Saturday, August 31, 2013

Back Home Again



Well, I am now out of the scrubland and back home, inside the Tucson city limits.

Unfortunately, I am unable at this moment to come up with something interesting about which to write.



George Harrison was the first one of the Beatles to release a solo album.



On this day, August 31 in 1955, William G. Cobb of the General Motors Corp. (GM) demonstrated his 15-inch-long "Sunmobile," the world's first solar-powered automobile, at the General Motors Powerama auto show held in Chicago, Illinois.

Cobb's Sunmobile introduced, however briefly, the field of photovoltaics -- the process by which the sun's rays are converted into electricity when exposed to certain surfaces -- into the gasoline-drenched automotive industry.

In early 2009, The Nikkei, a Japanese business daily, reported that Toyota Motor Corp. was secretly developing a vehicle that would be powered totally by solar energy. According to The Nikkei, Toyota's planned solar car is not expected to hit the market for years. The electric vehicle will get some of its power from solar cells on the vehicle, and will be recharged with electricity generated from solar panels on the roofs of car owners' homes.

Today, more than a half-century after Cobb debuted the Sunmobile, a mass-produced solar car has yet to hit the market anywhere in the world.


An entrepreneur is an individual who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.

The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator -- a generator of new ideas, and business processes. Management skill and strong team building abilities are often perceived as essential leadership attributes for successful entrepreneurs. Robert B. Reich considers leadership, management ability, and team-building to be essential qualities of an entrepreneur



(born August 31, 1949)
Richard Gere is an American actor. He began acting in the 1970s, playing a supporting role in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and a starring role in Days of Heaven. He came to prominence in 1980 for his role in the film American Gigolo, which established him as a leading man and a sex symbol. He went on to star in several hit films, including An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, Primal Fear, Arbitrage, and Chicago.

(born August 31, 1979)
Dana Hamm decided to put her good looks to work and aimed to start modeling. However, Hamm wisely decided not to go through modeling agencies like Next. Instead Dana appeared on a popular talk show (Jenny Jones) as one of America’s new faces. This television appearance helped her to gain notoriety and popularity as a famous model.

Hamm is commonly referred to as “The Sexiest Women Alive”. Hamm is one of the most successful print models of all time. She has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most promising rising stars, cited by popular media as one of The World’s Most Beautiful Women and often compared to the likes of Angelina Jolie.

(Aug 31, 1928 – Nov 18, 2002)
James Coburn was an American film and television actor. Coburn appeared in nearly 70 films and made more than 100 television appearances during his 45-year career, winning an Academy Award for his supporting role as Glen Whitehouse in Affliction.

A capable, rough-hewn leading man, his toothy grin and lanky body made him a perfect tough-guy in numerous leading and supporting roles in westerns and action films, such as The Magnificent Seven, Hell Is for Heroes, The Great Escape, Major Dundee, Our Man Flint, In Like Flint, Duck, You Sucker, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Charade, and Cross of Iron.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s he would cultivate an image synonymous with "cool", and along with such contemporaries as Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson, became one of the prominent "tough-guy" actors of his day.

(Aug 31, 1924 – June 30, 2003)
Buddy Hackett was an American comedian and actor.

Hackett starred as the title character in Stanley, a situation comedy that also featured Carol Burnett and the voice of Paul Lynde. The series aired live on NBC before a studio audience and was one of the last live sitcoms. Stanley revolved around the adventures of the titular character (Hackett) as the operator of a newsstand in a posh New York City hotel.

In 1960, he appeared as himself in an episode of NBC's short-lived crime drama Dan Raven, starring Skip Homeier, set on the Sunset Strip of West Hollywood. Hackett also appeared many times on the game show Hollywood Squares, in the late 1960s. In one particularly notable episode, Hackett was asked which was the country with the highest ratio of doctors to populace; he answered Israel, or in his words, "the country with the most Jews". Despite the audience roaring with laughter (and Hackett's own belief that the actual answer was Sweden), the answer turned out to be correct.

After starring on Broadway in I Had a Ball, Hackett appeared opposite Robert Preston in the 1962 film adaptation of The Music Man. Hackett became widely known from his role in the 1963 box-office success It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, in which he was paired with Mickey Rooney, with whom he had also recently made Everything's Ducky (1961), about two sailors (Rooney and Hackett) who smuggle a talking duck aboard a Navy ship. Children became familiar with him as lovable hippie auto mechanic Tennessee Steinmetz in Disney's The Love Bug (1969). He appeared for one season as Art Carney's replacement as second banana on The Jackie Gleason Show, and in the 1958 film God's Little Acre


In America, everybody thinks they're an entrepreneur. That's the problem. It's not a title that anybody should call oneself.
--Alan Sugar


Friday, August 30, 2013

The Monsoon Is Still Around


I did not walk yesterday as it rained off and on most of the early morning... pouring down hard for about an hour. The sun came out and dried everything up around eleven, but that's too late for walking. Too hot and humid.

