Friday, November 30, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Up the hill, Jim Pattison's place is once more lit up with his traditional Christmas display, which can be seen for miles across the city, and is lit every evening from dusk to midnight from December 1st until after New Year's. It wouldn't be Christmas without it.

More on the Universe....

Our collective ignorance is a magnificent thing, and this fellow's book about the Universe raises more questions than it answers. For starters, it speaks of 4% that we know about, and 96% of it that we don't know thing one about....

So, today's Question Everything is:- "Where did the author get his numbers, if nobody knows for sure exactly how big or small the universe actually is, by reason of the fact that we are unable to see or detect more than a relatively small representative sample of the entire whole?"

In the previous posting here, the commentator mentions: "To assert that the universe has a purpose implies the universe has intent. And intent implies a desired outcome."

The universe could have a purpose without implying intent. The intent in question could be that of its Creator, whose nature or intent remains completely beyond comprehension. We can speculate, and my speculations are as good as yours, but these are all only speculations. There's no proof beyond the very small percentage of the physical reality we are capable of observing.

Is that physical reality an infinite continuum of variously-sized objects arranged from smaller to larger ad infinitum, as seems to be the case? If hydrogen is the commonest element in this universe, then was that universe created from the residue of the explosion of some hydrogen-based thermonuclear device? Were we produced as the byproduct of someone's experiments with thermonuclear weapons perhaps in some infinitely vaster dimension than we are presently capable of comprehending?

See what I mean? This whole topic opens up a veritable Pandora's Box of speculative possibilities, proof of which remains absolutely impossible. Your guesses are just as good as mine or Uncle Albert's, or anyone's, because we're all punching at shadows.
Examined intimately enough, religions and philosophies and scientific theories all blend
into one confusing primordial soup of bittersweet speculation rife with doubts, errors, insecurities and wishful thinking. In short, we just don't know for sure, and even those who think they do know really don't. Or, as Will Rogers said, "It's not the things we don't know that get us into trouble; it's the things we do know that ain't so." 

Here's where more of these heavy-duty ideas can be found in case you'd like to read others in the series, or review the one I made reference to here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Video: Does the Universe have a purpose?

This is a presentation worth watching, so give it a look and listen, Kiddies....

Palestine: the U.N. voting and Canada...

Canada's John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, speaking before the U.N.'s General Assembly in New York City, ensures that Canada is one of only nine nations to oppose Palestinian symbolic statehood in the recent voting on it.

Today's 'Question Everything' is: "When will Canada stop butt-smooching the U.S.A. and Israel in international affairs, and simply make up its own mind based on the facts?"

The shin-bone is connected to the knee-bone, and the knee-bone is connected to the thigh-bone and the thigh-bone is connected to the ass-bone, of course, and we just love making asses of ourselves in front of the whole world's assembled nations' representatives. We're just like that mythical 'Ou-Ou Bird' whose gonads hung lower than its feet, so that every time it landed it cried out 'Ou! Ou! Ou! Ou!' - we just don't know enough to sit down and shut the hell up, instead of trying to fly against the winds of change blowing with near hurricane force around the globe. What dumb-asses we are! And John Baird? If he had two more brain cells, he could qualify as Parliamentary Washroom Attendant, which is the nearest human equivalent to a toilet-paper dispenser.

My 'Pet Rock'....

I picked this up on a beach along the west coast of Vancouver Island one day just after a really wild west coast storm had pounded the beaches for a couple of days with huge waves and very strong winds. This was back about the time that the 'pet rock' craze was upon us, so I named it my Pet Rock.

It's about six inches long by about 4 inches wide, and it looks like a sponge, all full of tiny little pipe-like holes, somewhat similar to volcanic pumice, but this is heavier than most of the pumice I've ever seen.

"Too Much Information"

'Too Much Information' is the first cut on side two of the 1981 A&M Records release 'Ghost In The Machine' by The Police, and I thought of it because of this headline in New Scientist making news on Google News today.

I've got a white-hot flash for these pseudo-eggheads at New Scientist:- It isn't any of those topics you're babbling about in your article which is causing our problems with climate change or global warming or wars, pestilence, famine, or whatever. The underlying real cause of all of those things is something that if my memory serves me correctly once appeared in Walt Kelly's 'Pogo' comic strip. Little Pogo is commenting on the nature of an enemy, and says: "We have seen the enemy, and he is us!" 

'Us' being all of humanity, and there being just too damned many of us, using up too much of our natural resources and polluting too much of our environment too quickly for Mother Nature to cope with its assimilation and recycling. In short, we're breeding ourselves right out of Spaceship Earth, and we're going to regret it, but not forever. Nothing's forever, including what you're standing or sitting on right now. Nobody wants to talk about this, but we must if we want our human race to survive into the future. The population of the world has tripled within my own lifetime, which is presently just over 80 years. If that thought doesn't bother you, then you've probably got an I.Q. about the same as my Pet Rock.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Angus T. Jones apologizes, or tries to...

