Saturday, December 6, 2008

Furniture with a flair: table's that make you stare!


What painter wouldn't want this table?         Orange tables like this are original.


                           Have you ever made a paper airplane?


Functional table art is a fun way to project some originality into your living space. I've seen a lot crazier tables than these.

I knew someone once who built his house around a redwood tree, and the table in the living room was something to see! A thing of true beauty.

I can remember times when my wife and I used cardboard boxes for end tables. Covered them up with a clothe and made sure not to put something too heavy on them.

USC To Wear Home Jerseys even if it Costs Them 2 Timeouts!

USC head coach Pete Carroll thinks the fans will appreciate seeing two colorful uniforms during the Rose Bowl game this year. The problem is, USC is supposed to wear the "visitor's" white jerseys. UCLA is the home team and they get to wear their colorful uniforms by way of NCAA rules. UCLA head coach, Rick Nueheisel, likes the idea too, but then his team has nothing to lose. in 1982 USC and UCLA both wore homejerseys when they both shared the Coliseum, in that year's Rose Bowl.

 So, it's already happened once, and Nueheisel, whose ready to sacrifice two timeouts to see it become a tradition, thinks the uniform change would be good for all.

Meanwhile, the NCAA is meeting today and there's a chance they may relax the rules and not penalize USC for wearing their home jerseys.

I have been a fan of both UCLA and USC since the early sixties, and can remember going to many of their games with my buddies.

Four or five of us (depending on whose car we took) would pool our money for gas. I can remember seeing O.J. Simpson play for USC. He was an exceptional athlete back then.

Now  O.J. is doing prison time and is a disgraced public figure.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Graffiti Art :Part Two - Urban Artists Utilize Environment


Every brick, and every break in the wall, becomes part of the composition.


Diverse Nonprofit Groups Condemn Ensign For Obstructing Passage of Electronic Disclosures Bill

A single Senator, John Ensign (R-NV.) has been obstructing Senate passage of S. 223 providing for electronic disclosure and prompt Internet searchability of Senate campaign contributions. This bill, sponsored by Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and 39 other bipartisan Senators, has no public opposition. However, Ensign has withheld unanimous consent to take it up and pass it by insisting on a vote on his controversial, unrelated amendment to force charities, religious organizations and civic nonprofit organizations to disclose all of their $5,000+ donors when they file ethics complaints against sitting Senators.

Now a broad group of ideologically diverse nonprofit organizations and coalitions has written to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to “drop” or “defeat” the “retaliatory Ensign Amendment to S. 223.” Signatories include: Alliance for Justice, Americans for the Preservation of Liberty, The American Conservative Union, Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest, The Free Speech Coalition, James Bopp, General Counsel, James Madison Center for Free Speech, Gun Owners of America, National Center for Public Policy Research, and OMB Watch which took the lead in circulating the letter (see copy of letter below).

In their November 9th letter, the organizations declared that "This proposal is a clear attempt to intimidate the public from seeking enforcement of Senate ethics rules." They add that "Its retaliatory nature is counter to donors' privacy rights and the First Amendment rights of association and speech, and raises significant constitutional questions." Furthermore, if adopted, "this provision would have the effect of changing existing tax law without the benefit of a full and open public debate, including involvement of Congressional tax-writing committees."

Responding to Sen. Ensign's argument that donor disclosure would enable Senators to find out if complaints are being filed "purely for political reasons" and thereby "protect this institution," the nonprofit signers point out that "Current law provides adequate information about any organization filing an ethics complaint. Any Senator can learn more about the organization by requesting disclosure of their IRS Form 990 which does not publicly identify donors, but does provide information on key leadership, finances and activities."

                                                                                    Copy of letter

CFI Executive Director Michael Malbin commented, "In view of this broad condemnation of the Ensign Amendment from major nonprofits spanning the ideological spectrum, Senator Ensign should agree to drop his obstructionist amendment. If he wants to pursue the issue despite the broad opposition, let it stand on its own." Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee which unanimously reported out S. 223, has offered Sen. Ensign a prompt hearing on his proposal.

