Showing posts from January, 2009

Boy's Wrapped Birthday Gift is...

Dad Back from Iraq.

Tell me this isn't the coolest gift you could ever want...

DAYTON, Nev. – Gabriel Hurles' sixth birthday party wasn't a surprise, but his present sure was. The kindergartner was so engrossed in the cupcakes his mother brought to his class on Wednesday that he didn't notice the enormous wrapped box off to the side.
"That's one big, giant present," a 6-year-old classmate told him. "See what you got, Gabriel." Gabriel peeled back the wrapping paper to find the surprise of his young life — his father, an Army mechanic back in Nevada on leave from his second tour in Iraq.
"It's my dad!" he announced to his classmates at Sutro Elementary School in Dayton, a few miles northeast of Carson City. "Hi, Daddy."
Army Spc. Casey Hurles, 23, hadn't seen his son since he left in June. When he learned his leave would coincide with his son's birthday, he hatched a plan to hide out in the 4-foot-tall box. "It was…

Saturday 9: Going to Pot

1. When was the last time you smoked pot?

The last time I smoked pot I was 19, so 22 years ago. Luis will very rarely get some and smoke it. It smells as bad now as it did then and gives me a monstrous headache. It is difficult for me to figure out what people get out of it but clearly this is just my wacky physiology and not the normal reaction to marijuana.
2. What do you think is your biggest weakness?

Oh, that is easy - money! Spending - something I do freely and all too often.

3. What is your biggest fear?

Would you believe it is of falling on ice? I'm practically incapcitated by it. I hate that.

4. Is there a particular goal that you’d like accomplish this year?

Just to be happy - that is always my goal. Being a natuarally happy person anyway, this is more easily obtainable than you would think!
5. What do you miss most from your youth?

Hmmm. My grandfather. That's it. I hated being a child and was unhappy most of the time. I love life now.
6. What is your best physical feature?


Four for Friday - 30 January

Four For FridayQ1: - Drugs: Fueled primarily by Internet sales, the International Journal of Clinical Practice recently reported that the counterfeit pharmaceutical market could reach $70 billion dollars by 2010. Alarmingly, the Journal reports, these include fake drugs that could have devastating consequences, like counterfeit medication for potentially fatal conditions like cancer and high blood pressure. Have you ever--or would you consider--purchasing pharmaceutical drugs online from a foreign-based provider or company?
No. Gods know, I get tons of e-mails and such from these online out-of-the-country "pharmacies", but I don't even open them up. And this will only make my life harder as an emergency medical technician. We encounter a great many pharmaceuticals out there and sometimes they may be through questionable sources, but how do we treat for a drug that may not be what it reads? We don't administer drugs other than oxygen or epinephrine, but the medics do. …

Article: Astronomy in South Africa is Thriving

I love to hear that astronomy is thriving anywhere. But South Africa has become special to me, so this made it all the more worth posting!
South Africa's achievements in astronomy can help the country overcome its shortage of maths, science and technology skills, said Science Minister Mosibudi Mangena on Monday. "Our history in astronomical achievements reads like a novel. Our accomplishments in this field rank with the most glittering in the world. And our future in astronomy looks very rosy indeed," read a copy of the speech the minister delivered at South Africa's launch of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), at the Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town. He said the country was suffering from a crippling shortage of maths, science and technology graduates.
One of the factors contributing to this was ignorance about the role that maths, science and technology graduates could play in society; something South Africa's long history of achievements in astr…

Article: Astronomers Get A Sizzling Weather Report From Distant Planet

ScienceDaily (Jan. 29, 2009) — Astronomers have observed the intense heating of a distant planet as it swung close to its parent star, providing important clues to the atmospheric properties of the planet. The observations enabled astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to generate realistic images of the planet by feeding the data into computer simulations of the planet's atmosphere.

"We can't get a direct image of the planet, but we can deduce what it would look like if you were there. The ability to go beyond an artist's interpretation and do realistic simulations of what you would actually see is very exciting," said Gregory Laughlin, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Laughlin is lead author of a new report on the findings published this week in Nature.