Here's the sequel from the dumb-ass on the couch doing fart jokes for a third of a million per episode, proving once again that you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. Like I said earlier, 'Two and a Half Men' died when Charlie Sheen had a classic bipolar meltdown and got fired. Everything since has just been the burial and memorial services, and anyone who thinks otherwise just hasn't been paying attention.

And I hear someone asking "What would you know about being bipolar, you Old Fart?"
To which I'd reply, "A whole lot more than you might imagine, Schnookie! I was bipolar before it was popular, away back in the days when they gave you Lithium Carbonate and took away the keys to your big V-8, and I could probably write a book about the highs and the lows and the in-betweens of it all, and the nervous fellow workers, and the frightened spouses, and the unfriendly neighbors, and the pill-pushing shrinks who got overpaid for pumping you full of toxic chemicals in the name of 'control'. So please don't ask me what I know about being bipolar, because I might just tell you."

Some of my very best friends are similarly bipolar and most of us have above-average I.Q.s. Our problem isn't that we're stupid, it's that we don't have enough self-control,
and that's a characteristic of the disorder, which is genetic in origin, and caused by defects in our genetic codes related to damaged or missing genes in our DNA. Those cause our bodies to reject essential trace elements normally found in our food and water which are necessary to maintain a balanced body chemistry and correct values for our blood plasma electrolytes which regulate the performance of our central nervous system. We are what we eat, and if we aren't accepting all the essentials, then we aren't getting all the benefits. So medication is required to force acceptance of the elements being rejected in order to re-balance the system. And that's my nutshell explanation of the remedy for being bipolar.

 It only took me several months of digging through the library's medical texts section deciphering all those Greek and Latin rooted medical terms into plain understandable English. After that, the rest was easy, because I know what it's like being on the inside of that problem looking out. Sometimes, it's Heaven, and other times it's Hell. The trick is to swallow your pride and your medication and minimize those times when it's Hell. Some of us are more successful at that than others are, as we see in the news from time to time.

It's a quarter to four in the morning....

And I'm sitting here drinking a hot coffee and eating a warm carrot muffin, and thinking back to the bad old days when I worked the midnight shift for our local electrical utility, and about this time of the morning, felt like I had maybe three weeks to live, if I was really lucky. Constant shift work is very debilitating, and also puts a serious strain on your domestic affairs, because it's almost impossible to sleep in the daytime anywhere there's other families with little kids raising hell nearby. So I spent a lot of those years being sleep-deprived and bitchy and miserable, and it's no wonder all that resulted in two divorces. It's a wonder we all survived as well as we did.

Now that I'm retired, I can sleep whenever I'm tired, and stay up whenever I'm not, and eat whenever I'm hungry, and please myself about when to do it. It's sometimes fun to stay up in the wee small hours of the morning, when the rest of the world is sleeping, and there's no crying baby next door interrupting my train of thought, or making me wonder if someone's abusing the little darling.

The world is a rather contrary place. These six high-rise residential towers here were originally designed and built as 'adults only' type accommodations, without any of the usual  amenities associated with families having children. Along came a provincial government trying to solve a housing crisis by ruling that former 'adults-only' premises would now admit families with children, and here we are with little tots in buildings that have no facilities for them. No play areas, no bikes allowed, no this and no that - it seems everything's a 'no-no' if you're a kid around here. And being one of the very oldest kids around here, I thoroughly resent that, and I'm sure other kids do too. But you can't argue with politicians and their lawyer pals. And most politicians are the kind of people who would steal a red-hot stove and then go back for the smoke, if they thought you weren't watching. That's because most of them were lawyers first, and ever since ancient times, there's stories about lawyers. Like the one about the two farmers disputing the ownership of a cow. While one farmer pulled on it from the front, and the other pulled on it from the rear, the cow was milked by a lawyer.....

So, if I'm up during the middle of the night, and somehow manage to find among my 72 channels of nothing on TV something worth watching, how do I do that without annoying the neighbors while listening to it?  Simple: I have a set of wireless headphones that work very well. I set the TV sound to 'Mute', crank up the volume to the transmitter unit, turn on the headphones, and enjoy my show without anyone else hearing anything. Those headphones are 'JVC' of Japan, but made in..... - do I really have to tell you? Sometimes I wonder how we made things before the Chinese got into the act. A lot of things used to be made in Japan, and now the Japanese are farming out the work to the Chinese. Pentax and Nikon cameras are two recent examples, and they work very well, too. Are we looking at the decline and fall of North American industry? I could argue that we are, and it's probably our own fault.

