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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Busy Day

A lady I work was giving away a computer work station. E and I went over and picked it up taking it to my classroom. It is huge, but we got it in the door. The solid oak wood has been taken off the welded metal frame and I'll need to go over and put them back on tomorrow and then try to find a place to put it. It should let me get rid of a few computer tables and give me some nice shelves for books and things.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sidewalk Art

Anne Littlewolf e-mailed me some fantastic pictures of Julian Beever's sidewalk art that he does all over the world. The 3-D images are breath taking. I'm going to be putting some of them up for a few days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wake Up Call

I've run across two articles today that have scared the begeezus out of me.
Leslie Hatfield has a column reporting that the FDA has withheld from the American public since 2005 that Corn Syrup (you know the stuff they sweeten everything under the sun with) contains mercury. No telling how long it's been a problem, it could date all the way back to the 1970's when everybody switched over to the stuff from sugar. That it is a contamination problem in the processing plants and is 100% avoidable, but it would cost too much money to fix the problem.
Paula Crossfield has a companion article on the subject.

This is a problem that the deregulated, get in bed with big business, approach to governing is now not just costing the citizens of this country their jobs and homes, but their health and lives. Mercury is toxic in all its forms and there is no safe amount the human body can absorb. As the studies mentioned in these articles mention nearly half of all products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS for short) test positive for mercury. Oh by the way, who is at greatest health risk: the unborn (most susceptible to toxins in the womb)  and children who consume most of the soft drinks, so called "healthy" fruit drinks, pancake syrup, cup cakes, pies, around here it's sopapilla syrup their replacing honey with in restaurants,  etc.
Going to the grocery store and buying food to eat is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette.
Just going into your pantry and refrigerator and looking on the labels will make just about anyone's blood turn cold.
Golly Gee could this be why so many people are coming down with dementia? Why children have learning disabilities? Unexplained or mysterious illnesses that baffle doctors?
Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy for those poor misunderstood Republicans now doesn't it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Captain's Log is having a debate

Just to inform my readers over here that there is a debate on the issue of closing Gitmo going on at my Captain's log blog

Brain Dead at the Mall

  • Had a real nice round of golf with two of the guys I played with last week. It's nice to have a semi-routine round like this.
  • When I got home Grinnygranny wanted to go to the mall. Since I only played nine holes instead of eighteen, we went. I found an item I desired, but it was hanging up too high for my reach. I went to the sales clerk there and asked for him to get it down for me. He handed me a metal pole with a hook on it to get it down myself. I turned around quickly and noticed the pole was waist high. All I could think was, Am I really lucky there wasn't a small kid standing behind me. Then it dawned on me. This was about the stupidest thing anyone in the retail business has done in my life! Maybe a little hyperbole here, but had I injured someone with that hook I could have faced a lawsuit potentially devastating to me financially, and the store (which has bigger pockets) would have been taken to the cleaners. I know that there are many people wanting tort reform, but putting myself in the person's behind me shoes, that say had a small child whose eye was poked out by something this irresponsible, what other way do they have to recover damages incurred by someone else's stupidity. When I went up the escalator to meet up with wife and daughter there was a guy with a walkie talkie greeting customers. I said a few words to him about the sales clerks needing a few safety lessons. He was quite polite and agreed with me and quickly went down. I do hope he didn't fire the two men behind the register, just scared them as I was when I turned around and it dawned on me what I could have done.
  • Next we went to a different department store. We've decided that after 30 years of marriage that some of the towels we were given as wedding presents need to be replaced. They had some really nice plush towels on sale for half price (about ten bucks each) When we went to pay for them they didn't ring up at the sale price. Okay we didn't read the sign above the sale prices that said to RESERVE the sale price. What this meant was that if we purchased them today with the store's charge card (which we have) that we could then come in and pick them up next week when the sale is official. LAYAWAY IN REVERSE? Pay now pick up later? Needless to say we passed on buying the towels. And when the sale does start and if the towels are all sold out before we get there, so be it. Maybe they were thinking this was a way of getting letting their card holders get a jump on the other shoppers, but I'm sorry when I pay for an item in hand I take it home and don't waste another four bucks in gas three days later to pick it up.
  • Good to be home. Going to mall can literally bankrupt you these days.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and I'm in my classroom. Bummer.
We've had fantastic weather the last two weeks. Sunshiny, warm, little wind. Great golf weather, walking the dog weather, watering the dirt in the back yard weather (not much grass, but if you water it, it will come). Why can't schools do a reverse snow day? A "Chamber of Commerce" day. The weather is too good to pen kids (and their teachers, other staff) up, and let them go out to play. Wouldn't that be wonderful. Now if only rain water was beer!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

We're starting the time of year called testing. I don't think anyone wants to read my opinion on this, as most of it would be unprintable anyway. So...

