Saturday, March 17, 2012

Nervous About Saturday Afternoon's Reception

What do I bring to a reception for someone headed to federal prison? Unregistered cell phones? A straw-filled dummy? A cake with a file in it?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mysterious Objects at the Edge of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

The Legacy Of Robert Sherman

Reminds me of the life I lead; except that it's completely different, of course.

Oh, Please Accept This Offer, Rush!

Here, Rush, I'll pay you to accept this ad campaign!:
The Westboro Baptist Church on Friday released two advertisements that they hope to air on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, which is experiencing an exodus of advertisers after he called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” because she spoke in favor of religious institutions providing contraception coverage.

The first spot was a parody of comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck” routine.

“If you wear a dress that is strapless with a brassiere that isn’t, you might be a slut,” an announcer says. “If you are an anchor bimbo for Fox News and your name is Kelly or Julie, you might be a slut.”

“If you think it’s OK to have sex with men outside the marriage bed, you might be a slut,” the commercial continues. “And if you fornicate your brains out and you think the government ought to pay to kill your baby, well, sounds like a slut to me — and God hates sluts.”

A second advertisement proclaims “America is doomed!”

“Your pastors are whores! Your priests rape boys! You murder babies by the millions! You fornicate your brains out!” the announcer exclaims in a reverberating voice similar to many monster truck commercials.

“Divorce! Remarriage! Adultery! Idolatry! You’ve all lifted up with one voice and said, ‘It’s OK to be gay.’ You only have one hope: obey or perish!”

...Premiere Networks public relations director Rachel Nelson has said that the ads would be dead on arrival.

“Premiere Networks is not considering an offer of sponsorship from Westboro Baptist Church,” she remarked.

...Drain charged that the media was hypocritical because they often use sex to sell products but then condemn Limbaugh for making moral judgements.

“Sometimes sluts call sluts ‘sluts’ but then gain sponsors, but Rush Limbaugh called a slut a ‘slut’ and his lost sponsors,” he noted. “Why do people want birth control in the main? It so that people can have sex whenever they want but they don’t have to worry about the ramifications. From a moral standpoint, that sounds like a slut to me.”

''Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave...."

YouTube is great! No matter how many aspersions the candidate's minions cast against the media, saying that statements were taken out of context, the candidate clearly said what the newspaper reported, and it will affect the vote on Sunday, and that's that!:
Rick Santorum's campaign has launched an offensive against reports that the Republican presidential candidate suggested that Puerto Rico would have to adopt English as its principal language in order to become a state.

The flap began when the San Juan newspaper El Vocero reported that Santorum had said he supported Puerto Ricans' right to self-determination but that he would not support adding a state in which English wasn't the primary language.

"Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law," Santorum said, according to a Reuters report about the interview. "And that is that English has to be the principal language. There are other states with more than one language such as Hawaii but to be a state of the United States, English has to be the principal language."

The statement raised red flags for two reasons: It offended some Puerto Ricans, including a delegate who withdrew his support for Santorum. And it incorrectly suggested that under federal law there is an English-language requirement for new states.

Santorum told reporters the following day that he had been "maliciously" mischaracterized. English should be the "preferred" language, he said, but he would not insist that the island change its official language to English alone.

El Vocero posted a video of an interview in which Santorum clearly states that English is a "requirement" and would be a "condition for admission."

"As I have said repeatedly, that, as a condition for admission, that people would -- well, they could speak both languages -- but have to speak English," Santorum said in the videotaped interview. "That would be a requirement. It's a requirement that we put on other states as a condition for entering the Union. If you're going to participate as a state in the United States, then you need to participate in the language of -- the people speak in the states."

It's The Speed Limit. It's The Law. No Exceptions!

The original experiment was DOA the instant they did it:
Einstein’s theory of relativity is standing stronger than ever in the wake of the results of a new experiment out of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which found that particles that scientists initially thought were traveling faster than the speed of light were actually moving more slowly.

Back in September 2011, CERN scientists shocked the world by announcing that one of the agency’s particle physics experiments, called OPERA, had detected neutrinos, a type of weakly charged particle, traveling 60 billionths of a second faster than the speed of light through a 454 mile-long underground tunnel connecting a lab near Geneva, Switzerland to one near Assergi, Italy.

...But after re-measuring the speed of the neutrinos in a different experiment called ICARUS, CERN on Friday announced that the neutrinos were actually moving equal to the speed of light and the original paradigm-shattering results were most likely due to a measuring error.

Skeptical About Home-Schooling

The home-schooling movement has always struck me as self-deception. Others seem to agree:
Poring over their stories, I was shocked to find so many tales of gross educational neglect. I don’t merely mean that they had received what I now view as an overly politicized education with huge gaps, for example, in American history, evolution or sexuality. Rather, what disturbed me were the many stories about home-schoolers who were barely literate when they graduated, or whose math and science education had never extended much past middle school.

...“I’ll admit it,” she confesses. “Because I was so overwhelmed with my life… It was a real struggle to do the basics, so it didn’t take long for my kids to fall far behind. One of my daughters could not read at 11 years old.”

At the time, Garrison was taking parenting advice from Quiverfull leaders who deemphasized academic achievement in favor of family values. She remembers one Quiverfull leader saying, “If they can do mathematics perfectly but they have no morals, you have failed them.”

The implication, she says, was that, “if they’re not doing so well academically, well, then they can catch up on that later. It’s not such a big deal. It was a really convenient way of thinking for me because I wasn’t able to keep up anyway.” This kind of rhetoric, Garrison notes, provided a “high-minded justification for educational neglect. I would not have gotten away with that if I’d had to get my kids tested every year.”

...Why did she stick with home schooling for so long, despite her difficulties? “We were convinced that it would be better for our kids not to have an education than to be educated to become humanists or atheists and to reject God,” Garrison says. “We became so isolated because the Quiverfull lifestyle was so overwhelming we didn’t have time or energy for socialization. So the only people we knew were exactly like us. We were told that the whole point of public school was to dumb down the children and turn them into compliant workers – to brainwash them and indoctrinate them into this godless way of thinking.”

Garrison believes that home schooling has become so popular with fundamentalist Christians because, “there is an atmosphere of real terror among some evangelicals. They are horrified by the fact that Obama is president, and they see the New Atheist movement as a vocal, in-your-face threat. Plus, they are obsessed with the End Times, and believe that the Apocalypse could happen any day now… They see a demon on every corner.

“We home-schooled because we wanted to protect our children from what we viewed as the total secularization of America. We listened to people like Rush Limbaugh, who told us that America was in the clutches of evil liberal feminist atheists.”

...Palmer insists that her family was not alone in home-school neglect. Among the various fundamentalist families that ran in her family’s social circles, she says, “I knew several families whose children were not very literate.” Moreover, she points out, education is “more than just learning math and science and the facts of history – it’s learning how to interact with the kids around you, and figuring out what different kinds of personalities bring to life.

“You can do home schooling right if you’re very careful,” she acknowledges. “Know all the ways it can go wrong and guard against these; have outside interaction; get help with what you need help with and use a decent curriculum.” But most home-schoolers, Palmer points out, “are woefully lacking in every area” of their education.

Deeper Into Slut Territory

Meghan Daum tries to get deeper into why Rush's use of the term was so much more offensive than anything Bill Maher did, or indeed, any public figure has recently done. One point she does not make, however, is that the use of slurs by powerful people against powerless people in public is inherently offensive: the mismatch in resources is staggering:
What a lot of people missed, including liberals whose focus on the word "slut" opened the door for conservatives to fight back by invoking Maher's epithets, is that it wasn't Limbaugh's language that was so offensive, it was his logic.

If Limbaugh had called Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" and then continued on his merry way with a generic rant about "Obamacare," the controversy would have followed the usual Rush pattern: a day or two of indignation, then yesterday's news. But this time, he didn't just insult a particular group. He insulted human logic itself. He didn't just traffic in hyperbole; he dressed up fiction as news commentary and assumed his listeners would swallow it out of sheer habit.