More 'this & that' from 'Oldest Living Blogger'

I got an email yesterday from a nice young lady at the CBC, asking if I might be interested in helping her project of researching people who have done extraordinary things in their golden years, or if I might know some other Canadian extraordinary seniors who have done unusual/brave/inspirational things in their senior years. Those are mostly her words, not mine.

She is looking for a senior "who is savvy with social media" and somehow decided to include me in her search, having seen my blog here. I replied that I'm flattered that she should consider me worth her attention, but that I don't consider myself to be really very 'savvy with social media' because blogging is about all I do in that area. I've always avoided Facebook and Twitter because those have rather 'iffy' security procedures for safeguarding your personal data from the identity thieves we hear about regularly.

And as I also explained to her, bloggers are usually rather lonely and self-important people who often-mistakenly assume that they've got something to say to the world at large that the world actually gives a damn about hearing. In most cases, we're wrong about the world giving a damn - it usually doesn't - but this is still a useful pastime, because it keeps us off the streets, and out of bars, and sometimes even learning something useful while we do our research for the next rant - in case we aren't just 'winging it' as I usually prefer to do. There's no fool like an Old Fool, because you just can't beat experience! And I am nothing, if not opinionated.... as you know by now if you've been reading much of this stuff.

I started blogging because there was a community blogging site downtown here which encouraged us to sign on for our own blog page, and the bright young people who were running that were actually using the blogging site as a proving ground for a new open-source program they were working on which they hoped to sell commercially if they got the bugs all out of it. So we bloggers were in a sense the guinea pigs helping them find those bugs and get them fixed. Eventually, they accomplished whatever they had set out to do, and were bought out by others who rather quickly put most of the originals out on the street, and ignored the routine maintenance required by the once popular community blogging site, on which I was by then one of its more popular contributors.

So I said, "The hell with this nonsense - I'll find a blogging site that isn't about to get trashed by lack of interest." And I signed onto Google's 'Blogger' - which turned out to be a mixed blessing. Google, as some of us know from experience, likes to leave its projects in an almost continuous state of beta, or 'half-baked' or unfinished, and this can frustrate the hell out of guys like me, who like things that work properly and work reliably and work consistently and aren't unfriendly to their users. Google, please take notes here. You've got some good ideas, but your theories don't always work out worth a damn in actual practice. For example: why do I have to re-select my chosen font every time I pause to add a picture or link, or look up information before continuing? Why can't the coders write that program so that it stays on the same font the user selected until the user changes that selection to another? What is there about that concept that you find so incomprehensible? And don't tell me - just fix the damned thing, will you? Doesn't anybody in California know how to play this game?  Sally at Microsoft or even I could probably give you some suggestions, and you might even be wise to listen to them. It works for Microsoft.....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Marine Division of the Air Force...

There are beaches along the west coast here where you can ride a mountain bike through flocks of ten thousand of these things, and the seagull droppings fall like rain, but here I only have three or sometimes four of them regularly on patrol watching for munchies. One of them will land on the little removable tray here, and if it doesn't find anything in the dish fastened to it, it will sit there and make little clucking noises to let me know it would like something to eat. One morning, I held a slice of bread out the window, and it took it right from my hand, while hovering momentarily in mid-air. But I have to 'ration' these guys, or they'd eat me out of house & home.

The news from La-La-Land....

Question Everything:

What's going on at 'Two and a Half Men'? This is the second cast member to self-destruct so very publicly and bizarrely.

This kid gets a third of a million dollars per episode, and the little nitwit isn't happy with that. Does he realize how long it takes an average 'Joe Lunchbucket' to earn that kind of money? 

And what's all that bullshit about God speaking to him personally and telling him to clean up his act? I have news for that kid - God doesn't grab you by the collar and tell you anything - you have to ask, and ask very politely and very sincerely, and that frame of mind isn't usually found around Hollywood production studios nor among your teenaged pals of the 'young & horny & desperate' crowd. But God did say "Bite not the hand that feeds you, lest you quickly become an unemployed homeless bum."

I'd have the drinking water analyzed at that production studio if it were me - I think there's something really strange going on there. They seem to have discovered something that turns rational greedy actors into wild-eyed babbling idiots with no respect for their employers or their audience. And Angus T. Jones' advice to stop watching comes a bit late. He evidently hasn't noticed that the show died when his pal Charlie Sheen threw away his meds and went ape a while back.... 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Your Computer: programs to have on it...

Just a reminder, Folks - Here's three very useful programs to have, and they're all free ones. Just follow the links here to their home pages, to download your own copy.

 Secunia's Personal Software Inspector better known as 'Secunia PSI' will automatically warn you and update your other programs not handled by Windows Updates, so that you will always have the latest updates for those others, and be more secure.

