Gray Memorial Day
May 30, 2011
Great day to visit one of your local cemetaries.
Make a point to explain that you're just visiting -- you don't plan to
stay. It's like being at a drive-through and making sure to emphasize
the order is "To Go."
It's also a good day to notice how many people have died during recent wars:
19,629 - Afghanistan War
900,338 - Iraq War
Pictures of U.S. service members who died in these wars.
And it's always a good time to figure how to prevent war. Here's an audio of Will Rogers, explaining how to prevent war.
Music Association: Manfred Mann - Do Wah Diddy Diddy
Up the Yazoo
May 26, 2011
Mississippi River flooding has backed up the Yazoo River near Vicksburg
Music Association: Talking Heads - Take Me To The River
- maybe -
May 24, 2011
Lab coat wearing scientists at the University of Alberta - Edmonton
have killed lung, breast, and brain cancer cells while leaving
healthy human cells alone, using dichloroacetate. Dichloroacetate
(DCA) is an inexpensive, organic (read: non-patentable) molecule,
and a byproduct of trichloroethylene (TCE). DCA triggers mitochondria in cells, which fights cancer cells and can kill off the cell as needed. The Edmonton research by Evangelos Mickelakis builds on Otto Warburg's premise that cancer is essentially mitochondrial dysfunction.
DCA can be toxic. When mixed with water, it has caused liver cancer in rats.
You don't want your cancer cure to cause cancer.
More research is needed. And yet, since DCA is a natural compound, pharmaceutical
companies are not exactly bowling over each other to spend research
money on a substance that can't make any significant profits.
[Sources: University of Alberta 5-12-2010 news, 3-15-2007 news; Science Translational Medicine - Metabolic Modulation of Glioblastoma with Dichloroacetate; New Scientist; Sign of the Times; Otto Warburg 1966 lecture.]
Music Associations: My Chemical Romance - Cancer; U2 - Miracle Drug
Monster Storm Hits Minneapolis
1 Dead, 18 Injured
May 23, 2011
A monster storm ripped through Minneapolis and suburbs yesterday,
killing one, injuring some, and looting liquor stores. Trees were
pulled up roots and all. Powerlines were knocked down. Windows were
shattered. The tail of the storm was like a tornado -- sweeping across
the city, damaging homes and businesses.
"It sounded like, 'Eeeeoooooorrraaag,'" one witness said.
"No, it was more like 'Aaaawooongaaaa;' it's more in the throat," another witness corrected.
"Don't listen to them. They have it all wrong. It was 'Eeeewwroooongaw!' There was way more emphasis at the end."
"That's what I said."
"No, yours was... I don't know what yours was, but it was nothing like we heard. There's something wrong with your ears."
"It might be time to update the injury count."
"Are you threatening me?"
Post-storm fights followed the monster storm's devastation, as
witnesses competed to out imitate the monster storm and to photograph
the chaos for social media.
Music Association: Blue Öyster Cult - Godzilla
WaterFest Rained Out
May 21, 2011
The lakes are getting filled back up again. And to top it off, today's WaterFest in St. Paul got rained out.
So did someone's wedding.
The bride had to be talked out of wearing her grandfather's galoshes
down the aisle. That's why she had so many bridesmaids -- to stop her.
She was just that determined to wear giant wet weather footgear.
There was just something about bridal galoshes that she thought was hilarious.
Music Association: Alanis Morissette - Ironic "It's like rain, on your wedding day"
Peace on Earth
Two States - Palestine and Israel
May 20, 2011
Peace on Earth has no greater challenge than peace surrounding Israel.
President Obama meets today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will speak at the AIPAC Policy Conference on Sunday. Yesterday, Obama called for a return to the 1967 borders.
Netanyahu responded that "the 1967 lines are indefensible and would
leave major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria beyond
those lines. The defense of Israel requires an Israeli military
presence along the Jordan River." [Edited from the full Netanyahu reaction.]
Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Sami Abu-Zuhri responded, we do "not need a lesson on democracy from Obama" and urged the Palestinian Authority not to endorse the President's call for a return to the 1967 borders.
