Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Please don't bless me

This is not Dr. Gardner.
In ancient times, people believed that when someone sneezed there was a risk that his soul would be violently thrust from his body and gobbled up by Satan. Today, of course, we know this to be true.

And, under Section III, Part B, Subsection H of Obamacare, we are legally required upon hearing a sneeze to declare "God bless you!"

Well, along comes Dr. Leon Gardner, assistant professor of chemistry at the College of Coastal Georgia,  who has banned students from saying “bless you” in his class. Apparently he issued this godless edict in his physics class. Why he's teaching physics when he's a chemistry teacher I don't know. I don't understand either one.

He wrote:
Students’ grades will be lowered for: “Saying ‘bless you.’ We are taught that it is polite to say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. However, if you say this while I am talking, it is NOT polite, it is very rude!
At first I thought this was yet another atheist condemning his charges to hellfire and damnation, but as you can see it's not. I now think he should be elected president.

What he's reacting to is our custom of everyone in a room feeling compelled, probably by the devil himself, to say "bless you" when somebody sneezes.

They don't want his soul to get violently erupted and scarfed down by the devil. So what happens is that whoever is trying to run a meeting is drowned out by the "bless yous," while the sneezer is put on the spot and embarrassed by the sneezees, each of whom sneaks a peek to see if the sneezer has snot all of his hand.

The sneezer then feel compelled, while he's trying to figure out what to do with his handful, to say "thank you," which leads to a chorus of "sure."

Let me point out to the world that a sneezer's soul isn't going anywhere. It's staying right there tucked in next to his spleen. IT'S A SUPERSTITION!

Let's go to the all caps once more for emphasis: IT'S A SUPERSTITION!

You may think it's funny but it snot.

I've had enough

"It amazes me that talking about traditional values is controversial, but it seems to be."
~ Laura Schlessinger

Trans-what? Having already lifted the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays in the military, the Pentagon “likely will” allow transgendered Americans to serve openly in the military where 15,500 now secretly serve, according to a new report issued by top former generals.

Parent this: A private fertility clinic in the United States has launched an investigation into the health of 17 teenagers who were born as a result of a controversial IVF technique that produced the world’s first “three-parent” embryos more than 15 years ago.

Get the popcorn: On September 1, tax-funded PBS will show the pro-abortion propaganda film “After Tiller” that seeks to sanitize the practice of killing unborn children after viability in late-term abortions. The station also provides resources for people to host an at-home viewing party.

Pop some more: "Sex Box,' a reality TV show where couples have sex in a box and discuss it, is coming to America.

Assign this: D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Thursday announced that the city will recognize gender dysphoria as a medical condition, forcing insurance companies to cover treatments such as gender-reassignment surgery for transgender people.

Watch it here: Hundreds of photographs, papers and historical objects documenting the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are being added to the Smithsonian Institution’s collection Tuesday, including items from the popular TV show “Will and Grace.”

Down under: A judge in Australia has been criticised after saying incest may no longer be a taboo and that the community may now accept consensual sex between adult siblings. Judge Garry Neilsonlikened incest to homosexuality, which was once regarded as criminal and "unnatural" but is now widely accepted.

Had enough? I'll stop.

Morning Rush: Newspaper, insects, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, August 27, 2014:

Bugs, ready to eat.
Your newspaper is dead

But insect farming is booming

Keep your neighborhood safe 

You need a plan for retirement 
Our lawless president breezes on

How we're tempted to spend

What it's really like to be a cop

Obama golfed, people died

Exercise for your heart and mind

Russia is already invading Ukraine

The new thinking on fat

Oh, that IRS scandal

The NSA scans 850 billion records

And shares them freely

Which cooking oils are best for what

Booze wrecks your immune system

What your voice reveals about your health

Your Facebook friends have more friends than you do

How To: escape a riptide

Today's Word: to go to the country

Tips for going back to school

John Stossel on the heavy hand of the EPA:

Jack Nicholson: advice

"I'll tell you one thing: Don't ever give anybody your best advice, because they're not going to follow it."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The 60s were a lot of fun

We still had enough hair to put flowers in it, and we all dreamed of San Francisco, because some guy on the radio was singing about it.

I actually went, and I bought some "earth shoes," which hurt so much I couldn't wear them. That's okay. It was the 60s.

So much fun.
Everybody everywhere was having fun. In 1969 one Eric Himpton Holder Jr. enrolled in Columbia University in New York City and joined up with the Student Afro-American Society (SAAS). The next year he and some others -- described by one black student group as armed -- took over the abandoned ROTC headquarters.

We're not sure what they did in there, although it must have been fun. We do know that they demanded that it be renamed the "Malcolm X Lounge," and it was.