Monday, January 19, 2009

What a Party

  • I've put up a picture by Audubon of an Egret. I stumbled upon it. When I was golfing in Texas a couple of summers ago I saw one, and asked the guys I was golfing with what it was. It looked a lot like a whooping crane. They called it a water bird. Mom and I were talking about the sand hill cranes and whooping crane that fly down here and spend the winter at Bosque Del Apache. She mentioned wondered what the birds that would spend time on the lake by her house there in Canton were called. I think this is it.
  • The pre-inaugural celebrations have been impressive. The good lady over at Yikes who lives in D.C. has mentioned how different the feeling is in the whole town from the last eight years. This reminded me of a book I read years ago by the Republican energy Czar under Ford, can't remember his name or the name of the book. The one thing he wrote stuck with me over the years. He recounted something that happened on almost all airliners that left Russia. There would come a minute when the captain would announce that they were leaving Soviet air space and everyone would start clapping and cheering like they were at the Super Bowl. He said it was a natural reaction to the oppression that was felt by the omnipresent fishbowl that was life in a totalitarian country. I see a similarity in the exuberance of the coming inaugural tomorrow. It's not just a new day, a new hope, but a return to freedom. A freedom many were late in recognizing as important because they had been frozen by fear. Finally they realized that fear of our governments excessive intrusion into every aspect of our lives was worse than fearing terrorists.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wii Tired

  • Thought I'd post a picture by Rembrandt, not every artist has a toothpaste named after him. This one has the artist with a bust of Aristotle.
  • The Wii game is giving Grinnygranny and me much more exercise than we're used to getting. Our muscles are letting us know about it.
  • I'm hoping the weather holds up and either tomorrow or Monday I'll be able to get in a nice round of golf.
  • It is amazing all the criticism Obama is getting and he hasn't even been sworn in yet. AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED IF YOU WERE A BUSH CHEERLEADER, SHUT UP, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO OPEN YOUR MOUTH ABOUT ANYTHING.
  • Nice to get that off my chest.
  • If you are one of us long suffering Democrats that have been waiting eight years for this nightmare to end.  GIVE THE MAN A CHANCE!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Check out the Captain

Not wanting to reproduce it here, I've written my take on the last eight years of misrule over at my Captain's Log blog. Check it out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nice Lunch

  • Took Mom to lunch today, we ate at a nice little Tai restaurant. I saw her fish and she's looking forward to having a dog soon. She took daughter to get a haircut after our lunch and I went golfing. Beautiful day for it. 
  • Albuquerque has anti-weather. Whatever weather the rest of the country is having, ours is the opposite. The news is full of cold temperatures, snow and ice in the South. We're in the mid 50's sunshiny and no wind.
  • My dream car has always been the Dodge Challenger. I wanted one so bad when I was in high school and college, but buying any car was out of reach in those days. When I first saw the new version I told Grinnygranny I was going to get one. After all she got her Mustang -- her dream car. Then when they come out they sell for 35 grand to start. You can buy two mustangs for that. What gives! Come on Dodge, put in a V6, plain jane it down and sell them like hotcakes just like Ford. You can keep the high end models for the hot rodders, but there are plenty of us old guys that would love a sweet ride again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Days Are Touchy

Tomorrow would have  been my sister's 46th birthday. There's an in-service at school, but I was planning on staying home anyway, this way I don't have to use a sub or leave lesson plans.
I'm not sure what Mom's planning on doing yet, we may spend time just being together and trying to get through it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

That Smile

David Allan Coe Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile
Mona Lisa lost her smile 
The painter's hands are trembling now 
And if she's out there running wild 
It's just because I taught her how 
The masterpiece that we had planned 
Is laying shattered on the ground 
Mona Lisa lost her smile 
And the painter's hands are trembling now 

And the eyes that used to burn for me 
Now they no longer look my way 
And the love that used to be 
Why, it just got lost in yesterday 
And if she seems cold to the touch 
Well there used to burn a flame 
I gave too little, took too much 
'Til I erased the painter's name 

Mona Lisa lost her smile 
The painter's hands are trembling now 
And if she's out there running wild 
It's just because I taught her how 
The masterpiece that we had planned 
Is laying shattered on the ground 
Mona Lisa lost her smile 
And the painter's hands are trembling now 

Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa

Mona lisa, mona lisa, men have named you
You’re so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only ’cause you’re lonely they have blamed you? 
For that mona lisa strangeness in your smile? 

