Sunday, August 30, 2009

How It Looks To Me

Happy Phil Comments

"I love this place."

One of the many entertaining features of the internet, is reading the local Redding newspaper, HERE. Like every town in the U.S.A., there are crimes committed in which drugs and alcohol play a significant role. It's sad, but true, that these things happen, however, on-line people can comment on the story they have just read, and that's where the fun begins.

The comment section after a story is filled with people who will find a way to grind their axe, no matter what the story is about. They will rant and carry on that crimes are the direct result of;
  • The city council
  • Too few policemen
  • Stillwater Business Park
  • Parolees
  • Homeless
  • Meth Addicts
  • Turtle Bay
  • Obama
  • Liberals
  • Newcomers
  • Big League Dreams
  • Eco Terrorists
  • Mexican Mafia
  • All of the above, and then some.

I cant resist poking a little fun at their uptight diatribes. Here are a couple of my latest responses to the madness.

UPDATED: Man reportedly head-butts clerk, takes shoes

This is a story about a kid who head-butts a shoe store clerk and runs off with a pair of shoes. You would have thought Redding was now the crime capital of the nation to read the 50 or so posts that blamed everything from the Stillwater Business Park to Obama. One poster wanted to blame the city budget committee for cutting back the police department.

I figured I could help solve the, "crime".
HappyPhil writes:

Look for a kid with new shoes and a headache.

Police seek man who punched woman and took her purse

This one got people even more riled up. They were calling for a vigilante committee to drive out all the people who have moved to Redding from the cities, down south, bringing all this crime with them. The story is about a woman who reported that a man came up to her, punched her in the face, grabbed her purse and ran off with it. One poster even tried to blame the Sundial Bridge for the increased crime in Redding.

I had to say something;
HappyPhil writes:

Whoa, take it easy boys. Put away the rope.

One purse grab,(still under investigation), does not constitute the destruction of all we hold near and dear. No additional cops could have prevented this, unless one put himself in between the guys fist and her face at the exact right moment. Highly unlikely.

Use your heads, (Not for butting, of course).

Here Is A Video I Liked

If you would like to learn about Socialnomics

Astronomy Photo Contest

This, and many other images can be seen HERE

Image from Royal Observatory slide show, HERE

California Fire Season

Racing to the fire. AP photo

Looking west from Mt. Wilson Cam. 8/30/09

Great picture of Fire Fighting Aircraft. AP photo

It's the time of the year
for California wildfires. When my dad moved the family to southern California in 1955, we were told that certain areas of California had floods and mudslides in the rainy season, and fires in the dry season. Each year when peoples houses burned in the fire areas, my dad would remark on the stupidity of building in a fire prone area. Later I found out that many real estate salesmen would fail to mention that "this beautiful view lot" was in a fire or flood zone. Still, I would think that a buyer would research the history of what they were buying into. The burned areas become the mudslide areas when it rains.

Like Floridians who don't expect a hurricane, some Californians are still surprised by this seasonal event in their home state.

Today's Very Appropriate Song:

Wildfire - Michael Martin Murphey photo AP

All God's Creatures

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Kids...Priceless

Field Of Big League Dreams

One of the baseball diamonds at Big League Dreams.

Today I went to see Sandi's grand kids play ball at the new, controversial, sports park, here in Redding.

"The Redding Big League Dreams
sports park is a world-class facility featuring 3/4-scale exact replicas of three major-league stadiums: Boston's Fenway Park, Chicago's Wrigley Field, and New York's Yankee Stadium."

Big League Dreams is a combination privatized/city supported endeavor that, despite the ranting of the misinformed, is making a profit. The same people that rail against Turtle Bay, (Museum, arboretum, and the Sundial Bridge), Stillwater Business Park, palm trees on Hilltop Drive, have the mistaken impression that the Big League Dreams facility is a drain on city money. The comments after the, (on line), local news stories, are such great entertainment that I happily post my 2 cents worth on occasion.

There are several, well groomed, picturesque playing fields and plenty of parking. Come early if you don't want a long walk.

Is that a star, or a daisy?

For $2, you get a neat hand stamp when you go in the gate.

I wasn't sure
if I was going to see football, baseball, soccer, hockey, sand court volleyball, or what?

It's Soccer

The view is spectacular for us seated soccer spectators.

Austin, #6

Austin was playing today.

Austin's Fan Club

Amber-Mom, Jordan-brother, and Sandi-Grandmother.

