Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Virtual non Virtuoso

"I know about everything and I know nothing," said the internet junkie.

Friday, December 03, 2010

One for the Good Guys

They've invented an airbag for bicyclist's heads
to use instead of a helmet
So they can ride with the wind in their hair
and be protected should they crash, flip or plummet.

This is a good use of human ingenuity
I like it better than guns
I like it better than a war machine
that's brighter than a million suns.

There you go cruising freely through life,
when abruptly, your course is diverted.
A neutral protector that springs into action
Is quite the oppostite of perverted.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Further Condemnation; Free to be a Condomnation!

Pope declares condom use less evil than spread of HIV.  "'This is a game-changer,' declared the Rev. James Martin, a prominent Jesuit writer and editor."  See, this just goes  to show, sometimes you gotta do what's right, even if the voice of authority has not yet figured out the obvious.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Black Hole Physics for Non Math Types

I got this info from a reliable source, though I don't remember if it was Nova or something on the History Channel: 

To understand the density of a black hole, imagine the earth at its current weight and size.  Now imagine it squeezed down to the size of a golf ball, but keep the weight the same.  The density would be so high the gravitational field would suck everything into it, even light. Et voila!

If it's too upsetting, just don't imagine it with any of the earth's creatures being involved.

Here's a story about the new baby black hole!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

"War is Not Healthy For...

"Children and Other Living Things" ...such as soldiers and their families, to for example.  War is obsolete; we're too smart now to pretend it's just a series of territorial exercises (aren't we?).

Monday, November 08, 2010

Art Imitates Art

I couldn't help noticing the similarities (and each from the depths).

Click on pic to see bigger version.

Friday, November 05, 2010

That $163 Million Could have Helped California

"Meg Whitman spent at least $163 million on her bid for the California governorship. How much is that exactly? If a baby born today were destined to spend $163 million from now until the age of 90, he or she would have to spend nearly $5,000 per day, every day, until the year 2100 to reach the $163 million mark!"*

*CSU Employees Union

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Heritage IS the Problem

Okay: let's get this straight once and for all, Southerners of the United States: Yes, the confederate flag is a symbol of your heritage, and that's the problem.  The confederate flag is a symbol that needs to be banished to the museums so we never forget what horrors we are capable of.  It symbolizes humans=chattel.  Is that what you really want the rest of us to keep thinking about? 

Now some middle aged woman, who should really know better (or perhaps she was absent from school all her life), has chosen to fly one over her house?!  No.  Not a good idea.  Nope.  Woman: send it to the Smithsonian with a letter of apology from you and your ancestors and try to move forward.

You can buy a decorative flag at the garden store - they have some with pretty flowers on them, or you may even find one with a  hummingbird on it.  Who knows, the attractive new colorful artwork above your house might even give you an opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone on the neighborhood street who looks different than you!  Maybe you'll get lucky and that person will be a teacher!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Mooniversary!

Here are lots of great pics of the moon landing, 1969.

I remember when it came on TV, we kids complained that our regular shows weren't on. Our parents tried to explain the significance of the event, but we just didn't get it.  I have the best excuse because I was the youngest.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inseam Let Out of Fat Suits

Huh... and just this morning walking down the road thinking, "If they ever make a movie that takes place around the year 2010, they're gonna need a lotta fat suits."

Number of Fat People in US to Grow, Report Says

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Four Four Doubletime

Worth staying through to the end:

I recognized one of the guys in the above, from one of my fave I Love Lucy episodes which would come along about ten years later:

Okay, now that we're warmed up:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Religious Zealot as Evil Twin

"Jones, who is known for posting signs proclaiming that Islam is the devil's religion, says the Constitution gives him the right to publicly set fire to the book that Muslims consider the word of God."

There is a story in the news today about a fundamentalist Christian pastor in Florida who wants to burn copies of the Quran in efforts to kill the influence of Islam.  Ah!  Torn from the headlines we are presented with a fine example of the religious zealot as evil twin.  Here's how it works:

What happens in every plot where there is an evil twin to the respectable protagonist (i.e., "good twin hero")?  The evil twin gets away with his evil deeds for a time, but eventually the good twin hero gets free of whatever traps the evil twin had set for him (gets untied, escapes the lair, swims past the alligators). 