"If Sen. Ensign does not withdraw the amendment, Majority Leader Reid should bring up S. 223 promptly -- with 20 minutes of debate on the amendment as Ensign and Republican Leader McConnell have proposed. Faced with these statements of broad- based opposition, and with no committee hearings on the Ensign proposal, the Senate should then vote down the amendment and pass the underlying bill. It is already the middle of an election cycle and voters need to know in a timely way who is donating to Senate candidates. The public has had this information about House and Presidential candidates since 2001. Every Senator who has spoken out on S. 223 has supported it. That includes Sen. Ensign. It is time for the Senate to stop playing games and do what they say they support."

Blogger meandering and notes...

Hello fellow Bloggers and visitors this Friday!

Recently someone named "Michael" has been putting comments in my posts that are not really comments...he's posting a link to his blog which appears to be a scam to me!
I followed the link and realized it was some kind of
pyramid scheme. So I blocked his comments so that my readers don't get exposed to them. I wonder if any of you other bloggers have run across him?

Another situation has recently arisen and I have mixed feelings about it.
I got an email from a German Online casino that wanted to know what my advertising rates are.

First off, I don't have any advertising and there's never been any on my blog.
Why would they contact me? I doubt that my blog would have enough hits per day to do them any good. And, how did they find me? ( I suppose on the internet - but what made them think I'd be interested?)

Two days after getting this unusual email, I got another one from Belgium, wanting to know what my advertising rates are! Say what? I don't get it. So I checked out the link (to their business office) and they are an electronics firm!
Again, they wanted to know how much I charged for advertising? Why me?

In the past I've noted that a large percentage of my visitors have been foreign (I even listed the countries) and national. I have no idea why this is. I am puzzled that two different businesses have contacted me in the last two weeks with the same request.

At one time I considered advertising, but decided that I don't want any restraints upon what goes in my blog. If you run ads, there's often no-no's that goes with running them. I don't like that idea.
On the other hand, there's easy money to be made.

What do you think? Should I stick to my ad-free format? Should I "sell out" and start running ads?

I've noticed that when you Google "AS IT STANDS" my blog is the first listing among a list of about 900,000. Does this mean that it's got a ton of hit's? What is Google's format for deciding on what's listed first under any heading? I'm just full of questions today!

I want to thank you for reading these morning ramblings, and any input would sure be appreciated!


A pile of trash can be considered a silhouette sculpture

To my untrained eye the above is just a pile of neatly stacked trash.

I have to admit the artists involved had to do some real planning to get that perfect silhouette against the wall.

It really is kinda clever. Meanwhile, I imagine any rats in the area see this pile as evidence of intelligent design!

I wonder how long it took to come up with this masterpiece?


Thursday, December 4, 2008

People just wanna have fun with their... automobiles!


Now here's a happy car...                                 Talk about a real Green machine!


Like house                                        What a McMean looking machine! 

High Speed Photography Can Capture the Passage of a Bullet

      Our naked eye could never see this, but when you pull out one of those fancy cameras that can slow motion down, it's a cinch to see. There's nothing like tricky photography! 

Prop. 8 poll: Evangelicals,Republicans biggest backers of gay marriage ban

A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that the ballot measure banning gay marriage in California received its strongest support from Republicans and evangelical Christians.

The poll was taken after the Nov. 4 election and found that despite the heated debate over Prop. 8, opinions in California about gay marriage have not changed very much.

"When voters are asked the separate question of whether they favor or oppose same-sex marriage, they are divided, with 47 percent in favor, 48 percent opposed, and 5 percent unsure," according to the PPIC poll results statement. "[It's] a result consistent with responses in the October PPIC pre-election survey."

