Monday, October 27, 2014

Gimme A Break

     


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I have decided to take a break from blogging.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Guest Blogger 10/26/2014

     

Chemistry

I tried to kill myself yesterday.

For the last several days, the aquarium has been looking a bit cloudy. When I first noticed it, I peered into the sump, that 30-gallon tank housed in the aquarium stand that serves as a filtration unit for the entire system. The water in it was bubbling along, and looked clear. How odd, I thought, and promptly forgot about it.

Two days later, yesterday, I noticed that the cloudiness had not gone away. If anything, it appeared to be getting worse. So I looked into the sump again. In the water, nestled against the pipe that brings water back in from the tank, was one of the under-cabinet stick on fluorescent foot-long lights. Ack!

After my momentary panic, I remembered that those two lights were battery-operated and not electric. No power cord was attached. The lights are those slim fluorescent tube ones, with double-stick tape Velcro attachments. The idea is to stick the Velcro under the cabinet, and then you can easily take the light down to replace the batteries. All eight of them. Each.

I opened the other side of the stand to check on the other light.  It was also in the sump, next to the outflow pipe, the one that shuttles water back into the aquarium.

Certainly those lights weren't good for the tank and were probably the cause of the cloudy water. I hesitated to pull them out, unsure if the whole water-electric-cord thing applied to battery fixtures.

I called Harry. He told me it would be okay to pull them out, since they weren't plugged in. I told him if I suddenly stopped talking, he should call an ambulance, and thought how we'd make a lovely "dropped call" cell phone commercial.

When I picked the first light out of the sump, it retaliated by dumping out a bunch of really black water. I tried to stop some of it from going back into the sump water by cupping my hand under the flow and rushing to the kitchen sink. All that black water didn't look healthy in my hand, either, so I hurried to clean it off. Then I went back to get the other light, which did the same thing.

I don't remember saying goodbye or when I hung up the phone with Harry.

I checked the tank and the water was really cloudy. All that black water wasn't a good addition. My hand ached, likely a psychological result of having all that icky water in it. I went into the bedroom and did something. (I can't remember what.)

When I came out again, the living room reeked of rotten eggs. Where did that come from? The only change was the lights were out of the sump and in the kitchen sink. Contrary to popular belief, the dog does not smell that bad. The lights, it had to be the lights. I scurried to remove them from the sink and put them outside. Then I opened all the house windows and the back door into the garage (and the door from the garage to the backyard, which let in a decent breeze).

The air in the house cleared and the aquarium water began to clear, too. I called my aquarium guy who told me to put carbon bags into the sump so I called Harry back and had him stop by the pet shop to get some.

Today, the water is much clearer, though we might lose some coral. All the fish are looking fine. Even I survived, though I'm not sure I deserved to. Who knew salt water and batteries made hydrogen sulfide gas? Good thing it smells badly.

Perhaps I should have paid better attention in chemistry class.


Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala
http://www.winebird.com/







   

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I Voted Early

     


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Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.
--Franklin D. Roosevelt


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A couple days ago I watched an older movie titled The Collector. I found it to be extremely weird, yet the characters came across (to me) as perfectly understandable. I am now tempted to buy the book upon which the movie was based,

The Collector is a 1965 American psychological thriller film based on the 1963 novel The Collector by John Fowles and filmed at various locations in England. The film was adapted by Stanley Mann and John Kohn and was directed by William Wyler, who turned down The Sound of Music to do it. It starred Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar.

LINK

Samantha Eggar

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Did You Know . . .?

Fake art can be detected because of nuclear bombs. Strontium-90 and cesium-137 are isotopes that didn't exist in nature before nuclear explosions, so any piece of artwork containing these elements that's supposed to me made before 1945 is a forgery.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1994, Susan Smith reported that she was carjacked in South Carolina by a man who took her car with her two small children in the backseat. Although authorities immediately began searching for three-year-old Michael and one-year-old Alex, they could find no trace of them or of Smith's car. After nine days of intense national media attention, Smith finally confessed that the carjacking tale was false and that she had driven her Mazda into the John D. Long Lake in order to drown her children. Apparently, Susan was involved with another man who did not want children, and she thought that killing her children was the only way to continue the relationship. She was convicted on two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

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WORD FOR TODAY

democracy [dih-MOK-ruh-see]
noun
Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens are meant to participate equally -- either directly or, through elected representatives, indirectly -- in the proposal, development and establishment of the laws by which their society is run.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born October 25, 1964)
Michael Boatman is an American actor and writer. He is best known for his roles as New York City mayoral aide Carter Heywood in the ABC sitcom Spin City, as U.S. Army Specialist Samuel Beckett in the ABC drama series China Beach, and as sports agent Stanley Babson in the HBO comedy series Arli$$.