The good twin hero appears on the scene just at the moment the evil twin is about to do his worst.  The secondary hero thinks he's seeing double!  There's a mix up!  The secondary hero gets confused! 

The evil twin is charismatic, convincing, seems kinder and gentler than a lamb.  For a moment, even the audience is in doubt!  The good twin is rightfully angry.  The evil twin appears earnest as a lost puppy.  But as the secondary hero wavers seeking the truth, the evil twin snaps - he shouts as he points his finger at the good twin hero:  "Kill him!  Kill him!  Can't you see HE'S the evil one?!?"

The good twin hero knows his humanity will outlast the moment, trusting the secondary hero to recognize the characteristic plea of the evil twin.  Depending on your production, and whether there's a sequel in the works, the evil twin will be wrested into handcuffs, knocked out cold or shot.

Now apparently this struggle between good and evil has been going on since the time of Caine and Abel.  Actually I believe it traces back to the introduction of matter to anti-matter but let's stay on the pastor's turf a little longer, as here we are back at the beginning of our tale about him.  There he is, standing in the bright sun, arms folded, his billboard truck in the background advertising big Quran book burning party!  This man believes he has permission to do this based on his interpretation of his favorite (or second favorite) book, which he perceives to be the word of God, but he hates the book that Muslims perceive to be the word of God.

We can envision an earth sandwich of men like this, one Christian, another Muslim, each vehemently asserting identical declarations.  The evil twin is illusive!  He doesn't wear a special outfit that makes him recognizable!  A wise person will ask himself what is true, especially when he's in a pinch.  Unless the secondary hero has the ability to think for himself, he won't know what to do unless someone tells him (and the good twin hero dies). The secondary hero who has the ability to think for himself can bring his life-experience to the moment, weigh the circumstance, and take appropriate action (and the good twin hero lives). 

And we are the secondary hero.  And any leader, religious or secular, who orders ignorance and calls for the destruction of others' beliefs is questionable. I'm not sure about you, but I'm going with the twin who trusts me to make up my own mind.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Collaborative Memory

Sometimes along the back of my mind I get a sense memory of driving through a nondescript natural section of Northern California
a winding highway with a long steep grade that doesn't feel steep but calls for a little extra power
and the yellow beige grass and the spots of dark green oaks on the smooth hills and the blue sky with sparse wisp-ended cottony billow clouds.
It's just a part of a trip I once took
In a place where my grandfather had traveled
and where separately, of different lives, my father and mother, my brother and sisters and you and I have all seen this little section of Earth.
At the moment I wonder
if maybe we all felt the same mix of peace and anticipation at this simple passing through.
Not a famous forest, or a labeled rock formation or a declared scenic drive
just yellow beige grass blue sky green oaks
and reverence for a simple moment
that inspired always.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why a Duck?

Found Art.  I call this one, "Speak no evil, see no evil, duck."  Seems to me as good a dodge as not listening.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ABC's Secrets of Your Mind Remain Secret

Here at the end of the summer of 2010, "ABC News" began a new "summer series" called "Secrets of Your Mind: Why We Do What We Do."  The promo that attracted me and several of my friends said, "Love is Like Cocaine!"  The show promised to unlock the mystery about "why some people choose lust over love," and what aspects of our brain function can cause confusion between the two. 

Tonight on ABC: Cynthia McFadden explores the brain in love. What does love look like in the brain? Can you be addicted to love?

That's not what it was about.

But I believed the promos, and so I watched, this distinction being so potentially fascinating to ascertain. 

Maybe they will unlock the mystery in their telling of the newlyweds who ride a motorcycle (man driving/ woman in side-car) on a 20,000 mile trip from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, in efforts to create a working metaphor for fifty years of committment.  No. The ride was about the couple's ability to endure difficult circumstances and not break up.  Okay, maybe the show will unlock the mystery after we see brain scans of the couple pre- and post-trip to find out whether they're really in love. They're truly terrified when the second of three scans suggests the thrill is gone, and thrilled when the third confirms their enduring love.

