Throwback Thursday: July, 1958

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Jim_Jimmie_1958

It’s July, 1958. El Paso, Texas.  “Big Jimmie”, as he will come to be called by his family now that he has a “Little Jimmie”, turned 20 this month, and is an airman in the United States Air Force.  When I selected the picture for this week’s “Throwback Thursday”, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before.  I’ve always seen him in pictures of me, and that gets truer the older I get.  Until today, however, I had never noticed my Mother in me.  I see her in this one, however.  Something in my face reminds me of her, and I wonder why I never noticed it before.  I also see many of my other relatives.  Or rather I see the common familial features we all tend to have as infants.  We might all look very different as we grow up, but you can certainly tell we’re all related in our baby pictures.

Oddly, it reminds me of how I first became aware of Keanu Reeves.

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Lunar Geek – “Blood” Moon Eclipse

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blood_moon_04142014

A Lunar eclipse occurred last night, with the Moon slipping into the Earth’s shadow.  The refraction of light through the Earth’s atmosphere created the reddish hue, not quite darkening our sister planet. (The Earth and Moon are more accurately a binary planet system, rather than a primary and satellite system.)

The term “Blood Moon” seems to be the result of the media glomming onto a doomsday prophet, ‘end of the world’, God is coming book seller.  It doesn’t seem to have any historical relevance, but since it’s caught the fancy of reporters around the world, we’re stuck with it.  Some have gone so far as to claim it’s a sign from God, warning President Obama (about something… pick a wingnut cause and use that, for all the sense they make).

Several more of these eclipses will happen in the next few years, just as they’ve happened ever since the Moon reached it’s current orbital distance from the Earth.  (the Moon used to be much closer to Earth, but tidal friction and orbital dynamics have been moving it further away ever since it formed.  Using devices left on there by the Apollo missions, we can measure that movement precisely.)

Space Cadet Jimmiejoe contributed to this blog.

Doin’ the hardware thang

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jim_04052014_Home_Depot

Searching Home Depot for a light fixture to replace one that failed.  I only had to walk the aisles twice before I found what I was looking for.  The staff is usually helpful, but I seldom ask where things are located, and the guys I did see working the floor were… shall we say…  not the type to make me break old habits and ask for help.  I hear so much about those stores, but I never see anything!  I must be going at the wrong hours.  ;-)

“Gravity” works, except when it doesn’t

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Gravity

They say you have to “suspend disbelief” to enjoy some movies, but when a movie is about something you’re really interested in, it becomes more difficult as the filmmakers take “artistic license” to the extreme.  The new movie “Gravity” is one such example.  Where to begin with all that’s wrong with this film?

First, let me tell you what was good.  The technical aspects were first rate.  The visuals, the micro-gravity, most of the movement were spot on.  It looked almost like it was filmed in space!  The scenes of the astronauts in orbit, the Earth, the space shuttle and space station looked incredibly real.  The story line was mostly good, but some really odd things popped in from time to time, making one wonder “what the hell was that?”  (the chinese guy talking with the barking dog and crying baby? huh?)

Now, for the bad…

[SPOILERS ALERT]

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I Love Living In the Future

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Inmarsat-3A few minutes ago, I was sitting in my living room, holding a little piece of plastic and metal to my ear, no wires connecting me to any plugs on the walls, talking to a friend in Virginia as he drove down a highway.  Space Cadet JimmieJoe was jumping up and down in my head again, amazed.

When I was 12, the Space Cadet often daydreamed about the future.  There were spaceships and incredible computers.  Meals would be selected on a screen, and be magically transported to the table by a conveyor. Communication anywhere on the planet would be simple, quick, and complete with video. Super sonic jets would whisk you to anyplace on Earth in a short time, and, of course, flying cars would be everywhere.  Think – “The Jetsons”.

Well, the future is here, but it looks a bit different than Space Cadet JimmieJoe imagined.

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Local paper publishes my comments 3 days in a row

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The local newspaper, The Visalia Times Delta, has, like most papers today, an online site.

There, readers can post comments about articles and letters.  I enjoy reading and commenting, and it’s become a fairly regular thing to see my comments published in the print edition on the “Local” page.  It’s been a rare thing these past several months where I haven’t had at least one comment make the paper each week.  This week I made it three days in a row!