(born October 25, 1984)
Katy Perry is an American singer, songwriter, and actress.



(born October 25, 1928)
Marion Ross is an American actress best known for her role as Marion Cunningham on the ABC television series, Happy Days from 1974 to 1984.



(born October 25, 1963)
Tracy Nelson is an American actress, writer, and cancer survivor. She is a fifth-generation performer. Her great-grandparents were Hazel Dell (née McNutt) and Roy Hilliard Snyder vaudeville performers. Their daughter was her paternal grandmother Harriet Nelson, the star of the long-running sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Her parents were Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ricky Nelson and actress / artist Kristin Nelson. Her paternal grandparents are Ozzie and Harriet Hilliard Nelson, whose television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is represented in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

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The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
--Winston Churchill


   

Friday, October 24, 2014

10/24/14

     


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"The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean."
--Robert Louis Stevenson

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Did You Know . . .?

Jets leave a white trail across the sky for the same reason you can see your breath in winter.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 2003 the super sonic Concorde jet made its last commercial passenger flight, traveling at twice the speed of sound from New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport to London's Heathrow Airport . The British Airways jet carried 100 passengers, including actress Joan Collins, model Christie Brinkley, and an Ohio couple who reportedly paid $60,000 on eBay for two tickets. The sleek, delta-winged planes could make the trip from New York to London in around three and a half hours, traveling at 1,350 miles per hour. Tragically, on July 25, 2000, an Air France jet crashed after takeoff from Paris and 113 people died.

Citing rising operating costs and reduced ticket sales, British Airways retired its Concorde fleet in October 2003. Air France, the only other Concorde carrier, had permanently grounded its jets in May 2003.

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WORD FOR TODAY

decorum [dih-KAWR-uh m]
noun
1. dignified propriety of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
2. the quality or state of being decorous; orderliness; regularity.
3. appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born October 24, 1947)
Kevin Kline is an American actor and comedian. He has won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards, and is a 2003 American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee and won Best Actor in a Musical for the 1981 revival of The Pirates of Penzance. He made his film debut opposite Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice.  For his role in the 1988 comedy hit A Fish Called Wanda, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Other films include The Big Chill, Silverado, Cry Freedom, Dave, The Ice Storm, In & Out, De-Lovely, and My Old Lady.



(born 1983)
Katie McGrath is an Irish actress and model. She is best known for playing Morgana in the BBC One television series Merlin. She most recently appeared as Lucy Westenra on the British-American horror drama TV series Dracula,



(born October 24, 1960)
BD Wong is an American actor. He won a Tony Award for his performance as Song Liling in M. Butterfly. He has also played Dr. George Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Father Ray Mukada on Oz, Dr. John Lee on Awake, Henry Wu in the first Jurassic Park film and the upcoming fourth entry, Jurassic World, and Ngawang Jigme in the movie Seven Years in Tibet.



(born October 24, 1981)
Tila Tequila (stage name) is a Singaporean-born American model and television personality. She is known for her appearances in the men's magazines Playboy, Stuff, and Maxim,

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"What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote, and brings to birth in us also the creative impulse."
--E.M. Forster


   

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hmmm . . .

     


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Literature is the one place in any society where, within the secrecy of our own heads, we can hear voices talking about everything in every possible way.
--Salman Rushdie

Watched a new (new to me) TV cop show called The Mysteries Of Laura, starring Debra Messing. You've never viewed it? Don't. It stinks.

Also re-watched last night's PBS Nature special, A Murder Of Crows. Enjoyed it immensely, again. And I learned much.

