Sunday, June 24, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Upcoming Interlude


I will be leaving home this evening for a two-week stay at another location, so blog entries during that time may be sporadic; I am not sure yet. Not that it matters, I suppose since daily entries have not been reliable lately anyway.

A brief factoid:

Have you ever heard of a guy named Rodolfo Alfonso Rafaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina D’Antonguolla?

He is better known in the USA as
Rudolph Valentino



malarkey [muh-lahr-kee]
Meaningless talk; nonsense.
Speech or writing designed to obscure, mislead, or impress; bunkum



Meryl Streep

Born June 22, 1949
She is 62 years old.

 Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film. She is widely regarded as one of the most talented actors of all time.

Born June 22, 1949
She is 62 years old.

Lindsay Jean Wagner is an American actress. She is probably best known for her portrayal of Jaime Sommers in the 1970s television series The Bionic Woman.

Born June 22, 1954
Died Jan. 29, 1977.

Freddie Prinze (born Frederick Karl Pruetzel) was an American actor and stand-up comedian. Prinze was the star of 1970s sitcom Chico and the Man.

Born June 22, 1903
Died July 22, 1934.

John Herbert Dillinger, Jr. was an American bank robber of German descent in the Depression-era United States. He was charged with, but never convicted of, the murder of an East Chicago, Indiana police officer during a shoot-out. This was his only alleged homicide, and was likely not his action. His gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations. Dillinger escaped from jail twice.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Moods And Attitudes


Sometimes the most insignificant incident can bring about a glimmer of nearly sublime peace and joy.

I was almost to the halfway point on my daily walk when I spied on the sidewalk, adjacent to a large green and white splotch of bird droppings, a neatly folded, crisp, new one-dollar bill (also green and white.)

Just before bending to pick it up, I was thinking about how stiff and sore my old, aching joints were, and how sweaty hot it was there on the reflecting pavement in the Arizona summer morning sunlight, nearly one hundred degrees already, and how God-awful tired I was getting each day on this repetitious two mile walk.

Just after picking up the carelessly abandoned buck, I was surprised to notice how good I suddenly felt, how light-hearted and cheerful, how strangely happy.

Just goes to show . . .




Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view, or practice that focuses on human values and concerns, attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.



Michael Gross
 Born June 21,1947

Michael Gross is an American television, movie, and stage actor who plays both comedic and dramatic roles. His most notable role was as Steven Keaton, father of Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) from the TV series, Family Ties.


Born June 21, 1947

Meredith Baxter is an American television, movie, and stage actor who plays both comedic and dramatic roles. His most notable role was as the mother of Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) from the hit TV series, Family Ties.

(Note: the two 'Family Ties' actors above are exactly the same age.)


 Born June 21, 1921
Died Feb. 28, 2011

Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was an American film actress and was one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s.

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

--Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Same ol' Same ol' -- Why Not?


I have been considering some major changes in the direction of these last years of my life.

A wise person, it seems to me, will as much as possible set a course through life that runs through a succession of climes that promise varying degrees of relative happiness, But if one does not do so while young, then this can surely still be done, more moderately of course, throughout the remnants of the final span of years.

Instead of continuing to strive for some limited success as a professional writer, which is now become no more than foolish folly, I have decided to abandon the task of creative writing completely.

What do I enjoy at this stage of my life? Reading. Listening to interesting radio programs. Watching engaging TV and compelling movies.

Why should I not do those things then, instead of attempting to do that which I am no longer able to do?

How about maintaining my blog?

I can do that.

But only in a simplistic manner, continuing to announce birthdays of well-known persons and producing my Word Of The Day, and things like that.

Why not?

Why the hell not?



1.   having a loud deep sound
2.   resonant and mournful in sound


John Goodman

Born June 20,1952

John Stephen Goodman is an American film, television, and stage actor. He is best known for his role as Dan Conner on the television series Roseanne (1988–1997) for which he won a Best Actor Golden Globe Award in 1993.


Anne Murray

Born June 20,1945

Morna Anne Murray is a multiple award-winning Canadian singer in pop, country, and adult contemporary music whose albums have sold over 54 million copies. Among other songs, she is much remembered for her recording of Snowbird.


