Saturday, March 12, 2011

Think about it – no more need to worry about idiots who leave their turn signals on forever…

I was reading my good friend, Woody Woodburn’s column “Distraction on roads all the rage” at the Ventura Star and found out something that will help reduce my irritation at people who leave their turn signals on forever!

It sure made my day knowing that there was hope this distraction will disappear someday. This company (RLP Engineering) responded to Woody’s column and provided the following link:


 “INTELLITURN is the first and only smart turn signal designed for all motor vehicles.  INTELLITURN is a system with no moving parts that precisely and intelligently controls right and left turn signals. 

By eliminating the steering column mechanism and using computer control to shut off the turn signal at a situation-appropriate point through the turn, a vast improvement in an old technology is born. The result is that the overall driving experience is enhanced and vehicle safety is improved.  The common shortcomings of today's mechanical turn signal control become a thing of the past.”

GO HERE to learn more about this new system.

As It Stands – a glance at blog readership …


I’m always amazed to see where readers are coming from, and what countries they hail from. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those who stop by here and visit. One stat that constantly sticks out is how many students – from high schools to colleges – read this blog. I find it fascinating that high school students from Florida, to college students in the UK provide the majority of my readers. I’m still not sure why. It’s obvious when schools out though.

Period from Mar 5 12:00, 2011 – Mar 12 11:00, 2011

United States: 3,407 - United Kingdom: 220; – Canada: 169; – Japan: 129; – Germany: 121; – Australia: 80; – Philippines 59; – France: 57; – Thailand: 52; – and Russia: 51.

Page Views by Browsers

Internet Explorer: 3,073 (55%) – Firefox: 1,192 (21%) – Chrome: 573 (10%) – Safari: 515 (9%) – Opera: 78 (1%) -

Iceweasel: 32 (<1%) – SearchToolbar: 24 (<1%) – Chromeframe: 10 (<1%) – CometBird: 7 (<1%) – Flock: 6 (<1%)


Millionaires and billionaries can’t agree: the NFL lockout has officially begun…

“For the first time since 1987, the National League Football has officially entered a work stoppage.

It came with a whimper.

As of 12:33 a.m. ET, the league hasn’t released a statement on the matter.  (The collective bargaining agreement ran out at midnight.)  NFL Network did announce on air, however, that the owners have imposed a lockout on the players, and also has a story on it.

The Associated Press also confirmed the move and teams received an email notifying them a lockout was imposed.

The start of the lockout will set off a number of legal maneuvers.  The players have gone to court in an effort to block the lockout.

They have filed an antitrust lawsuit — officially known as Brady et al vs. National Football League et al.   The owners are expected to try to prove that the NFLPA’s decertification is a sham.   That argument could have problems.”   Image source      FULL STORY

Friday, March 11, 2011

A thought before you drift off…


    "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
Oscar Wilde

Is that a monkey in your bra, or ... oh, OK, it's a monkey

Woman shows up at Va. courthouse with tiny marmoset in her undergarment

“A woman turned a few heads when she walked into a rural Virginia courthouse with a tiny monkey clad in a pink-and-white dress tucked in her bra.”

Story Here 

Photo - Cara, a seven-week-old marmoset, sits on a desk at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Va., on Thursday.

North Coast Tsunami warning: “I have my floaties on!”



My wife and I were woke up at about 2:30 this morning by a call from our niece in Stockton, California.

She was in tears and thought we were going to be taken out to sea with the Tsunami that she heard was coming our way after it hit Japan.

In turn, my wife called our son and his family in Crescent City to warn them. They cleared out long before the sirens went off and went to higher ground.

After listening to the TV and following reports on local blogs, it’s becoming apparent to me that it’s highly unlikely there’s going to be any major damage anywhere on the West Coast – it’s 8: 28 a.m. right now.

