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Miscellaneous

Our holiday wishes for you

Christmas treeMay this holiday season bring you closer to family, friends and our Creator’s love. May the thought behind gifts you give and receive really be of the greatest importance.

May you, even for a moment, see Christmas delight in a child’s eyes and recall anew the delight you experienced as a child.

May any traveling you do be swift and safe — likewise for those traveling to see you.

May the new year bring you and yours a geneorus measure of the good things in life, and many a happy moment.

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Well, look who’s here

Phony matthews picT o underscore our point in a previous post about how readily photos can be altered to suit anyone with photo editing software and reasonable skills, we present baby Chris and baby Andrew.

It turns out Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., really was responsible for a photo of a man in his underwear that appeared on Weiner’s Twitter page. But there will be future damning photo evidence brought to light to ruin the reputation political figures who are innocent.

Those photos could easily be as phony as these “baby” pictures of an infantalized MSNBC talk-show host Chris Matthews and baby-fied right-wing dirty-tricks and fraud specialist, Andrew Breitbart.

Thanks and credit go to our buddy, Tim, of Tim’s Scared Stiff blog for doing the down and dirty work of putting these bogus images together, literally, for your edification and viewing pleasure.

phony Breitbart picIf Matthews or Ed Schultz happen by, take these images as reason to be a little less willing to condemn someone as bound to be guilty on the basis of a photo, especially a digital photo posted online.

If Breitbart happens by, we hope he doesn’t get any additional underhanded ideas. He gets more than enough as it is.

We hope everyone gets it that any more, even in photographs, things aren’t always what they seem to be, despite the fact they were in Weiner’s case.

With a little work at a computer, what you see and what really was can be two entirely different things.

Apocalypse no

just say no signJust checking in to say we made it through the end of the world none the worse for wear and hope you did as well.

Harold Camping, 89, the crackpot cleric who’s been prophesying the rapture on May 21, 2011, for years, made himself unavailable Saturday, which figures.

The Oakland, Calif., headquarters of Camping’s chain of radio stations, said to be worth $72 million, was reportedly closed and deserted inside.

We expect a good many people who apparently sent large sums of money to Camping — for what earthly purpose we can’t imagine — are probably kicking themselves on this relatively quiet, peaceful and wonderfully alive day after.

Those gullible people should’ve known better. Camping already had predicted the world would end in 1994. But then, why anyone in their right mind would take the word of a former civil engineer who’s in the broadcasting business on something as major as the end of the world defies logic.

We tend to think that just as some people have a neurotic need to believe in the conspiracy theory du jour, others have a neurotic need for the world to be coming to an end.

Those people are more to be pitied than condemned. Life is for living, not for contemplating one’s demise. People wrapped up in a subculture of Armageddon, rapture and the like would do well to make the best of the life they have here and now, and let any next life that may come their way take care of itself.

Christian fundamentalists, who seem especially open to this kind of nonsense, might want to look into their Bible for advice regarding false prophets and their profit making.

Breakfast at the diner, what could be finer?

Here’s a nice bit of Americana presented as a pleasant diversion for a Sunday afternoon. It’s from Bennington, Vt., in 2009, but could have been captured this morning at any of a million locations across the country.

Ah yes, and keep the coffee refills coming. 🙂

Time to take a break

Posting will be slim to none for a few days while we hit the road for a change of scenery and routine.

If time and circumstances permit, we’ll visit some of our regular blog haunts. Please don’t feel slighted if we don’t get to yours.

Things should get back to what we laughingly refer to as normal Tuesday or Wednesday, at least if gas prices don’t rise to a point where we can’t come home until they go down. Or, there’s always the possibility of being trapped by a major snowstorm because of The Lousiest Excuse for a Springtime in Years — part of the reason we want to get out of town. 😉

Mexico's answer to Tina Fey makes ads special

Ana de la Reguera

Ana de la Reguera

Let’s start the new year off on a mellow note with a couple of day-brightener items.

2010 was jam-packed with awful TV commercials, like all years, but there were notable exceptions.

Our candidate for the best of the bunch goes to Kahlúas’ “Delicioso” ads that have been running on The Food Channel and probably elsewhere. These ads feature high production values and snappy humor.

But what really makes the Kahlúa ads sparkle is the virtuoso comedic performance of Mexican beauty Ana de la Reguera. The job she does in these 30-second productions is nothing short of terrific. To see two, click here and here.