Audie Murphy

Born June 20, 1924
Died May 28, 1971

Audie Leon Murphy was a highly decorated and famous soldier. Through LIFE magazine's July 16, 1945 issue ("Most Decorated Soldier"/cover photo), he became one of the most famous soldiers of World War II and widely regarded as the most decorated American soldier of the war. After the war he became a celebrated movie star for over two decades, appearing in 44 films


Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
--Søren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

"What Do I Know, Anyway"


When I stumbled across the term mathematical psychology I paused and asked myself, "What in the world is mathematical psychology?"

According to Wikipedia, mathematical psychology is an approach to psychological research that is based on mathematical modeling of perceptual, cognitive and motor processes, and on the establishment of law-like rules that relate quantifiable stimulus characteristics with quantifiable behavior.

There followed a long page filled with blah, blah, blah, and various forms of gobble, gobble, gobble de-gook, concluding with: "While the first three laws are all deterministic in nature, later established relations are more fundamentally stochastic. This has been a general theme in the evolution in mathematical modeling of psychological processes: From deterministic relations as found in classical physics to inherently stochastic models."

Well Good God Almighty! According to Wikipedia, the word stochastic is an adjective that refers to systems whose behavior is intrinsically non- deterministic, sporadic and categorically not intermittent.

Oh well . . . I don't think I really expected to learn anything about mathematical psychology anyway.

Mark my words: there are basic flaws in mankind's overall conception of mathematics which will someday be exposed, and; that is inevitable.

In my opinion.



a shudder or shiver; thrill



Jacques Cousteau

Born June 11, 1910
Died June 25, 1997

Jacques Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.

Born June 11, 1933
He is 78 years old

Gene Wilder (born Jerome Silberman) is an American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, author and activist. Some of the most well known movies in which he appeared were Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak. Blazing Saddles, and Stir Crazy.
Born June 11, 1959
He is 52 years old

James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE, known as Hugh Laurie, is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director. From 2004 to 2012, he played Dr Gregory House, the protagonist of of the TV  series House, for which he received two Golden Globe awards, two Screen Actors Guild awards, and six Emmy nominations. As of August 2010, Laurie is the highest paid actor in a drama series on US television. He has been listed in the 2011 Guinness Book of World Records as the highest paid actor ever in a TV Drama--earning US$ 700,000 per episode in House--and for being the most watched leading man on television.


Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.
--Bertrand Russell

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Cost Of Higher Education

Subprime college educations is the title of George Will's latest column in The Washington Post and speaks of the value and the quality of a college education in today's world. Below is the first paragraph:

Many parents and the children they send to college are paying rapidly rising prices for something of declining quality. This is because "quality" is not synonymous with "value."

He then goes on to disclose:

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, believes that college has become, for many, merely a "status marker," signaling membership in the educated caste, and a place to meet spouses of similar status -- "associative mating."

I found the column insightful, perhaps because it echoes some of my own thoughts and feelings regarding college education as it has affected university graduates I have known personally. And, as always, George Will dives right into the subject, writing directly and clearly. It's a fairly short column and well worth a read.

After reading the column, some of the comments are also well worth pursuing. Such as this one submitted by tbarksdl, who wrote:

I seldom agree with George Will about anything, so when we do agree, It must be true. This column nails it about education. I long ago concluded that our educational system, from K-12 through, universities, has become the most corrupt and incompetent enterprise in the United States. (Wall Street runs a close second). The escalating costs are beyond belief, but weighed against the ultimate product, they become obscene. Not even the Defense Department could get away with this level of sheer waste.

Will accurately points out the main impetus to the rising costs: ballooning bureaucracies and the outrageous salaries paid to the bureaucrats, including college presidents and chancellors. Add to that nepotism and old boy networks linking the administrators and their political allies, and you have a system programmed for waste and abuse.

Trust me: we could fire every college president and chancellor in America and not a darned one of them would ever be missed.

Even worse than the corruption is the abysmal product these incompetent nitwits produce. What human being of normal intelligence believes our students are receiving a real education? The dumbing down of the curriculum is apparent and appalling. Higher education has become four years of partying and binge drinking. The pervasive drunkenness offers proof positive of the lack of any intellectual challenge. And the professors and administrators could care less.

The net result? Business leaders in survey after survey tell us that the average college graduate is woefully unprepared to enter the market place.

But most shocking of all: all of this takes place in plain view, with no attempt to impose accountability or oversight. You would think by now, the American taxpayer, legislators, and parents and students overburdened with those escalating costs and dismal results would have risen up in rebellion and demanded reforms. But this Frankenstein's monster just keeps lurching forward.

Can someone please tell us why?


