Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Title Again... (so sue me)



Just to follow up, the picture I posted yesterday was of the Calvary Chapel Christian School located on Tucson's East side.

Using Twitter is an effective way to help a writer trim a thought to a more concise expression, but I don't know if such editing enhances clarity... or not. For example: in my notes was the following sentence -- "What is predominantly considered to be intelligence is sometimes merely the utilization of an excellent memory... no more than a regurgitation and a subsequent integration of supposed facts and not at all truly original thought."

I edited that thought to fit within Twitter's maximum word count... cut it down to: "What is considered intelligence is often merely usage of an excellent memory, a regurgitation of known facts and not truly original thought."

Now I am wondering which version is best. I seem to be in a decisional quandary. (Did I just coin a new word... decisional?)


Do you have any Blockbuster Video gift cards lying around the house? Better find them and use them up soon, assuming that you can find a Blockbuster outlet. Multiple sources inside the company have revealed that those gift cards won't be accepted after April 6, 2011 due to the company's bankruptcy.


Environmentalism is now (according to The Radical Christian Right) -- The Green Dragon



What are those Brits up to now?


In the beginning, a bunch of scientists created a huge machine capable of complex calculations and called it UNIVAC. Eager to test their invention, the makers asked it, "Is there a God?" There was a pause... Finally, the machine answered, "THERE IS NOW."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We See What We Want To See



One of the things I saw while walking and learning about my new territory was what seems to be church of some sort. I'll have to do some research and find out exactly what it is.

I walked one mile South from the apartment in which I now live to a large SafeWay Supermarket plaza, where--parked in front of what appeared to be a bar or tavern or perhaps a club (blackened windows, neon beer signs, etc.)--I encountered a tiny automobile I had never seen before, nor had I even heard mention of it. I have forgotten what I saw as the make of the car but the model was a...


Ugly little thing
(in my opinion)

Wikipedia has a descriptive article about it, but I'm not (and never have been) really into cars...


The Chronicle Of


The product that has given the world its best-known taste was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a local pharmacist, produced the syrup for Coca-Cola, and carried a jug of the new product down the street to Jacobs' Pharmacy, where it was sampled, pronounced "excellent" and placed on sale for five cents a glass as a soda fountain drink. Carbonated water was teamed with the new syrup to produce a drink that was "Delicious and Refreshing," a theme that continues to echo today wherever Coca-Cola is enjoyed.


My Word For The Day

Pareidolia (pare-uh-doll-yuh / parr-uh-DOH-lee-uh) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.

According to Wikipedia, there have been a great many instances of perceptions of religious imagery and themes, especially the faces of religious figures, in ordinary phenomena. Many involve images of the Virgin Mary or Jesus.

The recent publicity surrounding sightings of religious figures and other surprising images in ordinary objects, combined with the growing popularity of online auctions, has spawned a market for such items on eBay. One famous instance was a grilled cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary's face.

In 1978, a New Mexican woman found that the burn marks on a tortilla she had made appeared similar to the traditional western depiction of Jesus Christ's face. Thousands of people came to see the framed tortilla.

Michael Quinion's World Wide Words probably provides the best description of pareidolia.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yes I'm A Septuagenarian... So What?



Today's Rensselaer Adventures blog had some quite interesting tidbits concerning French Lick, Indiana and other Southern Indiana scenic locations. Such as The Lost River. There are several fascinating photos to view.

NASA has a contest going to select the song with which to awaken the astronauts out in space. Read about it and even vote for your favorite of the songs listed if you want. The wake-up song has been a part of the space program since the days of the Apollo missions, and now NASA is giving you a chance to be a part of this history!

Also, you can have your photo and your name flown into space. Really!


A person who is from 70 to 79 years old.


The First Septuagenarian Astronaut

John Glenn, Jr.


Physical beauty is like a bottle of coke, it turns stale with time. The mind is like a bottle of wine, the longer it is kept the better it becomes.

Monday, March 28, 2011




Medical Science

A few minutes ago I read that on this day in 1941 Virginia Woolf committed suicide... and that the chief treatment prescribed for Woolf when she suffered from depression was something known then as the "rest cure." She would be confined to her home, or to a nursing home, and not allowed to read or write, the two things she found most therapeutic and restorative to her troubled mind. Stuff like that always reminds me of the old question and answer:

"What's the difference between God and a doctor?"

. . . ????? . . .

"God doesn't think he's a doctor."


Another item I read recently is that Nelson Algren's later novels and stories featured the down-and-out, the loser, and the reject.

Hm. Sounds like my kind of people.

In 'A Walk on the Wild Side' Algren gave his three rules for life: "Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own."

