Friday, November 29, 2013

I’m Going on a Blog Break – See You Again on December 3rd

Good Day World!

I’m going to pull myself away from my computer and wander around in the real world for a few days. Who knows what adventures I’ll encounter?

While I’m gone, I invite you to look at the right-hand side of this page where you’ll find links to stuff I’ve written for newspapers, other websites, my novella “Rafter’s Redemption,” and blog posts going back five years.

Here’s a few examples of subjects I’ll be commenting on when I get back (in no particular order):

1) It's not quite a "do nothing" Congress – but it's not far off.

With only a handful of remaining legislative days on their calendar, this current Congress is on track to go down as one of the most unproductive in modern history. 

2) The question is one you may have asked yourself while standing in line at the airport or when trying not to scream in frustration while sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off:

“If airlines know there will be a surge of passengers during the holidays, why don't they add capacity in the form of extra flights?”

IMAGE: Frozen

3) I’m going to the movies with my six-year-old granddaughter this weekend. We’re going to see “Frozen,” Disney’s latest movie.

It's the rare film that actually is worth the ticket surcharge for 3-D, and it's a princess film that defies the someday-my-prince-will-come stereotype, creating two princesses who stand firmly on their own feet and earn the crowns they wear!

I’ll let you know what she thinks about it.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Friends, Family and Readers!

Good Day World!

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving wherever you may be.

I feel blessed to be able to have a day where my family gathers together and enjoys good food and conversation. We’re not much on the pilgrim story that still stubbornly attaches itself to the day, but we have fun.

A couple of turkeys named “Popcorn” and “Carmel” are feeling pretty blessed after President Obama pardoned them for unknown crimes and declared they weren’t going to be the main course for some family’s Thanksgiving meal.

Some people will be standing in line on Thanksgiving Day to get deep discounts on electronics.

The next time you come across a flyer advertising a Black Friday deal that takes 50 percent off the retail price, you may not want to regard it as a "steal."

Retailers are still making big profits even while slashing prices, according to Vincent Quan, associate professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

There's a science behind holiday markdowns. Retailers adhere to specific formulas set six to nine months in advance, and each discount is closely mapped out to lure consumers into the stores during Black Friday weekend and beyond.

Last year I put together a board on Thanksgiving that still resonates this holiday season. It offers some history, health advise, and ways to have fun.

 Time for me to walk on down the road…

Oh! Wait a moment!

I forgot to mention that today is my beautiful wife’s birthday! Happy Birthday Shirley Ann Holloway-Stancliff! I love you more every Thanksgiving!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Batter Up! The Pancake Man Can Create Tasty Art When He’s Not Playing in his Band

Good Day World!

I want you to meet Dr. Dan the Pancake Man.

Did your mother ever tell you not to play with your food? Well, she probably never saw ‘Dr. Dan the Pancake Man’ who turns batter into art.

Daniel Drake has been creating pancake art at the Courtesy Diner in St. Louis, MO for four years, but recently got national recognition thanks to a Reddit post. It linked to Imgur photos uploaded by one of Dan’s friends showing his cool creations, affectionately called Dan-cakes. So far, he has whipped up pancakes that look like a dog, Aladdin, a jellyfish, and Pac-man to name a few.

He even has his own Facebook fan page with over 1500 admirers flipping over his creations! When he isn’t fulfilling diners specially requested Dan-cakes, Dan is playing in the band ‘The Psychedelic Psychonauts.’

Dan says he started creating the pancake doodles after he saw someone make a Mickey Mouse pancake. His first creation was a huge smiley face for a male customer who laughed at the pancake, and then left a $15 tip. Dan knew he was on to something.

He even has his own Facebook fan page with over 1500 admirers flipping over his creations! When he isn’t fulfilling diners specially requested Dan-cakes, Dan is playing in the band ‘The Psychedelic Psychonauts.’ via Yahoo Trending Now

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One big wobbly step for a humanoid robot preparing for challenge


 Good Day World!

 Have you ever noticed that most robots basically mirror humans?

 Not all of them of course. Robots come in all shapes and sizes.

The first known robot was created around 400-350 BC by the mathematician Archytas and was a steam powered pigeon.