Auslogics Disk Defrag is in my humble opinion the best and probably quickest disk defragmenting and optimizing program there is anywhere. You can go into its 'action' column and choose what you want it to do, beginning with Analyze to find out if you do really need to use it. You can then watch it in action as it goes through the segments and does its thing. Or you can set it to a schedule to run automatically, or you can include it in Windows Explorer's right-click menus. It's a very good program.

Glary Utilities Free is the free version of this program, and it can clean up and tune up your computer with one click of your mouse, and easier than that, you can't get. And the good news is that it really works. I've been using it for years, and it really does what it says it does, and your computer will be cleaner and will run better.

I've mentioned these before, but quite a while ago, so I'm doing it again in case you've missed that earlier one. By using these programs, you can keep your computer up to date, and keep it free of junk files, and keep the files that it does have unfragmented so that programs work better, and files load faster because they aren't scattered around on the hard disk in bits and pieces. These programs can help you to keep your computer out of the shop and ready to work when you want it.

Recalling old movies...

The critics, bless their pointy little heads, gave this one a thumbs-down, but either I'm a tasteless clod or else it wasn't that bad, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to find a complete copy of it, and whatever's around of it now has been copied from somebody's television set, and not very well. But if you like the music of Cole Porter (and I love it!) and you'd like to see some unexpectedly entertaining performances by people you might not ordinarily consider 'song & dance' types, this one's for you. I just wish I could find a copy that's not all frazzle-assed, or comes with Russian subtitles plastered across it. Something is definitely lost in the translation, Tovarishch!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

About the Egyptian situation....

A very insightful article here in The Times of India by a professor of international affairs is well worth reading, and gives us some valuable insight into that hotbed of intrigue.
Please take the time to read it.

Just visiting....

And today's 'snow report' looks like this....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sundown over Vancouver Island

And this was heading into the sunset toward the Island.....

Mars Curiosity Interactive

It's been a while since I checked in on this, and if you go here there's a nice interactive player you can install which lets you drive and position the rover using a control panel at the bottom of the screen. It looks like this:-

After you get the player installed, you will see a screen like this....

And by using the Drive and My View controls on the left and right ends of the panel along the lower edge, you can move and turn the rover. You can also change its speed (to the left of 'Drive') and zoom in or out (to the right of My View) and you can also use your mouse wheel for zooming.

Here is another view of it, before I moved it....

And after I turned it around a bit ( its tracks tell the story)...

Here, I'm testing the zoom controls....

And here we go, following its previous path, with the balls marking points of interest along the way. You should try this, Kids - It's fun! Even for old guys...


Another must-have Christmas song: Yingle Bells

Before we had TV, we had guys like this on the radio contributing their best to the world's greatest classical music. So sit back and enjoy - this is History. And do try not to fall out of your Family Tree. This is not the best time of year for it.

As they say in Sveeden, "Fifteen years I been learning how to say 'Yelly' and now they call it 'Yam'...."

Here's another of his classics......


Friday, November 23, 2012

Almost daylight

And don't forget to check the snow report because the weekend is upon us, Kiddies!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Parkinson's or Alzheimer's ?

Thanks to Tom for sending this one along. It's another good one.

Sundown: Snow Report

This is about halfway up on the 42X zoom control, showing the weather once again miraculously clearing off about 20 minutes before sundown. Just soon enough to let you know there's still hope, but there's not enough time to do anything about it. Ain't life grand?

And this is the full 42X version of that peak. I should spell it 'peek' because that's about all we get to see of it this time of the year. The good news is that when it's snowing several many feet up there, it's raining down here and washing the streets cleaner, and it's really easy to shovel. So I don't dare complain about it, because where I grew up we had about nine months of winter, two months of bad skiing, and one month of summer to change out of our long-johns and have our annual bath. Ah, the Good Old Days... Thank God they're gone forever! And yes, I'm two years older than the discovery of nuclear fission in 1934. So I'm older than The Bomb. Or almost anybody else... and in case you're wondering, the main thing wrong with being really old is that you can remember when you weren't!

Here we go again (continued)

Does anyone have any idea how tiresome and how stupid this all seems after 65 years of the same old bullshit while the killing goes on and on and on? It's a good thing I'm not able to enforce a lasting solution to this insanity, because if I were able to do that, I'd put a squadron of nuclear bombers above that region, and tell everyone that whoever fires the next rocket or artillery shell will cause the expansion of the Mediterranean Sea to cover that whole territory, which will then be under water and unavailable to anyone. 

I want a shelf like this - one that can withstand a bomb blast and still hold up its load on the wall. I wonder if the TV still works?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

If you use Avast Anti-virus.....