Ha Ha! Now I am inclined to read A Walk on the Wild Side.


British director Mike Newell said, "It's my view that children are violent, dirty, corrupt anarchists. Just adults-in-waiting, basically."

And once again, a quotation has suggested a theme for a new short story... now all I have to do is sit my butt down on the chair and write it.

Ha! What else is new?

Maybe I can come up with some more interesting stuff for tomorrow's blog entry.



"I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat."
--A.E. Housman

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My New Home



I slept in my new apartment for the first time last night. Slept well. Now this morning (on this day of rest) I have to get busy and empty some more of these pesky boxes and tear the boxes down so I can carry them out to the recycle dumpster. Then I will be off for a brisk morning walk around the neighborhood.

An that's all I have to say for now . . .


"Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."
--Flannery O'Connor

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Travelogues By Way Of Blogs...



First things first:

I have previously written about my old hometown of Rensselaer up in Norethwest Indiana and about the fine blog I read every day... about that always interesting and oftentimes elegant blog named Rensselaer Adventures.

But today when I clicked on over there I discovered a treasure chest of fabulous photos from the blog owner's trip to New Orleans. If you would like a real treat, here is the link...

(Hint: Don't Miss This One)


Second things second:


HAMPTON, Va. -- An award-winning NASA-produced television program, "NASA 360," is available at the online video service

The site features four 30-minute episodes that show how composite materials are changing our world, how NASA has tested space technologies on Earth and what NASA researchers are doing to improve aviation. More programs will be added in the coming weeks.

"It's awesome that millions of monthly Hulu users have the chance to watch NASA 360 and learn how NASA technology contributes to our daily lives," said the show's co-producer, Mike Bibbo. "We're proud of the programs' exciting topics and visual content, so we know viewers won't be disappointed."

A team at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., co-produces the program with the National Institute of Aerospace, also in Hampton. In addition to Hulu, the program airs on NASA Television, select airlines and 450 public broadcasting, cable and commercial stations across the country. More than five million people have watched the show at:

NASA 360 also is available on YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. Viewers also can subscribe to the video podcast through iTunes. A Langley team also is developing an application for mobile phones. Actor Johnny Alonso and local TV and radio personality Jennifer Pulley host the show. For more information about NASA TV programs and schedules, visit:

For information about NASA Langley, visit:

For information about the National Institute of Aerospace, visit:


And last things last . . .

Today is my last day out here in the desert. I've lived here with my son and his wife for a solid year now, but today I am moving into Tucson proper, into my own little apartment in the city. Where I intend to really dig in and finish writing my book(s).

And that's my news for today.


Friday, March 25, 2011

I Heart Writers, NASA, And . . . OMG



At The Writer's Almanac, Fanny Crosby was yesterday wished a Happy Birthday and it goes on to state: "It's the birthday of a great writer of hymns, Fanny Crosby born in Southeast, New York (1820). When she was an infant, she got sick and the family accidentally hired a quack doctor who prescribed mustard plasters on her eyes, and she went blind."

And I thought, Now that could be a compelling motive for a short story character to excel... It seems that all things I encounter become subjects for future story writing.

At least, it seems so to me.

History's Women Home Page

Also, at yesterday's The Writer's Almanac I read the following regarding Tennessee Williams and his play, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof:

After he wrote it, he fell into a bout of depression. He said: "Up to 1955 I found it much easier to work, and after 1955 I was conscious of a certain fatigue, and now, well, when I get up in the morning ... let me give you a few little clues -- I have anemia, which is rather a problem. I don't know how severe it is, or if anemia is the right word for it, but it is the word that is used; and I have to get up in the morning and give myself an injection, which peps me up sufficiently to get to the goddamn desk.

And combined with the shot, there's also the two strong cups of coffee; and then I always have one of these martinis on my writing table; I don't take more than one. But I found after 1955, specifically after Cat on a Hot Tin Roof -- that I needed these things to give me the physical energy to work; and the intelligent thing might have been to stop working, to rest. But I am a compulsive writer. I have tried to stop working and I am bored to death."

I would think that revelation should give each unpublished writer some insight into the problems and the mind of even accomplished writers.


News From NASA . . .

Suzaku Shows Clearest Picture Yet of Perseus Galaxy Cluster -- X-ray observations made by the Suzaku observatory provide the clearest picture to date of the size, mass and chemical content of a nearby cluster of galaxies. The study also provides the first direct evidence that million-degree gas clouds are tightly gathered in the cluster's outskirts.