Archytas, who coincidentally is known as the “father of mechanical engineering,” constructed his bird out of wood and used steam to power the movements of the robot.  This bird was then suspended from a pivot bar and at one point the bird managed to fly as much as 200 meters before it ran out of steam.

Leonardo da Vinci designed and built the first known humanoid robot around 1495. This robot was an armored knight that could sit up, wave its arms, and move its head while opening and closing its jaw. You can imagine how many jaws dropped when it first appeared in public!

Isaac Asimov formulated the Three Laws of Robotics, and in the process of doing so, coined the word "robotics."

And speaking of robotics, the first real Robotics Challenge trials will be held at Homestead Speedway in Florida on Dec. 20th and 21st.

It's open to the public and free to attend, so local robotics enthusiasts can come and see a few state-of-the-art robots trying to drive, operate machinery and get across rough terrain.

“The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition put up a video

Atlas got some modifications to compete in new challenge
last week to show how even without using its sophisticated sensors, which the researchers disabled, their robot – Atlas - could make its way across reasonably rough terrain.

IHMC is modifying the Atlas, originally built by Boston Dynamics (of BigDog fame), to compete in DARPA's Robotics Challenge. DARPA, the research arm of the Defense Department, is offering a $2 million prize to the best-performing robot in a series of tests made to simulate "disaster response operations."

IHMC took first place in a virtual version of the challenge performed in June, and was awarded an Atlas robot to use for the next phase, a trial run of the real-world tasks due to take place in December.”  full story here

 More information on the event will appear here as DARPA makes it available.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Life of No Respect Lives On! Visit the New Rodney Dangerfield Website

 Good Day World!

 If he were alive today, Rodney Dangerfield would be grinning from ear-to-ear!

His widow, Joan Dangerfield, unveiled an online tribute to her late husband on Nov. 22, which would have been his 92nd birthday if he were still with us.

If you’re a big fan of Dangerfield like myself, this site is the Mother-of-All repositories for Rodney Dangerfield memorabilia. Check out his old movies, stand-up routines, and the story of his remarkable comedic career.

His signature comedy routine about never getting respect was always greeted with howls of laughter from audiences worldwide. The fact is, he got a lot of respect in his lifetime and was honored many times for his work.

Born Jacob Rodney Cohen in 1921 to Hungarian Jews from Long Island, he grew up largely without his father, a vaudeville performer who abandoned the family when Rodney was very young.

How did he come up with that signature respect routine?

Inspiration struck while eavesdropping on the mobster-types who hung around comedy clubs. "He overheard them saying, 'Hey, respect her, she's with me.' That kind of language. And he thought, 'That's it!' "

Years later, Jack Benny, Dangerfield's hero, called to offer his admiration: "He said, 'You have the best image of all time. Because everybody feels that at one point on another they're not getting respect.' "

Thanks for the laughs Rodney.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Airplane Traveler: ‘I’d rather have snakes in the cabin than cell phones!’

Good Day World!

 Heard at 30,000 feet…”Can you hear me now?”

If you think people talking on cell phones while checking out at supermarket lines are obnoxious, wait until the airlines new policy of letting passengers jabber at 30,000 feet on their cell phones happens. It’s going to ruin your day – not to mention your flight.

Frequent flyers are facing a new pain-in-the-ass on their trips having to listen to a cabin full of inane conversations along the lines of, “Did you hear that Betty turned down that bartender job? It isn’t going to be pretty.

The skies are getting a little less friendly. Flight attendants are aren’t happy about the new development either. It means one more chance that someone is going to get irritated at a fellow passenger.

The way people act on cell phones on land and in cars is bad enough, but wait until they take to the skies with their iPhones and Smart phones. Super duper earplugs anyone?

In the news:

Mere weeks after the FAA relaxed rules to allow the use of personal electronic devices during all phases of flight -- a running list of which airlines are allowing gate-to-gate use is here -- the FCC is getting in on the cellphone plane party and considering letting passengers talk and text across the whole country.

When the TODAY show asked, "Should the FCC allow cellphone calls on planes?" 96 percent of responding viewers using the hashtag #orangeroom said "NO."

Passengers making phone calls could extend beyond a mere nuisance, creating negative effects on aviation safety and security that are great and far too risky said the Association of Flight Attendants.” full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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...