You may have noticed that Avast's Updates aren't working today, because of a server problem. You likely got a '404' error.  Not to worry, your protection is still working on your yesterday's updates, and you can still do scans, etc., as usual. 
Avast will very likely have it fixed soon. And you are not alone - there's millions of us - so try to relax. 

If you find yourself edging toward panic, you can always try the free versions of 
SuperAntiSpyware or Malwarebytes. They're both good, and both are working just fine. I have all three of these programs, so I know. And contrary to popular belief, they all work together without problems. I've been using them for ages and I started mostly to prove that you can in fact run more than one security program without conflicts. These modern ones have solved that problem.

Here we go again....

You can read this story here, and today's Question Everything is: "Does anyone remember how many times these crisis-talks have now been held without any significant resolution of the problems?"

A corollary to that question might be: "How much money and resources and manpower has been wasted over the years fighting over these issues, while stalling for time and jockeying for position and hoping for some miraculous intervention from God or perhaps extraterrestrials who might be in the neighborhood and curious about how our retarded life forms are developing?"

This situation appears to be insoluble as long as there's religions, ethnicities, and gunpowder on the planet. All of which ought to be outlawed in the interests of saving the human race from itself, because we've obviously been born stupid and have been losing ground ever since. Want proof? Take a good look at Hillary in that picture above. The poor girl is absolutely frazzle-assed. She needs a rest from all this, and so do we, and the sooner the better.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Discriminating dignified orchestral music like this...

...just isn't easy to find in this disgustingly mediocre society we live in today....

Need I say more? I thought encore you say? Sure! Why not? And this time, it really will be a Classic: Bizet's Carmen.....

I told you it was a Classic, and you didn't believe me, did you?

Keystone Pipeline protesters...

These folks are so earnest and sincere, it's too bad they aren't better informed.
President Obama isn't in Washington, D.C. right now, and in fact isn't even in the country; he's on a glad-handing and show-the-flag mission to that ancient and wonderful land of Bunga, I mean Burma. Myanmar, to you, me and everybody else now, because they didn't like the old name. Maybe they were ashamed of the past history attached to it. They certainly ought to be, if my reading of Wikipedia is correct. 

Here's a link to the above-pictured article in the Toronto Star about the pipeline protesters, who evidently aren't aware that one of America's priorities is to become independent of its reliance on Middle Eastern oil, and if we're going to rely solely on North American supplies, then this pipeline needs to be built. It should also be pointed out that pipelines can move product in both directions if required, or if it is desirable. If there was a pipeline from Alaska's North Slope all the way to the Gulf in Texas for example, we wouldn't be endangering those
thousands of miles of coastline with the possibility of another Exxon Valdez incident.

As for the battle against greenhouse gases and global warming, I've said this before, but I'll repeat it again: one or two nations or even several taking drastic action to reduce pollution isn't going to have any significant effect unless we can get every nation to act together on it. I am thinking specifically here of nations like China and India, presently comprising 36% of the world's population. Do our protesters do any homework or any independent reading? I wonder!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Just a reminder: 36 days until......

This next one is by request from a nice little girl in South Carolina who says she has been very good all year and she really wants to hear this song.....
So Margie, this one's for you!

The Carioca...

First, the Artie Shaw version, a real up-tempo mover...

This song was a major part of the movie 'Flying Down To Rio' in 1933, which introduced the famous duo of Fred & Ginger to movie-goers everywhere, and they do their thing with this song, during part of its playing.

This was their first time dancing together, and they weren't the stars of this movie, but the rest, as they say, is history.

Another big-band era hit, The Dipsy Doodle

This was written by Larry Clinton in 1937 for the Dorsey orchestra,and was one of the big hits of the late 1930s. There was Jive and Jitterbug before there was Rock n' Roll, and this was a great swing-era dance number. 

Not to be outdone, here's Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra, doing 'Man, That's Groovy!' .......

And here's a little demo of dancing the Boogie Woogie, by a couple of champs...

Please Note:-
Modern-day interpretations of 'swing' or 'jitterbug' or 'boogie-woogie' aren't exactly like the originals of those dances back when they were developing in
the 1930s and 1940s. There was a lot more spontaneity than is expressed in today's examples. And I recall the gals being lifted or flipped over the guy's back more frequently than is shown now. These were very active imaginative dances, and many couples made it up as they went along, and practiced their own routines privately until they felt ready for 'prime time' in public. This was not something like the Fox Trot which you could follow on a footsteps chart.
This was a "show me yours, and I'll show you mine" kind of thing, and it was for the doers, not just the viewers. We didn't need exercise gyms back then - we had the Friday-night or Saturday-night dances, and some were a real workout.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A little more music: Cole Porter

This from NPR.... Do we need another Inauguration?

Here's an interesting question and some historical background on whether there should be another big whoopdeedoo to re-inaugurate the 44th President of the United States of America.

