February 2, 2012 archive

Feb 02

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

These featured articles-

This is an Open Thread

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Feb 02

Cartnoon

Lumber Jerks

Feb 02

if you can’t laugh with me….

(Disclaimer:  This is a hilarious story, but eating while reading it is not suggested.  Strongly suggested. Heh ­čÖé

Photobucket… feel free to laugh at me.  I do.  All the time.

So far? 2012 hasn’t been sterling or anything. I mean, I did discover I had a heart again for a moment which is a good thing.  Then I discovered shortly thereafter it could be broken.  I had forgotten that part too. Even Goddesses have to relearn caution, humans can be mean things, even stalking things. EWWW! Enough about that.

So, today I turned 49.  Didn’t see my shadow or anything; the reflection in the mirror of the morning face was quite enough. Yeah, I could crawl back in bed for 6 more weeks, but that would require a store of batteries I can’t quite afford. LOL.

But I didn’t come here to talk about that.  I came to talk about my Birthday Eve, the closing moments of my life as a 48 year old.

Its a funny story.  Click through, you need the laugh, you know you do.

Feb 02

rAw content: LMAO

Photobucket

cross posted at writing in the rAw

Feb 02

On This Day In History February 2

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

February 2 is the 33rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 332 days remaining until the end of the year (333 in leap years).

On this day in 1925, dog sleds reach Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod race.

During the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the “Great Race of Mercy,” 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles (1,085 km) by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in a record-breaking five and a half days, saving the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic. Both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the newly popular medium of radio, and received headline coverage in newspapers across the United States. Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin, and his statue is a popular tourist attraction in New York City’s Central Park. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease.

The sled dog was the primary means of transportation and communication in subarctic communities around the world, and the race became both the last great hurrah and the most famous event in the history of mushing, before first aircraft in the 1930s and then the snowmobile in the 1960s drove the dog sled almost into extinction. The resurgence of recreational mushing in Alaska since the 1970s is a direct result of the tremendous popularity of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which honors the history of dog mushing with many traditions that commemorate the serum run.

Epidemic

The only doctor in Nome and the surrounding communities was Curtis Welch, who was supported by four nurses at the 24-bed Maynard Columbus Hospital. In the summer of 1924, his supply of 80,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin (from 1918) expired, but the order he placed with the health commissioner in Juneau did not arrive before the port closed.

Shortly after the departure of the last ship of the year, the Alameda,[when?] a two-year-old Alaska Native from the nearby village of Holy Cross became the first to display symptoms of diphtheria. Welch diagnosed it as tonsillitis, dismissing diphtheria because no one else in the child’s family or village showed signs of the disease, which is extremely contagious and can survive for weeks outside the body. The child died the next morning, and an abnormally large number of cases of tonsillitis were diagnosed through December, including another fatality on December 28, which is rare. The child’s mother refused to allow an autopsy. Two more Alaska Native children died, and on January 20 the first case of diphtheria was diagnosed in three-year-old Bill Barnett, who had the characteristic grayish lesions on his throat and in his nasal membranes. Welch did not administer the antitoxin, because he was worried the expired batch might weaken the boy, who died the next day.

On January 21, seven-year-old Bessie Stanley was diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, and was injected with 6,000 units of antitoxin. She died later that day. The same evening, Welch called Mayor George Maynard, and arranged an emergency town council meeting. Welch announced he needed at least one million units to stave off an epidemic. The council immediately implemented a quarantine, and Emily Morgan was appointed Quarantine Nurse.

