Showing posts from April, 2009

The Moon in All It's Glory

I took images all month of the Moon in its many phases. I love seeing the Moon at all times, but somehow I only take it in its full phase, which is completely unfair. The Moon looks glorious at all times; when it is a sliver hanging low in the crepescular light of the coming day, when it is half-full and waxing towards the most amazing showing, and when its full beacon shines to light the entire night sky. So here it is.
(I will tell you right now that it is very hard to get a good shot of it in its sliver phase! That was the best of several images.)

On 4 April 2009, I took this image. It was easy to get, and the Moon looks gorgeous. It looks kind of like a weird bowl that was rolling about. It was waxing, heading inexorably to its full stage. I've never ridden on a night where we looked at the waxing quarter-stage Moon and said to one another, "Uh-oh... it's gonna be a busy night..."

For some reason, the Moon wasn't really playing nice on 11 April 2009 and it wasn&…

What an Ugy Scene!

Well, Melissa Rivers was fired in the last episode by Donald Trump. She certainly put on quite a show and so did her mother, Joan. Yikes! Annie Duke is a snake, yes, but she maneouvered herself into a position where at least one person she will be trying to beat will be an easy mark. Brande is still an idiot. But boy, did she suddenly grow some fangs in that boardroom!
I can't wait to see next week's show!

Article - John & Kate Plus 8 Bad Judgement

This is a cheesy tidbit, but I was never a fan of this guy anyway. "Jon & Kate Plus 8 dad Jon Gosselin is admitting he "showed poor judgment" by leaving a bar at 2 a.m. with a mystery woman and without his wedding band -- while his wife Kate was across the country promoting a book."Like most people, I have male and female friends, and I'm not going to end my friendships just because I'm on TV," the dad of 8 tells Extra. "However, being out with them late at night showed poor judgment on my part.
"What makes me sick is that my careless behavior has put my family in this uncomfortable position," he continues. "My family is the most important thing in my life and it kills me that these allegations have hurt them." A clubgoer tells that Jon "could barely walk" after spending nearly three hours with a mystery woman he referred to as "babe." After being spotted by photographers, the two hastily sped off in a car…

Watching Celebrity Apprentice Again!

Yep. It's that time of the week (not really, but that sounds good, right?)

I enjoy this show greatly but at the same time, I sometimes want to slap the celebrities. I love Joan Rivers, I love Clint Black. Jesse James is normally very likeable, but this time, not so much. And the other team, ye gods. Brande Something (I'm sorry, I just can't remember names well) and Annie... Annie... Duke - are snakes. They are imature and whispering to each other and overly ass-kissing. Melissa Rivers may be a little overly sensitive, but as much I am not a big fan of hers, she's completely right about this.
Clint is the one I'm most impressed with. He is managing the team and the project really, really well. He is very aware of what he did wrong the first time. He is making a marked effort to be open and attentive. Clint would ask questions and ask for input and Jesse - surprisingly - was complete unreceptive. He was even unresponsive. He started out negative, and continued that way…

A Letter to Chadwicks Clothing Catalogue

Dear Chadwicks,

I am writing to you in regards to your catalogue of late April 2009.

Just a few small pointers. When selling clothes to "women", the nice way that the clothing industry sizes "plus-sized" women, you might want to show a plus-sized woman in your ultra slim tummy-control pants (pages 24 and 25). Show us - in this case, your target audience, how it slims and controls the tummy. The size 0 or 2 woman wearing those pants is not a selling point. Take it from a plus-sized woman, this is not convincing.
I will admit that I plan to purchase some. However, if I did not work for a private club I'd never crawl out of my EMT pants or jeans. It is your good fortune that I work for a place that demands I look at least semi-presentable fashion. This is a wonderful job, so I grudgingly agree to it.
These pants come in my size and look more than semi-presentable. But even so, this is a good suggestion. Fat women don't respond to skinny women selling tummy-control…

Article - Planets in View 1 May

Oh, sign me up!

"Once again in May, five planets will stretch along the early morning horizon.