Here's what TV Guide said about it:

One of the world's most intelligent creatures is highlighted: the crow. The "feathered apes," as one researcher calls them, possess a sophisticated language of 250 calls and at least two dialects. They also can recognize (and remember) human faces, pass knowledge to their offspring and, on an island near New Zealand, use tools (making them one of the few creatures beside humans to do so). Other interesting facts: They mate for life, mourn their dead and raise their young for up to five years.


Later last night, after a week's reading, I finished a  curious novel, one that intrigued me greatly. I don't know if I enjoyed reading it or not, but I couldn't stop until I had completed it. It's title is Light From A Distant Star and it was written by Mary McGarry Morris. If you have never read any of her work, I strongly recommend you do so soon, starting with this one.

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Did You Know . . .?

The lunula (little moon in Latin), is the crescent-shaped whitish area of the bed of a fingernail or toenail.

The lunula is located at the end of the nail (that is closest to the skin of the finger), but it still lies under the nail.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1998, Doctor Barnett Slepian was shot to death inside his home in Amherst, New York, by an anti-abortion radical, marking the fifth straight year that a doctor who was willing to perform abortions in upstate New York and Canada had been the victim of a sniper attack. Investigators in both Canada and the United States believe that James Charles Kopp, known among abortion opponents as "Atomic Dog," was responsible for Slepian's murder. In March 2001, the authorities caught up with Kopp in Europe, and he was extradited from France on the condition he would not receive the death penalty. On May 9, 2003, he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

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WORD FOR TODAY

charisma [kuh-RIZ-muh]
noun
1. Theology: a divinely conferred gift or power.
2. a spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people.
3. the special virtue of an office, function, position, etc., that confers or is thought to confer on the person holding it an unusual ability for leadership, worthiness of veneration, or the like.

The plural for charisma is charismata.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born October 23, 1976)
Ryan Reynolds is a Canadian film and television actor. Reynolds is known for playing Michael Bergen on the ABC sitcom Two Guys and a Girl, Billy Simpson in the YTV Canadian teen soap opera Hillside, as well as Marvel Comics characters Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity and Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He has starred in films such as Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story, National Lampoon's Van Wilder, Finder's Fee, Just Friends, Definitely, Maybe, The Proposal, The Amityville Horror, The Change-Up, Smokin' Aces, Adventureland, Buried, and Safe House.



(born October 23, 1959)
Nancy Grace is an American legal commentator, television host, television journalist, and former prosecutor. She frequently discusses issues from what she describes as a "victims' rights" standpoint, with an outspoken style that has brought her both praise and criticism.



(born October 23, 1956)
Dwight Yoakam is an American singer-songwriter, actor and film director, most famous for his pioneering country music. Popular since the early 1980s, he has recorded more than 21 albums and compilations, charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records. Yoakam has recorded 5 Billboard #1 Albums, 12 Gold Albums, and 9 Platinum Albums, including the Triple Platinum This Time. In addition to his many achievements in the performing arts, Yoakam is also the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show.



(born October 23, 1974)
Kaleena Kiff is an American actress, producer, and director. Kiff is best known for her roles in the sitcoms Love, Sidney and The New Leave It to Beaver. Kaleena is correctly pronounced (kuh-LEE-nuh).

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Even the choicest literature should be taken as the condiment, and not as the sustenance of life. It should be neither the warp nor the woof of existence, but only the flowery edging upon its borders.
--Horace Mann

   

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Feeling Better Than Yesterday

     


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Originality in literature is only a new coat of paint on an old house.
--Austin O'Malley

Feeling a lot better today. Still sinus and chest congested and occasional brief coughing spells but overall feeling pretty well.

Still walking my daily two miles.

Still writing fiction,
but it's not literature.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10/21/2014

     


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palliate
verb
1. make (a disease or its symptoms) less severe or unpleasant without removing the cause; treatment works by palliating symptoms
synonyms: alleviate, ease, relieve, soothe, assuage, moderate, temper, diminish, decrease, blunt, deaden
2. allay or moderate (fears or suspicions).
3. disguise the seriousness or gravity of (an offense); there is no way to excuse or palliate his dirty deed.

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