Perhaps now, in the second segment, they will unlock the mystery!  No.  The next piece is about a man with so much repressed disdain for his wife he falls asleep if she so much as looks at him.  But nobody looks at the psychology of his malady or how tragically sad it is that she believes his ploy - I was editorializing in that last sentence.  The story simply reviews instances of the man dozing off in the face of kindness.  Poor fellow can't even go on a stroll through the rose garden at the park with his wife without having to sit down and contemplate his navel for ten minutes.  Imagine, a grown man not wanting to spend his day off taking a gentle stroll through a rose garden!  We don't get any analysis of his condition, but we see him fall asleep in lots of places.  Here he conks out on the couch.  Here he nods off during his dinner.  Here he makes it all the way up the stairs and into bed. 

And speaking of bed, the man can have sexual relations of purely carnal nature, but if any intimacy enters the room, he's out for the count.  The wife shows McFadden their new dog.  She can't pet her husband without him slipping into a paralytic mini-coma, so they got a dog so she can express her love.  Although when he does nod off within arm's reach of her, she reaches over and gives his beard a little caress and scratch as he goes under.  I'm not minimizing her suffering. It is bad.  It is sad:  but I'm watching the show to find out about why some people choose lust and others choose love.

We're departing segment two and heading into the commercial break before the third story.  Here's the promo again! The mystery is about to be unlocked!  This time it's real!  The neurologist leans in toward McFadden.  She says the chemical pull of lust - and love - is poweful!  McFadden says, "So Love is like cocaine?"  The neuroligist echoes, "Only it lasts longer!"  

Twenty minutes left in the show. I'd hoped they'd go into enough detail on the subject to fill an hour, but twenty minutes is better than nothing.  Now the mystery will be unlocked! 

Not quite. Now McFadden tells the story of a man who survives an absolutely horrific car accident and loses his memory.  At first she says the man can't remember anything about his life before the accident, including his wife. He struggles to recover the life she (and friends and family) confirm existed before the crash because he doesn't remember her, but he knows he trusts her.  Now there's something to explore, McFadden.  Ah but here is the man telling us he has no ability to remember.  Over pictures of his life before the crash, McFadden's voice over declares, "He can't remember anything!" [Why is McFadden using that whiney emphatic Diane Sawyer tone?]

Here he is relearning his life.  Here he is responding to his wife. Here he is playing catch with his children.  These are the children that were created in the years after the accident.  McFadden does not address the fact that he didn't forget how to toss a ball back and forth.

Now it's 10:54 and they're going to commercial again.  Maybe the answer to the mystery is so precise  McFadden only needs a minute to clarify why some people choose lust and others choose love. 

Back from break it's 10:58.  Show's over.

The stories took cursory looks at a few qualities: enduring committment, fear of failure, the desire to test the ties that bind, persistence of heart, and the tenacity of emotion.  All of these may or may not be components of love, but they are not what's at the heart of love.

This is what I think happened:  ABC bought this story because it had had a sexy pitch, "We'll look at the brain in love and lust!  We'll interview a neurologist and use brain scans!" The producer liked the title and the promise and sealed the deal before the research was even started.  Had McFadden dug into the question and showed the satisfaction of true love and the unhappiness of an unravelling lust, that would have been fascinating, truly a show to love.

That dang show made me stay up too late!  It teased my hopes that the mystery at the heart of romantic struggle would be unlocked, explored and made understandable!  That show did not deliver what it promised.

Odd, that's just what lust does. 

Well at least lust is exciting. 

This thing wasn't even interesting.

Curses.  Foiled again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

George Harrison's Website

Yesterday I quietly thought about George Harrison. Today someone sends me this:


I remember once in an interview he explained the concept of time as a pizza instead of a line.  That is far more sensible to me.

I read in Eric Idle's book that he read the script for "Life of Brian" and financed it because he "wanted to see it."

He was a good friend to all of us when we were kids, teens, and now - even though we never met.

The End.

Monday, August 09, 2010

What's a Moment?

We have guest blogger today, Will Hoffman. This is "Moments", a project for RadioLab.

Thank you to Ze Frank for finding and sharing.

Here's what I have to say about it:

We gather them, we spend them, they define us as we make them; we have them and they have us:

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Hairstylist and the Lady Who Went to Rome

A woman tells her hairstylist about her upcoming trip to Rome and meets with less than enthusiasm. Yet another classic piece of anonymous literature is immortalized on video. Yes, I made this one, too. The joke's origin is unknown (though I got it from Barbara H. Thanks Barbara!)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Romeo and Juliet: Balcony Scene (abridged)

In my latest animation made using xtranormal.com, I decided to test the master playwright against the robots. It's a close call, but the playwright won!