Some boats and piers might get messed up, but I highly doubt places like Eureka are going to see monster waves. Authorities, in what I think was an overabundance of caution, shut down the power plant in Eureka leaving the entire city and the City of Fortuna without power! (Update – . 9:59 -  PG & E has established rolling outages for the next 2 hours to lighten their power load. This is all part of the Emergency plan up here, and shows you how little I knew about it!) 

Kids on the North Coast are delighted. My grandchildren in McKinleyville, Arcata, and Crescent City, are thrilled they’re getting the day off. In what has to be one of the most stupid reactions to all of this, the company my middle son works for insisted he go out and make beverage deliveries in Eureka – despite business’s shutting down! The last time we talked to him he was at the Co-Op – where employees didn’t want his delivery since the store’s power was off. I won’t name the company he works for, but I will say someone there has a screw loose!

For live views along the California Coast GO HERE

UPDATE NOON:  The most current information can be found here.


1. Very little news coming out of our local Channel 3. Channel 7 has reporters in areas that no one else is showing describing the oceans movements live. That includes Crescent City.

2. 945 AM water reported receding for 3rd time in Humboldt Bay, 3rd wave pulse expected shortly.

3.I’m concerned about my middle son who is out there driving a big beverage truck and trying to make deliveries as ordered by his boss. Shirley has been in contact with him (via cell phone) as he describes what it’s like right now in Downtown Eureka. Looks like everything is going to be okay though.

4. Between 35 to 40 boats in the Crescent City Harbor are reportedly destroyed by a follow-up wave that also smashed pier. No casualties reported by Officers of Emergency Services in Eureka where the first reports are flooding in. Santa Cruz harbor also had boat damage.

5. Reports out of crescent City (11:37 PST): 4 people swept out to sea. One fatality confirmed!

6. MSNBC and other news organizations are reporting that the person who was killed was taking photos when it happened. Several news outlets report that two people in Crescent City who were swept out to sea were rescued. That still leaves one unaccounted for. Link here.

Crescent City

Crescent City harbor destroyed; 4 people swept into sea, 1 feared dead

From The LA Times:

“Eight-foot waves from the Japan tsunami destroyed much of Crescent City harbor, battered boats, closed the 101 Freeway and left one person missing.
KDRV-TV reported that four people were washed out to sea Friday. Three were hurt and one is feared dead.”

PHOTO - Crescent City residents reported that about three dozen boats were "crushed" in the harbor. (Jeff Barnard / Associated Press)


Tsunami waves ripple ashore, sparing Oregon coast

After their nine-hour trip across the vast Pacific Ocean, the waves that devastated parts of Japan spared the Oregon coast, while parts of California did receive some isolated damage. One person has been reported killed and three others washed out to sea in Crescent City, California, near the Oregon border, where waves over 7-feet tall have been reported.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Muslim 'radicalization' hearing revives ghost of Joseph McCarthy and his anti-Communist hearings

Rep. Peter King

Please take a moment and look at Peter King (pictured here). You should know that he was once a terrorist who ran with the IRA back in the day when the group was on a world terrorist list and killing innocent civilians.

Look again. He’s back now as a crusading New York lawmaker on a mission. Do you see a hint of the fanatic? He recently admitted to being “obsessed” with the American Muslim community that he feared was fostering homegrown terrorists at alarming rates.

Peter King, the New York lawmaker at the center of the controversial hearing, says not to conduct the probe would be a 'craven surrender to political correctness.' Democrats compare the proceeding to Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist hearings. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca stresses the need to build trust between the police and Muslim Americans.                                   Full Story

The irony of King conducting witch hunts in America is almost too much. How does a man like this get to a position of power with the opportunity to pursue a segment of the American population (over 2 million Muslims) that he’s confessed he’s obsessed with? He’s not the only person trying to alienate the Muslim population in America.

Another man on a mission against Muslims is Pastor Terry Jones from Gainesville, Florida.Yep. He’s the same guy who was going to publicly burn piles of the Koran last year. Well, guess what? He’s back. On Sunday, March 20th he’s staging a “International Judge the Koran Day” and plans to expose the “so-called peaceful” book of the Koran. 