Syrian national newspaper al-Baath
said, "American mountain gave birth to a mouse" or at least that's what
was translated from Arabic. It also says something about complying with
pressure from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Apparently, the Palestine-Israeli world is already in agreement to disagree with Obama. That's something.
And yet Jordan disagrees to disagree. Jordanian Minister of Foreign Business Nasser Jawdeh
appreciated the speech saying, "for the first time Obama spoke
clearly about his vision for the establishment of a Palestinian state
based on 1967 borders."
The United Nations
general assembly will vote in September whether or not to recognize the
Palestinian state. Some believe this will be a significant milestone in
the peace process. Yoaz Hendel, a guest columnist for Israel's Ynet, isn't so sure.
Palestine declared its statehood in 1988, most of the world recognized it, and nothing happened.
It doesn't matter what the United Nations does.
It doesn't matter what President Obama does.
It doesn't matter what Prime Minister Netanyahu does.
Israel has been for too long a puppet of AIPAC.
And AIPAC, as a 100,000 member Congressional lobby group, doesn't know
how to bring peace to Israel, any more than the NRA knows how to
represent all of its members. Like the NRA, it seems most concerned with continued membership and member donations.
What AIPAC is best at is arming Israel and pushing Congressional condemnations and knee-jerk reactions. The AIPAC achievements page does not include their push for the Iraq War or how managing the Occupied Territories as internment camps for Palestinians does not promote peace. Or stability. Or human rights.
Move Over AIPAC ("for
a just and peaceful US Israel-Palestine policy") is holding protests
and informational meetings in Washington today through Tuesday (May 20-24) to move away from AIPAC rhetoric and toward peace surrounding Israel.
J Street; a pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby group; has launched ads in Jewish newspapers and the New York Times
this week supporting a two-state solution, the 1967 borders, and
declarations of independence for both Palestine and Israel. J Street commends President Obama's Middle East speech.
The hopes and dreams of many could be realized through Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Music Associations: 10CC - The Things We Do For Love
"A compromise would surely help the situation -- agree to disagree, we've disagreed before."
Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall
Madonna - Borderline
May 19, 2011
"I've heard that cats aren't self-cleaning, is this true?"
Most cats are self-cleaning. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) will find cats the ultimate companion. The cat thinks, "Did I just wash?!? I don't know. I think I'd better wash." However some long-haired cat breeds need special attention.
"I read on the Internet that cats don't drink water."
That's a myth. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. (I should put a semi-colon, right paren in here to symbolize a wink, but I'm not feeling especially winky,okay?) Although that level of misinformation is usually reserved for talk radio. (Here
again, the guidebook says I'm supposed to put in a wink, since the link
goes to a page written by a talk show host talking bologna about cats
and water... that simply doesn't hold water.)
"Some people say cats are cute. I have my doubts."
Uh. Look at this picture and let me know what you decide.
"Do cats just sit there, like that? Do they... I don't know... do imitations"
Many other cat myths stop people from adopting a cat:
"I already have a dog. Dogs and cats don't play well together."
"I already have a dolphin. Dolphins and cats don't play well together."
Many cats and dogs get along fine.
Many cats and dolphins get along fine.
Petfinder lists 1,897 cats available in the Twin Cities.
Adopt a Pet lists 400 cats.
People Saving Pets lists 300.
The hopes and dreams of some special furball are waiting for you.
Music Association: Stray Cats - Stray Cat Strut
May 18, 2011
Music Association: Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good "I keep on going yet I never know why."
Cartoons of the Day
May 17, 2011
Cinderella meets real life (or as real as royalty gets).
In other cartoon news, today's Non Sequitur
by Wiley Miller is titled, "Why Men Stopped Going To The Moon." It
shows two astronauts riding a lunar rover and reporting back to
Houston, "Still no sign of anything to kill. We're heading back now."
Recent political cartoons by Mike Luckovich and Jeff Danziger show who's running Washington. These
cartoons could have been run anytime during the last ten years and
could probably continue to be run in the future, like classic Peanuts or classic Calvin & Hobbes. (Today, Calvin mistakenly takes a bat to Hobbes, and Charlie Brown is also at bat.)
Music Association: Paul Simon - Call Me Al
"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard."