On January 22, 1925, Welch sent a radio telegram via the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System and alerted all major towns in Alaska including the governor in Juneau of the public health risk. A second to the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington, D.C. read:

“An epidemic of diphtheria is almost inevitable here STOP I am in urgent need of one million units of diphtheria antitoxin STOP Mail is only form of transportation STOP I have made application to Commissioner of Health of the Territories for antitoxin already STOP There are about 3000 white natives in the district”

Wings versus paws

At the January 24 meeting of the board of health superintendent Mark Summers of the Hammon Consolidated Gold Fields proposed a dogsled relay, using two fast teams. One would start at Nenana and the other at Nome, and they would meet at Nulato. His employee, the Norwegian Leonhard Seppala, was the obvious and only choice for the 630-mile (1,014 km) round trip from Nome to Nulato and back. He had previously made the run from Nome to Nulato in a record-breaking four days, won the All-Alaska Sweepstakes three times, and had become something of a legend for his athletic ability and rapport with his Siberian huskies. His lead dog Togo was equally famous for his leadership, intelligence, and ability to sense danger.

Mayor Maynard proposed flying the antitoxin by aircraft. In February 1924, the first winter aircraft flight in Alaska had been conducted between Fairbanks and McGrath by Carl Eielson, who flew a reliable De Havilland DH-4 issued by the U.S. Post Office on 8 experimental trips. The longest flight was only 260 miles (420 km), the worst conditions were – 10 F (- 23 C) which required so much winter clothing that the plane was almost unflyable, and the plane made several crash landings.

Aftermath

The death toll is officially listed as either 5, 6, or 7, but Welch later estimated there were probably at least 100 additional cases among “the Eskimo camps outside the city. The Natives have a habit of burying their children without reporting the death.” Forty-three new cases were diagnosed in 1926, but they were easily managed with the fresh supply of serum. (Salisbury, 2003, footnotes on page 235 and 243)

All participants received letters of commendation from President Calvin Coolidge, and the Senate stopped work to recognize the event. Each musher during the first relay received a gold medal from the H. K. Mulford company, and the territory awarded them each USD $25. Poems and letters from children poured in, and spontaneous fund raising campaigns sprang up around the country.

Gunnar Kaasen and his team became celebrities and toured the West Coast from February 1925 to February 1926, and even starred in a 30-minute film entitled Balto’s Race to Nome. A statue of Balto by Frederick Roth was unveiled in New York City’s Central Park during a visit on December 15, 1925. Balto and the other dogs became part of a sideshow and lived in horrible conditions until they were rescued by George Kimble and fund raising campaign by the children of Cleveland, Ohio. On March 19, 1927, Balto received a hero’s welcome as they arrived at their permanent home at the Cleveland Zoo. Because of age, Balto was euthanised on March 14, 1933 at the age of 14. He was mounted and placed on display in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Feb 02

Obama’s War on the Internet: Trans-Pacific Partnership

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Just when you thought that the Obama administration’s assault on the Internet and his plan to censor free speech and creativity couldn’t be worse, Obama gets more creative. Meet the “son of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)”, the Trans-Pacific Partnership which could impose even stricter provisions than ACTA.

From TechDirt

… we were noting calls from the industry for the USTR (US Trade Representative) to negotiate a hardline in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which involves a bunch of Pacific Rim countries …

Apparently, the US government has already indicated that it will not allow any form of weakening of intellectual property law for any reason whatsoever in this agreement. In fact, the USTR has directly said that it will only allow for “harmonizing” intellectual property regulations “strictly upwards,” meaning greater protectionism. Given the mounds of evidence suggesting that over protection via such laws is damaging to the economy, this is immensely troubling, and once again shows how the USTR is making policy by ignoring data. This is scary.

Both ACTA and TPP are backed by the US Business Coalition whose members include the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Motion Picture Association of America. There’s that guy Dodd again. These are some of the issues that they want TPP to address and how they would effect you and the Internet. Rashmi Rangnath rrom the policy blog Public Knowledge highlights the demands:

