Tuesday, August 30, 2005
- The genetic heritage of the Vikings could be a factor in the spread of the degenerative neurological disease multiple sclerosis (MS).
Researchers have noticed high concentrations of MS in Scandinavia and Northeast Scotland, areas with large Viking settlements in the past.
In Finland, areas where MS occurs more frequently than elsewhere include Ostrobothnia, the upper reaches of the Eurajoki and KokemÃ¤enjoki rivers, and in the northeast of the southern area of Uusimaa.
- KyrÃ¶nmaa, a coastal region in Ostrobothnia, has an exceptionally high frequency of MS. Experts believe that large numbers of people moved to the area in the 13th century from the KokemÃ¤enjoki and Eurajoki areas, which also have high concentrations of the disease.
Residents of the areas on the two rivers are known to have had close contacts with Vikings about 1,000 years ago.
In other parts of Europe, scientists have noticed a correlation between the frequency of MS and a history of a Viking presence.
Its midnight. You're desperately trying to fall asleep but your mind is going 100 mph and you've got a nasty case of 'restless legs' again. You KNOW you need to get up early because the blissfully dozing figure beside you needs to be at the office early for an 0800 meeting. But there you are ... eyes focusing on the shadows dancing across the ceiling ... morphing, scampering, appearing and vanishing. You start to hear the groans and ticks of the old manor slowly settling into old age. You can even hear the Hounds downstairs rooting about the gate in an attempt to break out of the kennel room. Then a new set of noise starts to fill your consciousness. It's the peculiar voices you hear from time to time that sound like your children crying or calling for you. In a half-hearted attempt to extinguish the angst-bearing audible hallucinations, you saunter off to the bathroom to try and empty your bladder one more time. The voices, they are not going away. Instead, they are starting to coalesce into a clearly discernible cry for help. It's Jacob ... he's still fighting off the fever and my be talking in his sleep. Out of love, concern and just plain good parenting you go in to check on him and find a little shivering figure drenched in sweat. This is the beginning of a really long night.
I end up bringing Jacob into our temporary master bedroom and let him have my side of the bed. Small slice of territory it may be, but he'll do much better snuggling with the Mrs than trying to drive his titanium elbows and knees into my kidneys. I get to sleep on the sofa downstairs since the guest room futon is covered in laundry and not made up for use. It's a restless sleep and I have peculiar dreams of shooting bullets at European thugs holding the family captive. For some reason, they are lead by Bruce Willis and the bullets move really slow through the air. Slow enough for me to dodge but not for the 20 or so 'bad guys'. Except Bruce, he dodges them too and we launch volley after volley at one another. Strange. Soon enough, it's 0600 and the dogs start to whine. They just know. Who needs an alarm clock when you have these guys. I run (read: bumble) up the grand staircase and go to wake up the Mrs. Her pleas for just a few more minutes only buy her five. Jake is more responsive to those requests than the Groggy Mrs MDMHVONPA and wakes of his own accord. I escort him off to the bathroom and we take care of some morning duties. I hear more complaints from the kids room and find that Alexis is also waking up. Good. She will be in a better mood if she wakes by herself. While I take care of the kids and dogs, the Mrs drags her profoundly lethargic form off to the shower. I plop the kids in front of the TV and go off to make their lunches and breakfast. PB&J for lunch, waffles for breakfast. The breakfast meal is shunned as the kids are in no mood to eat. We don't have a lot of time to coerce them into eating so they will just have to go with what we managed to get them to put in their mouths. The will certainly be hungry for lunch.
It's already 0700 and we are loading up 2 little clingy children. The Mrs is not in a good mood either. I guess Jacob made sure she did not get any sleep either. Go figure. On the way to the Turnpike, I hear noise of a backup in the Westbound lanes between WillowGrove (my interchange) and Ft Washington. Some sort of accident. I have enough time to take an alternate route that will bring me to the slip-line that is near the Ft Washington interchange. I can avoid a lot of the backup. Unfortunately, I did not hear all of the broadcast and find that the backup is a damn rubber-necker delay caused by an accident (before 0700!?) in the East-Bound lanes. I still managed to save myself a lot of grief, but my hopes of getting to work exceptionally early are thrown down hard and fast like a cigarette butt behind a catholic school gym as the Sister Superior charges around the corner. As I listen, I find out that a truck hauling goats has jack-knifed and released it's charges out onto the turnpike. All lanes closed as the authorities try to chase down a carts worth of bleating, arrogant, and quite stinky beasts. It would be funny if I did not notice that the truck apparently split in half. This is going to be a mess. The East-bound lanes are backed up from just short of Ft Washington all the way out to the Schuylkill river bridge. This will cause the North bound Blue Route to back up and spill over onto the Schuylkill expressway. It's all bad news for the road-ways today. I get to work by 0745 and notice that the backup has spread to the KOP exit at 0800. As I look now out onto the turnpike, it is a parking lot going east and it's only 0845. Hey, have a nice day, mkay?
UPDATE: Alexis threw up just as the Mrs get's to Day-Care ... twice. Jake must have given her whatever he has been fighting off. Additionally the Mrs is ill too and never made it to the meeting. Just turned around, drove back to the Manor and crawled back into bed after calling her boss to stand in for her. It's going to be an interesting evening.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
rain, rain, rain
Now that the sprinklers are in operation again, it's been raining non-stop. Standard. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. The horrific and oppressing heat has tapered off only to be replaced with a soggy and nearly tactile weight of torpid humidity. This has spurred the growth of various autumn fungal flora much to the delight of the Mrs's sinuses. Yep, it's Hayfever season, part two. Now, if I keep the windows open at night to let in this spore laden soup, the house will cool down quite a bit before morning. On the con side though, all these little micro-irritants tend to set off the allergic reactions in the wife like pulling out a 10,000 grand at a fat camp. The AC bill will certainly go down from the budget-breaking 300$/month, but the lack of a restful night for either of us makes this a hollow victory.
Saturday was your standard weekend activity list except we cut the shopping short so we could take Jake to the pediatricians office. He has been running a low-grade fever for the last couple of days and we suspect that it may be yet another ear infections. The Mrs wants to check it out before we drive up to the Haupertonian Outpost in Central NY next week. Rightfully so. Would hate to have to cut short a vacation or try to get someone to prescribe antibiotics for that while out of range of our standard medical avenues. Turns out that it is not an ear infection at all, just some nasty little summer cold virus of sorts. The rest of the day was spent either slacking off with the kids or me slaving over a hot cast-iron skillet while I make one of my signature kielbasa dishes for the family. A good day outside of the wasted hour or two with the medical excursion. I say that now, of course, knowing that nothing is amiss. On a side note, some of my semi-distant relations in the area gave me a call and left a message that they would like to get together next month some time for lunch. Should be interesting. I've been trying to touch base with these folk for a long time but could not seem to get anything started. I joked with the Mrs that they might need a kidney or something ... let's hope I'm just being petty.
Sunday. Ah yes, my day of rest that I usually spend working my rear off. Difference is that today, not only is it raining but we've been invited to yet another party. It's late in the afternoon so I might be able to get a few tasks ticked off my list. Right, who am I kidding. I took Jake to church today for the 0830 mass. He spent most of the time insisting that I coddle him or just laying about. The fever is really taking it out of him. I hate to see him like this, just a complete blob of bleck. Sure, it would be nice for him to behave while we are in church, but not by these means. After we returned home, I found the wife and the littlest tyrant roaming about the house half dressed and quite rumpled. At that point I pretty much deduced that nothing else was going to get done other than the preparations for going over to the party. We gave Jake some Motrin to bring down his fever from 102 and within minutes he was back to his typical mischief.
Later in the afternoon, we zip off to BJ's Wholesale Warehouse to get the SuperSaturn tanked up. The other day, we filled the massive fuel reserve in the FamilyTank and only had to sell a cornea. Since the tank in my car is significantly smaller, it will only result in us having to sell off a few pints of plasma. At 2.57$USD/gal, I don't feel bad about going out of my way to save about 1.20$. It's just a couple of miles down the road from our destination so it's not like I'm going to spend thousands to save pennies. While I was there, a man at the other pump tried to strike up a conversation with me after hearing my rather audible sigh of resignation as I watched the numbers quickly increment on the Crystal LED readout. He started cursing the 'Spek-U-Lators' and mumbling how it was all a plot by the Oil companies to run the world. I snickered a bit an threw him a line about how the PRC was trying to buy up oil companies and take all the oil to destroy America. I also made a note of how the Chinese were sending signals of approval to Hugo Chavez and his Socialst movement in order to obtain a source of oil that did not need to go through the shipping lines near Jakarta that are now in such peril. He became quickly confused and I made a conciliatory statement regarding that we should just get used to it since it may not change. I think that somehow I have fallen out of the main-stream on this issue. To much knowledge ... dangerous.
