Oct 14, 2010

Elephant crossing

Question: why did the elephant cross the tracks? Answer: to get to the other …. oh, never mind.

The photo shows an elephant crossing a railway track that runs through the Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary in west Bengal.

Thoughts on Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address - revisited

Mr. David Wills was the principal person behind the establishment of the Soldier’s National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

For the dedication of the cemetery Mr. Wills asked Edward Everett to give the principal speech at the ceremony.

Mr. Everett was a politician and former President of Harvard University. He was a noted orator and seemed a perfect candidate to deliver an address dedicating the cemetery.

Mr. Wills also asked President Lincoln to say a few words at the dedication. The letter to the President read: “It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the nation, formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.”

Mr. Wills was President Lincoln's host while in Gettysburg, and the now immortal Gettysburg Address was completed from its rough draft in the Wills home.

At the dedication ceremony Edward Everett gave a 13,607-word speech that went on for nearly two hours.

Abraham Lincoln followed with a speech of only 269 words and lasted barely two minutes.

Lincoln was not a dynamic orator. In those years before loudspeakers, anyone making an outdoor speech had to speak loudly.

Some historians have suggested that Lincoln’s voice became a bit high-pitched when speaking loudly. Also, he had the strange habit of throwing his arms in the air while flexing his knees to make a point during a speech.

One eyewitness said Lincoln's speech was followed by a “dignified silence.” A noted historian said the applause was delayed, scattered, and “barely polite.”

It is not surprising then to learn of initial negative reactions to the Lincoln Gettysburg Address.

Edward Everett, however, praised Lincoln saying, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

The Abraham Lincoln speech at Gettysburg is now considered one of the most famous speeches in American history.

The speech emboldened the Union cause during the Civil War with perhaps the most stirring words ever spoken.

Sewage boat naming contest - Dung Dinghy didn't win

A new sewage pumping boat was put in service in Salisbury, Massachusetts.

The pump-out travels from boat to boat to extract onboard septic systems. Not glamorous duty but certainly a utilitarian job.

Salisbury Harbor Commission decided to hold a naming contest for the new sewage pumper.

Many people entered the boat-naming contest with names like: Poop Sloop, Dung Dinghy, Pumpty Dumpty and Poo Pourrie.

The commission settled on Down Winder - an appropriate name as other boats will quickly learn to stay down wind of her.


Oct 13, 2010

A lick for good luck

A Pomeranian and its owner during the American Kennel Club's dog show in Nanjing, China.

26th anniversary of Bronco Packer blizzard game

It is nearing the 26th anniversary of the blizzard game between the Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers at the old Mile Hi stadium.

Denver has seen countless snowstorms and nearly as many unusual Denver Broncos football games.

However, on October 15, 1984 the old Mile High Stadium in Denver saw an unusual football game as well as a blizzard on that same Monday night.

Broncos fans weren’t too concerned with the weather as they were simply looking forward to their team playing on Monday Night Football’s 200th telecast before a nationally televised audience.

That afternoon snow had started to fall and by the time the Broncos and Packers took to the field, the temperature was only 29 degrees.

The snow was coming down so hard players were hard to pick out on television and the winds were whipping things into what would be known in Broncos lore as the ‘Bronco Blizzard.’

Sammy Winder, the Bronco "three yards and a cloud of dust" running back carried the ball for one yard and slid for another two or three. It was that kind of game.

62,546 hardy fans braved the weather to watch their team beat the Packers 17 – 14 in a driving snow.


Parker-Spitzer on CNN begins with new low

Disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer isn't exactly stunning them with his new show partnered with Kathleen Parker on CNN.

That's the new CNN show that has the liberal Spitzer sitting at a round table the size of a medium pizza with conservative Kathleen Parker.

From TVNewser:

Last night’s “Parker-Spitzer” saw the lowest numbers yet for the program and the show did little to help the one that followed on the schedule — “Larry King Live” which had its worst numbers in more than 10 years.

In its sixth outing, “Parker-Spitzer” drew 311,000 Total Viewers. That’s lower than the previous low for the time period set by Campbell Brown earlier this year - 332,000. Last week, Parker-Spitzer finished fourth in the time period averaging 465,000 Total Viewers.

The viewership challenged CNN needs more help than Parker-Spitzer can bring to the sagging cable news network.

Click here to see how CNN compares to other cable news networks. The Parker-Spitzer story is here.

Oct 12, 2010

How to avoid toasted skin syndrome caused by your laptop

An Associated Press report on MSNBC warns of using laptops on your lap. But isn't that what laptops were made for - to use on your lap?

From the report:

Have you ever worked on your laptop computer with it sitting on your lap, heating up your legs? If so, you might want to rethink that habit.

Doing it a lot can lead to "toasted skin syndrome," an unusual-looking mottled skin condition caused by long-term heat exposure, according to medical reports.

Where was this report several years ago when laptops really got hot?

Chances are if your laptop is less than one year old, the heat won't be a big problem.

I made a very simple but effective self cooling lap desk for my laptop as shown in the photos above. It was made from a small piece of 1/8" thick Masonite pressed board although thin plywood would also work.

I have a deep dislike for laptop touchpads so my lap desk had to be wide enough to accommodate a mouse. My lap desk is the width of the computer plus 5 inches for a mouse pad.

A 3/4 inch square strip was added to raise the back of the computer to allow cooling air to circulate under the computer.

A piece of denim works well for a mouse pad. Allow enough denim to fold back and sew a hem that will keep the mouse from sliding back in your lap while kicked back your favorite recliner chair.

The toasted skin syndrome report is here.

Wax fangs

An early Halloween on Fox & Friends.

Dylan Lauren, left, founder of Dylan's Candy Bar, wears wax lips with fangs along with Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" on the Fox News Channel. Time Magazine photo.