When I was growing up in the 50's, we were told, soccer was not an American sport. We were an arrogant, and ignorant nation. We were told we were better than people in other countries, and like good obedient children, we believed it. We were told to disregard other cultures because they were primitive and old fashioned. We were the shining example of the future of mankind. We were the super race that Hitler foolishly tried to make in Germany. "Ha, ha, ha. Those Bavarian buffoons!"

My P.E. teacher in Junior High, would tell us; "Soccer is for sissy's. We play football, here in the U.S.A." This is the same guy, with the spitball on his lip, that had a special paddle with holes drilled in it for those of us that misbehaved. No one thought it weird, at the time, that he would watch us taking showers, but I am guessing that sort of thing doesn't go on in schools these days.

You can view larger versions of these, and other photographs from this event, HERE.

It was a lot of fun. The temperature was plenty warm, and the sun shown brightly on the composite material turf. The kids looked good out there having fun. The parents hollered encouragement from the stands, and it was great family fun. Whatever Big League Dreams cost, the time those kids were having is worth every penny.

My Sanyo Camera

Tricky movie-in-movie, image from River video.

I was just looking for a picture of my Sanyo camera, and I realized they are in my other computer iPhoto application. (The image above, is a screen shot from an old video that is on this computer.) I have had the Sanyo longer than I have had this MacBook. Oh well, the object here, is to write about this amazingly versatile and durable 10 megapixel camera. I didn't really want it when I got it! I wanted an exchange for the panasonic Lumix that went bad while I could still return it to Wal Mart. I wanted another one of those, but they were all gone. I chose the Sanyo because it was the same price and I could exchange straight across. This Sanyo has consistently brought home the images I have sought to capture, and I am glad I have it.

However, like most point-and-shoot, digital cameras, there is a lag between pushing the button and the shutter actually taking the picture. I can generally work around this, but today was the first time I tried to follow the action in a game on the playing field. The ball would be kicked and away before the shutter clicked the picture. I attempted to anticipate and click in advance of the moment, but the players were not so predictable. If I were to take pictures at a lot of sporting events, I would seek out a digital camera that doesn't have shutter lag. Otherwise, I am perfectly happy with the cameras I have. I am lucky to have the stuff I've got, and I thank God everyday.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Thank You Fa Lettin Me Be Mice Elf Again
Sly and the Family Stone


Friday, August 28, 2009

I've Got It

Snow Leopard

Happy Phil with new OS-X 10.6 Snow Leopard in box.

Today my package of magic and wonder from Apple arrived. It was actually here at the Treehouse at 11:30 AM, but I was brushing my teeth when the FedEx guy buzzed my apartment. He was gone before I even knew he had buzzed, and it wasn't until a couple of hours later that a neighbor let me know there was a tag from FedEx on the front door to building A with my name on it. Oh well, I had never driven into the Redding airport before, so the trip to FedEx to pick it up was educational and instructive, in case I ever pick someone up at the airport.

Grand Opening

Here at home, I released the leopard at 5:30 PM.

This new version
of OS-X is designed to make the most of the intel processor and the 64 bit platform.

Stalking the elusive Snow Leopard. 8/28/09

Backup Before Install

I use Time Machine and a Passport USB 250Gb HD

Getting ready to turn this cat loose in my MacBook.
Disk and instruction booklet.

I just love the way Apple does things. The instructions say to insert disk and click install.

Insert Disk

Oh boy, 21st century computing, here I come.

Last screen shot with the old OS-X.

Everything I have tried
so far, works faster, looks better, and has additional features that are really useful, fun, and convenient.

The Quicktime player
is now a recorder and editor. It will record what I am doing on this screen so I can make movies of how I do things. This will help me help others to learn some of the things that computers can do.

Screenshot of me playing with Quicktime.

There is one program that doesn't work any better with Snow Leopard, and that's the Safari browser. I recommend Firefox. It's a much better browser than Safari, and it works well with Google applications. Safari is cumbersome and difficult to use in Google Doc's, Maps, and Blogger. Maybe one of these days Apple will fix Safari, or create an all new browser, but in the meantime, Firefox is the way to go.

iPhoto is much, much,
faster importing from my camera and, like everything else, responds to keyboard and trackpad commands, with lightning like quickness. The pictures are sharper, the colors more vivid, and the detail is crisper.