Or is it because I've seen so much bad Shakespeare, and so read it to get past the bad acting, that my ears would hear the poetry anyway? A major point for the robots, they don't fall into the rhymey sing song that humans are prone to. But the gesturing, well, I guess it's universal!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Importance of Being Present

The Captain must communicate an urgent message to her chief minion, Rarthon - but he receives a text!

The Dog Nose

A new video created on xtranormal.com. Turns out if you use the default characters you can make animated videos for free; while if you choose from the menu of "talent" you need "points" to make animations (points cost money).   Here we have another literary classic made into a mini-play for your entertainment and education.

Ghost Town Tumble Weed Papers

A piece of philosophy for future writers: your friends won't read your stories.  If you give your stories to your friends, you'll always wonder, if they say nothing, whether they read your stories and didn't have the heart to tell you they didn't like them, or if they just never got around to reading them. Chances are, since you're their friend and they hear your voice enough day to day, your stories will wait, but won't be read.

So either way, it's a pinch for you.  So, send your stories to strangers if you want them read. In the old days, we submitted to magazines and got form letters back.  Now adays, we can blog, which is nice, 'cause friends might read a blog and can comment anonymously, and yet you will never know if they ever even looked so you'll be free to stew about your characters instead of your friends. 

And that is the end of this story, my friends.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It Calls for Understanding II

"Simple Complexities" says the phrase, "It is what it is" equals, "I don't want to talk about what matters to you right now."  I agree!  Saying "It is what it is," is not an acknowledgement that is meant to comfort or calm, it's a power move, and a rather aggressive one at that, meant to put a stop to what is perceived as a complaint, to halt to a nagging concern. Not only is it rude, but it does nothing to resolve the issue at hand. 

How about this: "That's a fact!"  Well, there it is. 

"I sure am upset about the oil catastrophe in the gulf."

"Well, it is what it is."

"I feel so hopeless now!"

"That's a fact!"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Past is Prologue (Again)

Here is a brilliantly presented historical view that needed to be said and needs saying again about the insidious history of the “good ol’ boy” mentality – and the actions it generates!

"Rachel Maddow explains that the Sherrod scandal-spun-out-of-thin-air is political strategy to stoke fear and racial resentment among white voters."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seek and Go Find

My latest cinematic marvel, created on www.xtranormal.com/ "If you can type, you can make movies". Fun! At this point you can't really preview before publishing (unless you have lots of time on your hands) so pardon any questionable gesturing.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My, What a Lovely Brain You Have, My Dear...

Some people are just impossible, aren't they?  Inherited brain traits are not necessarily bound up by fate.  But to understand complicated personalities, it helps to understand how how the brain functions.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Who Turned Out the Lights?!

Prince says the internet's over.  I tend to agree, but think he's about ten years ahead of his time (as usual).  At the end of the brief article he mentions the uselessness of the quick information and numbers our techo toys fill our heads with.  He's got a significant point there - the constant jumping around the virtual world is depleting our attention spans.

Follow the train down the track a little: as attention spans decrease, the ability to explore anything in depth decreases, and boredom sets in.  So we have all these toys and flashing lights and we're bored because we're really not studying anything.  And what do bored people want? Entertainment!  And what did Julius Caesar say about that? I'll paraphrase, but he said if you can keep the masses entertained you can put pretty much anything over on them.

(Hey, where'd the Gulf of Mexico disappear to?  And what the hell happened to the economy?  What do you mean affordable higher education in California is falling into the sea?  What Texas sized plastic garbage patch in the Pacific ocean? I don't see it on Google Earth...)

I love the internet, it's fun and useful, I'm just calling for balance, and if Prince says it's over let me weigh in to suggest it's just not the be all and end all we've made it out to be.

I saw a promo for a TV show where people were actually racing to pull kleenexes out of boxes.  How long can ya watch something like that before you need something new?  Now: how about humanity spending its free time learning about each other, maybe even considering ways to address the needs of societies and nature?  How about solving problems instead of turning away to lucious little fixes?

