Just for fun

This will be my only mention of a certain event, simply because the headgear is always so entertaining. Frankly I don’t understand how they call most of them ‘hats’.

Lovecraft fans, prepare to be infected with serious envy (only don’t look at this while eating or drinking… you have been warned).

Cthulhu Headdress

Here’s what it really looked like.

That is all.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ok people, time for a vote. How much of a deadbeat grandmother am I if I don’t want to go to my granddaughter’s fourth birthday party at the local bowling alley for two hours tomorrow? The other guests will be all friends and family of her mother’s and some mutual friends of Evil Son #2. I do not like these people, and do not want to sit around a bowling alley with them for two hours. Think “Clampetts” only with less class and not as nice. We have nothing in common, nothing to say to eachother, even my son doesn’t like most of her family.  However, I’m afraid my son will be very disappointed since I’m the only family he’s got here (except his brother who will be working and unable to attend). Do I tough it out for an hour? I can’t do the whole two hours, I’d have to kill myself.

Reinventing the Zodiac

Have you heard there’s a new zodiac sign? That’s right, Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer.

You can see a larger picture here.

So how did this happen? Well, according to this article at The Christian Science Monitor, Ophiuchus should have been there all along. The ancients simply discarded it (not sure why, maybe they didn’t like the number 13?). However, some astrologers do take it into account. Ophiuchus lies on the ecliptic (the imaginary line that the sun crosses) and is sometimes used by astrologers. The Japanese have acknowledged it, it’s fairly common there. There seem to be two symbols for it:


Even without Ophiuchus, the signs are in very different locations due to the Earth’s precession (wobble on its axis) than they were 2000 years ago. This is not news, many people know this, astrologers included. I’m not an astrologer, so why this hasn’t previously been taken into account I can’t answer.

Here’s how it shakes out now, with precession added into the equation:

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.

Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.

Pisces: March 11-April 18.

Aries: April 18-May 13.

Taurus: May 13-June 21.

Gemini: June 21-July 20.

Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.

Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.

Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.

Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.

Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.

Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17.

Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.

I just became a Cancer.

Update 1/15/2011: People sure got het up about all this. New article in the Houston Chronicle says the whole thing was a class project for Parke Kunkle. MSNBC has more in their Cosmic Log.

Veteran’s Day

Just a quick post to give a shout-out to all our men and women in uniform, currently serving or with prior service. Be well, be safe, thanks to all my old shipmates for the camaraderie and everything I learned and gained from you.

Here’s a photo of my dad in WWII:

And this is my great-uncle Stephen, Dad’s uncle on his dad’s side. He was a medic in WWI.

Uncle Stephen’s brother Michael also served in the Great War, but to my knowledge there are no photos of him. He died in the Rouge Bouquet Bunker bombardment, part of the Fighting 69th, in which the poet Joyce Kilmer also served. After the war ended, Stephen went back to France to find his brother’s final resting place. A cousin of mine (second cousin) tells me he has been in touch with the 69th, and to this day, Kilmer’s poem is read at all military funerals of the members of the 69th. The movie, “The Fighting 69th” starring Jimmy Cagney, depicted this unit.

The Fighting 69th

Image via Wikipedia

Here is the poem, for those who don’t click through to the site:

Rouge Bouquet
by Joyce Kilmer

In a wood they call Rouge Bouquet
There is a new-made grave today,
Built by never a spade nor pick
Yet covered with earth 10 meters thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
Nor taste the Summertime.
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay.
He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
And fled away.
Now over the grave abrupt and clear
Three volleys ring;
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
The bugles sing:
“Go to sleep!
Go to sleep!
Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell.
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger’s past;
Now at last,
Go to sleep!”

There is on earth no worthier grave
To hold the bodies of the brave
Than this place of pain and pride
Where they nobly fought and nobly died.
Never fear but in the skies
Saints and angels stand
Smiling with their holy eyes
On this new-come band.
St. Michael’s sword darts through the air
and touches the aureole on his hair
As he sees them stand saluting there,
His stalwart sons:
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still
The Gael’s blood runs.
And up to Heaven’s doorway floats,
From the wood called Rouge Bouquet,
A delicate cloud of bugle notes
That softly say:
Comrades true, born anew, peace to you!
Your souls shall be where the heroes are
And your memory shine like the morning-star.
Brave and dear,
Shield us here.

Pull Over and Stop for Emergency Vehicles

So guess what prompted this? That’s right, an accident on the way to work this morning. No, not me, I’m fine (saints be praised).

