Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sleep is for wimps! - yeah, but smarter wimps.

When I was a kid, I admittedly hated sleep.  I had to share a room with my older brother, who was not always very kind to me at night (farting in my face, for example).  I used to wake up so early on Saturday mornings, that the test pattern was still on the Chicago PBS station, WTTW channel 11. ["Stay tuned for the 'Childrens Fair' the announcer would proclaim, but all they showed was Sesame Street & Electric Company, never showed a single dern Fair! Grrrr!]  I used to always think "Sleep is for wimps!" and "why waste time sleeping? I have a life to live!"  As I've gotten older, and wiser, I've appreciated a good night's sleep, more and more each year.

Today I heard on the radio, studies by Dr. Avi Sadeh have shown repeatedly that grade school children who get as little as 15 minutes less sleep each night, score lower on cognitive ability tests, IQ tests, mechanical skills tests and showed higher incidence of behaviour problems.  So it makes perfect sense why medical residents, army sentries, rotating manufacturing shift workers and others do such poor quality work while lacking sleep, and why airline pilots and over-the-road semi-truck drivers are Required, by Federal Law, to get adequate amounts of sleep (so they don't kill the rest of us) when they are doing their jobs. 

As little as 15 minutes less?  Wow.  I need to get to bed as soon as Colbert is done each night (on east Coast feed from cable) so I can be Up and Awake at 4am Arizona time with Bangalore each morning!

Fingerprint Ink Removal?

I got fingerprinted for my background check this morning, for the first time in my life [Thanks to Jill, Ryan, and Trac for providing references!].  Admittedly, I had never been fingerprinted before - I HAVE stood by as friends in custody have been fingerprinted with bail money in hand, and I know family members who have been fingerprinted as well, but this was my first time. ("Sir, you might want to wash your hands at this point")

Now, I have residual black ink on the periphery of all 8 fingers and both thumbs.  Google searching, I can find lots of police-supply store towelettes, but I don't want to buy something and wait for it to ship to take this off. I just want to scrub it or chemically remove it, today.  One link to an Acura users group said to use Woolite. I do like the smell of Woolite, and I used some, but all I did was get very very soapy, and dry out my hands' skin.  My bar of Lava soap ran out some time ago, and I don't want to use gasoline or nail polish remover (organic solvent based).  My liver's already absorbed enough lifetime heptane (from Michelin Tire), benzene and 1,1,1 trichloroethylene (known as "type wash" in Chicagoland print shops, 'dry cleaner fluid' in other circles), all such nasty and potent carcinogens.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to successfully remove police-grade finger-printing ink from your own (or your kid's, or your buddy's, or a job applicant's) fingers without using something toxic, or something severe like a dremel tool or side grinder? In 10 to 14 days it'll all wear off at normal human epidermal replacement rates. but I'd rather remove it before we get too far into October.


I've begun a biological metabolic experiment in sugar reduction using myself as the subject.  I've eliminated high fructose corn syrup, acesulfame potassium, phenylalanine, partially hydrogenated man-made oils, and pretty much all grains and the empty carbs they contain from my diet. I want to see if my liver receptors and isles of langerhans can get back to their evolutionary roots - as they were originally intended to function before being inundated in corn oil, corn syrup, refined Sugar, massively refined grains, and other processed and preserved food-like-substances.  I do not want to go the way of my parents and their advanced mellitus. [side note: some acupuncturists have stated that the Chinese don't suffer from diabetes, they control it entirely with herbs, diet, and correctly applied needles]  If I cannot control it by diet and exercise, and re-train my endocrine system, then ok, I'll listen to the extremely conservative advice of my primary care family physician and take the dern prescriptions she's written.

So I've been doing pretty well over the last month in the progress of my experiment, eating fresh foods, watching labels, limiting sugar, opting for wine or liquor over the carb-rich beers typically. Then last night, Dr Desert Flower and I are enjoying a delicious (and inexpensive, just $14 for the two of us) meal at our local Paradise Bakery, with a big bowl of vegetable soup and a delicious chicken caesar salad, when I caught myself eating crouton after crouton after crouton.  They were so yummy, and crunchy, and sweet on my tongue - wait, croutons are stale bread + seasonings... dern it! So 1/2 way through the salad, I extracted my croutons, and left them aside.

This is also the first NFL season that I am going "chip less", which is a Huge Change for me, from the "at least one" plate of nachos I used to inhale each Bears game - I can't give up the Sunday beer though. Bread (even pitas) have been vanquished from my kitchen & pantry.  We shall see how well this experiment progresses. Il faut voir...

Mr.Deity Hilarity!

If you've not caught up, Mr.Deity has some new episodes out. Link Here.
SO damn funny!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Château Vieille Tour La Roche Bordeaux

Again, Trader Joes and Latitude Wines have teamed up to deliver another consistently delicious and inexpensive Bordeaux wine, and this time, it's organic too!  Château Vieille Tour La Roche (La Roche's Old Tower Castle) 2007.  At $9 I paid less than 1/2 as much as this French website quotes.

This was my first French Organic wine (see the "ECO CERT" symbol below), and it was tasty with hummus and celery, ham & suisse-emmental, and hoisin sauced tofu & veggies.  All around, a smooth buttery compliment.  It got better the 2nd and 3rd days, but it did not start off badly at all!

Once again, thanks to well run Government regulation in a semi-socialist republic to bring the United States an inexpensive, healthy, and delicious beverage!

Château Tour Bigorre 2007

Trader Joes has once again delivered a wonderful, easily drinkable inexpensive ($8) Bordeaux, imported by Latitude Wines, Danville CA:  Château Tour Bigorre 2007, Côtes de Castillon appellation controlée.  It's a nice mix of merlot & cabernet, mis en bouteille au château (not by some mass production negotiant).  I disagree with the negative review here, but maybe he got a bad bottle.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  These reviews (in French) both enjoyed this wine here and here (85/100), as did I, with (and over) a pork tenderloin roast and pollo asado, over the last 2 days.

Stay away from the negotiant wines typically, stick with the ones that are bottled au château or mis en bouteille a la propriete (on the property, for the smaller wine makers who don't have their own dedicated equipment), and you should be in pretty good shape.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Alondra de la Parra + Adam Golka + Phoenix Symphony = Amazing

[this was going to be three parts: conductor, soloist, and symphony, but I found it easier to construct one long post, as opposed to 3 shorter more disjointed ones]

2 weeks ago I lamented at the lack-luster performance that Michael Christie and the Phoenix Symphony put on during the John Adam Debacle / Beethoveen season opener. So it was with a degree of skepticism and minor trepidation that I agreed to go with Dr Desert Flower to the Saturday September 26th performance of Carlos Chávez / Sergei Prokofiev / Antonín Dvořák. I even filled a flask with some bas Armagnac in my jacket pocket, just in case. This time we had 2-for-1 tickets, front row, 2nd section, middle of the concert hall, acoustically perfect, surrounded by skeptical, vocal baby boomers who made no shortage of disparaging comments about the ages of the evening's conductor (28) and soloist (22).

Then the concert began. Wow! I was pleased and impressed to see Ms. Alondra de la Parra on the podium, passionately conducting her fellow countryman's Sinfonia India, that the Symphony stepped up and delivered a remarkable performance. Fantástico! Several times in this widely varied & dynamic work, de la Parra leapt off the podium a few inches in aggressive attacks - Edvard Tchivzhel style! Again, with a talented conductor to inspire them, more than the concertmaster and principals put their hearts into it. The audience joined me in a powerful round of applause, but things were just getting started.

Stage hands quickly moved the Steinway & Sons grand piano to center stage, at an angle that gave Dr. Desert Flower and I a perfect view of both the orchestra and the entire keyboard. My fellow country man Adam Golka sat down to demonstrate his mastery of Prokofiev's extremely difficult Concerto No.2 in G minor for Piano & Orchestra, Op 16 from 1924. The program described how Prokofiev had conceived his Concerto as "brash and angular" & "harshly modern" - that was an understatement. Golka attacked the keyboard with passion and precision, giving a spectacular performance that drove the audience to it's feet for a triple standing ovation. Doskonale wspaniały!! Then, Golka sat back down, to do an encore of a fellow Pole's beautiful piano work, one of Chopin's Nocturnes. One more negative Arizona reviewer stated it was the F-sharp, Op. 15, No. 2, but I thought it was the longer D Flat Major, Op 27 No.2 Nocturne. I distinctly remember Golka ended it on higher pitched notes, perhaps he flawlessly merged both Nocturnes into a melodic hybrid. I could be completely wrong. I was literally on the edge of my seat, partially leaning over the aisle adjacent railing, giddy, with a tear in my eye. Completely euphoric. Listening to Chopin on CD this afternoon in the background (Op 27 No.2 is my all time favorite) I cannot stop broadly smiling as I fondly reminisce about this breath taking performance. I was deeply, sincerely touched.

Returning from intermission, the piano was removed, enabling an unobstructed view of the podium and stage. The Dvořák Symphony No.8 in G major, op.88, lead by de la Parra, was excellent. She made the symphony sing, from their hearts. I heard violas and cellos where voices had previously been muted and meek. The woodwinds stepped up and played to the level of concertmaster's Steven Moeckell's first violins. Occasionally, I even noticed the 2nd violins playing FF enthusiastically. The brass voices rang out clearly - I'd say "clarion", but technically that has a shrill negative connotation in the most literal sense - speaking up succinctly and melodically when de la Parra called upon (and inspired!) them, is a better way to put it.

All in all, this was the best concert performance I've experienced in Arizona, on par with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra's magnificent presentation of Holst's The Planets in 2006, and better than last season's Mahler which we both really liked. 7 more classical concerts to go here in Phoenix this season... I hope they haven't hit an unrepeatable apex. Armagnac will be on standby, just in case.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Kudos to Dr. Zaius for this fun diversion! (link here) I've played 3 times now, once with the crow bar, chicken, and war-on-Christmas tree. LOL! So much fun - and an awesome sound track too!

Jimi's NPR Liaison

The call letters of the Phoenix Public Radio Station are "KJZZ", which they announce at least every 30 minutes. As I work from home, I hear it more than a dozen times a day. Every time I hear the announcer say "KJZZ"... this sound (listen to the first 9 seconds) pops into my head (link here).
'K J Z Z dun-dun [vibro-slap KKKKkkkkkk!!]' x 3...
then 'K J Z Z dun-dun...'
and Jimi makes his entrance.

I think the EPROM in my brain is now permanently burnt in, All Along The Watchtower.

Friday, September 25, 2009

G20 outsiders?

I wonder if Spain, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Malaysia, and Thailand feel at all slighted, to be outside the G20? And why the hell is Spain not listed, when it's in the top 10, and yet Saudi Arabia is in G20? Don't give me the "EU" excuse, the UK, France, Germany, & Italy are all part of the EU and they each have their own reps.