In a few minutes I intend to go out and walk at least a mile, two if it's cool enough.

We'll see.


Racewalking has been an official Olympic sport or over 90 years.



On this day, August 30 in 1983, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford became the first African American to travel into space when the space shuttle Challenger lifted off on its third mission. It was the first night launch of a space shuttle, and many people stayed up late to watch the spacecraft roar up from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 2:32 A.M.

The Challenger spent six days in space, during which time Bluford and his four fellow crew members launched a communications satellite for the government of India, made contact with an errant communications satellite, conducted scientific experiments, and tested the shuttle's robotic arm. Just before dawn on September 5, the shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, bringing an end to the most flawless shuttle mission to that date.

Bluford later flew three more shuttle missions, logging a total of 700 hours in orbit.



1. To move over a surface by taking steps with the feet at a pace slower than a run: a baby learning to walk; a horse walking around a riding ring.
a. To go or travel on foot: walked to the store.
b. To go on foot for pleasure or exercise; stroll: walked along the beach looking for shells.
c. To move in a manner suggestive of walking: saw a woodpecker walking up the tree trunk.
3. To conduct oneself or behave in a particular manner; live: walks in majesty and pride.
4. To appear as a supernatural being: The specter of famine walks through the land.
5. Slang
a. To go out on strike.
b. To resign from one's job abruptly; quit.
c. To be acquitted: The alleged killer walked.
a. Baseball To go to first base after the pitcher has thrown four pitches ruled as balls.
b. Basketball To move illegally while holding the ball; travel.
1. To go or pass over, on, or through by walking: walk the financial district of a city.
2. To bring to a specified condition by walking: They walked me to exhaustion.
3. To cause to walk or proceed at a walk: walk a horse uphill.
4. To accompany in walking; escort on foot: walk the children home; walked me down the hall.
5. To traverse on foot in order to survey or measure; pace off: walked the bounds of the property.
6. To move (a heavy or cumbersome object) in a manner suggestive of walking: walked the bureau into the hall.
7. Baseball
a. To allow (a batter) to go to first base by throwing four pitches ruled as balls.
b. To cause (a run) to score by walking a batter. Often used with in.
a. The gait of a human or other biped in which the feet are lifted alternately with one part of a foot always on the ground.
b. The gait of a quadruped in which at least two feet are always touching the ground, especially the gait of a horse in which the feet touch the ground in the four-beat sequence of near hind foot, near forefoot, off hind foot, off forefoot.
c. The self-controlled extravehicular movement in space of an astronaut.
2. The act or an instance of walking, especially a stroll for pleasure or exercise.
a. The rate at which one walks; a walking pace.
b. The characteristic way in which one walks.
4. The distance covered or to be covered in walking.
5. A place, such as a sidewalk or promenade, on which one may walk.
6. A route or circuit particularly suitable for walking: one of the prettiest walks in the area.
a. Baseball A base on balls.
b. Basketball The act or an instance of moving illegally with the ball; traveling.
8. Sports
a. A track event in which contestants compete in walking a specified distance.
b. Racewalking.
9. An enclosed area designated for the exercise or pasture of livestock.



Cameron Michelle Diaz
(born August 30, 1972)
Cameron Diaz is an American actress and former model. She rose to prominence during the 1990s with roles in the movies The Mask, My Best Friend's Wedding and There's Something About Mary. Other high-profile credits include the two Charlie's Angels films, voicing the character Princess Fiona in the Shrek series, Knight and Day, The Holiday, The Green Hornet and Bad Teacher. Diaz received Golden Globe award nominations for her performances in the movies There's Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky, and Gangs of New York.

Michael Charles Chiklis
(born August 30, 1963)
Michael Chiklis is an American actor, director and television producer. Some of the previous roles for which he is best known include Commissioner Tony Scali on the ABC police drama The Commish, LAPD Detective Vic Mackey on the FX police drama The Shield, the Thing in the Fantastic Four film series, and Jim Powell on the ABC science-fiction comedy-drama No Ordinary Family. He also co-starred as Vincent Savino in the CBS Crime drama Vegas.

Michael Michele
(born August 30, 1966)
Michael Michele is an American film and television actress. She played Dr. Cleo Finch on the medical drama ER and Det. Rene Sheppard on the police procedural Homicide: Life on the Street. Her films include the Academy Award-nominated film Ali.

