Thursday, January 31, 2008

Buncha Gulls and The Lone Gull

I took several photos of these gulls lined up here to gab with one another. I actually had another in this series that I liked better, until Lovely Wife called my attention to the gull on the far right.

His head is tilted and he's looking at the others like a person might in a serious conversation. After seeing that and looking at them all again, I like this one best now myself.

I like the moody clouds and the one lonesome gull on the little information shed thingy there.

After you look at these, look a the the one on my John's Daily Digital Images blog for today, specifically the one of the blue sky, huge clouds, and the sihouette of the palm trees. These two photos above and that one on the other blog were taken just a minute or so apart, but the ones above are looking toward the east and over the Atlantic, whereas the one on my other blog is looking west toward the evening sun/sky. Huge difference in mood and vibe by just turning around almost on the same spot.

I know some of yoose guys have been having crazy-cold weather up there (everywhere is "up there" when you live in Florida) but we've been having temps 10degreesF above normal this week.

Sunny and 75-80F.

Though actually, I could use a cold snap about now. You know, where the lows at night are 50 and the highs around 65 or 70.

That's what passes for a cold snap down here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Juan "Amnesty" McCain Wins Florida Primary!

I'm bummin' a little bit today.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


As a voter in the great state of confusion Floridia, I went to do my duty before going to work.

I'm talking about voting in the Florida primary you gutter minds, you.

And I was disenfranchised!


A very large, southern, white, Christian, male was disenfranchised!

They asked me for a picture ID before I was allowed to vote.

Where were the ACLU lawyers that are supposed to be lurking at each and every polling place in America on every voting day?

What if I happened to have been so poor that I couldn't have paid the ten bucks or whatever to have at least a picture ID made at the drivers license place?

Seriously. Isn't that what all the ruckus is about when people try to stop voter fraud by requiring the showing of a picture ID of some sort? That this somehow disenfranchises the poor, and minorities?

Well, if they can afford a carton of cigarrettes or a jug of wine, they could go to their local DMV and at least have a picture ID made, right?


But now I know how it feels to be all disenfranchised against, or, well, however you'd say that.

And I'm still buzzing from the rush of righteous indignation of being asked such a demeaning thing as to prove that I was who I said I was by showing a picture ID.

Because if there's one thing that's worse than actually seeing my face in person, it's seeing a picture of said mug. I don't photograph well.

Since I'm still fired up, I think I'll go find a protest march or something to march in.

Anybody seen Cindy Sheehan lately?

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Incredible 2007 Christmas Underwear Bonanza (Too Much Information)

All my life I have received the usual assortment of Christmas gifts of the socks, undershirts, underpants variety.

As a kid I HATED getting any form of underwear for Christmas. Heck, as a boy, I didn't want clothing of any form, that was just a present that should have been a toy. A total waste.

Then as a teen, I'd appreciate a new pair of blue jeans or cool shirt or new shoes. The attitude slips up on you insidiously; pure stealth.

Underwear was never a welcome gift, though I did use it.

But somewhere along the way I became an old man. What the heck happened? I'm only 45!

This past Christmas, I myself picked out a Christmas present(s) for me that I have never had in all of my life.

I picked out packages giving me a total of 10, count 'em, 10, new undershirts. The kind with the info printed in the inside of the shirt; no pesky tag to itch the back of my neck any more.


I picked out packages giving me a total of 10, count 'em, 10, new pairs of underpants.


I also picked out packages giving me a total of 12, count 'em, 12, new pairs of white cotton socks. (You know, the kind for big feet, men's sized 12-15, with extra cushy bottoms. I wear size 14 shoes.)

All of this on the same Christmas!

I know you're thinkin', "I hope that's all because I can't take ANY MORE!"

Sorry to disappoint and put your heads in danger of exploding, but the story doesn't end there.

Since I must have single handedly emptied a 1000 acre cotton field with my 2007 Christmas Underwear Bonanza, you'll never guess what I did next.

I washed all of the new undies, and THREW AWAY EVERY LAST PIECE OF MY OLD UNDERWEAR! Every t-shirt, every pair of underpants, every cotton sock that I owned went into the trash. EVERY ONE.

Then I stood and looked wonderingly into my underwear drawer (2nd drawer down from top) in my chest 'o drawers. For the first time since I was a baby wearing new stuff, I had all new undies, every darn piece. Freshly washed with good smelling detergent and fabric softener, gleaming from the drawer with that soft, incredibly white glow that only new underwear can have.

No more socks with holes.

No more undershirts with underarm holes and food stains.

No more underpants with the elastic waistband torn loose in places.

No more white socks with holes in the toes.

But I have found in the past month since Christmas, that there is a down side.