Suzaku explored faint X-ray emission of hot gas across two swaths of the Perseus Galaxy Cluster. The images, which record X-rays with energies between 700 and 7,000 electron volts in a combined exposure of three days, are shown in two false-color strips. Bluer colors indicate less intense X-ray emission. The dashed circle is 11.6 million light-years across and marks the so-called virial radius, where cold gas is now entering the cluster. Red circles indicate X-ray sources not associated with the cluster. Inset: An image of the cluster's bright central region taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown to scale. (Credits: NASA/ISAS/DSS/A. Simionescu et al.; inset: NASA/CXC/A. Fabian et al.)

Hubble Space Telescope Image of NGC 1275

Hubble Space Telescope image showing NGC 1275

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows NGC 1275, the galaxy located in the center of the Perseus Galaxy Cluster.

This is amazing stuff . . . and I am so glad to still be alive to learn of it.


A piece on writers who work for no pay
by contributing to The Huffington Post (for the tremendous exposure) brings up some valid points, and there were many comments regarding it.



Check this out . . .

Mail Online reported: OMG! Oxford English Dictionary grows a heart: Graphic symbol for love (and that exclamation) are added as WORDS.


. . . Check out . . .

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor Died



More later . . .


I've changed my mind -- no more today


There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blog Is Both A Noun And A Verb


Winston Churchill
(American Novelist)

Winston Churchill
(November 10, 1871 - March 12, 1947)

The Blag Hag Jen McCreight is a liberal, geeky, nerdy, scientific, perverted atheist feminist who recently escaped Indiana for Seattle. Recently she blogged: "Here is a list of some great female atheists who you should check out." So I did -- and... Wow! There are a lot of them: Authors, Journalists, Bloggers, Activists, Comedians and I don't know what all. And there are links to their sites, too.

The word for today is dystopia . . .

dystopia is a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding; the evil twin of Utopia.


What is NNDB?

NNDB is an intelligence aggregator that tracks the activities of people we have determined to be noteworthy, both living and dead. Superficially, it seems much like a "Who's Who" where a noted person's curriculum vitae is available (the usual information such as date of birth, a biography, and other essential facts.)

But it mostly exists to document the connections between people, many of which are not always obvious. A person's otherwise inexplicable behavior is often understood by examining the crowd that person has been associating with. And, NNDB is a fascinating and addictive tool.


"My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn."
--Louis Adamic

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just A Smidge . . .


While reading Grammar Girl's blog regarding daylight-saving time I discovered a new fact. I read: "Most countries have signed on to the idea of a standard world time system. For them the world is divided into 24 time zones, and each zone differs by an hour from the time zone next to it."

That there are 24 time zones in the world is something I did not know. How about that?

Daylight-saving time? (Ha!) -- I live in Tucson, Arizona, and we do not bow down to such senseless conventions. We do not change our clocks, neither ahead nor back. Never.

And Grammar Girl taught me:

There are at least two acceptable ways to write a.m. and p.m., which are abbreviations for ante meridiem and post meridiem. Ante meridiem is Latin for "before noon" and post meridiem is Latin for "after noon." Note that it is meridieM, with an m, not meridiaN, with an n.

How 'bout that?


That's all for now . . .


Monday, March 21, 2011

Boron, Borax, Boraxo, And Nuclear Power


Neal Whitman in a March 16 article mentioned that the words "unclear and nuclear are anagrams" which made me wonder if those who choose (George W. Bush for instance) to mispronounce the word nuclear (stubbornly saying, "nook-you-luhr" instead of correctly saying, "noo-klee-uhr") also mispronuunce the word unclear as "unk-you-luhr" instead of correctly pronouncing it "uhn-kleer"

I'm sorry, but . . . well . . . I have never been able to understand this specific mispronunciation. Those who pronounce the word as "nook-you-luhr" seem (to me) to be either annoyingly obstinate or perhaps congenitally stupid.

The dictionary states:

Being or having an essential characteristic as if by nature; inherent or inveterate.

1. Slow to learn or understand; obtuse.
2. Tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes.
3. Marked by a lack of intelligence or care; foolish or careless: a stupid mistake.
4. Dazed, stunned, or stupefied.
5. Pointless; worthless: a stupid job.
A stupid or foolish person.

The word is pronounced: "NOO-klee-uhr"

Case closed.

But . . .

If you are interested, there is a website listing the 100 most often mispronounced words and phrases in the English language.


A discussion between writers regarding boron and its use for radiation cleanup of the nuclear problems Japan is experiencing due to the earthquakes prompted me to do some research on the subject. But, me being me, I was sidetracked and found myself reading an advertisement for Boraxo Powdered Hand Soap.

The ad brought to mind an old TV show sponsored by Boraxo and hosted by Ronald Reagan titled Death Valley Days. So, of course, I had to look that up, too.

