Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Four Planets

In this picture you can see the Solar system's 4 major rocky planets in a single glance.  Can you name them?

Click image for a larger view

Click here for answer.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Measure Up Monday

I had set a target date of 9/23 to be under 200. I didn't make that but sub 200 is still my goal. We'll just have to hold off celebrating a while longer. On the bright side, at 208, my BMI is 29.8 which means I'm no longer obese, just overweight.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last Day of Summer

I learned to play Misirlou from my cousin Carl back when I was a teenager . In those days there were a lot of popular guitar instrumental songs. We played quite a few of them, but for some reason Misirlou never made it onto our list of songs. So while I knew how to play it, I never did play it in any of the musical groups I played in over the years.

Dick Dale is the original artist on this song though I think my first exposure to it was through a cover by the Beach Boys. The song was also used in the movie "Pulp Fiction" which I've never seen, and was heavily sampled for the Black Eyed Peas' song "Pump It".

Near the beginning of summer I started working on this song with the idea that being a surfing song, it would make a fun "Welcome to Summer" video. Well summer came, and work sent me a couple of places and life happened, and before I knew it September was here and I never got the video made. So on the last day of summer, here it is as a farewell to summer swan song.

(Yes, that is my 32 year old "vacation hat")

Friday, September 19, 2008


Drink up, me hearties!

Chain Letters

Does anybody remember when chain letters were actually letters that came in the mail? They used to arrive claiming either some good fortune if I made a dozen copies and sent them off or dire circumstance if I dared ignore it and toss it in the trash. Sometimes they would include a list of names and the promise that if I sent $1 to the top name on the list, I would receive 1000's of dollars by mail in a few weeks. (I was always tempted to send a dollar to the bottom name on the list with the message: "Here is the only dollar you are going to receive. Consider it payment for Not Sending Me Any More Chain Letters.)

Today, chain letters arrive by email and always include the demand to "Forward this to everyone you know"! I always delete them and usually ignore them, although I have been known to reply with a Snopes.com link debunking whatever the claim happened to be.

< rant>
Recently, I saw an email petition against providing social security benefits to non-citizens. I don't know about the right or wrongness of the issue, but an emailed petition is a pointless way to address it.

First, a true petition contains names, addresses, and actual signatures of the petitioners. The email is just a list of unverifiable names, sometimes with an associated state. It's not likely to have much influence on the government official who receives it. And 1 list of 1000 names doesn't carry much impact on a national issue.

But the petition is being forwarded to multiples of people all over the country right? There will be hundreds if not thousands of email petitions that will arrive in Washington right? Well lets look at some numbers.

The petition I received already had over 900 names on it, presumably because it had been forwarded over 900 times with a new person adding their name each time. I received my copy along with about 5 other recipients in the To: list, and it appeared to me that the sender received their copy along with about 5 others as well. So if we assume that the average person forwards the petition to about 5 other people, then the number of recipents is 5 raised to the power of the number of forwards. That means by the time the 13th person signed the petition, it would have been forwarded to (5)^13 or 1,220,703,125 recipients. That's more than the current population of the United States. Even if most recipients clicked the delete button when they received it, we would all have seen this email in our inboxes thousands of times for it to ever have gotten to over 900 names.

So what does the petition really represent? My guess is that someone with an opinion about the social security issue generated a bogus list of over 900 names from a mail merge or some other name database, and then sent the list out with instructions to send it to Washington when the name count gets to 1000. Even if several hundred copies of the list survive until they have 1000 names, many identical lists arriving in Washington would have no more impact than 1 unique list.

If you really want to impact legislation through email, then the right approach is to forward a message to your recipients asking them to send an email directly to their individual representatives in Washington. Messages from verifiable, voting constituents will have much more influence than a cobbled up list of fictional names.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Measure Up Monday

Slow progress, but in the right direction. I was surprised to have made any progress at all with this being a birthday party weekend, and the inclement weather giving me an excuse not to go out walking.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Frogs and Zoos

Janet watches Emily while Ginette goes to class, and one of the ways she keeps her entertained is to let her watch Grampa singing on the computer. But she told me that Emily needs some new Grampa songs to listen to, so this weekend I put a couple of new songs up on YouTube that are geared towards entertaining a 2 year old.

