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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Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20/2014

     


____________________

"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