Tempranillo, Prosecco & Cava - cool bubbly

It's going to be 107F here in Phoenix this weekend - yeah, Fall, go figure. When it's really hot outside, a nice cool rosé can be both tasty and refreshing pool-side, or while floating in the pool. For $4 a bottle, it is hard to beat Fresh & Easy's Tempranillo Penrosa, Bodegas Realeza, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León. (UPC code 5 - 051379008208) Dr Desert Flower and I both enjoy this slightly bubbly, not too sweet, not to dry inexpensive Spanish rosé. It would not be surprising if we had a bottle of this before Monday arrives.

Now, I know I usually write about red wines here, but Dr Desert Flower often gets headaches from red wines, preferring whites and rosés, and especially enjoying bubblies. This includes Champagne.

But Champagne is pretty pricey here in the US, and rather than dropping $30 or $40 for a cheap bottle of Champagne (or $50 ~ 80 for a fine Champagne) , you can get a whole case of Prosecco or Cava for that kind of money. Lemme 'splain...
Say you are shopping for a bubbly for New Years, or a Birthday Party, or some other celebration or special occasion. Cava Cristalino, for $6 to $9 a bottle (at Trader Joes, Total Wine, or many grocery stores) is a delicious straw colored Spanish bubbly that's got both a fruity start and dry finish. It's good before dinner, before a concert with Friends, with a light dinner, with some cheese and fruit, indoors or out, warm ambient or cooler climes.
But Maybe Spanish vintages are not what you desire... and you still don't want to pay $30 a bottle, well try some delicious Italian Prosecco. One delicious and inexpensive one is La Gioiosa Et a Morosa, Spumante Extra Dry (UPC code 9568402591 from Fresh & Easy, all of $6). Notes of apple and mango, delicious, smooth finish. We enjoy it tremendously chez nous. And, Germans apparently love it too!

Perhaps you're not a fan of Spumante? Try the Villa Carlotti Marca Trevigiana, Indicazione Geographica Tipica, a bubbly "Soft White Wine" Prosecco (UPC code 051379008253 from Trader Joes). I disagree with the negative reviews here and here, I'm not a bubbly wine snob.

I hope this has been helpful for finding warm weather & celebratory sparkling wines that are inexpensive, and enjoyable.

The Sun is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma

And now... for something completely different:

I saw TMBG in Tampa about 15 years ago when I was taking a software training class in Lakeland Florida. They put on a awesome show.

"Here Comes Science" came out in stores nationwide yesterday. I'll be picking it up at Target this afternoon. =)
Songs Include:
1 Science Is Real
2 Meet The Elements
3 I Am A Paleontologist
4 The Bloodmobile
5 Electric Car
6 My Brother The Ape
7 What Is A Shooting Star?
8 How Many Planets?
9 Why Does The Sun Shine?
10 Why Does The Sun Really Shine?
11 Roy G. Biv
12 Put It To The Test
13 Photosynthesis
14 Cells
15 Speed And Velocity
16 Computer Assisted Design
17 Solid Liquid Gas
18 Here Comes Science
19 The Ballad Of Davy Crockett (In Outer Space)
20 Waves

Los Straightjackets "Casbah"

These guys put on a great show. Though this clip is rather laid back and relaxed, the drummer (Senor Teen Beat) is a monster on the 4 pc trap set, in the tradition of Gene Krupa. [link Here, and Here!! to illustrate my point] Wrestling masks required, for the last 15 years.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clock Ads go bye-bye

Google recently wrote insidious embeds that circumvent Mozilla's Ad Blocker Plus, and force ads in the little gadgets that you can add to your blog (like the world clocks I used to have to the left here). Even when trying to adjust the frame to a smaller size in the layout editor, it doesn't block them. The "no-scripts" Mozilla add on stops them on my mini notepad Eesus, but like my buddy Matt says "but sometimes I like scripts", so I found it easier to just delete the clocks. If you REALLY liked them, you can always look here, instead.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mortality & Cholesterol - not what most Americans think

From Hyperlipid: link here
"Lowest mortality observed when total cholesterol (t-C) is 200-240 mg/dl, low t-C linked to more infectious and parasitic diseases and also low t-C maybe associated with higher CHD (could atherosclerosis be an infectious disease?)"

Interesting stuff. Tip o'the hat to my buddies Zim and Ron for their links to Hyperlipid.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Underrated Bordeaux - Côtes de Castillon

Clos de La Vieille Eglise 2005 - Côtes de Castillon, can be found at Total Wine for about $10. It's wonderful. Slightly mineral in finish, as many Côtes de Castillons are, I think the French don't appreciate the north bank of the Dordogne River very much unless it is labeled Pomerol or St.Emilion (which are both delicious, but rather pricey). Côtes de Castillon is directly adjacent to the East of St.Emilion, and nearly as tasty.

Diabolical Plan!

Tom the Dancing Bug is always good for a chuckle:

What it Said, What it Meant

I was wondering how long it would take to come up with these hilarious, truth based, insightful modifications. You gotta see it for yourself. Links here, and here. Teabagger signs vol 1 & 2.

Very Well Put.

Anyone who has a problem with the real interpretation of the signs shown here, is truly irremediable.

Isolationist, Separatist, Regional Political Party

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan for this graph. Link here.

I've lived in the South for 16 years, as well as the Midwest and West for more than 2 decades altogether. I'd agree with these results.