I'm in Love
Big Blue Frog is a Peter Paul & Mary song that I learned while playing with Carl England & Co. during the Way Off Broadway days. We used to do a verse on kazoos, and I searched the house for my kazoo but couldn't find one. I even drove up to Rossi to buy one, but they didn't have them. I think the frog prop adds a nice touch though.

They All Aksed For You
The Audubon Zoo hasn't been part of my usual repertoire, but it's a fun song about animals, so I thought it might be a good one to do. I first heard this song done by my late cousin, Carl Glover. It was originally recorded by a New Orleans band called "The Meters", and you can hear their version here on YouTube. Note the Mardi Gras beads.

If any of you are members of my "Holly Kirby" fan club, you might be interested in her latest YT video, an over the top collaboration of Shania Twain's "Feel Like A Woman"

Happy Birthday Ginette!

Friday, September 12, 2008

LHC Webcam!

There was a funny
flash video here
that showed the LHC
getting swallowed up
by a black hole, but
It's no longer available.
Despite fears and warnings that it would cause a black hole that would swallow up the earth, the Large Hadron Collider was switched on this week. To allay such fears, the scientists set up a couple of webcams that show the collider's interior, and surrounding countryside.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Measure Up Monday

I've recuperated from my illness and recovered the unnaturally lost weight as well, putting me exactly where I was before I left for Australia. Hopefully next week I'll be able to report some true weight loss.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

Friday, September 5, 2008

Joke Friday

Little Johnny had been bringing his drawings home from kindergarten every day since he started a month ago. Each day his mother admired the pictures and hung them on the refrigerator. One thing started bothering her. Little Johnny only used black and browns for his drawings. Fearing a problem and not wanting it to get worse, she decided to take him to a child psychologist.

The psychologist delicately went to work. He gave Little Johnny a battery of psychological tests. He chatted with Little Johnny. Everything seemed perfectly normal. Every day for two weeks, the tests continued. Yet everyday, Little Johnny continued to bring home drawings in only blacks and browns.

Frustrated at not being able to get to the root of the problem and fearful that something was terribly wrong, the child psychologist decided to give Little Johnny some paper and a box of crayons and observe what happened.

Little Johnny opened the box of crayons and said, "Oh, Boy! A new box of crayons! At school we only have old boxes. The only ones left in mine are black and brown!"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Australia Epilog

One of the issues I had in Australia was getting used to driving a car with the controls on the right. It felt strange to have so much car sticking out to my left. It was like being a new driver and having to learn the 'feel' of the car all over again. New drivers as such, sometimes make some judgement errors and find themselves over steering into a right turn, cutting it too close and running over the curb on the corner. Or pulling in too far when parking and scraping the curb. I had to learn how to do both of those things all over again except on the left side, and have to admit that I hit my share of curbs. However, I didn't realize until the day I was returning the car just how badly I had warped and scraped up the hubcap. Hertz was pleasant about it. They simply added 60 AUD to my bill.

One of my Australian mates warned me that on my return to driving in the U.S., I might experience some after effects of driving on the left. As a 'yank' driving in Australia, you find yourself thinking about every right or left turn you make, wanting to be sure you don't unconsciously turn into the wrong lane. I was told that I might find myself doing the same thing after I got home. I'm happy to report that I slipped right back into right side driving without any conscious thought. I did signal a few turns with my windshield wipers however.

I seem to have brought a little Australian visitor back home with me. Thursday before I left I experienced chills and a fever, but it was gone by Friday. However, shortly after I started experiencing classic symptoms of salmonella poisoning although I kept thinking I had a little touch of flu. Last night I decided this was something worse and called the doctor today. I now have a prescription that will hopefully clear me up.

By the way, those that were at my house for barbecues this weekend can rest easy. I was very careful about hand washing :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Measure Up Monday

I showed a 2 pound loss this morning, but it wasn't justified by my eating and activity levels last week. I think it is more due to a bit of flu that hit me Thursday night and still seems to be with me. I expect it might go up a little as I get back to normal.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist