Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Log Home Update: Baby Steps

One more step today as we drove out to Lancaster to close on the second of the two loans from M & T Mortgage. This one is officially called the "construction loan" while the one we closed on last week was the "swing loan." We now have all the financing we need.

M & T issued the preliminary payment to Beaver Mountain Log Homes so they could get on with the milling of the logs for our home. Friday I will give our General Contractor, Don, a check equal to 15% of his estimated cost for the construction of our home.

From that point on, it will be a matter of finishing the preparation work here in NJ so we can put this house on the market. Aside from moving things out, I estimate one solid week of painting will do for the house's interior. Then it will be a quick scrub/pressure wash of the outside and a reconstruction of the outdoor shed and chipping up some brush/branches. If the weather cooperates, three weeks. Somewhere around Presidents' Day we'll be ready to put the house on the market.

Volunteers to assist with the painting?

Monday, January 30, 2006

New ATM Rules

Mostly Cajun has posted the new rules for ATM use that have been initiated at his bank. I believe they have been in effect at my bank for years. There’s one set for Males and another for Females. Go on over to take a look at them and see if they are used at your bank’s ATM.

“Who’ll bring the rain?”

Clouds may bring the rain, but what brings the clouds? The answer may lay in the cosmos…well, the cosmic rays at least.
"The odds of a cloudy day increase by around 20 per cent when the cosmic ray flux is high," says Harrison, amounting to a few extra days of cloudiness per year.

When cosmic rays hit the atmosphere they produce charged particles which seem encourage the growth of cloud droplets. Compared with greenhouse gases the effect of cosmic rays on climate is small. But it could help explain some of the more mysterious changes in climate Earth has experienced in the past.
So, does Seattle have a funnel poised high overhead through which cosmic rays are gathered?

Via Lucianne

72 Canadian Miners Rescued

Maybe there is something we can learn from Canada. A week after the second West Virginia coal mine incident took the lives of two miners and two weeks after a W. Va. Explosion killed 12, some Canadian miners found themselves underground when a fire broke out.
Seventy-two Canadian potash miners Monday walked away from an underground fire and toxic smoke on Monday after being locked down overnight in airtight chambers packed with enough oxygen, food and water for several days.
It sounds like the miners felt safe in their underground bunker.
Greg Harris, one of the miners, said he was never concerned about his safety as he played checkers with colleagues in the refuge room waiting to be rescued. They drew the checkerboard on the back of a map and used washers as chips.

``Everything is good,'' Harris told The Canadian Press from his home. ``Communication was excellent. We had no problems whatsoever.''

Analysts said the rescue could serve as a lesson for their counterparts in the United States, China and other countries.

Via Lucianne

Win the Battle and “Lose” the War

Also on January 30, 1968 the Tet Offensive began when Viet Cong forces supported by a large number of North Vietnamese regulars began the largest offensive of the war. On what was supposed to be the first day of a holiday truce, enemy forces quickly overran many of the largest cities in South Vietnam but by February 10 the offensive was largely crushed. The American and South Vietnamese forces had soundly defeated the enemy in the field but back in the states, the heavy casualties incurred by the Allied forces fueled civil and political protests that led President Lyndon Johnson to announce, on March 31, 1968, he would not seek re-election. That action added to the anti-war momentum and would eventually lead to the withdrawal of all American forces.

From This Day in History

The Father of His Country

On a sadder note, January 30th is also the anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s assassination. Gandhi could be seen as the father of modern independent India.
He supported Britain in the First World War but in 1919 launched a new satyagraha in protest of Britain's mandatory military draft of Indians. Hundreds of thousands answered his call to protest, and by 1920 he was leader of the Indian movement for independence. He reorganized the Indian National Congress as a political force and launched a massive boycott of British goods, services, and institutions in India.
It took a long time for him to realize his dream and even then it was rife with violence.
In 1945, a new government came to power in Britain, and negotiations for India's independence began. Gandhi sought a unified India, but the Muslim League, which had grown in influence during the war, disagreed. After protracted talks, Britain agreed to create the two new independent states of India and Pakistan on August 15, 1947. Gandhi was greatly distressed by the partition, and bloody violence soon broke out between Hindus and Muslims in India.

In an effort to end India's religious strife, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas. He was on one such vigil in New Delhi when Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi's tolerance for the Muslims, fatally shot him. Known as Mahatma, or "the great soul," during his lifetime, Gandhi's persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.

From This Day in History

Adolph Hitler Rises to Chancellor

Another fast riser in 1933 was quite so benign or to be admired. On January 30th, Adolph Hitler became the chancellor of Germany. In July of 1932, the Nazis had won 230 seats in the Reichstag. They and the Communists made up more than half of that body. Trying to avoid the Communists’ influence, President Paul von Hindenburg was talked into naming Hitler, the leader or fuhrer of the National Socialist German Workers Party, chancellor of Germany.
Hitler’s emergence as chancellor on January 30, 1933, marked a crucial turning point for Germany and, ultimately, for the world. His plan, embraced by much of the German population, was to do away with politics and make Germany a powerful, unified one-party state. He began immediately, ordering a rapid expansion of the state police, the Gestapo, and putting Hermann Goering in charge of a new security force, composed entirely of Nazis and dedicated to stamping out whatever opposition to his party might arise. From that moment on, Nazi Germany was off and running, and there was little Hindenburg or von Papen—or anyone—could do to stop it.
And we all know where that led.

From This Day in History

“Hi-yo, Silver! Away!”

On this day back in 1933 The Lone Ranger made its radio debut on Detroit’s WXYZ. Station-owner George Trendle and writer Fran Striker joined forces to give us the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Historical accuracy was the furthest thing from the minds of the creators. They wanted to entertain in a wholesome, moral way.

The constant action kept the kids entertained and Mom and Dad liked the moral code of conduct the pair of heroes followed. As a result, the show became immensely popular and was soon picked up by the Mutual Radio Network where 20 million Americans were tuning in three times a week by 1939. The popularity of the show also led to one of the most effective marketing tie-in strategies. Lone Ranger guns, costumes, books and even a comic strip soon appeared.

The Lone Ranger easily made the transition to motion pictures and then television. With Clayton Moore as the masked man, The Lone Ranger became a big hit on ABC TV in the early 1950’s and remained on the air until 1957. The show ushered in the golden age of the TV Western.

Not bad for a character whose inspiration was Douglas Fairbanks’ Zorro in the silent movie, The Mark of Zorro

From This Day in History

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Lady Knights down Hoyas, 65-51

Rutgers R.small
Led by Cappie Pondexter’s game-high 24 points and Essence Carson’s 14. the No. 10/9 Scarlet Knights drubbed the Georgetown Hoyas in Washington, DC.
A 16-0 run midway during the first half gave the Knights a 28-14 advantage reversing a 14-12 Georgetown lead.

The full story and stats can be found here.

Rutgers improves to 15-3, 7-0 in the Big East. Georgetown falls to 8-11, 1-7 in the Big East.

The Lady Knights take on the St. John's Redstorm at the RAC Wednesday night at 7:30 PM.

Scarlet Knights Pluck Cardinals, 65-56

Rutgers R.small
As bad as things were the other night against Providence, they were that much better today against No. 22/23 Louisville. Quincy Doubly’s 12 points led an RU team that shot 58% from the floor in the first half. The Knights jumped out to a 16-point lead at one point and held on to an 11-point margin at the break, 39-28. Louisville shot just 31% in the first half.

The Cardinals came out in the second half and immediately narrowed the gap to just 5 points as RU went 0-7 to start the second half. Anthony Farmer made a jumper with 14:17 to play and end that futility string. With 11 minutes to go, RU was still only 1 for 11 from the floor. Thankfully they stepped up their defense and continued to hold on to a 9-point lead. While Louisville continued to shoot just 30% from the field, RU turned the ball over time and again.

RU’s shooting remained cold from the field as the Cardinals chopped away at the RU lead until, with 8:03 remaining, they had reduced it to just 2 points with a 9-2 run. And, after trading a few baskets, it was down to just 1-point with 5:48 on the clock. Almost exactly a minute later, Louisville took the lead 52-51 for the first time since early in the first half. RU took the lead back with two free throws by Ollie Bailey but gave it back on free throws. From there it was back and forth over and over again. RU would take a lead, and Louisville would tie or go ahead. Then RU would take the lead or tie. Tied at 56 with three minutes to go, RU went on a 9-0 run to end the game. The Scarlet Knights win 65-56 when Louisville fails to score in the final 3:02.

Quincy Douby had a tougher second half and ended with just 19 points. (He is averaging 23 per game.) JR Inman had 13 points and Ollie Bailey came off the bench to add 12 for the Knights. RU ended the game with 43% shooting from the field, 31% from 3-point range and 84% (16-19) from the stripe.

Both teams were fighting for a slot in the Big East Tournament. Both were tied in the Big East standings with Providence at 2-4 going into today’s play. (Providence fell to No. 1 Connecticut 76-62.)

The full story and stats can be found here.

Rutgers improves to 13-7, 3-4 in the Big East. Louisville falls to 14-6, 2-5 in the Big East.