Warren Edward Buffett
(born August 30, 1930)
Warren Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. Buffett is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people. He was ranked as the world's wealthiest person in 2008 and as the third wealthiest person in 2011. In 2012, American magazine Time named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world.


“Writing is one way of making the world our own, and walking is another."
--Michel de Certeau



Thursday, August 29, 2013

I'm Walkin' - Yes Indeed I'm Walkin'


Yesterday (Wednesday) I hauled my unwilling body out the door and went for a morning walk. My route was: East on Calle del Valle to Coronado where I turned and continued on to Soldier Trail, upon which I traveled South to Fort Lowell Road, where I entered a path through the scrubland alongside Ft.Lowell to Calle del Rincon, which I followed to Calle del Valle and then to the house.

Below are six of the shots I took while on the walking path.







It would take about 225 million years to walk one light-year at the pace of a 20-minute mile.



On this day, August 29 in 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane. Despite being only the third most powerful storm of the 2005 hurricane season, Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

After briefly coming ashore in southern Florida on August 25 as a Category 1 hurricane, Katrina gained strength before slamming into the Gulf Coast on August 29. In addition to bringing devastation to the New Orleans area, the hurricane caused damage along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as other parts of Louisiana.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city on August 28, when Katrina briefly achieved Category 5 status and the National Weather Service predicted "devastating" damage to the area. But an estimated 150,000 people ignored the order and stayed behind. The storm brought sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, which cut power lines and destroyed homes. Katrina caused record storm surges all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The surges overwhelmed the levees that protected New Orleans, located at six feet below sea level, from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Soon, 80 percent of the city was flooded up to the rooftops of many homes and small buildings.

It is believed that the hurricane caused more than 1,300 deaths and up to $150 billion in damages. It is estimated that only about $40 billion of that number will be covered by insurance. One million people were displaced by the disaster, a phenomenon unseen in the United States since the Great Depression. Four hundred thousand people lost their jobs as a result of the disaster. Offers of international aid poured in from around the world, even from poor countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Private donations from U.S. citizens alone approached $600 million.



An area of land that is uncultivated and covered with sparse stunted vegetation.



Michael Jackson
(August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)
Michael Jackson was an American singer-songwriter, dancer, businessman and philanthropist. Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Lea Michele Sarfati
(born August 29, 1986)
Lea Michele is an American actress and singer, best known for her performance as Rachel Berry on the Fox television series Glee. Michele began working professionally as a child actress on Broadway in productions such as Les Misérables, Ragtime, and Fiddler on the Roof. In 2006, she originated the lead role of Wendla in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening.

Ingrid Bergman
(Aug 29, 1915 - Aug 29, 1982)
Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute. She is best remembered for her roles as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942), a World War II drama co-starring Humphrey Bogart, and as Alicia Huberman in Notorious (1946), an Alfred Hitchcock thriller co-starring Cary Grant.

Ingrid Bergman died on her birthday in 1982.

John Sidney McCain III
(born August 29, 1936)
John McCain is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 United States election.


All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
--Friedrich Nietzsche



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Power Within



Facts To Remember

Seeing foods makes us eat more. If the clear window of an ice cream freezer is covered, people took 30% less ice cream. Secretaries eat two more candies per day if the treats are kept in a clear bowl vs. an opaque one. Men eat 29% more if you leave the serving dish on the table, and women eat 10% more. On the other hand, people also eat more fruits and vegetables if they are in a bowl on the table, rather than stored in the deep recesses of the refrigerator.

It is likely that people in other countries do not have the problems that we do with overeating because of two things -- size and structure. Their kitchens and pantries are not as big as ours. They do not drive SUVs big enough to transport the mass quantities of food we purchase at warehouse clubs. They often do not drive at all, so they have to haul their purchases home in their arms. We also eat everywhere and at different times throughout the day. In other countries, people eat three meals each day, and they eat in the kitchen and at the table.



The source of addiction isn't the drug or activity itself but a desire for a change of mood.



On this day, August 28 in 1968, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, tens of thousands of Vietnam War
protesters battled police in the streets, while the Democratic Party fell apart over an internal disagreement concerning its stance on Vietnam. Over the course of 24 hours, the predominant American line of thought on the Cold War with the Soviet Union was shattered.

On the streets of Chicago, several thousand anti-war protesters gathered to show their support for Eugene McCarthy and the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley deployed 12,000 police officers and called in another 15,000 state and federal officers to contain the protesters. The situation then rapidly spiraled out of control, with the policemen severely beating and gassing the demonstrators, as well as newsmen and doctors who had come to help.