When we arrived at the pool party around 1600 hours, things were going full tilt and we soon plopped the kids in to the freezing water. A bit too cold in so much that the slightly ill Jacob started to shiver quite noticeably after a few hours. It took a bit of coercing to get him to come out. They sure like to spend time in the water, cold as it may be. The 'ice water dip' brought his fever down quite nicely for a time. Eventually, the Motrin wore off and he was heating up again. We made a hurried exit from the festivities as it was getting late and escorted the tiny tyrants back to the manor. It's been a full day for them by that point and they really needed to hit the sack. I'm not sure who becomes more exhausted, me or them. I'm betting on myself.
Friday, August 26, 2005
- "I looked back at the two soldiers who were with me outside, and screamed what amounted to 'Attack Attack Attack!' I stood up and was yelling at them. Actually, what I shouted was an unprintable string of curses, while Kurilla was also yelling at them to get in there, his M4 trained on the entrance. But the guys were not attacking.
I saw Prosser's M4 on the ground, Where did that come from?
I picked up Prosser's M4. It was empty. I saw only Prosser's bloody leg lying still, just inside the darkened doorway, because most of his body was hidden behind a stack of sheet metal.
'Give me some ammo! Give me a magazine!' I yelled, and the young 2nd lieutenant handed over a full 30-round magazine. I jacked it in, released the bolt and hit the forward assist. I had only one magazine, so checked that the selector was on semi-automatic.
I ran back to the corner of the shop and looked at LTC Kurilla who was bleeding, and saw CSM Prosser's extremely bloody leg inside the shop, the rest of him was still obscured from view. I was going to run into the shop and shoot every man with a gun. And I was scared to death.
What I didn't realize was at that same moment four soldiers from Alpha Company 2nd Platoon were arriving on scene, just in time to see me about to go into the store. SSG Gregory Konkol, SGT Jim Lewis, and specialists Nicholas Devereaux and Christopher Muse where right there, behind me, but I didn't see them.
Reaching around the corner, I fired three shots into the shop. The third bullet pierced a propane canister, which jumped up in the air and began spinning violently. It came straight at my head but somehow missed, flying out of the shop as a high-pressure jet of propane hit me in the face. The goggles saved my eyes. I gulped in deeply."
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Huzzah! The sprinkler heads arrived yesterday. Now, the existing head is a 2.5g/m and the new one is only a 1.5 so I don't feel bad about getting a 360 instead of a 180 arc. Now the driveway will get watered as well as the narrow strip of fried grass on the other side of the asphalt ribbon of woe. I ordered an additional set of heads so I could get some coverage at the head of the driveway too, but did not feel the need to install it quite yet. I need to get a few parts first to extend the pvc from the back yard. I did, however, replace the broken head in record time last night. Sweetness! One less thing to do this weekend. Ahh, yes. A free weekend. No parties, no events, no travel. Just the standard stuff: Swim on Saturday followed by Perkins and Shopping, Church on Sunday followed by hours of back-breaking labor. Speaking of back-breaking, there was an accident on the Turnpike this morning. It was between the KOP and Mid-County interchanges. Right on the bridge over the Schuylkill river where the aromatic sewage processing plant is located. The resulting back-up went all the way to the Philly exit and had ancillary log-jams on the NE extension and the Blue Route. The Ft Washington and Willow Grove on-ramps were a lost cause - no triage for them would do any good. Killed 45 minutes of my day before it even got started. Fan-tastic!
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
- A hazardous-chemical leak from a truck closed the lower end of I-476, the Blue Route, for much of the afternoon yesterday - the second consecutive day a truck mishap snarled regional traffic.
No injuries were reported, but while the liquid was being cleaned up, the highway was closed in both directions from Exit 3, Baltimore Pike, to I-95 from about noon to 3 p.m., when northbound lanes opened.
The southbound lanes remained closed until near the start of the evening rush.
- Frank Brady, 64, a driver for Church's Auto Parts in Springfield, Delaware County, was stuck in late-afternoon traffic he called "real bad."
"What's normally a 10-minute ride will take you 30 minutes," Brady said. "It's a mess, but I'm on the clock."
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
It's been quite some time since we have had an tanker blow up on the local arteries. I suppose we were due.
- PLYMOUTH - A truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline overturned on the northbound on-ramp to the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and sparked a massive fire visible from miles away Monday morning.
The incident snarled traffic in time for rush hour, closing Plymouth Road and the ramp itself.
Witnesses told police the driver, who was heading uphill at the time of the incident, was travelling at a high rate of speed when the fuel truck capsized at approximately 8:30 a.m.
- Once extinguished, fire crews discovered the extent of the damage.
"It melted the truck," said Kevin P. Lawrence, chief of the Harmonville Fire Co., "there was hardly anything left."
Though pure gasoline can burn at temperatures of 3,000 degrees, according to Scott Mickalonis, special operations coordinator for the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, molten aluminum provided the best estimate of the minimum heat at 1,220 degrees.
"It was a hot fire," Mickalonis said.
- Some fire crews waited more than 150 feet away from the blaze due to the intense heat as trucks assembled at the scene, Lawrence said.
- With fire crews battling the blaze, police tried to keep at least some traffic moving through nearby streets. The job was hampered by curious motorists.
"The biggest problem we had was people stopping on the roadway to watch the fire," said Sgt. Karen Mabry of the Plymouth Township Police Dept.
- The fire did not appear to cause damage to the concrete roadway, said Hampton of the Turnpike Commission.
Other experts said that if the fire had occurred on asphalt or on a bridge, much more extensive repairs may have been required. Those repairs, if needed, would range from simply repaving the road to replacing steel girders.
The damn phone has been ringing off the hook today at work. So far this week I've been getting about 20 email messages an hour that are all marked URGENT!! The world depends on your attention to this issue. Klaxons blaring, bells ringing ... sheesh. Most of this activity surrounds the pending launch of a new MAJOR client site where I'm apparently the lynch-pin in the process that makes the collection of money from the credit cards possible. All I really do is take files from one location, encrypt them and then move them to a different location. My 'code' has been completed for a month now. I guess since I'm on the ball with the project, I've become the ICON OF STABILITY (echo chamber sound effect here).
Things of note at the Manor ... hmmm. Tossed out the ravaged carpet from the master suite after I sliced it up into manageable rolls. There was some rather unpleasant mildew growing on the underside. Looks like someone left the windows open during rain storms one too many times. Hey, don't look at me like that. Those windows are rarely open in the summer. AC is expensive when you keep the manor at Near Zero Kelvin. I'll probably get rid of the other carpeting that I have stored away in the garage right now at some time. It's just sitting there as a home for way-ward spiders and pill-bugs. Glad to know that the trash pickup will accept it if the rolls are reasonably sized. No special sticker or any of that nonsense.
The SuperSaturn is having a rough year. That fabric liner that became detached from the roof? It's falling again. I'm going to have to cut a couple of holes in it so I can spray the glue in between the roof and the fabric so the damned stuff will stick properly. It looks like hell, yeah, because it's a hack job. I'll never be able to sell this car for more than a few hundred dollars so I'm not going to go into a tailspin about the vandal-inspired jerry-rig I'm imposing on the poor thing. On top of that, the rear passenger window popped out of it's tray so it wont go up or down now. If I roll down the window, it'll go part of the way down and then stick while the mechanism inside the door lowers all the way. Then, when I want to close it, it'll not close all the way. I could fix this I suppose, if I had a spare 4 hours or so to spend on it. Fun, eh? I'm already looking to the future when the other car is paid off and I can get myself a nice, fuel efficient hybrid diesel. Mmmmm, biodiesel.
Things on my list of 'To Do' items: Get fire bricks for the wood burning stove ASAP. Anyone have any ideas? I've been scouring the internet and have had nearly zero luck. I've got to find a hearth&fireplace store locally that will order this stuff for me. What a pain, I should just get 4 pieces of cast iron and lay it in there. It would be a bit more resilient and would not ruin the box. Argh. Speaking of fire ... I'm going to do a post on the fuel truck that exploded on the turnpike this past Monday at 0800. Yeah, the time I'm usually on the road but stayed at home with the kids. Fate?
