Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nancy Grace

Does anyone else find Ms. Grace to be utterly obnoxious? Did she not get enough love as a child? She's habitually rude to other speakers and seems to have anger management issues. .
I don't know if she's a dittohead or not. But she certainly has the mannerisms of one.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Arizona Stoopid

Meet Karla. (*) She lives here in the greater Phoenix valley, and goes to my alma mater, Arizona State University. She is also in jail, on suspicion of aggravated assault and armed robbery at a local clothing exchange store. With a crowbar. Or a tire iron. Accounts vary. You can see the video clip of this here. . As far as assault & robbery goes, it's not all that extraordinary. (Says the guy who isn't being whacked at with a crowbar). But what earns Karla a spot on this blog under the heading of STOOPID is her major at ASU : Criminal Justice. Way to get some OJT, Karla. Keep going to class; I hear next week they'll be teaching about surveillance cameras. You can read the newspaper account about it here.
(*) : Actually, I decided not to post Karla's picture, nor her last name. But you can find both by clicking on the links.

Monday, September 28, 2009

You couldn't pay me to see this...

What's the one out now - "All About Steve", or something like that. Liz keeps trying to sweet-talk me into seeing it. No way, man. The next movie I see in the theater will be "The Lovely Bones". That oughta count as a chick flick.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calamities of Nature

We don't post Calamities of Nature strips here near as often as they merit. It's a great cartoon which you can find here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Ric!

This is to send a rousing "Happy Birthday" to Ric over at Bronx Cheers, who is no longer stuck in the 50's. You can find his blog here. . Ric is a lifelong Yankees fan, but we try not to hold that against him. His political views are spot on. We baked you a cake, dude, but as you can see above, it didn't turn out too good. . Anyway, by my calculations, your birthday's now come and gone. In lieu of a party, I hope you treated yourself to a lah-di-dah meal or something. And bought yourself tickets for the upcoming Dodgers-Yankees World Series games to be played in L.A.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


"Yes, I'm willing to accept any book you choose to send me. As long as I can avoid going to my bookstore."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Daily Bible Study

They've condensed it (obviously, this isn't 8 verses) and skewed it just a bit. . What the passage says is that if a man marries, and hates his wife, he can claim she isn't/wasn't a virgin. If the bride's father can prove she is/was, then the husband is stuck with her. If her father can't prove it, then the people are to stone her to death. . It's interesting where the burden of proof lies. Gotta love the Mosaic Law.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wheel of Time

I resisted the temptation to rush out and buy the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol. Judging from the reviews, that was a smart move. But the Wheel Of Time series is a different matter. Despite it being four years since the last book (#11, The Knife of Dreams), and a small matter of Robert Jordan passing away in 2007, the next book (The Gathering Storm) is due out in October. I will be buying that one within a week of its release. . And no matter what it says, the image above is NOT the cover for Book #13. It is however, a wonderful piece of Photoshopping.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bring on Post-Season

There are about 2 weeks to go in the baseball season, and they are gonna drag. My Philadelphia Phillies have a post-season spot pretty much wrapped up, so there isn't any drama there. . My Arizona Diamondbacks' season was over after Opening Day, when ace starter Brandon Webb went down with a season-ending injury. They've sucked ever since, and there's not a lot of reason to be optimistic for 2010. .
The real fun this year was watching my low-budget Texas Rangers over-achieve by staying in contention until mid-September. Alas, they just finished up a critical homestand 2-7, which all but eliminates them. What was particularly dismaying was the fact that it was the hitting that sucked during this homestand, not the pitching.
Still, it was a successful season, as no one picked the Rangers to even finish above .500. They are young and talented, so the future looks bright for them.
For now, we will be rooting for the Phillies to win back-to-back championships, and also cheering for whoever is playing the Yankees.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cold Front over London

It was quite strong, but fortunately, it only lasted a couple hours.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Stuck in the 60's

Today's Non Sequitur. Personally, I think the pithy philosophical saying that best shows the depth of the meditations from that time period is, "In a gadda da vida, baby; don't you know that I love you... . In a unrelated note, my company observes "Casual Friday", and as usual, I wore one of my many "rock star" t-shirts today. A 40-something co-worker looked at it and said, "Who's that?" "Jimi Hendrix", said I. "Oh," said she. "Who's that?" . And finally, don't forget that tomorrow, Saturday, 19 September is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Seriously, me mateys. Google it for more information.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Serena Slam

I suppose I should be a fan of Serena and Venus Williams, since they're Americans and all. But I'm not. While they both are very good tennis players, they come off as extremely poor sports. . Here's an exercise for you - the next time either of them lose, read what they have to say the next day in the paper or on ESPN. It's always along the line of "Oh, I let her win", or "I didn't play my best", or "If it wasn't for this injury, I would've won". It's never "(My opponent) was the better player today", or "She deserved to win", or "She outplayed/outhustled me". . One thing's for sure, though. Serena's classless outburst at the US Open this past week certainly wasn't staged. So much for the "I'm a princess; buy my designer line of clothes" image. . It should be noted, however, that commentator John McEnroe took Serena's side in the controversy. Then again, given his track record for temper tantrums, is that a surprise?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Izmir in the 1800's