According to Wikipedia:

Boraxo is an American brand of powdered hand soap. As its name implies, Boraxo is composed largely of borax, and is marketed as a product for those who get their hands especially dirty during the course of their work, such as mechanics and farmers.

Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid.

Boraxo began as a product of the former Pacific Coast Borax Company (later bought by U.S. Borax), and became known as one of the sponsoring products of the long-running radio and television Western, Death Valley Days. While future President Ronald Reagan was host of this program, he frequently did commercials for it, including one at his ranch involving his family.

As of 2006, Boraxo is manufactured and marketed by the Dial Corporation.

Also from Wikipedia:

Death Valley Days is an American radio and television anthology series featuring true stories of the old American West, particularly the Death Valley area. Created in 1930 by Ruth Woodman, the program was broadcast on radio until 1945. It continued from 1952 to 1975 as a syndicated television series. The series was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax Company (20 Mule Team Borax, Boraxo).

There are some Free Old time Radio Shows of Death Valley Days, (1936) 06/17 - The Burro that Had no Name and (1936) 08/27 - Sam Bass. You can listen to them at:

And . . . Ronald Reagan touts Boraxo Powdered Hand Soap on this video:


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring 2011 Has Arrived . . .


A Busy Day

The bluff March wind set out from home
Before the peep of day,
But nobody seemed to be glad he had come,
And nobody asked him to stay.

Yet he dried up the snow-banks far and near,
And made the snow-clouds roll,
Huddled up in a heap, like driven sheep,
Way off to the cold North Pole.

He broke the ice on the river's back
And floated it down the tide,
And the wild ducks came with a loud "Quack, quack,"
To play in the waters wide.

He snatched the hat off Johnny's head
And rolled it on and on,
And oh, what a merry chase it led
Little laughing and scampering John!

He swung the tree where the squirrel lay
Too late in its winter bed,
And he seemed to say in his jolly way,
"Wake up, little sleepy head!"

He dried the yard so that Rob and Ted
Could play at marbles there,
And he painted their cheeks a carmine red
With the greatest skill and care.

He shook all the clothes-lines, one by one,
What a busy time he had!
But nobody thanked him for all he had done;
Now wasn't that just too bad?


The Modern Word is an in-depth treasury of information of interest to both the enquiring writer and the serious reader. Reviews, columns, interviews, and almost everything to do with literature can be found on the pages or via the links.Yes, I know that I often tend to rant and rave about too many websites... but this one is a site you should not miss.


Pippa's Song
by Robert Browning

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!


It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
--Charles Dickens

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Delicious Meals And Distracting Books


I tried some of those packaged prepared dinners from Hormel and Marie Calander, not the frozen kind but the ones that had been dried or somehow preserved and need no refrigeration. It surprised me when I found out that they tasted almost as good to me as home cooked dinners made from scratch.

Almost . . .

Free, online, is Letters From The Earth by Mark Twain. Of course I had read the letters years ago, but it was good to re-read them.

Everyman, a book written by Philip Roth is a book of only 200 pages about an old man of 71 (my age at the moment) and when I read what was presented in the "Look Inside" section of I was impressed. I hate paying full retail price for books, even though I know that doing so helps sustain the author, but I believe I'll grit my teeth and pay full price this time.

Well . . . I'm going to cut this short today and go outside for a long walk in this beautiful Arizona sunshine.


"Old age isn't a battle, old age is a massacre."
--Philip Roth

Friday, March 18, 2011

Should Adult Humans Drink Milk?


I like milk. And I like milk products, such as cottage cheese, hard cheese, and butter. As long as I don't overdo it, and keep my daily input to two cups or less, drinking 1-percent, 2-percent, or non-fat cow's milk seems to have no harmful effect on me. More than that, though, does seem to cause some discomfort due to increased intestinal gas.

So, I've been wondering about the wisdom of switching to soy milk and other soy-like products instead.

At Go Ask Alice which is a highly recommended website, I learned:

What's most commonly referred to as milk is cow's milk, which is a product of the mammary gland. As with all other animal-based foods, it's a complete protein; that is, it supplies people with all the necessary amino acids to form proteins. All cow's milk contain 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrate per cup. Cow's milk is a rich source of other nutrients as well. One cup provides adults with 30 percent of their daily calcium needs and about 50 percent of their vitamin B12 and riboflavin requirements. Often it's fortified with vitamin D to facilitate the absorption of calcium. Vitamin A is usually added to milk as well. Depending on the selection, cow's milk can have a significant amount of fat.

Soy milk is not technically a milk, but a beverage made from soybeans. It is the liquid that remains after soybeans are soaked, finely ground, and then strained. Since it doesn't contain any lactose, soy milk is suitable for lactose intolerant folks. It's also a popular cow's milk substitute for vegetarians since it's based on a plant source.