About halfway to work this morning, I was stopped at a light that I am often stopped at, and observed a car on the cross street to my left backing up from the intersection… and backing up… and I wondered what the hell he was doing. At first I figured he (or she, couldn’t see from where I was) forgot something at home and was going to back down the short street to their driveway. Until the landscaper’s truck in front of me suddenly pulled into the left turn lane when the light changed, and I saw in front of him, two cars up, a motorcyclist lying on the ground. The bike had been at the front of the line at the light, and the car behind him had hit the bike. There was a jeep behind that car, and two people standing around next to the biker on the ground. The man was on his cell phone, the woman (older woman with short gray hair, I’m assuming she was the one who hit the motorcycle since she didn’t look like the type to drive an open jeep with a roll bar) was just sort of standing there next to him. I don’t know exactly what kind of bike it was, just that it was one of those flashy red ‘crotch-rocket’ types. The motorcyclist still had his helmet on, but didn’t seem to be moving much. It must have happened only minutes before, there were no emergency vehicles yet.

So I slowly went on by, rattled and trying to think of everyone I know at work who rides a bike, hoping it wasn’t them. I rounded the curve and stopped at the next light, and was relieved to see a police car heading in the direction of the accident (no lights and sirens, though, so apparently just happened to be in the area and not responding specifically to the accident, but still trained help was close). A little further down the road and another police car, lights and sirens on, went by, and most folks dutifully pulled way over out of the way (most of us in that line of traffic had gone by the accident). About a mile down the road I make a turn, and as I came up to that light and got into the right turn lane, I saw the ambulance coming. Here’s where I saw something I never saw before.

Not only did the first car in line at the light go straight (east) through the intersection, straight at the on-coming ambulance, there was no attempt to slow down or pull over. He kept straight on in the lane and only swerved at the last second to avoid the ambulance as it was pulling to the center to get around traffic in the west-bound left-turn lane. He never even braked. It was a little white car, not sure what it was and didn’t get his plates. If he had hit head-on with the ambulance…

THEN, as I sat there horrified at what I had just seen, the SUV the ambulance was trying to get around in that aforesaid left-turn lane, waiting to make a left turn onto the road I was turning onto, WENT AHEAD AND MADE THE TURN, cutting off the ambulance. Two near misses in about 1/10th of a mile. All on the way to help an injured motorcyclist.

PEOPLE. FUCKING PAY ATTENTION OUT THERE. Check your mirrors, it’s your responsibility to be aware of everything on the road around you. Sure, my windows were up, the music was turned up, I had the sun in my eyes, but I managed to see and stop for both the police car and the ambulance. It doesn’t matter which side of the road you’re on, which direction you were planning to turn. When you see lights and hear sirens (and you better be seeing and hearing them) YOU PULL OVER AND STOP.


So there, I said it.

Happy Birthday to Gerald Finzi

Gerald Finzi, 1940s

Gerald Finzi, 1940s

Born today in 1901, he was a 20th century British composer of classical music. If you haven’t heard his music, start with the “Eclogue”, a lush, romantic piece. It breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. This was the first piece of his I heard, and fell in love with it.

The Romance in E Flat Major, Opus 11 is another favorite of mine. This is quintessential English romantic music, soothing, lush, melodic.

From GeraldFinzi.org:

Gerald Finzi – 20th century English composer, renowned for inspired, flexible Thomas Hardy verse settings and lyrical instrumental style. Lover of reading, collector of books, conservationist – whether of 18th century music or apples: scholar, aesthete, stalwart citizen – directing amateur music-making, hosting war evacuees. Cherished husband of Joy, artist and poet.

He claimed Ralph Vaughan Williams as a friend, a relationship that originated when Finzi wrote to VW to ask permission to use a folktune that VW had collected during a trip to Herefordshire in 1912. Active in the war effort during WWII, he opened his home to German and Czech refugees.

Tragically, he died on September 27, 1956 of Hodgkins Disease.

Vote for Oil Independence

Oceana.org is proposing a plan to reduce oil consumption, and virtually eliminate off-shore drilling and oil imports from the Persian Gulf by 2035. They are one of three finalists for a $10,000 prize, to be awarded by SACE – Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. You can read all the proposals, watch their presentations, and cast your vote here. You don’t need to live in the Southern U.S. to vote, this will affect us ALL.

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It’s time for the United States to have a strong vision to move to a clean energy economy. And we have a plan that can help make that happen.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is hosting the Clean Energy Gulf Challenge and Oceana is one of three finalists. Oceana Vision 2020 aims to eliminate the need for offshore oil drilling and oil imports from the Persian Gulf while moving towards cleaner energy solutions.

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