The researchers used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to obtain infrared measurements of the heat emanating from the planet as it whipped behind and close to its star. In just s…

For Luis: Would He Have Made a Good 1930s Husband?

Highly, highly doubtful, unless being a bit of a slob was acceptable then...

Check all that apply to you or that you agree with:

You neatly hang up your clothes on hooks or hangers
You would kiss your wife just after she's put her makeup on
You are interested in sports
It makes you angry when the newspaper is disorganized
X You do not use tobacco - for chewing or for smoking
You do not shower or change your socks every day
X You would give your wife real kisses, "movie kisses" - not just pecks on the cheek
You would object to your wife driving if you were in the car
You would enjoy taking your wife with you wherever you went
X You burp without apologizing
You would give your wife an allowance or turn your paychecks over to her
You read the newspaper at the dining room table
You Would Make an Okay 1930's Husband
You have some of the attributes of an ideal 1930's husband. You're well mannered, kind, and even tempered. You have a few nasty h…

Would I Have Made a Good 1930s Wife?

Heh heh heh... I think we ALL know the answer to this! But I'll bite anyway...
Check all that apply to you or that you agree with:

You would ask your husband's opinion before making a big decision or purchase.
X You tell risque or vulgar stories.
You would often remark on your husband's strength and masculinity.
You smoke, drink, gamble, or use drugs.
You keep snacks in the refrigerator that a man would like for late night eating.
X You walk around the house in your stocking feet.
X You are not crabby first thing in the morning. You wake up with a pleasant disposition.
You wear red nail polish.
You keep yourself dainty, feminine, and smelling nice.
X You use slang or profanity.
You are a good seamstress. You can sew your own clothes and clothes for the children.
You wear your pajamas while cooking
Drum roll, please...

You Would Make an Okay 1930s Wife
You have some of the attributes of an ideal 1930s wife... but you probably didn't intend it to be that …

A.W.A.D. - Five Latin Words

By Anu Garg

The magic of technology is spreading. What we couldn't even imagine only a few years ago is now possible. With just a few clicks of a mouse, someone in one corner of the world can make contact with a fellow human being thousands of miles away and offer to sell her cheap Via gra.
In the beginning, most of the spam was in English, but now they are branching out. Can you imagine the suits in their boardrooms at Spam, Inc. plotting the strategy, "We have to diversify our offerings in local languages to broaden our reach."
There's a positive side to it though. Comparing these pieces of junk mail with the English version can improve one's knowledge of foreign languages. Example:
From: Mariam Abachha
Subject: Envie d'associé avec vous...
Translation: Nigerian loot now offered in exquisitely fractured French

So far I haven't received any spam in Latin, but the day can't be far off. Until spammers catch up on Latin, let us this week per…

Thursday Meme - 29 January

3x Thursday
01/29/y2k+9: It's Important!
List the 3 most important things in your life, and why they are important to you.
Uh, what happened to the three questions I usually answer?

Hmmm. Not necessarily in order:

My job, which I love, enjoy and take enormous pride in; my husband, who is my best friend, my lover, my guardian angel; and music, which lights the way out of the darkest nights and the longest days.
Do I pass the test?

Me and My "Cheep"

I have lots of "cheep" - Luis might even say "cheeps". But I love the sheep! They are really neat! I can't help it if I think they are neat. Not that there aren't many things I don't like. But the sheep are really soft and cute and come in great colours. And sizes... did I mention sizes?
I saw the little sheep and the midsize ones. I bought two small ones, then ordered two of the big ones online. I saw a giant one in the mall store and told Luis he has to get me one! He did not... so I went hunting on e-bay, and found the mondo-sheep along with the tiny pink one and got them from a really great seller (OKINeedThat) and got a good deal onthem. And look how gargantuan this sheep is! It is three feet long and at least two and half feet high.
I love it and while Luis doesn't get it, he gets that I like them. He finds it amusing to throw them at the cat. The cat, on the other hand, enjoys laying on them. She finds them as soft and cuddle as I do, and prefe…

Happy Birthday to Me & Facebook!

Maybe I should entitle this "How the Hell Do I Know 218 People?!"...

I had an amazing birthday and Facebook is resonsible for a disproportionately large percentage of this! I had birthday wishes by BOATLOAD. I had many, many comments on my wall, maybe more than I have gotten for the (almost) whole year I have been on Facebook!

But while wall comments and messages through Facebook and my e-mail are all great, and I appreciate each and every one of them, I especially loved this:
It's a card from a guy I went to high school with, a John Tamoosh. Tell me that isn't a funny card, a really cute thing. I happen to like cows, I always thought cows are kind of neat (I suspect this particular specimen is a steer or bull, but hey, it is still in the bovine family!). But that is not what John was thinking. He was thinking he is just doing what everyone else is doing - sending birthday greetings. I love it, though, and for whatever reason, it struck a chord with me - a really nice on…

My Birthday Personality

I got this answer by answering that my birth date is either the 8th, 17th or 26th. In any month.
"You are Number 8:

You have a very strong personality and people will find it hard to understand you. You are more likely to suffer in your younger years.
You might be also the one responsible to look out for your family. You often suffer all the way through life. You will learn life in a very practical way. You are the one who will fight for justice and may even die in the war too.
You are normally very reserved with a handful of friends and most of the time, live life alone and always prepared to help others. However, once you settle down, (which is often late), then your hard lucks will disappear. You will face unexpected problems such as encountering poisonous animals, and accidents.
You are highly- disciplined, persistence, and courageous, and it is your strength that will take you to success. You area great part of a family team. You are a fighter."
Goodness. This is as inaccurat…

Wednesday Weirdness #40

Note: Posting super early as I will not have time Tuesday to get on and I wanted to make sure they did make it up. Thank you Cali Belle for the questions this week. If you want to submit questions to us, please please email me and let me know! Don't be shy! 'wink'
1.) If a natural disaster left thousands of people homeless, would you let a family of strangers stay in your house?
I suppose I would. I don't know for how long, but yes, I would at the very least consider it. I'd want someone to do that for me.
2.) How often do you watch porn?

Not very often... porn in and of itself is not exactly mind-blowing, riveting viewing. If I want to really watch something, I will watch a movie. Porn is a great way to get the ball rolling for some really amazing sex. Maybe that is not the right thing to say, but after 19 years with the same person, well... sometimes a spark to fan into a blazing conflagration is just what you need!
3.) How many people have naked or semi-naked picture…

TMI Tuesday #171 -Movie Edition

1. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?

Mmmm, it has been a while. I think we saw something more recently than-- oh, yes. The latest Bond movie. It was the most expensive nap I've ever taken... it was fast-paced, action-packed and a total yawner. If you have seen one Bond movie, you have seen them all.
2. What is your favorite movie theater snack?

I guess Twizzlers would be my favourite movie snack. I try to bring my own - not because of inability to pay, but it is just wrong to charge that kind of money for what can be bought in a grocery store for 1/3 the price. I hate that. It is a blatant rip-off and it is overlooked or considered acceptable all the time.
3. Have you ever snuck in 'outside' food into a theater?

As always, I'm jumping the gun. Yes, I bring food all the time from the outside. I used to do it back in the day when the theatres were allowed to search your bag for contraband. Now they can't do that. So I walk in with food in my bag and my typical…

What Are You?

Are you a Democrat, a Republican, or a Redneck?

Here is a little test that will help you decide. You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you.
You are carrying a Glock cal 40, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?

Democrat's Answer: Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor! Or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of messa…

Curious as a Cat Meme #153

Week Number 153
1) What is the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard?

Music, specially the piece from The Shawshank Redemption. That with Morgan Freeman's description of the sound and the experience, made it magickal. A non-music sound that is beautiful: thunder; deep, rolling beautiful thunder.
2) If you could stop loving someone, who would it be?

My mother.

3) What is the hardest transition you’ve ever had to make in your life?

Being unemployed. That is really hard to do.

4) Show and Tell. What comes to mind first when you see this picture? Or, tell a story if it reminds you of one.