After five days they came out, and that was that.

Even more fun.
Meantime, across the world, one Barack Hussein Obama or maybe it was Barry Soetoro, was nine years old and living in Indonesia with his mother's second husband. It was in that time that he ate a dog.

Eventually he returned to Hawaii, where he became a leader of the "Choom Gang." Its members were united by the shared joy of smoking marijuana. It was a fun time, and young Barack was an innovator:
Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends.” The first Obama-inspired trend: “Total Absorption” or “TA”.
“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” explains historian David Maraniss. Here’s how it worked: If you exhaled prematurely when you were with the Choom Gang, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around.”
 I relate all this, because if you understand these stories you understand the Obama Non-Administration. He and Eric occupied the White House in 2009. We don't know what they do in there, but it must be fun. They get to ride around on jets and stay on Martha's Vineyard and, of course, play golf.

Barry is still an innovator. He's come up with some novel ideas about how laws are really just suggestions. Eric still wants to name things after Malcolm X, especially in Ferguson, Missouri. Nobody exhales prematurely.

They are watching what you say

This administration takes us ever deeper into an Orwellian world.
The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”
I suppose it can use the IRS to go after any malefactors.
“Truthy” claims to be non-partisan. However, the project’s lead investigator Filippo Menczer proclaims his support for numerous progressive advocacy groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action,, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority.
This should be up and running for the next presidential election, maybe even for the midterms this year. Enjoy your free speech!

Morning Rush: Weird sheep, lost emails, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, August 26, 2014:

Hey there.
The weird sheep of the Faroe Islands

Oh, those emails

Cut your textbook bill in half

Fighting terrorism in Fargo

How to survive air travel

What's the deal with kefir?

Look who's behind the Perry indictment

It's pretty hard to go viral

How to think about the bull market

Real moms want their guns

What guns have done for Chicago

Look what's on PBS

They will spot you in a crowd

Special forces go after ISIS

3D implanted beads for targeted medical delivery

There won't always be an England

How To: use a whetstone

Today's Word: one's special interest or talent

Maybelline introduces "ideal woman" rubber mask

What you don't hear about global warming:

Michael J. Fox: God

"I think there's a god, and I know it's not me."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Headline of the Day

"I-79 BACK OPEN: Chickens and Ammo to Blame for Shutdown"

~ WBOY-TV website (Clarksburg, W.Va.), Aug. 22

No, wait ...

"California Permits Outdoor Dining With Dogs"

~ Associated Press, Aug. 23

Does anyone understand any of this? If so, keep it to yourself.

Free courses worth considering

Here are a few recommended by Salman Khan, founder, executive director, and lead tutor of Khan Academy.

How to start investing
Start with: What it means to buy a company's stock
Why you should take it: You don't have a financial background and you'd like to start making money in the stock market.
What you'll learn: Begin by learning the basics of how stocks and bonds work, and then move deeper in the stocks and bonds course.
How to start programming
Start with: What is programming?
Why you should take it: In today's world, everyone could benefit from at least some coding literacy.
What you'll learn: Khan Academy's Pamela Fox will take you through the basics of programming language JavaScript, starting with a simple drawing program.
How to pick a credit card
Start with: Annual percentage rate (APR) and effective APR

Why you should take it: No matter how smart you are, there's a good chance you never took the time to actually study personal finance.

What you'll learn: You'll learn how an APR works, and how banks issue and process credit cards.
Amazing, isn't it? Learn for free in your PJs?

How to shrink your church

"In 2003, Gene Robinson became the first openly gay, noncelibate man to be consecrated as a bishop of the Episcopal Church. In the wake of his consecration, entire dioceses severed ties with the Episcopal Church, eventually creating the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). But the Episcopal Church continued to liberalize its sexual teachings, lifting a moratorium on any more gay bishops in 2006 and creating a “blessing ceremony” for gay couples in 2009.

"In 2002, the number of baptized U.S. members of the Episcopal Church stood at 2.32 million. By 2012, that number had fallen to 1.89 million, a decline of 18.4 percent. Meanwhile, attendance has fallen even more steeply. Average Sunday attendance in its U.S. churches was 846,000 in 2002, but had fallen 24.4 percent by 2012 to only 640,000. Other signs of congregational liveliness have fallen even further. Baptisms have fallen by 39.6 percent, and marriages have fallen by 44.9 percent."

