Thursday, September 30, 2010

American Atheists & Agnostics Know More About Religion Than Other Americans

The Pew Forum released a fascinating study that shows American Atheists & Agnostics are better informed about religion than other Americans, including Jews, Mormons, Protestants, Catholics, and others.  Executive summary link here

The Pew Data show we are a nation of ignorant Americans, who don't know other religions, and who don't know much about their own religion either, unless you're an Atheist or Agnostic.  Fox News and the Republicans that Rupert Murdoch funds have done an awesome job of spreading mis-information about how persecuted Christianity[TM] is in America.

At least the Atheists and Agnostics are a little better informed than the rest of the Americans that took the quiz - "know your enemy" - Sun Tzu

Take an abbreviated version of the quiz yourself, here.  Yeah, I got 15 out of 15. It was very easy - but I've paid attention in grade school, high school, CCD class, I know my US Constitution, and I don't watch Fox News - except for occasional entertainment purposes.

Republican Voters Want Pot Legalized

In their "Pledge to America" that the Congressional Republicans released last week to tepid response from their own base, and vociferous rejection from their far right wing, they say that they included ideas that America wants, polled from the tax payer funded website they set up "America Speaking Out" (link here).  What they DIDN'T mention, but the Daily Show and Colbert DID, was that the number one idea that was most popular on the site was the legalization of marijuana.  Other very popular ideas, that millions of Americans endorsed were: (links here and here and here)
- abolishing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
- divorcing from the Religious Right
- not kowtowing to the NRA and, 
- denouncing Palin/Beck/Limbaugh.
...but of course, none of these centrist, popular "American Ideas" were included in the "pledge".  They don't fit the Republican platform of fear for all and tax cuts for the rich - doing exactly what they've been trying to do for the last 30 years.

Instead, the "pledge" included all the good parts of the evil  "Obamacare" like
- keeping children on health insurance until they are 26
- no lifetime maximum limits on what an insurer will pay
- closing the donut hole in medicare Rxs
- no denial of coverage
- no rescission, once you get sick, you can't be dropped
- being able to purchase insurance across state lines (which is IN the Obama plan, but is left to the individual States to decide)
These are, of course, all things that the far right wing libertarians are against, in their "I got mine, screw you" paradigm. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It Is Awesome To Have A Son Who Drums Well

My son and I used to play this in the bonus room above the garage in our home back in South Carolina before Dr Desert Flower and I moved to Arizona.  2 sets of head phones, 2 drum sets (black sun, black moon, 2 snakes facing each other!)... "La Villa Strangiato" off of Rush's 1978 album Hemispheres... One of The Most Fun songs for a father & son to drum to.
"According to Lee, "We spent more time recording 'Strangiato' than the entire Fly By Night album. It's recorded in one take but it took 40 takes to get it right!"

Human Foie Gras - Yummy!

Dr Davis has an excellent post from last week (that I over-looked until today, link here) on how American Humans are trying very hard to develop their own version of foie gras.  It's a poignant contrast.  

While Dr Desert Flower and I have enjoyed some absolutely delicious local, organic foie gras in Jonzac France while dining with friends, I have to say I'm not interested in trying - or developing - any human versions.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Evolution For The Masses

Evolution, illustrated so simply that even Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell could follow it.  Thanks Matt G.

Yankee Candle Lesser Known Aromas

As the Holiday Season approaches, our US Mailbox becomes ever increasingly filled with multitudes of catalogues.  One of Dr Desert Flower's favorites, is Yankee Candle.  Some of their scents are pretty good, pleasant, practical.  Others... I wonder about.  So I came up with a few of my own, that I might suggest to YC.

Proposed Yankee Candle Scents:
85W gear box oil
Canada Air Jet Overflowing Lavatory
Dead Mouse Behind Dry Wall
Doused Axe Body Spray
Feral Tom Cat
Funyun Flatulence
Green Baby Diaper
New Year's Eve Steaming Kitchen Grease Pit
Paper Mill
Passenger Seat Vomit
Roadkill Muskrat
Roadkill Skunk
Sink Trap
Smelling Salts
Sulfur Springs
Used Litter Box
Week Old Car Trunk Pork Chops
Week Old Ruptured Appendix
Yellow Baby Diaper

Regional Favorites
East Chicago Sewage Treatment Plant
Kentucky Hog Farm
North Charleston (a mixture of salt marsh, phosphate plant, and paper mill)
Terre Haute (a mixture of tri-methyl amine, creosote, and ammoniom hydrate)
Riverside Chongqing
South West Phoenix Dairy Farm
Whiting Indiana (a mixture of Amoco refinery, chemical processing, and sewage treatment)

Subtle Scents
Cheap Paris Hotel Brie
Freshman Male Dorm
MiniVan Sun Dried Strawberry Milk
Hotel Room Carpet
Old Hippee
Salt Marsh
SF Bay Sea Lions

Do you have any other suggestions?  Is there one you'd like to place on advanced order?