Oh the notion is complex, it might induce meaningful conversations leading to increased compassion and passion for life!  Why, we might go outside at night, away from the glowing screens, ponder the stars again and consider our place in the universe.  Somebody could fall truly in love!  The moon would glow a little brighter!  Interactions beyond the 134-character limits might just take hold and soulfulness would ensue! 

I might laugh!  I might write a poem or paint a picture beautiful enough to make me cry! 

And here I am all out of kleenex.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Good Practice

People like to say that if it weren't for the bad times, we wouldn't appreciate the good. I wholeheartedly disagree! I guarantee you I would LOVE all good, all the time, even with no contrasting agents to spell it out for me.

Of course the cynic might suggest the absence of bad would neutralize good.  Then a conversation could go on for hours engaging the concepts of good vs. bad, or holy vs. evil.  But even an argument wouldn't need to exist if all good was pervasive.

But what about people's different definitions of good?  Ah yes, thinking from here in 3D that is a problem. Some people find others' bads good and others' goods bad.  Maybe that's why the concept of Heaven was invented.   What would happen if everyone on this earth, regardless of their dogmas, just said, and meant, and acted upon the following for a complete year: "Today I will work to see how heavenly I can make this earth."?  I bet we'd find more agreement about the nature of good than we would discover through academic argument.

...but maybe some people wouldn't want to do this because they feared it wouldn't be good, or their minds were the literal kind that would presume this meant a remodeling of the earth to mimic their envisioned heaven.  I don't think we could make enough dry-ice fast enough.  And here we have the not-good on the first day of all-good.  Great.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Call it a Spill, Call it a Blowout

"Words matter,"  See http://thisisnotaspill.org/what-is-spill/

"This is not a spill. A spill is what happens when your toddler knocks over a tumbler of milk. A spill is what happens when you turn over that bucket of soapy water while washing your car. It’s not what happens when you leave the water hose running for days. Or weeks. Or months. A spill is what happens when a fixed quantity of fluid accidentally escapes its container. Connotatively, spills are small."

Yes, technically a "spill" could be huge and out of control, but thisisnotaspill gets it right - we think small when we think "spill".  "Don't cry over spilled milk!"  "Spill the beans [and tell your secrets]."  "Spill your guts! [and make your confession]."  We need to start using language that conveys the enormity of this global hemmorage, no that still says it too small: this gaping bleeding wound, no that's not it, this disasterous massive... come to think of it "blowout" is too humble a term, too.  BUT, it's a start.

Thank you Kathy Gill, for reframing the story more appropriately (and for the photo above captioned: "Thick oil in the waters and marshlands along Louisiana’s coast, near Pass a Loutre (19 May 2010). Via Gov. Bobby Jindal's Office").  Thank you also to Spyra for drawing attention to the thisisnotaspill.
And hang on a minute: how did we make ourselves vulnerable to this kind of money-first global management strategy?

Also see the Rolling Stone article: "The Spill, The Scandal and the President: The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder."

And in another some-odd few years, when people start chanting about "government regulations threatening our freedom!" you can mention the catastrophe above (or go back a year and a half to Wall Street, which we're still paying for.  Note to self: pay credit card at 26% interest by the 20th to avoid $30 late fee), or you can simply agree with them.  Say, "Yeah!  And let's start by getting rid of all those damn government run traffic signals!"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Music and Mourning

In wondering where a particular common quote came from, I found this:

The Mourning Bride

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform'd,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
'Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.

Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night
The silent Tomb receiv'd the good Old King;
He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg'd
Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?

William Congreve, 1697

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Oil Over Again: Greed Kills

I conjecture BP never had any intention of cleaning up the spill or stopping the flow because their objective - since even before the explosion on the rig - has been to get that oil and use it as product at any cost (hence ignoring the rig workers' safety complaints and firing those who spoke up too often and slowed production).  BP's concern is that the well blew up and now they're losing money.

So, resources haven't been poured into stopping the spew, they've been dedicated to salvaging the well's production. Attempts to cap off the gusher with domes and boxes, covering it up with mud, were ruses. That trick where they sawed off the pipe ahead of the kink causing a tremendous increase of the flow? That wasn't a prelude to putting a lid on the force of oil, it was readying the pipe surfaces for a fitting so they could siphon oil off to a tanker. Mere prep work. As I've said here before, any six year old who's played with a garden hose could tell you those methods wouldn't work.