Stupid Terrorists or Planted Evidence / Diversions?

Ok, when you
  • Travel to Pakistan & train at an al Qaeda Camp, by your own admission
  • have many back packs filled with many cell phones & batteries
  • have plans on your laptop about how to construct bombs, in Arabic
  • try to rent a large truck with cash, but balk when the truck rental place tells you that he'll need to keep your IDs're either a very slow and stupid aspiring terrorist, or perhaps you're a plot device / character in a bad DJ Caruso film (Eagle Eye) who is being used as a diversion for larger fores at work.

I am listening to the talented and attractive Dina Temple-Raston on NPR this afternoon summarizing the story of federal arrests of 3 suspects (including Najibullah Zazi). I KNOW we are not safer because we've tortured people, sorry W and Cheney, all you did was inspire more wanna be's and angry young people internationally - but are these wanna be's all so very stupid? Are U.S. anti-terrorist efforts that air-tight and effective? Or maybe, Americans are now operating a little more "with their eyes open"? Probably a combination of all of it. I don't know.

Had the truck rental store employee just rented them a truck for cash without the threat of holding their IDs, there would probably have been a huge explosion with many deaths in NY or Denver or somewhere in-between. If these dolts were not trying to do something nefarious, then they're really stupid, and have wasted inordinate amounts of time of US law enforcement and counter-terrorism manpower. It will be interesting to see how this develops in the next few days.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Free Airport Wifi - should be mandatory

I guess I am spoiled. Phoenix Sky Harbor, Greenville Spartanburg, and Reno's airport all have free public Wifi. That's how a modern airport is supposed to run. Atlanta has several bogus wireless internet providers trolling for a few dollars, as does Dallas, Cincy, Chicago, and Washington IAD in the US. Heathrow, Frankfurt, Shanghai, Narita, and Hong Kong internationally It's hard enough being jet lagged, or harried having to transfer from one terminal to the next... now some clueless MBA's business plan hopes that travellers will pay anything to be able o connect? No. I don't think so.

Free Public Wifi means that people like me get their data mined at smaller airports - and that's fine. I'm checking email and blogging. Big deal. Free Public Wifi also means that people like me dont have to stalk the hallways outside the First Class lounges, where a few of them still have wireless inside without password protection (Like at ATL's B concourse, IAD's NW / Delta lounge, etc) and squat upon the lounge provided signal.

Make your airports friendlier, and travellers will appreciate it more, and look forward to travelling through your city. Try to charge me $7.99 to connect to the internet, and I laugh in your general direction!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Los Straightjackets & SCOTS in Reno

Last night here in Reno, my buddy Matt and some friends & I went to go see Southern Culture on the Skids, with opening act Los Straightjackets at the JA Nugget casino (Sparks). It was a good show - lackluster table service from an apathetic waitress, but a good venue with adequate acoustics, front row seats adjacent to the stage's dancing area. Fun for all!

I'd never heard Los Straightjackets before, but they were intense, tight, talented, put on an awesome show - completely unexpectedly. SCOTS put on a good show as well, but I've been seeing them for 20 years now, ever since Dawg Gone in Spartanburg and Al's Pump House in northern Greenville (both venues long ago closed). 20 years can wear on a band that's never had substantial lucrative commercial success. Rick's guitar work was as high energy as always, Dave's standing drum rhythm support tight as ever but seeming a little less vivacious. Mary's bass work and vocals were a little "off game" from what I've remember in past performances in SC, NC, and AZ... she didn't put on a bad show, it just seemed that the fire was burning less brightly - I loved the gogo boots and sparkling leggings though! =)

In supporting roles they had some rhythm guitarist who didn't add too much, and a black-leather-mini-skirt-wearing 20-something dancer who invitingly danced on stage for a handful of songs. The traditional 8 Pc Box number went well, but there were several drunk myopic guys who clambered on stage along with the bevy of audience participation beauties. Rick had to scold the drunken guys and instructed them to get on their knees and beg for chicken, which was pretty funny from my center stage dance-pit vantage point.

To the Air Races tomorrow! Already off to the start of a great weekend...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Keep it Stupid America

Image © Austin Cline
Click for full-sized Image
More Propaganda Posters

I'll be not connected for a few days... more next week.

Flame-throwers are perfect for dragonfly hunting.

Jesus' general always cracks me up! Link here, for a letter to the NRA.

bin Laden's Sign Of Weakness

Highly Intelligent and well informed Middle East scholar Juan Cole says that bin Laden's most recent audio statement is a "sign of weakness". Link here. I sure hope he's right. "(only 4% of Arabs say they care deeply about Afghanistan)"

Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act

Thanks Max Baucus, for delivering not 1/2 a loaf, not a 1/4 loaf, but more like a Higgs boson loaf in benefiting consumers, and a wonderful back-to-school gift to the US Insurance Companies, more like a full ride 4 year scholarship with a Hummer and tutors and tutors who give hummers for Insurance Executives. Why the hell are Montana, Wyoming, Iowa, and the Dakotas dictating such impotent health care reform to the rest of the country anyway?

Link to the Reuters news release here. Thanks to JoeM: "I smell the worst of all possible outcomes (mandate, no public options, panty-waist reforms) in the wind."

This should be more accurately called the "Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act".

It took 2 months to come up with this corporate gift? Incompetent & Despicable. It should be vetoed, if it ever gets passed.

