasn’t going to get out of there for less than $4 and probably a bit more. Until I noticed the $1 double cheeseburger. Huh? Everything else on the menu was at least $3 and change. Was it a mistake?
I ordered a double cheeseburger and a cup for water and the bill came to a paltry $1.08. And, my burger was ready ahead of several people who had ordered before me. Damn! This is almost like free food. Almost.
My second stroke of luck came when I strolled into Hastings and found my regular table (by the electrical outlet) vacant, even though there were already three guys working with laptops in the big leatheresque easy chairs. Another guy has since fired up his laptop, so now there are five of us using the Hastings free Wifi.
Here’s the preliminary report on the new Dell Studio XPS 8000.
- It’s crazy fast. I have never seen Photoshop load in under 10 seconds until today.
- Windows 7’s “Dock” feature really does reduce the icon clutter on the desktop.
- The depression and USB ports on the case top for synching iPods and other stuff is very handy.
- Did I mention that it’s really fast?
- 64 bit Windows 7 means I can’t use my Nikon Coolscan IV ED negative scanner. Nikon doesn’t have a driver for the 64 bit version.
- I lost my playlists while migrating iTunes to the new machine.
- Plug & Play doesn’t have a driver for my Epson R380 printer. (I downloaded the W7 driver from Epson and it works.)
- Palm hasn’t figured out how to get my Palm Treo 700p to synch with Windows 7.
So it’s a mixed bag and the problem-solving goes on.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday , November 10, 2009
A Milwaukee Army reservist's military identification earned him some street cred Tuesday, when he says four men who mugged him at gunpoint returned his belongings and thanked him for his service after finding the ID.
The 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student said he was walking home from work about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday when he was pulled into an alley and told to lay face down and with a gun to his neck. Four men took his wallet, $16, keys, his cell phone and even a PowerBar wrapper from his pants pockets, he said.
But the hostile tone quickly changed when one of the robbers, whom the reservist presumed was the leader, saw an Army ID in the wallet. The robber told the others to return the items and they put most of his belongings on the ground next to him, including the wrapper, the reservist said.
"The guy continued to say throughout the situation that he respects what I do and at one point he actually thanked me and he actually apologized," said the reservist, who asked not to be identified Tuesday because the robbers still had his keys.
The reservist said he asked the men, who all had hoods or hats covering their faces, if he could get up and they said he could before starting to walk away.
"The leader of the group actually walked back, gave me a quick fist bump, which was very strange," he said.
Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said the reservist is credible and that officers still were looking for the suspects Tuesday.
The reservist didn't realize until later that his keys were not with him and he doesn't know if the robbers intended to keep those, he said. Still, he said he feels lucky.
"I'm just kind of awe struck that everything was given back to me due to just being in the military, " he said. "I realize in pretty much every other situation that wouldn't happen."
He said he's never been deployed, only having signed up for the Army Reserves about a year ago. He said he is the first person in his immediate family to join the military.
Schwartz said there were two other incidents within 40 minutes in the same area and police suspect the four men were involved in all of them. The robbers were unsuccessful at 12:35 a.m., when the 39-year-old man they approached ran into the street and started screaming.
Schwartz said within 10 minutes of that they approached a 47-year-old man — a convicted burglar who had a Department of Corrections inmate ID in his wallet — ordered him to the ground and pointed a gun at him. They took his wallet, apparently unfazed by that ID.
The Sun absolutely owned the story. Curt Hodges wrote a superb story, full of great quotes that flowed seamlessly. And, of course, my picture of Spc. Stephen Cunningham hugging his wife Rachel and wiping away a tear was a wonderful convergence of luck and readiness.
Nick Longworth, a staff photographer at The Indianapolis News back in the 1960s, once told a young reporter, "Don't ever get excited about a story you've written or a picture you took before it gets published because they'll always screw it up." Well, Nick, this time they got it right.
The FedEx tracking web site says my new Dell Studio XPS 8000 arrived at the Jonesboro FedEx facility at 5:47 a.m. today.
I'm hopeful that's early enough to make the daily home delivery schedule, in which case I should have a new desktop computer sometime today.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The scene was the Military Science Building on the Arkansas State University campus and the occasion was the sendoff of the 200 or so members of the 1037th Route Clearing Company. These are the people who have the daunting task of disposing of roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and they're being deployed to Afghanistan. They left this morning for a few weeks of training, preliminary to their shipping out to the combat zone.
This is the second or third deployment for most of the troops, but this time it's an even heavier burden for their families. This time the breadwinners are being yanked away in the middle of a deep recession and this time they're serving a commander-in-chief who often seems to care more about the enemy than he does his own troops. What was once a clearly defined mission has been muddled with waffling and indecision. And still, they answer the call to put their lives on the line for their country.
That's a level of sacrifice and patriotism I find humbling beyond words.
I'm honored to be able to use my camera to help tell their story.
Everybody knows about the second flag-raising, thanks to the Associated Press's Joe Rosenthal and his iconic photo.
Here are the guys who put up the first flag earlier that day, including Crawfordsville, Ind.'s own Phil Ward (D). If they had any class, the people of Crawfordsville would put up a statue of Phil like the did for Gen. Lew Wallace.
I had the great honor of having several telephone conversations with Ray Jacobs (G), who was the last surviving member of the group. Ray died last year.
Monday, November 09, 2009
I knew my German reunification commemorative stein would come in handy some day and the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall is the perfect occasion to toast Deutschland with a stein full of Beck's Dark beer.
While the Wall came down 20 years ago today, the formal reunification of West and East Germany occurred on Oct. 3, 1990.
They had a helluva big party in Berlin. Too bad the Apologizer in Chief, who actually campaigned there last year, couldn't be troubled to attend.
I feel utterly blah today.
Maybe it’s the overcast sky, maybe it’s the letdown after Saturday night’s Congressional malfeasance, or maybe I’m just having a mild brush with the pig flu.
And did I mention how much I dislike being on the eastern edge of a time zone? The sun set at freaking 4:59 p.m. today. And it’s only going to get worse for the next six or seven weeks. NFW should it be dark at 5 o’clock. I first experienced this aberration several years ago when I visited a friend in Long Island in December. I didn’t like it then and I sure as hell don’t like it now.
Whatever it is, I’m feeling singularly uninspired. I think a week in Big Sur would help, but we don’t have the time or the spare change for something like that.
FedEx still projects a delivery tomorrow for my new computer. Since FedEx pretty much never gets to my house before noon, I should be home from my morning photo shoot in plenty of time to take delivery.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
“I vote for this bill today to move the process forward, not to endorse its entire content.”
Turn in your Blue Dog Democrat credentials, Berry. Clean out your desk while you’re at it.