Public outcry surprised them with its insistence, first as a buzz of a mosquito they thought they could wave away and now like a buzz of maybe half a dozen mosquitoes, they eighth-heartedly wave their little hands toward solving problem by making grandiose "attempts to cap the well!" So far they have seemed simply stupid: but you don't get that rich being stupid, unless you're stupid like a mega-macro corporation! The smart people are the ones tasked with finding a way to salvage product (and the boss' people pleasers are the ones making up the dog and pony show as we go along).

Even though BP has such extensive wealth that if they were to put massive effort into a 100% clean up of this mess they'd still be solvent, that's not where the money is: Their response, lack of contrition and inability to admit full financial responsibility urgently and above all demonstrates they do not perceive the issue at hand to be the ocean, sea creatures, beaches, wetlands, tourism, or the fishing industry (when they get their lives back, they can have steak instead of seafood).  As for the lives and generations of fisherfolk who rely on small boats in one considerable geographic patch of sea? Piffle!). 

There is no concern for the overall health of the planet let alone the immediate health of those affected by the toxic mess.  BP blamed the sickening of the first of the clean up workers on food poisoning.  Stopping the loss of potential profit is the only problem they're intent on solving.

Watch the story unfold: they will capture most of the oil.  They will get the leak down to about 20% and return to business as usual, if we let them.  And it's likely we will come to accept the sludge slick that slathers its way around the planet for the next generations, just as we have accepted the Texas-sized Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Witness our friends and family trip to El Capitan beach in California a couple of years ago.  As the sun set, an oil slick that had been hovering off the coast (from the derricks off the coast of Santa Barbara) came to shore.  We couldn't get back to our campsite without walking through it.  We all complained as we wiped the crude off our feet and sandals with nice greasy lotions, but we accepted it as normal, though frustrating, because Santa Barbara beaches have *always been like that.

I am not quick to take a cynical view, but this one's just too obvious.

*First trip to Santa Barbara beaches circa 1968.  We swam and ran and played and laughed.  I got freckled and blonder from the sun and my dad taught us how to get crude oil off our feet using margarine and paper towels.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Who's in Charge Here?

And about the oil spill:  I said they'd need a lot of caulk if they were gonna put a "dome" over the leak, didn't I?  Yes I did! (turns out I wasted the moment on fb and didn't post it here.  Curses!)

And what happened when they lowered the dome?  All the oil kept spewing out through the - the what? - yes, the bottom of the dome where it met the sea floor.  Why did anyone think, even for a second, that a natural seal would be created by putting that thing on there?  There's too much force coming from the spewing gushing oil leak!  It's impossible to stop such a force by simply putting a cup over it.  Any kid who's ever blown air into his soda through his straw could figure that one out.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Video of the Big Busted Pipe Under the Oily Gulf

BP shares video of the undersea oil gusher. The headline of the news story announcing it said they "caved to pressure" and posted this on youtube. A good use of math will help create estimates of how much is pouring into the sea by the minute.  Here's the story, the video is below.  Here's their schpiel: 

May 12, 2010 — ROBERT, La. -- Oil and gas stream from the riser of the Deepwater Horizon well May 11, 2010. This video is from the larger of two existing leaks on the riser. This leak is located approximately 460 feet from the top of the blowout preventer and rests on the sea floor at a depth of about 5,000 feet.

We are a ridiculous species sometimes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

World vs. Earth

Today, we have a guest blogger from the past (1806), Mr. William Wordsworth:

The World is Too Much with us:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gather’d now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for every thing, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn,—
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathéd horn.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oil Slick Solution / Oil Slick Superimposition

They're pouring more chemicals on the oil spill, the ramifications about which they aren't certain. I say pour kitty litter all over it, mix it up with the Texas-sized floating patch of plastic pieces out there in the sea, stir in some lava from Iceland and make a new island. They could call it "Atlantis".

Now, from the *fantastic to the feasible:
Get an idea of the size of the Gulf Coast oil spill. Here's an interactive map that lets you superimpose it over just about any city you can think of. Not fun. We need to get off this stuff once and for all.

Here comes the sun.

*I really don't think my idea's that far fetched if you skip the lava step.  I just didn't want to lose you for the rest of the piece.  Sun, sun, sun: here it comes!