Monday, August 22, 2005
The long night is over. More or less. Many mundane and typical things happened this weekend. The least of which bothered me the most. I stepped on the scale the other day and was greeted by a nasty little number that I don't want to talk about. What? Come ON! No, really, it's none of your ... yellow?! I'm not chicken dammit. 207 ... there, you happy!? Sheesh. Of course, Hero Dad clocks in at 175 and for each of those thirty odd pounds I have on him, not a one does me much good in keeping up with him. I would just love to be able to start back in on my exercise program again, but getting 2 hours of aerobic workout plus the 30-45 minutes of prep and cool-down just isn't forthcoming unless I do it before the sun rises or after the kids pass out. I swear that giving up coffee has complicated this issue more than anything. I am certainly NOT going to go on one of those bogus diets either. Sure, the whole Atkins thing would be a breeze for me, or one of those morally bankrupt South Beach diets. But no, not my pile of beans. Mmmmm, beans. No, I'll loose this the hard way. Like I always do. 185 would be a nice spot to be at.Saturday was normal. Swim, eat, shop. Only difference is that time we went shopping at the Home Depot Temple and nowhere else. Ahh, the smell of fertilizer and spilled spackle. The sounds of wing-nuts rattling across the cement floors and the chirps of lost sparrows high amongst the rafters. Yep, my lost genetic home in the mists. So after the Mrs gives up on finding me after the 5th potty visit requested by the toilet fixated children, I run out to pick up 25 more retaining wall blocks for the sand-pit. Probably not enough to completely finish the project, but Hero Dad managed to get it to a point where we are on the last leg. Ahhh, and then the last few tons of sand. This time, however, I may opt for the play sand without the added perma-stain clay silt. Nothing like looking at the blue jeans with the beige knees that you have washed 100 times and still cant get the clay out. In addition to the thousand ton blocks, I also picked up 3 more packs of gutter helmets to finish up what I had started last weekend. Although the asphalt shingle roof is certainly magnifying the heat from the sun but ten fold, not having to go up every week in the fall to scoop out buckets of half rotten tree leaf swill-soup from the clogged gutters will be all worth it. That is, if these little flimsy aluminum screens actually work correctly. Oh, perish the thought that they fail me.
It's Sunday, and off to church with Alexis I go. She behaves like an angel at the 1000 family mass. I'm not certain, but I think she enjoys having me all to herself for an hour and thus, does not go into the typical 'apocalypse now' meltdown mode when I take her AND Jacob along. Jake is never calm, just manageable. After Mass, I spend the rest of the day just mucking about till it is time to head out to the Salacious Seliga's household for a Birthday party. Their youngest, Nick, (The Mrs' Littlest Boyfriend) is packing in yet another year and requires all the necessities at the event. Pool with 47 degree water, moon bounce, beer, burgers, etc. The pool was not appreciated by Alexis who prefers to swim in bath water. Jacob, however, was more than thrilled to be shivering away with blue lips and standing in the center to prevent either of the EEEEeeevillll parents from hauling him out. By some trick of the elements, fate and karma, the kids were well behaved the whole time. Alexis latched onto some of the older girls who were more than happy to tote her about to the various 'girl meetings' about the property. Jake spent his time in the cool basement playing with various trucks and such when he was not emptying giant pixie sticks into his voracious maw or onto the stairs, carpet or any other available horizontal surface. It was a bit on the warm side, but the mini-vacation from the kids was nice. We did not leave until 2300 hours when the kids had all but burned off every ounce of adrenalin or sugar. They barely made it out to the main road before they passed out. We ended up just shuffling them into bed when we got home near midnight. Alexis woke up briefly when I was carting her up to their detainment room, but was to exhausted to put up any kind of fight or insist on her usual battery of special requests.
Monday ... well, it could have gone better. Alexis woke with a start at 0400. She was probably sore from running about all day and needed to make a visit to the potty as well. The Mrs handled the impromptu emergency drill quite well and was back to bed in two shakes of a lambs leg. This, however, was not a good sign for the twins. Although they kept dry through the night, the profound lethargy from Sunday's events made it a requirement, nay, A QUEST, that I stay home with them and let them get more sleep. And myself, of course, slept right with them. Wouldn't that be nice? Jake woke up at 0730 shortly after the Mrs left. This was lightyears beyond the rising hour of his sister. A tardy 1030 would be her hour of alertness. After a late breakfast of cereal, they laid about the livingroom till lunch time.
Friday, August 19, 2005
China Facing Gas Crisis
- An Ohio couple arranged to sell a 15-year-old girl to a man for sex in exchange for crack cocaine, the U.S. attorney for western Pennsylvania said.
Greg Lowery, 44, and Pamela Tilley, 45, both of Warren, Ohio, face federal charges of transporting the runaway from Ohio to Pittsburgh for prostitution.
Tilley also told police Lowery had sexually abused both the girls and Tilley had sexually abused the 15-year-old girl, the affidavit said.
Alas, poor Friday
We had a fairly interesting evening last night. The major event of the night, perhaps the week even, was the first dentist appointment for the kids. And yes, the fates smiled upon us and somehow compelled the kids to behave in some semblance of sanity. No tooth-and-nail fights from Alexis or attempted inappropriate groping behavior by Jake. It all went oddly well. Of course, the bad news is that Jacob's blackend front tooth is indeed some sort of damage to the root. Most likely an impact with a blunt instrument. No surprise there. That, and Alexis will almost certainly need braces when she gets her permanent teeth. Too much of an overbite apparently. That, and the whole binky thing has been thoroughly condemned. I've been delaying the 'cold turkey' denial of the pacifiers for a month or two now. We've got them to a point where they only really request them in the evening before bed time. Now is the time for men to stand up and say 'NO MORE!'. Urgh. We'll start saving up for the orthodontics bill now. Other than that, no cavities, plaque or other nasties. The brushing at bed-time is actually fulfilling it's purpose. Jacob was his usual wiggle-worm self, but not as bad as I thought he would be. The dental hygienist (Mrs Lydia) was OUTSTANDING with the kids. The dentist, although a bearded man, was warmly accepted as well. I was stunned that Alexis did not go into her usual 'I HATE STRANGE MEN' tizzy and was willing to let him poke about in her mouth. Not something that I would expect from her even if she did understand the unspoken rule of trust granted to those within the medical professions. She continues to amaze me daily.
On the way home, we stopped off at McDonalds and the Pizza joint. The kids deserved a treat for their superb behavior and the whole french fries/chicken nuggets gambit seems to fit the bill. Of course, they had to eat a mouth full of green beans first, With the pending consumption of battered/fried products teasing them from across the table, it was a quickly executed effort.
The rest of the evening went well, but we left Jake in his pull-ups. After dinner, he and the Mrs spent 30 minutes of quality time in the bathroom trying to ... expel waste. For some reason, the kids would much rather use the large toilets rather than the appropriately sized potties we have for them. It's funny to watch them balance over the edge of the seat, strenuously gripping each side with their hands to keep themselves out of the 'drink'. The other day, Jake took a dive and was not even remotely amused. I guess the Mrs and I will need to get an additional 'small seat' that fits over the large one for the upstairs toilet as well. Just in case someone decides to go potty without us (it could happen) and ends up needing our help ... at 0200 in the morning.
Speaking of early mornings, the whole 'no-more-binky' thing did not go over well with the Tiny Twin Tyrants. I was certain that I would wake in the middle of the night with one of them hovering over me with a shotgun or large aluminum bat. They were a bit perturbed when I insisted that it was bed time and they did not need the pacifiers. The Mrs and I heard complaints late into the evening. Jake escaped once and needed to be escorted back but the Haupertonian GM Security Forces. They were consequentially exhausted in the morning due to the agitated sleep that was a result of this. I feel badly that it had to go down this way. Parental duties can be unpleasant sometimes, I'll just have to let it go at that.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
In the hinterlands of the Main-line, a forbidden fruit is being pollinated on a withered tree.
- Battle lines have formed over a Chester County woman's proposal to bring an adult nightclub with live performances to a site near the King of Prussia mall.
Shannon Leach of Chester Springs wants to open Upper Merion Township's first "adult cabaret" in a vacant gas station at 1036 W. DeKalb Pike.
The site is across from the Valley Forge Golf Course, where a mixed-use development including a number of homes is planned by Realen Properties of Berwyn. It is also adjacent to a Home Depot that sells tools and building materials.