On Friday, around 5:30 a.m., Mars stands right in the east, and as you move your gaze toward the south, you will see Venus, Uranus and Neptune (for these two, you'll need binoculars or a telescope), and then Jupiter in the southeast.
At the very end of the month, Mercury joins this array, making an appearance right on the eastern horizon. You also may see Mercury near the Pleiades in the constellation Taurus about 9:15 p.m. during the first week of May.
Venus will be at its brightest this year for the first two weeks of May at magnitude -4.7. If you then spot Saturn in Leo some evening this month, you will have seen all eight planets — after looking down upon the Earth.
The dwarf planet Pluto is also in that lineup, high and to the south of Jupiter, but very hard to find, even with a star chart. You would need the light-gathering power of a 12-inch aperture telescope, and a 9 mm eyepiece…

For Better or For Worse - Gone!

I received an e-mail from Amazon asking me to rate my purchases - I'm sorry, review my purchases - and I clicked on the first one, for For Better or For Worse - Just a Simple Wedding, the last book in a 30 year series. At least that long. And I began to cry.
Would you like to see my review?

"I will miss the release of new books yearly updating me on Michael, Liz and April Patterson and of course Elly and John. They have been a part of my life since Keep the Home Fries Burning and I was able to find all the books going back. While I've never wanted children I learned about all the aspects - positive and negative, easy and hard, fun and trying - about the process.
Lynn Johnston has brought love, life and dealing with it all to the rest of us with fun, charm, tears, laughter and everything in between. I loved this book but it breaks my heart that it is the last one. But I have the whole collection to read anytime and I will reread all of them the rest of my days.
Thank you, Lynn…

Be Good to Your Mother (Earth): Celebrate Earth Day


In some ways, the earth is like a well-meaning mom, providing healthy and important stuff like air, water, and living things. And in return—well, we are often not as grateful as we could be. But Earth Day is our chance to show our appreciation for the planet.
Roots of Earth DayThe very first Earth Day, back in 1970, marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Before then, there was public concern about pollution, but no way to show it. According to Kathleen Rogers, head of the Earth Day Network, "It wasn't uncommon in some cities during rush hour to be standing on a street corner and not be able to see across the street." Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin asked Congress to officially declare April 22 Earth Day. That first year, 20 million people participated. Since then, it's gone global, with a billion people in over 180 countries doing something in honor of the earth.
The children really are our futureMaybe not surprisingly, those who stand to …

Continuing "Back Again with Celebrity Apprentice"

As you recall, I was falling asleep watching the 12 April episode of Celebrity Apprentice and so did finish writing about it. That was past the mid-way point, with about 45 minutes left to go.
The contestants all left the boardroom and Joan talked to Annie about how she did not say what she had told Joan the previous night. She did not. When asked by Donald about what she thought of Brandy, she made some sort of spineless, wishy-washy statement about her not being... it was some kind of poker analogy (I guess) but it was not a strong statement and did not convey any real intent to anyone. I guess I should back track and get that comment...
Oh, yes. The losing team had to explain the loss. At one point, George (I don't remember his last name but he has worked for Donald Trump for years and has been on the show when it was just The Apprentice and was a long, on-air job interview for candidates to prove their worth to take over a building or something of that nature in Mr. Trump's …

A.W.A.D. - French Words Commonly Used in English

with Anu Garg

In Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass", the Red Queen tells Alice, "Speak in French when you can't remember the English for a thing." That's perhaps not bad advice considering that beaucoup words in the English language have arrived via French.
While French is a Romance language and English a Germanic one, the twists and turns of history have led to the two tongues having much in common. The English language borrowed from French, and vice versa. This borrowing often resulted in English having two near-synonyms to describe something (e.g. freedom/liberty, answer/respond). Sometimes the borrowed word is lent back. English budget came via French bougette (little bag), and was then exported back to French with its new sense.
This week we'll look at five French terms that are often used in English.