I'd say, "Sure we do! What the hell? Go for broke! It's the thought that counts. To hell with the expense! We're worth it! Bring on the dancing girls!"

Latest Mid-East Peace Initiative:-

Waging 'Peace' in the Mid-East is 'old news' but it's still a hot issue, because it isn't easy to re-write history when there's still people alive who were around in
1947 and 1948 when this whole thing got started. And our Israelis can spin it any way they like, until the wheels fall off, but it won't change the facts, which remain fact regardless of 64 years of bullshit.

The plain fact is that Palestine got its name because it's the home of the Palestinians, and it was also a British Protectorate at the time of the creation of the country now called Israel, which was formed when armed mercenaries and so-called 'freedom fighters' invaded Palestinian territory and killed or chased out the legal owners of the land, and took it for themselves. Israel is therefore sitting on stolen property, and the original inhabitants continue to want it back.

And that's why the fighting has continued for 64 years now, and will likely go on for another 64 years, or until one side completely assimilates or eliminates the other. For the rest of the world to be choosing sides in that conflict is totally ridiculous, because there are no sides to a question of right or wrong, and that
is the underlying issue in this dispute. The Israelis are saying that it's OK to steal someone's property, as long as you allow them to have fresh water and electricity and let them work for you in businesses you created on their own original property. The Palestinians are saying that's wrong, because theft is wrong, and lying about it is wrong. 

The Israelis are masters at reminding us of the holocaust and World War Two, and Hitler's treatment of their people. It was horrible - but so are the things that have been done and are being done to Palestinians by these Israelis in the name of defending their stolen Palestinian territory.  And it's goddamned near time the rest of us started calling a spade a spade and stopped listening to bullshit.

When I worked in our federal government in the 1960s I met a man in Ottawa who had been a colonel in the emerging and brand-new Israeli army and who was a personal friend of Moshe Dayan, the one time Defense Minister and military leader of Israel. He told me the whole story of how they took that land
away from its rightful owners, including how they stole their first functioning tank from a British Army compound, and kept it out of British hands by moving
it every night, and burying it in the sand to hide it from British patrols. They used it to shell roads where the British were moving troops to counter their attacks. They got a lot of help and support from America, because in those days, there were more Jews in America than almost anywhere else, and the
Americans really wanted them to have a place of their own - and you'd understand that if you ever had a Jewish mother-in-law or lived within earshot of one. So they got aircraft shipped over from New York to Tel Aviv in crates on ships carrying "humanitarian supplies", and the first two aircraft were Piper Cubs, equipped with desert-dog tires for landing on the sand. They took the doors off them, loaded two crates of hand grenades behind the pilot's seat, and they flew them over the British lines, and dropped hand grenades on the Brits.

They had a secret mobile radio station mounted on the back of a truck, and it broadcast on a certain frequency known to local Jews, with news of where to assemble for the next battle, or news of how it came out. After an attack on the Brits by those two Piper Cubs dropping hand grenades for example, that radio station on the truck would make an announcement that went like this: "Today, elements of the Israeli Air Force flew several sorties against the British and all our aircraft returned safely." 

Like I said, it's tough re-writing history when some of us remember the real story. And there's a difference between a Lion Tamer and a Lyin' Bastard. 

Please Note:
In a comment here, I mention the ancient Middle East and its nations. This map shows the area around 1400 BC, about the time of the events related in the comment herein.

Friday, November 16, 2012

An almost-national-anthem...

And now for a different version...... without the scratching.....

Lastly, this more modern version, with nice pictures......


The Old Crystal Ball: Looking at Microsoft...

An expert gazes intently into his crystal ball and tells us what he sees as the Mighty Microsoft of the emerging future, and it's a terrible tangled web, Folks.

Engineered obsolescence isn't as simple these days as it was back when cars still had fenders and using a keyboard involved all ten fingers, not just your two thumbs. And back then, we actually had to know how to spell something before we wrote it, because the spell-checker hadn't been invented yet. Speaking of which, what we really need now is a grammar-checker and a proof-reading tool, because editors are about as common as Dodo Birds. They always were a little 'iffy' anyhow, coming down from the hills as they did, after the battle, to shoot the wounded.

 But wouldn't it be nice if those hormonal youngsters with their overactive thumbs knew how to spell 'shit' before they tried to write the word? And where I come from, OMG is just unintelligible nonsense, it never meant 'Oh My God'. If that's what's meant, then write the damned thing out in full or shut the hell up! And please don't tell me there's already grammar checkers available for downloading. Have you tried the one claiming to be best? It doesn't work! But good luck with that.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Are humans getting dumber?

