Monthly Archives: November 2012

Fuzzy Math

Well, the U.S. has always wanted to be number 1 in something.


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Cliff Diving

“Obama’s proposals are not strong enough, per se, to undo the very large inequality increase the U.S. has experienced since the 1970s, particularly when it comes to the incomes at the very top.  To really make a dent, you would need to consider more radical policies.”

– Emmanuel Saez, University of California at Berkeley economist, in the Washington Post.

At the rate we’re going, with the partisan bitchery in Congress, it’ll take a few eons before economic conditions even out.  But hey – maybe the Mayan apocalypse will sort it all out for us before then!

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November 27, 2012 – 24 Days Until Baktun 12

Survivalist Tip:  Whether you hope to stay at home, or hit the road when the apocalypse hits, you need to have a safe for all your valuables.  A good sturdy safe is made of metal or some other firm substance; is burglary proof; and is fire and water proof, not just fire and water resistant.  I recommend one with a combination lock, as those with key locks are much more easily breached.  A safe will guard such items as birth certificates, social security cards, old photographs, guns and chocolate recipes.  You definitely don’t want scavengers, politicians and nosy in-laws accessing those things!  Your safe doesn’t have to be huge; just big enough to store valuables and transport.  Even when things settle down, you’ll find a safe will always be necessary.

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Parade Floats Gone Wild


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Attack of the Leftist Trolls

“The person’s posts are usually short and snarky, with reasonably correct spelling, grammar and punctuation, suggesting both intelligence and education.  The posts are on the edge of acceptability, with little or no profanity or vulgar language that would get the post flagged immediately.  The person has a high ratio of posts to the number of days on the site, suggesting he’s posting comments nearly full time and is getting paid to troll.  The person posts politely on progressive websites but nastily on conservative websites, using the same username and IP address.  The person’s posts are consistently belittling, rather than intelligent objections and points.  The person’s posts address a broad spectrum of topics rather than focusing on one or two subjects of particular interest.  The consistency is in the support of leftist policies and positions taken by the Obama administration.”

– Jerome Corsi, complaining that the Obama Administration is paying “trolls” to post comments on the World Net Daily web site.

I’m glad that Corsi – a devout birther who claims Obama is a Kenyan, Marxist, communist – appreciates my attention to grammar and punctuation.  I’m a writer and have an English degree, after all, so even if I piss off religious extremists, I don’t want them saying, ‘Hey, that’s loaded with grammar errors!  We can’t take this shit seriously!’

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Oh, Lord, please set that fire and kill as many as you can! Amen!

“Our prayers, part of our seven year campaign to re-Christianize the City of Springfield, have included an appeal to God to destroy the works of Satan in this city.  We have specifically included the strip clubs in these prayers.  Yesterday the three story Scores strip club on Worthington Street was completely obliterated in a gas explosion, right down to the ground.  I believe this was the hand of God at work in answer to our prayers.  We are giving Him all the glory and praise for this occurrence, since it is only by His power that any of our prayers can have any effect.”

Pastor Scott Lively, of Scott Lively Ministries, on the explosion of a strip club in Springfield, Massachusetts on November 23.

A Massachusetts state fire official confirmed that the explosion was caused by a utility worker who accidentally punctured a gas line, after responding to reports of a gas leak in the area.  The explosion and ensuing fire injured 21 people, mostly firefighters.

Damn!  If his prayers were powerful enough to cause an explosion, imagine what would happen if he’d prayed to end hunger or something worthwhile.  The possibilities are endless!

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AP Discourages Usage of “Homophobia,” “Ethnic Cleansing”

In an update to their style guide for reporters, the Associated Press officially announced they will cease listing “homophobia,” “ethnic cleansing” and other terms in its Stylebook.

The update reads, in part:

Phobia – An irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness. Examples: acrophobia, a fear of heights, and claustrophobia, a fear of being in small, enclosed spaces.  Do not use in political or social contexts: homophobia, Islamophobia.

“Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism for pretty violent activities; a phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder.  Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don’t feel that’s quite accurate,” says AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn.

The AP makes no suggestions for replacement terms.

George Weinberg, who coined the word “homophobia” in his 1972 book, Society and the Healthy Homosexual, does not approve of banning the term.