I used to like 7M3 alot when they were around.  Saw them on Letterman once...  Dave loved them too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

BBC Dialect

I've been watching on TV (Dr.Who) and listening on the radio (Phoenix KJZZ NPR) to a great deal of BBC lately.  I started a running list of vocabulary, that is common on the BBC, but rare (or non-existent) in typical US dialects.  Initial observations include:

Rogering / Buggering / Toss Off
Blimey   (as an exclamation)
Car Park (instead of a parking lot)
Champion!  (as an exclamation)
Fancy    (instead of being 'interested')
Garden     (for a yard)
Jolly!      (as an exclamation)
Lift        (instead of an elevator)
Lorrie     (instead of a truck)
Mad     (as in 'crazy' or 'insane')
Queue     (instead of a line)
Smashing!  (as an exclamation)
Torch     (instead of a flash light)
There's many online translators, for British English to American English.  A funny one is here (link). 

Will da Bears Beat da Odds, MNF?

Da Bears play the Cheese Head Packers on Monday Night Football (link here).  I'll be watching, on DVR, an hour after the game begins (to avoid commercials), cooler of beer beside my couch, Trader Joe's Pollo Asada on the grill.  Packers are favored by the odds pickers.  With Cutler's inconsistency and sporadic running game performances in the pre-season and first game, I am sorry to say I have to agree with the bookies.

If you're in West Phoenix and a Bears fan, you're welcome to come on by and watch with me.  My buddy Matt and I used to go and eat copious amounts of wings, washed down with many buckets of beer, in Greenville on Monday nights, years ago... ahhh, good times.  =)

Getting to Atlanta Will Be Easier

Getting to Atlanta, and most of the East Coast of the US, where Southwest has been locked out of airport access because of protectionist policies that favor large Airline carriers, will soon get easier.  Southwest - America's most fun airline (when you are not a Gold or Platinum or frequent flier privileged member) to fly will be buying Airtran (link here).  Yay!  Sucks that it will not go into effect until 2013 (detailed link here).

Southwest flies more passengers, and more free bags, than any other US carrier.  And in my experienced perspective, they do it better, faster, cheaper, more efficiently and more enjoyably.  I hope the merger goes through.  I've lost respect and interest in Delta, United, and American, and never had it for USAir, so I couldn't lose it. With Continental, I am still on the fence, but once they merge, I am sure they'll go down also.  Only when I was Gold and Platinum (flying to Asia frequently) FF, was it 'slightly enjoyable' to travel by air.  Now that I am "no one", it's a dreary chore that puts your health at risk (inhaled contagions, arterial thrombosis, gamma ray exposure on polar routes) and destroys your productivity.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Battles Ddiamondd - Euro Prog

Tip of the Hat to my buddy Rick for referring me to Battles.  Interesting prog rock - I am impressed with how well the band stays synchronized through different time signatures and tempos.  Not amazing drumming, but consistent and solid - to read the video comments over Youtube you'd think their drummer was a genetic splice of Peart & Bruford & Carey, but kids now a days are easy to impress I guess.  Silly Shimmy-esque video attached:

Static image video can be found here (link), if the belly dancing is too much for you.

Colbert Testifies Before Congress On Migrant Farm Workers

Thanks to my friend Claudia for the prompt link:
I laughed so hard, I have a tear in my eye.

(Caution, annoying ABC stories Start after each CSPAN news clip)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

WND's First National Convention Of Extremists

The World Net Daily held their first "Taking America Back 2010" national convention this week.  What a collection of birthers, conspiracy theorists, homophobes, xenophobes, Islama-phobes, gathering together to try and incite violence among their members.  Media Matters describes it beautifully: link here.  (Obsessively referenced at the M.M. cite - awesome work!)

One of the best comments:
"O.K. Now the question is how far they intend to take America back?
1950? 1850? 1750? 1650? Maybe 1550 and get it right this time?"

Soft & Secured Collars Are Kinder & Gentler

What a difference 24 hours and better health care equipment makes!   Yesterday I was starting to wonder if our cat was going to saw off her own forearm as she tried to pry off her post-surgery collar at the hard outer diameter's edge.  Today, the grumpy old cat is basking lazily in the sun, sporting her new "Comfy Collar".  Her arm is no longer red and has started healing, stitched ear still protected from scratching claws.  I like the soft collar so much over the earlier hard plastic nasty one, that I wrote a glowing review on the Petco site - I bought the Last One they had in the small size yesterday!