Here's a good conversation starter by an under-employed expert digging at the roots of our collective family trees going back to just after we came down from those and began walking on our knuckles, grunting a lot, and learning how to make a good dinosaur casserole, while avoiding being captured by those Wild Women of Wongo and dragged kicking and scratching back to their settlement along the crocodile infested banks of the Limpopo River in darkest Africa. It was called 'darkest Africa' of course, because Ben Franklin hadn't yet flown his kite and discovered electricity can be a shocking invention.

Want proof we're getting stupider? Just ask yourself how a nation like America could have possibly convinced themselves to elect someone like 'Dubya' not once but twice. Twice! Shouldn't the first time have taught them something? If that isn't proof that we're getting stupider, I don't know what would do it. And don't forget what 'Uncle Albert' said: "The commonest element in the universe is not hydrogen, but rather stupidity." 

"Leap Frog" by Les Brown and his Orchestra

Keeping your programs up to date....

You can get your free copy here. This looks at all your programs and tells you if any have more recent updates available, and helps you get them installed.

Today's Snow Report


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Trouble streaming videos? Something else to do:-

First, make sure you do have the latest version of Java installed on your computer.Go to this website to test it. If you don't see an animated GIF display showing a moving animation and telling you that you have the latest Java installed, and telling you its version details, then you haven't got it yet. You should download the latest version from their downloads page and install it. It will then show up in its own spot on your Windows 'Control Panel' which is shown here above.

Go into Control Panel, click on "Java" beside its coffee cup icon to bring up this window. On the Java Control Panel, on the "General" tab (first one) click on  "Temporary Files Settings" and set yours like those shown here. Set that compression level to "Medium", and set the slider for adjusting the storage space to use by moving it all the way to the right, to its maximum position. While you're there, click on the button to "Delete Files", which will clean out any already taking up space, so you will be starting fresh. Then click "OK", then click on "Apply" in the main window, and then click its "OK" and exit the window. Try streaming a video now, and see how it plays.

Another thing you can do:-

If the video pauses to buffer, right-click on it to bring up this little 'Settings' window, and choose the item along the bottom of it for Files (the folder icon)
and then drag that slider over to its far right end, to the maximum position for storage space for files on your computer, and then click on 'Close' to exit. That tells your computer that it's OK to store this incoming video signal in your Temporary Internet Files, and to use the maximum space allotted for that, so
theoretically, that should give it plenty of room to keep enough packets ahead of whatever's actually in the process of playing, so that it shouldn't need to keep pausing every few seconds or every few moments to re-buffer the storage.

The other solution, of course, is to download the video into your computer's  hard-drive and have it in your own files whenever you'd like to see it - and if I were the suspicious type, I might suspect that YouTube has purposely done something to make sure we aren't going to thoroughly enjoy these videos unless we do pay them to let us download a copy into our own computers to keep on file. In other words, and I say this because nothing I've done so far to "cure" this problem has completely succeeded in fixing it, maybe we're trying to fix something that can't be fixed at our end of the system because it isn't happening as a result of anything incorrectly set inside our own machines. Maybe they've made sure there's nothing we're going to be able to do about it,
or alternatively, maybe our incoming signals really are being choked down by some method which doesn't show up in the available tests at our disposal for discovering that. By a process of elimination, we should eventually discover what is doing this and why. So far, I've spent a lot of time discovering things
that haven't entirely fixed the problem, but I have reduced it quite a bit. Which, of course, isn't the same thing. It's still happening, and it's still a pain in the ass.

If Google's YouTube is going to have all those videos for viewing, then one would assume they would actually be viewable for more than a few seconds at a time. But then it's common knowledge that Google has almost never finished most of the projects that it has begun, at least not completely. They've got things ten years old that are still considered by them to be 'in beta' meaning under testing, and yet they've had the unsuspecting computer users trying to use those things and wondering why their experiences with them left a whole hell of a lot to be desired. Those things are left "in beta" of course most likely so that Google can avoid any responsibility for problems with them by simply saying that these are still in beta and not yet ready for 'prime time' and therefore are being used completely at the user's risk. But that user's risk bit could also apply equally to something that had actually been fully finished off, if only they hadn't stopped work on it for coffee or lunch and never came back.  If us Joe Lunchbuckets of the world behaved that way, there'd be a whole hell of a lot more unemployment, and deservedly so.

Another favorite =>

The only way this might be improved would be if George Gershwin himself was on the piano, and we wish...... Wherever you are, George, you did excellent work and we still miss you.

Some people like Fred Astaire's version of this song, but this one's my choice.

This is a full disc with 74 minutes of Billie Holiday's music on it, so sit back and get yourself comfortable. Or pipe it into the stereo system and crank it up.

Today's 'Question Everything'.....