Do you smile to tempt a lover, mona lisa? 
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart? 
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, mona lisa? 
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art? 

Do you smile to tempt a lover, mona lisa? 
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart? 
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, mona lisa? 
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art? 

Mona lisa, mona lisa

-artist: nat king cole
-peak billboard position # 1 for 8 weeks in 1950
-words and music by jay livingston and ray evans
-academy award winner from the film captain carey, u.s.a starring alan ladd

It's been said that Napoleon would not sleep without this painting in the same room with him, even on campaign. It hangs in the Louvre, was shown in the movie Da Vinci Code. It has inspired poems, songs, documentaries, you name it. Most probably the most famous of all paintings. 
Recently scholars have found the lady Lisa's remains, recreated her face from her skull and low and behold it does match the painting. There had been speculation that it was a self portrait of Leonardo, or another woman.
The painting is most known for two curiosities. 1. No matter where you stand in relation to the painting the eyes are always looking at you. 2. The enigmatic smile.
When I googled the painting almost all the entries had something to say about the smile. My take, I hate to break it to all the poets and analysts. Just about any orthodontist can explain the smile being closed mouthed and lopsided -- she was missing teeth, mostly on one side of her mouth. A common problem in that time period.
Spoil sport part: why the eyes are always looking at you -- optical illusion, no eyebrows, without the eyebrows your sense of perception has nothing to fix the direction of the eyes. 

Still an amazing painting. I really liked the scene in the movie Forget Paris with Billy Crystal. When they're trying to look at the painting, there's such a large crowd in front of it they have to jump up and down to get a glimpse.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Back To Normal

It's nice to be back to a normal routine. The only real change is that for the past few days we've not watched many regular T.V. shows. They're being stored on the dvr for the weekend while we take turns playing with the Wii. All of us have sore arms while we're getting in shape, but it's made life a little more interesting around the house. We haven't had a video game system since the old Atari died years ago. The kids had Nintendo and Playstation, but Grinnygranny and I never bothered with them.

The header today is one of my favorite painting by Anne Littlewolf. She's snowed in for the winter In Colorado so when she stops by to check on me I hope it brings a smile to her face.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Finally caught up

      I finally finished grading my finals from last month and entered in my grades. I was well ahead of the midnight tonight deadline. Normally I have my grades posted before I leave for Winter break, but this was not a normal year.
The administration gave all teachers a goodie bag with an personalized pen, a calculator that also hold business cards and a big box of glossy business cards. They're nice.
Did anyone find Icarus in the picture? If you look down from the ship you'll find two legs sticking out of the water. Nice to know they had a sense of humor over four hundred years ago.

Today's artwork is Portrait of Giovanni Amalfini and his Wife by Jan Van Eyck 1434
Can you find the artist's self portrait and signature in the picture?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Added Feature

I'm going to be replacing the header each time I post with artwork.
This one is entitled Landscape With Icarus Falling, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder 1555. Can you find Icarus?

New Toy

Yesterday I found and bought a Wii game system. We had planned on getting one before Christmas as our family present, but circumstances postponed getting one. The next problem was finding one. This is the third year the system has been out, why are there so few of them available when there are a zillion remotes and games packages available?

I will say it is fun, expecially the golf. What a fantastic course! And you don't have to chase the ball or replace all the ones you lose. It came with the sports package that has tennis, golf, bowling and other goodies. Grinnygranny is learning how to use it now. I played with it some last night and Aunty Pesty is having loads of fun with it while we're at work.

Here's an interesting video on Utube. The Mom song to the William Tell Overture with captions. It's hillarious.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Year New Post

Ritchie's on his way back to his mother's. We'll have him again over the summer. The time we had with him was way too short.
I took him out on the golf course with me last Tuesday and he had a really fun time. He was so proud because he could hold the pin for me when I putted. This summer I'm going to have to get him a set of clubs and start him hitting the ball. That should be fun.
E, his girlfriend and the kids spent New Year's eve and New Years in Los Lunas with her family, so Grinnygranny and I had the house to ourselves. A small taste of an empty nest. It was nice, but really quiet.
I guess there's not many 007 fans among my readers as I didn't get any responses.