I can no longer dismiss the claims and talk of people younger than me with the brutal statement, "I have underwear older than you!"

Because all of my skivies are only one month old.

But on the up side, if I get into a bad car wreck and they take me to the hospital, the cops, EMTs, and hospital personnel will all, without exception, say, "This boy without a doubt has on some of the nicest, cleanest underwear I've ever seen; and look, no holes anywhere! His Mama sure did raise him right."

And my Sainted Mother will be so proud that I listened to her about always wearing good clean underwear in case of an accident.

'Cause then she won't be embarrassed and ashamed and stuff because of me.

I think also, that Fruit of the Loom stock went up 3% on my purchase alone, thus helping the US economy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday January 27, 2008

Don't have any spectacular images today. Some days are spectacular, some are average.

They're still purdy, though, and may be preferable to looking at slushy, dirty snow for some of you.

Just click to enlarge, and then smell the warm, salty air.

This first one is a still shot of a piece of performance art being acted out by the Atlantic Ocean that I call "Death of a Sandcastle."

Being on the east coast of Floridia, this is what sunsets actually look like from the beach here. That's why it costs more to have a beach home on the Gulf of Mexico side of the state, though it ain't cheap here. (Yes, I intentionally misspelled Florida. I call it Floridia sometimes, like Number One Daughter sometimes calls Canada, Canadia.)

I've never been on a sailboat, and I've never been on any kind of boat or ship out on the ocean, but I love seeing boats like this, ready to be taken out.

Your basic "Yield to Peds" sign (whatever the heck a "Ped" is), but I loved how the soft afternoon sun setting behind me made the sign seem as if it were glowing from within. What can I say, I'm easy to please.

This swarm of seagulls was kinda creepy. I looked carefully but didn't see Tippi Hedren anywhere, so I finally relaxed. Though I kept a wary eye out for any one of these guys who might try to use my head as a public toilet, as gulls are sometimes wont to do.

Have a great Sunday, folks.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Got A Phone Call From Mitt Romney!

Yesterday, Friday, I got a phone call from none other than Republican candidate for US President, Mitt Romney!

Well, actually, it wasn't from Mitt Romney himself, it was a woman working on his presidential campaign.

But that's almost as good, right?

Well, actually, it wasn't a live woman working on his presidential campaign, but a pre-recorded message from woman working on his presidential campaign.

But that still counts, doesn't it?

Do want to know what the pre-recorded message from what was originally a live woman working on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign?

Well, I'm gonna tell you.

The pre-recorded message from what was originally a live woman working on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign told me, personally, that John McCain voted against President Bush's tax cuts, not once, but twice!

The only word that comes to mind to describe such a despicable man is bad. Bad John McCain. And not meant in the modern good way that the word bad can be used.

Now that I think about it, why didn't Mitt Romney call me himself?

Now that I think about it, why did they call my house with a pre-recorded message from what was originally a live woman working on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign?

Now that I think about it further, why didn't they at least call my house with a message from a real, live woman working on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign?


Hey y'all!

Guess what?

Yesterday, Friday, I got an annoying, time-wasting, pre-recorded message from the Mitt Romney campaign.

What, my vote isn't worth Mitt or one of his minions calling me with a real, live person?

Now that Fred dropped out of the race, I'll most likely vote for Romney. He's sorta conservative.

Maybe "Conservative Lite." (Mitt will have to get that trademarked before Donald Trump steals it and trademarks it before him.)

Besides, Mitt Romney has, by far, THE best hair of all the presidential candidates. Way better than the Breck Girl, John Edwards.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Shooting Snakes

I've never really been all that afraid of snakes.

Don't get me wrong, if one is too close and surprises me, I'll jump, yell, and teeter on the edge of consciousness just like the next person, but if I see one soon enough, I don't get all freaked out like some folks.

Now, if you wanted to see Ol' John well and truly freak out, a close encounter with tarantulas would do the trick for you. (Thanks to a childhood viewing of the old grade B horror movie, "Frogs!" where a guy gets covered by and killed by a whole slew of tarantulas.)

In the time-honored, twisted way my mind works, today I thought of something that I haven't thought of in years.

Having grown up in north Louisiana, if you see a snake, chances are it's a cotton mouth moccasin. Quite poisonous. (That's probably why I jump, yell, and run if surprised, I'm genetically wired to automatically assume than any snake within 5 feet of me is a water moccasin.)

I'm not trying to give the impression that snakes are hanging everywhere around you in Louisiana, but you sure see a bunch of them if you grow up there, so snakes end up being not such a big deal.

What I was reminded of, was one occasion where Don C., Sainted Mother, Big Sis, Big Brother, Myself, and probably Younger Brother (but he'd have been at best a toddler here) went for a picnic in the Natchez Trace just north of Natchez, Mississippi.