I admit that I had little to do with the above beyond simply copying and pasting the thoughts of others into this blog entry. But I feel that it is more valuable than anything I could offer in the way of insight. And, as always, if the original authors object to the pasting I will immediately remove them.



encomium [en-KO-mee-uhm]
A speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly.

More about encomium



Judy Garland

Born June 10, 1922
Died June 22, 1969

Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm) was an American actress, singer and vaudevillian. Renowned for her contralto voice, she attained international stardom through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist, and on the concert stage. She would be most identified and most remembered for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.


Hattie McDaniel

Born June 10, 1895
Died Oct. 26, 1952

Hattie McDaniel was an American actress. McDaniel was the first black person to win an Academy Award. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939).


Sasha Obama

Born June 10, 2001
She is 10 years old

Sasha Obama is the youngest daughter of  the 44th President of the Untied States Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Her formal name is Natasha, but she is most often called by her nickname, Sasha.



I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.

--Michel de Montaigne

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Good Doctor

Stopped In My Tracks . . .


Quite by accident, I stumbled across a website that startled me. It's called The Weed and is written by a Mormon, one who happens to be homosexual. One particular entry  on June 7, 2012 was exceptionally startling to me -- it is titled  Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary.

Below is a description of the writer:

Facts about The Weed (written by his wife, who has adopted the role as his publicist):

1. He's a Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Auburn, WA (Come and see him if you would like counseling -- seriously!)

2. He's an active Mormon

3. He's gay

4. He's married to a woman (who is awesome!)

5. He's amazing.

6. He writes this blog. He writes about ALL kinds of things. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It might even make you mad or offended. Give it a try.

This entry is long so if you decide to read it, you might wish to wait until you can devote sufficient time to it.

Here is The Link



A strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.
The art or practice of engaging in controversial debate or dispute.



Born June 9, 1961

Canadian American actor, author, celebrity, producer, activist and voice-over artist. With a film and television career spanning from the late 1970s, Fox's roles have included Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985-1990); Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982-1989) for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty from Spin City (1996-2000), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. Fox semi-retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of his disease worsened. He has since become an activist for research toward finding a cure. This led him to create the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and on March 5, 2010, Sweden's Karolinska Institutet gave him a honoris causa doctorate for his work in advocating a cure for Parkinson's disease.


  Born June 9, 1891
Died Oct 15, 1964

"Night and Day," "I Get A Kick Out of You" "You’re the Top," "Begin the Beguine," "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" --  some of the cleverest, funniest, and most romantic songs ever written came from the pen of Cole Porter. He was unmatched as a tunesmith, and his Broadway musicals -- from "Kiss Me Kate" and "Anything Goes" to "Silk Stockings" and "Can Can" -- set the standards of style and wit to which today’s composers and lyricists aspire.


The ruling passion, be it what it will.
The ruling passion conquers reason still.

--Alexander Pope

Friday, June 8, 2012

. . . And That's All That I Am


Prologue To A Book Never To Be Written is the title of a piece I just finished reading for the third, fourth, fifth or more times. And still I am as mystified as I was the first time I read it. The mystery is not so much in its elusive meanings as is in the why I feel so earnestly compelled to reread it so carefully and so often. Perhaps it is the suspicion that I am missing the point (or multiple points) of this curious composition.

Although . . . that I consistently miss the point or fail to understand the meanings of (supposed) classics and revered masterpieces written by historically famous authors and deep thinkers has been apparent (to me, anyway) throughout my lifetime.

The Works of William Shakespeare have always been and still remain puzzles to me, and for the most part I am absolutely dependent upon the explanations of teachers and scholars (or Cliff Notes) to gain from them even a modicum of understanding. The characters depicted in Julius Caesar seem to be fantasy figures drawn by some fanciful artist of the times, playing to the expectations of both the elite and the rabble of those times.

And, William Faulkner, whose books and stories I have read time and time again never deign to reveal their oft proclaimed secret wisdoms to me.

So, it is evidently some deficit in my cognition that is at fault.


Perhaps it is no more than Popeye's self-revelation, "I yam what I yam."



tin god
1. A pompous, self-important person.
2. A person who regards himself or herself as infallible and tries to dictate standards of behavior or beliefs.