People of Walmart - Cousin Itt

"Any logical input would be greatly appreciated here." Link here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tibetan Sky Funeral

Tibetan Sky Funeral, a Reverse Thanksgiving, in some ways. I was not aware of such a practice existing. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. A low carbon foot print, and extremely efficient. Very patient vultures.

If I was not donating my body to scientific research when I die, or if I lived near many ethnic Tibetans, this would be an interesting way to return my final remains back to the dust it came from. All that vulture poop and feathers though.. not to mention the last minute of the video's ritual... it's gotta be kinda messy.

I axed him...

'He axed me...'
'you've got to axe me...'

These are what come to mind, when that phrase is spoken in the English language:

If you meant "ask" then please, enunciate. Otherwise, you reveal a great deal about your ability to articulate, your dialect, your attention to detail, your disregard for effective communication.

10 Lessons for Tea Baggers

Crooks and Liars has this awesome summary. Link here.
1. President Obama Cut Your Taxes
2. The Stimulus is Working
3. First Ronald Reagan Tripled the National Debt...
4. ...Then George W. Bush Doubled It Again
5. Republican States Have the Worst Health Care
6. Medicare is a Government Program
7. Barack Obama is Not a Muslim
8. Barack Obama was Born in the United States
9. 70,000 Does Not Equal 2,000,000
10. The Economy Almost Always Does Better Under Democrats

"Back in April, the Daily Show's Jon Stewart offered some sound advice for frothing at the mouth Tea Baggers, "I think you might be confusing tyranny with losing." Now five months after their Tax Day outburst, thousands of vein-popping Obama opponents descended Saturday on Washington for Tea Party II. But while Glenn Beck's furious followers alternately slandered the President as a "fascist," a "communist" and worse, they remained unencumbered by either the thought process - or the truth."


Eco Maids 4 You - Excellent Service

Looking at my traffic analytics this morning, I noticed dozens and dozens of hits over the last 2 weeks throughout the Phoenix metro area from Litchfield Park on the West Side to Apache Junction and Queen Creek on the East Side. With so many local eyeballs now on the site, I want to put in a good word for the awesome independent business owner Dr Desert Flower and I use for our cleaning service: Eco Maids 4 You L.L.C.

Eco Maids' owner, Carla runs her business efficiently and effectively here on the West side of Phoenix (Goodyear). I found her business on a Yelp site, and she's listed on the cumbersome ServiceMagic site as well, but after having her come every 2 weeks over the last 2 months, cleaning the bath rooms, kitchen, and floors, it's worth the $50 to get back my Saturday mornings, and not have to hurt our backs bending over to scrub the shower floor and bath tubs. Carla's assistants that she brings with her are conscientious, thorough, well trained. She uses Simple green and other ecologically less harsh chemicals. We provide the mop, rags, and vacuum. It's well worth it.

If you're looking for an affordable, reputable, local, reliable cleaning service that's reasonably priced, check out Carla's website and give her a call. Mention that Joe sent you - and let me know if you concur with her, or if the good service we get is an anomaly.

Billionaires For Wealthcare, The 12th-ers

TRMS featured this last night. Rachel crashed their site, it was so popular, and so damn funny.
"Because nothing says 'Freedom' like denying claims"
"Warning: Affordable Healthcare may cause severe loss of profits"
"CIGNA Palin 2012"
"Fight Socialism, End Medicare Now!"
"If we ain't broke, don't fix it"
Billionaires For Wealthcare, keep up the good fight!

Impotent Rage

A gorgeous illustration of double standard hypocrisy in the extreme. It takes TDS to call out Fox on how inane and irrelevant they really are. Video link here.

...and then go down to "Mad Men" on September 14th.

Viacom has made it harder to link to TDS videos.

Is Tony Dungy a Vulcan?

Watching NBC Sunday night, I began to wonder. Is Tony Dungy a Vulcan? He's got the ears: here, here, and here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Michael Christie delivers lackluster, once again

Much earlier this year, Dr Desert Flower and I bought partial season ticket sets for the Phoenix Symphony. Last Saturday night was Beethoven's 9th Symphony in D Minor. When I got the tickets, I thought - awesome! I'd not heard it sung in German for more than a decade. I used to sing in church choir in Jr High back at OLG in Highland IN, and we sang it in English one Easter Season. I even remember one of the superb California drum corps play it as a closer and play very high in the DCI finals one year when I was in High School. I find it a moving piece when performed well. Sign me up.

So much to my horror and bewilderment, director Michael Christie "packaged" this awesome work of the grumpy & progressively deafened Ludwig Van Beethoven with a first act performance of John Adam's minimalist, discordant, disquieting, somewhat disturbing "On The Transmigration Of Souls". "Missing... Missing... Missing..." was the musical genius that Maestro Edvard Tchivzhel brought to every performance of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra's amazing body of work. "Remember... Remember... Remember..." the joy and anticipation that an evening at the GSO used to inspire. I serious caught myself counting the sprinkler heads and doing HVAC capacity and louvered register velocity calculations in my head (page 270) throughout the 25 minutes of recorded street noise and disjointed random chorus chanting that accompanied the minor chords leaking out of the string section. After a painful 1/2 hour, Mozart's short Ave verum corpus was played quite nicely - a soothing salve and relief.

Then a 20 minute intermission, where the Dr and I sat amoungst the living dead - people who were alive during the Coolidge administration, and who moved at the pace of Galápagos tortoises. They seemed to enjoy the Adam's work, but I think they needed new batteries in their hearing aids.