The little town we lived in, Vidalia, Louisiana, was a small town on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River directly across from Natchez.

The section of the Natchez Trace Parkway that is set aside as part of a National Park is a beautiful, green, humid, hot, lazy, place filled with massive old trees and lots of Spanish Moss.

Back in the late 60s and early 70s, we would often go over there and picnic, and swim in Cole's Creek, which is now off limits to swimmers.

Cole's Creek ran pretty clear and was fun to walk in too, because many sections were really shallow, and us kids could walk along in the creek, just doing whatever it is kids did back then. Throwing rocks. Whatever.

This was also the only time in my life I have ever seen a trident being used by a person other than someone in a devil's outfit. We encountered a couple of young men walking along the creek, each holding along metal trident and trying to spear fish to eat. I thought that was really neat at the time; I had hither to only been exposed to your basic cane fishing pole or a Zebco rod and reel if you were a fancy fisherman. The tridents were definitely something I would never have thought of but did then and still think is a neat way to try fishing in clear, shallow streams.

On this particular day, we heard a few gunshots, and went back to the picnic area by the creek that my parents had selected, and found that Don C. had shot and killed a snake.

As kids we had a morbid fascination with the dead snake, but then again, we'd already seen a lot of dead AND live snakes in our few years of life, and quickly moved on to play and eat and just revel in being in such a neat place to spend a day.

I guess I don't really have a point to this. I guess blog posts don't really have to have a point or to mean something, do they?

I just hadn't thought of that day in many years and got to thinking about how, though we took (and still take) snakes seriously, they weren't a big deal.

And how growing up around guns, I don't think any more about them than snakes. I know guns are dangerous, but that with care, you won't get hurt, and that sometimes when you need one, they come in quite handy.

My Dad almost always had a gun nearby, and over the years, encountered a couple of situations where showing those trying to bother him that he was packing, saved him from possible harm. Only an idiot attacks a man with a loaded gun in his hand.

Don C. and his guns. Kids wandering the woods and a clear, cool creek. Watching fishermen using tridents. Dead snakes. Picnics for hungry kids and parents who loved and protected us.

Good times, good times.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Martians Are Real, and They Are Green!

This is an actual image taken by the NASA Mars rover "Spirit."

Is that cool or what?

Next time I see Elvis at Burger King (we both recommend the Triple Whopper with cheese, hold the onions) I'm going to SO talk with him about this.

Photos and story at the Daily Mail

Here's a pic of the proud (and rightly so) photographer who once and for all proved that there is life on Mars, mugging for the cameras.

I'm not sure who took the picture of Spirit there, I can only assume that he got the green lady to take his photo when she got to the bottom of the hill, and came over to where he was.

All kidding aside, that is an amazing photo.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I've Got Nothin'

Sorry folks. Nothing much to say.

Well, actually, I've been reading some physics books lately. Would you like a lecture on what I've learned about string theory and M-Theory and multiple dimensions?

Yeah. That's what I thought.

Here's a nice picture of the ocean instead.

I know, I know what y'all are thinkin', "the ocean again?"

Hey, I live in Florida, if I were still in Louisiana, I'd be posting photos of pine trees all the time.

THAT would be boring, right?

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Don't Learn from My Mistakes

I've never really been a big sports fan.

When I was a teen, I loved watching pro football. It seemed so awesome to me back then.

I loved the big, strong, monstrous guys butting heads.

To this day I still love thinking about some of the awesome runs that Houston Oiler running back Earl Campbell made in the late 70s.

It seemed as if every year the Oilers would get to the AFC championship, only to lose to the Terry Bradshaw era Steelers.

But as a family man, I quickly lost even that interest in pro football.

Over the years, I have watched very, very few hours of sports.

I always end up hating myself when I do watch a game of anything, later realizing that I could have at least read a good book with that time instead.

So yesterday, I sat and watched both the NFC Championship game as well as the AFC Championship game.

Both of the teams I was rooting for lost, so as I went to bed last night I was mentally kicking myself for wasting seven hours of my life like that.

To avoid hating myself altogether, I practiced my guitar (chords and scales and a couple of songs) a little before I went to bed.

THAT was fun, so why didn't I practice my guitar for seven hours yesterday and not waste all that time watching stupid football games? Seriously, I'm the winner every time I practice my guitar or bass, or read some in my engineering books, or even read a novel, which at least engages my mind at deep levels.

It's like I told my wife, every now and then I guess I have to waste a whole day doing something stupid like watching sports, and then regret the heck out of it, so that hopefully I'll go a few more years doing something more productive with my time instead of wasting it like that.

That's seven hours of my life I'll never get back.