The PPIC survey, which received funding from the James Irvine Foundation, polled 2,003 California voters, who were contacted by phone November 5–16, 2008. The poll has a margin of error of 2%, perhaps more for subgroups surveyed.

Among the findings:

--Evangelical or born-again Christians (85%) were far more likely than others (42%) to vote yes.

--Three in four Republicans (77%) voted yes, two in three Democrats (65%) voted no, and independents were more closely divided (52% yes, 48% no).

--Voters without a college degree (62%) were far more likely than college graduates (43%) to vote yes.

While there has been much made about the strong support for Prop. 8 among African Americans, the sample size for blacks was too small in this poll to report separately.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Will 'White Space' ruling stimulate our sagging economy?

        With dire economic news nearly every day, it was good to hear about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Nov. 4th ruling on the use of vacant television channels, or “white space.”
       When February 2009 rolls around the United States will abandon analog television broadcasting and go all-digital. White spaces, those unused bits of spectrum between UHF television channels, will no longer be needed.

This unused TV spectrum will now be available to innovators who can develop new technologies and bring the Internet to millions of Americans in under-served communities.
        You could call it the Telecom Revolution. By opening up competition and jump-starting economic growth when it is sorely needed, this new avenue, may reap many dividends.

       Nearly every market in America has available white space. In some communities more three-quarters of the broadcast spectrum is unused. Free Press activists have tried to bring the issue to public attention for years.
      Ben Scott, Policy Director of the Free Press, said after the FCC ruling, “The phone and cable companies that dominate the broadband market promise more of the same slow speeds and high prices that put us in this mess. Opening white spaces adds much-needed competition and innovation.”

       Like WiFi, the availability of a free unregulated spectrum could create new technologies and new markets, and bring superfast wireless connectivity to consumers. Unlike WiFi, it could put pressure on wireless carriers.
        Sascha Meinrath, Research Director of the wireless future program at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy think-tank, recently said, “Opening up white spaces will lower the cost of communications by facilitating new technology. The software and devices should be an enormous plus for the public.”

       There’s been a pitched battle between broadcasters and techies for years now, and with the FCC opening the door to opportunity the public should benefit from this news.
      Republicans should love the FCC’s unanimous decision to extend the benefits of the spectrum use to the public. It focuses on less regulation and more competition.
         Craig Mundie, Chief Strategy Officer for Microsoft, sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives that said, “Consumers will see a new generation of wireless broadband devices. It will also enable low wireless broadband service in rural areas, self-forming mesh networks capable of routing traffic speeds of 20 megabits per second and above within the mesh.”

      Experts say those chip companies could potentially develop chips that can ride over white spaces much like the WiFi and WiMax enabled chips they make today. So who stands to benefit?
Google, Intel Motorola, Philips and Dell. They all lobbied to “free the spectrum” so they could build data services on it.

The losers in this new world of available white space are the telecom carriers like Verizon, At & T, Sprint, and Comcast. They will have to adapt to a new reality, industry experts agree. Those companies fought hard and resisted the idea of sharing their airwaves, but that war is over now with the FCC’s new rules.
         According to the FCC media release, “The rules represent a careful first step to permit the operation of unlicensed devices in the TV white spaces and include numerous safeguards to protect incumbent services against harmful interference. The rules will allow for both fixed and personal/portable unlicensed devices.

       “Such devices must include a geolocation capability and provisions to access over the Internet a data base of the incumbent services, such as full power and low power TV stations and cable system headends, in addition to spectrum-sensing technology. The data base will tell the white space device what spectrum may be used at that location.”
        All white spaces will be subject to equipment certification by the FCC Laboratory, to assure quality. The devices will be tested to a “Proof of Performance” standard both in the lab and in a variety of real-world environments to ensure that they do not cause interference to licensed services, according to the FCC.

         There’s been too much gloom in the news lately. This news is a bit of sunshine in the otherwise bleak landscape of our current economy.
        As it Stands, anything that will give the public more media access at cheaper rates, and stimulate the economy too, has got to be good.