One drawback of the big cushy collar, is that it is heavy.  If our cat was not a hefty 15 lbs, old & strong, the collar might have weighed her down as it did on one of the other 40 reviewers of the product.  Another aspect of the soft collar, is that it needs a strong, secure, normal pet collar around the cat's neck to anchor it.  Since our cat is an indoor cat, she's never worn a collar.  I bought her a pink elastic one (yes, I am gender biased with cats), since all the other 'safe collars' were 'politically correct' with a quick release mechanism in case the collar gets caught on something.  

"Quick Release" = easy escape for a crafty old cat.  Yes, a "safe collar" would avoid a choking hazard, but I am home all day, keeping a vigilant watch over my healing feline.  The kinder, gentler Dr Desert Flower secured the pink elastic collar gently around the cat's neck this morning after we gave her medicine, and within an hour, the cat had backed out of the collar, wedging it between a table leg and the wall, freeing herself until I found her a few minutes later.  Pink elastic re-secured, snugly, the cat can still breathe, swallow, eat & drink... and is still kept safe from her instinct to scratch her itchy ears.

Humans Don't Think Ahead

"Devil's Lake" in North Dakota is flooding the surrounding towns, due to ample rain fall and 'no natural drainage' away from the lake (link here). 'You'da thunk' that the town founders of the towns of Devil's Lake and Minnewaukan ND would have done a little fundamental surveying, back-in-the-day, a hundred and fifty years ago, and said "we need to establish this town on higher ground". But why should these small North Dakota towns be any different than most of Asia, Europe, and the Americas where small, medium, and very large population centers are down stream of dams, reservoirs, or snow-capped mountain glaciers - ie frozen reservoirs that can be melted (like Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, etc), and still others are built on land that has subsided over centuries to the point where it's below sea level now (most of the Netherlands, Bangladesh, New Orleans, Venice, etc)?

"Why do they build on the flood plain?" Audio link attached here.

I feel good knowing my home is not in a "100 year" flood plain. Yes, it is in a 500 year flood plain (like the Indus River just experienced) but in the desert here, that would be pretty rare indeed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

End The Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

Just for my buddy Ron, here's a twitter friendly formatted post:

Tell Congress: Don't extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy

They're only about 400 eSignatures away from reaching 100,000.

Tea & Crumpets by Tom Tomorrow

Tom Tomorrow puts it so plainly and beautifully: The Tea-And-Crumpets-Party (link here). A spin-off of the tea party devoted even more blatantly to the priorities of the extremely rich.

Cat's Foot Iron Claw

...Neuro-Surgeons Scream For More." I don't know what King Crimson was thinking about when they wrote 21st Century Schizoid Man, on their classic album In the Court of the Crimson King. But it sure was fun to practice Mike Giles' drumming, with head phones, on my Ludwig drum set in the basement back in the 80s - the same red striped drum set floor tom our old cat sleeps under from time to time now. Seemed appropriate to post today, in that respect. Lyrics included here, for the uninitiated:

25 Stitches In The Ear

What do 25 stitches in a cat's ear look like, the day after surgery to remove a massive aural hematoma? It's not pretty, or fun, or cheap. Our 16 year old cat had an ear swollen up the size of a tennis ball, with a yeast infection. She was pretty pathetic. The estimated $250 surgery is now nearly a thousand dollars, when you add in drugs and post surgical care... so we won't be going to the Rally To Restore Sanity. Oh well.

And if your feline has some kind of surgery that requires a collar to be put on its neck, don't get one of the hard plastic ones shown here that the vet provided if your cat is ornery & geriatric. She tried so hard to rub the collar off with her forearm, that she took off all the hair and most of the skin. Her raw forearm needs bandaging now too =(

When Dr Desert Flower gets home we're gonna try to change out the hard plastic for a "Comfy Cone" I got at Petco this afternoon. Hopefully it'll be a kinder and gentler solution, while also keeping her back claws from getting to the stitched ear.

Summers & Fripp

Listening to this intense guitar work always makes me feel like I am back on my 12 speed in NW Indiana, 30 years ago, on a cool Fall night, being pursued by forces of evil, who are trying to render me limb from limb, if they were to catch me. Not sure why this auditory stimulus drives that... but it consistently does.

Watching this video (as strange as it is, with partially wrapped dancers), I can't help thinking that Robert Fripp looks alot like Stephen Colbert. Until Googling this today, I'd never seen the video before... but I have this album on cassette tape =P

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dalit, Dalek?