Plus, I'm convinced that when I watch whole games like that, that I'm the reason why the team I want to win loses.

I'd like to offer a formal apology right here, right now, to both the Green Bay Packers and the San Diego Chargers for watching their games and thereby causing them to lose.

Hopefully I won't be stupid enough to watch any more sports games again.

At least I know that I won't be wasting my time in watching the Superbowl this year.

And you can't pay me enough money to get me to watch basketball, baseball, or NASCAR, so no worries about those being on TV over the next six months or so.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday January 20, 2008

These were all taken on the same day.

Lovely Wife and I were going to go to a favorite park a few miles north of where we live to let me wander and get a few photos, but north of our home a storm front was low in the sky and moving southward.

We went south about 15 miles instead, thinking that the front would move out over the ocean, but instead it was like a perfect row of dark clouds bringing storm showers and cold wind moving exactly southward along the coast.

When this front, led by these black clouds passed over, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees F.

We got back to the car when one of the showers came right at us, big drops of really cold rain.

This first shot is my favorite of the whole day, and is yet another Walmart parking lot photo.

These next ones were all taken at a beautiful park along the Indian River Lagoon in Sebastian, Florida.

In this final shot, the white bird is and ibis, but the blue one is some sort of heron (I think).

Have a great Sunday, folks!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Jena Six (again)

I just read what I believe to be THE most complete and powerful article about the so-called "Jena Six" that I have read to date.

It is currently posted at The Weekly Standard Online, and is written by Charlotte Allen, and her article opens with:
The case of the amazing disappearing hate crime.
by Charlotte Allen
01/21/2008, Volume 013, Issue 18

Jena, Louisiana
In early December the case of the "Jena Six"--the six African-American high school students in Louisiana accused of viciously beating a white classmate in 2006--collapsed dramatically with a felony guilty plea by one of the defendants. As something that was going to trigger "America's next great civil rights movement" (to quote National Public Radio) and grassroots protests against the "new Jim Crow" and the systematic discrimination against blacks in the criminal justice system, this was quite a letdown.
(emphasis mine)

If you have been interested in this case, I urge you to go and read the whole article, though it isn't a short one.

It covers the whole escapade from beginning to end, and includes how the original reporter intentionally linked the beating of Justin Barker with the hanging of nooses from a school tree two months previously, even though there was no link between the two incidents.

It's amazing how little the truth of the scenario was reported by major media outlets.

Time and research has proved the LaSalle Parish District Attorney to have been right initially, that this was a case of a couple of thugs with juvenile criminal records for violent crime inspiring a few friends to help them beat up some kid for no other reason than pure meanness.

My previous post on the Jena Six can be found HERE.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


OK. I will admit here that I've never even tried sushi.

I know that sashimi is raw fish (or other raw seafood), not sushi, and that sushi is actually vinegar and rice.

But that's beside the point.

The point is, there are many things in this world that I will not eat, simply because I cannot mentally deal with eating these things. Not that they taste bad, or that the consistency is gross, but I simply can't wrap my head around eating certain things.

Plus, I'm from Louisiana. I might not know much, but I DO KNOW that fish is supposed to be battered in cornmeal and deep fried.

I know that sushi is a popular thing, if for no other reason that some people think it's cool to eat sushi. Kind of like how some people think smoking makes them look cool or driving a sports car makes them look cool. The fact that neither is true is beside the point to these people.

So, you have folks all over the place now eating sushi, or more correctly, sashimi, but who cares?

I guess I do a little bit, just enough to write a blog post making fun of people who eat the stuff.

And don't get me started on people who claim to LOVE calamari, fried squid, another thing I can't mentally deal with eating. At least they fried it though; I approve of the cooking method.

All of that brings me to this photo that I took outside the Walmart in Sebastian, Florida a few days ago:
Yes, Lovely Wife and I are two of the unwashed masses who shop at Walmart for almost everything, thus hastening the sure destruction of the American way of life, at least according to my cubicle neighbor at work.

I'll buy some good sliced turkey and good cheese at Walmart with nary a thought about it's safety, but seeing that Walmart has a sushi bar sure did stop me in my tracks.

And luckily I happened to have my trusty Nikon D70s on my shoulder while having to stop and ponder the significance of the use of "sushi bar" and "Walmart" in the same sentence. (I have trouble walking and thinking simultaneously.)

So I took this photo just to prove to y'all I'm not a liar.

I can just hear all the sushi snobs in America talking to one another, "Hey, Hon? What ya say we run down to Walmart for some sushi? I don't feel like cooking."

Apparently Walmart doesn't feel like cooking either.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What I Could Talk About

I could talk about the incredible three ring circus that is the current race for US President.

I could talk about how the Fred Thompson campaign is lagging, but how every time I hear the man speak, I want to vote RIGHT NOW.