Leach's plans have angered neighbors, clergy and businesspeople, who object to its location and the clientele it will draw to King of Prussia.
Plans filed with the township show that the club's first floor would include a "cigarette and champagne room." Space on the second floor would be added for a kitchen, dressing rooms and storage.
In a letter dated Jan. 10, the applicant spelled out the degree of nudity expected.
"Limitations on how sexually explicit the adult cabaret would be in terms of attire and live performances" would depend on Shannon Leach's getting a liquor license, the letter said.
"Absent a liquor license, the establishment would have to derive all of its revenue from the girls," the letter said, and attire and live performances would need to be "more sexually explicit."
Molly McGowan, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, said Tuesday that no application had been received for a liquor license at the site.
- The new Hummer H3, which is smaller yet than the H2, is considerably easier to manage in the real world. Its gas mileage, at 19 miles per gallon on the highway with the automatic transmission, is in line with other SUVs of its size.
Athletic appearance not withstanding, the H3's "lazy fat guy" power-to-weight ratio is going to be hard to swallow, even for true Hummer fans. Its 3.5-liter 5-cylinder engine produces 220 horsepower and 225 foot-pounds of torque.
Maybe that sounds OK when you compare it to the Jeep Grand Cherokee's base V-6 engine, which puts out 210 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque. But the Hummer H3 is lugging around over 900 pounds more weight than the Grand Cherokee.
- Steel Forged Into The USS NEW YORK.
From rubble to avenging angel: The U.S. Navy is using steel from the World Trade Center in a new ship, according to the Navy.
Ten tons of steel from the World Trade Center’s twin towers will be used in the construction of the USS New York, according to a Navy official.
The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock is slated to be commissioned in 2008.
“USS New York will ensure that all New Yorkers and the world will never forget the evil attacks of September 11, and the courage and compassion New Yorkers showed in response to terror,” said New York Gov. George Pataki at the ship’s 2002 naming.
THE KING IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE NEW KING. Well, that can be said for these last few horrible weeks of summer. The temperature has dropped down to the upper 60's the last 2 nights and I've been beside myself. Ahhh, the joys of sleeping weather. Even the kids have gotten into the act and have been a little difficult (read: fiercely resistant) to wake up. Perhaps, if they would give up their night-owl habits it would not be such a drag (read: battle royal) to get them going in the morning. The Mrs used to be that way too but her multiple promotions and such have pretty much alerted her to the need to roll out of bed before noon. Ahhh, those were the days, but I'll not review what was lost when what we gained is so much more.
Speaking of gain, I was given a couple of shocks last night at the dinner table. Alexis is starting to get a little mind of her own these days. She's starting to give daddy a bit of her sass! I'm not sure she knows what she is implying when she says some of the things she does but the Mrs and I have a tough time not falling down in raucous laughter. We were talking about perceived slight that she was nursing and I told her:
"You're so full if poop that your eyes are brown!"
To which she responded: "NO! My eyes no brown, they are BLACK!"
Heh, black-eyed little monster, eh? Well, let's continue then.
"Really? What color is Mommy's hair?" I ask knowing that she could not see the Mrs's eyes.
"Black!" She shouts.
And what color is Jacob's hair?" ... "Ummmm, Browwnn."
And finally, "What color is Daddy's hair?"
Within a fraction of a second, she comes up with the most cutting remark, "GREY!"
The Mrs immediately goes into the convulsions while trying to swallow the food she was chewing and not spray it across the table. I sputter and retort that my hair is dirty blonde but find no sympathy in the audience. Hmph. We'll see who has grey hair! She came up with some other doosies that gave the Mrs and I a good belly laugh or two. Mostly about the confusions about how daddy is not a Man, but rather, a daddy. Never the two shall mix! She associates Man with Bad and only when she is comfortable with any particular man (uncle paul, gramps, etc...) will she allow them to graduate to the 'Not Man' category. Right now, I'm going to let that bias stand for a few (dozen) years till she learns some martial arts. Her only form of defense right now against 'Bad Man' is 1)Ear Piercing Scream 2)Hide behind daddy/mommy 3)200lb/square inch blow to the scrotum. I'm not joking about that last one. She has a vicious streak that needs some redirection. Martial arts would do nicely for that. It's all about the gains.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The ACLU used to be a uniquely American institution to be proud of. Now, the have finally slipped the bonds of sanity and are likening a group of Louisiana school board members to the 9/11 terror cell members.
- A local ACLU director equated al-Qaida terrorists with members of a Louisiana school board seeking to open their meetings with prayer.
Referring to the school board, Cook said, "They believe that they answer to a higher power, in my opinion. Which is the kind of thinking that you had with the people who flew the airplanes into the buildings in this country, and the people who did the kind of things in London."
- "It's clear in a number of recent cases that the ACLU of Louisiana wants to impose a radical form of secularism that the Constitution doesn't require, and frankly, that people of this state are not willing to accept," Johnson said.
"It's clear in a number of recent cases that the ACLU of Louisiana wants to impose a radical form of secularism that the Constitution doesn't require, and frankly, that people of this state are not willing to accept," Johnson said.
In March, the local ACLU also asked a judge to hold the board in contempt for allowing an elementary school student to recite the Lord's Prayer before its meeting.
Public prayer at school-related functions is "un-American and immoral," Cook said at the time.
This was a Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to participate please Register At Our Portal
- A teenager found hanging from a dresser drawer with a coated bicycle chain lock around her neck apparently died while playing the "pass-out game," the girl's parents said.
Kimberly Wilson, a 15-year-old student at Veritas Christian School in Lawrence, died last week.
Her parents, Tim and Carol Wilson, began discussing the details of her death Monday because they wanted other parents to be aware of the dangers of playing the choking game, which cuts off the oxygen supply to the brain. Those who play achieve a type of "high," they said.
The game has been in the news in recent weeks. Just last month, a 10-year-old Idaho boy was found dead, hanging from a tree. Authorities said he apparently died while trying to get high by playing the choking game. The case was similar to that three months ago in the Idaho town of Nampa, where 13-year-old Chelsea Dunn was found dead after apparently hanging herself in her closet.
Tami Radohl, a Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center counselor at Southwest Junior High School in Lawrence, said the behavior is not uncommon.
When addiction reaches the point of passing out alone, Loney said, "they're in deep trouble."
Well, all those halcyon years of a nearly level inflation rate (anything below 5% is friggen spectacular) are coming to a close. China has been sucking up oil to bolster their reserves for some time now. Speculators, not noticing that this is ending are pushing oil futures higher and higher. This ever increasing price per barrel of crude is starting to show in the economy.
- The wholesale price report showed that energy prices rose by 4.4 percent in July following a 2 percent increase in June.
Gasoline prices were up 10.9 percent, the biggest surge since a 12.8 percent rise last October. Analysts caution that motorists should be braced for another large increase in gasoline costs in August, reflecting the fact that gasoline prices have continued to rise in recent weeks as oil prices have surged above $66 per barrel.
The government reported Monday that the average nationwide price for gasoline rose to $2.55 per gallon in its latest survey, up 18 cents per gallon in just one week.
- The PPI report showed that food costs at the wholesale level fell for a fourth consecutive month, dropping by 0.3 percent in July as the costs of fresh vegetables, fruits and beef all declined.
Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices have risen by 4.6 percent while the core inflation rate, excluding food and energy, has risen by a more modest 2.8 percent.
Computers were one area where prices continued to decline, falling 2.1 percent in July.
Ok, absolutely nothing happened yesterday. Well, except for a little snafu with a project at the client site. No big surprise there. How do I explain this .... Hmmm. Ok, say you have a list of people. You take this list and copy each name to a notebook with the word 'New' next to each of them. You give this notebook to another person and he copies all the 'New' names to his own notebook and checks off each of them in your book. That works. So, now how do you REMOVE people from the list? Well, you and I would put a note or something of that nature by the names we want to erase, right? Apparently not. The list of people we get will indicate that a person is to be removed by NOT having the person in the list. Soooo, you have to take the notebook from the guy that you want to remove the person from and write in your notebook that the person is to be removed. Then give both your notebook and his notebook back to him so he can erase it and check off in your notebook that he erased it in his own. Ummm, yeah. Now this is a non-tech description of what I'm doing with a list of stores for a major chain store with over 7000 stores in the US alone. The notebooks are actually tables in a database. So I have to take each of these stores, see if they exist in the data base to see if they are updates or new inserts and THEN look at the original list to see if any are to be deleted. It took me a few hours to re-implement but it would have taken me under 30 minutes if the information about the disposition of the entries was actually recorded with the original data. This kind of absurdly ass backwards logic permeates my environment ... is it me? Am I out of sync with reality or am I living in a Dilbert cartoon? SIGH I suppose it's better than digging ditches.