Listening to Market Place on NPR this evening, I heard a story on the Dalit caste in India, and they kept pronouncing it "Dalek".

Makes one wonder if the British invented Dr.Who villains have semantic roots in colonialism.

Boycotting Brawny & Northern, Going Forward

I had heard some time ago that major Tea Party funders and Fake-grass-roots-founders David Koch and Charles Koch, who own controlling shares of America's 2nd largest privately held company Koch Industries, had bought Georgia Pacific, but it did not sink in, how many products Koch Industries makes that touch most Americans' lives. Of course, a visit to their smoothly designed, public relations website showcases all sorts of recyclables, renewables, sustainables, and environmentally friendly products. Only the barest mention of logging, petro chemicals & pipelines are linked - products that generate the vast majority of Koch Industries Billions in private wealth.

And what do the Koch brothers (not to be confused with the stealthy and ubiquitously evil Family Founder Doug Coe) do with that wealth, beside fund Tea Party ads and rallies and websites and busing Tea Party members across the country to inflate rally attendance? They lobby to fight climate legislation, environmental regulation laws, OSHA and worker safety regulation, and generally work in ways that the Simpson's Mr.Burns would thoroughly endorse.

So while Brawny® is a quality paper towel, and Quilted Northern® is our favorite toilet paper chez nous... I am a firm believer in voting with my wallet. I try to buy all my retail alcohol on Sundays, to discourage blue laws (which Baptists in South Carolina loved to try to impose on all citizens). I've not purchased Exxon Mobile gasoline since the Valdez spill in Prince Williams Sound. I used to go out of my way to buy Citgo gas, before Hugo Chavez began arresting journalists and imprisoning Venezuelan opposition party candidates and became Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's (محمود احمدی‌نژاد) BFF.

So now I am going to not spend my hard earned cash on identifiable consumer products made by Koch Industries, since I do not want to be a hypocrite and a funder of Tea Party Extremists. We'll find a toilet paper brand that is almost as good, and use fewer paper towels (with old house cats, there's some things you DON'T want to pick up with a washable rag, seriously). We already have cut out buying water in plastic bottles, refilling reusable steel, glass, and ceramic cups instead here in the desert.

What you do with your income is entirely up to you - and I know I have the occasional angry blog visitor who makes dumb comments and who will BUY-cott Koch, just as they ineffectively tried to BUY-cott Arizona when SB 1070 was passed by the state legislature, and BUY-cott Hummer and other dinosaur brands that have no place in the urban landscape. And that's fine. All that buying helps to align those consumers with their core beliefs and preferences - I wish them all the best as they migrate to their future dystopia. I'll be sleeping each night knowing I am not endorsing evil.

Go To Jail, Go Directly To Jail

O'Reilly and his comrades are such hypocritical, lying buffoons, masquerading as news people. This is rather old, but it's a beautiful compilation of video tape (link here). Even ends with a smug Denis Miller showing what an uninformed fool he's become. Hilarious!

Bashing Fox News? No. Directly calling out what lying exaggerations Fox News feeds their clueless viewers.

Faux News

This is a nice compilation site to Faux News (link here). I think I'm gonna link to it on the left hand column, yonder, over thar

They've got a featured video from Alabama Guvnir candidate Tim James, that's too funny!

Pew Poll Of American Idiots

I just took the easiest test of my life, and got 11 out of 11 right. The Pew research council set up a poll to see how politically informed (or uninformed) Americans are (link here). The results show that Americans are staggeringly ignorant. The "wrong answers" in the poll were so obviously wrong, it was humorous. There were NO "trick questions". It's sad to say there is really very few citizens who can be considered part of an "informed electorate".

Take the quiz for yourself (link here). If you don't get 100%, you're not checking JustJoeP enough, or watching Fox News too much, or maybe not paying any attention to current events whatsoever.

A Very Green Day Today

I'm just having a banner day here in the Bender household.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Christine O'Donnell, What A Darling!

22 appearances on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Masturbation is adultery. In foreclosure on her home for not paying the mortgage and yet she promotes fiscal responsibility. She's a gift that just keeps on giving!

Reason + T = Treason!

Keep Fear Alive! (link here)

Man... I wanna go...

All the TDS fans with reasonable signs will need to be shouted down! =) (link here)

Daddy Was A Preacher...

but Mama was a go go girl!

Friday, September 17, 2010

SCOTS Rhythm Room 16 Sept 2010

Southern Culture On The Skids played the Rhythm Room here in Phoenix last night (16 Sept 2010), playing tunes off their new album Kudzu Ranch. It was an awesome show, with a wide variety crowd in attendance.