It makes me think of postcards of New Jersey.Everytime I try to find good postcards of New Jersey, they are either postcards of New York, which is not New Jersey, or they are of these barns or bridges that look a lot like this, but those are all in southern New Jersey, no where near here. I'm insulted. Northen New Jersey has many, many gorgeous areas - it is not all dumps or roads. In fact, there are ve…

Birthday Stuff

Birthday Facts:
Birthday is the name given to the day that some people in many cultures celebrate the anniversary of the day they were born. It is often marked by a birthday party with friends and family when gifts are given to the person celebrating the birthday. It is also customary to treat people specially on their birthday, either generally acceding to their wishes, or subjecting them to a rite of transition. Birthday's are very different in some other countries.
The celebration of birthdays is not universal. Some people prefer name day celebrations, and Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate either, considering their origins to be pagan festivals along with Christmas and Easter. Some adults loathe celebrating it as it reminds them that they are getting progressively older.
Notable Birthdays are when the most significant digit changes, for example one's 1st, 10th, 20th, 30th, 50th, or 100th birthdays.One's champagne birthday, also called a golden birthday, is the day w…

Birthday Meme

Birthday Meme
Hey look, internets! A meme! (I haven't done one of these in a long while, so...)

Look up your birthday in Wikipedia. Pick 4 events, 3 births, 2 deaths, and 1 holiday.

January 26 is the 26th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 339 days remaining until the end of the year (340 in leap years).
1340 - KingEdward III of England is declared King of France.
1531 - Lisbon, Portugal is hit by an earthquake--thousands die.
1700 - The magnitude 9 Cascadia Earthquake takes place off the west coast of the North America, as evidenced by Japanese records. 1978 - The Great Blizzard of 1978, a rare severe blizzard with the lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the US, strikes the Ohio - Great Lakes region with heavy snow and winds up to 100 mph (161 km/h).
1925 - Paul Newman, American actor, philanthropist, race car driver and race team owner (d. 2008) 1958 - Ellen DeGeneres, American actress and comedian
1968 - Ravi Teja, Tollywood film actor


Happy Birthday To ME!

It's been a great day! And it will get better!!

What Does My Birthday Say About Me?

1.When's your Birth Month?

2.What's The Date You Were Born?

3.Favourite Number?

4.What is your favourite month? [these questions are pointless, I know] (choose the month you were born please)
Note: My favourite month is October
5.What's your favourite Color?
Note: My favouirte colours are burgundy, hunter green, Dark teal, silver

Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people's flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless ex…

Tree Dreamer Sunday Meme - Sunday Stealing, The Sassy Meme

Sunday, January 25th, 2009
New meme from this site. I know it’s not real content, but in a way, it can be. It depends on how you answer these. Some of the questions on memes can be prompts for real content, albeit short content. Anyway…
1. If you could say anything you wanted to say to George Bush, what would you say?

Thank the gods you are done in the White House, and what were you thinking? Or were you?
2. If you had to be the mother of Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, who would you choose and why?
Oh, ye gods. You have some really hard questions... they are both awful. I would have to disown them. OK. Seriously... I would have to pick Lindsay Lohan... for all her fuck-ups, which are considerable, she has not had any children. I'd recommend she'd get her tubes tied. I'd feel that at least while she doesn't have a good place in her life, at least she is only responsible for hers and can take the time to get it all in a better state. Britney has missed that boat and should …

The Popularity of Candles

I went onto e-bay yesterday at my parents' house to check on a couple of items and then, out of sheer boredom, began looking for other good buys. I'm always on the lookout for older, outdated flavours that I would still buy from the stores if they carried them. Then I found these!
Saying I'm delighted would be an understatement. And I knew - knew - what an amazing deal 3 of these candles at 40 pus shipping was. With just 19.5 hours to go, I figured I'd put a bid in, expecially as no one had put anything in to date.
In five minutes, four more bids showed up - from the same person. One person jumped on this - either s/he had been watching it all along or s/he'd been on and found it just as I had. So that bidder missed the first two on this one - I had opened the bid at $45 - and on the third, the price showed as $46. I was looking at this when Ray asked me questions about bidding and how it works. So I showed him by putting in a bid for $47, which still showed as outbi…