A great and glorious day

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”

~ H. L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

Morning Rush: Birds, bosses, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, August 25, 2014:

A dense flock of starlings over Rome.
How one bird can direct a flock

Learn to recognize a bad boss 

Here's help for arthritic joints

They can track you anywhere

A new explanation for autism

Oh, that Eric Holder

They found an  ISIS training camp 

How to look smart

Obama's impeachment gambit

Get your child to clean up his room

And keep him out of public schools

These jobs can make you rich

Another failed government scheme

There won't always be an England

Innovation: a better pepper spray

How meditation can help your career

Let 'em have their pink cookies

Why older people can't sleep

How To: get the errors out of your credit report

Today's Word: to move quickly and unexpectedly

Average worker fired 10 minutes after taking vacation

Teach your dog to stay:

Henry Miller: insight

"One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things."

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Vespers: Be Merciful Unto Me O God

This is That Choir of Toronto singing "Be Merciful Unto Me O God" by Mark Murphy.

Formed in 2008 by artistic director Craig Pike and fourteen of his theatre school classmates, That Choir now draws together twenty auditioned singers with diverse backgrounds in work and study.

What a satellite and an artist see

Photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand has collected satellite images, many of which, like this one,  are made especially beautiful  through "false-color." This uses data from outside the spectrum of light that we can see to produce images in viewable colors that accentuate certain features of the landscape. Infrared, near-infrared, ultraviolet, and other such data illuminate important phenomena like weather patterns, plant life, and pollution.

Gotland Island, Sweden's largest island, is located in the Baltic Sea. Agriculture and food processing are the main industries on the island. The green swirls in the water are from microscopic phytoplankton, which are prevalent in the area because deep currents swelling up bring nutrients to the surface.
When I first saw this I thought of Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night." What do you think?
“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ~ Ana├»s Nin

On this rock

From The Lectionary:

Matthew 16:13-20

16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

16:14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

16:16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

16:17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.

16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

16:20 Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Safe driving tip for great grandparents

(Thanks, Rick)

Ken Keyes, Jr.: mirror

"A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world; everyone you meet is your mirror."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Casual Friday: Save the Last Dance For Me

Just two working days til Monday!

It's the ties! It's about the ties!

"I don't have a photograph. I'd give you my footprints, but they're upstairs in my socks."
~ Groucho Marx

Are you safer than you were?

"That's a puzzler, fer sure."
Remember how the war on terror was over, so we're getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Are you wondering how this ISIS/ISIL/IS thing suddenly sprang up out of nowhere? Why nobody told us? Could it have been because the official line (before the election) was that the war on terror was over?

Or maybe it was because we were too busy running from Iraq and Afghanistan and handing war-fighting equipment over to community police departments to notice.

Now, suddenly, this:
The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said on Thursday.
"They are beyond just a terrorist group," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. "They marry ideology, a sophistication of ... military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen."
That's over there in the sand, right? Check out these headlines on The Drudge Report:
"Put yer right hand on this here Koran."
Don't worry your little head. America's self-described "agitator" attorney general, one Eric Himpton Holder, who went into the Sixties and never came out, is going to think about empaneling a grand jury to look into that black-hooded fellow who chopped the head off of an American out there in the desert somewhere in the Middle East, after first reading him his rights.

If Defense Secretary Charles Timothy "Chuck" "I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down" Hagel or CIA Director John Owen "Gitmo jihadi recidivism is not that bad” Brennan saw in this an imminent turf battle, they didn't let on. Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry was too preoccupied with "working hard to ensure that by the end of my tenure, we will have lesbian, bisexual, and transgender ambassadors in our ranks as well" to notice.

President of the United States and Leader of The Free World Barack Hussein “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance” Obama vowed to stay on (the) course.

Morning Rush:

Here and there on the Web this Friday, August 22, 2014:

Don't tell Michelle.
Why hummingbirds like sweets 

Don't buy these things on Amazon 

Why you should wake up earlier 

Do you really need breakfast?

Barack's endless summer 

Oh well, he broke another law 

Those airport scanners are useless

Things every cook should know 

Botox for cancer? 

Bureaucrats cashing in on our dime

Don't forget this job search letter

How things really work on the street

Hey, here's your border fence 

Oh, those climate models

Are you still watching CNN?

A bad day at work is better than you think

Today's Word: to revel boisterously

Forest Service kills Smokey to get attention

How to catch a fish:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Study what disturbs you

"When the worries and cares of the day fret you, and begin to wear upon you, and you chafe under the friction—be calm. Stop, rest for a moment, and let calmness and peace assert themselves. If you let these irritating outside influences get the better of you, you are confessing your inferiority to them, by permitting them to dominate you.

"Study the disturbing elements, each by itself, bring all the will-power of your nature to bear upon them, and you will find that they will, one by one, melt into nothingness, like vapors fading before the sun. The glow of calmness that will then pervade your mind, the tingling sensation of an inflow of new strength, may be to you the beginning of the revelation of the supreme calmness that is possible for you."