As the Beethoven piece began, Christie once again proved he does not know how to rally his symphony through a crescendo that has any impact, playing a vast range mezzo-piano to mezzo-forte (sarcasm fully intended). Yes, Concertmaster Steven Moeckel is passionate in his playing, and about 1/2 of the first violins follow his lead, but the rest of the 1st, most all of the 2nds, and all the violas are just marking time until they can finish the night. The cellos and double bases make good statements when called upon, following their principals' leads, but it's pretty rare. The flutes and clarinets are barely there. The brass on rare occasion make a statement, but usually it sounds at least one hill away on a foggy morning.

A blasé Allergo entrance piece, followed by a Molto vivace that was more like Molto patetica. The serene Adagio molto e cantabile actually was enjoyable, and that's when it hit me - the Phoenix Symphony plays melodic, flowing, gentle works adequately, even enjoyably. As the Presto - Allegro assai - Allegro vivace began my hopes to be wowed had been pretty much vanquished by this point. The massive chorus that stood on bleachers erected behind the orchestra did a fine job, proving to me that it is not the venue of Symphony Hall that muffles the instruments inside, it's the director and 1/2 an orchestra that bring an energy & majestic, soul moving quality of a 1972 Pacer to the concert experience.

Edvard and the GSO, we miss you. I can only hope that the Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Prokofiev,and Mozart tickets we have this season are more enjoyable. Next time, I'll take a flask with me.

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne! - LOL! =)

Anything over Moen, anyday

Last Spring I replaced the crappy, leaking, lackluster, el-cheapo Moen kitchen faucet with a Price Pfister. Dr Desert Flower was delighted, and it's been working well. In the middle of the summer, one of the crappy, lackluster, el-cheapo Moen hall bathroom faucets began leaking as well. It followed suit with the Master Bath Room Moen faucet that also failed within a few months of us moving in. So I went out, and bought the cheapest, but prettiest 2 handled faucets I could find - Glacier Bay 102-856s - with the house underwater by almost 1/2 of it's mortgage, splurging on the property is not really relevant. The Glacier Bay's should be good for a few years, until we can dump this abode. They look sweet, and work very well.

The GB's had much more robust hardware than the pathetically chintzy Moens, for the structural sink mounts, the threaded brass water feeds, and the basin drain stopper controls. Yes, it is cheap made-in-China hardware, but it appears to be a vast improvement over the 5 year old Moens. 3 out of 6 Moen faucets failed to properly function in 5 years - that kind of Quality speaks for itself. "Moen, Built to Last, Built for life" - ugh... yeah, a life in a scrap heap maybe, until it's melted down in a large blast furnace.

May they rot in prison, and never be released

Despite Dick Cheney's premature insistence of arresting Rashid Rauf, the Pakistani leader of the cell of the 4 spoiled, UK born, coddled & unappreciative, fundamentalist Muslims who were stupid enough to be persuaded to try and blow up innocents in contradiction to their sacred Quran (Surach, 18:74), the British justice system today convicted these clueless conspirators to many dozens of years of prison.

If they get a painful cancer while in prison, I certainly hope they are not let out to go to an Arabic speaking country for Ramadan. Let them sit and rot in a prison cell. They've ruined air travel for everyone, going forward. When returning from France, I used to be able to carry a 1/2 case of Bordeaux home as carry on. When returning from Mexico, Premium Tequila and 500ml of pure vanilla bottles would be in my laptop bag. No longer is that possible. All liquids must be under 3 oz? Malarkey! Ridiculous! Aggravating!

And one of the 3, Sarwar, he looks downright stupid, Neanderthal-esque, perhaps Half-Orc (or is that not Halal?). All three are douche bags. It's too bad they can't be sent to a US Super Max prison, where they wouldn't survive very long.

When the story first came out, The Scotsman ran an interview with a former Northern Ireland colonel who was the head of the bomb-dismantling detachment of the British Army who poo-pooed the whole notion of creating a liquid peroxide based explosive in a airplane lavatory that would do anything more than smell bad and make people cough, with a better chance of burning or killing the bomber (and no one else) than anything else. I read it online on the Scotsman site back in 2006, which further aggravated me with the draconian bottle restrictions that year and every year since, but after searching for an hour yesterday, I was unable to find it again - perhaps they pulled the interview from the website. Regardless, these 3 worthless little turds should never breathe air as free men again. And once again Cheney, thanks for almost blowing this whole investigation!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gyure's "Doggy Energy Theory" Proven: Kleiber's law

25 years ago, my good friend Todd hypothesized the "Doggy Energy Theory". He postulated, that little kicking dogs, like shitzu and daschunds that bark alot and that seem very hyper-actively energetic, have the same amount of energy stored up in them as Much Larger ones, like say a St.Bernard or a Giant Schnauzer. If you were to put a small dog in a calorimeter, and measure it's stored energy, it would approximately equal the energy that a much larger dog would put out, in the same calorimeter. Todd's a very gentle soul, and wouldn't incinerate an actual living dog in a calorimeter, but he based this theory upon years of observation of his own dogs as well as those of his friends and neighbors.

Last, week, I was watching a Nova special I had DVR'ed about Fractals (Hunting the Hidden Dimension), that talked mostly about Benoit Mandelbrot, but it also branched out into a discussion of biological applications of fractals. It turns out, that James Brown of the University of New Mexico, Brian Enquist of University of Arizona, and Geoffry West of the Santa Fe Institute published a paper "A General Model For the Origin of Allometric Scaling Laws in Biology" back in 1997, that proves Gyure's theory, with a slight adjustment. It's a 3/4 power, not a 1:1 relationship.