The Scarlet Knights hit the road to play at Syracuse Wednesday night at 7 PM.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Transitions, Part 2

Another 500 mile trip to PA and back today with a truckload of "stuff" for storage. So far we aven't even hit the materials that would normally be essential. (At least if you discount the scrollsaw plans and the needlcraft plans that we have already boxed.)

We stopped to talk to an Allstate representative and pick up a copy of the insurance policy and then went to the storage unit to unload the truck.

We then went to check our PO Box. (It's amazing, we signed the rental agreement last Friday and already we're getting junk mail.)

A short trip up to the property where we found a couple of inches of snow on the ground at 2100 feet and a stop at Wendy's for lunch.

Then it was time to head home. We made only one stop on the way back to refuel. Being Friday afternoon--and between lunch and dinner--we were able to make great time. Those who did take off from work to head for the mountains for the weekend were going the opposite direction.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What a maroon! (Part…whatever)

In a scene straight out of Monty Python, Joel Kackstetter threw not one but two prosthetic legs at a state trooper leaving himself without a leg to stand on. The trooper had pulled Kackstetter’s son over on suspicion of drunk driving. Now they are both facing multiple charges.

Via it comes in pints?

(Oops. I just realized I inadvertently lifted the “without a leg to stand on” from pints. Sorry.)


Today we had our refi closing here in our NJ home. That’s one more step in financing our log home finished. Next week we visit M & T Mortgage Company in Lancaster, PA to close on the construction loan. Once that is done we will have the money needed to continue on with our project. We’ll be able to provide our first payment to our contractor and to Beaver Mountain so they can get the foundation underway and start milling the logs, respectively.

Meanwhile Terry and I will be making another run to PA (our fourth) with boxed stuff including all the Christmas decorations. Right now Terry and Jess are going through a box of papers dating from way back. They’re digging up treasures such as Jessica’s third grade report cards and Rick’s preschool evaluations. Reading the comments about each of the kids is hysterical. Jessica got a birthday card that showed Ziggy playing a tuba and Rick’s teacher said he had an excellent ability to concentrate upon things in which he was interested but tended not to focus well on other topics! Well, duh!

Terry and I have boxed up some items to be donated for a church sale and some books for the library's sale. This morning the garbagemen had a huge mound of recyclables to haul away.

We're making progress. Slowly but steadily.

You can’t make this stuff up

The Boston Globe headline reads: “Car theft takes an unexpected turn Crash in police lot leads to capture”.
an unlicensed 16-year-old allegedly stole a 2005 Honda Civic yesterday and tried to escape from an officer by driving into a city-owned parking lot full of marked police cars.
The 16 year-old then proceeded to crash into a police tow truck.

What a maroon! I would love to be a fly on the wall when he relates how he got caught to his new cellmates, wouldn’t you?

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

Somebody call Q

This sounds like something right out of a James Bond movie. Rocket designer Tim Pickens has built a bicycle with a rocket booster attached. One push of the button and—BAMM!—off you go! Zero to 60 in five seconds!

Sounds like a plan—until someone gets hurt.

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

Smoking addiction could be in your genes

Are you having trouble living up to that New Year’s resolution to kick the habit? It might not be all your fault, your genes could be working against you. At least, that’s what these Japanese scientists seem to be saying. So if you’ve tried quitting a million times, blame your parents.

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

What was she thinking?

Obliviously not much. An airline attendant for Northwest Airlines tried to take an inactive hand grenade aboard in her luggage. It was a gift for her son. She’ll now get to spend more time with him, I’m sure but will have less money to spend on presents. Idiot.

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

Million-year-old ice?

Japanese scientists have retrieved ice from the Antarctic ice sheet that they believe to be one million years old. It came from a depth of 9, 994 feet or approximately 1.9 miles. Wow! Just WOW!

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

And I thought I had caught small fish!

An AP report out of Bangkok, Thailand on the ABC News site states that scientists have discovered a fish that grows to less than 1/3 of an inch in length in the acid bogs of Indonesia.

It beat the old record by just thaaaaaat much.
The previous record for world's smallest fish, according to the Natural History Museum, was held by a species of Indo-Pacific goby one-tenth of a millimeter longer.
Wow!. Just one-tenth of a millimeter shorter than the old record! I'm sure it doesn't make musch of a difference when one considers variations within individuals of a species. But you get your kicks where ever you may.

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

What were they thinking?

You know, it’s probably not wise to drop a brick of cocaine from your apartment window. Especially if a policeman happens to be passing by.

I taught middle school for a long time but this kind of stuff never ceases to amaze me.

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Appalachian Gun Trash (TAL) posted this link to the Internet Shorthand website. I may never use some of the acronyms that are, well, a little esoteric, but I may need to look some of them up if I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.

I think I'll add it to the sidebar so it will be available all the time. (VGI)

Friars scorch Knights 79-69

Rutgers R.small
Providence Friars came to the RAC tonight and shot the lights out. The Friars took an 18-point lead at the half, 44-26, when they shot 7 for 9 outside the arc and 59% from the field. Donnie McGrath was perfect from the field and the line as he shot 7-7 from the floor—including 5-5 from beyond the 3-point line—and 1-1 from the line in the first half. It wasn’t until only 7:25 remained in the second half that McGrath missed his first shot. By then, he had 22 points.
Meanwhile, Quincy Douby was shooting, shall we say, poorly. In the first half he was held to just 4 points and two of those came with less than 30 seconds to go from the free-throw line.
Things didn’t look promising early in the second half as Providence improved upon its shooting percentage. At one point the Friars were shooting 70% from the field. Yet they were having a tough time putting Rutgers away. Providence just wasn’t getting enough shots early on. Rutgers slowly narrowed the margin. Inman, Webb and Joynes were finally joined by Douby, who hit a couple of long 3-point shots, and the Friars’ lead got whittled down to as little as 7 points at 71-64 with 4:17 left. Unfortunately, the Friars fought back to a 10-point lead and, while RU would again narrow it to 7 points with just a minute left, they wouldn’t get closer.

Rutgers falls to 12-7, 2-4 BIG EAST vs Providence improves to 9-8, 2-4 BIG EAST)

Full story and stats are here.

NEXT: This Saturday at 2:00 PM the Scarlet Knights take on the Louisville Cardinals at the RAC. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

This is neat!

Here’s a really cool link that I first saw over at Baseball Crank. It lets you see the distribution of your surname in the United States over the years.

Check out the Baby Name Voyager mentioned by one of BC’s commenters, too. It can tell you about the popularity of your first name for any decade from 1880 to 2004. Very cool.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

RU Women end homestand on the upswing
69-43 over Notre Dame

Rutgers R.small
The No. 10/9 Rutgers women skewered the No. 21/22 Irish of Notre Dame tonight. Behind an intimidating defense that held Notre Dame to just one point in the first 11 minutes of the game and forced 22 turnovers the Scarlet Knights came away with a 69-43 victory.

Matee Ajavon’s season-high 28 points and Cappie Pondexter’s 20 led Rutgers in scoring.

You can get the full story and stats here.

Rutgers improves to 14-3, 6-0 BIG EAST while Notre Dame falls to 12-6, 3-4 BIG EAST.

The Scarlet Knights head to Washington, DC for a Saturday, January 28th game against the Georgetown Hoyas. Tip off is 3 PM.

Horrid haggis makes you heavy?

It’s not exactly like eating too many fish and chips or Big Macs. I can’t see kids sitting down to a school lunch of haggis on a daily basis. Yet haggis has been targeted.
According to health officials in Scotland, the delicacy -- a sheep's stomach lining stuffed with offal, oatmeal, onions and seasoning -- contains too much fat and salt and should only be given to youngsters once a week.
I’d love to know what the annual per capita intake of haggis is that it requires an official condemnation. Perhaps it’s just someone who hates poetry
…the guidance has angered makers of the "love it or hate it" foodstuff, which is traditionally eaten with a tot of whisky on Burn's Night, the annual January 25 celebration of the life of the legendary Scots poet Robert Burns.
Or perhaps it was just to discourage cruelty to children
Haggis was placed on a "restricted" list of foods issued to nurseries, playgroups and childminders as part of a drive by the Scottish Executive in Edinburgh to improve the health of pre-school children under five.

Via Yahoo! News

32 pounds of puke!

That’s what Leon Wright and his wife Loralee found on an Australian beach. And it’s valued at around $300,000. The solid, fatty mass turned out to be ambergris, the vomit of sperm whales valued very highly by perfumers.

Via Yahoo! News

Thomas Magnum at the movies

Okay, I watched Magnum PI on a regular basis and enjoyed the show. (This was before I swore off network TV series.) Selleck did a great job then and he has done so since. I particularly enjoy all the westerns he has brought to the TV screen. (Funny how the big studios never made any of those cowboy movies for the silver screen.)

What is disturbing about the report that they are bringing Magnum to the big screen is that it shows that those geniuses in La-La Land have so few original ideas. Not too long ago it was a remake of Dukes of Hazard and then King Kong. There are so many books out there that cry out for their chance to become movies yet they go back time and time again to the old ones.