I simply love photos from a century or so ago. Part of this is hereditary. Both my dad and grandfather were shutterbugs. Indeed, my grandpa was doing Photoshop stuff (albeit without a computer and software) 100 years ago. . But I digress. The photos shown here are not family pics. They are from a link sent to me by a friend in Turkey. You can see the full set of these pics here. . Yeah, the site's in Turkish. No problem. Just click on the links there to see pictures, some of which go back as far as 1865. .
The photos are of Izmir, one of the major cities in Turkey. FYI, it used to be called Smyrna. It sits on the coast of the Aegean sea. One of these days I'll post some modern pics of Izmir. It's a place that I would dearly like to visit someday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where's Janet & Justin?

Okay, call me a cynic, but does anyone else suspect that the whole Kanye West - Taylor Swift episode was staged? Goodness, where was Security? Do you seriously mean to tell me that I could've waltzed up on stage and taken her microphone? . The only question is who was all in on the choreographed scene. Was this an MTV set-up? Heaven knows, their music awards show isn't considered to be the biggest one around. Kanye is a mediocre artist whose 15 minutes of fame has come and went, so this may have been his own little brain fart. Taylor Swift could probably use the press, too. Beyonce is the only one who doesn't need this sh*t. Maybe she agreed to it out of pity for Kanye. .
It was oh-so-convenient that Beyonce would be on-stage later to present an award, so that she could oh-so-graciously call Taylor out to give her acceptance speech.
My money's on MTV arranging this whole farce. Kanye, Taylor, and Beyonce are getting plenty of ink out of this, so none of them will complain either. They join that ever-growing list of has-been and wannabee performers who will do anything to get into the papers : Janet & Justin; Madonna; The artist who used to be called an unpronouncable symbol; and of course all the no-talent scuz like Britney, etc. .
BTW, Kanye, nice togs. No need to get dressed up for this affair, eh? Now I just can't wait for the 2010 MTV Music Awards to see what headline-grabbing skit will be acted out by who. Personally, I'd like to see Miley Cyrus get into a shouting match with Billy Ray. It would get rid of her goody-two-shoes image, and lord knows, Daddy needs some ink. Just a suggestion, MTV.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stress Test

I took my first stress test today. It's actually done on a treadmill, not on a stair-stepper as in the pic. It wasn't as bad as I had feared. They stick a dozen electrodes all over your chest, strap a blood pressure device on your arm, and hook everything up to the EKG machine. . You get three minutes at 1.7 mph and a 1% incline. Childsplay. Then you get three minutes at 2.6 mph and a 10% incline. That gets your heart and lungs' attention. Then you get 3 minutes at 3.6 mph (a fairly fast walk) and 15% incline. That had me gasping for air after the first minute, but I hung on. The nice technician said the next stage (running) was optional, and I declined his kind invitation. . Everything is predicated on getting your heart rate up to a certain level, and that 3.6 mph-15% incline did that quite well. I think the target rate was around 136-140 beats/minute. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I got to that rate. . The cool thing is you get to watch the various read-outs as you're gasping for breath. Blood Pressure went from 120/80 to 140/something, which is what it's supposed to do. After I got off the treadmill, the BP rapidly came back to normal, which is the key thing. . The cardiologist looked at the stress-test EKG results and said everything looks normal. No follow-up needed. Thus endeth my physical. All that remains is an ultrasound on my leg in the near future to hopefully confirm that the DVT has fully dissolved.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dilbert FedEx

The First Rule of Blogging is to never discuss anything have to do with one's job on one's personal blog. So let's just say that I, like many other people working at many other companies, am convinced that Scott Adams is the pen name of someone working where I do.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Reality of Global Warming

I have a friend who forwards me e-mails his dittohead friends send him, claiming that Global Warming is a hoax. Some are purportedly written by honest-to-goodness scientists, so you know they're true. . Most of the "science" in these e-mails quotes obscure, untraceable data that somehow shows the world is getting cooler, claims we're overdue for an Ice Age, reveals that Al Gore is the anti-Christ, and warns that we better keep pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere so a mile-high glacier doesn't come down and cover Phoenix. . Folks, get used to it - Global Warming is happening, and it's happening at an unprecedented pace. You can argue how much is due to man, and how much is due to Mother Nature; but you can't debate its reality. The polar icecaps are melting at an alarming rate. Yesterday, two ships managed to make a trip around the north coast of Russia, something never before accomplished. You can read about it here. . The potential effects of the polar ice melting are mind-numbing. Rising ocean levels will inundate the shores of all nations (good-bye Florida!), and wipe out a number of island nations. It is even possible that the Gulf Stream wil reverse its course, rendering England as frigid as Alaska. So let's stop with the business-as-usual-oriented dittohead claptrap, and start taking steps to cut greenhouse emissions. The fact that Al Gore and the UN support these steps does not make them wrong. . And BTW, the overwhelming majority of scientists are convinced that Global Warming is occurring. The fact that you can find one or two that claim it isn't happening (and coincidentally, are also dittoheads) is statistically irrelevant.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9-11

