Mar 28, 2009

Largest working pipe organ is not in a church

The Wanamaker, the world's largest operating pipe organ, is not in a church or cathedral. It’s in a department store.

It is played daily at noon and 7 p.m. (except Sundays) at Macy’s department store in Philadelphia (formerly Wanamaker’s department store).

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Link to more of the story here.

Mar 27, 2009

Skateboarding parrot bird-napped

Gordo is a 30-year-old Guatemalan parrot that likes to be pulled on a skateboard on the sidewalks of Baldwin Park, California.

The parrot has become a well-known icon in the neighborhood.

More of the story here.

The weekend is nearly here...

... time to dream of spring

Taxi cab graveyard

Scrapped taxis litter a yard in Chongqing, China.

photo from Time Magazine

...Yahoo Geocities is still sputtering - this photo is from another storage location.

Deep in the way it was very light...really?

American Actress Alicia Silverstone was once nominated for Britain's annual Foot in Mouth award honoring the celebrity who makes the most baffling verbal statement.

The statement that earned her the dubious award:

I think the 'Clueless' movie was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness.

Sounds like she earned the award fair and square.

The problem at Yahoo GeoCities continues

They still are having trouble keeping their windmill going at Yahoo GeoCities.

We began using GeoCities for eBay photos in 1997 and most of the time reliability was not a problem.

Sometimes graphics in our older postings show and sometimes they do not. Pictures in new postings do not work.

Once again we are apologizing for Yahoo Geocities.

FAA issued safety directive on Montana plane

A new wrinkle has emerged in the investigation of the plane crash that killed 14 people in Montana Sunday.

Just two weeks ago, the FAA issued a directive ordering operators of the Pilatus PC-12 model (pictured) to check for a potential problem with a control mechanism.

The directive does not go into effect until March 30, and it's not clear if the Montana plane had undergone an inspection of the mechanism, called a stick-pusher.

The device is a back-up mechanism that can help pilots with a "last-ditch" effort to control a troubled plane, says an expert.

“Anything that could have affected the ability of this pilot to control the pitch of the plane is on the table.” Investigators have actually found the Montana plane's stick-pusher and see no problems so far.


Mar 26, 2009

Some of our photos are temporarily unavailable

We are not sure when our photos will be back up.

We use Yahoo GeoCities for photo storage. No word from them when they will be back up.

= = = = = = = U P D A T E = = = = = = =

Yahoo GeoCities just gave us this message:

March 26, 2009: Sorry, due to planned system maintenance, your GeoCities Control Panel is currently unavailable. We expect this maintenance to be completed by approximately 12 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

We apologize for this inconvenience, and are working to make your account available again as quickly as possible.

Finland on ice

In 1996 some 7,000 people visited the SnowCastle of Kemi, made entirely of ice and snow. A few of those visitors are pictured here.

Each year the castle, on Finland's west coast, melts and has to be rebuilt -- a process that can take months.

Economic plan sticker shock

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High flying snow boards

Competitors at the Snowboard World Cup Finals in Chiesa Valmalenco, Italy.

Montana plane crash - the rest of the story

We first reported the story of the Montana plane crash here.

This is the rest of the story:

The site of the plane crash in Montana that killed 14 was the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery, which contains a "Tomb of the Unborn" - a memorial to unborn babies killed by abortion, where local residents pray for the unborn and to end abortion.

The sad irony is: the owner of the plane, in which several members of his family were killed, is the owner of the nation's largest private abortion provider.

Dr. Irving "Bud" Feldkamp III purchased Family Planning Associates of California four years ago.

The 17 California Family Planning clinics perform more abortions in the state than any other abortion provider - Planned Parenthood included - and they perform abortions through the first five months of pregnancy.

Although Dr. Feldkamp is not an abortionist, he reaps profits from babies that are killed through abortions performed every year at the clinics he owns.

Dr. Feldkamp (on right) during happier times.

Members of the Feldkamp family visit the plane crash site, led by Dr. Feldkamp, second from left.