In other news, the Purple Heart people stopped off and picked up MOST of our donations. They left 4 bags that I took to the corner drop box. They also forgot to leave a receipt. Whatever. The Master Suite is nearly empty now and I will be able to start the deconstruction soon. So close, but yet, so far.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The grand announcement of the day, it's trash pick-up day. The neat part of that is the lack of a diaper bag. Yep, the burn-rate of diapers is going down. Sure, we have some accidents and if we let the kids sleep in there are repercussions. To make it even better, Purple Heart is going to be stopping by to pick up a bunch of clothing donations. MMmmm, less stuff. I'm doing my best to simplify. I've got so many bits of clothing that I just don't wear. Much of it being t-shirts from way back in the 1980's and so-forth. Heaps of old CS books were also slated to make a hasty departure from the Manor. The best thing that we have ever done is to 'move' out of the upper floors so that we can get do an IPL (initial program load) on our habitat. Some of the stuff piling up in the Master Suite was being compressed back into wood in the case of paper and sheep in the case of cotton clothing. Hell, I think I spotted a small North American Poly Esther scuttling away when I picked up some old size 30 pants. Size 30 ... yeah, have not seen that around my rapidly expanding universe of a waist line in at least 4 years. Now, if I can keep the Mrs from buying me more clothing to replace that which I have banished. Dreams.
Yesterday, when I got to the client site, I found out that I was in for a little surprise. Last year, I thought I had lost my wallet because I mistakenly put it in the wrong pocket. I've promised my self that I would not do that again. The only reason I noticed it was in the wrong pocket (or that it was not where I expected it) is that I keep the building key-card in it. That, and a couple of other key-cards for other clients. Since I have these other cards, I have to actually take the card out of my wallet so that it will scan correctly. Otherwise, the other 'pretender' cards would supersede the reader and the door would remain locked. Oh bother. So I set down my raft of cruft that I lug between the office and home to pull out the card ... but what is this! 2 cards and all the other standard items ... no card. Oh no ... I've lost it. First panicked thought; where did I loose it? Probably the swim club. Second thought; how am I going to get inside? Most of the other employees arrive between 0930 and 1000 so 0745 is absurdly early. I would have to wait till either someone arrived or... yes. The cafe staff arrive a bit earlier than I and they have propped the back door open so they could go out and smoke without having to worry about ending up in my predicament. So I glide in through the kitchen where no-body even gives me a second glance. It make you wonder what good is the security. They have an electronic lock and a camera at the door, but the kitchen entrance has neither of those. Ahhh, a Ghost in the Machine am I. So as a dutiful employee, I immediately report the missing key to the appropriate authorities and sally forth. By the end of the day, I got no response and no new card. Oh, I'm certain that they are working very hard at it. (Read: In a pigs eye!). Flash forward 12 hours where I'm going through my wallet at home. I've got a few gasoline receipts that I need to give to the Mrs so she can file them with our other finance documents so I'm pulling out the excess stuff and I notice that the credit cards are out of order. Yes, the type-A person that I am, I have a specific order for my CC and my medical cards in my wallet. I start extracting the cards (all 2 of them) like fangs out of a giant, extraordinarily venomous vipers mouth. What's this, my missing key card is BEHIND my super-digital security brain-virus Amex from hell card. Ooot. So, instead of misplacing my wallet into the wrong pocket, I've misplace the card in the wrong pocket inside the wallet. The permutations befuddle me. Argh.
www.InformedPa.com Rats out Money-grubbers
Monday, August 15, 2005
You know, I reaaally like Walken as an actor. He really embodies that slightly off character that seems either 2 bits shy of an encryption routine or perhaps a few too many bits. It's hard to tell sometimes. Now either this is going to be his greatest yet act visa-vis Andy Kaufman. Given this, some of you may remember the 'Other Party' candidates of the past who have been accused of stealing votes from the other Coke vs Pepsi parties. If you want to figure out which side of the slope that one of my favorite ACTORS is clinging to, take a look at his official site and ponder the fairly bland intro in your head like I am.
- "We need to focus on what's important-- paying attention to our children, our citizens, our future. We need to think about improving our failing educational system, making better use of our resources, and helping to promote a stable, safe, and tolerant global society. It's time to be smart about our politics. It's time to get America back on track.'"
- Campaign Finance Reform: "I believe that campaign finance is a very tough issue, with good points on both sides; but I feel, as a wealthy American, that I should have no more say than even the least fortunate American citizen. Free speech in politics is about the voices of all those who support you, not who supports you with the biggest voice."
- Military Funding: "I am a huge supporter of the military. I have always thought of them as our guardians, and when our guardians are making less than the poverty line, and children are suffering because their parents decided to join the military, well, I get very upset. I feel that instead of sending billions to the Pentagon's pet projects, it should go to the troops."
- Stem Cell Research: "I'd met Chris Reeve several times before he died, and after having met him it is tough to be against [stem cell research]. I am for human knowledge and expansion of human life. If stem cells are one way to do that, I cannot support legislation to restrict this potentially life-saving research."
UPDATE: Walken Declares. What? No, not. Not a candidate. Yes. Dearest friends.
Weekend Roundup 20050814
In any event, the kids and I were in the drink from 1400 till well into the night so the whole 'inner circle of secret members' mystery was lost on me. As for the pool thing, the Tiny Tyrants are actually getting quite confident. The let me throw them into the pool now and don't seem to mind that their heads go under the surface for a moment. Much splashing and thrashing was done. We even played with the other twins that were there. Seems that my 'speed-boat' routine is quite a hit to both sets. I had to be a bit more careful with the twins who did not share my genetics since they did not have flotation suits on. They seemed quite enthralled about the 'more aggressive' play though. Upon seeing the mid-air flips that I would do with my little dare-devils, they insisted to be treated to the same treatment. I obliged, of course, after permission from the other (exhausted) parents was obtained.
Towards the end of the night, I took off their swim vests so we could change them. It's been a long day and they took in a lot of water. Needless to say, they were not interested in leaving to pool for any reason and the contents of their diapers told a horrific story. Ack. Once they were changed and cleaned up, Jake insisted that he be allowed back into the water. Ok, but no swim vest? Well, he learned fairly quickly that much of his ability to stay above water came from the vest rather than his ferocious paddling power. After 15 minutes of serial submersion, he became quite disenchanted with the deal we had struck and let me know that he had enough. For all the time that we were in the water, It will probably take all night for us to dry out. Once everyone was back in their dry-land attire, I realized just how oppressively hot it was even with the sun dutifully set behind the horizon. If I was not so damn tired, I would have opted for the 'night-swim' so graciously offered by our guests. No, it's time we got on the road and tucked the team into bed. We barely got out of the development before they nodded off. Goooood night nurse!
Ahhh, Sunday. The day of rest, except in the Haupertonain Empire of course. Nooo ... the lawn needs to be mowed, there are crops in the field .. dogs need to be tended to. Oh, and as part of the shopping trip on Saturday, we stopped off at Lowes AND the local Home Depot Temple. I picked up a bunch of gutter guard attachments while looking for 'stuff'. Now, since the gutters are clear, it would be a good time to install them. It turned out to be a bigger task than I thought. The packs had 15 feet of these and I had picked up 8 sets. Ohhh yeah. There I was, dancing on the roof like a cat on a hot tin shack. It as 97 or so degrees out and the asphalt shingles were operating as GREAT collectors of searing heat. I guess I should have worn more than just shorts and boots. What a dope. I must have purged every last ounce of fluid and electrolytes. Having absorbed all the fluid from the pool party yesterday was only good for about 15 seconds of perspiration. It took a long time to finish, and I'm still short about 2-3 sets. That's fine since It's the gutter above the driveway that I chose not to do.
I had a couple ounces of energy and chuptza or moxy left so I spent it trying to get the roof fabric in the SuperSaturn to reapply to the roof. I had found a can of the spray-on adhesive that Big Little Brother had told me about and gave it a go. The interior of the cabin was somewhere around 150 degrees and I swear that the dash-board was a second away from melting when I crawled inside. It's tough to handle things like fabric when your hands are shooting out liquid at 100 gal/sec. I got it done, but found out the next morning that I should have left the windows open so that adhesive would have had a chance to dry out a bit ... the damn stuff just melted and let the fabric drop in many of the locations. Oh well, at least the part right above the driver's seat stayed in place. That's the stuff that has been the most annoying as it flutters and flaps against my head while I'm driving with the windows open. I'm tempted to just rip the fabric out, but then I'd have to contend with the crumbling foam cushion and that would not be acceptable. The poor SuperSaturn, it's just falling apart on me. It just has to last another 3-5 years.