So . . .
should I drink cow's milk?
Or soy milk?
Or neither?


* Calcium, which is important for healthy bones, is abundant in milk and dairy products. Although it's possible to get ample calcium without milk, it does take some careful planning. Additionally, the calcium in milk is well absorbed by the digestive tract because the vitamin D and lactose found in milk facilitate calcium absorption.
* Skim milk and products made from skim milk are very low in fat and cholesterol, and contain a complete source of protein.
* Milk is also a good source of phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and riboflavin (a B vitamin).


* Whole milk, or anything made of whole milk, is high in saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol level.
* Milk is a common cause of food allergy (allergy to milk protein).
* Many people, especially adults, lack the enzyme to digest lactose (milk sugar). This is called lactose intolerance, which causes bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
* Milk (and meat for that matter) may contain the antibiotics given to the animal before slaughter. It has been argued that when humans then eat the dairy or meat products, they absorb the antibiotics, potentially allowing for bacteria harmful to humans to become more resistant to these antibiotics. The consequence is that when antibiotics are prescribed, they may not be as effective at killing the bacteria as they once were.

The Dairy Council has more information on the pros of milk. Nutritionists recommend their booklet called "Newer Knowledge of Milk and Other Fluid Dairy Products."

One of the CONS related to soy products is the effect on the thyroid gland.

There is some confusion about soy and your thyroid, because the knowledge in this area does not seem to yield specific answers. So far, here is what we know: two isoflavones found in soy -- genistein and daidzein -- compete for an enzyme that is used to make thyroid hormone. Usually, the effects are only seen when a person is iodine deficient (iodine is needed for thyroid hormone, too). Soy isoflavones' impact on thyroid status has been studied for years. Animal studies have been inconsistent in proving soy intake influenced thyroid status. Studies on infants born with thyroid disease showed that increased levels of thyroid hormone replacement was necessary when fed soy formula, but the exact reason for this remains unclear. There are no studies to date measuring the effect of isoflavone intake on thyroid hormone status in adults with hypothyroidism.

But, as usual, I am still confused about whether it would be best for me to drink cow's milk, soy milk, or neither of the two.

The there is Kefir.

One form of fermented milk is called Kefir which is an incredible beverage when you make it yourself. The store-bought kefir just isn't the same because it's usually dead, flat and pasteurized. But home-made kefir is something else entirely! It's alive, energetic and completely natural.

But... I think that's enough about milk...
don't you?

A few middle-aged couples are chatting at a dinner party when one husband, Harry, starts talking enthusiastically about a new restaurant he has just visited with his wife. What's its name, demands a friend. Harry looks blank. There is an awkward pause. "What are those good-smelling flowers with thorns called again?" he eventually asks. A rose, he is told. "Yes that's it," Harry announces before turning to his wife. "Rose, what's that restaurant we went to the other night?"


Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people.

--A Great Mind

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day and Women's History


Today is St. Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day is a religious holiday celebrated internationally on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland.

According to legend, Saint Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish people.

Women's History Month

WASHINGTON -- NASA's women took the spotlight Wednesday in a Women's History Month event showcasing their achievements in aeronautics and space exploration initiatives. The event gave students a chance to interact with an astronaut and other women working in science and technology careers.

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver hosted the event for an audience of approximately 200 elementary through high school-level students from the Washington area.

"Women have made tremendous contributions to NASA over the years," she said. "They've been astronauts, scientists, engineers, program managers and served in many other capacities. We have an obligation to reach out to the next generation and inspire today's girls to pursue science and technology careers. Expanding opportunities in these fields will give perspectives and expertise to win the future."

During the event, NASA announced the creation of a new website that features women in NASA careers telling their stories in their own words. The website has 32 video interviews with women of diverse backgrounds who represent different aspects of the agency's work. Subjects include Garver, astronauts, engineers and scientists. They discuss their accomplishments and offer encouragement to women and girls considering technical careers so they can become the trailblazers of tomorrow. The site also provides information about NASA internships and career opportunities.

Visit the new website at:

Garver took part in the event with NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson. Dyson recently returned from a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station. She shared her experiences aboard the orbiting laboratory and noted how a NASA role model stirred her aspirations to become an astronaut. That role model was Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe, who died in the space shuttle Challenger accident along with six fellow crewmates in 1986.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House advisor, assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement, and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, also spoke. She discussed the importance of encouraging young women to pursue a solid education and providing them with more opportunities to enter any career field they choose, even those sometimes perceived as traditionally male.

