Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20/2014

     


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"I think literature is best when it's voicing what we would prefer not to talk about."
--Rick Moody

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Did You Know . . .?

Tornadoes are invisible; they are just moving air. What you see are the water droplets that form inside the funnel cloud and the dirt and debris picked up from the ground.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1944 two liquid gas tanks explode in Cleveland, Ohio, killing 130 people. It took all of the city's firefighters to bring the resulting industrial fire under control. Laboratory workers at the East Ohio Gas Company had spotted white vapor leaking from the large natural gas tank at the company plant near Lake Erie. The circular tank had a diameter of 57 feet and could hold 90 million cubic feet of the highly flammable gas. Ten minutes later, a massive and violent explosion rocked the entire area. Flames went as high as 2,500 feet in the air. Everything in a half-mile vicinity of the explosion was completely destroyed.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born October 20, 1932)
William Christopher is an American actor who is best known for playing Father Mulcahy on the television series M*A*S*H and Private Lester Hummel on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.



(born October 20, 1985)
Jennifer Freeman is an American actress. Freeman is best known for playing the role of Claire Kyle in the ABC sitcom My Wife and Kids.



(born October 20, 1971)
Known by his stage names Snoop Doggy Dogg, Snoop Dogg, and later Snoop Lion, is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, and actor.




(born 20 October 1970)
Michelle Bridges is an Australian personal trainer, author and TV personality. She is a trainer on the Australian version of The Biggest Loser, making her first appearance in the second season, in 2007, during which she trained the red team alongside Jillian Michaels.

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NASA TV



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Guest Blogger 10/19/14


  
Moving Day

If you've seen The Secret of NiMH, maybe you remember the scene when the tractor starts. "Aaaaaah!" screams Auntie Shrew. She rushes around, shrieking, "Run! It's Moving Day!" (If you haven't seen it or don't remember, well, then the image won't help you any. Sorry.)

Now I know why she shrieked and ran around in circles.

When lives hang in the balance over a move, it's something to shriek about. And rush. And so it was in alaHouse. That day was Moving Day for our aquarium.

When we originally set it up, we ordered the shorter stand. We wanted to still see that little window into the kitchen from the front room, and this was the only way to do it if the aquarium was to live against that wall. For almost two years, it's been fine.

Then the protein skimmer died. Wedged into the 30 gallon sump within the aquarium stand, there was no way to get it out. We tried replacing pieces, but it's old enough the parts were unavailable. The only way to replace it was to take the aquarium apart.

Since that is such a chore, we decided to replace the stand with a taller one. A much taller one, because if we were going to block that little window, we were going to cover it completely. That led to another question, because the lights in the canopy are so bright. What if the lights were visible from the kitchen? You're not supposed to look into those lights, and if they were there, right above the sink, how could you miss? We had plans to cover that space with stained glass or shelving or both, if that was the case.

The guy that services my tank showed up around 9am. One of his co-workers (from the pet shop they work for) showed up just after 10am. The dismantle and setup process took the entire day; about twelve hours. They had estimated six, but they didn't realize the entire infrastructure had been glued. Most aquarium people use Teflon tape and threaded connections, but the guys who set up the aquarium originally used some kind of blue glue. On just about everything. So this time, the guys had to hacksaw the pieces apart and rebuild them. Not a quick process, since they were very careful with everything. They didn't want any damage, or any leaks.

I missed most of the disassembly due to a conference call. Before the phone rang, I watched Greg start taking things out. He had a garbage can for the fish, a garbage can for the rocks, a garbage can for the extra water. He had several kitty litter pans for the coral, the invertebrates and the fish that weren't going back in the tank, plus any extra things that came up. All of these items were new to avoid contamination. Sea life is delicate, and we wanted to avoid stressing them as much as possible. I only got to see the first few rocks moved. Then the call, and when that ended, all that was left in the tank were sand and water.

Though Greg looked carefully, he didn't find our mysterious clicker. (Something clicks in the tank, loudly, and I think whatever it is is responsible for many missing fish and shrimp. I was hoping we could catch it with this move.)