Ok, so now that I've been seared, fried, boiled and exposed to an aerosol adhesive I drag myself back into the Manor to go wash the cruft and funk off ... only to realize that I have burned 105% of my energy reserves. That, and the storm front rolling in with it's sharp drop in barometric pressure set off a doozie of a migraine. I gobbled down a few pills to help abate the pain and promptly passed out on the couch. The kids would come over and check on me to see if I was available to play to no avail. I feel badly that I was not more interactive, but at least I got a few of those annoying jobs done while the rest of the clan was out shopping. I'll have to make it up to them next weekend ... at the NEXT pool party ... sigh. So be it. All that with a smile and a shrug.
Friday, August 12, 2005
- At 12th and Vine Streets this fall, a gasoline station owner plans to start selling two fuels made from plants: ethanol and biodiesel.
In New Jersey, a group of farmers and other investors is on the verge of buying land in Gloucester County to build an ethanol factory. [ed. sure, after we pay for 66% of their solar panels, the now have the cash to invest in other government programs ... ARGH!]And in Kensington, a research-scale facility is under construction that would make biodiesel from the grease of Philly cheesesteaks and other fatty victuals.
- Among other provisions, the measure - signed on a day the price of crude oil hit another high - mandates that refiners sell at least 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel by 2012.
That amounts to a relatively small portion of total U.S. transportation fuel use - currently about 135 billion gallons of gasoline and more than 40 billion gallons of diesel each year - and critics faulted the bill for not requiring carmakers to build more-efficient engines.
- Consumers may not notice much difference. All diesel trucks and buses can run without modification on biodiesel, which is made by chemically treating vegetable oil or animal fats. All new cars can run on gasoline that contains up to 10 percent ethanol, an alcohol fuel made from fermenting sugars from plants, including corn. And, unknown to many owners, more than 3.5 million newer cars can use an ethanol blend of up to 85 percent.
- Straight biodiesel costs up to $1 more per gallon than regular diesel, whose average price nationwide yesterday was $2.41 a gallon, according to the federal Department of Energy. Usually it is blended with regular diesel fuel.
Ethanol prices are generally lower than those for gasoline, in part because of a federal subsidy. Both ethanol and biodiesel result in lower amounts of most kinds of pollution in most situations.
- Philadelphia Fry-o-Diesel is building a research-scale facility in Kensington to produce biodiesel from the smelly goo that collects in traps underneath restaurant parking lots.
"It's a feedstock that we have plenty of in the land of the cheesesteak," quipped Emily Bockian Landsburg, business development associate at the Energy Cooperative, a Philadelphia nonprofit group that owns Fry-o-Diesel.
The current facility will have a capacity of up to 20,000 gallons a year. The goal is to build a for-profit, commercial-scale facility in the city by 2007, with an annual capacity of up to four million gallons, she said.
- Critics say the energy bill does too little to promote renewable and alternative fuels.
Avast! Friday off the port bow!
Lets see here ... fabulous events of yesterday ... Hmmm. Ok, It was pizza night so the kids were compliant about the whole 'Eat your damn dinner' directive and proclamation. The interesting thing about the pizza is the shop. I've been picking up a regular pizza with extra cheese for nearly a year now. Every Thursday at 1715 ... sharp. The guy at the pickup counter is apparently an 'owner' or sorts. Young kid, really. He knows who I am and what I'm there for. Knows me by name. Pretty good pizza and decent folk. Since I'm such a regular guy and drop a little over 10$ a week for a pie, he gave me a 2 liter bottle of soda on the house. Just because. Now, I know a 2 liter bottle of sugar water costs him all of 75 cents. Almost insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Heck, I drop over 2$ every day for the privilege of sitting in construction traffic every day on the turnpike. I burn over 5$ in gasoline to go back and forth from work. But I digress. It was the thought that counts. It's quite nice to actually start to put down some roots in the neighborhood now that I've been living in the Manor for over 8 years now. Maybe it might be time to start joining some of the local community groups ... or get elected to one of the township boards. Now wouldn't that be a hoot.Strange Brew' when Bob pees out the fire at the Elsinore Mansion. Yep, that's my boy. SOooo, we haul him upstairs to get him a change of clothing and he insists that he needs a bath now. Of course, so would I if I were him. This is the first time that he has turned down play-time though. I guess it is just the lure of playing in water that bent his will. No matter, we are happy to oblige if it gives us the opportunity to sack-out earlier. Well, just because they are ready for bed means little to them when it comes to actually GOING to sleep. For the next hour, we took turns at chasing the kids back into their room or hunting them down in other rooms other than their own. At one time I heard a 'off-hook' signal from the phone buzzing away. Upon investigation, I found both of them in Alexis's bed with the wireless phone. Somehow, Jake had crawled on top of the dresser (it stands 5 feet tall) and snatched the phone out of its base charger. We use it to monitor them when we are not near the baby monitor in the kitchen or Master suite. In the end, they finally dozed off at 2115ish and the Mrs and I got to watch a show she likes: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". A fairly twisted show, but whatever makes her happy. Makes us feel so much better about our own lives, you know.
The next morning arrived for us at 0500 sharp ... when Jacob woke up and insisted that we let him resume his sleep in our bed. Fine, one hour of not-so-restful sleep will not kill me. Besides, we will be having another 'Swim Party From Hell' event this weekend so I'll need to store up as much energy as possible. I'll be mowing the lawn on Sunday again. I can just tell already. The upside of sending the kids to 'bed' early is that Alexis gets enough sleep. If I have to wake her up myself, she turns into a little harpy or a minor Medusa. If she wakes on her own, she'll just lay there till you play revelry. Then she is a little ball of sunshine and rainbows. Go figure, she is just like the Mrs. I've learned that trying to wake the Mrs before she is absolutely ready to get up is a death-wish. I can show you scars man, SCARS!
Okay, it's Friday. The code at work is in order. I'm on the road before traffic becomes untenable. Everything is going so well ... except for the heat. And the dizziness ... and the headache. Can you hear the tiny violins?
Thursday, August 11, 2005
It was too wet to have the kids play outside on Tuesday night. Yesterday, it was still a bit damp, hot, muggy and just plain miserable. I let them go at it till Mommy came home, then they made the snap decision that it was just too damn unpleasant out to be manning the twin towers. Jeeze, and after I went through all that effort to clear off the spider webs and expatriate all the wasp's nests. Nasty little buggers ... no, the wasps, you meenie! In any event, that was the high-point of the last couple of days. I've been struggling with this particularly noxious little snippet of code that is not conforming to my will. I have figured it out, but the revelation that the 'standard Dated file' type is not compatible with a non-dated file and will only generate files with the correct date but null time is not one I wanted to experience. Sometimes, objects should just fail. Horribly. With much cataclysm and carnage.
Yesterday, I was supposed to meet the Mrs Boss Lady for lunch at a local restaurant in KOP: Maggiano's. Of late, she has been under a lot of pressure. Waning contracts, massive rollouts, bugs, clients, fickle employees, etc... We were to meet at noon in the lobby, but I pretty much guessed that she would not be there and sat myself in the bar area. Oddly enough, the service person patrolling the bar area also determined that I was not going to be joined by a second party and asked if I would like a menu and something to drink. Don't mind if I do! Soooo, I ordered up a bathtub of a martini ... Grey Goose with a twist, neat. It was a monster but complimented my minestrone soup and chopped salad with Blue Cheese & avocado nicely. While slurping and munching away, I observed the people flowing and ebbing through the lobby area between the bar and the take-out section. All varieties of people ... black, white, beautiful, smarmy, asian, Middle Eastern, young-old-strapping-crippled ... the works. I wonder to myself, how can so many people walk hand in hand, laughing and eating, while the rest of the world dives into a fight at the slightest perception of a slight. It was a rather thought provoking meal I sat through. At one time, I saw this little 4 year old girl with MDA come hobbling in only to have to drag her useless stick thin legs up a staircase with her mother. She eventually gave in to the requirements of expediency and scooped up the brave little tyke. Not more than 15 seconds later, and elderly man with spinal bifida entered the lobby. He could not have been more than 4 feet tall, but well dressed in a crisp suit obviously tailored for his stature. He asked the matron a brief question and she waved him up the stairs as well, but indicated that an elevator was available behind the staircase. In his time, he has probably had to scale many other stair-cases and opted to be stead-fast in his fight against his own fate. He took the stairs. Sometimes, I think that I should take the stairs too. To go the distance, take the harder path. I've become lazy while wallowing in the opulence that I've become accustomed to. Not so much the wealth that has come so easily to me, but also the luck of the roll where this persnickety disease has taken so little from me. I see the grandmother in the corner, holding a chubby little baby all full of giggles and wiggles. I think it was a boy. She is enjoying the fruits of going the hard path. A child who begat grandchildren and still wants the instruction and example of parenting. The struggle. I think I've lost sight of the struggle again ... it's time to pick up the sword of principle, the hoe of labor, the trundle of morality and sally forth. Funny what a gut of vodka can do to your thought process.