The Feldkamp plane prior to the fatal flight.

An investigator removes a propeller blade from the crash site.

An investigator studies the crash site.

Photo taken shortly after the crash.

Bud and Pam Feldkamp are members of the Azure Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grand Terrace, California.

Link here and here.

Mar 25, 2009

Lower gas, consumer doubts hurt hybrid sales

Hybrid sales were off by 10 percent in 2008, and things aren't getting any better so far this year.

Americans are turning away in large numbers from hybrid cars at a time when automakers are preparing to flood the marketplace with even more of them. reports nationwide sales drops of:

Toyota Prius sales dropped 30.8 percent last month, compared with February 2007.

Toyota Camry Hybrid sales were off for the month by 47.4 percent.

Honda's Civic Hybrid sales were off 21.5 percent.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid sales were off 48.6 percent.

Sales of hybrids are affected by more than just gas prices.

Fuel economy ratings are improving for cars with conventional engines.

Despite educational efforts by the auto industry and others, there still are some consumers who question the reliability and durability of hybrids.

The biggest issue, however, is that "there's still a premium for buying a car with a hybrid system," said Jack Nerad, editorial director at Kelley Blue Book. Hybrids can cost as much as $5,000 more than a comparable conventional vehicle.

The engineering is more complicated, there's more components and the battery packs themselves are quite expensive. And in terms of interior space, accommodations and power, you will have to pay more for a hybrid to get comparable performance in all of those areas.

How many car buyers worry about how well they would be protected from the electricity in a collision.

How much longer will it take for the “jaws of life” operators to extract you from the car because they will be worried about electric shock?

Unless the Obama administration dictates that gas prices go up to $10 per gallon - or put a tax on non-hybrids so that hybrids will be less costly (and don’t rule out either), hybrid sales will probably continue to tumble.

In the meanwhile, the Obama administration will insist that Detroit automakers make more hybrids in order to keep getting bailout money.


Will the airbags work?

Whale of a load

A dead long-finned pilot whale is carried away by tractor after it was stranded on a beach in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia

Streamlined vehicles were not always pretty #3

This is reportedly the world’s first professionally styled mobile home. It was designed by industrial designer Brooks Stevens in 1936 for William Woods Plainkinton, Jr. of Milwaukee.

The 45-foot vehicle was just two inches shy of the maximum legal length for highway travel at the time.

Loaded with fuel and water it weighed eleven tons.

"With sleeping accommodations for 8 people and every modern convenience," a Green Bay reporter wrote, "the Milwaukeean's trailer represents the last word in deluxe sports equipment."

Mar 24, 2009

Montana plane crash: 13 of the 14 victims had Loma Linda University ties

Icing was the possible cause of the crash of the single-engine Pilatus PC 12 airplane in Montana Sunday.

Shortly after the crash, federal investigators had focused on overloading as a possible cause. However, the Pilatus has a powerful engine for its size and is unlikely to be affected by the additional weight of a few children - unless they had an awful lot of baggage.

Investigators are also looking into the possibility of improper weight distribution.

The plane was flying from Oroville, Calif., Sunday morning on a 2½ hour flight to Bozeman, Mont. But instead of reaching its final destination, the plane diverted to Butte -- about 85 miles northwest of Bozeman -- where it nose-dived into a cemetery 500 feet short of the runway at the Bert Mooney Airport, bursting into flames and killing all 14 people onboard.

The photos above show the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft nearly identical to the plane involved in the fatal crash.

The Pilatus PC-12 that crashed was a high-end, single-engine turbo prop that did not have flight data or voice recorders onboard.

Also, there won't be any radar data of the plane's final moments for investigators to examine. Like thousands of small airports, the Butte airport doesn't have a radar facility.

ABC News online reported that the owner of the plane, Dr. Bud Feldkamp, was not onboard but lost two daughters, two son-in-laws and five grandchildren in the crash.