NASA aerospace education specialist Trena Ferrell conducted an interactive science demonstration. The students also watched a performance by the Science

Cheerleaders, a group of professional cheerleaders-turned-scientists and engineers who challenge stereotypes while helping to inspire young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). STEM education is a key focus of NASA's education efforts aimed at developing the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.

This special Women's History Month event featured a panel discussion that allowed the students to interact with the female NASA trailblazers featured in the show.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brain Attack


What Is A Stroke?

The National Stroke Association

A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.

The article also states: "Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability." And, "Up to 80% of strokes are preventable."

It is widely reported that the primary causes of stroke are obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and excess alcohol consumption

A story in the Health section of the New York Times is illuminating. It reads:

"Stroke is becoming more common in young people. More young people and adults in their 30s and 40s are being hospitalized for stroke, even as stroke rates are dropping in older people."

And, according to Wikipedia -- Some young people engage in risky behaviors that affect their health and therefore the majority of health problems are psychosocial. Many young people experience multiple problems. These behaviours are established as a young person and go on to become the lifestyles of adults leading to chronic health problems.

Young people have specific health problems and developmental needs that differ from those of children or adults: The causes of ill-health in adolescents are mostly psychosocial rather biological. Young people often engage in health risk behaviours that reflect the processes of adolescent development: experimentation and exploration, including using drugs and alcohol, sexual behaviour, and other risk taking that affect their physical and mental health.

A Fact Sheet about stroke is available for download at:


Off to work now... revising and rewriting my old unpublished crap... what a book this upcoming self-publishing endeavor will be... if I ever get it finished.


Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices.
--Laurence J. Peter (1919 - 1988)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware The Ides Of March . . .



It is passing strange, is it not, that we elders remember events from earlier days and years in fits and fragments... as I so well remember being a shy high school sophomore (in 1955) and standing beside my desk with book in hand reading aloud to the class from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the words, "et tu, Brute" and "Beware the ides of March" ...and little more than that.

Julius Caesar


George Clooney and Merisa Tomei are to appear in a movie titled The Ides Of March scheduled to be released in October 2011. "An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail." Based on the play by Beau Willimon.

Marisa Tomei

(sigh . . .)


On the Ides of March, in 1939 (the year I was born) Germany occupied Czechoslovakia.

On the Ides of March, in 1941 a blizzard in North Dakota killed 151 people.

On the Ides of March, in 1944 the Italian town of Cassino was destroyed by Allied bombing.

On the Ides of March, in 1957 Britain became the 3rd nation to explode a nuclear bomb.

On the Ides of March, in 1958 the USSR performed atmospheric nuclear tests.

On the Ides of March, in 1971 CBS TV announced it was dropping the "Ed Sullivan Show."

Beware the Ides of March indeed.


Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
--Mark Twain

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Einstein Principle: Accomplish More By Doing Less


In The Writer's Almanac I read that today (March 14) is the birthday of Albert Einstein, physicist and Nobel Prize winner who is remembered as having been a mathematical genius.

Albert Einstein March 14, 1879 -- April 18, 1955

According to the aforementioned article in The Writer's Almanac:

After the conclusion of his tour of the United States, in an interview with a Dutch newspaper, Albert Einstein said: "The vast enthusiasm for me in America appears to be typically American though and as far as I can judge I rather understand it: the people are so uncommonly bored, yes honestly much more so than is the case with us. And there is so little for them there anyhow. [...] So folks are happy when they are given something to play with and which they can revere, and that they then do with exceptional intensity.

Most of all it is the women, by the way, who dominate all of American life. The men are interested in nothing at all; they work, work as I haven't seen anyone anywhere else. For the rest, they are toy dogs for their wives, who spend the money in the most excessive fashion and who shroud themselves in a veil of extravagance. They will do anything that's in vogue and in fashion, and, as it happens, have thrown themselves among the throngs of the 'Einstein-craze,'

Does it make an outlandish impression upon me, the crowd's excitement here and there about my beliefs and theories, about which it doesn't understand anything? I find it amusing and also interesting to watch them. I certainly believe it is the magic of non-comprehension that attracts them."

A bit of an eye-opener... eh?

Today, instead of spending time entering inanities into this blog as I usually do, I intend to buckle down and work on my ongoing project of self-publishing... after all, this would be considered as adhering to The Einstein Principle... "Accomplish more by doing less."


Achievements worth achieving require hard work. There is no shortcut here.
--Albert Einstein

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Perpetual Pastiche That Defines My Life


The Monthly Report that popped up yesterday from my Norton Virus Scan software proclaimed:

Virus and Spyware -- 122 threats removed
Intrusions -- 16 blocked
Phishing -- 31 sites blocked
Authentications -- 1,252 sites authenticated
Cleanup --
27,776 files removed;
151 registry keys removed

(but I do believe it)

Surveying Its World From A Treetop

Tucson, AZ -- March 2011

My New Word For Today:

corniche -- A coastal road, especially one cut into the side of a cliff.

