May 29, 2009

Moon over Cathedral in St.Petersburg Russia

This striking photo shows the moon rising in the sky above the domes of the Smolny Cathedral in St.Petersburg, Russia, in the early dawn.

The photo was taken with a digital camera through the eyepiece of a telescope.

Obama Secret Service goons in action at LAX

A writer for The Georgia Informer newspaper in Macon Georgia, who wanted to give Barack Obama a letter, was removed kicking and screaming from the shadow of Air Force One.

The writer, Brenda Lee, shown here as she was forcibly taken away on Thursday May 28, 2009, at Los Angeles International Airport.

The incident occurred about 10 minutes before Mr. Obama arrived at Los Angeles International Airport by helicopter to board Air Force One.

So far there has been no official White House comment.

How a president ages while in office

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All three of these men spent 8 years in the White House. It appears that Ronald Reagan aged the most.

Andrew Sullivan: blogger extraordinaire

One of the most influential blogs in America is The Daily Dish written by Andrew Sullivan (pictured).

The blog you are reading now gets about 15,000 hits per month. The Daily Dish gets more like 20,000,000 hits per month!

After a very slow start this blog has had about 600,000 hits since October 2004. That’s only a fraction of the hits The Daily Dish gets in one month!

After Sullivan moved his blog to the website of Atlantic Monthly magazine, the traffic there increased by 30%!

Politicians from Condoleezza Rice to Barack Obama have been known to cozy up to Sullivan in the hope of reading friendly posts about them on The Daily Dish.

Occasionally I have read hateful stories about British-born Andrew Sullivan, posted on third-rate blogs, that delve into his personal life and preferences. These slurs and slanders are completely unfair! His personal life should not be fair game!

I have often wondered if the fact that he has been HIV positive for several years tends to drive him. He is a tireless writer. He posts more entries to his blog in one day than most post in a month! Yesterday I checked to see how many entries were made. I stopped counting at 40!

I do not read The Daily Dish with any regularity. Sullivan wrote one time that he was a conservative Libertarian but he is too liberal for me. Recently, however, he seems to have turned against Barack Obama, a man he championed much of last year. It will be interesting to see how long that will last.

May 28, 2009

Power Ball winner in Winner, South Dakota

Customers fill their vehicles with gasoline on Thursday, May 28, 2009, at the Lil' Feller convenience store (shown below) in Winner, South Dakota.

The Lil' Feller is one of two stores in Winner that sells Powerball tickets, and the owners did not know Thursday which store had sold the winning ticket.

It's been 100 years since this South Dakota ranch town lived up to its name, but it has done so in a big way for whoever bought a Powerball ticket worth $232.1 million.

Word spread quickly that the winning ticket had been sold this community of about 3,000 people in south central South Dakota.

The AP photo above was taken by Chet Brokaw. We wonder if he is related to retired NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw who was born in South Dakota.

List of 8 companies killed by the recession

A report from RealClearMarkets has a list of 8 companies that succumbed to the recession.

Circuit City, Sharper Image, Pontiac, Steve & Barry's, Bennigans, Linens 'n Things, Polaroid Instant Film, DHL.

This is not necessarily a “loved and lost” list. Rather, it is a list of businesses who broke the two most important rules of business:

Rule #1. Good customer service is top priority!

Rule #2. Never forget Rule #1.

With the demise of DHL, there will be fewer American dollars flowing out of our country to Bonn, German the home of Deutsche Post (owner of DHL).

We are not sure why the article listed Pontiac in with the other 7 companies. Pontiac is not a separate company - it is one of the GM brands - and was as good as any of the others in the GM family of motor vehicles.

We also wonder how long it will be before T.G.I. Friday’s becomes part of the list joining the Bennigans restaurant chain.


Out of control at Lowes Motor Speedway

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Sparks fly on the racetrack as Mike Skinner is involved in a multi-car crash during a race at the Lowes Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

Cocaine found in Red Bull cola? Really?

The Shopping Blog has this to say about Red Bull:

Well, this certainly helps explain why Red Bull can give you wings: a can of Red Bull Cola was found in Germany which contained traces of cocaine.

Government officials are furious and are considering banning the drink from the country.

Giant German retail group Rewe had already issued orders to remove the fizzy drink from its shops.

More of the story here.

Are demands placed on US automakers realistic?

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To meet White House demands, U.S. automakers may be building small, unsafe and underpowered puddle-jumpers in place of big safe cars and SUV’s by 2019.

May 27, 2009

Piaggio 3-wheel scooter

The MSN report linked to below says:

In 1946 Piaggio created the iconic Vespa as a post-war transport solution, 60 years on and the company has just re-invented the wheel, or to be precise it’s added an extra one.

The Piaggio MP3 is built along side the Vespa in the city of Pontedera, located in northern Italy.

This is not your father’s Vespa, however.

The photos show how the complex front-end mechanism allows for leaning into corners.

From all reports we have read, the Piaggio MP3 has only one drawback - the price.

The larger 250cc version will set you back about 4,300 British pounds (about 6,900 US dollars).

More about the Piaggio MP3 here.

Many falls among elderly due to inner-ear imbalance

From a Time Magazine report at the link below:

A simple fall is one of the most dangerous traumas the elderly face: one-quarter of older Americans who suffer a hip fracture after a fall die within six months of the injury.