Names of the victims can be found on the official Loma Linda University statement of the plane crash here.

More information here.

…thanks to Twila Bauer for alerting us to the Loma Linda connection.

Don’t look now but your ‘do is a bit frizzy

What looks like a bad hair day is actually a model displaying a hair creation by L'Oreal Professional during the Bangkok International Fashion Week 2009. from Time Magazine

Nebraska town seeks old idle electric chair

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled last year that the state's use of the electric chair was unconstitutional.

The residents of McCook, Nebraska are asking state officials, you're not doing anything with that old electric chair, are you?

The town of McCook wants to display 'Old Sparky' (pictured) as a tourist attraction now that the electric chair has been ruled unconstitutional.

Fifteen men were executed in ‘Old Sparky’, which is located about 210 miles east of McCook at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.

The most notable was the execution of Charles Starkweather in 1959. The Starkweather murder spree left 11 people dead in Nebraska and Wyoming.


Obama volunteers will morph into Obama’s Army

There is a Birmingham News article at the link below reporting on the Obama volunteers campaign to drum up support for the Obama budget proposal.

If you don’t read anything else in the Birmingham News article, read the sixth paragraph:

We're looking for supporters," said DeHaven of Hoover, one of the event's organizers. "We're not looking for a fight. That will come later, when we have an army."

Ominus warning - the fight will come later when they have an army! That would be the ACORN “Brownshirts.”

Last July Mr. Obama said:

We cannot continue to rely on our military to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

Will the ACORN Brownshirts be the Obama civilian national security force?

If so, how will it differ from the Hitler Youth organization of the 1930’s and 1940’s?


Detroit showing muscle - the Camaro is back

Ford rocked the automotive world in 1964 with the introduction of the Mustang. Other automakers suddenly scrambled to play catch-up.

GM’s “catch-up” car was the 1967 Camaro along with its sister car the 1967 Pontiac Firebird.

The Camaro became popular quickly, because buyers had the option of using GM's big-block V8 engines, which could turn the cute little sporty car into a real screamer. Mustang had the horse in its name; but Camaro had its horses under the hood.

General Motors is excited about the new 2010 Camaro (pictured) which is scheduled to hit the showrooms this week.

"We have 14,000 sold orders with the money in the bank," says Chevy general manager Ed Peper, who's confident the return of the long-hood, short-deck sports coupe that bowed for the 1967 model year will be a success despite a down market. "Camaro is a shot in the arm needed to make people feel good."


Stimulus backlash hits the bumper

These bumper stickers are a sign of the times.

This is a way many people are speaking out against the Obama administration’s foreclosure prevention program that will reward people who are delinquent in their house payments.

Paying mortgage payments for homeowners who are delinquent using taxpayer money is one way the Obama administration will “spread the wealth.”

It was the “make my mortgage payment and buy my car gas” crowd that helped elect Mr. Obama. The foreclosure prevention program is a way Obama will reward those voters.

The bumper stickers above provide a way for responsible homeowners to vent their frustration.

Link here, here and here.

Mar 23, 2009

NY Daily News poll: Has Obama become overexposed?

The NY Daily News did an online poll asking: Has president Obama become overexposed?

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The data above shows the results as of noon 3-23-09.

The Obama gas mileage claim sputters

While touring a California electric car plant on Thursday, Mr. Obama proved once again that without his teleprompter (and someone knowledgeable to program the teleprompter) the gaffes are never-ending.

The folks at the electric car plant must have had to muffle their laughter when Obama said:

The 1908 Model T — think about this — the 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than the typical SUV in 2008.

Think about that: 100 years later, and we're getting worse gas mileage, not better, on SUVs

Ford's own Web site says the Model T's mileage ranged from 13 to 21 miles per gallon. Some Tin Lizzie enthusiasts who still drive the vehicles report numbers closer to the bottom end of that range.

I owned a 1925 Model T (pictured) when I was in High School. I never did check the mileage because it didn’t have an odometer.