Oh, and there was another accident on the turnpike this morning. I was not upset about it or get to rankled about the poor driving of my fellow interment victims on the asphalt prison of incarceration. Perspective.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
The return of Sebastian the Raindrop
Ahhh, a nice dull evening. Work was work and so be that as it may. We did finally get a break from this unbelievable heat and humidity. The rain clouds rolled in about the same time as I go out on the S&R mission. That seems to happen without fail. The upside to the timing is that I've managed to traverse the Turnpike of Dread before the rain kicks in. Sure, it does complicate the act of herding the two little tyrants from the detention center to the SuperSaturn ... they always seem to run off to the nearest puddle. Can't really blame them though, that is exactly what I would do. Must be genetic. Since it was raining, I didn't get out to the Agricultural Sector to pick anything. By tomorrow, I should have another load of cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes and I still have to pull up the onions. Now that a full 20% of the garden has been laid bare, I suppose I should go ahead and plant something else ... but what!? I'm thinking watermelon or pumpkins. Any suggestions? No Nightshade or Hemlock though.
This morning, it was still raining. More of a heavy drizzle actually. Makes me glad I took out the trash last night so I wouldn't have to get up on time and drag all the recycling to the curb. These days, since we are in potty training, there is a lot less trash to take out. If we are lucky, we only have to do one diaper change every other day. I cant wait to see the savings we will reap by not having to buy diapers and pullups by the boat-load. If Jacob will get on-board with the training, I'll be taking out the trash every other week instead of every week. Of course, there is the recycling which, although useless, seems to fill the tubs to overflowing each week. In other news, the Sebastian Raindrop Revolution had backed up the turnpike beyond belief and got moral aid from an accident. Bumper sucking love fest ... in the early morning rain. At least it isn't hot AND muggy now ... just muggy. This would have made an excellent Monday.
Ok, this seems to be an echo from the Solar Initiative over in CA ...
- Move over, Jersey tomatoes. Some innovative New Jersey farmers are producing a new crop: energy.
The farmers are putting solar-power systems over barn roofs and fields to make electricity for their homes, farm buildings and irrigation systems while reducing pollution with a clean, renewable energy source.
A further lure for the farmers is a program that uses state rebates, credits and investment money to cover all the upfront costs of the expensive solar-power systems, including maintenance. The program also guarantees farmers at least 10 percent savings on their electric bills.
- Lee, who last fall became the first New Jersey farmer to get a solar-power system under the project, said that on sunny days, his system produced more energy than he used.
"What I don't use goes back through my line and into the public grid, and I get credit for it," he said. "It makes a lot of sense."
Lee had his system installed on a barn roof that faces south, where it captures the most sunlight and shades the roof, keeping the turkeys inside cooler during the summer.
- The partnership uses rebates from the state Board of Public Utilities' Office of Clean Energy to cover about half the systems' costs, said Pamela Frank, Sun Farm's director of marketing and public relations. Under a second state program to promote clean energy, credits called renewable-energy certificates for the solar power the farmers produce are sold to utilities or companies wanting to support renewable energy.
In Lee's case, Frank said, the combined financial incentives covered about two-thirds of the $386,000 cost of his system and his 20-year maintenance contract with Sun Farm. Credits for the solar power he produces will pay off the balance on his system over 20 years. The system could last 40 years.
- Daniel Nocera arrives at his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by 7 a.m., goes home 13 hours later - where he often reads papers or e-mails students much of the night - and returns to his labs on weekends. Vacations? None, really, unless you count chemistry conferences.
After all, trying to save the world is hard work.
If you ever wonder about how the world will produce enough energy to supply 9 billion people by mid-century - and whether that can be done without pumping off-the-charts amounts of carbon dioxide into the air - meet one of the minds trying to produce an answer.
Nocera, 48, is trying to achieve an old, elusive dream: using the bountiful energy in sunlight to split water into its basic components, hydrogen and oxygen.
- Nocera believes this constant prodding at what's possible is the essence of science. As evidence, he reels off several ancillary developments from his research, including microscopic sensors that detect biological hazards, which attracted funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Pointing to a whiteboard sketch of his vision for using sunlight to split water, Nocera acknowledges that it ultimately might not be an energy panacea.
"Is it right? Maybe not. But it will be something. And it might be something I can't see right now," he says. "That's OK. But you don't stop doing something because you can't see it. It's antiscientific. It's anti-intellectual."
Monday, August 08, 2005
- International Federation of Competitive Eating - IFOCE:
History was made in Wisconsin at the Johnsonville Brat eating contest when Sonya Thomas downed 35 of the favorites in Wisconsin.
Gears Ground for Fun and Profit
Pwhew! Another weekend of faster-than-light activity behind us. I'm surprised that I even manage to survive these given the outrageous heat-index readings of late. Fortunately for the rest of the family, a large percentage of their time was spent in the local swimming holes. Myself, of course, had most of my interfaces with liquid done via a bottle or can. On Friday evening, the Grandparents arrived and the Kids immediately went into fits of joy. Unfortunately, I was already exhausted from mowing the yard and chasing down the kids/dogs as they played under the Evil Elmo Sprinkler in the front yard. Well, actually Neighborly Sharon's front yard since that is one of the few substantial plots of uninterrupted turf that has no trees or other flora ascetically placed about. The minute she came out to say hi, the dogs attacked her in their typical "OH JOY! It's the nice lady with a bum ankle that we can bowl over!" quickly followed by Jacob's new trick of "HEY, Want a close-up look at this device that spray 47 degree water while you are fully dressed?" The whole crew had somehow conspired to bring down the poor woman in a frontal assault that would have made even Napoleon blush. The dogs were quickly corralled and the kids reminded that they need to stick close to the manor or the play time would be over soon. Of the batch, the kids are a bit more rebellious. They played well into the evening before finally settling down into a near catatonic sleep of the dead. The next morning was to be the start of a very busy day and there would be very little, if any, rest for the wicked parents.
So Saturday morning rolls in all too quickly like a Noreaster roaring up the coast. The first thing I had to do is put the two metric tons of beef ribs on the Beowulf grill cluster so that they would be ready before our trip out to my bud's house, Alex, at noonish. The ribs take 4 hours to cook at 250 degrees so I would have to prepare everything well in advance. The hounds made sure that I was up and working by 0730 so they managed to fulfill a useful function for once. That, and they gave me the official canine nod of approval after getting a whiff of what I had put over the raging flames. Quick! Dash off to swimming (no fire alarm today) and then to Perkins for breakfast. This all went fairly well. The kids swam their little hearts out and were introduced to another swim instructor who may become a more permanent feature. Loren was shocked to see how 'at home' the twin tyrants were in the pool and even more shocked at the amorous behavior of Jacob. I'll have to talk to him about latching on to women's swimsuits without divulging your interests first. We saw more of this when at Perkins, Jacob did all he could to make sure he was sitting in next to the grandparents which included the pleading that he had to go potty so we would unbuckle him. Upon returning to the table, he would only sit on the other side of the table from the Wife and Myself ... little bugger.
