Friday, August 30, 2013


Workers at McDonald's and other fast food chains conducted strikes and walkouts in nearly 60 cities the other day, hoping for super-size wage increases.  They were demanding wages be increased from the typical minimum wage of $7.25/hr to a whopping $15.00/hr... 

McDonald's installed 7,000 touch-screen kiosks in France in 2009...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Up And Down

Look real close.  There is no round and round, just up and down...

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

I don't know why I'm putting this post up on my blog.  I shouldn't be wasting my time writing about Obamacare.  It's the law of the land and no matter what you read in the funny papers, it's not going to be repealed or even defunded.  However, I care a lot about the young folks in this country and I should do my part to convince them that the Affordable Care Act is the best thing that's happened to them since peanut butter met marshmallow fluff between two slices of bread.

So, to all you young adults stopping by here, watch carefully...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

For My Daughter In Tennessee

Hitting The Nail On The Head

Sentence was passed the other day on "Bradley" Manning.  Yeah, you've heard of him.  He's the United States Army "guy" who was caught stealing classified information and passing it on to WikiLeaks.  The day after being convicted for violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to 35 years in prison, "Mr." Manning informed the world that he has had a "gender identity disorder" since childhood and wants to live the rest of his life as a woman and be called "Chelsea".

You folks that visit this blog pretty much know how I feel about gay rights, gay marriage, and gay whatever.  Being gay ain't a problem.  In this country EVERYONE has a right to be what he or she wants to be, wannabe criminals excepted.  Nope, being gay ain't the problem.  But it is a symptom.

I'm not too good at putting my thoughts into words, but Daniel Greenfield is great at it and seems to hit the nail square on the head every time he posts on his blog.  Here's what he said a couple days ago in an article about Bradley-Chelsea Manning.  Permit me to use Mr. Greenfield's words and a few of my own.  This is exactly what the problem is...

"Our society has become a puzzle of broken pieces that don't fit, a strange mesh of identity politics, identities that can't even agree to disagree and that for the most part have lost their moral compasses.  Under all the rainbow umbrellas are broken people struggling for relief, acting out, breaking things, and breaking themselves.  All the cheerful assertions that the next wave of insanity is really the next civil rights movement sound as hollow as they do in the neighborhood where the broken family with a free cell phone is not an aberration, but the norm.

These are not all disparate elements.  They are parts of the same problem.  The family is at the center of a healthy society.  When the family collapses, so does the society.

Family dysfunction has been turned into a banner and has been made to seem trendy and progressive, but what it has rally done is shattered the American family.  There is no path to restoring America, except through the restoration of the American family.

You're probably a little puzzled as to why I started this post talking about a spy who's gay and end with a rant about a broken America and a broken society and broken families.  Well, try this on for size.  CLICK HERE to link to the Wikipedia narrative Chelsea Manning and read down through the description of his/her early life.

And let me give you a heads-up.  Mr./Ms. Manning made the announcement that he/she is gay just a few days ago.  It's kinda difficult keeping the "hes" and "shes" straight (no pun intended).

Another heads-up.  The point of view is quite obvious.

Oh, and this is kinda interesting.  The Wikipedia URL says "Bradley_Manning" and the narrative is titled "Chelsea Manning".

Inspired by "Sultan Knish"

Friday, August 23, 2013

Let's Go Camping...Not

For all you folks that wanna go camping but really don't wanna go camping...

By the way, I knew you'd be curious....the antenna with receiver is $500.00 and the best Pay-As-You-Go plan is $120.00/month.

Inspired by "LikeCOOL"

Thursday, August 22, 2013

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Do you folks recognize this guy?  His name is Charlie Rangel and he's one of them brilliant and wise politicians up there in Washington.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  Those folks that have had about a 2% public approval rating for the past 100 years.

Anyway, seems as though President Obama made some proposals Thursday about how we can reduce college costs around the country.  Soon after on MSNBC's Martin Bashir show, substitute host Joy-Ann Reid asked Mr. Rangel what he thought about the president's proposal. True to form, good ole Charlie stepped up to the plate and declared, "There is no reason why a young person should have to pay for college education, because who does it benefit except a nation?...It doesn't make sense." 

I kid you not.  Check it out here.    