I haven't had the time
to check out the other programs like iMovie, iWeb, GarageBand and a host of others that I use regularly, but after I do, you can be assured that I will report and demonstrate the results as I experience each one.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Video;

Baby Snow Leopards

Good Kitty

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ripples In Time

The Rock. A Little Bolder.

Image from the Kudzu underground newspaper 1968.

It never occurred to me that I was doing something historically important or even memorable. I just thought it would be better to play music I liked at a successful station than to play elevator music at a station that had lost money for 20 years and counting. When I put together a proposal to switch the station to progressive rock, I was confident that management would be attracted to the possibility of making a profit with their loser FM station, and it wasnt long before I was playing album cuts from the Stones, Doors, Beatles, Vanilla Fudge, Dr. John, and a host of artists one would never hear on top 40 radio. Oh yeah, we were the number 1 station from the moment we became WJDX-FM 102.9 Rock. It was fun.

Some of the people involved with the station, which later became WZZQ, have been forming an internet version to appeal to those listeners who miss our pioneering, freewheeling approach to presenting music that mattered. I have been invited to the party and I plan to be a part of this venture.

The station in 1968, was a place for me to express an intelligent opposition to bad behavior by those who should have known better, while introducing my listeners to some great music by real musicians, (Top 40 was mostly manufactured from mediocre product with mediocre results). It seems like nothing has changed except I can do my show from home, or anywhere. Stay tuned.

Be My Honey

Every marriage contract in ancient Egypt required the bridegroom to promise to supply his bride with honey throughout their marriage.

Some historians believe that the Fleur-de-lis is a stylized image of a bee.

I took this speed test to see what my actual download and upload rates were.

Speakeasy Speed Test

The image on left should be a link.

It was fast and simple.
I did it to participate in a survey of actual internet performance in the U.S.A.

We are 28th fastest in the world.

Using data gathered from Speed Matters, a site that promotes greater Internet speeds, the Communications Workers of America compiled a list of broadband speeds in U.S. states and territories, and came up with the average speed for the nation -- about 5 megabits per second. That's a quarter of South Korea's 20.4 Mbps, and about a third of Japan's 15.8 Mbps.

Star Making Machine

The massive star factory known as the Trifid Nebula was captured in all its glory with the Wide-Field Imager camera attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in northern Chile.

ScienceDaily (Aug. 26, 2009)
Smoldering several thousand light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer), the Trifid Nebula presents a compelling portrait of the early stages of a star’s life, from gestation to first light. The heat and “winds” of newly ignited, volatile stars stir the Trifid’s gas and dust-filled cauldron; in time, the dark tendrils of matter strewn throughout the area will themselves collapse and form new stars.

What an amazing universe we live in.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Stella By Starlight - Anita O'Day

Round And Round We Go

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One Lump Or Two?

Sugar Sugar
The Song

Sugar molecule image from

I always thought
that fruit flavored yogurt cups tasted too sweet. Now I read, (source), that that little plastic cup of yogurt with fruit at the bottom, has 6 teaspoons of sugar added!

Better Choice

32oz yogurt, $3.29. 5lbs Trader Joe's blueberries, $5.29

thanks to the economy, I have discovered a better tasting, cheaper, and healthier way to eat yogurt and blueberries. If you guessed that I bought plain, Nancy's lo-fat yogurt in the 32oz container, and fresh blueberries, you would be right. When I have a taste for yogurt, I spoon some into a bowl, add blueberries and enjoy a treat without adding 6 teaspoons of sugar.

The Yahoo word
for the day is "Procrastinate". I will look at the definition later.

Big Mac Anyone?

A new study finds obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals, researchers said today.

Obesity packs many negative health effects, including increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and some cancers. It's also been shown to reduce sexual activity.

More than 300 million worldwide are now classified as obese, according to the World Health Organization. Another billion are overweight. The main cause, experts say: bad diet, including an increased reliance on highly processed foods. MORE

Watching Watchmen

This image is about as colorful as the movie gets.

I am so glad that Raley's has Red Box movie rentals. Yesterday I rented Watchmen for $1.

The movie is dark. I don't mean the story, I mean the movie had me squinting at my widescreen HDTV to try and see what was going on with all the dark colored shadow people and places. After a while the movie filmed in the dark, (you would think they could afford lights), became a distraction to the practically non-existent plot. The plot was like the TV shows that I don't watch, so I guess it's unfair that I am reviewing this lackluster, $150,000,000 adaptation of a comic book I am not likely to read. It's just that, in addition to not spending any money on lights, they tried to make it a love, doomsday, and unfulfilled relationship story!