My column in the Times-Standard, on that Sunday, will look at Jones’s misguided mission to not only discredit an ancient religion, but to harass American Muslims in any way he can. Is he just another sicko, or is he part of a movement to stop the practice of Muslim worship in America? You decide on March 20th. See ya there.   

PHOTO - Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, arrives for the first in a series of hearings on radicalization in the American Muslim community. Critics say the hearings will stigmatize Muslim Americans. (Olivier Douliery / Abaca Press / MCT / March 10, 2011)

Funniest E-mail from this morning…

Going through my e-mails this morning this gem appeared. When I stopped laughing, I knew it was time to share it with my readers:

Beginning in early 2011 gas stations will start showing PORN movies on the screens of the pumps so that you can watch someone else get screwed the same time that you do!

photo source

GOP Trampled Democracy to Appease Their Wealthy Backers

When Wisconsin's G.O.P. senators couldn't get what they wanted in an open process, they resorted to goon-squad democracy. You got a problem wi' dat?

Cartoon source

I’m not at all surprised by what the Wisconsin Republicans have done to get their way (hook or crook it doesn’t matter). No one else should be either.

“When Wisconsin Republicans did an end run around Democrats on Wednesday night in order to pass a bill that would strip public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights, they showed themselves to be liars. This was supposed to be about balancing Wisconsin's budget, remember? The collective bargaining rights revocation was all of a piece with an ironically named "Budget Repair Bill," and Gov. Scott Walker, darling of billionaire union-hater David Koch and his astroturf group, Americans For Prosperity, swore up and down that it was only the budget he cared about in this fight.”

That lie has been exposed by the GOP’s actions. People should know that the men behind this assault on unions don’t believe in democracy. They are elitists who only look out for their own. The Koch brother’s daddy Fred was the clown that started the John Birch Society – what does that tell you about the Koch boys? 

“This battle is about a few very wealthy men, and the politicians who seek their slice of power through them, wanting to steal the future from ordinary people and their children. They want to rob old people, who worked all their lives, of their Social Security and their pensions; they want to rob future generations of their inheritance, which, for regular people so blessed, usually comes in the form of the windfall from the sale of a deceased parent's home. If people can't afford to stay in their homes in their later years, there's no inheritance for their children. Why do David Koch, and his brother Charles, and their good friend, Rupert Murdoch, want to rip you off? To enrich their own heirs at your expense.

This is what the fight is partly about. The rest is about control.”

I have no doubt busting unions is only part of the Koch brother’s agenda. Just look what they’ve done so far to ensure they can override the will of the people in Wisconsin. They buy politicians like you and I buy socks – when they are no longer usable, they throw them away. 

“How much easier it would to be boss of all of us if there were no meaningful opposition to fulfilling one's self-inflating, heir-enriching agenda. Now that he's made the Republican Party over in his own image -- in Wisconsin alone, at least three congressmen, one U.S. senator and the governor won election in 2010 thanks to his efforts -- the only obstacle left is the opposition party, whose get-out-the-vote operation is rooted in the labor movement. Kill the unions and you cripple the Democratic Party. Game over.”

GO HERE to read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

‘Even-handed’ political columnist David S. Broder died today

Image: David Broder in 2005

 As a longtime loyal reader of David Broder, I’m sad to see his voice silenced. I’ve always admired his fairness when approaching any issue, regardless of how politically charged it was.

There’s few like him out there these days. It’s good to know he was so well-read, and hopefully his legacy will be to inspire others to be as even-handed in their political commentary.

I know that I have a long way to go to achieve his credibility in political commentary. All I can do is to strive to emulate the master. May he rest in peace.

David Broder, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post political columnist whose even-handed treatment of Democrats and Republicans set him apart from the ideological warriors on the nation's op-ed pages, died Wednesday. He was 81

Media Matters found that Broder was second among columnists only to George Will in the combined circulation of newspapers in which his column appeared.