My desk calendar says 9-11 is now to be called Patriot Day. I'm not sure what the proper greeting is; somehow "Happy September 11th" doesn't seem appropriate. . It was eight years ago today that four planes were hijacked. Two brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center in NYC. One rammed into the Pentagon. The fourth, apparently with the White House as its target, slammed into a Pennsylvania field. . I'm not sure what the lessons are from September 11th, 2001. I suppose we're supposed to hate Arabs now, but I have a tough time holding the actions of a few against an entire ethnic group. . I belatedly gathered that all "good" Americans were supposed to wear a red shirt today. I wore black, not knowing any better. If I had known in time, I still would've worn black. . We're at least supposed to hate Osama Bin Ladin, which seems sensible to me. Alas, we don't seem to be looking for him. Somehow we got distracted into invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan instead. Our sons and daughters are still dying in both those countries, and no one here in the USA knows quite why we're still there. Do we intend to stay forever? Does this have anything to do with 9-11? . Maybe the best lesson for this day is to mourn for those 3,000 people who lost their lives that day and reflect what it did to us as a nation. We now think it's okay to run clandestine and/or overseas torture camps; kidnap and murder; hate without reason; and pre-emptively start wars. Habeas Corpus and other rights have been abolished. The government engages in illegal wiretaps and e-mail monitoring of its own citizens. All in the name of security. And the irony is, we're really not any safer than we were on September 10th, 2001. . So Happy Patriot's Day, or whatever I'm supposed to say. If you're not with us, you're a terrorist. God is on our side, and the only good Arab is a collaborator.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The second-best disorder

Personally, I'm quite comfortable with my OCD. But ASD might be pretty cool too, provided all that data entering your brain didn't overload it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

King Richard the LionFarted

I went searching a couple days ago for an image of Richard Nixon wearing a crown, and it was with some surprise that I discovered that there simply aren't a lot photoshopped images of him. . Maybe it's because he was dead and gone before Photoshop came along. But goodness me, he was universally despised back in the 70's, and you'd think a few hippies eventually would become graphic artists and take their revenge on Tricky Dick. .
These three are the best I found out there. with only the top image showing a Royal Dick. And they didn't even plop a crown on his head.
So let's get going, you Photoshop Phanatics. We need more photoshopped RMN images. If not, he's gonna feel more paranoid than he was in real life. And the last thing we want is him showing up on Ghost Whisperer.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Photo Radar Phun

The Arizona Republic had a good article about Photo Radar this morning. It was two pages long, but you can read the abbreviated version of it online here. I kinda like the idea that Dave Vontesmar is (allegedly) pulling : wearing a monkey mask while driving to work. Yet, as much as I detest Photo Radar, having someone (okay, technically, someone's vehicle) accrue 37 speeding tickets smacks of significantly, deliberately, and routinely speeding, and I'm not real keen on that.
I still think the second-best way to combat Photo Radar is to register your vehicle in your spouse's name, and vice versa. The best way, of course, is to put it on the ballot, and let the people decide if they want it in their neighborhood.
Oh, and our bullsh*t quote from this article is :
"Our whole goal is not to issue tickets, just to get people to drive the speed limit," Lt. Jeff King said.
Yeah, right Jeff. It's all about the money. Dollars-for-donuts, we call it.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Steve Benson

Steve Benson is IMHO the finest political cartoonist around today. In addition to being a gifted artist, he has a wit about him that will leave you ROTFL. His "home newspaper" is our local Arizona Republic, and you can find his daily cartoons (albeit with a 24-48 hour delay) at, in their comics section, or by using this link.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Happy Labor Day !

Okay, okay. Technically, Labor Day's tomorrow. But we're doing our get-together today, so we can recover all day Monday. Swimming at 2:00. Burgers and dogs on the grill at 4:00. Homemade ice cream for dessert. Not sure what flavor. Drinks throughout the afternoon and evening. Water, soda, beer, shots, wine, and spiked punch. Take your pick. Chips, dip, and Liz's famous 'cowboy caviar' anytime you want. Everyone's invited.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

Pics of Russia

Some quaint photos taken in Russia... What's so special, you ask? Well, these color photos were taken 100 years ago. They're not B&W pics that were later colorized. .
This, for instance, is the only known color photo of Leo Tolstoy.
For 24 more pics, the historical background behind these photos, and a little bit about the technology that Prokudin-Gorskii used to take color pics in the 1907-1915 era, see Newsweek's article here. .
Absolutely fabulous.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Celebrity Horses

I'm thinking anyone under the age of 50 may have trouble understanding this one.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Speaking of journalists...

...whatever happened to those three "journalists" (and I'm still not buying that) who supposedly couldn't tell whether they were in Iraq or Iran? The USA swore up and down that the trio were just careless, Hillary issued a strongly-worded statement that Iran ought to let them go, Iran said they were investigating whether they were spies, and... . Nothing ever since. Hmmm. Either we haven't come up with a big enough bribe for their release (and I'm cool with that type of bribe), or else Iran was right about them.