Via Lucianne

Here’s some ideas for new movies. And the authors have many titles out there that could be made into sequels:

The Nevada Barr mysteries. Set in various National Parks the settings alone might wake slumbering audiences.

Lindsey Davis’ Didius Falco mysteries set in ancient Rome are filled with enticing characters and as a historical fiction they could be educational as well as entertaining.

Tony Hillerman. Yeah, I know a few of these were made into TV movies but they could be so much better with the bigger budget the silver screen could provide.

You want weird? How about Carl Hiaasen. And it’s set in the Everglades. Okay, they tried one, Strip Tease with Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds. That one did okay but they never followed up with any other. (Although Hoot will be coming out this summer.)

Media bias? Really?

Bruce Bartlett, in RealClearPolitics reports upon the way the New York Times publishes the various scandals infecting both political parties. Seems one party’s alleged ethics violations appears on page 1 day after day while stories of the other party’s criminal convictions are buried deep within the paper and oft times get sugar coated. Would you care to guess which party is which?

Living in New Jersey, listening day in and day out to the NYC media, reading the NYC papers and even the largest NJ paper, the Newark Star Ledger you get kind of used to the duplicity.

Via Lucianne

Another one bites the dust

First it was West Wing, then Will and Grace. Now NBC is canceling Book of Daniel. Faced with advertisers pulling their ads and affiliates refusing to air the show, NBC was going to lose millions of dollars each time it tried to put Book of Daniel on the air.
According to Wildmon, NBC’s decision "shows the average American that he doesn’t have to simply sit back and take the trash being offered on TV, but he can get involved and fight back with his pocketbook.

"We want to thank the 678,394 individuals who sent e-mails to NBC and the thousands who called and e-mailed their local affiliates.”


Harry Reid off the deep end—again.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid took a dive off the deep end again today. He lashed out against President Bush—again—decrying “the costs of Republican corruption.”
“President Bush needs to quit stonewalling about his White House’s connection to corruption, and finally tell us how he’s going to reform Washington,” the Nevada Democrat demanded.
This is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black. Are the Republicans free of all corruption? No. But Harry Reid needs to focus upon cleaning up his own party. To say they received no gifts from Jack Abramoff is a joke. They got plenty from his clients.

While he’s working on cleaning up the Democratic side of the aisle, maybe he should ask if they have any ideas for improving this country of ours. From their rhetoric it would appear they don’t. Just exactly what does the Democratic Party stand for today? It is certainly not the party of John F. Kennedy any longer.

As a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee said in reply:
“By launching bitter, partisan attacks that ignore problems in his own backyard, Sen. Reid is emblematic of a minority party that is long on anger and short on substance,” said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Man, that’s cold!

It’s colder than a witch’s *** in much of Europe and northwestern Asia. Moscow has had 27 people freeze to death and seven more in Estonia, five each in Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic, and three in Moldova, All told
More than 50 people have been reported killed by the cold wave in Russia, and scores of victims were recorded elsewhere in Europe over the weekend.
To top it off, some areas have lost their heat.
Nearly 12,000 people were left without heat Monday in Podolsk, a town outside of Moscow, after a major hot-water pipe ruptured, a federal emergency official said. Most Russian towns and cities are heated through municipal heating systems using hot water.

In the Far Eastern Chita region, some residences have been without heat for five days. Heating interruptions also occurred in the Magadan area, where temperatures have hit minus-46,
I can't imagine temperatures that low. I assume, however, that the temperatures are Centigrade where minus-20 would be minus-4 degrees F. The few times I have had temperatures down to minus-20 degrees F in the Adirondacks, I hunkered down next to the fireplace and tried to stay warm.
This winter is the coldest in Moscow since 1978-79, when temperatures reached minus-36.4.
Like I said, man that’s cold.

via Yahoo! News

See also Eastern Europe freezes in killer cold from Yahoo! News UK edition.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

They Get To Vote?…

…but can they find the polls? Do they know how to fill in a ballot? Are they responsible for those hanging chads?

MorningGlory2 posts on some people who are allowed to vote but maybe shouldn’t.

US Tells Pakistan to Just Do It

Captain Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters posts on the US’ response to Pakistan’s protesting the bombing of an Al-Qaeda safe house last week. Essentially the US is sending the Pakistani PM the same message I wrote about in Nope. No Way. We’ll come back—if we have to.

Of course, both the US and Captain Ed were far more diplomatic than I.

Shortly after 9/11 President Bush said something to the effect, "Your either with us or against us. We will go anywhere and everywhere to fight terrorism."

Thinking it over, I would have probably just told Pakistan, “Sh*t or get off the pot!” But that's just me.

Blood suckers in NYC

I knew the city was filled with blood suckers, but I always figured they were they two-legged variety.

Via Brietbart.com

Garden Gnomes Liberation Army
Strikes In Sweden

Authorities have located 12 kidnapped garden gnomes [shouldn’t that be gnome-napped?]
...in a snowy forest, standing in a ring beside a lighted bonfire and a small hut….

Larsson said the gnomes had, however, declined to collaborate in the investigation.

"We've tried to squeeze them for information, but they're staying mum," he said.

Sounds like a set-up to me. I thing they cooperated with their abductors.

via Yahoo! News

This is a protest—not terrorism

Meanwhile, AnimaNaturalis and PETA staged a different kind of protest against fur coats in Spain. Some 70 men and women decided to take it all off and lay down in the street in front of Barcelona’s city hall.
Protest—makes a point without hurting anyone or anything
Terrorism—aims to harm or scare someone; may also cause physical damage to private or public property

Via Yahoo! News

It’s been on for 7 years?

NBC is canceling The West Wing this May after 7 years. If the article didn’t tell me it’s been on for 7 years, I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen an episode and don’t care to. I seldom if ever watch anything but sports on the big networks. Even when I’m watching a football, baseball or basketball event on one of the four (CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX) I find I’m aggravated by the multitude of promos for this drama or that “comedy” that seem to repeat every five minutes. (The same is true for the regular commercials. Is anyone else freaked by the Burger King commercials?)

I do watch some shows that aren’t sports oriented. Friday nights on Sci Fi I watch Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1. (I never got into the new Battlestar Galactica.) Weeknights I usually watch Good Eats on the Food Channel, CSI, Las Vegas on Spike, Law & Order on TNT, or Law & Order—SVU on USA. And all the while I’ll be surfing the net.

My wife is a JAG fan and she and my daughter MUST watch Lost. I don’t even know when or where they appear. From the commercials I’ve seen and from what I’ve read in the papers, I’d say I’m not really missing much.

via Yahoo! News

They’re no Jack Sparrow

The US Navy has captured a pirate ship off the coast of Somalia. Somalia hasn’t had a real government since 1991. As a result,
Piracy is rampant off the coast of Somalia, which is torn by renewed clashes between militias fighting over control of the troubled African country. Many shipping companies resort to paying ransoms, saying they have few alternatives.

Last month, Somali militiamen finally relinquished a merchant ship hijacked in October.

In November, Somali pirates freed a Ukrainian ore carrier and its 22 member crew after holding it for 40 days. It was unclear whether a US$700,000 ransom demanded by the pirates had been paid.

One of the boldest recent attacks was on Nov. 5, when two boats full of pirates approached a cruise ship carrying Western tourists, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) off Somalia and fired rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.

The crew used a weapon that directs earsplitting noise at attackers, then sped away.

Via Lucianne

Time To Rethink The Sunscreen

The chemicals in sunscreen have been messing with the sex of male fish off the California coast—and elsewhere. This study may go a long way to explaining some of the weirdness of the Southern California beach country.
Scientists have found that male hornyhead turbot and English sole, feeding near sewage outfalls on the Californian coast, are being feminised [sic] - and a chemical found in sunscreens is the likely culprit.
But near the beach is not the only place this has been happening.
Swiss researchers have found other suspected gender-bender chemicals from sun creams and oils building up in fish in their rivers.
The male turbot and sole three miles off the California coast, near a sewage outfall where water from the showering of all those bronzed bodies of body builders and beach bunnies ends up, have been developing ovarian tissue in their testes.

A previous UK Environment Agency study had found in 2002 that oestrogen in urine from contraceptive pills was having the same affect in British rivers. But oxybenzone was the only chemical that could be “exclusively” identified in the University of California study. Oxybenzone is the chemical that protects against the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The Swiss found octocrylene and 4-methylbenzylidene campho, two chemicals used in sunscreens and lip balms, to be building up in fish tissue.

Perhaps a cut back in the use of sunscreen is in order—for more than one reason:
there have been other concerns about potential health effects. Some clear sunscreens use nanoparticles so small that they can penetrate the skin and even get into the brain.

There is also concern about a [sic] the universal use of sunscreens. By shielding ourselves from sunlight, we produce less vitamin D, which protects against as many as 16 different cancers.
Another reason to drink milk.

Via Lucianne

Escalation In Animal Rights Terror War

Animal rights terrorists in the UK have stepped up their violent attacks to include car bombings. Instead of mere home visits in the dead of night, graffiti or harassment they have started to place incendiary devices under people’s cars. It’s not until the last paragraph of this story that you learn the name of one of the groups involved: ALF or the Animal Liberation Front.