Inspired by "Weasel Zippers" 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

God Bless You Col. Gen. Sisi

Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
The Egyptian defense minister has ordered the repair and reconstruction of all churches that suffered damage in the country’s violent demonstrations since the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from power last month.

Defense minister Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi intends to fix the damage to Coptic churches at Rabaa Adaweya and Nahda squares, according to a report by the Mid-East Christian News.

Dozens of churches were attacked and burned in riots after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities to demand the end of what they call military rule, following the removal of Morsi on July 3. Many of Morsi's supporters have voiced criticism at Egypt's Christian minority for largely supporting the military's decision to oust him from office.

“The Egyptian defense minister ordered the engineering department of the armed forces to swiftly repair all the affected churches, in recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers,” read a statement that aired on Egyptian television.

Bishop Mousa thanked Sisi for his efforts to repair the damaged churches.
“We thank Col. Gen. Sisi for commissioning the brave Egyptian armed forces to rebuild the places of worship damaged during the recent events,” Bishop Mousa said on Twitter.

17 deaths were reported Friday after several days of violence that caused more than 638 deaths and 4,000 injuries in clashes between Morsi supporters and Egyptian military forces.

The Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic Christian youth movement, says there’s a "retaliation war" against the religious minority, which makes up around 10 percent of Egypt's population, according to a report by AFP.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), an Egyptian NGO, says at least 25 churches were torched this week, and attackers also targeted Christian schools, shops and homes across all 27 provinces.

Inspired by "Fox News"

Monday, August 19, 2013

Deep Doo-Doo

Common Core is the new national curriculum being implemented in the American public school system this fall.  I've been around for about 65 years and I've seen all forms of "How-To" programs pass through our school system.  And from what I've read Common Core is about as bad as it gets when you're talking about "How-To" teaching programs.

Don't believe me?  When a teacher shouldn't care if a student believes that 4 X 3 = 11, we're all in deep doo-doo.

Amanda August, a curriculum coordinator in a suburb of Chicago called Grayslake…


Friday, August 16, 2013


Whenever I want to buy another new electronic gizmo I tell my wife I have to have it to stay connected with all our grand children in this modern age of technology.  She says, "bologna"!  So, I play this and she understands, sorta...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Toy

Sorry about the lack of postings the past few days folks.  I've been kinda busy trying to teach my 67 year old brain how to use something new.

This is the first phone I can remember.  I learned how to use it before I was eight years old...

This is my new phone.  I doubt I'll learn how to use it before I die...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hyperloop Update

Elon Musk made his long awaited announcement about "Hyperloop" which he calls a "fifth mode of transportation". Following these illustrations is a summary of his interview with Bloomberg Businessweek a few days ago explaining his ideas.  If you'd really like to dig into the details of Hyperloop, CLICK HERE for a 54 page PDF written by Mr. Musk.

Almost a year after Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors (TSLA) and SpaceX, first floated the idea of a superfast mode of transportation, he has finally revealed the details: a solar-powered, city-to-city elevated transit system that could take passengers and cars from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. In typical Musk fashion, the Hyperloop, as he calls it, immediately poses a challenge to the status quo—in this case, California’s $70 billion high-speed train that has been knocked by Musk and others as too expensive, too slow, and too impractical.

In Musk’s vision, the Hyperloop would transport people via aluminum pods enclosed inside of steel tubes. He describes the design as looking like a shotgun with the tubes running side by side for most of the journey and closing the loop at either end. These tubes would be mounted on columns 50 to 100 yards apart, and the pods inside would travel up to 800 miles per hour. Some of this Musk has hinted at before; he now adds that pods could ferry cars as well as people. “You just drive on, and the pod departs,” Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek in his first interview about the Hyperloop.

Musk published a blog post detailing the Hyperloop on Monday. He also held a press call to go over the details.

Musk has built his entrepreneurial career attacking businesses he deems inefficient or uninspiring. He co-founded PayPal in a bid to shake up the banking industry, then used the fortune he made selling the startup to eBay (EBAY) to fund equally ambitious efforts in transportation. Tesla Motors, for example, has created the highest-performing, highest-rated all-electric car and a complementary network of charging stations scattered around North America. Meanwhile, SpaceX competes against entire nations in the market to send up satellites and resupply the International Space Station.