I had better return the thing before I get charged another dollar for an additional day. Ha, ha, ha. I really like Red Box movie rentals.

Snow Leopard

I pre-ordered mine last night.

I will be getting the latest, greatest, wizzbang, new and improved Apple operating system on, or about, September 1st. I look forward to this new OS-X, because it is designed to take advantage of the intel processor and 64 bit speed. Most of the programs that I use are 64 bit ready, although they are running on 32 bit now. The new system is supposed to be faster, more powerful, and yet take up less space and energy. We shall see, and you will, most likely be reading about my experiences right here on this blog.

Found in My E-mail

A man was telling his neighbor, 'I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art.. It's perfect.'

'Really,' answered the neighbor . 'What kind is it?'

'Twelve thirty..'

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Tomorrow Never Knows - Beatles


Mayan Long Calendar Restarts

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Most Of The Time

It Works For Me
Enlarged section of Cygnus image. NASA/JPL

If someone asks me whether or not I believe in God, I ask them, "Which one"?

This generally lets me know their level of enlightenment. So I can use big words and shared literary experiences, or point at something shiny and walk the other way.

Cygnus. NASA/JPL

George Bleich in Hawaii

George and his son Chris where South Pacific was filmed.

I got an email from George. It looks like Hawaii agrees with him. He suggested I come over there. I told him as soon as I win the lottery I will catch the next flight.

Great Day

Happy Phil writing blog for 8/23/09

Looking up at Mt. Shasta from Lake Siskiyou 8/23/09

Home of the, "Lemurians". 8/23/09

In the 1880s a Siskiyou County, California, resident named Frederick Spencer Oliver wrote A Dweller on Two Planets, or, the Dividing of the Way which described a secret city inside of Mount Shasta, and in passing mentioned Lemuria. Edgar Lucian Larkin, a writer and astronomer, wrote in 1913 an article in which he reviewed the Oliver book. In 1925 a writer by the name of Selvius wrote "Descendants of Lemuria: A Description of an Ancient Cult in America" which was published in the Mystic Triangle, Aug., 1925 and which was entirely about the mystic Lemurian village at Mount Shasta. Selvius reported that Larkin had seen the Lemurian village through a telescope. In 1931 Wisar Spenle Cerve published a widely read book entitled Lemuria: The Lost Continent of the Pacific in which the Selvius material appeared in a slightly elaborated fashion. The Lemuria-Mount Shasta legend has developed into one of Mount Shasta's most prominent legends.

Read more HERE


Microcebus lehilahytsara. Lemur from Madagascar.

Lemuria is named for Lemurs.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Video;
Dancing Lemurs of Madagascar


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Good Life

Same As It Ever Was

HDTV monitor working again.

Last May, Apple released a software update that interfered with the display to HDMI function of my Macbook. I was not real happy about that since the reason I got the HDTV and laptop combination was to use the TV as a large monitor. I surfed the Apple forums and read that thousands of other Apple users were encountering the same problem.

I am happy to state that the latest software update has addressed the problem, and once again, I can watch HD movies and TV from the internet. Yay!

The Band at Johnny's

Photo credit - Sandi Taylor

It was fun playing at Johnny's Cathouse on Sunday as a 4 piece band. I had to step up my guitar playing a bit. We sounded full and dynamic after I turned up my amplifier, and a good time was had by all. We were asked to play there more often, and during this phase of our development, it seems like a good idea. I didn't record us, but I am happy to report that I am singing with much more power and tonal command since having my hernia repaired.
See more photos HERE

Apple Cobbler
Claim Jumper Apple Cobbler. Yum.

Basic ingredients including glasses to read instructions.

For frozen dinners and desserts
, I am really enjoying the ones from Claim Jumper. With my back situation, I can no longer stand at the counter preparing home cooked meals, so I have been trying out the various frozen dinners. Marie Calendar, Michael Angelo's, and Claim Jumper seem to taste good and sit well in my belly. Banquet, Swanson and Hungryman dinners leave me feeling unsatisfied. The available frozen veggie dinners need some improvements, but by eating a bag of steamed vegetables once or twice a week, plus the organic breakfasts, I am feeling fairly healthy these days.

Martian Crater

Photo from the Mars Orbiter

Detail showing tracks from Mars Rover. NASA/JPL

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Shoo Fly Pie - Dinah Shore

Life Is Good