Feb 13, 2010

Cute baby Kirk’s Dik-dik antelope

This baby Kirk's Dik-dik antelope was born in Cheshire at Chester Zoo in north west England.

She was abandoned by her mother during the cold snap but she has since won the hearts of everyone who has met her.

This tiny antelope, who is barely ten inches tall, is being bottle fed milk five times a day and will be given a helping hand until she is old enough for a diet of buds, shoots and fruits.

It is native to Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia, the Kirk's Dik-dik antelope gets its name from the noise it makes when running for cover.


Feb 12, 2010

During the 1970’s I began collecting old cameras. Most of them were common cameras that sold for three to six dollars when they were new in the 1930’s.

Some were reflex box cameras but most were folding cameras that look great on a shelf with old books and other memorabilia.

The camera shown here is my favorite.

Inside the back cover of the camera is a Kodak decal that shows several patent numbers and a picture of a yellow Kodak Verichrome panchromatic film box.

It says, “Use Kodak film V616 or 616”. It also says, “Use Kodak film in the yellow box.”

There is a pleasing art deco design on both sides of the camera.

I found this camera in a little antique shop located in the basement of a house near downtown Beatrice, Nebraska in 1979.

It was still in the original box but the case of the camera looked bad because it was covered with mold dust. The case was easily cleaned and very quickly it looked like it did when it was new in the 1930’s.

Students cheated during an ethics exam!

From the archives:

Students at a university in Canada were accused of cheating - in an ethics exam

The students are all engineers at Carleton University, Ottawa, who have to do the ethics paper as part of their fourth year - one of the few essays they have to write.


Patrick Kennedy will not seek re-election

Patrick Kennedy (pictured) had announced he will not seek re-election as a Congressman from Deleware.

The 42-year-old representative is in his eighth term in office. He is the youngest of three children of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s former chief of staff had this to say:

“Kennedy's decision absolutely, unequivocally has nothing to do with the congressman's poor showing in recent polls, the shocking election of another little-known Republican state legislator, Scott Brown, to his father's Senate seat or the generally grim mood of voters in Rhode Island and around the country.”

Coincidently, the reasons cited above are the exact reasons Patrick Kennedy has chosen to cut and run.

Kennedy joins a list of other Democrats who have chosen not to seek re-election in 2010.


Acrobatic ski jumper at Lincoln Memorial

A skilled skier performs an acrobatic jump in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Air Car from 1923 movie Skylarking

This photo came from the 1923 Mack Sennett 18-minute comedy movie "Skylarking."

Harry Gibbon, standing on a soap box, is explaining the workings of his new invention - a Self-Raising Air Car.

Coats to challenge Bayh for Indiana Senate seat

Former U.S. Senator Dan Coats (upper photo) has confirmed that he wants his old job back.

Coats will run against Senator Evan Bayh (lower photo) to regain his old Senate seat. If he wins the Senate will be saying bye, bye to Bayh.

Mr. Coats said he is overseeing signature drives to make a formal challenge for the senate seat held by Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh.

Coats talked openly about the fact he's getting lots of encouragement from national republican leaders and Hoosiers to make a serious run for the office he held from 1989 to 1998, before retiring to pursue other challenges, including a stint as U.S. Ambassador to Germany.

He says he feels federal spending in Washington is out of control right now, that he thinks the democrats’ planned overhaul of health care is wrong, and he believes Senator Bayh is not resisting either of those things.


Feb 11, 2010

You know it’s a bad winter when...

You know it’s a really bad winter when...

1. You see pink plastic flamingos with only their heads protruding out of the snow.

2. There are more snowmen in your part of town than there are people.

3. Alarmists are telling you the eighteen inches of snow you shoveled from your driveway was caused by global warming!

Recall may not fix runaway Toyotas

Michael Pecht, a professor at Maryland's Clark School of Engineering, is wary when it comes to assessing whether Toyota's suggested repair of sticky gas pedals will have any real impact.

Mr. Pecht has written a book on sudden acceleration in automobiles. He is an expert in failure analysis and believes it is not a mechanical issue with the gas pedal causing Toyota's problems.

The runaway Toyota Prius avove landed in a creek bed

Three other independent safety analysts contacted by CNN also conclude that neither floor mats nor stuck gas pedals are an overwhelming issue.

"From what people have told me about their sudden acceleration incidents, most of them have have got nothing to do with the sticking pedal at all," said Antony Anderson, an electronics consultant in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.

Anderson said electronic throttle controls, which largely have replaced mechanical accelerators, can malfunction in ways he compared to an occasionally disobedient child.