California Poppies

Here is a nice respite with the California poppies.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I Like Drums!

A little bitty kid rocks the mall!  What a happifying experience!

Watch: Howard Drum Show

Monday, May 03, 2010

It's All About the Circulatory System

From Barbara Strauch, author of "The Talents of a Middle Aged Brain"

"Our brains are more like our hearts in that everything you do for your heart is thought to be equally as good or better for your brain."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Art is Not Mimicry

...although mimicry can be art.

I saw Tina Turner sing HELP (on TV) years ago.  She caused it to dawn on me that lots of Beatles lyrics were contrary to the mood they were presented in.  For example, HELP is such a happy peppy tune, isn't it!?

Talk about taking a song and making it your own! Watch: Tina Turner sings HELP.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

One Pantleg at a Time

It's the Handyshot portable washing machine from the 1950's:

They could have had the slogan, "We'll get your clothes clean, one pantleg at a time."

(Thank you to AtomicAntiques for the discovery.)

Baby Kangaroo!

Joyful play among species!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I saw this at an "old folks' home" and I think it is a good thing to remember about character.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Story of Stuff: Can't Get Enough!

Watch "The Story of Stuff".  It's about 20 minutes long, but there's so much good about it, from the artistry to the intellect and of course the heart of it.

Thank you Colbert Report for featuring this last night!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Enough Hubris to Eat a Whale

They really are eating whale meat in Santa Monica.  We really should not allow it, apparently its being illegal is not enough.  Read the New York Times article about the restaurant called "The Hump".   The sting operation had the academy award winning makers of "The Cove" behind it.  Please share this information.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Good Managment Credo

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."  -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Russian La-la Guy

Wordlessly, it speaks for itself.

(Thank you Ze Frank for finding and sharing this one.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Javier's Favorite Joke: An Homage

Doubleclick and watch on youtube for correct aspect ratio (and so I won't be cut out in the driving scenes!).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bored Beyond Tears

(Yawn...) ... but who the hell cares...

Being Bored Can Bring About Early Death

The question is, if you're worried about it, how bored can you actually be?

From the story:
"...Still, Mann said it was only people who were chronically bored who should be worried.  'Everybody is bored from time to time,' she said."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mannix Theme

I really liked Mannix and this song gets stuck in my head fairly frequently.  I don't mind.  It's usually when I'm doing something important.  It is helpful.

He was such an all around, manly guy.  Sometimes when I pour coffee into a cup I remember the episode where he went temporarily blind and was taught to wrap his index finger over the rim of the cup so he could feel when the liquid was reaching the brim.  I discovered about ten years ago that I shared the memory with a new co-worker.  It's what let me know that whatever he might do (or not do) he had the type of awareness of detail I would enjoy.  He's the one who also said there was a hymn they sang in church when he was a kid that he felt was out of context.  He wondered why they would sing about a circus bear, the kind that rides a tricycle around the center ring and wears a little hat.  I said, "what was the hymn?"  He said, "Gladly the Cross Eyed Bear."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

As Does a Man/He Returns the Lost Dough

Cabbie Returns $21,000 Left Behind in Cab:

The cabbie's name and his actions remind us what it means to step up and do the right thing, an important component of being a Man (or Woman...)

The link to the Daily News site (above) loads slowly so here's the text:

NY Cab Driver Returns $21,000 to Visitor
Associated Press
Updated: 01/12/2010

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. - A New York City cab driver is being praised for returning more than $21,000 lost by a visitor from Italy. Felicia Lettieri, 72, left her purse in a Manhattan taxi on Christmas Eve. It contained traveling money for her and six relatives. Police told them not to get their hopes up about finding it. The cabbie drove about 50 miles, to a Long Island address he had found in the purse. No one was home, so he left his phone number and later returned with the money. Lettieri's daughter, Maria Rosaria Falonga, told Newsday from Pompei, Italy that the cabbie also left a note. He told her: "Don't worry, Felicia. ... I'll keep it safe." The driver, Mukul Asaduzzaman, could not be reached for comment. He refused a reward.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Inside the Refrigerator

I find this picture-show fascinating, (and somewhat repulsive):

They call it "you are what you eat" but I'd add, "and store - and how!"