There were some kids in their 20s, some aging Goths in their 30s and 40s, some AARP members, the traditional cadre of drunks, lots and lots of couples, Mary Huff's relatives from Page Arizona, and of course, Dr Desert Flower (looking very hot and dancing deliciously, I might add) and I. DDF even got up and danced on stage to the classic "8 pc Box" which was followed by "Daddy Was A Preacher & Momma Was A Go Go Girl", where she showed the other girls how to dance, and throw chicken into the mouths of adoring fans! It was a fun time.

I'd just returned from a 2 week trip to South Carolina for business, and was jet lagged - so instead of drinking alcohol, I experienced my first SCOTS concert in 20 years completely sober. OK, I had a 5 hour energy drink in me, and lots of water... but wow, the concert was really good. After nearly a 1/4 century, they were tight. Rick, Dave, and Mary played a 5 song encore, and wrapped up at 11:15 (not bad for a 'school night').

I saw them last year in Reno at the Nugget (a year ago, tomorrow), but it had been 3 years since DDF last saw them with me down at Plush, in Tucson.

The tinnitus in my left ear has almost subsided... =)

Stewart & Colbert Rally In DC

The Daily Show announced last night the "Rally to Restore Sanity" on October 30th, 2010 (or 10.30.10).

Immediately countered by Colbert announcing the "The March to Keep Fear Alive".


I wish I lived closer to DC for this.

If you want to read more, here are links to coverage on CNN and Fox.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Scientists - Gribbin

I'm 1/3 through "The Scientists" by John Gribbin - almost up to Newton so far. It's been a fascinating read. I had no idea that so many scientists never got married, had long term live-in girl friends (in the 15th and 16th centuries) and children in these relationships. Most of the earliest Western scientists were really rich and well connected guys. Of course, that helps when trying to survive the plague, and being able to travel internationally. It's a really wonderful read. Gribbin's writing style is entertaining, fairly linear in its progression, and bountiful in its detail. Being married to a scientist, and Frequently being "the only non scientist in the room" it's providing interesting insights. Many of the earliest scientists were actually engineers who could build really really precise experimental apparatus... and THEN they discovered things with these precise tools that no one previously had the resolution to differentiate.

If the flight on the way home this week is not too crowded, and sleep does not over-come me, I may be able to finish it =)

Heterosapien Colbert

Stephen's replaced "ÜBERBALLED" with "Heterosapien" this week. He's too funny!

I miss watching him on my home DVR and having to endure the hotel's cable provided commercials. Someday I'll get a I-pad sorta device that has a fast download speed to watch the Colbert Report online.

An announcement trounce-ment.. LOL!!!

Don't forget Stewart& Colbert's "restoring truthiness" rally in DC, coming soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Badly Located Hotel AC

Why do hotels place their wall mounted AC units right next to the desk where one checks email, makes blog posts, eats their take out, and drinks their wine?

But yesterday I devised a means of blocking the intrusive air from hitting me in the face and the side of the neck - which inevitably would have caused a neck cramp from asymmetrical cooling. Turn the ottoman on it's side (Ever since they left Vienna, their empire has been in decline), top with 2 superfluous pillows, and the air flow is diverted.

I've tried putting towels over the vents in the past, but that leads to icing up the coils, and then the AC shuts down, until the ice melts off (in chunks) and it a pain. Don't block the airflow on the AC unit, divert it, after it leaves the AC unit.

Affordabike Charleston SC

In Charleston SC Saturday, my son and I went to Affordabike on King Street to get some spare tires and tubes for my bicycling progeny. Nice bike shop, with helpful & friendly staff who don't treat their customers like the disrespectful "IT guy" from SNL. We got 'gatorskin' polyaramid (Kevlar) tires (that are hard to put on, but indestructible), spare tubes, and gloves (to reduce the amount of one's palm's skin left on 200 year old brick and pavement).

What impressed me at the shop, was the cash register. It was a Macbook, with a USB credit card reader. Fast, efficient, very nice. I'd never seen one before, and I am sure I ill see many in the future.

If you're in Charleston and want to build your own bike, rent an affordable one, get good, personal advice on your bike, purchase high quality parts, and have friendly service, go to Affordabike at the North end of Kings Street. If you waned to be treated like merde, ripped off, and sneered at about questions on your bike, go elsewhere in Charleston.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!

As I drove from Greenville to Charleston Friday evening, I listened to Rush's classic Moving Pictures album in my rental car. "Confident their ways are best..." "The righteous rise, with burning eyes, Mad men fed on fear and lies" went along so well with Fox News that was was played all week in the Greenville Hampton Inn's lobby... I was the only one laughing in the lobby each morning as Faux Friends spouted one fear mongering slant after another.