And then there is Sean Kane, who runs a company called Safety Research Strategies in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, who said, "Toyota's explanations do not account for the share of unintended acceleration complaints that we have examined."

Toyota officials dispute any assertion that the complicated array of electronics in its cars has an impact on the acceleration issues that have dominated headlines in the past weeks.

But, as professor Pecht said, “they are in a bit of a quandary.

If they announce that electronics is a problem, they are probably going to be in a lot of trouble, because nobody's going to drive the car. So at this stage, they don't want to announce there is any electronic problem."


Skiing past the US Capitol building

A skier in front of the U.S. Capitol as more snow fell in the Washington area.

Deadliest Catch Captain Phil Harris dies at age 53

From a report at the link below:

Captain Phil Harris, whose fishing adventures off the Alaska coast were captured on Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch, has died aged 53.

In January, he had a stroke while his boat was in port at St Paul Island.

Elizabeth Hillman from the Discovery Channel said the team would miss his "straightforward honesty, wicked sense of humor and enormous heart".

Captain Phil Harris on the deck of his fishing boat Cornelia Marie. A photo of Cornelia Marie is shown below.

Harris started working on fishing boats aged seven. He first captained a fishing vessel at the age of 21.


Federal court jurors told stop tweeting

A federal court policy-making body has finally caught up with technology by proposing that judges clearly inform jurors they must not electronically discuss cases they are hearing.

It's standard procedure to inform jurors to remain mum and not conduct any research about the case until a verdict.

Recent gadget use by jurors has forced the hand of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body of the federal courts.

The Judicial Conference released the following instructions to the federal judiciary in late January:

You may not communicate with anyone about the case on your cellphone, through e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, or on Twitter, through any blog or website, through any internet chat room, or by way of any other social networking websites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and YouTube.

More here.

Hey, quick! Where’s that teleprompter?

The teleprompter operator will be searching Monster.com tomorrow looking for a new job.
note: this is a repeat of a previous post. When it first appeared on this blog, it quickly became a favorite based on number of website hits.

Feb 10, 2010

Washington braces for another snowstorm

A fresh supply of snow shovels arrive just in time.

Garden produce in short supply as shoppers stock up for another blizzard.

A man slogs through the snow on Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House after the last storm.

Pressroom laughter dies as Gibbs no longer funny

Press secretary Robert Gibbs (pictured) may be having less fun at his briefings than he used to. Could it be that reporters in the pressroom are laughing at him more than laughing with him.

The White House press room was a jovial place to be in the early days of Barack Obama's presidency. But times have changed.

The laughter has been reduced by half in recent months.

Chalk it up to the close of any administration's initial honeymoon — and the Obama administration's tough second half of 2009, as it wrestled with health care and saw the late Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat filled by a Republican.

"The tone is one reason for less laughter," says American Urban Radio's April Ryan. "There are lots of serious questions begging for serious answers. Those questions do not meld with laughter and light banter."

Serious questions do require serious answers.

In the past Gibbs tried to intermingle comedy along with his stammering way of talking around the subject. Now, in response to many of the questions put forth by the press corps, Gibbs says a lot of words without really saying much of anything.


Rows of snowbound rental cars at Dulles International Airport

Snowbound rental cars under 30 inches of snow at Dulles International Airport.

They may stay there for a while longer with another 10 to 20 inches of snow predicted.

...anyone seen Al Gore?

Report: Obama wants GOP surrender not bipartisanship

From a CBS Political Hotsheet:

Obama says bipartisanship, but what he wants is GOP surrender.

In this 13th month of his presidency, he's anxious to pass a jobs bill and be seen addressing an unemployment rate that only last week declined from double digits. And his efforts to enact bills on energy, financial regulatory reform and especially health care are stuck in Congress despite the solid majority his party holds in both chambers.

As presidents who can't get their way in Congress, Obama is appealing for a spirit of bipartisanship - urging Democrats and Republicans alike "to put aside matters of party for the good of the country."

What these presidential appeals for bipartisanship always mean is: do it my way.

With solid majorities in both the Senate and the House, a plea like this should not be necessary.

Is the fact that he is making this plea a testament to a failed first year in the White House?


Jim DeMint having some Tweeting fun

Senator Jim DeMint had a little fun with a Twitter posting.

Feb 9, 2010

Congressman's death adds to Barack Obama's woes

The death of John Murtha (pictured), long-term Democrat Congressman, came on a day that saw Barack Obama's poll ratings fall even further.

A Marist poll found that only 44% of voters surveyed approved of his job performance, down 2% on December. More alarming for Democratic strategists, 57% of independents disapprove of his performance.

The report goes on to say that the Democratic party faces another election test after the death of John Murtha.