Reguera’s career includes the temptress movie roles you might expect, but she’s also done a bunch of commercials and even Shakespeare in live theater performances. The comedic Kahlúa ads make for quite a departure.

Our second item is a wonderful original video production by blogger Distributorcap. It’s brought to us by friend Tim at his blog, Tim’s Scared Stiff.

To see Dcap’s video just click, and please leave a comment.

Holiday wishes for you and yours

Christmas treeMay this holiday season bring you closer to family, friends and God’s love. May the thought behind gifts you give and receive really be of the greatest importance.

May you, even for a moment, see Christmas delight in a child’s eyes and recall anew the delight you experienced as a child.

May any traveling you do be swift and safe — likewise for those traveling to see you.

May the new year bring you and yours an abundance of the good things in life.

Yet another winter of our discontent

thumb downOur less-frequent posting of late is due to several things going on at once, the biggest, worst and most unrelenting being another snow-plagued, la niña-powered winter from wet, frozen hell.

Our 24.5-inch November snowfall set an all-time record for the month hereabouts — an “achievement” we would’ve passed on gladly, if only we had a choice.

We’re no strangers to enduring what comes with setting bad-weather records here in recent years. The infamous winter of 2007-2008 we nearly broke the all-time record for snowfall.

Then came the #@$%{&! winter of 2008-2009, when we broke the all-time record with inches of the miserable, cold, wet white crap to spare. We were so beside ourself by late January that we wrote one of our better rants about it.

Last year, evidently thanks to no la niña, we finally got a break. Sort of. There was lots and lots of very raw, cold weather that persisted right to the beginning of July, but almost no snow.

This year, we’re on track for even more winter misery than the 2008-2009 nightmare. We just got through cleaning up after the snows of three of the last four days when we had a power outage. Fortunately, it was restored in about two and a half hours. Last night and today we added another five inches. More is on the way way tomorrow.

You’re probably wondering why we don’t move to a less horrible climate. Well, it’s a matter of family ties.

So, we’re stuck here in a winter wonderland only a polar bear could love, and hating every cold, wet, snow-plowing/shoveling, ice-chopping/scraping, slip-sliding, muscle-aching, expensive minute of it.

And to think, the “fun” has barely begun.

American Mengele's grisly second act

Now we learn Dr. John Cutler, the American medical researcher involved in the horrific 40-year Tuskegee study that followed 600 black men with syphilis, but never treated them, committed a similar atrocity in Guatemala.

From 1946 to 1948, with permission from Guatemalan officials, Cutler conducted experiments on prisoners — without their knowledge and consent — that appear to have been as medically worthless as they were fiendish.

Cutler’s work was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

A historian from Wellesley College, Susan Reverby, recently learned of the Guatemala experiments while researching Cutler’s papers on the Tuskegee study.

(Reverby) discovered that Cutler also led the Guatemala project that went a step further: A total of 696 men and women were exposed to syphilis or in some cases gonorrhea – through jail visits by prostitutes or, when that didn’t infect enough people, by deliberately inoculating them. They were offered penicillin, but it wasn’t clear how many were infected and how many were successfully treated.

For a reality horror story that eclipses what Hollywood churns out, get hold of a medical text on sexually transmitted diseases and follow the progression of untreated syphillis through the fatal tertiary stage.

(more…)

A system for capturing oil at blown wellhead

containment funnelsHere’s a relatively simple way to contain and recover nearly all of the oil escaping from BP America’s wellhead blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

The plan employs two heavy steel, four-sided containment funnels, each with a flexible pipeline at its apex.

First, the smaller, one-piece funnel (A) would be lowered over the wellhead. Pressure from the escaping oil would cause it to rise above the seabed, even when oil is being pumped through its pipeline to a tanker on station above. That’s because funnel A by itself can’t contain all the escaping oil. It would levitate, with some oil escaping from beneath it.

That’s where the second and much larger funnel (B) comes in. This funnel would have a hinged side that would be open when it was lowered over the smaller funnel. A’s pipeline would be positioned to a gasketed opening near the apex. Once in position, the hinged side would be shut and latched.

At that point, oil escaping from beneath funnel A would be contained by funnel B and piped to a tanker on the surface.

If necessary, a third, even larger containment funnel could be positioned over funnel B.

Using this progressive, two- or three-stage capture system, it should be possible to recover virtually all oil escaping at the wellhead. However, some oil would probably have to be released when a full tanker disconnects and transfers the pipelines to an empty tanker.