Caught Up - Saturday Six [Blazing Minds]

Saturday Six - Health & Fitness
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed or subscribe via Email for future posts and more. Thanks for visiting! OK, here it is the new Saturday Six and continuing with the new themes for the Saturday Six this weeks theme is health & fitness.
As usual you can either answer the questions here or copy the questions on to your blog with a link back here (and leave a link in the comments).
Do you consider yourself healthy?
I would not have said yes, but at age 41 (in a day and a half) and 40lbs overweight, all my stats come back fine. My blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate are all fine. Having dystrophia myotonia II does not make it better, but it won't kill me.
Do you exercise?

Yes, I do yoga. I try to get to the gym but am unsuccessful...

Are you careful in what you eat?

I'm much more careful about what I eat now. I cut back on sugar and simple carbohydrates and I use Splenda for my caffeine-free tea. I have never bee…

Catching Up - 17 January Saturday Six [Blazing Minds]

Saturday Six - Green!
Ok it’s that time again for the Saturday Six and this week I’ve gone green, not like the Hulk, but green as in the environment. So without any further ado here’s this weeks six:
Do you recycle?
Indeed we do! Paper goods, plastics, glass - we do it all. I feel good about it, but Parsippany, New Jersey is also really into it, so we are required to as well. However, I'd still do it, required or not.
Have you fitted any energy saving light bulbs?

Yes, we have the special light bulbs. They mostly work very well, but I will say that they are not great with fixtures that have dimmer toggles. Maybe they've changed that, but the ones we have don't seem to play well with that technology. However, a big plus: they do make them in full-spectrum lighting.
If you don’t have far to go, do you walk or still use your car?

I have an 18 mile/25km commute. All highway driving and I get 35 miles to the gallon. Sure, it might be better if worked closer to home, but I love my job.…

Satruday Six - BLazing Minds

Saturday Six - Blogging
OK, here it is the new Saturday Six and continuing with the new themes for the Saturday Six this weeks theme is blogging. As usual you can either answer the questions here or copy the questions on to your blog with a link back here (and leave a link in the comments).
What blogging platform do you use? eg Wordpress, Blogger etc
I use Blogger - I have been using it since August 2005. I did sign up on LiveJournal, but I am not using it. Two blogs is pointless. And waaaay too much work!
What is your blog about?

It is about whatever I want to talk about. Sometimes it is astronomy. Sometimes I post interesting (to me) articles. Sometimes it is just jun floating around in mind that needs to come out.
When did you start your blog?

As usual, I jumped the gun. I started it in August of 2005, but I don't remember the day. Maybe late, like the 25th. I'd have to look and with over 1,300 posts, it is not an immediate jump.
How did your choose your blogging name? (The name yo…

Thank You, Angel, For Another Saturday Meme!

This is the first one for January...

Saturday Six - Music
I thought I would theme this weeks Saturday Six, so this weeks theme is music. So please either answer your questions here or you can answer them on your blog with a link back here.
What was the first album you bought?
U2's Boy. It's still a top album.

What was the first concert you went to?

The Beatles cover band... oh, what were they called? I went when I was twelve - Ray took me.
Who is your favourite artist/band?

Right now my favourite band is Coldplay. That is a fluid and changing thing, although I don't switch all the time.
Have you ever bought an album just for one song on it?

Oh, sure, who hasn't? The one that stands out the most is by Modest Mouse. Ten songs, only one good. It was very disappointing.
What is your favourite genre of music?

Wow, well, I don't that this is that easy. Favourite band is one thing, but genre... well, who goes into what genre is kind of loosey-goosey. I suppose overall Alternative is …

The "Have You Ever" Meme...

I found this on Patrick's Place, who found this on Paul’s blog, Aurora Walking Vacation.

For these 100 things, put things you’ve done in bold, things you’d like to do in italics, and cross out things you wouldn’t want to do. What’s left are things you don’t have feelings about one way or the other.