3_in_a_row

I used to open the paper to the editorial page first, to check out political cartoons and letters to the editor.  Now, in a bit of vanity, I open it to 3A first, to see if I’ve made it to the print edition again.  (Actually, I cheat on that a bit.  Since I subscribe to both the electronic and print editions, I can see the paper online several hours before it’s actually delivered to my home. I’ll check out the e-newspaper edition first to see if they published any of my comments, then add the print edition to my “archives” storage bin if they did. I may have to get a second bin!)
I also have a ‘Featured Community Blog’ at the Times Delta’s site (one of only three), called Alternating Currents. Feel free to check it out.

Proving my point – Obama haters operate on racism, not facts

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Photo: The White House

Photo: The White House

You can always rely on the wingnuts.  In this case, rely on them to be all at once racist, hateful, and misinformed.

There’s been a long habit by some in the conservative fold for putting forth some really disgusting words and images about liberals, especially this President and his wife.  George Bush took a lot of flack during his time in office, some of it undoubtably undeserved and unkind.  Laura Bush, however, as best as I recall, never suffered from the abuse and slander at the hands of liberals as Michelle Obama has been forced to endure as First Lady.  Some of the comments and photoshops are clearly hateful and racist.  That’s bad enough, but when they start passing around lies in the wingnut echo-chamber, it really gets telling.  Not only do they hate her, they’ll not do the slightest bit of research to verify what they’re being told and passing along.

Yesterday I posted a blog on Alternating Currents, my community blog on the local newspaper’s (The Visalia Times Delta) site.  It concerned the calls for a boycott of Subway Sandwiches because they’ve joined the First Lady in a program to encourage children to eat healthy.  Boycott Subway, because FLOTUS promotes healthy eating!  Some folks really don’t like Michelle Obama!

I shared the link on my Twitter feed, and this is what I got in reply – More

Sometimes the universe just plays games with us

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notrafficFriday

Around 11pm on a Friday, just after a full Moon, on a winter day where the temperature hit 72 degrees that afternoon.  It’s almost scary.

Demons, Diabolical Lifestyles, and late middle age

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gay_demon

Not my demon, apparently

Demon possessed. That’s what the ex-chaplain says.  Gays have an “un-human demonic spirit” in them.

A local resident of Visalia, Sam Lukes, said we have a “diabolically twisted lifestyle” in a recent letter to the editor*.

Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin is ready to toss us in the nearest oven.  The government is not far behind, as the Duma (Russia’s Parliament) has passed into law sweeping edicts that seem to make even talking about homosexuality a crime.  The 2014 Olympics are taking a hit over the crackdown.

We’ve made some impressive progress over the past few decades, and things, at least in the USA and some other progressive western nations, are getting better.

But to listen to some of these nutjobs talk, you’d think Satan himself was walking the Earth in a leather harness and spiked heels.  As they describe what it is to be gay, I’m looking at myself and thinking…

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You found what?? And you did what with them???

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GrenadesSometimes you really have to wonder.

Tonight we received a call on 9-1-1 from a woman who said she was in our parking lot and needed to have a deputy come out to speak to her immediately.  When asked why she needed a deputy, she said she had been clearing out her deceased mother’s residence and had discovered two hand grenades, had brought them here, and needed someone to come get them.

That of course required the local bomb squad be called out, as the initial deputies determined that they appeared to be real, live grenades.

One of the incredible things about this caller was that she was getting very upset that we were unable to get someone out to her in four minutes, so she called back wanting to know what the delay was about.  (the deputies are out on patrol, not in the building!)  We got someone out shortly thereafter, they called the bomb squad, and the grenades were disposed of by the bomb techs.  It didn’t dawn on her, apparently, that handling and transporting them was probably more dangerous than sitting in the parking lot waiting!

Sigh.

Rule of grenades (or other explosive devices) #1 – Leave them alone, and call 9-1-1!  Don’t pick them up, don’t drive them someplace in your car, and don’t get huffy with the 9-1-1 operator trying to help you!

Rule of grenades (or other explosive devices) #2 – See rule #1

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