Here's a list of really stupid gift ideas sure to entertain

Thanks to we have a Christmas list just in time for the holidays. Here's the top ten sellers:

1. SCREAMING CHICKEN - This rubber chicken doesn't squeak or squawk. It screams!

2. WEALTH DISTRIBUTION 2008 HOLIDAY ORNAMENT - This tree ornament announces that the ornament that use to be there has been removed and given to someone in need. The Redistribution Holiday Ornament will let everyone know you're spreading the wealth whether you want to or not.

3. MINI GUITAR HERO - Minature version of the mega-hit game is barely six inches long, but you can still rock out to songs by Queen, Cheap Trick, Nirvana, and the Police.

4. POTTY PUTTER - Why waste time on the toilet seat when you can use it to get ready for the fairway? Potty putter contains everything you need for an exciting round of golf without leaving your seat, including a putting green for around the toilet, mini putter, flag stick, and two golf balls.

5. WASABI FLAVORED GUMBALLS - These potent green confections offer an intense explosion of Wasabi.

6. MEN'S UNDERWARE REPAIR KIT - In this troubled economy don't throw away your old underware, but repair it with the Men's Underware Repair kit. This handy, inexpensive kit provides everything you need to get your unsightly undershorts back to a presentable state.

7. OBAMA "YES WE CAN" OPENER - Every election spawns some interesting products, but this has to be the stupidest. To some Obama fans however, this will probably become a collector's item.

8. "HOW TO TIE A TIE" Tie - This stylish tie has simple knot-tying instructions printed on front - just follow the 6-step-by-step diagrams.

9. 2009 DOG POOP CALENDAR - Each month features a spectacular landscape or breathtaking tableau, but somewhere in every shot there's a pile of dog poop! 

10.POLE DANCER ALARM CLOCK - When the alarm goes off, dance music plays and disco lights flash. At the same, a buxom blond dancers gyrates around a pole under the spinning disco ball. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Somewhere in the world there is a Pukin Pumpkin who needs a ride!

Finally a challenger to my original Pukin Pumpkin post!

 In recent months reader's of this blog have gone wild over it.

You've come from across the nation and the world to see the famous Pukin Pumpkin post in the past.

 Now, enter this new challenger (right) who had too much Kanterbrau (where the heck do you buy this brand of beer?)

 It's never good to drink alone, but sometimes it's less embarrassing!

If you know this pumpkin will you come and get it? I don't think it'll be rolling home on it's own tonight!

This controversial opinion piece is in today's LA Times

I decided to pick this column up this morning because it gives another view on the subject of Prop 8. Personally, I think everyone should be allowed to get married, regardless if they are the same sex. However, I also believe in showing both sides of an issue in order to be fair.

Jonah Goldberg:

An ugly attack on Mormons

The religious group has been the target of a campaign by liberal supporters of same-sex marriage.

Jonah Goldberg
December 2, 2008

» Discuss Article Did you catch the political ad in which two Jews ring the doorbell of a nice, working-class family? They barge in and rifle through the wife's purse and then the man's wallet for any cash. Cackling, they smash the daughter's piggy bank and pinch every penny. "We need it for the Wall Street bailout!" they exclaim.

No? Maybe you saw the one with the two swarthy Muslims who knock on the door of a nice Jewish family and then blow themselves up?

No? Well, then surely you saw the TV ad in which two smarmy Mormon missionaries knock on the door of an attractive lesbian couple. "Hi, we're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" says the blond one with a toothy smile. "We're here to take away your rights." The Mormon zealots yank the couple's wedding rings from their fingers and then tear up their marriage license. As the thugs leave, one says to the other, "That was too easy." His smirking comrade replies, "Yeah, what should we ban next?" The voice-over implores viewers: "Say no to a church taking over your government."