I could talk about the news saying that Romney MUST win Michigan, but in reality, he has as many delegate votes right now as anyone else in the leadership of the Republican bunch. What's up with that? Are the media trying to make things look desperate for him when they aren't?

I could talk about how truly weird, hateful, and obnoxious a certain segment of Ron Paul's following is. He has some truly nutty folks following him.

I could talk about how Huckabee is the poster boy for RINOs, Republican in name only.

I could talk about how the Clinton campaign looks so ludicrous in repeatedly talking about how she is "down with the struggle" for black people's rights way more than Obama is.

I could talk about how it mystifies me how Obama is so popular, but the man still hasn't said anything of substance yet. What the heck does the man believe? Does anyone really know? Seriously, he's a sharp and engaging man that talks a lot about hope, but says little to nothing on what we're supposed to be hoping in.

I could go on and on, but I won't.

Here's a couple of purdy pictures instead.

Peace out, yo.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunset Over Walmart

You can have your silly romantic sunsets over the ocean or in the mountains.

I'll take mine over Walmart, baby!

Never know when a nice photo opportunity will strike, even at Walmart.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday January 13, 2008

Saturday was a good day both pain and attitude-wise.

My back's pain level was so much lower than it was before starting the new medicine regimen Wednesday, that for the first time in a long time I wanted to "do stuff."

I ended up just piddling around the house doing things I needed to do but just haven't cared enough to do; things that wouldn't push my back too hard.

I put some stacks of my books on the book shelves (one at a time, I'm not THAT stupid). I made a minor repair on one of our toilets that should help with the water bill. I cleared out enough space in the room vacated by Number One Daughter when she moved in with my Sis In Law so that I now have a great little place to go and practice guitar on my good (full size) amplifier as opposed to using my little micro amp.

It was one of the best days I've had in several months. I hope the trend continues.

About today's photos, I dug up a few from when I first bought my Nikon D70s but had messed up the exposures, and also a few from recent posts on my photography blog that I liked but didn't know if y'all had seen them over there.

In other words, I haven't been on a new photo excursion in a couple of weeks and had to dig deep to find some stuff to post.

I hope y'all like them anyway.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Where Babies Come From

I got a picture of the stork on one of his rare Florida vacations.

With six billion or so people on earth, I'm surprised that he was able to take some time off.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pain Management

After years of back issues, four surgeries and walking a tightrope for years on how much pain I can "take" before having to resort to pain medicine, I went to a pain management specialist for the firt time on Wednesday.

In short, there are a number of options, from new oral medicines and a regimen of medicines that would give me at least some relief around the clock, to installing electrical stimulation probes Or a pain medicine (morphine) pump in the spine against the spinal cord for direct intervention of the pain.

He has started me out with the basics, a new pain medicine system that will be working on my pain at least a little bit, all day long, with occasional supplementation with other medicines on those particularly troubling days.

Today is my first day to try it, but I was totally without medicine before seeing him, and my back had begun to hurt so much that last night and today I've been taking the new stuff, just trying to get the pain back down to a manageable level.

So in a few days when I've had time for the meds to bring my pain down to tolerable levels, THEN I can begin to try to see if this new routine is going to give me a more sustained and measurable daily lessening of the pain.

Hopefully all this time of riding a wild roller coaster of low to high and back and forth pain levels will transition into a gently rolling landscape with better overall pain management that will allow me to start enjoying life again.

But I feel a whole lot better just knowing that there are still a number of good options for me.

I won't bore y'all with the details; besides, some folks have a great fear of pain medicine and freak out when they hear which particular meds they give for chronic pain.

At any rate, I'm feeling more hopeful and more optimistic about my situation than I have in a long, long time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Another Black Eye for the Mainstream Media

After the Iowa caucus a few days ago, the mainstream media went into near orgasmic reporting mode and had basically declared that Barak Obama (or as Ted Kennedy called him in a speach, Osama Obama) was to be the Democratic nominee for US President this year.

I saw stories on how Hillary Clinton was basically done for and that her closest people were resigning and jumping from the sinking ship that was her Presidential campaign.

All the major media outlets' polls showed Obama with a pretty impressive lead going into the polls in the New Hamshire primary.

But at the end of the day, I'll be dog if Mrs. Clinton didn't win in New Hampshire, and the media's polls ended up being as much as 10% wrong. That's a HUGE discrepancy, folks.

On the Republican side, McCain won within a percentage point of what the media's polls had shown. Pretty darn accurate.

But today, the media are not ashamed of their big boo-boo in predicting the New Hampshire Primary winner, not one little bit.

From all that went on from Iowa and New Hampshire, at least on the Democratic side, we can learn two things. (Maybe more, but I just want to highlight the two biggies.)