MEANING: noun:
1. Something, for example a master key, that enables unrestricted access
2. An orname…

Top Ten Volcanoes of All Time

Last year, 72 volcanoes erupted around the world -- that's a lot of fire, and slightly above average. So far 2009 looks like it's off to a fast start, too, with Mount Redoubt letting loose in Alaska, Japan's Mount Asama raining ash on Tokyo and an undersea volcano in Tonga breaching the surface and growing an island. But none of these is likely to break into our list of Top 10 Volcanoes in Geologic History. Most of these come with signs that read "Danger: Keep Back at Least One Continent."
But if this list of past catastrophes teaches us anything, it's that the biggest, baddest volcanoes can erupt anywhere and at any time. And they will again -- it's just a matter of when.
10. Ontong-Java Plateau, South Pacific
This is the biggest volcano you've never heard of. When it erupted 125 million years ago, it covered a region of the south Pacific Ocean the size of Alaska with basalt, in some places as much as 30 kilometers thick. It was so big, the eruption itse…

Back Again with Celebrity Apprentice

As usual, this show brings two hours of weirdness and egos working to further their favourite charity. But while you want to shoot some of the contestants, it is entertaining and interesting to watch.
The main thrust of this show is marketing, not just to watch famous people participate in marketing projects but also the company and product that they are pushing. Last week they crashed and burned trying to sell the All product, but boy, did we all have All's thing pushed down our throats the whole time with family values and such thrown in. So when you look at it this way, this is a two-hour commercial.
At least this week's product is more interesting. All detergent doesn't do anything for me. I buy whatever detergent is liquid and for High Effeciency machines. After that, I'm wholly indifferent.
This week they are selling LifeLock, a company and I am guessing a product that keeps you from becoming the victim of identity theft. I have never heard of it (totally unsurprisi…

Set Fire to The Third Bar

I find the map and draw a straight line
Over rivers, farms, and state lines
The distance from here to where you'd be
It's only finger-lengths that I see

I touch the place where I'd find your face
My finger in creases of distant dark places
I hang my coat up in the first bar
There is no peace that I've found so far

The laughter penetrates my silence
As drunken men find flaws in science
Their words mostly noises
Ghosts with just voices

Your words in my memory
Are like music to me
I'm miles from where you are,
I lay down on the cold gound I,
I pray that something picks me up
And sets me down in your warm arms

After I have travelled so far
We'd set the fire to the third bar
We'd share each other like an island
Until exhausted, close our eyelids

And dreaming, pick up from
The last place we left off
Your soft skin is weeping
A joy you can't keep in

I'm miles from where you are
I lay down on the cold gound
And I, I pray that something
picks me up and sets me
down in your warm arms

And m…

Somewhere a Clock is Ticking

I've got this feeling that there's something that I missed
(I could do most anything to you...)
Don't you breathe, don't you breathe
(I could do most anything to you...)
Something happened, that I never understood
(I could do most anything to you...)
You can't leave, you can't leave
(I could do most anything to you...)

Every second, dripping off my fingertips
(I could do most anything to you...)
Wage your war, wage your war
(I could do most anything to you...)
Another soldier, says he's not afraid to die
(I could do most anything to you...)
Well I am scared, I am scared
(I could do most anything to you...)

In slow motion, the blast is beautiful
(I could do most anything to you...)
Doors slam shut, doors slam shut
(I could do most anything to you...)
A clock is ticking, but it's hidden far away
(I could do most anything to you...)
Safe and sound, safe and sound
(I could do most anything to you...)

People are Scary

On my way home from the doctor and pharmacy, I stopped for a yellow light. The Optimum truck behind, fully intending to run that light, did not like my close-to-last-minute decision to stop instead of running it.
When did the laws change?

As I understand it, when the traffic light turns yellow, you are supposed to stop for it. There are police who will, in fact, pull you over and ticket you for running a yellow light. Chances are there no police there when this happened, but how do you know? And is it actually wrong to follow the laws? He could have stopped. He instead opted to pass by me on the left, as close as possible without actually damaging the vehicles (I suspect this show of restraint happened only because the vehicle wasn't his to destroy), then pulled in front (as much as allowable) and presented me with his middle finger.
Quite likely his I.Q.

I know I really pushed him over the edge by smiling and waving under my chin at him. He pulled out ahead when the light turned gree…

The Interview that Will Bag a Job

In recent weeks, recruiters for Consolidated Container Co. have seen job candidates arrive up to an hour early for interviews. Other candidates have alluded to financial hardships while in the hot seat, and one person even distributed bound copies of documents describing projects he completed for past employers.
These sorts of tactics aren't exactly winners.