When a group begins to act violently, no matter what their cause, they deserve to be met with prompt and forceful response.

Via Lucianne

Knights Fall To Bearcats in Cincinnati

Rutgers R.small
The Cincinnati Bearcats took a 12-point lead in the second half but Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights rallied to tie it at 57 and then took a brief 59-57 lead.

Four Knights scored in double figures led by Quincy Douby’s 19 and Jimmy Inglis’ 16 in one of the more balanced scoring games of the season. They fell short, however, when Douby lost the handle on the ball with seconds left and the Bearcats held on for a 71-66 victory.

Rutgers falls to 12-6, 2-3 in the Big East while Cincinnati, in their first year in the Big East, improves to 14-5, 3-2 in the Big East.

You can get the full story and stats here.

Next up for the Scarlet are the Providence Friars in the RAC on Wednesday, January 25th at 7 PM.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

What were they thinking?

Jeff Soyer of Alphecca argues that the 2nd Amendment is NOT obsolete. And looks at what the framers of the Constitution were thinking when they added the 2nd Amendment.

Most all the quotes he encloses put the lie to the antis cry that the common man (or woman) was not meant to have firearms.

Very BIG East!

The Big East may have been considered weak sisters in the BCS football family, but it’s now basketball time, baby!

I’m sitting here after watching unranked Georgetown knock off undefeated No. 1 Duke, and after watching No. 12 West Virginia defeat No. 18 UCLA, after hearing that unranked St. John’s (NY) bumped off undefeated No. 9 Pittsburgh and I’m seeing No. 7 Villanova beating No. 20 Syracuse and planning to watch No. 15/17 Louisville host No. 3 Connecticut.

Let me look at that again. Hum, Numbers 3, 7, 9, 12, 15/17 and 20. That’s not bad for one conference. And then we had two unranked teams (Georgetown and St. John’s) take down the undefeated ones. (Too bad one of the undefeated teams was a Big East member.)

[Syracuse is not likely to continue in the top 25 after Monday's game against Pittsburgh. They lost to UConn the other night, they are losing to Nova today and will probably lose to the Panthers Monday night. But there are a couple of teams that could stick their nose in there at the bottom of the list.]

No wonder it was announced last week that the Big East Tournament in MSG was sold out—again.

Log Home Update

After dropping our third load of stuff in the storage unit in PA, we had lunch with our general contractor and his wife to discuss progress and plans. We have two loan closings coming up in the next two weeks so we will have funds to pay the contractor’s initial 15%, the deposit on the log kit, and the foundation people—in that order.

We need to pay about 20% on the log kit by February 15th so they will know to go ahead with the milling of the logs for delivery on April 19th. Our general contractor needs funds so he can pay for site preparation, including the excavation for the foundation that needs to be started in March. Finally, the foundation folks will have to be paid when they bring in the insulating panels that will serve as the forms of our poured concrete foundation. They need to have the foundation in by April 15th.

Don, our general contractor, has talked to the power company so they can set up a temporary power source for construction. He has also made arrangements for excavation and foundation work and talked to the local folks who provide propane.

After lunch we arranged for a PO Box. (When we sell our NJ home in a few months, we will need to have some place for all our mail to be sent.) We also looked into opening a new bank account. Our current banks do not have any branches in the area to which we will be moving. We also talked to an insurance agent about construction/home insurance.

On the home front, my daughter is packing up the things she wants to take when she moves into Grandma’s the end of the month. I’m packing up more stuff for PA and/or NY. Terry is packing up the Christmas decorations for placement into storage. We still have some repairs and painting to do on our current house before we put it on the market some time in February.

I’ve made three trips to PA and one to the Adirondacks of NY to put things into storage. Four trips of approximately 500 miles round trip each. And we have two more coming up this week—one west and one north.

Jeez where is the time going!

Class Action Law Suits

I drove out to PA on Friday with my wife and a truckload of stuff for storage. Along the way we picked up a newscast in which they reported a class action lawsuit against a cigarette manufacturer. That got me to remembering something I had read dealing with class action suits. If the suit is successful, then in almost every case (I’m sure it’s probably more “in every case,” but I digress) the people who benefit the most from these suits are the lawyers who bring the suit. The plaintiffs, the “class” on whose benefit the suit was launched, usually get next to nothing. Maybe they get a few hundred bucks but most of the time, it’s much, much less. (In some cases, they have received coupons for the defendant’s products.)

Many of these suits have one thing in common: the members of the class are never actually identified by name in the complaint. Oh, there may be a few representatives of the class for whom the lawyers have trolled, but the vast majority upon which the settlement is based (and divided) are never identified. The lawyers, however, get their millions off the top. It’s these millions for the lawyers that make such lawsuits attractive to the sharks.

I’m no lawyer (and have little respect for the group involved in most types of lawsuits or who advertise on TV or radio), but I believe it would be more equitable if the lawyers were required to name—and have the signatures of—every member of the class for whom they are bringing the suit. I also believe the amount the lawyers may collect should be limited to 5% to 10% of the final settlement. These two changes might eliminate those suits with questionable merit and would ensure that those who were harmed, and for whom the suit was supposed to be a means of compensation will benefit.

PS: I have nothing against criminal lawyers doing what they are supposed to do or those involved with real estate or contract law—although both of the latter would benefit from a great deal of plain English.

Rutgers Women Overwhelm Louisville, 80-55

Rutgers R.small
The Scarlet Knights bounced back from their one-point loss to the Temple Owls Thursday night to pluck the Louisville Cardinals in a Big East contest at the RAC Saturday afternoon. Cappie Pondexter scored 27 points for the Knights while Kia Vaughn added 13 points and had 15 rebounds.

Rutgers improved to 13-3, 5-0 in the Big East. Louisville falls to 13-4, 4-2 in the Big East.

You can get the full story and stats here.

The Lady Knights end their three game homestand against Notre Dame Tuesday night, January 24, at 2:30 PM.

Nope. No Way. We’ll come back—if we have to.

Pakistan Tells U.S. Not to Repeat Attack
The response should be something like this: “Only if you stop hosting terrorists and take up the fight against them. Otherwise, we’ll be back.”

The Pakistanis have promised to cooperate in the WOT in the past, yet areas remain off limits to us but not the terrorists. They can't have it both ways and better wake up to that fact.

Via My Way News

Finally, He’s Coming!

Who’s coming?

That’s right, he’s coming to Sci Fi Channel.

Who’s coming?

He certainly is. It will be part of Sci Fi’s Friday nights.

Who’s coming?

That’s what I just said. He'll be coming in March.

Who’s coming?


Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

Now We Have Another Reason To Silence Him

Forget al-Zawahir’s crimes against humanity as a leader in al Queda, IF he survived the bombing in Pakistan last week, his bad poetry is reason enough to continue the hunt.

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

Do They Have Kids? More Dumb Crooks

I certainly hope this husband and wife burglary team have no kids. If they do, I feel sorry for them—the kids I mean. Linda and her hubby, Don, aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Via Drew Curtis’ FARK

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dumb Crook In Mass. (No he’s not a politician!)

This is almost as bad as handing the teller a note on the back of a personal bill. Suspected Robber Leaves His Name, Address When they found his name and address on the label attached to the phone book in his bag, I’m surprised the cops even went to his house. I’d be like, no way could it be this easy! I guess this idiot was running out of books to put in the bag since he left them behind at each of the several robberies he allegedly committed and figured the phone book was a good size. Rocks or bricks wouldn’t have worked as well?

Jeez! What a maroon!

Via Yahoo News

But would he walk a mile for one?

It might be tough to get one through the eye of a needle but apparently a camel can get himself out of a horse trailer pretty easily.
when Leroy Bollinger checked his trailer after stopping for gas Wednesday and found that the six-to-seven-foot-tall camel back there when he started his trip wasn't there any more.
You would think he would notice the change in handling when his tow-load shifted and then lightened.
An hour after the two-county search began, Bollinger's son, Robert spotted the four-month-old male camel named Bocephalus about 10 miles west of the Illinois River along U.S. 24.

Bocephalus was bruised and scratched, which isn't too bad considering that the camel apparently hopped the trailer's four-foot gate as it whizzed along the highway at 55 mph

Via Yahoo News

Molly Ivins:
“I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.”

Ivins has no love of the Republicans and would rather see almost any Democrat in the White House. But even she has had enough with Hillary’s posing.
Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.

I have to believe there is a significant number of Democrats who would agree with Molly Ivins. Not a good sign at all. For Hillary, that is.

H/T Lucianne

Party Animals

So, it’s cold out (minus 22 degrees F). You want to make sure your car will start so you make sure it has plenty of anti-freeze, right? So why not your elephant?

Drunk Elephant Wreaks Havoc in Chilly Russian Circus

Oh. That’s why not.
A Russian circus resorted to giant vodka cocktails in an attempt to protect performing elephants from extreme cold. One of the animals got so drunk it nearly destroyed the circus, the AFP reported Friday.
Some people are happy drunks, some are sloppy drunks, and some get down right mean. Guess which description matches these pachyderms. What were they thinking?