The ensuing riot, known as the "Battle of Michigan Avenue," was caught on television, and sparked a large-scale change in American society. For the first time, many Americans came out in virulent opposition to the Vietnam War, which they had begun to feel was pointless and wrongheaded. No longer would people give the national government unrestrained power to pursue its Cold War policies at the expense of the safety of U.S. citizens.



1.  the ability to control oneself and determine one's actions
2.  the ability of a person to exert his or her will over the inhibitions of their body or self

Self-control through willpower is the ability to control one's emotions, behavior, and desires in order to obtain some reward, or avoid some punishment. Presumably, some (smaller) reward or punishment is operating in the short term which precludes, or reduces, the later reward or punishment. In psychology it is sometimes called self-regulation.



Steffiana de la Cruz
(born August 28, 1974)
Steffiana de la Cruz is a Filipino-American model and actress. Cruz made four guest appearances on King of Queens, the long-running CBS sitcom on which her husband, Kevin James starred. She appeared in Eddie Money as a masseuse, Damned Yanky and Black List as a manicurist, and in Affair Trade as a bartender (named Sienna). She appeared as Shopper with kids in Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which starred her husband Kevin. In 2011, she had the part as Robin in Zookeeper, also starring her husband.

Thomas Jacob "Jack" Black
(born August 28, 1969)
Jack Black is an American actor, producer, comedian, voice artist, writer, and musician. He is best known for his roles in High Fidelity, Shallow Hal, School of Rock, King Kong (2005), Nacho Libre, Tropic Thunder, Bernie and the Kung Fu Panda films.

Jennifer Coolidge
(born August 28, 1961)
Jennifer Coolidge is an American actress and comedian best known for playing "Stifler's mom," the MILF in the film American Pie (1999); Hilary Duff's stepmother in A Cinderella Story (2004); Paulette, the manicurist in Legally Blonde (2001) and its sequel; the voice of Aunt Fanny in the animated feature Robots (2005); for her role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager as Betty; and for her regular role in the NBC sitcom Joey as Joey's agent, Bobbie Morganstern. She is also a regular actor in Christopher Guest's mockumentary films. Currently she has a main role in 2 Broke Girls as Sophie, Max and Caroline's Polish upstairs neighbor who owns a cleaning business, from episode 14 of season 1 to present.

David Soul
(born August 28, 1943)
David Soul is an American actor and singer, best known for his role as Detective Kenneth "Hutch" Hutchinson in the television programme Starsky and Hutch (1975–1979). He became a British citizen in 2004.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
--Margaret Mead
"But that does not guarantee that the change is for the greater good."
--Gene Chambers



Tuesday, August 27, 2013



Here I am out East of Tucson again, in the scattered scrub near the mountains. Eva and I will be spending the week taking care of things while the folks are away on business.

I hope to get some new and interesting pictures while I am out here in the wild.


P.Z. Myers has written a short essay for The Washington Post titled An atheist’s guide to the good life and it is so easy to understand that any thinking person can see clearly the simple truths contained within it.

One must necessarily be a half-wit to ignore or deny the logic.

Of course, committed Christians deny logic all the time.




The word volcano originally comes from the name of the Roman god of fire, Vulcan.



On this day. August 27 in 1883, the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurred on Krakatau (also called Krakatoa), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia,. Heard 3,000 miles away, the explosions threw five cubic miles of earth 50 miles into the air, created 120-foot tsunamis and killed 36,000 people.

Excitement turned to horror as Krakatau literally blew itself apart, setting off a chain of natural disasters that would be felt around the world for years to come. An enormous blast on the afternoon of August 26 destroyed the northern two-thirds of the island; as it plunged into the Sunda Strait, between the Java Sea and Indian Ocean, the gushing mountain generated a series of pyroclastic flows (fast-moving fluid bodies of molten gas, ash and rock) and monstrous tsunamis that swept over nearby coastlines. Four more eruptions beginning at 5:30 a.m. the following day proved cataclysmic. Fine dust from the explosion drifted around the earth, causing spectacular sunsets and forming an atmospheric veil that lowered temperatures worldwide by several degrees.

Of the estimated 36,000 deaths resulting from the eruption, at least 31,000 were caused by the tsunamis created when much of the island fell into the water. The greatest of these waves measured 120 feet high, and washed over nearby islands, stripping away vegetation and carrying people out to sea. Another 4,500 people were scorched to death from the pyroclastic flows that rolled over the sea, stretching as far as 40 miles, according to some sources.