In today's ultracompetitive job market, even getting an interview is a feat. Yet recruiters and hiring managers say many unemployed candidates blow the opportunity by appearing desperate or bitter about their situations — often without realizing it.
"People are becoming a lot more aggressive," says Julie Loubaton, director of recruiting and talent management for Atlanta-based Consolidated Container. "They often wind up hurting themselves."
At an interview, you want to stand out for the right reasons. To do so, you'll need to leave your baggage and anxiety at the door. For starters, wait until 10 minutes…

Burger King Pulls Ad Campaign - Article

I'm sure Burger King meant it when they said we did not mean to make fun of anyone...

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Fast food giant Burger King apologized Tuesday for an advertisement featuring a squat Mexican draped in his country's flag next to a tall American cowboy and said it would change the campaign.
Mexico's ambassador to Spain said posters released in Europe for Burger King's new Tex-Mex style "Texican whopper," a cheeseburger with chile and spicy mayonnaise, inappropriately displayed the Mexican flag, whose image is protected under national law.
The ambassador wrote a letter complaining to Burger King and requested the ad campaign be discontinued. Burger King said the ads were meant to show a mixture of influences from the southwestern United States and Mexico, not to poke fun at Mexican culture, but said it would replace them "as soon as commercially possible."
"Burger King Corporation has made the decision to revise the Texican Whopper advert…



John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing,he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or... I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their com…

A.W.A.D. - Words Coined from People Real or Fictitious

with Anu Garg

Winning even one Nobel Prize is a big deal. Marie Curie received two (in physics and chemistry). But then hers was a family of high achievers: her husband, their daughter, and their son-in-law were also Nobel laureates.
Similarly, having one's name turned into a word in the language is a rare feat. Yet there are some, both real and fictional characters, who have accomplished this more than once. This week we feature five such people.
And Marie, well, she too had had two words coined after her: Curie, a unit of radioactivity, and curium, a radioactive element.
PRONUNCIATION: (sis-uh-RO-nee-uhn)
MEANING: adjective: In the style of Cicero, marked by ornate language, expansive flow, forcefulness of expression, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: After Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman, orator, and writer (106-43 BCE). Another eponym derived from Cicero's name is cicerone (a tour guide).
MEANING: adjective: Overly sentimental

ETYMOLOGY: After Mary M…

A Great Day!

I really needed to have a great day. So far, my time off this week hadn't been too good - well, downright depressing - and I was thinking that today would be more of the same. Happily, it turned out to be quite a bit better!
It was a rainy morning and the day did not get off to a great start as it was (see the earlier post Upset with the Cat, posted this morning). I did not feel good about that. But I finally got dressed and went first to the Montville Pharmacy and then headed to Wayne to put in my time with my parents. I usually find myself dreading this. I love seeing Ray but it is hard to visit with my mother who's sole vocabulary is "yeah" and "no" although (kind of like a parrot or anyone's two-year-old), she mimics words last said by Ray or me. But she is not really saying anything.
But on my way to Wayne from Montville I called Ray and said I was coming over and would he like to make foccasia bread with me? He said that would be fun and I should pi…

I See You Typing - Article

Spying on someone by hacking into his webcam is disturbingly easy. Why don't more people do it?
By Christopher Beam
Posted Monday, April 6, 2009, at 5:09 PM ET

The China-based cyber-spy network known as "GhostNet" is a sophisticated group of hackers capable of logging its victims' keystrokes, stealing their documents, capturing images from their screens—and staring creepily at them through their webcams.
In a report released last month, Canadian researchers concluded that GhostNet has cracked at least 1,295 computers in 103 different countries, specifically targeting the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan activists and officials. Stealing documents and logging keystrokes—that I understand.
You can get all sorts of useful information reading someone's e-mail or looking at their bank records. But peeking at them through their Web cameras? That seems creepy even by the standards of shady cyber-spying rings. It's one thing to read the Dalai Lama's IM conversations. It&…