H/T Lucianne

THE Western Rifle

Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post waxes nostalgic over the closing of the Winchester plant in New Haven.
Some Winchesters will continue to be built overseas, but three guns -- the classic lever-action rifle of western fame, the bolt-action hunting rifle (called the Model 70) and the Model 1300 pump-action shotgun -- will no longer be manufactured.

In its current incarnation as U.S. Repeating Arms, owned by Olin Corp., it only employs 200 people and so the closing may not make a significant economic blip, but the rifle---ah, the rifle!
How light it is, how quick to the shoulder, how pointable! It begs to come to the eye. It swiftly finds what's called the natural point of aim, the perfect equipoise between its own grace and its shooter's talent. There, it wants to be fired. It's knobless and trim yet hardly streamlined. It hails proudly from the pre-streamlined world. No ergonomic study went into its design, only the sound trial and error of Yankee genius that finally found the ideal form.
It is, indeed, a work of art! ‘Tis poetry in motion to use.
The funniest thing about the Winchester lever-action rifle is how American it looks. Its directness speaks to the honest greed of westward expansion, its reliability to the honest hunger of its manufacturers for the big houses it bought them, its toughness to the honest brutality by which it was employed in various arroyos and dry gulches. It lacks subterfuge, subtlety, pretension, airs. It's like the cowboy himself, elegant in its total lack of self-awareness. It's beyond irony or stylization. It's cool because it doesn't care what you or anybody thinks.

Now open it; shove the lever -- that oblong loop affixed to the trigger guard -- forward. Feel it slide-clack through a four-inch range of motion and watch the drama as the gun undergoes changes: the breech, which contains the firing pin, glides backward, ratcheting the hammer back. At that moment you can tilt it a little and peer into the opened slot in the roof of the receiver.

You see before you the gun's most private parts: the chamber, the slightly bulged space in the barrel where the cartridge is encapsulated when it fires; the follower, a little spring-powered tray that lifts a cartridge (which has just been popped aboard by the pressure of the magazine tube spring) up to the chamber; the breechface with its tiny hole out of which will pop, whack-a-mole style, the firing pin when the trigger is pulled and the hammer falls.

Snif. Sigh. Go read the rest. Mr. Hunter writes with soul.

My model ’94 Carbine awaits next deer season in the Adirondacks. And, yes, it is chambered in .30-.30.

Eccoterrorists Indicted

Michelle Malkin has a synopsis on today’s indictment of 11 people associated with the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. Eight are in custody but three are still at large and believed to be outside the United States. These individuals used improvised incendiary devices to target U.S. Forest Service ranger stations, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wild horse facilities, lumber companies, meat processing companies, a ski area and a power line. The cost of the arson attack upon the horse facility alone is over $1 million. To date attacks by ELF and/or ALF have resulted in no direct loss in human life. That doesn’t make these groups any less dangerous. They are domestic terrorist—no less and certainly no more—and need to be treated as that.

Rutgers Women Drop Close One to Owls 48-47

Rutgers R.small
Candice Dupree scored 14 and Fatima Maddox added 15 points off the bench to lead the No.21/20 Temple Owls passed the No. 9/9 Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. Rutgers led by as many as 9 points in the first half but Temple came roaring back to take a 3-point lead at the half and a 7-point lead with 18 minutes remaining in the second half. Rutgers fought back and took a 3-point lead on Matee Ajavon’s 3-point shot. They couldn’t hold the lead however as Dupree and Maddox carried the Owls to the finish.

Cappie Pondexter lead RU with 19 points and Mattee Ajavon had 12.

It was the first home loss by the women Knights since the 2003-2004 season; a streak that extended 20 games. With the loss, RU falls to 12-3 but remains undefeated in the Big East. Temple improves to 13-4 and is 4-1 in the Atlantic-10 Conference.

Get the full story and stats here.

Rutgers continues its home stand against Big East opponent Louisville on Saturday, January 22 at 2 PM.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What’s In A Name?

I found this story about people changing their names through Basil’s Blog. It was one of those headline lists that he does over there.

Name change should stop the snickers

I completely understand why most of them made the changes. I mean, if your name were Fuk King Kwok, Monica Pinas, Mary Jo Porn or April Showers wouldn’t you want to change your name?
Actually, if my parents named me April Showers, I might be an orphan when the change occurred. In the case of Ms. Pinas and Ms. Porn, they’re dealing with surnames that are, therefore, hereditary—or in the case of Ms. Porn—arrived at through marriage. Mr. Kwok merely came to America from a different culture where they 1) knew how to pronounce his name correctly and 2) didn’t attach any particular meaning to the incorrect pronunciation—if you know what I mean.

The one that really gets me though leads off the third part of the article: Michael Heard became Godlordkingchrist Heard. I mean, God Lord, what was he thinking? (But at least he did it to himself. Poor April.)

Too Many Rules

ACIDMAN, over at Gut Rumbles posts on the proliferation of laws and the numbness (to the point of disregarding said laws) that results in EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE. He’s right on the button with this post. I especially like his final two sentences:
That's what happens when you play a game with too many rules. Everybody cheats.
And as he says, often it’s because no one can remember all the freakin’ rules.

Instead of having a fixed number of congressmen we should have a fixed number of laws. You want a new one passed? Get rid of an old one first.

Nominees for Darwin Award?

Say someone scoops up a “rocket-like” object from the sea in their fishing nets and sells it to you for scrap metal. First thing you do is hire some welders with their torches to cut it up, Right? Well, that’s what scrap shop owner Rambabu of MVP Colony, India did. The two welders got knocked on their butts when the thing went off and
After crashing through two concrete electric poles, it severed the limb of Pragya and finally dropped down after hitting the boundary wall of an apartment complex.

The young girl, 16 year-old K. Pragya, lost her left limb (the story doesn’t say if it was an arm or a leg) was rushed to the hospital within minutes. I certainly hope she is doing okay.


Rocket-like projectile creates panic

via Lucianne

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Panthers Down Rutgers 76-68

Rutgers R.small
No. 9 Pittsburgh proved too much for the Scarlet Knight tonight despite Quincy Douby's 27 points. The Panthers enoyed a balanced attack with five players in double figures lead by Aaron Grays 20 points.

Rutgers played Pittsburgh tight in the first half and took a one point lead with less than ten seconds left when Douby sank a three-point shot from well beyond the arc. The Panthers crept ahead early in the second half and, when Douby had to sit after being tagged with his third and fourth fouls in less than a minute halfway through, opened a ten point lead with only a few minutes to go.

The rest of the story and game stats are available here.

Pittsburgh remains undefeated at 15-0, 4-0 in the Big East.
Rutgers drops to 12-5, 2-2 in the Big East.

The Scarlet Knights are back in action on Sunday, January 22, when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats.

Moose Sighting V

In 1994 Rick, Joe, David, Joseph and I made our first trip with Caesar’s Lodge to northern Quebec’s Goin Reservoir. It was our first trophy fishing trip and we were looking for northern pike and walleye. Rick, age 11 at the time, and I fished from the same boat. At one end of the bay in front of the cabin was a short creek that came out of a large body of water. That small lake looked inviting but the creek was shallow with a muddy bottom. I killed the 9.9 horsepower outboard and we pulled out the oars to pole our way through the creek. We could clearly see the bottom and the saucer-sized hoof prints on the bottom that indicated there were moose in the area. Twenty to twenty-five yards through the creek we got into the lake. I looked to our right and saw a cow moose up to her chest in the lake some three hundred yards away. We looked at her and she looked at us for a few minutes then she turned and emerged from the lake onto the shoreline. She looked ungainly as all get out but moved very gracefully as she moved into the fir trees, stopped, looked over her shoulder and then melted into the forest.

Moose Sightings IV

In 1993, when Jessica was 13 and Rick was 10, Terry and I packed our Chevy Astro van and headed west for a six-week road trip to tour the national parks. Once again we were going to the Tetons and Yellowstone. This time our trip around Jenny Lake was uneventful but that changed when we drove north to Yellowstone Park. We booked rooms at several of the cabin facilities in the park. Our first night we had a reservation for the Lake Lodge. After checking in, we drove out to tour some of the geyser basins and then to dinner. When we returned to the Lake Lodge, the sun was only a little above the horizon and the moose were on the lake’s shore. It seems every twilight one, two or three moose showed up in the shallows in front of the lodge to feed and the park visitors would come out to watch them. This night there were two that appeared and entertained. The distance from the shoreline to where we stood was only 50 or 60 yards yet the moose were totally unconcerned with our presence.

Adirondack Moose (moose crossing)

moose crossing
Originally uploaded by Dave & Gayle.
Adirondack Moose

Some time in the early ‘90s moose crossing signs started to appear along the highway between Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake in the heart of the Adirondack Park. For years the moose had virtually disappeared from within the Blue Line but they had either survived unseen or made there way south from Canada or west from Vermont. (The latter seems unlikely because of the barrier known as Lake Champlain! The St. Lawrence doesn’t offer that big a barrier to a determined moose.) Latter I noticed the same signs on the stretch of Route 30 from Blue Mountain Lake up to Long Lake and then to Tupper Lake. Moose seemed to have truly made a comeback. Yet, despite the many hours I’ve spent traveling the roads, hiking the trails and paddling the lakeshores, I’ve not seen more than a few sets of antlers on garages and the bones of one moose the scout camp had for nature study—and they looked very old.