Walking Isn't For Everyone
May 16, 2011
Huckabee and Trump
Music Association: The Buckinghams - Kind Of A Drag
Walking Is Good
May 14, 2011
Walking has many advocates.
Music Association: Aerosmith - Walk This Way
Movie Association: Young Frankenstein (again) - "Walk this way... This way."
Tonight on Smallville
May 13, 2011
The two-hour finale of Smallville has much to wrap up.
Darkseid is the biggest DC Comics villain, but so far he
has only been a shadowy figure on Smallville. That will change. He can
fire omega beams from his eyes. That's gotta hurt with a glance. Will
Clark's never-been-worn costume is hung up in his Fortress of Solitude
closet. It might stand up to Darkseid's omega beams. And Lois has to
name him Superman, as established in the first Superman movie.
Plus, Superman has to fly, and that's got to also have something to do
with Lois. He may even have to be mistaken for a bird or a plane.
The show will probably have two conclusions, one at the end of each hour.
They will get married, despite Lois not wanting to take Clark's time away from his heroics.
The final conclusion will probably be Clark and Lois at the Daily
Planet, after Perry White takes over and introduces Jimmy Olsen.
But the real story is the return of Lex Luthor. All of the other
original Smallville characters know Clark's secret. How will Lex not know?
Music Association: Remy Zero - Save Me
Previously on Smallville
May 12, 2011
Smallville, the TV story of how Clark Kent became Superman, will end its tenth and final season tomorrow.
What's funny is the original title of Smallville was Bruce Wayne. It
wasn't about a pre-Superman Superman; it was about a pre-Batman Batman.
But between Batman movies and Batman animated shows, DC comics
didn't want Batman market saturation, despite the monthly deluge of
various Batman comic books.
So Bruce Wayne became Smallville, with teenage Clark Kent grounded by the producers' "no tights, no flights" rule.
The producers' ran into a problem with their five-year plan for Clark
Kent's progress: not only was Clark super-strong, so was the show.
Smallville's year five plan was stretched into five additional years,
making it the longest running comic book based TV show and the longest
running American science fiction show.
Music has always been a big part of the show, but it changed its tune.
For the first four years, the music was contemporary, featuring
Lifehouse, Coldplay, Five For Fighting, Stereophonics, Weezer, Staind,
Evanescence, AM Radio, Jimmy Eat World, Depeche Mode, Dandy Warhols,
Elvis, and much more. It must have been a Herculean effort to get the
rights for all the songs. As Clark matured, the music shifted from
popular music to classical themes.
The show had great chemistry in the cast (Jonathan and Martha Kent's nurturing could fill gaps in anyone's development),
subtle humor, and a playful yet respectful angle on the Superman
mythos. When Lois Lane showed up, you knew the clock was ticking on
Clark's relationship with Lana Lang.
The unsung hero of any action flick is the supporting character with all
the dialogue who pushes the plot along. For much of Smallville, that
character was Chloe Sullivan, played by Allison Mack. She could listen,
look confused, and rattle off the plot leaps with clarity and emotion,
without stepping out of character or losing her dimples.
Smallville highlights, ala carte: Clark learns he's an alien, aren't we all? (s1e01). Clark
discovers ancient Native American caves (s2e10). Clark meets Dr. Swann
(Christopher Reeve), who tells him about Krypton (s2e17). Clark meets
Perry White (Michael McKean) and loses a tractor (s3e05). Clark meets
Lois (s4e01). Clark meets Krypto; Lois wants to name the dog Clarkie
(s4e14). Clark gets amnesia; Chloe explains his secret, that he never
told her, to him (s4e19). Clark helps Aquaman (s5e04). Clark battles
Bizarro, haven't we all? (s7e01). Lois and Clark host a TV morning show
(s9e06). Lois becomes Isis (s10e05).
Music Associations: Stereophonics - Superman "Superman on an aeroplane, sitting next to Lois Lane."
Five For Fighting - Superman "I'm only a man in a funny red sheet, looking for special things inside of me."
Movie Association: Young Frankenstein - Madeline Kahn as Elizabeth,
"How can I say in a few minutes what it's taken me a lifetime to
understand?" Gene Wilder as Freddy, "Wont you try?" Elizabeth, "All
right. (pause) You've got it mister."