1. The mainstream media aren't the king makers they like to think about themselves. They felt they were pretty much single-handedly responsible for the Democratic swing the Senate and House of Representatives took in November of 2006, and were stumping as hard as they could for Obama.

Yeah, that didn't work out for them very well.


2. Crying in public gets you some serious votes. Hillary's day-before tearful platitudes about just how deeply she CARES really worked wonders for her.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images. The photo up there was taken at the lunch in New Hampshire where Hillary nailed the "chick vote" by letting her voice crack in an almost-about-to-cry kinda way.)

This was so successful for Mrs. Clinton that I think maybe Fred Thompson is planning to try the cracking-voice, my-feelings-are-so-deep-that-I-can-barely-keep-from-crying as a last ditch effort to pick up his numbers for whichever primary is next.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Man, Our Universities are Screwed Up!

One thing that I loved about growing up in Louisiana is how it was still so backwards in good ways.

For example, the local grade school's teachers were mostly the same women that you'd see on Sunday teaching Sunday School classes. You felt good about who was teaching your kids.

In 1992 I transferred to Louisiana Tech to work on my engineering degree.

A year or so later, knee deep in calculus, chemistry, physics, etc., I had to take a class called Dynamics.

Dynamics was basically an entire text book and class that was nothing but applied physics word problems. Dynamics was, hands-down, THE most difficult class I took in earning a degree in electrical engineering. It was nothing short of brutal, and I LIKE WORD PROBLEMS!

No matter, that was a monster of a class to get through.

But what I'm trying to get to has nothing to do with dynamics other than this, we often had to wait outside the classroom for the previous class (a biology class) to be released and clear out before we could enter and take our seats.

One day as I made my way back to my seat in the classroom, I looked at the stacks of books on the desks of several students who were in the previous biology class and noticed that they all had a book called Evolution and the Myth of Creationism.

This freaked me out to say the least.

So after that day's punishing Dynamics lecture, I headed for the LaTech book store.

I wandered around, and sure enough, for that particular biology class, the REQUIRED TEXT BOOK was Evolution and the Myth of Creationism.

I picked on up and stood there reading for a while.

The entire text was in this format, it would put forth a statement that a Christian might say in defense of their beliefs and then follow that with a whole chapter on how to attempt to refute what the Christian statement was.

Then, another general statement that a Christian might say to one who believes in evolution, and then another section of points to memorize in how to come back at what the Christian said to them.

Now I'm not going to sit here and try to convince anyone that God created the universe, the earth and life here, because we're all grown up and make our own decisions.

I have no problem with someone who thinks that evolution is the way life on earth "happened", though I choose to disagree.

But I was kind of appalled that this book was the required text for a university biology class, especially in backwater Louisiana.

I was reminded of this episode in my experience when I found out two things today while cruising the news sources online.

A class at the University of Michigan on "How to be Gay"
ENGLISH 317. Literature and Culture.

Section 002 — How to be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation.

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Instructor(s): David M Halperin (

Course Description:

Just because you happen to be a gay man doesn't mean that you don't have to learn how to become one. Gay men do some of that learning on their own, but often we learn how to be gay from others, either because we look to them for instruction or because they simply tell us what they think we need to know, whether we ask for their advice or not.

This course will examine the general topic of the role that initiation plays in the formation of gay male identity. We will approach it from three angles: (1) as a sub-cultural practice — subtle, complex, and difficult to theorize — which a small but significant body of work in queer studies has begun to explore; (2) as a theme in gay male writing; and (3) as a class project, since the course itself will constitute an experiment in the very process of initiation that it hopes to understand.

In particular, we will examine a number of cultural artifacts and activities that seem to play a prominent role in learning how to be gay: Hollywood movies, grand opera, Broadway musicals, and other works of classical and popular music, as well as camp, diva-worship, drag, muscle culture, taste, style, and political activism...


A group of Columbia University professors are going to Iran to apologize to Iran's President Iminajihad.
NEW YORK (MNA) – An academic delegation of Columbia University professors and deans of faculties plans to visit Tehran to officially apologize to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

The delegation plans to express regret for the insulting remarks Columbia University President Lee Bollinger directed at Ahmadinejad on September 24 in his introductory speech, the Mehr News Agency correspondent in New York reported...

A for-credit course at a university like Michigan on How to be Gay?

Although the Columbia professors going to Iran to apologize to Iminajihad, doesn't surprise me one little bit.

People still pay top dollar and think they have something special when they get a degree from a place like Columbia University, but they don't, because they're being indoctrinated/educated by morons that would do such a thing as this.