An elephant is 200,000 times as large as a mouse, but it needs only 10,000 times as much energy. Kleiber's law: E=M^(3/4)

This patterning ratio applies not just to mammals, but to pretty much every living creature - from when cells divide, to how trees branch out, to when bronchial tubes or arteries are programmed to split off, each cycle of growth and decay, in a fixed ratio - something I never understood or appreciated until last week.

Retrospective on 100 days

President Obama's first 100 days - yeah, a real socialist agenda. How terrible, especially after his dry drunk cheerleader all-hat-no-cattle we-don't-torture predecessor.

Fringe, hysterical, guano crazy, vocal libertarian & right wing loons need to look at the actual facts, and not get wrapped up agonizing over imaginary death panels, free medicare for illegal immigrants, and demanding more tax relief for the richest 2% of Americans where more than 1/2 the wealth is concentrated.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Flip Flopping Family Values Conservatives!

Flip Flopping Conservatives!

"In a truly unexpected move, the Washington, D.C.-based political action committee "American Solutions for Winning the Future" (ASWF) has named Allison Vivas, President of the adult entertainment studio Pink Visual, recipient of its Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2009.

"I'm honored, and more than a little surprised, to receive this prestigious award," Vivas said. "It never occurred to me that Newt Gingrich, one of the principal architects of the conservative 'Contract with America' in the 1990's, would be willing to brave criticism from the far right of his party in order to recognize good work done on the part of an adult entertainment professional."

According to the notice from ASWF, should Vivas attend a private dinner being held on Oct. 7 at the historic Capitol Hill Club in Washington, she will "dine privately with Newt," who will then take the occasion to present Vivas with her "well deserved award" and pose for a photo with her."

Tip o the hat to Matt for this gem.

Sadly, once the ASWF realized what an awesome family value selection this was, they withdrew their award!

Turn A New Leaf
I'm checking to see if they need any volunteer help with facility repair, maintenance, upgrades, general upkeep of vehicles, capital equipment, grounds, etc. Per their website, they've got multiple locations, and the desert environment here is Harsh on everything. I've got the tools and the knowledge, as well as a AZ PE license, so why not help some people who might need it. =) If they do need the help, I think I'll have to go through a DPS finger printing, but that's understandably cautious due diligence.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Let your wallet & email voice your support

Boycott of Glenn Beck Advertisers - I signed it, it took only a minute.

Everyone should sign up, if you're moral, have a conscience, have a sense of rational decency, if you're patriotic, a thinking person, not swayed by rhetoric, etc. I mean, yes, I do enjoy the vaudevillian comedy of Glenn in leder hosen agonizing over histrionic interpretations of various innocuous publications from the Obama administration, but hey, Rupert is a business man, and he'll drop old Glenn as soon as it's no longer profitable. Glenn can find a home on Youtube I'm sure.

R J Roushdoony's followers won't let their new spokesman Glenn down. Do you really want to be one of them?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Joe-Joe-Joe! (09/09/09 09:09:09)

I was in Chengdu China on September 9th, 1999, and trying to go to dinner that night with my co-workers, every restaurant was PACKED with wedding parties. We had to go to three places before anyone would let us in without reservations. The Chinese are super superstitious, and 9 (pronounced "Joe" in Mandarin) is considered even luckier than the 7 is to Westerners.

Today, as it is 2009, 9 September, and at 9:09am and 9 seconds, supposedly, very very lucky. As China is 15 hours ahead of me (and it is 9am here now in AZ), most of the well celebrated wedding party revelers are now sleeping it off.

thanks to Google, for their 09/09/09 banner this morning.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sad Joke of the Day - September

Q: What do you call someone in their 20s or 30s who has cancer?
A: A Canadian least in the USA, since a U.S. citizen with cancer in their 20s will be broke, then homeless, then often dead soon after they get to stage 4. Contrasting view points here, and here, regarding cancer and hilarity.

Yeah, and from the admirers or liberty and it's pursuit above all else (aka Fox news devotees), not all cancers are from life choices - healthy athletes who eat excellent diets get colon cancer sometimes too, healthy non-smokers can get lung cancer, a series of bad sunburns as a very small child can lead to early onset skin cancer in one's 20s - or from someones genetic make up. Those poor bastards who get such terminal illnesses, well, in America, too bad for them. It's not the Fox News devotee's problem. Everyone else should stop their whining, and get some boot straps! You might make Fox viewers begin to develop a sense of morality, or a conscience that considers something outside their own myopic microcosm.

Deficit Binge Drinking, Never Again?

After spending US Federal Treasury funds like a drunken sailor on Jaffe Rd in Hong Kong's red light district for 8 years, Republicans are so very worried about the Federal Deficit now. I remember Gingrich stating how deficits didn't matter with the American public back when Republicans dominated Congress. Now, all of a sudden, the deficit is "#1" on everyone's radar screen. Yes, it is incrementally bigger now, than it was during W's reign of plutocratic spending on the rich (tax cuts, more tax cuts, un-justified war, more tax cuts, no-bid contracts, etc).

Perhaps it's like after a night, or long weekend of binge drinking, and then saying "I'll never do THAT again"... except they waited until after they lost a national election by a wide margin to declare it?

Bring the Windex!