Upset with the Cat

Don't get me wrong, I do love Siobhan, although she is nothing like Ariel and Chelsea, who were in many ways opposite of each other, but the same in how they treated me. I miss them, and at this moment, I miss them much more.
I was getting ready to get into the shower about a half hour to an hour ago and the kitten jumped off of the edge of the bathtub and suddenly without warning or provocation, she brutally attacked my right foot. She sank her needle-sharp teeth in and wrapped her body around my leg and tried to get all four sets of claws into the action as well. I had to grab her at the nape of her neck to pry her off. She then went for my left foot and after that my right hand/arm and then back to my right foot.
By the time I got her completely disengaged and kicked her out of the bathroom, my legs and feet and right hand and arm were stinging. I examined my extremeties to see how bad the damage was, and other than one long surface scratch on the back of my right ankle snaking u…

Yahoo Finance - 7 Misconceptions About the Stimulus

Since President Obama signed the economic-stimulus package into law February 17, I have received many questions about its provisions. And I've noticed that there are a lot of misconceptions about the plan. Here's the lowdown.
Misconception #1: Most people will get their stimulus money as a check this year.
Instead of receiving a check from the government, most single taxpayers will see an adjustment to their tax withholding in their paychecks in 2009 and 2010, giving them about $45 extra per month for the rest of this year (married workers will receive an extra $65). If you're self-employed, you can adjust your quarterly tax payments to benefit from the tax credit. Then you will claim the credit when you file your 2009 tax return next spring, bringing your tax bill in line with your reduced payments.
The stimulus also provides a one-time payment of $250 to recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Veterans Administration benefits.(People who applied for any of th…

Thinking of the Future

It's getting me down but it is weighing heavily on my mind. I need to let it go, but at the moment I'm not ready.
I've been watching the second season of The West Wing, which is an amazing show. I would vote for President Josiah Bartlett in a hot second. I wouldn't even need to think about it. Martin Sheen - who knows? But his character of Jed Bartlett? Absolutely.
But that isn't what is dragging my better spirits down. I can completely sympathise with the character that was the President of the United States. He knows his time for running the country is limited. Two reasons: 1. the President can only hold the office for two terms (which in some ways is a relief) and 2. he has multiple schlerosis, which is NOT the same disease I have. Wondering why I said that? Everyone - non-medical and medical people alike - confuses it with MS instead of MD and it is amazing. But it is similar in that we both be disabled earlier than we'd like to be.
I know my time to remain ac…

Maybe I Didn't Post It... The Rivers Family

I had thought that there was a lot I posted about but I post far more in my head (and always at the most opportune moments, like in the shower or in the car, you know, driving) than on here. Also, at this time of the year, I don't get to post much.
This weekend I'm catching up.

I made the comment that Melissa Rivers isn't attractive. I'm standing by that. I also feel that honesty is not something to apologise for. And looks are not everything. I'm not attractive, in my eyes, either. Doesn't keep me up nights, however, as I am attractive to Luis and some small group of others and that works for me.
I think what is more amusing is the irony that both Luis and I had the reaction of "Yikes" when looking at Melissa Rivers while she has openly admitted to recieving Botox shots. Even more ironic is that this is a woman who is 6 days older than me and looks quite a bit older and I have had no Botox, no other plastic surgery (I really need to look up why that is …

Weekly Update on Celebrity Apprentice

How often do I want to blog weekly about a show? So far, though, I think I have had something to say about most of the episodes. And I have never been a fan of Donald Trump - there is no denying his prowess as a business man, however, tycoons rarely appeal to me and his employment practices where the show is concerned bother me.
Yes, I know... it makes better television and apparently the normal employment laws don't quite apply to this sort of thing. Still...
I've posted "Just Fire Dennis Rodman Already" (30 March) and "Celebrity Apprentice 2009" (20 March) - I thought I had said more, but apparently not. I'd thought I had posted about the wedding dress episode but I don't see anything.
Well, onto the last airing (Sunday, 5 April, 2100)... Clint Black and Melissa Rivers faced off as team leaders in the last episode, entitled "Trump Makes a Surprising Decision". They have the rather unenviable task of developing a "viral video", a t…