“I just want to go on record as disagreeing with the AP’s decision not to use ‘homophobia,’ the word.  I am a psychologist and author who coined the word a long time ago.  It made all the difference to City Councils and other people I spoke to.  It encapsulates a whole point of view and of feeling.  It was a hard-won word, as you can imagine.  It brought me some death threats.  Is homophobia always based on fear?  I thought so and still think so.  Maybe envy in some cases.  But that’s a psychological question.  Is every snarling dog afraid?  Probably yes.  But here it shouldn’t matter.  We have no other word for what we’re talking about, and this one is well established.  We use ‘freelance’ for writers who don’t throw lances anymore and who want to get paid for their work.  Fowler even allows us to mix what he called dead metaphors.  It seems curious that this word is getting such scrutiny, while words like triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) hang around.”

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November 26, 2012 – 25 Days Until Baktun 12

Survivalist Tip:  I didn’t mention this before – I guess I thought it was just a given for survivalists – but you have to have firearms and ammunition in your arsenal of supplies.  It really should be obvious.  You don’t have to be a hardcore survivalist, or live in an urban area haunted by drug dealers to know you need solid protection from the worst that society has to offer.  Most people will respect your privacy and your property.  But, everyone will respect your gun and your bullets.  Enough said.  If you don’t have one, BUY ONE!

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Fellow blogger “Travel Spirit” has compiled some great photos during her romp across the country in recent weeks, but this set really left me in awe. These are from a sand sculpting competition in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, where imaginations are allowed to run wild. Thanks, TS, for posting these!

Sherry Lachelle Travels

This year’s Fort Myers Beach Sand Sculpting Championship was amazing!  I’ve never attended a competition and it was exciting to see them up close.  Their site online said it started at 9:00am…so I arrived there about 8:45am…wanting to get early morning light for good photos.  Once there I found out it didn’t start until 10:00am…so I had an English muffin at the Holiday Inn (where the competition was) and took a walk on the beach…

There was a fence with black netting around the sculptures so you couldn’t see them…until you paid the $5.00 entrance fee.  Since I’m tall…I snuck one…

I was the first one through the entrance and was able to get some photos without people in them…

The event is for 10 days and began on Friday the 16th.  The judging took place on the 18th and I attended on Monday, the 19th.

This is the sculpture…

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Hand Me Down Painting Worth $1 Million

Ferguson and “El Albanil” in Corpus Christi this past August.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t call it a “hand me down,” but a Diego Rivera painting Rue Ferguson inherited from his mother really has been appraised at $1 million.  Ferguson’s great-grandparents had bought it in the 1920s.  He took it to a broadcast of PBS’s Antiques Roadshow in Corpus Christi this past August to be evaluated.

The lost Diego Rivera painting “El Albañil (The Bricklayer)” was appraised at between $800,000 and $1 million.  It was the highest appraisal of the show’s latest season.

“I was dumbfounded,” Ferguson said.  “I didn’t know what to say.  “I thought it might be worth a tenth of what they said.  I had no idea.”

Mariel A. MacNaughton, account executive of Antiques Roadshow, said it’s an exciting moment for all of the staff when they encounter something as unique and valuable as this.

“It’s very rare to see works of Rivera’s that old,” MacNaughton said.  “It’s not a painting that was sitting in museum for people to see every day.”

Ferguson’s great-grandparents had kept the painting behind a door in their home until it was passed on to Ferguson’s parents.  His parents thought the painting was a fake and kept it in a storage room inside the home.  In the early 1980s, his father found out the painting was real, and he had it restored, still unaware of its value.

The family then donated it to the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio for several years, but when Ferguson found out the museum wasn’t displaying it anymore he asked for it back, he said.

Rivera – one of México’s most famous artists who is also known as the philandering husband of fellow artist Frida Kahlo – created “El Albañil” in 1904, when he was just a teenager.  After his death in 1957, his family didn’t know the location of the painting.

I’m sure the McNay would do just about anything to have that painting now.  But, Ferguson hopes to have it displayed in a museum that features Diego’s work.  Currently, though, it’s safely ensconced in a bank vault.

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