I have learned that the Park is home to about 100 of the large deer we call moose but when spread over 6 million acres they are few and far between. Some are radio collared for study. And at least one has been in my back yard.

Moose Sightings III

The third moose I ever saw was a full sized bull moose on the north shore of Lake Superior. My wife and I along with our two kids had just finished a visit with the wife’s sister and her family in Kansas City, KS. We drove northward through Minnesota to the Duluth area, crossed the border into Canada and turned east.

We were driving along enjoying the scenery when I noticed a collection of cars on the opposite side of the two-lane road. With no cars behind me, I slowed to see if anyone needed assistance. Several sedans, a pick-up truck and a Volkswagen Beetle were pulled over on the grassy shoulder. People were standing near their cars pointing down into the ditch. As I looked over and peered between their vehicles I could see a mound of brown beast with antlers that looked huge. It was dead. Quite probably, an 18-wheeler had hit the animal while it was crossing the road from the woods on one side to the marsh on the other and it had broken one or more legs before tumbling into the ditch.

We stopped for only a moment so the kids could look over and see the moose before driving on.

Moose Sightings II

In 1976 Terry and I took a long road trip to the west coast. We planned to stop and camp out of the back of our Datsun B210 at national parks and forests. Mount Rushmore and the Badlands of South Dakota were our first stops. Next was Grand Teton and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was here we encountered the moose.

We camped in a grove of aspen trees in the Gros Ventre area. We decided to hike the trail around Jenny Lake and enjoy the wildflowers. About a third of the way around the north side of the lake, we came upon a single hiker walking the opposite direction. In her hands was an obviously torn up backpack. We stopped to talk and a park ranger—all 5’ 2”, blonde and blue-eyed—with a fire axe in her hand came up to us. The hiker had been met by a young grizzly bear a short distance up the trail. The hiker dropped her pack and walked away. The bear ate lunch out of the pack and then was gone when the hiker and ranger returned to the area. It should be clear the ranger assured us.

We walked a little faster and peered into the woods a bit farther. We slowed to enjoy the flowers—columbine, Dutchmen’s britches and the like—only when there was lots of open space. Near the end of the circuit, we crossed a foot bridge over the stream that flowed out of Jenny Lake. We enjoyed the view of the snow-capped Tetons reflected in the quiet waters of the lake.

A short walk and we crossed an open field with some shoulder high brush that edged the parking lot where we had left our car. We sat on the logs that marked the edge of the parking lot to unlace our boots and put on our sneakers. As I unlaced my first boot, I heard a gentle rustling in the field we had just crossed and looked up. Not 10 yards from the end of the trail—about 15 yards from where I sat—three moose moved in single file and at right angles to the trail from the south heading toward the lake. They moved slowly showing no concern over our presence. We watched for a few minutes before they disappeared in the alder thickets that ringed the lakeside.

Moose Sightings

Moose 4
Originally uploaded by roclwyr.
The first live moose I saw was the July 4th weekend of 1973 at the base of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. My wife, her sister and I had just finished dinner at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch facility. We planned to hike up the mountain the next morning but just wanted to get some legs under us after driving to the White Mountains from New Jersey. The short trail across the street that looped around a pond looked easy enough.

Enjoying a lovely July evening, we were softly talking about our plans for the next few days. The trail passed close to the water’s edge and the pond’s surface was still. Here and there clumps of head high alders anchored on the banks leaned out over the water. As we rounded one of these clumps a massive head lifted up, water pouring off the muzzle and water plants hanging out of both sides of the mouth. No more than ten yards from us a cow moose—all but the very top of her neck and, of course, her head submerged beneath the water’s surface—munched her dinner.

What made this especially interesting—we were not the first to pass this way. At least a dozen other people had walked down this trail before us. None had noticed the 1,000-plus pound animal. We stood and watched as she ducked her head again and again, coming up each time with a mouth full of greens. Not wanting to disturb her any longer, we went on our way. She remained in that area of the pond and could still be seen from the far side as we completed our cycle.

Thanks Ziggy

On Sunday January 15th I heard a piece of trivia on the radio. That day in 1961 Mickey Mantle signed a contract with the New York Yankees for the 1961 season. He would receive $75,000 for his services. At the time, that made him the highest paid player in the American League. Mickey would later succumb to a series of injuries that plagued him from childhood and play at well below his skill levels for several years before he retired.

Other athletes have sacrificed their bodies for the love of their game. Some have become crippled in body, others have suffered brain damage from concussion after concussion. Some have become paralyzed and some have even died. (Willis Reed, Mohammed Ali, Joe Namath, and Wayne Chrebet are just a few of the walking wounded that come to mind.)

It’s sad to see an aging (or not so aging) athlete struggle to play the game he loves. It’s also sad to see one forced to hang ‘em up early.

We can wonder about the multi-million dollar salaries that some of the stars in any sport command, but how many of us would be willing to play the game at the that level and absorb the physical abuse the body must accept?

I’m not a big hockey fan. I have trouble standing on ice let alone skating, handling a puck or doing all the other things a hockey player must do on the ice to succeed. I admired Wayne Gretzky. His ballet-like moves and ability to see everyone on the ice and anticipate their moves was impressive. Gretzky was lucky enough to retire with relatively healthy body, never having suffered a major injury.
The Penguins’ Ziggy Palffy hasn’t been as lucky. After 12 NHL seasons with the Islanders, Kings and Penguins, despite being second on the Penguins in scoring this season, and despite having signed a 3-year $13.5 million dollar free agent contract last August, Palffy is retiring due to a shoulder injury. He’s been hurt and operated upon twice before but the doctors say they can do nothing now.
"I have agreed on all matters related to my retirement with the Pittsburgh management," Palffy told the Sport daily, a Slovak newspaper. "There is no point in suffering any longer."

The 33-year-old Palffy was injured while playing for the Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim in January 2004. He had reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder twice, but the problems persisted.

"I have talked to my doctor and he did not recommend a third operation,"

33-year-olds are NOT supposed to be washed up. And he wasn't, really, not with 11 goals, 31 assists in 42 games.

Palffy had 329 goals and 384 assists in 684 games in 12 NHL seasons with the New York Islanders, the Kings and Penguins. He scored 40 or more goals in three straight seasons with the Islanders.

Penguins RW Ziggy Palffy Retiring

Moving Moose

Imagine you’re standing on the ground in the Utah mountains enjoying the scenery. Suddenly you hear the whoop-whoop-whoop sound that can only come from a helicopter. (You know this because you’ve watched all those M*A*S*H episodes in rerun—or if you’re older when they first aired.) You look up and see a helicopter moving toward you just above the trees and dangling below the chopper’s belly is a ….moose?

(Moose Moved To Colorado's Grand Mesa From Utah)

Utah’s Division of Wildlife recently rounded up and transported twenty moose from their forests to Colorado. They didn’t fly all the way, just out of the mountains to a command post where they could be examined and then placed upon trucks to haul them across the state line. They were greeted by members of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, who, in turn, will ship bighorn sheep in the opposite direction.
"I'm sure it's really stressful hanging from under a helicopter, but they're handling it really well," Dr. Lisa Wolfe with the Colorado Division of Wildlife said.

Past moose moves haven't always turned out so well. The mission can be risky. Last year, biologists in western Colorado tried the same sort of relocation operation.

Crews dropped nets on 6 moose. Each as caught around the legs and quickly subdued. Three of the 6 made it back out safely to the wilderness. The other 3 died.

"Whenever you're dealing with helicopters and this kind of capture, it's dangerous," Dolling said.
Well, yeah! I wouldn’t want to get netted and hauled up by a cable attached to the base of a honking huge flying critter big enough to lift me up either. Can’t imagine what’s going through the moose’s mind. One minute your basically the biggest thing in the woods and the next your being taken for a ride.

The program seems to be boosting the moose population in Colorado, however.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife started the moose transplant program in 1978. The state now has almost 1,000 moose. That's up from a few strays when the program began.

27 New Animal Species Found

In California caves. As part of a three-year study of some 30 caves in central California’s national parks, biologists have identified 27 new species of spiders, centipedes and scorpion-like creatures.

Who says there’s nothing new under the sun…oh, wait
Many of the creatures live only in caves — and some only in one particular cave of Sequoia and Kings Canyon

New Animal Species Found in Calif. Caves

Monday, January 16, 2006

Thaw? What thaw?

Saturday morning started with rain and 40 degree temperatures. By the time the football games started (4 PM) the temperature had dropped into the 20s and it was snowing lightly. Overnight the temp dropped even further reaching 0 degrees by Sunday morning when there were no clouds in the sky and 25-30 mph winds out of the northwest. Despite the sunny skies all day, the temperature Sunday never got above 20 degrees and the wind kept howling right up to sunset. Then, although there was no wind, the clear skies allowed the temperature to plummet again to below 0 degrees and it stayed there all night getting as low as –5 degrees by 6 AM Monday morning. That’s when I discovered I should have left the water dripping all night. The wellhead had frozen and my running water wasn’t. Sigh.