Full Story

Will NPR lose it’s federal funding over latest flap?

It seems everyone is getting “pranked” these days. People haven’t stopped laughing at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s candid conversation with (what he thought was) David Koch (Conservative agenda funder extraordinaire).

Now, on the heel’s of that embarrassment we have a an ex-NPR executive, Ron Schiller, on video saying the organization doesn’t need Federal funding. He too, was pranked (or whatever you want to call it) -this time by a Conservative gadfly, James O'Keefe, who secretly taped a conversation which was part of a “sting” operation to discredit NPR.

Vivian Schiller, NPR chief, resigns amid 'tea party' video fallout

“The resignation comes at a dicey time for NPR. On Tuesday, a video featuring former NPR executive Ron Schiller (no relation) came to light. In the video, the work of conservative activist James O'Keefe, Schiller is heard demeaning tea party supporters as racists and "gun-toting" Christian fundamentalists who had "hijacked" the Republican Party. Schiller also said that NPR would be "better off in the long run" without federal support.”

Talk about bad timing. Oh wait…there nothing accidental about this expose…so maybe I ought to say “good timing” on someone’s part. Can you guess who?

“NPR is embroiled in a battle on Capitol Hill with Republicans who want to eliminate all federal funding for the publicly supported media network. The Ron Schiller video gave new momentum to that effort, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) saying Tuesday that the video "clearly highlights the fact that public broadcasting doesn't need taxpayer funding to thrive, and I hope that admission will lead to a bipartisan consensus to end these unnecessary federal subsidies."

Congressional Committee looks into 'Islamic radicalization' by American Muslims

Image: Pro-Muslim rally in Times Square

Inquiry by congressional committee looks like inquisition to many Muslims

"By framing his hearings as an investigation of the American Muslim community, the implication is that we should be suspicious of our Muslim neighbors, co-workers or classmates solely on the basis of their religion," Rep. Michael Honda, D-Calif., wrote in a Feb. 28 op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle.   FULL STORY 

PHOTO - Demonstrators attend the "Today, I Am A Muslim, Too" rally in New York City's Times Square on Sunday to show their opposition to congressional hearings on the danger posed by radical Muslims in the U.S

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hacker group vows 'cyberwar' on US government, business

Actions to retaliate for treatment of WikiLeaks, Manning, spokesman for Anonymous says

A leader of the computer hackers group known as Anonymous is threatening new attacks on major U.S. corporations and government officials as part of at an escalating “cyberwar” against the citadels of American power.

“It’s a guerilla cyberwar — that’s  what I call it,” said Barrett Brown, 29,  who calls himself a senior strategist and “propagandist” for Anonymous. He added: “It’s sort of an unconventional, asymmetrical act of warfare that we’ve involved in. And we didn’t necessarily start it. I mean, this fire has been burning.”

A defiant and cocky 29-year-old college dropout, Brown was cavalier about accusations that the group is violating federal laws. He insisted that Anonymous members are only policing corporate and governmental wrongdoing — as its members define it.

Breaking laws, but 'ethically'
“Our people break laws, just like all people break laws,” he added. “When we break laws, we do it in the service of civil disobedience. We do so ethically. We do it against targets that have asked for it.” 

And those targets are apparently only growing in number. Angered over the treatment of Bradley Manning, the Army private who is accused of leaking classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks and who is currently being held in solitary confinement at a military brig in Quantico, Va., Brown says the group is planning new computer attacks targeting government officials involved in his case.


Kaspar the friendly robot teaches autistic kids about emotions

“Eden Sawczenko used to recoil when other little girls held her hand and turned stiff when they hugged her. This year, the 4-year-old autistic girl began playing with a robot that teaches about emotions and physical contact — and now she hugs everyone.