Today's Question Everything is:-

Now that Steve Sinofsky is no longer ramrodding Windows, should I reconsider having scrapped Windows 8, and give it one more try? I still think Windows 7 is the better choice for those of us using touchless desktops, meaning about 90% of all Windows users. Please leave a comment below if you wish...

Goodbye, Mr. Sinofsky, wherever you are...

Don't think of this as a corporate tyrant getting a well-deserved boot out the front door of Mighty Microsoft - think of it as a re-confirming of the necessity of being a team player in the upper levels of one of the biggest companies in the business, and of helping it achieve its goals of continued leadership in its field.

There's an old saying, the source of which I don't know, but nevertheless it's a good one, and it goes like this: "He who would be a leader of men must first of all be their servant." As I understand it, that saying would never have applied to Mr. Sinofsky, whose motto evidently was "It's my way or the highway!"

You can read all about it right here. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Test your Internet connection.....

If you go to this website you can choose from several independently created tests which will check your computer and its connection to the internet, and tell you if there's any signs of limiting (or 'throttling') of your downloads or uploads
or your streaming videos, etc., and give you details in its results reports. Some of those tests are not yet compatible with the latest operating systems, but the
more important ones are working quite well, and will give you a good idea if your ISP is doing something to limit your use of the available bandwidth, or if
a problem is simply the result of system congestion, which, by the way, is becoming more and more of a problem as everybody from here to Bunga-Bunga
surfs the wild wild web and sports fans from downtown to the alligator-infested reaches of the Limpopo River, home of the Wild Women of Wongo, play those internet games or send messages to one another, now that bonfires and blankets have gone out of fashion as communication devices. Get the picture?
Did it pause to buffer every few seconds as it came in? This website can tell you why, I betcha, in case it isn't just because you haven't dumped your temporary internet files folder lately. So check it first, and then this other one, before you call the servicemologist with his $120-an-hour skills. Be a cheapskate like me. Do it yourself and save.

Getting nostalgic in my old age....

For years back in the 1940s, around the time Bing Crosby was in his prime, this song in its various interpretations was the top-selling record in the record stores, and yes, Kiddies, we had stores back then selling nothing but records, and most of them had a booth or sometimes two of them in the back, where you could try out a record before you decided to buy it. Hoagy's 'Stardust' sold millions of copies, and deservedly so. It's a lovely tune.

Everybody knows Nat King Cole was a great singer, and some of us still cherish his albums, but not everyone knows that Nat was also a hell of a jazz pianist,
and here's a little evidence of that. If you can find recordings of his Nat Cole Trio you'll discover what I mean. He was a piano man before he became famous as a singer.  

Speaking of Nat King Cole, please check this one out.......


Playing back videos on YouTube....

If you have a problem with playing these videos, because the video pauses to buffer every few seconds, instead of playing steadily right through, the cure is to right-click on the video, choose 'Settings' from the drop-down, and in that,
select the files option, which should display a slider above it. Move the slider
toward the far right, to where it says 'Unlimited' and then close that window. You should have no more problems with the buffering. If you do, select 'Global Settings' and make sure that YouTube and its helper service both are allowed to
use local storage on your computer. This enables them to use temporary files to store this advanced buffering needed for smoothly playing these videos.

Now that's out of the way, Ruth Etting was the inspiration for the Doris Day movie (1955) with the same title as this song, 'Love Me of Leave Me' and her soundtrack album of the same name (1973 on CBS, Inc.) "Electronically re-channeled for stereo" it proudly announced. The movie starred Doris Day as Ruth Etting, and James Cagney as her gangster husband and manager. And my copy of this 39-year-old album is still quite playable, but I've posted this video to show how the original star Ruthie herself really sounds.

Here's Doris doing another song from the movie, 'Shaking The Blues Away'.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This was the #1 Hit the year I was 2 years old...

And I've loved it ever since....

Back then, Jan Garber's Orchestra was one of the top dance bands in the land,
and it remained so for many years. This is a great old tune, and it takes me back to when I was a kid, playing this old 78 RPM record on a wind-up Victrola in my Dad's garage, and I kept this record for many years, until I no longer could find a turntable able to play it at the correct speed. I'm glad YouTube is preserving it for us.

Here's another charmer from the end of the Roaring Twenties that was still popular when I was just a little kid, and this is also one of my favorites, and 
with the temperature outside this morning hovering around 40 F, it's quite appropriate today. 

This is the original version of a song that Cyndi Lauper included in her 1983 album on the Portrait label (CBS) titled 'She's So Unusual' and I think I still prefer Helen Kane, the Poo-Poo-Pee-Doo Girl's original version to Cyndi's. The big hit on Cyndi's album was 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun', and 'She Bop' was another goodie on there. But I'm digressing again..... this is about Helen Kane. 

 I can't leave the music of Helen Kane without including this one. It's a dandy!

Ah, Memory Lane....