What I can tell you is that comparing a Model T to a present day SUV is like comparing an 1800’s covered wagon train to the Amtrak California Zephyr.

With its 20 horsepower engine, I had a hard time keeping up with traffic while driving my Model T on the streets of Lincoln, Nebraska. It was a novelty but mostly I drove my little green convertible.

A 2008 Ford Explorer has 200 horsepower and is more than twice the weight of my Model T.

And finally: can you imagine what would be left of a Model T after a crash test at 50mph? Even the crash dummy would be unrecognizable!

A Cub Scout knows that comparing vehicles that are that different is misleading at best.


Flammable water found in a Colorado home

Water isn’t supposed to burn but don’t try to tell that to Jesse and Amee Ellsworth of Fort Lupton, Colorado.

The Ellsworths say gas has been leaking into their water well from a nearby gas well for the last six months. They say the gas companies are working on a well water treatment system, possibly for the entire community, but that any solution will take time.

Aimee Ellsworth says their only clue that something was wrong was the pressure of the water.

"It crashed, made noises. I thought this isn't normal."

She says tests found explosive levels of the gas in her basement, bathroom and by her water well.

The rural Ellsworth home is located within a half mile of eight natural gas wells.

Until the leak is fixed, the Ellsworth home is a fire hazard as gas mixed with water can burst into flame when lit with a match whenever a faucet is turned on.

Their dream home in the country has become a nightmare.

More of the story here.

A bedtime story by teleprompter

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Mar 22, 2009

Gaffe-prone Obama: turning into Jimmy Carter

Once again the Brits are demonstrating to us that they really get it when it comes to our “affirmative action” president.

It’s not just because Obama (pictured) took the bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval office where is resided since Tony Blair lent it to President George W. Bush right after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

It’s not just because Obama snubbed their Prime Minister at the airport when he visited the United States recently. Obama broke from precedent by not granting the Prime Minister the customary honor of standing beside him in front of the two nations' flags for the TV cameras.

It’s not just because Obama didn’t grant Gordon Brown the Camp David sleepover that Blair got on his first meeting with President Bush.

It’s not just because Obama gave the Brown family trinkety Marine 1 toy helicopters and DVD’s that were not formatted for use in the UK.

It’s not just because the Obamas failed to have Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah over for a White House dinner. Such formal receptions, especially considering that Gordon Brown represents America’s staunchest ally, is simply diplomatic protocol.

It’s not just because Obama did not have a joint press conference with Mr. Brown especially after the British prime minister fought hard to be first in Washington amongst his European counterparts.

It’s not just because the American media gave the visit by the Prime Minister only minor attention while the visit dominated headlines in the UK. One British reporter accused ABC News of giving Mr. Brown “less prominence than it did a story about a sleepwalking dog that walked into a wall.” Actually, the sleepwalking was done by Barack Obama during the visit by the Prime Minister.

No, it wasn’t because of the shabby treatment of their Prime Minister by Mr. Obama. It’s because they can see what the media here in America fail to report: Mr. Obama is, as title of the article says, tungue-tied and turning into Jimmy Carter.

The Brits are aware that Jimmy Carter was perhaps the worst Democratic president since James Buchanan.


Dumb celebrity quote by Brooke Shields

During an interview in 1982, to become spokeswoman for a federal anti-smoking campaign, actress Brooke Shields (pictured) said:

Smoking kills. And if you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life.

You just can’t make up stuff like this.

Senator Harry Reid wants a ruling on stimulus for Nevada casinos

Last month the Senate approved a provision that restricts casinos from receiving federal stimulus funds.

The provision was introduced by Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and passed by a 73-24 vote.

Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid (pictured) voted against the measure, while Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign supported it.

The reason Reid gives in an attempt to justify his desire to allow Nevada gambling casinos to receive stimulus funds is weak:

Reid argues that casinos are often the only suitable space for conferences and workshops held by community organizations.

He also cites a women's group that often uses casino hotel rooms as transitional housing for victims of violence.