The girl attends a pre-school for autistic children in Stevenage, north of London, where researchers bring in a human-looking, child-sized robot once a week for a supervised session. The children, whose autism ranges from mild to severe, play with the robot for up to 10 minutes alongside a scientist who controls the robot with a remote control.” Full Story and More Photos

Is This Uncanny Valley-Scaling Robot Proof Of Our Impending Demise?

I don’t know why the inventor had to call his robot a Geminoid when anyone can see it’s an Humanoid!

Sweet merciful fates: this is a robot. Called a Geminoid, these things came into fame with an early version in 2005 by Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro of ATR. This new version seems completely revamped and updated and, more interesting, this is the first Geminoid from outside of Japan.

This new Geminoid comes from Aalborg University in Denmark and is considerably less complex – but much more realistic – than Ishiguro’s original model. This one, called Geminoid-DK, appears to really breathe and perform involuntary muscular reactions.


Monday, March 7, 2011

After spending nearly 2,000 years apart, Lucius & Servilia finally reunited

Before Romeo and Juliet there was Lucius and Servilia…

“A married couple from Pompeii have been reunited with the recovery of a missing piece of a 2000-year-old marble puzzle made of several inscribed fragments.

Broken apart and buried during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., the pieces belonged to a tomb inscription.

Although there are some other small pieces missing, the inscription is now legible and reads: "Lucius Catilius Pamphilus, freedman of Lucius, member of the Collinian tribe, for his wife Servilia, in a loving spirit."                                                             Full Story

Bill Introduced to Benefit Blue Water Veterans

Rep. Bob Filner (Calif.), ranking of the House Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee, introduced a measure (H.R. 812) that would authorize VA medical care to veterans and retirees exposed to toxins during the Vietnam era.

If enacted, veterans who served in the surrounding waters off the coast of Vietnam and in the skies above will be allowed file claims for exposure to Agent Orange. (The VA currently only acknowledges service-connection for vets who served within the borders of Vietnam or on the inland waterways.) Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center to ask their representative to co-sponsor this important legislation.

Hot Topic: Were you exposed to Agent Orange during your tour as a member of the “blue water” Navy or Coast Guard? Click here to share your experiences.


The Dead Soldiers Ignored by Our Celebrity Obsessed Media

Spc. Jason M. Weaver will not be appearing on the Howard Stern show…

Insurgents attacked Spc. Jason M. Weaver's unit in the Kandahar province on March 3. An improvised explosive device killed the 22-year-old, who had been deployed for the first time

Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt will not be interviewed on the Today Show…

Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay Minnesota man who went back in the closet to join the military, died Sunday while on patrol in Afghanistan when an IED exploded during an attack on his unit. He was 31.

Pfc. David R. Fahey Jr., will not speak with Piers Morgan

Pfc. David R. Fahey Jr., 23, of Norwalk, Conn., died Feb. 28, in Kandahar Province from wounds suffered when his unit was hit by an improvised explosive device, according to the Defense Department.

Army Specialist Rudolph R. Hizon will not be featured in a segment on 20/20…

Army Specialist Rudolph R. Hizon, 21, of Los Angeles, was killed Monday when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Logar province.

Sgt. Kristopher J. Gould will not be on Dateline NBC…

Gould, 25, of Frankenlust Township, died in the Ghazni province of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Daren Hidalgo (pictured above) will not get more than 1 million Twitter followers in 24 hours.

Flags will be flown at half-staff on Wednesday in honor of U.S. Army 1st Lt. Daren Hidalgo, 24, a former Wisconsin resident who was killed in Afghanistan on Feb. 20.

Spc. Brian Tabada will not be a call-in guest on any radio shows…

The U.S. Army says 21-year-old Spc. Brian Tabada of Las Vegas, Nev., died Feb. 27 in Konar province

None of the dead U.S. soldiers above received a glance from the national media. A national media entranced by a celebrity drug-addict that abuses women. A national media that is stumbling over itself to allow Charlie Sheen to spout any type of trivial nonsense he so pleases to an eager citizenry.