...I remember now some of the things that disturbed me the most about the South.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tom Tomorrow, Soooo Scary!

excellent quick post here (link here) by Tom Tomorrow.

In time for Halloween! Scarrrrry!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Flesh Blanket

I wanted to post a link to "Flesh Blanket" by the Charlotte NC based band Fetchin' Bones ... but Fetchin' Bones premiered in the days before Dial Up, and after 20 minutes of searching (my Google threshold) I cannot find "Flesh Blanket" online anywheres to post a video or audio link.

“Be my flesh blanket and lay upon me"

(we bought a brand new bed today, to be delivered Monday - hooray for the spine!)

....a month later:

The inter-webs are a wonderful thing.  Tip of the hat to Christopher for the video link!

Instead of a Plunger, Use Bernoulli's Principle

Here in our Arizona home, we have not just one, but 2 bathrooms - a big deal having grown up in a Midwest house with only one. And working at home, for me the rest room is just about 10 steps away - not down the hall and past the boss's office in a public lavatory. And living in Arizona, and having kicked my Diet Coke addiction (too much fake sweeteners confusing my pancreas & brain, too much bone leaching phosphoric acid, too much reflux) I drink alot of organic tea, and a glass of Britta filtered water along with it. So at least once an hour, I'm making a short trip to the home-office-adjacent hall bath.

Now, since this is Arizona, and it's the Sonoran desert, we try to conserve water as much as possible. Low flow wash machine, low flow showers, etc. And since getting rid of tea from one's lower renal tract doesn't require a large amount of flush-able toilet tank water, I've installed several large glasses to act as displacement cylinders inside the toilet tank, reducing the over-all volume of water discharged. Works great for #1, not always so great for #2, when lack of toilet tank flow leads to a stopped up toilet.

So, a logical person could use a plunger, and for almost 3 years, I occasionally DID use a plunger to create artificially high pressure above the blockage, and force it down into the sewer. But then this year, I realized, just let Bernoulli do the work. No more nasty plunging. Instead, I toggle the handle of the toilet tank, to get the bowl nearly full of water. Now, all that water has gravity acting upon it, and it wants to find the lowest point - but there's a blockage in the way. *

*Note: Gravity always works in the same direction - except for those who don't believe in evolution (since it is a theory, and gravity is a theory too, and their both part of nature), so if you're a fundamentalist Christian[TM] you'll need to keep your plunger handy. This method won't work for you.

Now, given alot of time, and patience, the pressure of the water above the blockage, will gradually push down on the blockage at the bottom of the bowl, and the toilet will clear itself. But lots of people do not have time or patience. So, what you can do instead, is run water in an adjacent tub, or flush a 2nd toilet that shares the same sewer trunk line. The water rushing down the drain on the down-stream side of the blockage, will help to induce a lower pressure back there, urging the blockage (and the water in the toilet bowl pushing down on it also) to come join them in their journey to the waste treatment plant. No mechanical force necessary. Hands not dirtied using a plunger, no splashing or sloshing - it's an elegant leverage of science and logic over brute force, and I've employed this principle 3 times in the last month. Works sublimely0 well.

People think it's about "suction" in hydrodynamics, but "suction" is imaginary. There's simply areas of higher, and lower pressure, and they're all trying to get to equilibrium whenever they if they can. Nature abhors a vaccuum, and Bernoulli, back in the 16th century, proved it's all about differential pressure, long before anyone knew what molecules or friction were.

Yes, critics of this method might say "a properly vented toilet or tub would not share a common vent line to the roof, so your assumption is invalid" - but this is Arizona. The Home Depots have signs first in Spanish, and then in English. Subdivisions sprung up on reclaimed farm land 10 years ago faster than weeds without RoundUp[TM] on a non-organic farm, and many homes were slapped together with inadequate plumbing vents - each roof penetration costs money and time you know! Also, many older homes, especially those in large urban areas like Chicago, NYC, SF, LA, etc, are possible not compliant with "current Universal Building Code" and could benefit from the same patient application of Bernoulli's principle, rending millions of plungers obsolete.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sammy Watson's Formidable Stick Control

My son introduced me to the music of The Apex Theory about 8 years ago when he was in high school. I used to listen to their stuff often... but with the advent of iPods, Dr Desert Flower's being the predominant source plugged into the stereo on car trips and on weekends at home, I'd not listened to The Apex Theory in some time. I've heard my son play this, without accompaniment, on drum set (and with a single bass drum pedal). I admit, I cannot replicate this frenetic technique... (eg 2:13 mark) but the young guys now a days who can, my hat's off to them. It is sad that The Apex Theory never gained larger acceptance. I really like their stuff, and though Sammy Watson is not on my top 22 list, he's still darn good.