In the case of the Hyperloop, Musk started focusing on public transportation after he grew disenchanted with the plans for California’s high-speed rail system. Construction on the highly political, $70 billion project is meant to begin in earnest this year, with plans to link cities from San Diego to Sacramento by 2029. “You have to look at what they say it will cost vs. the actual final costs, and I think it’s safe to say you’re talking about a $100 billion-plus train,” Musk says, adding that the train is too slow and a horrendous land rights mess.

Musk thinks the Hyperloop would avoid many of the land issues because it’s elevated. The tubes would, for the most part, follow I-5, the dreary but direct freeway between L.A. and San Francisco. Farmers would not have swaths of their land blocked by train tracks but could instead access their land between the columns. Musk figures the Hyperloop could be built for $6 billion with people-only pods, or $10 billion for the larger pods capable of holding people and cars. All together, his alternative would be four times as fast as California’s proposed train, at one-10th the cost. Tickets, Musk says, would be “much cheaper” than a plane ride.

As for safety? Musk has heard of it. “There’s an emergency brake,” he says. “Generally, though, the safe distance between the pods would be about 5 miles, so you could have about 70 pods between Los Angeles and San Francisco that leave every 30 seconds. It’s like getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland.” Musk imagines that riding on the Hyperloop would be quite pleasant. “It would have less lateral acceleration—which is what tends to make people feel motion sick—than a subway ride, as the pod banks against the tube like an airplane,” he says. “Unlike an airplane, it is not subject to turbulence, so there are no sudden movements. It would feel supersmooth.”

The Hyperloop was designed to link cities less than 1,000 miles apart that have high amounts of traffic between them, Musk says. Under 1,000 miles, the Hyperloop could have a nice edge over planes, which need a lot of time to take off and land. “It makes sense for things like L.A. to San Francisco, New York to D.C., New York to Boston,” Musk says. “Over 1,000 miles, the tube cost starts to become prohibitive, and you don’t want tubes every which way. You don’t want to live in Tube Land.” Right?

In the months since Musk first mentioned the Hyperloop, there has been plenty of speculation. Critics, dealing with limited information, have contended that the specifications laid out by Musk would be nearly impossible to achieve. Such a long, pressurized tube would require an immense amount of energy while also producing tons of air friction and heat.

Now Musk argues that the Hyperloop represents a type of middle ground that other people have yet to consider. Instead of being a complete vacuum or running at normal conditions, the Hyperloop tubes would be under low pressure. “I think a lot of people tended to gravitate to one idea or the other as opposed to thinking about lower pressure,” Musk says. “I have never seen that idea anywhere.”

Inside the tubes, the pods would be mounted on thin skis made out of inconel, a trusted alloy of SpaceX that can withstand high pressure and heat. Air gets pumped through little holes in the skis to make an air cushion, Musk says. The front of the pod would have a pair of air jet inlets—sort of like the Concorde. An electric turbo compressor would compress the air from the nose and route it to the skis and to the cabin. Magnets on the skis, plus an electromagnetic pulse, would give the pod its initial thrust; reboosting motors along the route would keep the pod moving. And: no sonic boom. With warm air inside the tubes and high tailwinds, the pods could travel at high speeds without crossing the sound barrier. “The pod can go just below the speed of sound relative to the air,” Musk says.

So, science, or science fiction? About a dozen people at Tesla and SpaceX have helped Musk with the design and checked the physics behind the Hyperloop. I briefed Martin Simon, a professor of physics at UCLA, on some of the Hyperloop details, and he declared it feasible from a technological standpoint: “It does sound like it’s all done with known technology. It’s not like he’s counting on something brand new to be invented.”

Simon points out that the acceleration methods proposed by Musk are used at amusement parks to get a roller coaster going. Other companies have looked at these techniques for passenger and freight vehicles. What sets the Hyperloop apart, though, is the use of the air cushion to levitate the pods. “He has separated the air cushion and the linear induction drive, and that seems new,” Simon says, adding, “It would be cool if they had transparent tubes.”