And it's that assumption, more than the nasty words, that got him in so much trouble. By not crediting his listeners with the ability to discern valid argument from mind-blowing lies, he sent a message that they were less than rational beings.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Third Weekend Of "Damn Yankees"

Third weekend was fun. Friday night began ominously, with an apparent failure of the amplifier allowing the on-stage speakers to function. Without those speakers, it would be very hard for the cast to hear the orchestra well enough to perform. Steve converted the downstage right corner into a tangle of electrical spaghetti in an attempt to find a solution. The show was delayed 15 minutes. Without vocal and dance warm up, performances suffered. But at least complete amplifier failure was delayed until Saturday morning, allowing Steve enough time to purchase and install a new amplifier before Willy Wonka on Saturday afternoon.

I really liked the way Bryan stepped forward to continue the dialogue when Scott blanked on his 'Smokey' line early in the show on Saturday. Fast thinking, and clean enough that I don't think the audience noticed.

Sunday was a good show!

One more weekend left!

Groggy From Last Night's Domestic Dispute Next Door


M.: Not anymore.

E.: The woman next door was screaming. Did you hear her?

M.: I know. I guess they were fighting again over there. She was screaming outside too. Very theatrical, and for no obvious reason. It's like she was deliberately trying to wake up all the neighbors.

E.: I heard another woman I think too. She was saying something about "f'n bitch", or something. Or maybe it was the same woman. I don't know.

M.: I had trouble falling back asleep too. I heard strange noises downstairs all night long.

E.: They had four cops over there too. Did you know that? It was a mess! It makes me nervous. They keep fighting over there. And they have the 2-year-old too. MMMMMAAAAAAARRRRRRRCCCCC! Are you awake? MMMMMAAAAAAARRRRRRRCCCCC!

Rick Santorum Sent Me An E-Mail

I belong on too many lists:
Dear Patriot,

Last night we came one step closer to taking our party and our country back! Last night, you showed America that you refuse to be deceived by negative ads, big money, and the left wing media.

Conservatives united and we won Alabama and Mississippi! On the heels of our overwhelming win in Kansas, we showed the establishment that their line of inevitability is not inevitable.

You proved them wrong. Again.

...For months, the media and the establishment have told conservatives like us that we don't have a choice – Mitt Romney will be our nominee, whether we like it or not. They want to silence our campaign, but most importantly they don't want your voice to be heard.

Well, I'm here to tell you that last night conservatives spoke out and turned the campaign upside down. We finally have the one on one race with Mitt Romney that we have wanted for months. It's a brand new ballgame.

Our victories last night proved that conservatives are not going to be told what to do by the media or the moderate establishment. Believer it or not, 2 out of every 3 ads that were run in these states were spent on Mitt Romney's behalf, and mostly against us. Romney had the entire moderate establishment behind him. The media said that his victory was inevitable.

But when the votes were counted, even with being outspent big time and all the power of the establishment working for Romney, the people of Mississippi and Alabama stood with the guy from Pennsylvania. They stood with the grandson of a coal miner, the candidate who understands the importance of faith and family – the candidate who understands the centrality of conservatism and freedom in our lives.

...With your help we will nominate a conservative, take the fight to Barack Obama, and get our country back on the right track. I hope you will join us.

Righthaven Finally Put Out Of Its Misery

The wheels of justice grind slow, but fine:
Righthaven LLC., a law firm that became known as a “copyright troll” for filing hundreds of lawsuits against media companies and bloggers, was forever banished from its business model on Tuesday by a judge who ordered a transfer of all their copyrights to settle the company’s substantial debts.

...For about a year Righthaven’s business model was a success: they would find a news website or blog that had republished snippets of a copyrighted news story that they had purchased rights to or represented, then file a lawsuit threatening up to $150,000 in penalties for every alleged infringement. Because the punitive damages are so hefty, most early defendants settled for much smaller sums, usually several thousand dollars.

But that all change after they went after liberal news forum Democratic Underground, which they sued in Sept. 2010 over a five sentence news excerpt from The Las Vegas Review Journal, posted in the forum for readers to comment on.

Righthaven was chastized by U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt months later in 2011, who wrote that Righthaven “made multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements to the court” regarding their ownership of certain Review Journal copyrights.