But what exactly causes so many people to fall, and thus how best to prevent such spills, has long evaded the medical establishment.

Now a new study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers offers potentially lifesaving clues. Looking at data from the National Institutes for Health, researchers found that an estimated 35% of Americans over the age of 40 — roughly 69 million people — suffer from vestibular dysfunction, or as it is more commonly known, an inner-ear balance disorder.

By age 60 and older, the data showed, inner-ear imbalances strike more than half of all Americans.

More of the story here.

More on the inevitable Obamacare

The report at the link below says the Obama health-care plans do not provide the reform most Americans seek.

Drip by painful drip, the details of the Democratic health-care-reform plan have been leaking out. And from what we can see so far, it looks like bad news for American taxpayers, health-care providers, and, most important, patients.

The plan would not initially create a government-run, single-payer system such as those in Canada and Britain.

Private insurance would still exist, at least for a time. But it would be reduced to little more than a public utility, operating much like the electric company, with the government regulating every aspect of its operation.

More here.

May 26, 2009

Patrick Schwab - Congratulations

Pat Schwab graduated from Campion Academy last weekend.

Patrick with his mom Teri

and with grandparents Valeta and Perry

Patrick attended school on the same campus for all of his 13 years (K through 12). He began at HMS Richards Elementary and finished at Campion last Sunday.

Way to go Pat!

Great grandchildren at the Denver ZOO

Jordyn is riding in the wagon with Xander pushing and Emily pulling

Jordyn and Emily


Xander says,"c'mon dad, git the pitchur centered next time, k?"

Up, up and away

People walk past a giant advertising board for the animated film "Up" in front of the Carlton Hotel in Cannes on the eve of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 12, 2009.

Reuters photo

Nebraska license plate fiasco

A Nebraska license plate design contest was nearly hijacked by pranksters.

At first it seemed like the winner of the on-line contest was a black-and-white plate with the URL of Nebraska's Web site in red (upper right).

It was found, however, that those results were skewed by a prank instigated by, which encouraged people to vote for they thought was the most boring design.

After the votes from the humor site were disqualified, the bird-and-flower design (upper left) became the winner. It shows the Nebraska state bird - the Meadowlark - and the state flower - the goldenrod.


How not to aid the recovery

May 25, 2009

A day to remember our heroes, past and present

Facebook drops members with unusual names

If you have an unusual name Facebook may think it’s a fake and drop your account. One member found out the hard way.

Alicia Istanbul woke up one recent Wednesday to find herself locked out of the Facebook account she opened in 2007, one Facebook suddenly deemed fake.

The stay-at-home mom was cut off not only from her 330 friends, including many she had no other way of contacting, but also from the pages she had set up for the jewelry design business she runs from her Atlanta-area home.

More of the story here.

Speaking of Facebook ...

I finally got around to acknowledging a list of Facebook invitations from relatives and friends.

That’s all the farther I went for now.

No rash promises, but I really do plan to get back to Facebook and maybe even post some photos and, who knows, maybe write on a wall or two in the next few days.

May 24, 2009

Is there a wind-up car in our future?

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Don’t ya love the wind-up cars in the showroom?

Tiny unsafe cars coming to a garage near you

A report at the link below offers an irreverent critique of American cars to come after the new automobile emissions and efficiency standards dictated by the Obama administration.

Finally, Americans can start moving forward—albeit in small, unsafe, state-mandated, subsidized pieces of junk.

We all remember a time when we drove around in nearly any variety of automobile desired.

The forthcoming automobile emissions and efficiency standards will probably add more than $1,000 to the cost of the average car in your future.

The report says we should just consider the extra grand as charity or an "investment." We might as well cough up the dough. Thanks to Obama, our tax dollars are already keeping the U.S. auto industry going.

Shouldn’t we be allowed to buy big throbbing Belcfhfires (name changed to protect innocent vehicle brand names doomed by Obama’s decree) as long as we have a need for big cars and SUV’s and are willing to pay at the pump?

Maybe the feds should make Detroit produce cars like the one above. That should make the greenies really happy.

We have never owned a 4-cylinder car that had enough gumption to pull a lollipop out of a baby’s mouth! Sadly, that’s what the auto-buying public may be faced with after the feds get through overhauling the Detroit auto industry.

In a weak moment we purchased a new Pontiac Sunbird in 1984. Huge mistake. It was grossly underpowered with a five-speed tranny that constantly needed shifting. The car gave us “transmission elbow” unless there were no hills in sight.

Maybe I’ll latch on to a big car and the address of a good mechanic who can keep it running until it becomes part of our estate after we are gone.

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The video above shows a Trabant undergoing quality control in a 1950’s factory in East Germany.

The Trabant was a step below the forgettable Yugo but it may be a preview of Obamamobiles to come.

Time Magazine once said of the Trabant:

The car was powered by a two-stroke pollution generator that maxed out at an ear-splitting 18 hp, the Trabant was a car constructed of recycled worthlessness.

A virtual antique when it was designed, the Trabant was East Germany's answer to the VW Beetle - a "people's car," as if the people didn't have enough to worry about.

Trabants smoked like an Iraqi oil fire, when they ran at all and often lacked even the most basic of amenities, like brake lights or turn signals.

Have fun dreaming about the Obamamobile in your future.