After the water was drained, the guys took things apart. While they were cleaning the tank out front, I cleaned the aquarium corner and wall. Things get dusty when you don't move them for a few years. Then the reassembly began, and I swept the floor about every half hour. The sand got into everything! The hardwood floor would not appreciate having the sand ground into it. (The guys probably think I'm a clean freak or something.)

Finally, the time came to put things back in. I was worried about the fish, who'd been in a garbage can all day, and had a momentary coronary when Greg listed the fish to his buddy. One was missing; my "Fraggle fish," the starry blenny. "What about the blenny?" I asked.

Greg looked at me blankly for a moment. "Was it in there?"

"As of last night," I replied. As one, we turned to look at the garbage can with the fish. Then at the garbage can with the rocks, which didn't have water in it, except for a very small amount in the bottom.

"I didn't see him," said Greg. "He probably hid in a rock."

My poor blenny! I watched the rocks go back in, hoping and dreading to find his poor dried body curled in a hole. We were also taking a second chance for finding the clicker thing. Each rock was picked up and inspected. All visible holes were checked. Drying sea life was removed (mostly pieces of sponge). No clicker. No blenny.

Then when we got down to the small fragment pieces of rock, there was the blenny, swimming around in the five inches or so of water in the bottom of the garbage can. Rescued! I won't ever know if he got lucky by having hid in one of the first rocks to be removed (and therefore in one that was in the water) or if he flopped out after removal to land in the water. It really doesn't matter; he made it!

We found no sign of any clicker thing.

So now it's days later and things have gotten clearer. The water, because we have a new working protein skimmer. The issues, because we also have a thumb-sized glue smear across the front of our tank. The guys say they can remove it, and I asked them if it could happen before our yearly party. We'll see. Other things have gotten clearer, too. The answers, because the view from the kitchen is fine. You cannot see the light bulbs, the aquarium puts a massive amount of light into the kitchen, and the back of the tank is black plexi, so the candles reflect in it wonderfully. And finally, the hearing, because the new chiller is a lot quieter and you can hold conversations in the living room again.

We still have some touch-up work to do, but overall Moving Day was a success. So far, I've not lost any coral or fish, except for the ones I sent away. I've not heard the clicker thing. Everything's still a bit grey, but I think it'll be fine. In a week or so I can start adding things again.


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








 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Trying To Write Fiction Again

     


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A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
--Oscar Wilde

In the New York Times Sunday Review, Michael S. A. Graziano, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton, wrote: "I believe a major change in our perspective on consciousness may be necessary, a shift from a credulous and egocentric viewpoint to a skeptical and slightly disconcerting one: namely, that we don’t actually have inner feelings in the way most of us think we do."

LINK to Are We Really Conscious


Announcement: I am currently working on a new short story and so will not be commenting each and every day within this blog.

Sorry about that.

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NASA TV

   

Friday, October 17, 2014

Political Correctness Is Often Incorrect

     


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Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
--Arnold Schwarzenegger

A recent tweet states: "Denver Police warning parents to be on the lookout for pot-laced candy this Halloween."

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Paul Rodney McHugh is an American psychiatrist, researcher, and educator. He is University Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the author, co-author, or editor of seven books within his field.

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a "mental disorder" that merits treatment, that sex change is "biologically impossible," and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

That seems logical and sensible to me. It just makes more sense than does the current 'politically correct' belief that all one has to do is state that he or she is transgendered (even sub-teen children) and then is allowed to use a rest room intended for the opposite sex.

California governor signs bill allowing ‘transgender’ students to use opposite sex bathrooms and locker rooms.

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Did You Know . . .?

Barbara Walters was born in the same year as Anne Frank.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1989, the deadliest earthquake to hit the San Francisco area since 1906 struck at 5:04 p.m. and lasted for 15 seconds. The quake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, and its aftermath was witnessed on live television by millions of people watching the third game of the World Series of baseball between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, held at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The tremor hit moments before the start of the game, and sportscasters were soon performing the duties of news anchors as they reported on the resulting pandemonium in the stadium. The earthquake killed a total of 63 people, while more than 3,000 others were injured and more than 100,000 buildings were damaged.