Today, First Solar Corporation of Tempe Arizona announced that they have been contracted by the Chinese government to build a 2 gigawatt solar plant in the northern Chinese desert. This will be the world's largest. Bigger than the 1G they announced earlier this year. Of course it's not in America, we only want to finance (and celebrate) massive fossil fuel drilling projects here.

Good luck to First Solar and the Chinese Government. After being in China, and seeing how dirty the air is there (the desert is north of Beijing, where the Olympic air was so nasty), and having a basic understanding of solar radiation energy absorption, they'll need lots of Windex (or a cheaper Chinese knock-off) to frequently clean the reflective / absorptive array surfaces, if any efficiencies will be realized.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So much Koolaid, so many children, so little time!

Dr. Zauis has a comprehensive compilation of "Hitler = Obama" hysterical fear mongering and blatant ignorance posted yesterday. Linked here. Awesome work!

Some of the video links Dr.Z has posted are quite delusional, making Glenn Beck look factual and reasonable.

Wow, so many clueless Americans are gullible, easily manipulated, frightened little lemmings!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Da Bears, online

I figured I'd miss the Thursday night Chicago Bears pre-season game since it is not being televised, and I do not have the $300 NFL Dish package, but leave it to the flock of the FSM - ARRRGH! me matey! -, provides a free internet view. Very cool.

The Paradox of Libertarianism

Andrew Sullivan has an interesting essay on his site today, linked here, on the Paradox of Libertarianism: “liberty-as-goal” vs “liberty-as-means” libertarianism.

I'm curious to see which camp the libertarian readers of this blog see the themselves tending to gravitate more. I'm not a libertarian myself, so I aspire to neither theory personally - cartoonish, or otherwise.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

He Can't Be All Four!

Kudos to Dr. Zaius for this hilarious link!

36 More Days of Oil Found! WOW!

I just read the dumbest, most short-sighted article, on BP's oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico's Keathley Canyon Tiber Prospect, about 200 miles off the coast of Parde Island Texas, in 10,564 feet (3,220 m) feet of water of 3 billion barrels of oil. The well that shows promise hit a field at 35,055 feet (10,685 meters). (almost Mariana's Trench depth 11,033 meters (36,201 feet))

To quote the AP article: ""It will ease concerns about peak oil because it shows there is life left in these mature areas," he said, adding that it could be the second half of the next decade before the find is producing."
That is ridiculous! 3B barrels of oil, at the current world consumption rate of 85 million barrels a day, means "BP just found 36 more days of oil!" Whoop-dee freakin dew! It goes right along with the moronic paradigm of "drill baby drill". So in the "second half of the next decade" there will be a trickle of oil that amounts to 36 days of world consumption. I've gotta go out and buy a used Hummer! No - actually, my buddy Ron alerted me to one of these sweet feats of German engineering .

Laptop Seizure Rules? WTF?

Laptop Seizure Rules? WTF? I've not had this happen to me yet... and I hope it never does. I have started traveling with my puny net book now more often, and over-all, traveling much less than I used to internationally.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

With Detroit's Demise...

As the "Big 3" have become the bankrupt 2 + Ford, and fuel prices will continue to rise as peak oil approaches in the next generation, it's about damn time that the expansive US gets on the High Speed Rail track, like The Rest Of The World has. All the naysayers of rail saying it is not profitable, need to come to Phoenix and ride the new light rail when gas was $4 a gallon, or spend some time in the NE corridor where rail ridership is huge, or take the South Shore into Chicago everyday, from East Chicago, as my father did for 20 years, along with thousands of other commuters. Well organized and modern rail works very well (France, Germany, Japan, and some parts of the UK). Even not well organized rail still serves massive public needs (India, China, Italy, many Eastern Europe nations, Russia... and some parts of the UK).

Short sighted, pessimistic, anachronistic Americans who cling to their precious paradigms from the 50s and 60s need to evolve and work towards accepting the future. Notice how the map above has no high speed rail connecting LA to Vegas? So sorry, delusional tea baggers, find a wind-mill elsewhere to joust with. I've driven 2/3rds of the proposed routes via Federal Highway. Had an efficient rail line been available, I would have preferred to sit and read, or surf, or sleep instead of burn fossil fuels in my individual internal combustion engine.

Il faut voir... we'll see, if it ever comes into being.

Daniella Mangoes

Maybe it's because I spent several years in Jr High and High School working evenings and weekends making boxes at the print & lithography shop where my dad used to work (next to WJOB's radio tower in Hammond), maybe it's just a heightened awareness of food safety, perhaps it's my aging focus on personal health, or maybe it's some combination therein, but I've been noticing how the produce I've been buying has been increasingly well marked.

I recently picked up a flat of a dozen Mexican Mangoes at Costo for $9.
Daniella Mangos, Variety Kent, Item 83303, bar code 6-0454612750-6, lot 229928, grown and packed by Agricola Daniella, Tel (668)... Fax(668)... El Porvenir, Ahome, Sin,
Distributed by Splendid Products, 1011 Cadilla Way, Burlingame CA, 94010, ph (650)...
with a side note of
", when food safety counts"

The mangoes are fantastic - ripe, juicy, tasty, succulent. 3 consumed, 9 in the fridge to slow down the rest of the ripening process. Had they been sub-par, or contaminated somehow, or recalled, there is no shortage of clear labeling to identify this flat, in this lot, in this shipment, to this store, in this state. Nice to see effective product marking is beginning to catch up with modern living.