A volcano is an opening, or rupture, in a planet's surface or crust, which allows hot magma, volcanic ash and gases to escape from the magma chamber below the surface.



Paul Reubens
(born August 27, 1952)
Paul Reubens is an American actor, writer, film producer, game show host, and comedian, best known for his character Pee-wee Herman. In 1982, Reubens introduced The Pee-wee Herman Show and it ran for five sold-out months.

Pee-wee became an instant cult figure and for the next decade Reubens would be completely committed to his character, doing all of his public appearances and interviews as Pee-wee. In 1985 Pee-wee's Big Adventure was a financial success and, despite receiving mixed reviews, it developed into a cult film. Big Top Pee-wee, 1988's sequel, was less successful than its predecessor. Between 1986 and 1990, Reubens starred as Pee-wee in the CBS Saturday-morning children's program Pee-wee's Playhouse.

In July 1991, Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult theater in Sarasota, Florida. The arrest set off a chain reaction of national media attention that changed the general public's view of Reubens and Pee-wee.

Sarah Chalke
(born August 27, 1976)
Sarah Chalke is a Canadian actress known for portraying Dr. Elliot Reid on the NBC/ABC comedy series Scrubs, Rebecca "Becky" Conner on the ABC sitcom Roseanne, and Stella Zinman in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. She has also had a recurring role in the third season of ABC sitcom Cougar Town.

Lyndon Baines Johnson
(Aug 27, 1908 - Jan 22, 1973)
Lyndon Baines Johnson, often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969)

After campaigning unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1960, Johnson was asked by John F. Kennedy to be his running mate for the 1960 presidential election.

Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, completed Kennedy's term and was elected President in his own right, winning by a large margin over Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election.

Tuesday Weld
(born August 27, 1943)
Tuesday Weld is an American actress. She began acting as a child, and progressed to mature roles in the late 1950s. She won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Female Newcomer in 1960. Over the following decade she established a career playing dramatic roles in films.

As a featured performer in supporting roles such as Play It As It Lays (1972), Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1978), The Winter of Our Discontent (1983), and Once Upon a Time in America (1984).


There is very little carbon in magma; human activity produces more greenhouse gases in one week than the combined volcanic eruptions of the last 50 years



Monday, August 26, 2013

Television And Me



It was brought to my attention recently (by process of self-observation) that I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in an easy chair and watching television programs. (Inordinate is an adjective meaning: Exceeding reasonable limits; immoderate: excessive; not regulated; disorderly.)

This curious past-time, requiring little effort, seems to have become a pleasant habit with me. And very few of the shows I watch are new ones; most of them are re-runs, such as:

 M*A*S*H (the series that ran from 1972 to 1983)

House M.D.

The Big Bang Theory

Two and-a-half Men
(with Charley Sheen)
(I dislike Ashton Kutcher intensely)

And, of course

I was told a while back that viewing old shows such as those described above is an indicator of advanced age, is a great waste of time, and that I could better be using those intervals to compose stories and engage in other writerly pursuits. That's probably true. But established habits can be difficult to break. Especially enjoyable ones. Replacing a bad habit with a good one is the best way to go about it, or so I have been told.

Perhaps I'll give it a try.


The first pitched ball death occurred August 17, 1920 when Ray Chapman was hit on the head by a Carl Mays pitch the day before.


On this day, August 26 in 1939 (the year in which I was born) the first televised Major League baseball game was broadcast on station W2XBS, the station that was to become WNBC-TV. Announcer Red Barber called the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York.

At the time, television was still in its infancy. Regular programming did not yet exist, and very few people owned television sets -- there were only about 400 in the New York area. Not until 1946 did regular network broadcasting catch on in the United States, and only in the mid-1950s did television sets become more common in the American household.

(I was 15 years old in 1954 when I saw my first TV set and viewed my first TV program: Howdy Doody)


1. To transmit (a radio or television program) for public or general use.
2. To send out or communicate, especially by radio or television.
3. To make known over a wide area.
4. To sow (seed) over a wide area, especially by hand.

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio or visual mass communications medium, but usually one using electromagnetic radiation (radio waves). The receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset thereof. Broadcasting has been used for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication such as amateur (ham) radio and amateur television (ATV) in addition to commercial purposes like popular radio or TV stations with advertisements.


(Aug 26, 1910 - 5 Sep 1997)
Mother Teresa was an Albanian born, Indian Roman Catholic Religious Sister. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries. They run hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; children's and family counseling programs; orphanages; and schools.

Admired and respected by many, she has also been accused of failing to provide medical care or painkillers, misusing charitable money, and maintaining positive relationships with dictators.