1. Started your own blog
I started two, although maybe they are not my own, as they are through sites that are specifically designed for this.
2. Slept under the stars
An astronomer like me? You know it!

3. Played in a band
Uh, no. I played vinyl. Then I played cassette tapes. Then I played CDs. Now I play my iPod - very, very well!
4. Visited Hawaii
It is very high on the To Do list, I assure you.

5. Watched a meteor shower
I've seen several, I usually see one per year, if the weather allows. I love them. The Leonid shower is particularly good. I've also seen Halley's and Hale-Bopp comets. I saw a total solar eclipse when I was 9, a couple of partial solar eclipses, and mutlipl…

Being a Woman is Not that Unique

I get e-mails all the time about how women are special. You notice that there are never e-mails praising men as special. When you look at pure numbers, men are special. Women comprise 2/3 of the population... not so special. I find it funny and then got an invitation to wear red on Friday, 6 February:
Cindy [Reuther] invited you to "National Wear Red Day " on Friday, February 6 at 12:00am.
Event: National Wear Red Day
"Our Hearts. Our Choice."
What: Rally
Host: Go Red For Women – Official Page
Start Time: Friday, February 6 at 12:00am
End Time: Friday, February 6 at 12:00pm
Where: National Event

So I wrote to someone else:
"Wait a minute. Wasn't that to support the troops? Last year it was blue to support them...Here it looks like I'm supporting being a woman... not for nothing, but let's look at this. I'm celebrating having an XX chromosome configuration... uh, so what? Some ⅔ of the populace has this! I'd rather celebrate being me, as that is much …

Yahoo - Four for Friday!

January 23, 2009

Four For Friday
Q1 - Salary: Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum revealing his intention to freeze the salaries of approximately 120 senior White House staffers who make more than $100,000 per year, saving the government about $400,000 over the next 12 months. Ironically, President Obama currently earns $400,000 per year, along with a $50,000 expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and a $19,000 entertainment allowance (the same as President George W. Bush). Do you think the President of the United States should be paid a salary? Why or why not?
Well, that is interesting. I was still under the clearly outdated impression that the President of the United States only earned $250,000 - $300,000 a year. Nice to see they have brought it more in line with CEO type salaries. Of course he should get some kind of salary! What a bad deal that would be to do the world's most thankless job for no money!
On the other hand,…

A.W.A.D. - Words Used by President Obama

Tomorrow Barack Obama will become president of the US, and not a moment too soon. This week we'll feature words from Obama, words from his books, speeches, and interviews.
Unlike most politicians, who hire ghostwriters, Obama writes his own books. He's a gifted writer. Reading his words you can see his thought process. He's not one who sees the globe in black and white. He has lived outside the US and has been exposed to other cultures. He realizes that just because someone has a different set of beliefs, just because someone looks different, doesn't mean he's wrong -- sometimes there can be two ways to do something and both can be right.
Obama is to be commended for his accomplishments. We've come a long way in this country. But we still have far to go before we can call ourselves truly unbiased. Real progress will be when any capable person can have a fair chance at winning the highest office, even someone who happens to be, say, a black gay vegan atheist woman…

A Response to "The Sugar Industry - The Next 'Big Tobacco'"

I was quite surprised - and thrilled - to see that a comment from someone arrived in my mailbox regarding the sugar post. I was thrilled for simple fact that I welcome comments and debate, but let's be honest. There are a 'ginormous' amount of Web sites, some with information and some with disinformation, so it is hard to 1. get any sort of steady readership, 2. entice people to read it when I tend to write far more than most are willing to read and c. I might write about anything under the sun - and not to everyone's liking.
I digress...

Getting any response is a plus, but this one piqued my interest:


My google alert picked up your article.

Well written and informative; however, I disagree that HFCS is nutritionally the same as table sugar. Yes they bothhave 4cal/gram and they both contain fructose and glucose, but that's where the similarities end.
I am sure you are well aware that sucrose is a disaccharide where as HFCS is just a mixture of the monosaccharid…