When We get back to the Manor, most of the remaining time was spent on getting the ribs packed away and all the other food-stuff into the Family Tank: 3 cases of beer, steaks, burgers, brats, ribs, etc ... Lots of good eats. We arrived at our destination in one piece though. It was dicey getting to the rendezvous location. Alex lives in the shadows of the cooling towers of the Limerick Nuclear Plant so we had a good 45 miles to traverse. We had a close call we had on the way out but managed to get through it. Apparently there was a biker rally somewhere and we had to share the road with 40 or 50 bikers from a group called the Breed. Interesting. In any event, I the party was a POOL party and the kids were immediately drawn to the spa and kidney shaped pool. There they stayed for the entire time. Perfect. The Mrs and Grandparents spent a bit of time in the drink with them which left me to do a bit of carousing. You see, this was the YCOP event of the summer that brought all us politically right minded folk together. It was nice to be able to make statements that were not immediately used as a reason to be judged. Many of the notable members were there including the UnSleeping Chris L, Bob G (bobardmore) and of course, the host, Alex. Even Satish the Lady-killer arrived in time for good beer, beef and bullsh*ting. By the time we packed up and left, the kids had spent at least 6 hours in the pool and were beyond exhaustion. Given that, they fell asleep rather quickly and were in no mood to resist.
Thinking that the kids would sleep for at least a month, I was shocked to hear Alexis crying in the late evening. I think she had found that excessive exertion can result in sore muscles. We let her sleep in our bed while the Mrs slept on the fold-out in the kids room. Not enough space in our bed these days for two adults and one bundle of elbows, knees and sharp-jabby things.
The next morning was a church thing and neither the Mrs nor myself got enough sleep. The Mrs' excuse was that the fold-out was not comfortable enough and mine was the constant attempts at 'snuggling' (read: grinding heels into my back, elbows into my eye sockets) throughout the night. Unfortunately, Sunday will be the day that the Grandparents leave to go back home. The kids spent a lot of time with them and were none to pleased that the time was over. The Wife and myself wept the most tears. It was interesting that when informed that the beloved Grams and Gramps had to go home, Jake started saying that he had to go home too ... with them! Little stinker really knows how to play with the heart-strings. After dinner and some videos, the kids were much better until bath time. At that point, Alexis let us know that she had discovered that some toilet paper is definitely NOT quilted and can leave a harsh reminder of that fact. It's hard to serve up the usual comfort routine to someone with that sort of irritation when you're the daddy and she's your little girl. And she was doing SOOO well with the potty training. Hopefully this will not be the impetus for a major reversal in fortunes. Oh, and I cooked 30 BBQ chicken thighs for the family for the week. Let's hope that is enough to make it till next weekend when we have ANOTHER pool party to go to. Sheesh.
Friday, August 05, 2005
It seems as though the kids are getting tired of the whole sprinkler idea. I had the hounds out with them last night so it was a regular 3 ring circus. For some psycho reason, the hounds are not entirely fond of water ... unless it's their toxic fire piss that they use to eradicate my lawn. After coercing the hounds to lay near sprinkler ground zero ... the kids would spray them by holding the spinning Elmo Water Fountain and pointing one of the streams at them. The dogs took the abuse and smelled better for it. After a bit though, the kids just wanted to go inside. Fine ... Mommy isn't home so I had to act fast. Nothing is more distracting then having two dripping wet 3 year olds running about the manor ... except perhaps 3 year olds w/o clothing and a gut full of water they drank from the sprinkler. I swear they had to pee every 5 minutes that night.
Speaking of the bathroom ... Alexis is, well, trained. For the most part. She was having too much fun last night and had 1 accident. She was not happy when I made her wear a pull-up but I was not inspired to mess with underwear 10 minutes before her bath. I think she got the idea that if she was going to wear her underwear, she needs to let us know that she has to go. Jake, on the other hand ... argh. I spent nearly 15 minutes in the bathroom with him on the toilet. He did everything to convince me that he did not have to go poop only to fill his pants 2 minutes later after I released him from his potty prison. The doctor said that little boys are the hardest to break ... wait till he gets an earfull about Jake! He'll get there though ... sooner or later.
Oh, and speaking of sooner ... Jake went right to sleep last night at 2100 hours. Mommy asked him to go to sleep and he said: "Oh, ok mommy." that was the last peep we heard from him till 0515 this morning. He was complaining and wailing that he wanted out. We had put up a gate on the side of his bed so he would not fall out in the night. He tosses and turns like a whirling dervish when he sleeps. Soo at the but-crack of dawn, we were freeing him from interment and taking him to the bathroom to go potty. Upside is that his pullup was completely dry, downside is that we spent the next hour trying to sleep with little Mr Pointy Elbows thrashing about between us in the Full Sized bed that we now sleep in. Not an simple proposition when you consider that we used to sleep in the Mile Wide Water Bed. It's like telling the populace of NYC that the need to all move to Brooklyn. Not a lot of happy campers! I really need to get cracking on emptying out the Master Suite so I can get it refurbished ... ASAP.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
I'm a tad melancholy today. Got an AIM message this morning that makes me a bit sad. One of our close family friends has a possible recurrence of cancer and will have to go in for a biopsy. She beat this once before but her stressful NYC Finance life beats her immune system down on a regular basis. Makes my complaints about missing files and canceled lunch meetings a quite inconsequential. So all you folk's out there who are among the believers, send prayers. The rest of you, funnel some 'good vibes' out her way. Here's looking at you kid, chin up!
Upside, the Mrs got to the Manor in time last night for her to spend some time prancing through the sprinklers with the kids. I did the back-ground work ... swim-suits, set-up, water control, etc. It would have been significantly more comfortable to have been the one standing in the 45 degree water, but so be it.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
- Man who molested 10 children sentenced to 91-182 years
Jurors took about 70 minutes to find the Frankford man guilty of numerous counts of rape, attempted rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, kidnapping, terroristic threats and related offenses. Jurors found him not guilty of two counts of possessing an instrument of crime.
Zamichieli, 20, went limp after the verdicts were announced, and sheriff's deputies dragged him from the courtroom. When he returned for sentencing, he told the judge: "I've been framed. I've been railroaded from the very beginning."
Zamichieli, who is African American, said he was a victim of racial discrimination. He also said that the prosecutor acted improperly, that a juror was biased against him, and that the victims misidentified him.
- But Cooperman firmly told him: "I see no reason to believe there was any framing, any lying, anything untoward toward you... certainly nothing racial. The victims of these crimes were African American, Caucasian and Latino. The jury was composed of different races."
Zamichieli also said he did not understand the lengthy sentence: "I'm not accused of murdering somebody."
The mother of one of Zamichieli's victims - an 11-year-old boy who was raped - wept as she addressed the defendant.
"You're not a human being! You're a monster. You should never be allowed to see the daylight," she told Zamichieli, who did not look at her. "I wish you would be man enough to turn around and face me, the way you faced my son!"
In his closing arguments yesterday, Zamichieli's lawyer said that the identifications by the traumatized victims were unreliable.
Since the trial began July 14, each of the 10 victims - who ranged in age from 10 to 15 when they were attacked in February and March 2003 - testified against Zamichieli.
In addition, a psychiatrist who interviewed him in January testified that the defendant did not deny the accusations. "I didn't get no sexual satisfaction from them... . I just did them because I was angry," psychiatrist Barbara Ziv testified Zamichieli told her.
Jurors did not learn that last summer, he pleaded guilty and no contest to attacking the children. But before he was to be sentenced to 50 to 100 years in prison, Zamichieli withdrew his pleas and asked to stand trial.
Picked this up over at Toni da Babe's place. I remember this stuff from way back in the 80's when we thought that 1200 and 2400 baud was 'Blazing'. The power companies would push data over the high tension wires at a screaming rate with no line noise. Ergo, no dropped packets! It seems that people have figured out that since it is too expensive to run DSL to every back-woods cabin in West Intercourse or South Predation ... just use what you already have:
- Internet in your electrical outlet?
Now that it's good enough for Trump Tower residents, BPL may come to your home, too.
Once the BPL system is installed, it "will enable (the delivery of) high-speed data services, Internet gaming and Internet telephony VoIP," said Microwave Satellite Technologies president Frank Matarazzo.
"We are excited about Telkonet's breakthrough technology because we can broadband-enable an entire building within a few days and without new wiring. (And residents) can enjoy broadband access from every electrical outlet in their apartment," Matarazzo added.
The MST/Telkonet system will also be installed in other apartments and in an assisted living facility in the New York area, picking up the trend set in a handful of small cities nationwide.
BPL feeds low-power radio signals over power lines. A BPL modem plugs into a regular electrical outlet, receives the radio signals from power lines and converts them into a digital Internet connection.
"Watching someone plug in their modem and see their computer come up with hi-speed Internet access is very rewarding," said Allen Todd, director of the Manassas Utilities Department. Manassas, Va. was the first U.S. locale to offer BPL services citywide, beginning its pilot program in early 2003.