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WORD FOR TODAY

minim [MIN-uh-m]
noun
1. the smallest unit of liquid measure, 1/60 (0.0167) of a fluid dram, roughly equivalent to one drop.
2. Music. a note, formerly the shortest in use, but now equivalent in time value to one half of a semibreve; half note.
3. the least quantity of anything.
4. something very small or insignificant.
adjective
5. smallest.
6. very small.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born October 17, 1972)
Eminem is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter, and actor.



(born October 17, 1956)
Mae Jamison is an American physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.



(born October 17, 1948)
George Wendt is an American actor, best known for the role of Norm Peterson on the television show Cheers.



(born October 17, 1948)
Margot Kidder is a Canadian-American actress. She appeared in a wide range of films during the 1970s and 1980s such as Sisters, Black Christmas, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Amityville Horror and Heartaches. She is best known for her role as Lois Lane in four Superman movies opposite Christopher Reeve, beginning with Superman in 1978.

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A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
--Christopher Reeve

NASA TV



Thursday, October 16, 2014

10/16/2014

     


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While watching The News Hour on PBS, I heard a news person describe John Kerry and the Iranian representative being "at loggerheads". Not sure of the phrase's actual meaning, I looked it up.

At loggerheads
in stubborn dispute or disagreement. "council was at loggerheads with the government over the grant allocation"
synonyms: in disagreement, at odds, at variance, wrangling, quarreling, disagreeing, disputing, locking horns, at daggers drawn, in conflict, fighting, at war; at each other's throats. "the European Union and the United States are at loggerheads over how to reduce greenhouse gases."

The news person probably meant, "No positive results were obtained."

And that's not news.

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NASA TV

   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10/15/2014

     


____________________

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
--John F. Kennedy

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The spread of

Ebola

in the United States

Arrogance
and
Incompetence

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Did You Know . . .?

Beer wasn't considered an alcoholic drink in Russia until 2011. Before that, it was considered a soft drink.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1917, the exotic dancer Mata Hari was executed by a French firing squad at Vincennes, outside of Paris, for the crime of espionage. A courtesan as well as a dancer, Mata Hari amassed an impressive catalog of lovers, including high-ranking military officers and political figures from both France and Germany. Under interrogation by French military intelligence, Mata Hari herself admitted that she had passed outdated information to a German intelligence officer.

After a last-minute plea to the French president for clemency was denied, French officers carried out the death sentence on October 15, 1917. Unbound and refusing a blindfold, Mata Hari was shot by a firing squad at the Caserne de Vincennes, an old fort outside Paris.

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WORD FOR TODAY

cloaca [klo-AHK-uh]
noun
In birds, the cloaca is the terminal chamber of the gastrointestinal and urogenital systems, opening at the vent. The word comes from Latin, and means sewer, derived from cluo, which meant "cleanse".

Birds also reproduce with this organ; this is known as a cloacal kiss. Birds that mate using this method touch their cloacae together, in some species for only a few seconds, sufficient time for sperm to be transferred from the male to the female.

cloaca



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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born October 15 1959)
Sarah Ferguson is the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II. Popularly referred to as "Fergie", she is a charity patron, spokesperson, writer, film producer and television personality. Her children, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York, are respectively sixth and seventh in line to succeed their grandmother as monarch of 16 independent Commonwealth realms.



(born October 15, 1943)
Penny Marshall is an American actress, television producer, film producer, television director, and film director. After playing several small roles for television, she was cast as Laverne DeFazio on the sitcom Laverne & Shirley, which ran from 1976 until 1983. Marshall has directed several successful feature films since the mid-1980s, including 1988's Big starring Tom Hanks, Awakenings, A League of Their Own, and The Preacher's Wife. Her older brother is Garry Marshall, a writer whose credits include TV's The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966).



(born October 15, 1955)
Tanya Roberts is an American actress known for her role as Julie Rogers on the fifth and final season of Charlie's Angels (1980–81) and as Midge Pinciotti on That '70s Show (1998–2001).



(born October 15, 1969)
Paige Davis is an American actress who hosted the daily series with Mark Steines called Home and Family on Hallmark Channel.

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If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
--Lao Tzu

NASA TV



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Homeward Bound

     


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Well, the world-wide wanderers are back from their European tour, and I will be heading back to my own home in Tucson shortly.

There is nothing else on my mind at this time.

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