(born August 26, 1980)
Macaulay Culkin is an American actor. He became widely known for his portrayal of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He is also known for his roles in Richie Rich, Uncle Buck, My Girl, The Pagemaster, and Party Monster, as well as Michael Jackson's music video "Black or White". At the height of his fame, he was regarded as the most successful child actor since Shirley Temple.

(Aug 26, 1935 - Mar 26, 2011)
Geraldine Ferraro was an American attorney, a Democratic Party politician, and a member of the United States House of Representatives. She was the first female vice presidential candidate representing a major American political party.

(born August 26,1942)
John Blaha accomplished an important yet seldom remarked first. He was the first astronaut to directly follow a previous U.S. Mir resident. He thus forged the first link in a six-flight, two-and-a-half-year chain of Shuttle-Mir missions.

Before, during, and after his mission, Blaha worked to make sure all future missions would go as smoothly as possible. This included improving the "handover" from one increment to the next and working on communications -- between Mir and the visiting Space Shuttles, between the NASA astronaut and the ground, and between Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the International Space Station Program.


When television is good, nothing -- not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers -- nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
--Newton N. Minow

Newton Norman Minow is a former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. His speech referring to television as a "vast wasteland" is cited even as the speech has passed its 50th anniversary.



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Christian by Guest Blogger


I took a newcomer to a play last night. He's Joyce's first grandson, and this year he's five. The show was great (The Wizard of Oz) and Christian enjoyed it immensely, although the scary witch parts he wasn't so sure about during the performance.

After the show, his mom asked him what his favorite part was:

"My favorite part?"

"Yes, what was your favorite part of the show?"

"My favorite part was...  it wasn't the mean witch. No, it wasn't that."

Silence for two blocks... then: "You wanna know what my favorite part was?"

"Yes, Christian, I want to know what your favorite part was."

"My... my favorite part was when Dorfy frew water on the mean witch and killed her!"

He was a kick. The best part for me was before the show even started.

We'd arrived at the parking garage and the four of us got out of the car: me, Joyce, Joyce's daughter, and Christian. He's been taught about roads, and that includes parking garages. He asked me if he could hold my hand -- he wanted to get to the other side of the car, where Mom and Grandma were, but knew he couldn't unless he was holding an adult's hand. Guess I qualified. I told him he could.

The feel of that very small hand in mine was odd, but not uncomfortable. We walked together to the other side of the car. I had supposed he would transfer to Mom or Grandma, but he didn't. He continued to hold my hand out of the garage, across the street, and to the gates outside the theatre.

We joined the crowd already waiting for the gates to open. Christian walked around me, leaning out as far as he could go, and my arm stretched out with him. I told Joyce I needed a longer arm.

She looked, and told Christian not to walk so far away.

"Why?" he asked (a common question throughout the evening).

"Because you might pull Michelle's arm out of the socket. It'll fall off."

Silence. The five-year-old looked at me and then gravely examined the arm in question. After a moment, he released my hand and transferred to Joyce's.

We couldn't help but laugh. Obviously I'm much more fragile than Grandma if my arm will come loose at any second...  and he didn't want to chance that it might happen while he was holding onto it.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Hakala


Saturday, August 24, 2013

When Will The End Come?


It is almost unbelievable how gullible are human beings. Nearly every generation has its prophets and doomsayers who warn of the imminent catastrophe resulting in the end of the world.

As far back as 365 CE a Roman Bishop called Hilary of Poitiers announced that the end would happen that year.

It did not.

In 500 CE three separate individuals --  Hippolytus of Rome, Sextus Julius Africanus, and Irenaeus -- predicted Jesus would return in the year 500. One prediction was based on the dimensions of Noah's ark.

Jesus did not return at the specified time.

On April 6, in 793 CE Beatus of Liébana, a Spanish monk prophesied the second coming of Christ and the end of the world that day to a crowd of people.

Once again, neither the second coming nor the end of the world occurred.

There were many, many more such accounts from pompous old fools like those from ancient times that made similar unfulfilled predictions.

In more modern times, Martin Luther himself predicted the end of the world would occur no later than 1600.

In his Book of Prophecies (1501), Christopher Columbus predicted that the world would end in 1656.

When the world did not end in 1656 Columbus claimed that the world was created in 5343 BCE, and would last 7000 years. Assuming no year zero, that means the end would come in 1658.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, foresaw the Millennium beginning this year. He wrote that Revelation 12:14 referred to the years 1058–1836, "when Christ should come".

The Catholic Apostolic Church founded in 1831, claimed that Jesus would return by the time the last of its 12 founding members died. The last member died in 1901.

Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder of the Worldwide Church of God told members of his church that the Rapture was to take place in 1936, and that only they would saved. After the prophecy failed, he changed the date three more times.

Jeane Dixon, a popular psychic predicted a planetary alignment on February 4, 1962 was to bring destruction to the world.

In late 1976 Pat Robertson predicted that the end of the world would come in 1982.

Louis Farrakhan, The leader of the Nation of Islam declared that the Gulf War would be the "War of Armageddon which is the final war."

California psychic Sheldan Nidle predicted that the world would end on December 17, 1996, with the arrival of 16 million space ships and a host of angels.

Jerry Falwell foresaw God pouring out his judgement on the world on January 1, 2000. (Both Isaac Newton and Edgar Cayce had also predicted that Christ's Millennium would begin in the year 2000).

There are hundreds, maybe thousands more, all just as childish and moronic.

The one prediction I do believe (made by multitudes of scientists) is this one:

At the end of our Sun's current phase of development, 5,000,000,000 years from now, it will swell into a red giant, either swallowing the Earth or at least completely scorching it. It is widely accepted by the scientific community that the earth will be destroyed around this time. However, as the Sun grows gradually hotter (over millions of years), the Earth may become too hot for life in only a billion years' time.

Of course, I probably won't be around to witness it.



Scientists who study volcanoes are called Volcanologists.
(Imagine that)


At noon on August 24, 79 A.D., the pleasure and prosperity of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum ended. Pompeii came to an end when the peak of Mount Vesuvius exploded, propelling a 10-mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice into the stratosphere. For the next 12 hours, volcanic ash and a hail of pumice stones up to 3 inches in diameter showered Pompeii, forcing the city's occupants to flee in terror. Some 2,000 people stayed in Pompeii, holed up in cellars or stone structures, hoping to wait out the eruption.

A westerly wind protected Herculaneum from the initial stage of the eruption, but then a giant cloud of hot ash and gas surged down the western flank of Vesuvius, engulfing the city and burning or asphyxiating all who remained. This lethal cloud was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock, burying the city.

The people who remained in Pompeii were killed on the morning of August 25 when a cloud of toxic gas poured into the city, suffocating all that remained. A flow of rock and ash followed, collapsing roofs and walls and burying the dead.



1.  a sudden and widespread disaster: the catastrophe of war.
2.  any misfortune, mishap, or failure; fiasco.
3.  a final event or conclusion; a disastrous end.



Stephen John Fry
(born 24 August 1957)
Stephen Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television and radio presenter, film director, activist, and board member of Norwich City Football Club.

Fry became involved with the Cambridge Footlights, where he met his long-time collaborator Hugh Laurie. As half of the comic double act Fry and Laurie, he co-wrote and co-starred in A Bit of Fry & Laurie, and took the role of Jeeves (with Laurie playing Wooster) in Jeeves and Wooster.

Marlee Beth Matlin
(born August 24, 1965)
Marlee Matlin is an American actress. She is the only deaf performer to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, which she won for Children of a Lesser God.

Matlin made her stage debut at the age of seven, as Dorothy in a children's theatre (ICODA) version of The Wizard of Oz. Her discovery by Henry Winkler during one of her ICODA theater performances ultimately led to her film debut in Children of a Lesser God (1986).

In 1989, she played a deaf widow in Bridge to Silence. Matlin was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her work as the lead female role in the television series Reasonable Doubts (1991–1993) and was nominated for an Emmy Award for a guest appearance in Picket Fences. She became a regular on the series during its final season. She portrayed Carrie Buck in the television drama Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story (1994).

Matlin appeared during the 20th season of the TV series, Sesame Street, with Billy Joel. Matlin later had recurring roles in The West Wing, and Blue's Clues. Other television appearances include Seinfeld ("The Lip Reader"), The Outer Limits ("The Message"), ER, Desperate Housewives, CSI: NY and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

In 2002, Matlin published her first novel, Deaf Child Crossing, which was loosely based on her own childhood. She wrote and published a sequel to Deaf Child Crossing, titled Nobody's Perfect.

Steve Guttenberg
(born August 24, 1958)
Steve Gutenberg is an American actor and comedian. He became well known during the 1980s after a series of starring roles in major Hollywood films, including Diner, Cocoon, Three Men and a Baby, Police Academy, and Short Circuit.

Orson Scott Card
(born August 24, 1951)
Orson Scott Card is an American novelist, critic, public speaker, essayist and columnist. He writes in several genres but is known best for science fiction. His novel Ender's Game (1985) and its sequel Speaker for the Dead (1986) both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win both science fiction's top U.S. prizes in consecutive years. A film adaptation of Ender's Game is currently in development, and is set for release on November 1, 2013. Card is co-producing the film.