Who Are The Supermen?
May 11, 2011
Bin Laden was killed by SEAL Team Six (Naval Special Warfare
Development Group - DevGru), based at the Dam Neck annex of Naval Air
Station Oceana at Virginia Beach, Virginia. They flew in MH-60M Black
Hawk helicopters ("Mikes")
modified with disks partially covering non-standard tail rotors to
muffle sound and painted with a silver-loaded, infrared suppression
finish. Their mission took about 40 minutes. They zipped in; they zipped out.
They are the best of the best.
They are a team.
And their identities are secret.
Bogus SEALs are popping up like popcorn. Here's a clue: real SEALs don't pop, they sneak.
Side Note of Speculation: The Black Hawk adaptations increased stealth at a price -- decreased maneuverability, leading to an inability to hover and a loss of lift. China is interested in the technology, but the U.S. wants it back.
Music Association: Lazlo Bane - I'm No Superman
Wonder Stuns City
May 10, 2011
Crying on cue is both the subject and (spoiler alert)
finals question of many drama classes. How do you cry on cue, or if
you're a director, how do you get an actor to cry on cue?
The answer: threaten to shoot the actor's dog.
At least that was director Norman Taurog's answer to get his 9 year old
nephew, actor Jackie Cooper to cry for the 1931 movie, Skippy.
Cooper's acting received an Academy Award nomination, the first for a
Jackie Cooper played Daily Planet editor Perry White in the Superman
movies, had over a hundred other acting roles, and directed oodles of
TV shows (Jake & the Fatman, M*A*S*H, Rockford Files, Superboy...) without once threatening to shoot anyone's dog.
Cooper died a week ago in Santa Monica while being 88.
Here's Jackie Cooper throwing off the panel with his German accent on What's My Line for New Year's Day 1956.
Music Association: John Williams - Superman Theme
Mondays are a Hit!
May 9, 2011
Polling organizations can misunderstand people.
A recent poll asked people if they like Mondays. Some of the answers were:
"Oh yeah. Mondays are great. Mondays are a hit!"
"Mondays are the best day of the week."
"If only everyday was a Monday."
The results of the poll may not have accurately reflected the sarcasm
of the sample population. Sample populations are notoriously sarcastic.
The misleading poll was quoted in Congress, as representatives debated whether to make all days of the week, Mondays.
Music Association: The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays
What I'm Reading
The History of Sarcasm
May 7, 2011
I'm currently reading The History of Sarcasm. I'd love to know what you think of it.
Music Association: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Scar Tissue "Sarcastic Mr. Know It All"
Music Association Misheard Lyrics: "With Burma Shave it's a lonely view"
Under the Rug
May 6, 2011
The oceans are an amazing dumping ground.
oceans hardly ever
wash trash ashore. Currents pull garbage out to sea and encircle the
trash in gyres,
like the Great
Pacific Garbage Patch of the north.
The oceans are nature's trash compacter and trash sweeper-under-the-rug.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.
1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, which
green lights oil drilling off the coast of Virginia. Nobody stepped
forward with a Keep Virginia Beautiful campaign.
When was it that the BP
Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded?!? Oh yeah, that was just
about this time last year. And it gushed
- what - 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf? Ancient history.
Last month, 11,500 tons of radioactive water were dumped in the Pacific
from the Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear power plant. Maybe it was their way of
celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl
And last weekend they dumped Bin Laden's corpse in the ocean.
Will the pollution never end?
Someone has to draw the line.
Music Association: Burl Ives -
Cool Clear Water (I have all his albums.)
Newspapers Are Dead, Jim
May 5, 2011
A headline proclaiming DEAD is a helluva way for the St.
Times to say they're gone. Denial time. It can't be. How
can it be dead? It had so much more news to offer. They had
daily circulation last year of 239,684, which is close to the
Star Tribune's 297,478.
Despite the Bin Laden Bump, newspapers haven't been doing well the past
ten to twenty years.
It isn't dead. The news from the St. Pete Times is that their
circulation is growing.
That's right. Weird, huh? Its average daily circulation for the first
quarter of 2011 was 292,441.