The fear in the party is that Republicans will notch up another victory when a special election is held in a month or two to replace Murtha.

Murtha's death will have a neglible impact on the arithmetic of the House, where the Democrats have an overwhelming majority.

Another defeat, however, will make others in Congress think twice about voting for ObamaCare against the will of most Americans as they worry about their own re-elections.


Bush “Miss Me Yet?” billboard in Minnesota

The billboard shows a picture of former President George W. Bush and says, "Miss Me Yet?"

It is owned by a Minneapolis-based advertising firm and is rented to a group of small business owners and individuals who just felt like Washington was against them.

The billboard has been up since December.


Does it taste like chicken?

A U.S. Marine eats a scorpion while participating in a jungle survival program.

Air has gone out of climate change movement

From an op-ed Globe and Mail report:

As the science scandals keep coming, the air has gone out of the climate-change movement.

In 2007, the most comprehensive report to date on global warming, issued by the respected United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made a shocking claim: The Himalayan glaciers could melt away as soon as 2035.

The glacier story was reported around the world. Last December, a spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental pressure group, warned, “The deal reached at Copenhagen will have huge ramifications for the lives of hundreds of millions of people who are already highly vulnerable due to widespread poverty.”

But the claim was rubbish, and the world's top glaciologists knew it.

It was based not on rigorously peer-reviewed science but on an anecdotal report by the WWF itself.

When its background came to light on the eve of Copenhagen, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, shrugged it off.

But now, even leading scientists and environmental groups admit the IPCC is facing a crisis of credibility that makes the Climategate affair look like small change.

More here.

More amazing sidewalk art by Julian Beever

Julian Beever draws his pavement pictures with chalk and the drawings are gone after a short time. They are either washed away by rain or disappear from the wear of foot traffic.

Although his chalk sidewalk drawings are short lived, they are permanently preserved in photographs.

This chalk drawing is an illusion of a Sony Vaio laptop computer drawn on The Strand in London.

Beaver’s pavement drawings only work from one viewpoint otherwise the image appears strangely distorted.

The Julian Beever website is here.

Orca shaped ice fishing shanty in the northwoods

There's a whale of an ice shanty in Northern Wisconsin.

While the shanty doesn't have a blowhole, it does have a hole in the bottom for ice fishing.


Howard Stern may replace Simon Cowell on the American Idol

A New York Post article says American Idol producers want Howard Stern (shown on right) to replace Simon Cowell (on left).

An insider said that producers of the hit Fox show say Stern, America's highest-paid radio personality, is their top choice to take over from Cowell, who leaves at the end of this season.

They approached the King of All Media after he repeatedly mentioned on-air that his exclusive Sirius XM Radio deal expires next January and he was open to other offers. Cowell was paid $50 million a year.

Howard Stern reportedly earns $30 million a year from Sirius XM Radio.

One thing for sure, the foul-mouth Stern will need to clean up his language if he goes on American Idol.


Feb 8, 2010

PA Rep John Murtha dies at age 77

Democrat congressman from Pennsylvania John P. Murtha (pictured) died today in a Virginia hospital. He was being treated for an infection following gallbladder surgery last month.

From a report at the first link below:

His decision to call for an end to the Iraq War in 2005 -- after voting for it -- was a watershed moment in Democrats’ efforts to unite against President George W. Bush in his second term. Nancy Pelosi pressed for Murtha to be elected House majority leader after she became House speaker in 2007, though the Democratic caucus went with Steny Hoyer instead.

Murtha’s district is certain to be hotly contested this year. Republicans have long viewed his predominantly rural district as a prime pick-up opportunity. Murtha’s was the only congressional district in the country to support John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008.

A report about John Murtha's lavish taxpayer-funded "airport to nowhere" can be found at the third link below.

Murtha was on CREW's (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) list of most corrupt politicians as shown at the second link below.

Link here, here and here.

Is Q*bert bigger in Japan?

An interesting floor pattern in a building in Tokyo.

Looks like one of Valeta's tumbling blocks quilt patterns.

Federal worker salaries hit record highs during recession

A new USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data found that the number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession.

No surprise here since the Democrats, led by the free spending Obama, are succeeding in their efforts to make government much bigger than ever before in the history or this nation.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months -- and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time -- in pay and hiring -- during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.

The USA TODAY report points out that when the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

That's a dramatic increase! From just 1 to 1,690 people earning above 170,000. And during a recession at that!

The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.

The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker's pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector.


Kids respond to the iPad

Dogsled test in southern England

A team of Siberian Huskies on a training run during heavy snow in southern England.