The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain.
--Colin Wilson



Friday, August 23, 2013

What Exactly Is A Black Russian?


I have often heard mention of a Black Russian? Strangely enough, I never bothered to find out what it is exactly. Now, at age 74, having become more curious than ever, I decided it is time I investigated the subject.

I discovered that:

The Black Russian is a cocktail of vodka and coffee liqueur. It contains either three parts vodka and two parts coffee liqueur, per the Kahlúa bottle's label, or five parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur, per IBA specified ingredients.

Traditionally the drink is made by pouring the vodka over ice cubes or cracked ice in an old-fashioned glass, followed by the coffee liqueur.
A variation is the Dirty Black Russian, Tall Black Russian, or Australian Black Russian (also known as a Colorado Bulldog), which is prepared in the same manner as the Black Russian, but served in a taller glass and topped up with Cola.

Not yet satisfied, and looking further, I found: Afro-Russians (also called "the blacks") are Russians of Black African descent, including black people who have settled in Russia and their mixed-race children.

It is thought that the first Afro-Russians were a group of 20 men from Ethiopia who came as diplomats of the Abyssinian Empire, some of them being originally purchased as slaves and transported to the Crimea by Ottoman Turkish traders in the 1670s as gifts of diplomatic friendship from Abyssinia (as Ethiopia was otherwise known) to the Russians.

It is estimated that there are currently 40,000 - 70,000 black and mixed-race Russians.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union racism and xenophobic sentiments have increased in the modern Russian state, particularly, due to mass immigration and falling birth rates amongst Slavic Russians. Afro-Russians are subjected to threats and violence on the part of ultra-nationalists and white power skinheads.

For Russians of African descent, the first black U.S. president is a potent symbol of triumph over the same challenges they themselves face in a country where dark-skinned people remain rare and often unwelcome.

Obama Visit To Russia


The Incredible Hulk was born gray. It wasn't until issue No. 2 that Bruce Banner's alter ego turned green, and that was because the printer couldn't hold a consistent gray.



On this day in 1784, four counties in western North Carolina declared their independence as the state of 'Franklin'. The counties lay in what would eventually become Tennessee. In defiance of Congress, Franklin survived as an independent nation for four years with its own constitution, Indian treaties and legislated system of barter in lieu of currency,

The creation of Franklin is novel, in that it resulted from both a cession (an offering from North Carolina to Congress) and a secession (seceding from North Carolina, when its offer to Congress was not acted upon, and the original cession was rescinded).

North Carolina set up its own parallel government in the region. When Cherokee, Chickamauga and Chickasaw began to attack settlements within Franklin's borders in 1788, Franklin quickly rejoined North Carolina to gain its militia's protection from attack.



Fossilized excrement.

A coprolite is fossilized feces. Coprolites are classified as trace fossils as opposed to body fossils, as they give evidence for the animal's behaviour (in this case, diet) rather than morphology.



River Jude Phoenix
(Aug 23, 1970 - Oct 31, 1993)
River Phoenix was an American film actor, musician, and activist. He was the older brother of Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Summer Phoenix and Liberty Phoenix. Phoenix's work encompassed 24 films and television appearances, including the science fiction adventure film Explorers, the coming-of-age film Stand by Me, the action sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the independent adult drama My Own Private Idaho.

On October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed and died of drug-induced heart failure on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room.

Barbara Eden
(born August 23, 1931)
Barbara Eden is an American film and television actress and singer who is best known for starring as the title role in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

Gene Kelly
(Aug 23, 1912 - Feb 2, 1996)
Gene Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director, producer, and choreographer. Kelly was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks and the likable characters that he played on screen. Although he is known today for his performances in An American in Paris (1951) and Singin' in the Rain (1952), he was a dominant force in Hollywood musical films from the mid-1940s

Shelley Long
(born August 23, 1949)
Shelley Long is an American actress best known for her role as Diane Chambers on the sitcom Cheers, for which she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress and two Golden Globe Awards.
She has also starred in several motion pictures throughout her career like Night Shift (1982), her Golden Globe nominated role in Irreconcilable Differences (1984),The Money Pit (1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), Hello Again (1987), Troop Beverly Hills (1989), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), and Dr. T & the Women (2000). Most recently she has had a recurring role as DeDe Pritchett on the ABC comedy series Modern Family.


The only difference between me and those other great Yankees is my skin color.
--Reggie Jackson