Listen here... (link here) to "Shhh... Hope Diggy" at the 0:20, 0:54, 1:14. 2:40 marks

Rodney Glassman's Smooth Responses

Listening to KJZZ's Here and Now this morning, Steve Goldstein interviewed Rodney Glassman, the Democratic candidate for US Senator who will be up against not-a-maverick John McCain in November. Wow! Mr Glassman can deliver a smooth, Arizona-centric, fact-filled response to every question Goldstein or callers pose to him. The man speaks very well - as an Air Force JAG lawyer, it's part of his job to speak well... but he certainly had me smiling on his succinct, direct, critical-of-McCain comments.

There's so many older, retired, red-staters in Arizona, that angry old sore loser McCain will probably remain in his senate seat, but I hope Glassman makes a strong showing. This guy's good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

OMD - So In Love

Thanks to my friend Amy M for having this on her blog's playlist this afternoon. I have lots of fond memories of listening to this in Terre Haute, almost 25 years ago... =)

Stewart Ahead of Folkenflik by a Week

David Folkenflik reported (link here) on Fox's 2nd largest investor, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, and how Fox has dropped the Manhattan Mosque funding story like a hot potato following The Daily Show's repeated satiric lambasting of Fox. It only took NPR a week to catch up with TDS (as linked here).

The best line of Folkenflik's report:
"Waleed now holds 7 percent of the voting stock in News Corp., more than any other person not named Rupert Murdoch."

So yes, The Kingdom Foundation has invested heavily in and donated generously to both Fox News and Fundamentalist Muslim charities, and the largest non-Murdoch investor in Fox and head of the Kingdom Foundation is George Bush's friend Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, therefore both the Bush family and Fox News, according to Fox News's own standards and logic, are equally guilty in funding of terrorism, and both should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law - according to Fox News.

It's a fair and balanced assessment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tempe Fall Frenzy 2010

2 weeks from now, What used to be Tempe Town lake (until the dam exploded), and is now Tempe Town mud bog and mosquito breeding ground, will host the "Arizona Fall Frenzy '10". STP, the Cult (with lead singer Ian Astbury sporting his new hip replacement [seriously]), Weezer (one of DDF's iPod favorites), Sublime (sans heroine), Primus, and Devo will be playing on September 17th and 18th. I am 99% sure that DDF will drag me to one of the Tempe shows. After we see SCOTS on the 16th at the Rhythm Room, I will be wiped out. I'll try to get in the mood here...
STP - link here (I am.. I am.. I am.....)
Devo - link here (Freedom of Choice)
Primus - link here ("Jerry Was a Race Car Driver", from Sailing The Seas of Cheese - the hardest guitar part of the lot, and the Tim Alexander's got best stick control of the bunch with single handed rolls... "dog will hunt" ...I last saw these guys at Lalapalooza in Charlotte NC in the 90s)
Sublime - link here
The Cult - link here (supposedly the pelvic thrusting turns the girls on at the 3:43 mark, without his walker on stage)

il faut voir

In My Backyard - Dragonflies

This summer has seen the arrival of more than a few dragonflies in my back yard. I have always had an affinity to these bi-plane winged insects. This one was drinking from my aloe for almost an hour, resting in the shade of the wall around 3pm, as I swam and worked out in the pool about four feet away. The red head posed, very still, for this zoomed in shot.

Legrand Pass & Seymour Over Leviton Anyday

Last winter, I got tired of finding the light on in the Master Bed Room walk-in closet, so I went to Home Depot, and I picked up a Leviton pr180 motion activated light switch (pictured on the left) and installed it. I followed all the adjust procedures, and got it to work when you walked into the closet, but it would not remain on for more than a few minutes. This frustrated Dr Desert Flower, who sometimes spent more than a few minutes in the walk in closet, so the little toggle switch under the sensor was used a great deal, defeating the purpose of the motion sensor.

Then, last week, the lights began to come on only 1/2 strength, dimly lighting the closet. Not acceptable. I figured the cheap Made In China switch had failed, so Saturday morning I drove down to Lowes. Lowes doesn't carry Leviton, and instead, for $32 (I was shocked as it was twice as expensive as the Home Depot switch) I picked up a Legrand Pass & Seymour RW500BLACCV6 motion activated switch (pictured on the right). No adjustments, just on & off. There was a little "calibration" technique to perform in the installation manual, but it was unnecessary.