Those big-name, east coast universities sure don't have the impressive "weight" they once had.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Phlem of the gods

I just can't seem to get over this creepin' crud that I caught the weekend after Christmas, so I finally went to see the doctor.

Today was the first day I could see our family doctor. Doctors, it seems, like to take time off around Christmas and New Year's Day. Go figure.

So I drive up to Viera where our doctor's office is and go in and pay up. Doctors offices are well oiled machines these days. You don't get past the front desk without them looking up the co-pay for your insurance company and also extracting from your wallet said co-pay.

Not complaining, that's pretty smart, but it's a cruel world, ya know?

We've been seeing this doctor for over 10 years now, definitely a good run with the same doctor, because a) she's stayed in the area that long, and b) she's a great doctor that usually takes all the time you need in exam room to not only check you out, but to also answer any and all questions.

I was the only person in the waiting area this morning, and yet after I got called back for the obligatory weigh-in/blood pressure/go over current medications with the nurse, it took a good 15 minutes for the doctor to finally come in. No problem, but being a curious person, what took so long?

Anyway, the check up and diagnosis was fast, upper respiratory infection, and she bugs out of there.

Then it takes another 10-15 minutes for the nurse to come in with the prescriptions for cough medicine and antibiotics.

I set up an appointment for 2 weeks down the road (for other, yearly appointment issues) and as I leave, there's no one in the waiting area.

Granted, 30 minutes in and out is pretty good for seeing the doctor in my experience (I would LOVE to have my orthopedic Dr. appointments be so prompt) but the curiosity in me still wonders why, if I was the only person there, did it take so long for her to come in, why was she in such a hurry today, and why it took another while to get my prescriptions written?

Again, I'm not complaining, I'm a pretty patient person, but this was not my usual experience with this doctor.

At any rate, I'm hoping the meds will help get rid of the copious amounts of minty green phlem I've been producing for ten days now.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Picture Post, Sunday January 6, 2008

I've been scanning a few 35mm slides that I took in 1999, so that's all I have for y'all today.

This is a rarity for me. A Sunrise!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I'm Mostly Ignorant of Such Things

I don't keep up with which phase the moon is in at any given time. I have no idea of the times of the local high and low tides. Our tides aren't very big, being so much closer to the equator than say, Cape Cod. Whenever I specifically think about such things, I look them up on the Weather Channel web site.

The day I took these photos, I had gone to the beach; it had been a while since I had seen the ocean.

There was a red tide still in the area, had been off and on for weeks, and they can mess up your breathing, or so I'd heard.

As soon as I parked at Ocean Park in Melbourne Beach, Florida, and stood outside the Camry, I started coughing. There was one family at this park who were using so much lighter fluid to start the fire in their charcoal for grilling there that I thought I was coughing due to the strong odor of the lighter fluid.

But after I went down on the beach and kept coughing, I realized there must still be red tide in the area.

I wasn't choked up as bad as it sounds or anything, so I stayed a little while as the sun went down in the west. Even with the sun in the "wrong" direction, there can be beautiful lighting toward the east.

After I had taken some photos of some sandpipers (birds) running around, I noticed that there was a gorgeous full moon that had risen.

Even with a camera in hand I'm not the most observant person in the world, and suddenly noticing the full moon hanging there above the water was a wonderful surprise.

I LOVE the soft glow of light reflecting on top of the ocean's waters there in that top photo.

By the time I left the beach and went on to Barnes & Noble, it took about half an hour to stop coughing and my tongue felt as if I had eaten a spoon full of red pepper. It was such a weird set of sensations caused by the red tide.

(Side Note: I didn't take my tripod along, and I hand held these shots. The anti-shake feature on the lens I was using really came in handy. Normally it's almost impossible to take a sharp photo in such dim light with the zoom all the way out to maximum magnification. I love this lens!)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Seven More Things About Me

I was tagged by Miss Norma at Collecting My Thoughts, but I'll be The Paaty Poopah and not pass it on. I'll just list my seven things that you may or may not know about me.

1. The thing I hate the most in the morning is brushing my teeth. That first brushing of the day never fails to send me into a gagging, coughing fit. I don't know why, but it does and I've hated that all of my life. When I'm through and cleaned up, I'm all teary eyed and look like I've been on a crying jag.

2. The skin on my face is oily. I wash my face several times a day, both at work and at home.

3. I created NO new year's resolutions this year. With where I am right now mentally and physically, I don't need any more pressure. I'm doing good to get through a productive day, so I don't want to push it. I know what I need to do, and will strive to do those things that are good for me and my family.

4. On the way to work this morning I was behind a Chrysler mini van that had a bumper sticker that said "2008 The End of an Error", one that said "Choice", one that said "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Kerry" and one of those little silver Jesus Fish looking things that has legs on it and says "Darwin" instead of Jesus.