Don't use these words on your LinkedIn profile

Or on your resume, or in the john, or in the backyard talking to your chickens.

You already know this because you've read all those profiles using them and you just want to gag yourself with a spoon, right?

Aaron Taube at Business Insider has collected these.

1. I — Who else's profile would it be?
2. Me — See above.
3. My — See above.
4. She — Only narcissists speak in the third person.
5. He — See above.
6. Salary — Never list it unless an employer asks.
7. Go getter — Jargon.
8. Synergy — Jargon.
9. People pleaser — Jargon.
10. Self starter — Jargon.
11. Strategic — Overused.
12. Creative — Overused.
13. Effective — Overused.
14. Expert — Only if you really are.
15. Driven — Overused.
16. Innovative — Overused.
17. Analytical — Overused.
18. References — If they want them, they'll ask. Otherwise you're just wasting space.
19. w/ — Spell it out to look professional.
20. Extensive — Overused and unnatural.
21. Ninja — Annoying/meaningless.
22. Diva — Annoying/meaningless.
23. Dedicated — Boring.
24. Detail oriented — Who isn't?
25. Passionate — If you are, it will come through without your explicitly saying so.
26. Entrepreneurial — Overused.
27. Skill set — Overused.
28. Dynamic — What does this even mean?
29. Intense — Can make you sound unpleasant to work with.
30. People person — They'll know when you come in for an interview.
31. Problem solver — Avoid unless you have clear-cut examples.
32. Team player — Overused.
33. Track record — Your track record should be apparent in your profile.


(The inimitable American Digest)

Morning Rush: Seals, bacteria, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, August 21, 2014:

The bad guy.
What really killed native Americans

How two roommates saved $55,000

Bacteria that shrink cancer 

Why your birthday matters

Neglected boys turn violent

Now they're hacking traffic lights 

And 911 systems, too

Button up.
A guide to a man's vest

It's good to marry your opposite

About that completed war on terror

Get used to low interest rates

A nod to beheading, then back to golf

Hillary, Hamas, and cement

Keep these words off your Linked In profile

Idiot of the Day: Bill de Blasio

Today's Word: could be supposed, conceivably

Average American takes hit from picking up check

Take professional photos with your phone:

L. M. Montgomery: enjoyment

"It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A glossary for hypochondriacs

Everyone wants sympathy, so if you're going to stand out in the valetudinarian throng you'll need an edge. My suggestion: give your imaginary maladies fancy names.

Try these:

Goose bumps = horripilation

Growling stomach = borborygmi

Eye floaters = muscae volitantes

Hiccup = synchronous diaphragmatic flutter

Cheek biting = morsicatio buccarum

Ice cream headache = sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia

More here.

Don't look up

We're from the government.
This week a handful of low-flying black helicopters have been buzzing just over rooftops and in between buildings in Minneapolis
They’re called Night Stalkers, or, more formally, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment out of Fort Campbell Kentucky. But what they’re training for  in Minnesota is as stealth as their choppers appear. 
The Department of Defense is in charge of the operation while Minneapolis and St. Paul police are playing a supportive role. But none of the departments will comment on the mysterious mission.
You can watch a TV station's video here. Here's another video.

This is an elite Army unit that carries out difficult missions around the world. But why within our borders? Minneapolis police say this is a routine training that is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country.

I'm here to help you.
That's not at all comforting given the revelation this week that the Army has plans for dealing with civil disturbances here in the United States.

While paying lip service to the laws against Army action within the United States, the document proceeds to list enough exceptions to drive a tank through. There is chilling talk of using snipers against civilians.
Graduated responses can range from command presence through the show of force, a demonstration, the use of RCAs (riot control agents), and other techniques (such as the application of lethal force using snipers, small arms, aircraft, and indirect fires).
Notice the reference to aircraft.

Morning Rush: Tires, coffee, your gut, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, August 20, 2014:

Sill good when worn.
Innovation: a safer tire

What's really in your coffee? 

The trouble with Comcast

A glossary for hypochondriacs

The Ferguson feeding frenzy

Who will stand up for the Christians?

Your gut wants you to have a cupcake

How to rescue a boring conversation 

George Soros goes to Texas

Where to find deals online

Your resume should answer this question

What kind of stunt was this?

How the FBI gets in your computer

Today's Word: a relation marked by harmony

Where's Wally search ends after body found

The "peaceful" art of tai chi:

Rhonda Byrne: priorities

“Turn away from the things you don't love and don't give them any feeling, because they are fine as they are but they have no place in your life.”