Obviously, the first two ads are fictional because no one would dare run such anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim attacks.
The third ad, however, was real. It was broadcast throughout California on election day as part of the effort to rally opposition to Proposition 8, the initiative that successfully repealed the right to same-sex marriage in the state.
What was the reaction to the ad? Widespread condemnation? Scorn? Rebuke? Tepid criticism?

This newspaper, a principled opponent of Proposition 8, ran an editorial saying that the "hard-hitting ad" was too little, too late.
The upshot seemed to be that if the pro-gay-marriage forces had just flooded the airwaves with more religious slander, things would have turned out better.

At a pro-gay-marriage rally in Los Angeles after the vote, chants of "Mormon scum!" were reported. Envelopes containing white powder have been sent to Mormon temples in California and Utah; vandals hit other temples. Lists of businesses to boycott -- essentially Mormon blacklists -- have sprung up on the Internet. The artistic director of the California Musical Theatre resigned because of pressure after it was revealed he gave $1,000 to a pro-Proposition 8 group.

It's amazing. Hollywood liberals, who shout "McCarthyism!" as a first resort, see nothing wrong with this. If Jews were attacked in this way for giving too much money to a political cause, Barbra Streisand would already have a French passport.

Never mind that Proposition 8 carried nearly every demographic slice of voters. Put aside the fact that the Catholic Church and scores of other Christian churches supported it too. Discount the inconvenient truth that bans on gay marriage have now passed in 30 states. It's all the Mormons' fault.

The argument is that Mormons used illegitimate power, in this case money, beyond their numerical standing in the population to secure victory for the measure. Golly, wealthy gay liberals would never do anything like that! I bet they're not giving a dime to the legal effort to overturn Proposition 8.

No, it's just that Mormons are the most vulnerable of the culturally conservative religious denominations and therefore the easiest targets for an organized campaign against religious freedom of conscience.
Traditional religion is the enemy anywhere it runs afoul of complete social acceptance of homosexuality. In New Mexico, a wedding photographer was fined nearly $7,000 for refusing to shoot a gay commitment ceremony. The dating site eHarmony, run by evangelicals, was just bullied by gay activists via the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights into starting up a site for gays. The first 10,000 registrants must get six months free.

It's often lost on gay-rights groups that they and their allies are the aggressors in the culture war. Indeed, they admit to being the "forces of change" and the "agents of progress." They proudly want to rewrite tradition and overturn laws. But whenever they're challenged democratically and peaceably, they instantly complain of being victims of entrenched bigots, even as they adopt the very tactics they abhor.

My own view is that gay marriage is likely inevitable, and won't be nearly the disaster many of my fellow conservatives fear it will be. But the scorched-earth campaign to victory pushed by gay-marriage advocates may well be disastrous, and "liberals" should be ashamed for countenancing it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Five figure bonus checks come as a big surprise to employees!

      In this difficult economic climate, it's tough to know if you'll still have a job at the end of the year, let alone a generous Christmas bonus. But recently, the employees of Illinois-based ball bearings company Peer Bearing Co. got a big surprise when they opened their end-of-year-bonus envelopes: instead of their usual gifts of several hundred dollars, the staff members had each been given five-figure checks.

The company was founded by the Spungen family in 1941, and has stayed within the family ever since. They've come to think of their employees as part of the family, too--many of their staff members have provided decades of loyal service.

So when the business was purchased by a Swedish company earlier this year, the Spungens decided to use their payoff to show their staff how important they were to them, distributing $6.6 million in profits from the sale between their 230 employees. The bonuses were based on time served with the company, and some of the most loyal staff members went home with checks as high as $35,000.

Here are some rare Black Light Posters from the 1960s


   (Rare -Above- 1969)             Rare 1960s silkscreen       Scarce- Iron Butterfly


Remember these ads from the 1950s and 1960s? Oh the ironies!




Obama appoints Clinton and Gates to his cabinet

The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place as Obama firms up his administration. I wonder what kind of impact Bill Clinton will have now that his wife is back in the limelight?