Back to bottled water. And a run to the spring down the road to fill one of the 5-gallon jugs. There just isn’t enough snow to melt for washing dishes either. It’s all just one giant flat pancake of ice after the rains of Friday night and Saturday morning.

I'll be feeding the wood stoves and, like Julie cat, looking for the nice warm patches of sunlight streaming through the glass to sit in for the next two days before I head south.

On the plus side: The nearly full moon was brilliant on the surface of the snow. Lit up the night kinda brilliant. No Northern Lights though. Sigh.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

RU Men Down DePaul in OT, 78-68

Rutgers R.small
In a HUGE Big East road game victory (those have been rare for RU) the Scarlet Knights went onto overtime for the second game in a row to defeat the DePaul Blue Demons. Quincy Douby scored 20 points for the Scarlet Knights. This is the ninth consecutive game Douby has scored 20 or more points as he continues to lead the Big East in scoring.

The Scarlet improve to 12-4, 2-1 in the Big East. DePaul, playing its first season in the Big East, falls to 8-7, 1-3 in the Big East.

Next up for the Knights are the undefeated Pitt Panthers at the RAC on Wednesday, January 18th at 7 PM.

RU Women Down Pirates 63-41

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Michelle Campbell’s 16 points and eight rebounds plus Matee Ajavon’s 13 points seven assists helped lead the No, 10/9 Rutgers’ Lady Knights past Seton Hall in a Big East contest Saturday afternoon at the RAC.

RU improves to 12-2 and 4-0 in the Big East while the Pirates fell to just 5-10 and 2-2 in the Big East.

Next up is 19/20 Temple at the RAC on January 19 at 7 PM at the RAC.
You can get the full stats and story here.

The Curse of Dial-up

I'll be on dial-up service for the next few days as I do some work at the Adirodack cabin. It's amazing how much I have grown to enjoy the DSL serivce I have in the NJ house. And to think, I resisted my daughter's cajolling for several years before going wireless!

If things are a little slow in the posting category... Well, as Paul Harvey would say, "Now you know the rest of the story!"

January Thaw in the North Country

I drove up to the cabin in the Adirondacks on Friday night to bring some “stuff” for storage as we prepare our Jersey home for the market. On the way up I had to endure the heavy traffic from both the home bound crowd (of which there were few at 7 PM) and the weekend skiers (of which there were a multitude). Luckily, I head west from Albany while most of the skiers continued northward to the slopes.

I got to the cabin around midnight and found mud season had arrived early this year. (Or at least there was a temporary mini mud season in progress.) The air temperature was in the 40’s and, due to Mark’s work with the snowblower, there was a clear driveway all the way to the house. What little snow remained on the cabin roof was melting swiftly and a steady stream was pouring off the gutter. I even found that I had running water when I flipped the switch for the pump. Usually the water in the well head freezes sometime around Christmas and I have to depend upon bottled water and melted snow for my water supply. It was cooler inside the cabin so I built up the fires in the woodstoves to warm the interior before unloading the truck.

I awoke Saturday morning to 40 degrees and rain. In fact, it was foggy and raining much of the morning but around noon the hawk swooped in from the northwest blowing all the fog away and dropping the temperatures. All day they fell and around 4 PM the rain switched to sleet and then light snow. It was down to 20 degrees and still flurrying when I built the fires for the last time and turned out the lights at 11 PM.

This morning there isn’t a cloud in the sky, the hawk is still whistling through the trees and rumbling the metal roof and the temperature was 0 degrees on the thermometer outside my bedroom. I guess the thaw is over.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Got Suckered Again!

So, we went to the Outdoor Sportsmen’s Show this afternoon and I had no intention of booking a trip for this summer but…. Joe and John had a five-day trip planned and booked with Caesar’s Lodge. David made a third and they needed a fourth to round out the party. Joe, John and Oliver (the outfitter) cajoled me and twisted my arm (the left one since I need the right one to write the check) and I finally caved. They all said that Joe couldn’t go without me. He has never done so before. And Oliver jokingly (I think—you can never trust those French Canadians!) threatened not to let Joe have the lake he wanted this time. Anyway, we’re going to Lac Simard on July 2nd. Joe and I have been there before with David and it was a fun lake to fish. I’m sure we’ll have a good time I just hope I can wangle a weeks vacation from my construction “job.” My general contractor seems like a nice enough guy and, since I’m paying him, he probably will be willing to let me go and rest up after the nearly three months of hard labor.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Garden State Outdoor Sportsmen’s Show

The wife and I will be heading out to the 23rd Annual Garden State Outdoor Sportsmen’s Show at the New Jersey Convention And Expo Center at the Raritan Expo Hall in Edison, New Jersey today. We’ll meet with Joe and John and their wives at the door and spend several hours wandering the aisles looking at the different outfitters’ displays and dreaming of places to go to fish and hunt. We’ll stop at the tackle booths and look over some of the new gear that’s available and perhaps think of replacing some of the stuff we’ve worn out or broken.

The ladies will rein us guys in a little and keep us to the dream path more than the actuality of the adventure, I’m sure. Terry has gone to Caesar’s Lodge with me before. The whole family stayed at the main lodge and we did some fishing there and Rick (my son) and I went to a local fly-in lake for a day. But Terry's not a fanatic about fishing and neither is Joe’s wife, Pat. I’ve not met John’s wife yet but, after fishing with John all week last May, I’m sure she’s good people.

Joe and John want to firm up plans with Oliver from Caesar’s Lodge for a trip this summer but I’m looking for the summer of ’07. The building of our log home will take all my time and energy, not to mention cash, this year. I will probably get some time in to hunt either PA or NY in the fall for deer and/or bear. After all, deer season is damn near a state holiday in PA once you get away from Philly. And knowing builders and construction folks as I do, they will certainly want to take the time to get their deer.

After, the six of us will go down the road to Harold’s New York Style Deli for an early dinner before we head home.

I'm in the process of putting together all my camping, hunting and fishing gear so I can take it up north to store in the cabin. Just seeing all I have has put a damper on the urge to splurge at the outdoor show--a little.

Say What?

Kerry? From Massachusetts? You sure? Kerry says Iran making "dangerous" nuclear choice.

Oh well, if anything has to be done about Iran’s dangerous choices, he’ll deny saying this. Probably want to talk them into giving up…wait a minute, hold on, I got it! Let’s just sent the Democrats from the Judiciary Committee to Tehran to negotiate! They’ll either get them to hand over all their nuclear facilities or put the whole place to sleep for a thousand years in no time flat.

(BTW, what is Kerry doing in India? Is he delivering things to the Khmer Rouge again?)

New Use for Confirmation Hearings.

Perhaps we have been thinking of these confirmation hearings the wrong way. The Steel Deal posts another suggestion. Go on over and take a peek. ;-)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

His Nose Was Red--But It Wasn’t Rudolph

From ABC News: Deer Lands in Drama Section at Video Store
It happens from time to time but usually during the rutting (mating) season and this is a little late, especially for Evansville, Indiana. After bounding around in the store for a time and evading the people who tried to shoo it out the door
The now bloody-nosed deer, which appeared to be a young buck about 3-feet tall with small antlers, charged Sulawske, he said.

Then the deer broke through an even larger glass window before police arrived.

Evansville police said the deer was last seen running south along a city street, leaping over cars.

See, he was running and leaping. That’s proof it wasn’t Rudolph. Rudolph can fly!

H/T to basil’s blog

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!
On Second Thought---Please Stop Talking!

Area417 has a collection of posts of what people are saying about the ever-flowing Joe Biden’s performance these last few days.

I read somewhere that the questions being asked by the Democrats on the committee were running between 3,000 and 3,500 words. For the life of me I can’t understand how Judge Alito could sit there and listen to them and still come up with a reasonable answer. (Which usually ran around 1,000 to 1,500 words.) I would be soooo tempted to just shout out, “What the hell is it you want to know, Senator? Get to the point! We’re not getting any younger here, ya know! Isn’t there some other important work you have to do? I know I have far more important work to do.”

(I personally couldn't stand to watch more than a few minutes at a time. Every time I turned it on, there was Sen. Kennedy and I started feeling ill.)

Rutgers Football Future

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So, Reggie Bush (Report: Bush already interviewing agents) and LenDale White (USC tailback White entering NFL draft) are both opting to enter the NFL Draft this spring. Along with Lienhart’s graduation that means a complete backfield turnover for USC. That could make things very competitive on the west coast.

Meanwhile, here in the homeland, Brian Leonard, Rutgers’ fullback, will be returning as a 5th year senior.(Leonard to Return for 2006 Football Season.) Leonard has proven himself to be an all-purpose back having rushed for 2,353 yards and caught 169 passes. He is a two-time first-team All-America selection by Pro Football Weekly and a two-time All-BIG EAST Conference selection. He has also been nominated twice for the Doak Walker Award (given annually to the nation's top running back) in both 2004 and 2005.
“I sat down with my parents, and we discussed this for long hours at a time. I felt throughout my college career that I proved that I can play at the next level,” Leonard said. “But there's one thing I haven't proved, and that's taking Rutgers to a BCS (bowl) game and winning a championship.