La Corniche near Monaco


To my great pleasure, I have discovered the writing of Jean Genet...

In my time, the Ramblas were frequented by two young mariconas who carried a tame little monkey on their shoulders. It was an easy pretext for approaching clients: the monkey would jump up on the man they pointed out to it. One of the mariconas was called Pedro. He was pale and thin. His waist was very supple, his step quick. His eyes in particular were splendid, his lashes immense. In fun, I asked him which was the monkey, he or the animal he carried on his shoulder. We started quarreling. I punched him. His eyelashes remained stuck to my knuckles; they were fake. I had just discovered the existence of fakes.

--Jean Genet
The Thief's Journal

( offers The Thief's Journal, Kindle version, for $1)


The Electroasylum is an interesting site...
at least, I think it is interesting.

('nuff said about that)

A picture is worth . . .

a: potpourri
b : hodgepodge


I liked, as I like still, to make words look self-conscious and foolish, to bind them by the mock marriage of a pun, to turn them inside out, to come upon them unawares. What is this jest in majesty? This ass in passion? How do God and Devil combine to form a live dog?
--Vladimir Nabokov

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Times They Are A'Changin'...


The Forever Stamp -- I just heard about it. Yes, I am behind the times, and in many other ways than merely not being aware of a roll of stamps that will still be usable even after the price of first-class postage rises again. This seems to be the best way for an infrequent user of the U.S. Postal Service like me to buy stamps. But I'm not sure about it.

Another subject I have recently learned about is dystopia. Why it matters that I know what dystopia is or not is most likely immaterial, but I hate it when I discover that a subject exists that I know nothing about. That's why I spend so much time looking things up.

Below is a first paragraph contributed by some helpful soul...

Dystopia is utopia's polarized mirror image. While utilizing many of the same concepts as utopia—for example, social stability created by authoritarian regimentation—dystopia reads these ideas pessimistically. Dystopia angrily challenges utopia's fundamental assumption of human perfectibility, arguing that humanity's inherent flaws negate the possibility of constructing perfect societies, except for those that are perfectly hellish. Dystopias are solely fictional, presenting grim, oppressive societies—with the moralistic goal of preventing the horrors they illustrate.

Read more: Dystopia - Goals Of Dystopian Fiction


Don Oldenburg is a columnist and writer I'd never heard of until a few days ago -- Good Grief! Click the link to read some of his columns.

Here is a poem that truly paints a picture with words...

The poem Cher can be read at The Writer's Almanac and can be easily envisioned by any person who has viewed the old Sonny and Cher show on TV back in the 'good old days.'

Remember this? . . . I Got You, Babe

And . . .

Who could forget: Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves


Yep . . . The Times They Are A'Changin' sings Bob Dylan...

My favorite, though, was Joan Baez singing it.


"The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind"
--Bob Dylan

Friday, March 11, 2011

This Is Johnny Appleseed Day...

Today is the anniversary of the birth of John Chapman -- better known as Johnny Appleseed.

I have heard stories of Johnny Appleseed from the earliest times I can remember, mostly told to me by my grandmother in the 1940s in my small hometown in Northwest Indiana... but I was formally introduced to the true history of the man, John Chapman, when I was an eighth-grader in my Indiana History class. And I have never fortgotten those early tall-tales, nor the genuine facts about the man.




We're told that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what exactly are the health benefits of apples? Here are ten reasons to heed the advice of that old proverb.


Basic Nutrition Facts About Apples

> Apples don't have fat, cholesterol or sodium, which may help you maintain heart health and a healthy weight.

> Apples do have lots of fiber - both soluble and insoluble kinds. Fiber may help promote heart health and maintain regularity.

> Apples contain small amounts of potassium, which may promote heart health and help maintain healthy blood pressure.


That's enough for today. I have a great deal of creative writing and other writing-related chores to do, and can no longer put them off. And besides, I have an apple out in the kitchen that is waiting to be eaten.


"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."
-- Martin Luther

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Some Days We Don't Feel So Well . . .

Human beings go to amazing lengths to convince themselves that they are special, that they are sensitive souls, that unlike the unlettered masses, they, the highly educated, the 'elite' actually do care -- like, for example, the way scholars read books written by William Faulkner and struggle to 'empathize' with the disgusting characters therein depicted.