In fact the news is that most newspapers have just experienced
circulation growth for the first quarter of 2011.
Both the Star
Tribune and the Pioneer Press increased their circulations.
The Strib circulation grew by 1,167 copies. The Press grew by 495.
Today, the newspaper less encumbered by words, has also
increased its average circulation.
Sun-Times had a 56% increase, from 268,803 to 419,408 copies,
making its circulation a bit under the Chicago
Smell a rat, yet?
That rat is the Audit
Bureau of Circulation,
which just redefined what circulation means. Total circulation used to
be the same as total paid circulation. Not any more. Now
circulation is calculated under looser guidelines which include digital
editions and free copies. Since the scale has changed, ABC recommends
that newspapers not compare current circulation to previous
Cinco de Mayo.
Music Association: Brandy -
Almost Doesn't Count
About the Bad in Abbottabad
May 4, 2011
"Well... they seemed like really nice neighbors."
"They never let their trash make a mess."
"So they had 18 foot walls topped with barbed wire, who doesn't?!?"
"They just seemed religious. No, we never saw them at Ilyasi or any of
the other mosques in Abbottabad, why?"
"A fortress is built in 2004 so soon after Bin Laden escapes
Afghanistan, what's the connection?"
not actual quotes
Delhi TV tells a funny story.:
children playing in the fields let a ball fly into the compound by
mistake, the owners never let them retrieve it but gave them 50 rupees
to buy a new one, said one of the neighbors, a woman with a small boy
on her hip who gave her name only as Bibi. When the children began to
throw balls into the compound on purpose to get more money, the owners
kept paying, she said, laughing."
The two-part question being asked by American news is whether Pakistan
knowingly harbored Bin Laden near their military training facility or
were they just stupid.
The American media is not just one voice, except on Monday. The archive
of newspaper front-pages, Newseum,
is up again after crashing on Monday. It shows the range of newspaper
Monday's Star Tribune headline read: "Bin Laden Is Dead."
Succinct and to the point. The Pioneer Press quotes Obama saying "Justice Has Been Done,"
which is similar to Pat
from yesterday which shows a sitting Lady Justice wiping the blood from
her sword. If only the Pioneer Press had been able to run the cartoon
on their first page.
The New York Times headline read, "Bin
Laden Killed By U.S. Forces in Pakistan, Obama Says, Declaring Justice
Has Been Done." That's not a headline; that's a sentence.
Why buy the paper at all, if the headline sums up all the details?!?
The Chicago Sun-Times says "DEAD"
over a black and white picture of Bin Laden. Blunt. Clear. A hundred
point type or so. The Boston Herald uses the same size "DEAD" but botches
the clarity of the Sun-Times cover with subheadings and a color
picture. The St. Petersburg Times separates the "DEAD" from the
The New York Post says, "Got
with a sub-heading that says, "Vengeance At Last! US Nails The
Bastard!" The Philadelphia News clarifies the Post by saying instead, "We Got The Bastard!"
The New York Daily News, as well as the Toronto Sun and the Calgary
Sun, go one step further (answering the what next question) with the
headline, "Rot In Hell!"
The Edmonton Sun says, "Burn
had to be grade school classes that said, "For Monday, we will be
comparing newspaper headlines to Internet news stories."
Music Association: The Beatles -
Day In The Life "I read the news today, oh boy"
May 3, 2011
Usually it's tough to judge the mood of the country without opinion
polls and statistical
doom. Or tons of mood rings.
This is one of those times that it's easier to understand the
U.S. mood. Right now, there are two general attitudes.
___Attitude Number One___
The economy is doing a little better this week than last. Obviously
there can't be any more tornadoes -- since there couldn't be more tornadoes than
the past few weeks. And William and Kate had a great wedding.
___Attitude Number Two___
are okay. Osama bin Laden is dead. Spring is springing.
Music Association: Bobby
McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy
World Hide and Seek Champion (2001-2011)
May 2, 2011
I think that just about sums up the hopes
and dreams of a great many people.
Next, let's return to sanity.
Oh and... I told you he was in Pakistan.
Music Association: Lionel Richie
- Say You Say Me "I had a dream -- I had an