None of the dead soldiers above made a sitcom. All these young men did was give their lives for their country. Which makes Sheen's new motto of "winning" seem all the more pathetic. And should make all of us feel as though we are losing our soul.

Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles

By William K. Wolfrum | Sourced from Dagblog

Posted at March 6, 2011, 9:19 am


Beware: Doing good at work can sometimes get you fired

Image: A Walmart Supercenter

There was public outrage recently when four employees at a Walmart store in Utah lost their jobs for safely disarming a gun-toting shoplifter.

Walmart could care less about what the public thinks, and adheres to strict rules that protect their liability (bottom line), but not their employees lives.

“What if, after following policy, the perpetrator doesn’t run off with the loot, but instead points a gun at someone back and continues to speak in a threatening tone? At what point may they aggressively defend their own lives? According to Walmart’s policy, never.” Full Story

Sunday, March 6, 2011

As It Stands: Word struck? Don't let it bother you, there's probably a good reason

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 03/06/2011 01:30:25 AM PST

Have you ever been struck speechless? Momentarily stunned by a comment or something you saw? At a complete loss of words? Tongue-tied? I have. On my first date in junior high. It was really pathetic. I searched for words to impress my date and made croaking sounds that scared her instead!

The first time I had to stand up in front of a class to make a speech, I lost my voice. I stood, pointed at a chart and coughed. And coughed. Words barely discernible as human came out of my mouth, mocking my efforts at communication. The teacher took pity on me, pretended I made sense and gave me a passing grade.

I once saw a little Vietnamese boy carrying a lizard so big he had it wrapped around his neck. He held the writhing snout with a calm ease born from experience. The lizard looked like a miniature Godzilla to my inexperienced Western eyes.

There we stood in a rice field. The boy was in a hurry to get home but willing to stop and chat if he could “souvenir” something off me or one of the other guys in the platoon. I pointed at the squirming lizard and held my hands up in the universal gesture of a question. The boy smiled and said “Numba one chop chop!”

I smiled back and tried not to gag. I really didn't have a thing to say. I'd recently tried a local fish-head stew that smelled so bad I stuffed my nose with Vicks vapor rub in order to eat it.

 When I think about it, I've been wordless many times in my life:

 “Where have you been all night young man?”

No response.

“Who said you could take that last piece of pie?”

No response.

“What were you thinking?”

No response.

You get the idea. It's pretty common to be at a loss for words. I've given this a lot of deep thought (about five fully focused minutes), and I think it's a survival instinct. If you say nothing, it's better than saying the wrong thing. Think about it:

“Where have you been all night young man?”

“None of your business...” This is where harm comes in.

“Who said you could take that last piece of pie?”

“Grandma ... she appeared to me in a vision ... .” This is where you get to stare at the wall for the rest of the afternoon.

“What were you thinking?”

“That I wanted to get fall-down stupid drunk and tell you ... .” This is where your mate locks the front door and lets you sleep it off on the front step.

Sometimes silence is golden. Or better than a truthful alternative. Then there are times when words can't describe what you're seeing. For example, when I watched each of my three sons enter this world, I was without words. My world tilted each time but no fine speech sprang forth to honor the birth.

No mere words could describe those moments of new life I shared with my wife. I saw my past and my future. Life and death often leave us speechless. The passing of my sister and brother, both so young, left me mute with misery each time. Words were dust in my mouth.

I used to have a friend whose mother always said, “Well, hush my mouth!” He'd tell her he got an A in a test at school and she'd squeal, “Well, hush my mouth!” happily. He'd describe a fight we witnessed and she'd say, “Well, hush my mouth” in awe at the description of carnage. I never understood that expression.

After 60 years of experiencing times when words were worthless or needless, I'm still amazed at how quickly they flee in times of stress, pressure or pleasure. For example, when you get a back rub and are asked if it feels good, words seem unnecessary and a contented sigh says everything!

As It Stands, the next time someone asks you if the “cat got your tongue?” just smile like the Cheshire cat in Alice and Wonderland, and don't answer.

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...