Even after years of sporadic reading of Faulkner's stories I too feel that my mind is special, that I am one of those natural persons who is able to see through the widespread social scam that declares those impenetrable writings as being superior to the clear and directly written stories of lesser non-genius authors, that I am not fooled by the conditioning administered by the minions of higher education.

But I know, of course, that I am not special at all. I am an habitual cynic who believes in nothing.

I do not believe in the conventional perception of a personal god. Yet I do not loudly declare, as do the militant gnu-atheists, that there is no god.

I believe in nothing.

It seems that almost all people, nearly every living person, believes that human beings are more than biological entities, more than just an animal, better than only an upright-walking mammal possessing a complex brain -- that people have a mysterious soul that distinguishes them from all the other animals that roam the planet.

I do not.

I believe in nothing.

This does not make me a happy person. But yet it does not make me especially unhappy, either. One thing it does do, though, is to spur me on to continue searching for that elusive answer to the question: "Why am I here?" -- always hoping that eventually I will suddenly 'see the light' and then I will know...

The only reason I am publishing the above drivel instead of deleting it as I usually do is because I am not feeling so well this morning... -- neither physically nor mentally. But I've found through experience, that "this too shall pass."

I'll feel better in a few hours. And I can always come back later and delete the entire entry.


Anetta Pirinen says she knew something significant had happened in her mind the day the word "Homer" stopped being a Greek poet and took on the meaning of a cartoon character.



Be careful about reading health books.
You may die of a misprint.
--Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Month Of March . . .


On March 9 . . .

In 1862 -- During the American Civil War, The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia fought to a draw in the Battle of Hampton Roads, the first battle between two ironclad warships.

In 1959 -- The beloved Barbie doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

In 1961 -- Sputnik 9 successfully launched, carrying a human dummy nicknamed Ivan Ivanovich, and demonstrating that Soviet Union was ready to begin human spaceflight.

And, in 2010 -- The first same-sex marriages in Washington, D.C. took place.

You can listen to Mickey Gilley sing at if you have a mind to.
Note 2:
I often play music from the site while I do computer related stuff.

My goodness gracious... it's simply amazing what can be discovered out there... using Google?


I read in a tweet from my old hometown newspaper that: "On Sunday March 13 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time begins in the United States. Don't forget to Spring Ahead!"

Of course, here in Tucson we (being inimical to convention) neither move our clocks forward nor backward... ever. But since much of the rest of the country does so it's nice to know when the changes occur. For example: when Daylight Saving Time kicks in, the East coast will be three hours ahead of the folks in Tucson instead of the two hours differential during Standard Time. Also, we will share the same time as denizens of California instead of being an hour ahead of them.

1. adverse in tendency or effect; unfavorable; harmful


The descent of man? Our species is still evolving, but future humans might be more like Danny DeVito than Stuart Broad. Olly Bootle explains why. Below is his opening...

Ever since Charles Darwin formulated his theory of evolution by natural selection 150 years ago, scientists have wondered whether the process still applies to humans. Evolution may have made us, but at some point, did we stop evolving? There's no question that we're unique in the animal world. While a bear which found itself stranded in the arctic would, over millennia, evolve thick blubber to keep itself warm, humans could make clothes and light fires. Or we could just build a boat and leave. And so scientists suspected that by adapting to environmental change – the driver of natural selection – using our ingenuity, we might have stopped ourselves evolving. The late Stephen Jay Gould, one of the most respected of evolutionary biologists, once said: "There has been no biological change in humans in 40,000 or 50,000 years. Everything we call culture and civilisation we've built with the same body and brain." It turns out that he, and many others, were wrong.

The above link will take you to this truly fascinating short article.

Danny DeVito

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf is the latest of my FREE KindlePC downloads. I read the first two pages immediately but then had to tend to some pesky chores, but I intend to get back to it later this evening.

RELEASE: 11-067


WASHINGTON -- U.S. high school students are invited to participate in NASA's Interdisciplinary National Science Program Incorporating Research Experience, or INSPIRE, through an online learning community. INSPIRE is designed to encourage students in ninth through 12th grades to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Applications are being accepted through June 30. NASA will make selections for the program in September. The selected students and their parents will participate in an online learning community with opportunities to interact with peers, NASA engineers and scientists. The online community also provides appropriate grade level educational activities, discussion boards and chat rooms for participants to gain exposure to careers and opportunities available at NASA.

Students selected for the program also will have the option to compete for unique grade-appropriate experiences during the summer of 2012 at NASA facilities and participating universities. The summer experience provides students with a hands-on opportunity to investigate education and careers in the STEM disciplines.

INSPIRE is part of NASA's education strategy to attract and retain students in the STEM disciplines critical to NASA's missions. For more information about INSPIRE, visit this website


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
--Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)