Barbara Bush

Born June 8, 1925
She is 86 years old

Barbara Pierce Bush is the wife of the 41st President of the United States George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd President George W. Bush and of the 43rd Governor of Florida Jeb Bush. Previously she had served as Second Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

Born June 8, 1927
He is 84 years old

Gerald Isaac "Jerry" Stiller is an American comedian and actor. He spent many years in the comedy team Stiller and Meara with his wife Anne Meara. Stiller and Meara are the parents of actor Ben Stiller. He is best known for his recurring role as Frank Costanza on the television series Seinfeld and his supporting role as Arthur Spooner on the television series The King of Queens.

Born June 8, 1940
She is 71 years old

Nancy Sandra Sinatra is an American singer and actress. She is the daughter of singer/actor Frank Sinatra, and remains best known for her 1966 signature hit These Boots Are Made for Walkin'.


Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
--Will Durant

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It Ain't Easy, Gettin' Old . . .


It's getting late in the day and I have not yet decided what to write about in this, my blog, and so I guess I'll just go ahead and publish the boilerplate anyway.

Why not?


divagate [dahy-vuh-geyt]
1.  to wander; stray.
2.  to digress in speech.

  Born June 7, 1940
He is 71 years old

Sir Thomas John Woodward, known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh singer. Since the mid 1960s, Jones has sung many styles of popular music -- pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, soul and gospel-- and sold over 100 million records. Jones has had thirty-six Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom and nineteen in the United States; some of his notable songs include "It's Not Unusual", "What's New Pussycat", "Delilah", "Green, Green Grass of Home", and "She's a Lady"


Dean Martin

Born June 7, 1917
Died Dec 25, 1995

Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti) was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian.


Why do women open their mouths when applying mascara?

--David Feldman

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury Dies

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury, whose imagination yielded classic books such as "Fahrenheit 451," "The Martian Chronicles" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes," has died at 91, his publisher said Wednesday.

Day After Day . . .



According to a U of M study in 2006, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in 'sharing their vision of American society.' Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Now that's interesting. I wonder if that factoid's figures have changed since then. I might just rouse myself enough to check it out.

Maybe . . .


According to a recent NASA memo, NASA's Curiosity rover, the most advanced rover ever sent to Mars, will land near the Martian equator about 10:31 p.m. PDT August 5, 2012.

Wouldn't it be something to write about if Curiosity sent back a picture of an obviously alien spacecraft with alien astronauts posing in front of it? Maybe waving friendly greetings to the camera?

Or if the spacecraft were to be identified as having been manufactured by Iran, or North Korea, or perhaps South Africa?

Or something else just as wacky.

Well, why not? Fiction is fiction, isn't it?


If I get a little more ambitious sometime during the day, I may add a little something more here.



heuristic [hyoo-RIS-tik]
1.  serving to indicate or point out; stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation.
2.  encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error: a heuristic teaching method.
3.  of, pertaining to, or based on experimentation, evaluation, or trial-and-error methods.



Sandra Bernhard

Born June 6, 1955
She is 56 years old

Sandra Bernhard is an American comedian, singer, actress and author.

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says:
He is always convinced that it says what he means.

 --George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Excuses, Excuses . . .

One of the reasons I have composed no entries for the last few days is that I have not been feeling well. Several days of painful chest and sinus congestion and lots of coughing and sneezing kept me away from the blog. But I am feeling better now.

Another reason is that I have been working on a separate writing project. That project is not going well. But I am not yet ready to delete it and then forget it, as is often the case with my mind's somewhat weird workings.

Not yet.

Greta Christina writes of cognitive dissonance and of memes. Both of these words swirl fuzzily within my eternally changing realm of understanding and once again I find it necessary to look up their definitions. Wikipedia announces that cognitive dissonance is discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously. And Wiki declares that a meme is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."

Oh . . . yeah . . .  Now I remember. I knew both of those definitions at one time. Since, however, I never actively use those two words but merely occasionally read about them, their definite meanings tend to fade from the forefront of my mind with that lack of active usage.

Words . . . Words and phrases, and their presumed meanings. I have always believed that a specific word (or phrase) should have a definite meaning and that its meaning should be recognized by all who read it. How else can the information being correctly communicated from producer to recipient?

I am not sure I have a distinct point by writing the above. It seems (to me) a bit hollow. Or incomplete perhaps.

Oh well  . . .



gavage [guh-vahzh]
forced feeding, as by a flexible tube and a force pump



Bill Moyers
Born June 5, 1934

Bill Moyers is an American journalist and public commentator. Mr. Moyers is currently 77 years old


Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.
--George Carlin