Even George Soros can't help them now

Billionaire George Soros (pictured) says he can't stop a Republican avalanche.

From a New York Times report at the link below:

George Soros, the billionaire financier who was an energetic Democratic donor in the last several election cycles but is sitting this one out, not feeling optimistic about Democrat prospects.

The 80-year-old George Soros said he made an exception getting involved in 2004. That's when he bet heavily on John Kerry and lost.

Soros said since he didn’t succeed in 2004, he remained engaged in 2006 and 2008.

Mr. Soros, a champion of liberal causes, has been directing his money to groups that work on health care and the environment, rather than electoral politics.

Asked if the prospect of Republican control of one or both houses of Congress concerned him, he said: “It does, because I think they are pushing the wrong policies, but I’m not in a position to stop it. I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche.”


Hard headed Korean cop

A South Korean police officer breaks stone plates with his head during a demonstration in Seoul.

Houston area schools use RFID badges to track students

An article in the Houston Chronicle reports about the use of RFID (radio frequency identification) tags in badges worn by middle school children in two Houston area schools.

Radio frequency identification -- the same technology used to monitor cattle -- is tracking students in the Spring and Santa Fe school districts.

Identification badges for some students in both school districts now include tracking devices that allow campus administrators to keep tabs on students' whereabouts on campus. School leaders say the devices improve security and increase attendance rates.

The ACLU fought the use of RFID technology in 2005 - when a rural elementary school in California introduced the badges. The program was dismantled because of parental concern.

Just last month, a district in California used federal stimulus money to buy tags for preschool students, drawing national attention and outrage.

Was the outrage because of tagging children like cattle or because federal stimulus money was used?

Click here for more on the "cattle tags" for children.

At current pace lost jobs won't recover until 2020

An article at the link below reports that lost jobs won't recover until 2020 at the current pace.

You won't be reading this in the main stream media - at least not until after the November elections.

The U.S. economy lost 95,000 jobs in September, far worse than expectations for no change in employment. More Census-related temp jobs ended, as expected, but state and local governments slashed staff far more than predicted.

So far in 2010, the U.S. has added just 613,000 jobs — for a monthly average of 68,111.

More here.

Oct 11, 2010

Top view

A view from the top shows Chinese soldiers at the World Expo 2010 at the start of the China national pavilion day in Shanghai.

Report: Obama in jaws of political death

Mark Halperin has an article in the liberal leaning Time Magazine titled, Why Obama Is Losing the Political War (see link below).

Barack Obama is being politically crushed in a vise.

From above, by elite opinion about his competence.

From below, by mass anger and anxiety over unemployment. And it is too late for him to do anything about this predicament until after November's election.

With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions:

The White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters.

Mr. Halperin didn't mince words!

In November we will find out how many voters feel that way about Mr. Obama. After all, the elections in November will be a referendum on the White House.


ATM machine radical withdrawal - smash and grab

ATM smash and grab theft is the hip crime of this recession.

Call it the total ATM withdrawl. In the past year, as the economic slump has dragged on, robbers around the country are increasingly trying a new method to get their hands on cash.

They're no longer swiping stolen cards in automated teller machines. More and more thieves are swiping the machine, itself.

ATM theft seems to be this recession's hottest crime.


Seven percent of babies have e-mail addresses

Did you know the average age a child acquires an online presence courtesy of their parents is just six months?

According to a report at the link below, seven percent of babies have e-mail addresses.

Photos of children posted on the web is easy to believe but e-mail addresses for babies seems like a stretch.


Report: poor hit hardest if Bush tax cuts expire

A Tax Foundation report says that low-income workers stand to lose the most if lawmakers allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire.

The report states that on Jan. 1 the doubling of the child tax credit, increased standard deductions and income credits and the creation of the 10 percent tax bracket — all of which primarily aimed at non-wealthy taxpayers — will vanish if gridlock persists in Washington.

While wealthier taxpayers pay more in taxes and stand to lose more money if the tax cuts expire, the impact on low-income taxpayers will be far greater because they live on slimmer margins.

More here.

Oct 10, 2010

LA freeway clogged by yam spill from burning truck

A big-rig hauling a load of yams caught fire snarling traffic on the southbound Golden State (I-5) Freeway at Western Avenue.

The truck driver pulled over to the roadside about 2:30 a.m. after noticing flames sweeping through his rig, which was carrying at least 50,000 pounds of yams.

Two lanes were closed for nearly six hours as crews worked to put out the blaze and transfer the yams onto another trailer.


Dingell trails GOP opponent 39% to 44%

Democrat congressman John Dingell (pictured) was first elected in 1954 when he took the seat over from his father who was first elected in 1932.

That means Dingell can campaign on the compelling message: Are you better off now than you were 78 years ago?

In 2008 Dingell beat Republican challenger Jack Lynch in a 71 percent to 25 percent landslide. But that was then and this is now.

Voting for the bailouts, stimulus, ObamaCare, etc. is sure to topple many freshman Democrats in the House as well as a few geezers.


Giant puppet for Commonwealth Games

Indian workers prepare puppets for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony inside the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi.

Colorado Freshman Democrat Betsy Markey in trouble

Time Magazine Campaign 2010: Races to Watch features Freshman Democrat Betsy Markey.

Time says Markey is in one of the toughest races in the country as she battles state Rep. Cory Gardner in the high plains of northern Colorado.

The Time Magazine photo above shows Markey and Gardner.

Gardner is a popular fifth generation Coloradoan and is proving to be a formidable foe.

Markey was elected in 2008 on the weakness of her opponent rather than her own strength.

During her time in the House, she did not fairly represent her conservative constituents.

The majority of voters in Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley are too conservative for a representative who follows the Obama/Pelosi liberal agenda 94% of the time.