The Legrand switch has a little night light on it (that mesmerizes the cat) and it times out at 30 minutes. No more hand waving required, no more dim lights. Legrand makes a far superior product. Leviton failure, Legrand success. Let's see how long it lasts (MTBF), in the closet before it breaks. =)

HD Phones Could Reduce Accidents

I heard a report on the BBC today (link here) about the advent of HD phones, and how they improve the quality of the sound coming from a digital phone, described as "rubbish" by the BBC, to a quality as good or better than what the good old analog phones with their big speakers used to produce. The report explained how it's the tiny size of the miniature speaker that contributes the most to the terrible sound quality. Yadda yadda yadda... ok... another gadget in the race to have the best gadgets. I didn't really care.

But then... they said that HD mobile phones could actually reduce accidents. Huh? "How?" I thought. The reporter explained that the human mind spends so much time trying to decipher what the weak signal and abysmal sound quality conversation is trying to say, that it significantly distracts drivers, even when using 'hands free' sets. As a full time from-home-worker, I can attest to the massive distraction that poor sound quality in a phone can be in my normal work life. So while HD phones won't do much to improve land line call quality with large hand sets, it will greatly improve digital mobile phone quality... so we shall see.

Chuck Norris disproves Heisenberg

I had no idea that Chuck Norris, in addition to all of his earlier mentioned awesomeness, is also a world renown scientist. Dr Desert Flower sent me a link to Benchfly today (link here) that elaborates on what an awesome scientist Chuck Norris really is.

"Chuck Norris took the uncertainty out of Heisenberg’s principle.

Chuck Norris can make a pot of water boil and freeze at the same time.

Chuck Norris misunderstood the meaning of “Defending his PhD”. 72 people died.

Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a labcoat because his skin is fire and chemical resistant."

...and I added a few more of my own. =)

Chuck Norris can run a blazing hot Southern Blot in less time than it takes to say "endonucleases".

Chuck Norris' exosomes can be see with the human eye, because nothing about Chuck Norris is tiny.

Chuck Norris uses static from his beard as the power source for every acrylamide gel he runs.

When Chuck Norris took his boards, he passed them the first time, carrying a dozen sheets of plywood which he thought the 'boards' required, and shattering them with a single round house kick in front of his review committee.

Every cell in Chuck Norris' body has the longest telomeres ever measured, and none have ever reached its Hayflick limit.


Dr. Sheldon Cooper's IQ reduces by it's square root when in the presence of Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris solved unified string theory, and then filed it away in his beard.

NIH actually stands for "Norris Institute of Health"

Taking Metformin Helps To Avoid Cancer, Too!

The brilliant Dr Desert Flower sent me this link earlier this week (link here to NCBI). I was delighted to read that the Metformin I've been taking for a year to help reduce blood sugar and keep me from following my father into the ranks of the growing hordes of type II diabetics in America, ALSO helps me to avoid cancer.

Abstract: Metformin is widely used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2 where it reduces insulin resistance and diabetes-related morbidity and mortality. Population-based studies show that metformin treatment is associated with a dose-dependent reduction in cancer risk. The metformin treatment also increases complete pathological tumour response rates following neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, suggesting a potential role as an anti-cancer drug. Diabetes mellitus type 2 is associated with insulin resistance, elevated insulin levels and an increased risk of cancer and cancer-related mortality. This increased risk may be explained by activation of the insulin- and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signalling pathways and increased signalling through the oestrogen receptor. Reversal of these processes through reduction of insulin resistance by the oral anti-diabetic drug metformin is an attractive anti-cancer strategy. Metformin is an activator of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) which inhibits protein synthesis and gluconeogenesis during cellular stress. The main downstream effect of AMPK activation is the inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a downstream effector of growth factor signalling. mTOR is frequently activated in malignant cells and is associated with resistance to anticancer drugs. Furthermore, metformin can induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and can reduce growth factor signalling. This review discusses the role of diabetes mellitus type 2 and insulin resistance in carcinogenesis, the preclinical rationale and potential mechanisms of metformin's anti-cancer effect and the current and future clinical developments of metformin as a novel anti-cancer drug.

So I could say "Sweet!" But since my buddy Ron is encouraging me to re-calibrate away from sweetness, I'll say "Awesome!" instead. =) I am looking forward to telling my dad the good news as well!

I was trying to wean myself off the Metformin and rely on the Six Gentlemen and adherence to a low carb diet exclusively, but with the anti-cancer properties and the low price of Metformin, combined with the fact that my friend Dr. Claudia MD has assured me the strong efficacy of Metformin having significant long term impact on controlling diabetes, I will not forsake the Metformin.