“I see Rutgers as a powerhouse in the future, and I want to be a part of it. So, it was my heartfelt decision that I'll be back for my senior year,” Leonard added.

Add freshman running back Ray Rice and sophomore quarterback Mike Teel and things look promising in the offensive backfield. They also have Jermy Ito returning to do the place kicking. (Ito Named to All-Bowl Team)

The Scarlet Knights lose major players in the receiving corps (Tres Moses and Chris Baker are gone and several others, while having a year left of eligibility, are seniors and may be graduating) and on the defense. Ryan Neill, for one, will be badly missed.

Many freshmen and sophomores will have to step up next year. Here’s hoping they can. A lot depends upon the recruiting class for the incoming freshmen as well. Rutgers stock has certainly improved in that area withtheir bowl appearance and performance this year.

While the home field advantage isn’t what it could be, the Knights could get aid in their six home games (Illinois, Liberty, Louisville, Buffalo, Syracuse and Connecticut) next year.

Color Me Skeptical

Reuters reports scientists have found that a rise in temperature in the tropical rain forests of just 0.18 degrees per decade from 1975 to 2000 has caused the blooming of a fungus that has brought out the extinction of hundreds of species of frogs. That’s a temperature change of less than one half a degree over 25 years. (I assume they are talking degrees Centigrade, which makes this about one degree Fahrenheit.) I would really like to know how they came to those measurements over that time period.
Warmer temperatures increased cloud cover over the tropical mountain which the scientists believe promoted conditions to spur the growth of the chytrid fungus that kills frogs.

They are confident that global warming is a key factor in the disappearance of many amphibian populations in tropical forests.

"There is absolutely a linkage between global warming and this disease -- they go hand-in-hand," said Dr Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, of Canada's University of Alberta and a co-author of the research published in the journal Nature.

"With this increase in temperature, the bacteria has been able to increase its niche and wipe out large populations of amphibians in the Americas," he added in a statement.

Earlier in the story they call it a fungus. Now Dr. Sanchez-Azofeifa calls it bacteria. I may have only an MS in Environmental Science, but I thought the two were different, eh?

Read the rest here.

Via Yahoo News

Green Ham & Eggs?

Would you, could you?
Reuters reports that a research team at National Taiwan University has succeeded in producing three male transgenic pigs which are fluorescent green.
"There are partially fluorescent green pigs elsewhere, but ours are the only ones in the world that are green from inside out. Even their hearts and internal organs are green," Wu said.

The pigs will be used to study human diseases.

Read the rest here.

Via Yahoo News

Morning Adventure Driving In Carolina

So, you’re driving down the road in the morning fog. You hear a siren and flashing lights of a trooper’s car in the other lane. Next thing you know there is a large thump and you realize you’ve hit something—something big.
Death came quickly. Narron nailed the ostrich head on. Despite the feathers that clung to his antennas, he thought he had hit a deer.

How the exotic bird came to run loose in rural Johnston County is a mystery. A fellow around that area used to raise ostriches but folded years ago, neighbors said. Deputies knocked on doors all morning. But no one claimed the dead ostrich.

Read the rest here.

Via The News & Observer through Drew Curtis’ FARK

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

No. 3 'Nova Takes RU Down in OT, 84-78

Rutgers R.smallutgers Men (11-3, 1-0 BIG EAST) vs No. 3 Villanova (10-1, 1-1 BIG EAST) tonight. And at the half it’s 43-38 Rutgers. Both teams are scorching from the floor with 52% and 50% shooting but RU is beating the crap out of ‘Nova on the boards 19-9. Douby leads the Scarlet Knights with 16 points in the first half.

The second half has started and Rutgers has started poorly making two turnovers in the first minute and a half. Villanova has not been able to take advantage however and RU maintains a 3-point lead. With 10 minutes left RU is up 55-51.

Douby is on fire and is making some shots that are unbelievable.

Damn! Some sloppy play by RU has allowed ‘Nova to take a 58-57 lead with 8:28 remaining. 7:10 to go and ‘Nova makes a 3-pointer, steals the incoming and gets fouled and they go up 63-57. RU comes down the court and misses the shot and the rebound. ‘Nova misses their shot.

4:10 to go and Douby gets a ground ball to tie the score. ‘Nova’s Foye answers with a long distance three and gets fouled in the process. He makes the free throw and it is 68-64 ‘Nova.

Webb scores a 3-pointer. To make it 68-67. ‘Nova comes down and RU steals. No scoring.
30 seconds and Douby and Farmer miss jumpers. RU fouls ‘Nova and ‘Nova makes both FT to go ahead 70-67. 10 seconds left RU ball. WOW! Little used Senior Jimmy Inglis makes a 3-pointer with 2-5 seconds to go and the score is 70-70!
‘Nova misses the half-court shot and we go into overtime!

RU scores on two FT from Webb. RU 72-70. Lowry for ‘Nova ties it then Farmer loses the ball and ‘Nova gets two on a 3-on-1 fast break. ‘Nova 74-72.

Douby and Lowry trade shots to make it 76-74. Hill gets a lay-up and it’s tied 76-76.
Lowry misses two free throws but ‘Nova gets the ball and Lowry gets a lay-up and is fouled by Farmer (his 5th and he’s gone). ‘Nova goes up 79-76.

Webb takes over as point guard and gets fouled He misses the FT and ‘Nova gets the rebound. 1:12 left and ‘Nova is inbounding under the RU basket. There’s a foul on RU on the play. They make one of the two. It’s 80-76 with one minute.

RU loses the ball on a too quick shot. ‘Nova gets fouled. 81-76, missing the second shot but gets the ball back.
‘Nova misses RU misses and fouls ‘Nova. ‘Nova makes the two FT 83-76 ‘Nova with 34 seconds left.
Webb makes two FT with 18 seconds left but the game is over. ‘Nova wins 84-78.

For Rutgers, Quincy Douby ends the game with 28 points while Webb and Inman had 11 points each.
For Villanova, Kyle Lowry also had 28 points, Randy Foye had 24 and Allan Ray had 17.

Full story and stats here.

The Scarlet Knights fall to 11-4, 1-1 in the BIG EAST.
Villanova improves to 11-1, 2-1 in the BIG EAST.

Rutgers next plays at DePaul on Sunday at 1:00 PM

Lady Knights Squeak by South Florida, 66-65

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The No. 10/8 Lady Scarlet Knights (10-2, 2-0 BIG EAST) are in Tampa playing South Florida (11-4, 1-1 BIG EAST) and are having their problems.

It is 54-52 with less than seven minutes to go when RU makes a 3-pointer to take the lead for the first time in the game.

The Scarlet Knights are in foul trouble in this game with three people having 4 fouls. There’s about six minutes to go.

SF leads by 1 with 2:40 to go. RU goes ahead 62-61 when Matee Ajevon scores and is fouled, but she misses the free throw. SF ties it up 62-62.
Less than a minute left. Dickson scores 64-62. Pondexter scores 64-64. Dickson misses. Kia Vaughn fouls out. SF player misses FT. Ball goes out of bounds off SF. RU has the ball.

Pondexter scores with 8 seconds left. RU 66-64!

Foul called on Pondexter (her 4th) SF misses 1st shot, makes the second. There are 4 seconds left. Pondexter is fouled on the inbounds. Misses the FT. SF gets the rebound but misses their last minute shot.

RU wins 66-65.
Cappie Pondexter of RU and the national scoring leader, Jessica Dickson of South Florida, had a shooting contest. Pondexter ended with a career-high 40 points while Dickson had a career-high 37 points.

Full story and stats here.

South Florida falls to 11-5, 1-2 in the BIG EAST.
The Scarlet Knights are now 11-2, 3-0 BIG EAST.

Rutgers against the Seton Hall Pirates at the RAC on Saturday at 2:00 PM.

Say What?

UK Speed Camera Tickets Non-Speeding Protester
Annoyed by defiant gesture, speed camera issues ticket to non-speeding driver.

His defiant gesture was a “V-sign.” Now, when Churchill used the very same sign during WWII its meaning was “Victory.” Now it’s a sign of disrespect? And this to an inanimate camera! These bobbies and the court that supported their complaint deserve half-a V-sign and no more.

It’s short so here is the entire story:
A UK court on Monday severely penalized a motorist for the crime of showing disrespect to a mobile speed camera van. The device had photographed Sean Toehill, 21, driving 22 MPH in a 40 MPH zone but police became enraged when they noticed he had given the camera a "V-sign." Officers were dispatched to his home two days later to present charges which the Cupar Sheriff Court in Fife, Scotland upheld on Monday. The court suspended Toehill's right to drive for a year and imposed a £90 (US $160) fine.

"I can't believe that speed cameras can be used in this way," Toehill, a North Sea oil worker, told the London Telegraph. "I thought they were to catch speeding drivers."

Toehill plans to appeal the ruling.