The critics of California’s high-speed rail may be dismayed to learn that Musk does not plan to commercialize the Hyperloop technology for the time being. He’s posting the plans and asking for feedback and contemplating building a prototype. “I’m just putting this out there as an open source design,” he says. “There are sure to be suggestions out there for making this better, correcting any mistakes, and refining the design.” Musk maintains that he has too much on his plate to deal with bringing the Hyperloop to fruition. “I wish I had not mentioned it,” he says. “I still have to run SpaceX and Tesla, and it’s hard.”

Musk says he would support another person or organization that wanted to make the Hyperloop a reality.
“It is a question of finding the right person and team to get behind it,” Musk says. “Creating a prototype is not that expensive.” But if no one advances or acts on Musk’s ideas, he may come back to the Hyperloop in a few years’ time and pursue it as part of Tesla. “Down the road, I might fund or advise on a Hyperloop project, but right now I can’t take my eye off the ball at either SpaceX or Tesla.”

Moose Don't Need Fire Departments

Labrador, Canada is so remote moose almost outnumber the people.  There are few roads and it's a long way through the woods from point A to point B.  So what happens when a tractor-trailer runs into a road grader and catches on fire a hundred miles from nowhere?  You can't call the fire department because moose don't need none.  But there is someone you can call...

Inspired by "Like COOL"

Have A Nice Day

Inspired by "Brian Bradley"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Done Deal

The reason she'll get elected is because it's "her turn"...

Cool X10

Inspired by "Craig Deakin"

Stupid Training


“How would you like a transportation system that never has crashes, is immune to weather, and goes 3 or 4 times faster than any operational or proposed bullet train with an average speed of twice what an aircraft would do?  You would go from downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes.  And it would cost you much less than an air ticket or car, much less than any other mode of transport, because the fundamental energy cost is so much lower. And I think we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it, even generating more power than you would consume in the system. There's a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries.  Yes, this is possible, absolutely.”

—Elon Musk, July 12, 2012

Hyperloop is a hypothetical mode of high-speed transportation proposed by entrepreneur and SpaceX founder Elon Musk.  Musk has envisioned the system as a 'fifth mode' of transportation, an alternative to boats, planes, automobiles and trains.  The system would, according to Musk, be able to travel from downtown Los Angeles to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes, or 343 miles (552 km) at an average speed of more than 685 mph.

Musk first expressed that he was thinking about a concept for a "fifth mode of transport", calling it the Hyperloop, in July 2012 at a PandoDaily event in Santa Monica, California. He described a few characteristics of it including immunity to weather, that it "can never crash", an average speed of twice a typical jet aircraft, low power requirements, and that it could store energy for 24-hour operations.  Musk estimated the cost of the SF-LA Hyperloop would be about US$6 billion, one tenth as costly as the proposed high speed rail serving those cities. He has revealed that the Hyperloop is not the same as a vacuum tunnel.

Musk has likened the hyperloop to both a ground-based Concorde and a "cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table", while noting that it has no need for rails.  He believes it could work either below or above ground.  Details of the system are still emerging, with Musk stating on his Twitter account that the "Hyperloop alpha" design will be published on August 12, 2013.

That’s tomorrow folks.

Inspired by "The Telegraph"

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Virtual IKEA

I'm old enough to remember those old Sears Roebuck catalogs.  I'm also just old enough to remember the stack of 'em piled up out in the old outhouse and what I used 'em for.  Here's a modern day high tech catalog and I guarantee it'd be of no use in an outhouse back then unless you was remodeling...

Inspired by "DVICE"

Idiot Lights

Inspired by "Marty D'Arcy"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Our daughter in Tennessee who has five children called yesterday evening and informed us she is going to have another baby next spring.  After I hung up the phone I began my usual routine of calling family members and telling them the news.  I have done this with the birth of all our grand children and since I have a sizable extended family it takes several phone calls up and down the east coast to get the word out.  Once all the phone calls were made I sat back and reflected on all the many calls made in the past going back some seventeen years now.  I tried doing the math but six times a lot of relatives made my head ache.

Anyway, I remember when I called everyone about our daughter's first pregnancy the common reply I heard when I announced the news was...

When I called and announced the second pregnancy the common reply was... 

When I called and announced the third pregnancy the common reply was...

When I called and announced the fourth pregnancy the common reply was...

When I called and announced the fifth pregnancy the common reply was...

Then, when I called last evening and announced the sixth pregnancy the common reply was...