In his ruling, Judge Hunt wrote that Righthaven’s claims were invalid because it did not actually hold a copyright on the story they sued the forum over — that they were simply representing the paper, even though they claimed the copyright had been transferred to them. He even warned that Righthaven may have misled judges in hundreds of other lawsuits by claiming that it owned certain copyrights which it was really just representing.

All Red Meat Is Bad

(Photo I took in Las Vegas, at end of 2005.)

No wiggle room there?:
Eating red meat — any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blame Canada

I suppose we'll have to invade there too, just to keep the terrorists from winning:
"Dick Cheney cancels Toronto trip, says Canada is too dangerous," bleated the headline in the National Post, which made the story a featured headline pick Tuesday on its homepage at

..."After speaking with their security advisors, they changed their mind on coming to the event," Ruppert told CTV Network. They "decided it was better for their personal safety they stay out of Canada."

...Cheney -- who has visited plenty of dangerous places in his time, including Iraq in 2008 -- is a lightning rod for controversy in some corners of Canada. His harshest critics there call him a "war criminal" and blame him for human rights violations including the United States' controversial use of waterboarding to elicit information from terrorist suspects.

Violence broke out when Cheney visited Vancouver in September as part of the book tour for his memoir, "In My Time," which he wrote with daughter Elizabeth. Cheney had to hole up inside the building for hours as police in riot gear took on demonstrators.

Ruppert lashed out at the demonstrators, saying they have only succeeded in blocking what could have been a frank talk with Cheney about U.S. foreign policy.

"You lost that conversation because you're talking about a group of thugs," Ruppert told Canadian TV. "It's a real sad story because it really overshadows what the peaceful protesters, who often have very legitimate points, would be doing and saying."

Save Yourself

Kay posted this on Facebook.

A Couple Of Jetta Head Shots

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kaskade feat. Skylar Grey - Room For Happiness

Gettin' My Groove On

Pepper Von uploaded three aerobics videos today, with yours truly in each of them!

With its rapid pace, the first video, in particular, shows why Monday evening is crucial to my health regimen!

Comparing Northern Indiana And Central California Weather

Jerry writes about the warm weather in Mishawaka, IN:
We just hit 69F -- the normal high is 45. The forecast high for Wednesday is 77. That's late May/early June weather!

Fruit-tree growers are worried, because the trees are budding much earlier than usual; if we get a hard freeze, that could be curtains for this year's crop!
I reply:
We hit 71 degrees on the 8th, but that’s just one degree above normal for Sacramento. Temperatures are dropping as the big Pacific storm approaches. It’s supposed to rain most of the week. One can only hope.

People have been saying trees are budding earlier than normal here too, but I think they may either be suffering from faulty memories, or they are outside more in the drier weather and just take note of more budding. The tree outside my back door flowered on February 5th this year, exactly the same date as last year.

Rainfall is 38% of normal for the season. Only catastrophic inundation can save us now!

Grousing About Talent at The Big Talent-Show Auditions

J.: The problem is, so many of the people at the auditions don't have enough self-awareness to know that they are untalented. For example, at the big AGT audition in LA, they brought five others into the room with me, including a mother with her daughter. The couldn't carry a tune! They couldn't hold a note! The mother told the daughter she sang well, but it wasn't true. Do you think it will be good for the daughter's self-esteem when she learns her mother has been lying? They just didn't have the voices. No amount of lessons would help them.

M.: Well, singing and dancing lessons can help people improve.

J.: Not really. Lessons help if you've got the basic talent. You need a good voice first to benefit from lessons. If you don't have the good voice first, it's worthless. WYSIWYG is the reason I don't take lessons. Either they will want me just the way I am, or they won't.

CORE Dance Collective - "Silent Noise" - YouTube Videos

Such good dancers!

Kelli Leighton uploaded two excerpts from 2011's "Silent Noise", performed by CORE Dance Collective. The Crocker Art Museum commissioned Kelli to create this piece based on the work of the artist Gottfried Helnwein. The world premiere was at the Crocker Art Museum on March 24, 2011; restaged for this performance in April 2011.

Excerpt from "The Playroom" (featuring Anne David).