Yeah. It's just as well I don't know this person, we wouldn't get along very well anyway.

5. On Christmas Eve I gloated about not having to put anything together. Then on Christmas Day Lovely Wife opened her lamps and guess what? Yep. Some assembly required. Oh well, they look great anyway.

6. I think that Oreo's Double Stuffs with the chocolate filling are more addictive than crack. AND they're legal.

7. I wonder about the sanity of someone who will stand in a long line to wait for a pretzel. There are very few lines I will stand in for any length of time, and I sure as heck won't wait for a dang pretzel. I'm not knocking pretzels, but still, every time I see one of those hot pretzel stores in a mall and there's a big, long line there, I can't help but think "there ain't a pretzel in the whole world good enough for me to wait in a 30 minute line for it."

About the picture: I took this on the Sunday before Christmas at a local Atlantic beach. There has been red tide here for some time now, and it had me coughing and made my tongue burn as if I had eaten a spoon full of red pepper. It was really weird, but the beach and sky were pretty that evening. The moon was full. You can see a few more pics from that day on my John's Daily Digital Images Blog.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Happy New Year Ramble

Yeah. I know. I’m a bum.

I’m tired of writing about my sorry life, so I haven’t written anything, as you can plainly see.

We had a good Christmas. Then Lovely Wife got sick the day after Christmas, and I caught whatever creeping crud she has this weekend.

So we both now sound like 90 year old men with croup, and that’s about the size of things around here. This is the second year in a row I got sick the week after Christmas. This year Lovely Wife and I are both sick.

I’ve been reading some science fiction by Jack McDevitt, whose books are human based in a future with faster than light travel. His characters are much more deep than many other science fiction writers that I’ve tried. I’m getting into science fiction lately, having gotten bored with the usual spy/thriller type novels I am attracted to. But it’s tough finding new authors, the ones that are listed on the internet as “great” and “instant classic” I’ve had to put down out of sheer boredom or flat didn’t like the way the author wrote. You know, when you have to slowly churn through each and every paragraph because the author writes in grandiose words and sentences? Plus, I have a feeling that some of the authors were not American and I was just too ignorant to be able to follow their slang and the way they expressed thoughts.

Fiction shouldn’t be hard to read, it needs to be fun, otherwise, what’s the point?

And I got my Les Paul rewired. Jeesh, what a nightmare. And me being me, I would try to rewire it in the most complex way possible, and my first stab at it didn’t work out too well. So after those hours of patient soldering, I had to undo each and every solder joint, clean everything up, and start all over. Plus with my screwed up back, I couldn’t sit there forever and the whole process ended up taking three days.

But in the end, I have a wonderful sounding instrument with all new switch and volume and tone potentiometers. It had a short in it before that I knew I needed to fix. So I just waited until I could buy all new innards and, well, it’s now a much more versatile guitar than it was before. It has the ability to switch in and out and combine and disconnect various bits of the electronics that now allows this one guitar to sound very close to several different types of guitars.

In case there's a lone guitar geek out there who cares, my guitar is now wired like the Jimmy Page Les Paul model guitar that Gibson produced in the late 90's for an incredible $5000 each. Of course, mine's not that purdy, but it sounds fantastic. I found a reputable shop in California that will do this mod on anyone's guitar, but they charge $200, including parts. The quality parts that I bought and used cost me $70, so even with all the effort, my guitar came out in great shape and I saved $130 plus shipping to CA and back.

I know, boring, but it’s exciting to me.

In further news, Lovely Wife has interviewed with a local company and will be moving from her part time job as our church’s secretary to a better paying full time job with a mortgage company.

We’re hoping that this won’t be a really long term thing, but we’re running pretty close to the bone every month on bills and some extra money will allow us to stop treading water and actually pay off bills and get a bit ahead.

We have a cold front coming late Wednesday night that is actually supposed to take the temperatures here down to freezing or a little below that. Amazing. I don’t think it’s actually gotten below freezing more than two or three nights in the 11 years we’ve lived here.

We’ll just have to wait and see if that actually happens. At any rate, we’ll finally see some cold weather. I’ll have to dig out my hoodie. I know it’s here somewhere, but I haven’t worn long sleeves in a year.

I was going to add a couple of neat photos that I took, but I'm getting lots of bad attitude from SmugMug, the online photo place I use. It's great overall, but sometimes it is incredibly slow. Grrr.

I'll post them over the coming days, after I try to come up with Seven Things About Me from a tag. That might be difficult. I've pretty much spilled all my life's guts here on this blog at one time or another, but I'll try.

Thanks to all who have visited and left comments. It means a lot to me. I hope to be able to get back into the swing of posting and visiting and commenting on all of your blogs soon.

Happy New Year!