RFK Jr. said global warming means no snow or cold in DC

From an op-ed article in the Washington Examiner:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., (pictured) who flies around on private planes so as to tell larger numbers of people how they must live their lives in order to save the planet, wrote a column last year on the lack of winter weather in Washington, D.C.

More of the RFK climate prediction from the article:

In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today's anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club.

Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don't own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers.

Wonder what Bobby Jr. has to say now? He is probably trying to find a way to blame the current snowstorm on global warming.

The article finishes by saying:

Having shoveled my walk five times in the midst of this past weekend's extreme cold and blizzard, I think perhaps RFK, Jr. should leave weather analysis to the meteorologists instead of trying to attribute every global phenomenon to anthropogenic climate change.


Feb 7, 2010

New Orleans Saints: no longer the aint's

After finishing the 2008 season at a mediocre record of 8 wins and 8 losses, the New Orleans Saints went all the way to an impressive Super Bowl win.

In the Saints first ever Super Bowl appearance they beat the favored Indianapolis Colts in an exciting game.

The Saints fans no longer need to wear the infamous "aints" paper sacks over their heads as shown above.

Two game changing plays both went in favor of the Saints.

The first was the Saints gutsy onside kick early in the second half.

The second was when Tracy Porter of the Saints intercepted Peyton Manning and ran the ball back to the end zone for a touchdown.

Shown here is Saints quarterback Drew Brees.


Cross country skiing on Washington streets

Cross country skiing on the streets of Washington DC

Waiting on a snowy bench in Washington DC

A robin looking for berries seems oblivious to the storm

Washington DC digs our after snowstorm

A utility employee works to restore electric power in Washington

Officials work the scene of Joshua Temple Church Ministry in northeast Washington after the roof collapsed under the heavy snow.

A snow plow behind a pile of snow during snow removal on the tarmac at Washington's Reagan National Airport.

A man stands atop a snow mound near the federal building in Washington.

Man called 911 because his marijuana was stolen

Marijuana is known to impact cognitive mental abilities such as memory, speed of thinking, perception and coordinated movement.

Maybe that's what happend to Calvin Hoover when he called 911 to say that his marijuana was missing.

The 21-year-old Salem, Oregon man said $400 had been stolen from his car along with $180 worth of marijuana.

The robbery took place while he was in a local tavern.

Police attempted to respond to the call, heading to the local tavern where Hoover said he was located. They did not find him, but he redialed 911 to ask why the police had not shown up yet.

Dispatchers said Hoover was difficult to understand because he was driving while talking and stopping every so often to vomit.

Police eventually located the car and Hoover was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants.


Trooper transports drunk sheriff deputy in K-9 cage

A sheriff's deputy was arrested on a drunk driving charge in northeastern Tennessee. He wound up in a dog house before he was taken to the big house.

The Kingsport Times-News reported the details of a Tennessee Highway Patrol arrest report, which said 47-year-old Samuel Monroe Bledsoe was kicking the windows of a trooper's cruiser on his way to a hospital for a blood test.

The report said Bledsoe was then locked inside the cruiser's K-9 cage for his safety.

Trooper David Osborne said in the report that Bledsoe performed poorly during a field sobriety test even after it was explained to Bledsoe 18 times.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office later fired Bledsoe.


Two Supreme Court justices may retire

It is possible that two of the more liberal members of the court, justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, could decide to step aside for reasons of age and health.

Will Obama find two more “wise Latina women” like Sonya Sonia Sotomayor (pictured) as additions to the Supreme Court?

Sotomayor, the affirmative action justice appointed by Mr. Obama, had several cases overturned by the Supreme Court.

Sonia Sotomayor cases reviewed by the Supreme Court:

• Ricci v. DeStefano 530 F.3d 87 (2008) -- REVERSED 5-4 (Dissenting: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer)

• Riverkeeper, Inc. vs. EPA, 475 F.3d 83 (2007) -- REVERSED 6-3 (Dissenting: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg)

• Knight vs. Commissioner, 467 F.3d 149 (2006) -- UPHELD, but reasoning was unanimously FAULTED

• Dabit vs. Merrill Lynch, 395 F.3d 25 (2005) -- REVERSED 8-0

• Empire Healthchoice Assurance, Inc. vs. McVeigh, 396 F.3d 136 (2005) -- UPHELD 5-4 (Dissenting: Breyer, Kennedy, Souter, Alito)

• Malesko v. Correctional Services Corp., 299 F.3d 374 (2000) -- REVERSED 5-4 (Dissenting: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer)

• Tasini vs. New York Times, et al, 972 F. Supp. 804 (1997) -- REVERSED 7-2 (Dissenting: Stevens, Breyer)