He's been told to clean up his act with his Presidential Library and foundation so it doesn't reflect badly on Hillary.

I view Hillary's appointment much like I view what Lincoln did when he appointed his enemies to positions so that he could keep an eye on them.

Obama has the same idea. Gates was probably a good pick for the short term, to give continuity to our efforts in Iran and Afghanistan.

There's nothing like a heater on a cold Japanese day

These ring-tailed lemurs are warming themselves at the Monkey Center in Inuyama, Aichi Perfecture (state), central Japan.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Looking Like Christmas at Nana and Papa's house!

It was the last week of November, and all through the house, Nana and Papa were getting ready for some Christmas fun.

In 25 days there will be five grandchildren, and the rest of our family, here at our house which must be transformed before then to a place of wonder for children and adults alike!

In a slow, but steady stream, Christmas lights have slithered out from normally sealed red and green plastic crates throughout the household these past four days.

Stuffed Santa's and Angels have climbed out of their storage spaces, while the two, 3-foot-tall tin Nutcracker Kings, took up their positions on either side of the fresh pine sweet Christmas tree (still bare but waiting patiently for adornments sure to come).

The front porch glitters like a thousand stars when it's dark outside now with white and colored lights blinking in greeting to all visitors. Christmas ivy forms wreathes around the windows, inside and out, adding to the already colorful seasonal display.

Mrs Claus and elves are busy at work in one corner while Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer lights the way to a Nativity scene on one counter. The scents of the holiday dance throughout the room, a pleasant combination of odors for the visitor's delight.

This is what it's like in Nana's and Papa's tonight...

The high cost of low price: Wal-Mart Christmas in the T-S

The cost of doing business with Wal-Mart is another nail in American manufacturers/workers coffins.

There's a reason why they sell for less.

 Perhaps even more troubling is the response this year to shopping specials at Wal-Mart - one man dead (trampled to death by crazy shoppers) and others injured.

 Do Americans really want a deal that badly? Are the deals at Wal-Mart worth dying for?

As It Stands, in today's Time-Standard I look at Wal-Mart with a critical eye, and a deep suspicion they have contributed to this country's financial woes by their business practices.

 Click Here to read today's column.

Check out this blog by Josh Richmond of the Political Blotter

This is a sampling of political writer Josh Richman's blog, The Political Blotter. Read more and post comments at

Nov. 19

Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, sued the California Department of Motor Vehicles today on behalf of Rose Johnson, 53, of Atwater. The Merced County Superior Court lawsuit claims that despite Johnson's clean driving record — not having caused an accident in 37 years of driving — the DMV refused to renew her license in July after finding she's a medical-marijuana user and deeming that she had an "addiction to, or habitual use of, [a] drug" that renders her unable to safely operate a car.

"The only evidence introduced by the DMV to support this conclusion is the fact of Johnson's medical marijuana use pursuant to state law," the lawsuit says. "The DMV abused its discretion by suspending Johnson's license on this basis."

ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford issued a statement this afternoon saying when California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, "they never intended to authorize the DMV to strip medical marijuana patients of their drivers' licenses. The DMV should not be in the business of revoking the licenses of drivers like Ms. Johnson simply because she is a medical marijuana patient."

And ASA says this isn't an isolated incident.

The DMV has suspended or revoked licenses of medical-marijuana patients in other counties, including Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Glenn, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, and Sonoma.

Johnson's case seems particularly ironic because Merced County, where she lives, this past year instructed its sheriff's deputies to respect state law and not cite medical marijuana patients or seize their medicine. Yet Johnson, never accused of driving while under the influence of marijuana or anything else, was denied her license renewal by a state agency for an activity allowed by state law.

And as I write this item, having just finished an article on the state Supreme Court's impending review of Proposition 8, I wonder how much longer we'll have to keep litigating and re-litigating the effects of a medical-marijuana initiative approved by voters 12 years ago. It seems California just can't find a way to stop stepping on its own toes.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...