  • Temporary copies: The US Business Coalition paper urges TPP countries to include a provision requiring protection for temporary copies. Temporary copies are copies made when you access webpages, or music, or any other content on the Internet. In addition, your computer makes transient copies, such a buffer copies, in the course of replaying such content. These copies have no value independent of the ultimate use they facilitate – your viewing of the movie or listening to the music. Treating them as worthy of copyright protection allows rights holders to claim additional rents where none are due.
  • Circumvention of digital locks: The paper urges TPP countries to prevent circumvention of digital locks. The WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) were the first international instruments to impose this obligation on countries. Within the U.S., these treaties were cited as the reason for the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The harms caused by the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions have been well documented. In a nutshell, while on the one hand the DMCA attempts to prevent copyright infringement by prohibiting an infringer from breaking digital locks (ex: locks used on DVDs) on the other hand, it also prevents lawful uses (ex: preventing you from breaking the locks on the DVD you purchased to play it on your computer running on Linux).
  • Copyright terms: The paper urges the TPP to provide for longer copyright terms. Current copyright term in the U.S. is life of the author plus 70 years. The TRIPS agreement, which is the baseline IP agreement to which most countries adhere, requires a copyright protection for life of the author plus 50 years. …

    Too often, copyright owners lose interest in works whose commercial lives have ended; works become obscure; and historians, educators and documentarians interested in using the work cannot do so because they cannot find the owner to seek permission to use the work. All of this warrants a reassessment of the proper copyright term, not an extension of current copyright terms.
  • Statutory damages: The paper urges TPP to include a provision on statutory damages, ostensibly similar to the U.S. statutory damages regime. As PK and its allies have pointed out, the U.S. statutory damages regime has led to excessively large damages awards. This regime has resulted in discouraging reliance on fair use thereby stifling innovation because of the threat of a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

The coalition suggests many other worrisome provisions such as requiring ISPs to act as copyright cops and treating individual infringers with the same severity as large-scale pirates.

The author of this article makes particular note that the Obama administration has been very careful not to share the text of the “agreement with the public while it was given to the corporate insiders and the nations involved in the negotiations.

What was that President Obama said about “transparency”? Is this what he means when he says that he values the Constitution?  

Feb 02

Imbolc: First Light in the Dark of Winter

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

What a difference from last year to this. The weather has been unseasonably warm with only one minor snow event since the Winter Solstice here in the Northeast. Already the tips of early spring flowers are pushing up through the mulch. As was observed by our friend, davidseth, mud season has already arrived.

Reposted from January 31, 2011

Although you’d never know it if you looked out your window here in the Northeast and throughout a good part of the northern hemisphere, we are nearing the midpoint between winter solstice and the vernal equinox. The Sun is noticeably rising earlier and setting later. It is a pleasure to take my early morning shower in daylight and start dinner preparation with daylight still illuminating the kitchen. There are seed catalogs arriving in the mail which has me contemplating the flower beds, the herb garden and maybe this year some vegetables.

In the traditions of Pagan and Wiccan religions, we celebrate this changing season as Imbolc, or Candlemas, which begins on January 31st, February Eve, and ends on February 2nd, a time of rebirth and healing. Imbolc is one of the eight Wiccan Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year, one of the four cross-quarter fire festivals. Brighid, the patroness of poetry and healing, is the Pagan Goddess associated with Imbolc.

Some of the traditions are the lighting of fires, decorating with red and white symbolizing the snow and the rising sun and green for new growth. Candles are lit in all the rooms of the house. Fires places and hearths are cleaned out of ashes and fires are lit. Since there is still snow drifts in my backyard, the fireplace will be just fine.

The symbols are ewes and lambs since Imbolc is derived from a Celtic word, “oimelc”, meaning ewe’s milk. Many of the foods that are serves are lamb, cheese, poppyseed muffins, cakes and breads. Dishes are seasoned with bay leaves and dried basil.

In rural places where farming is still a way of life, ploughs are decorated with flowers and then doused with whiskey. I know most of us have better things to do with whiskey. Sometimes the plough is dragged from door to door by costumed children asking for food and money, a kind of wintry “trick or treat”. Some traditional gifts, if your going to a friends house to celebrate, are garden tools, seeds and bulbs.

The Maiden is also honored as the “Bride” on this Sabbat. Straw corn dollies are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. The older women make special acorn wands for the dollies to hold. The wands are sometimes burned in the fireplace and in the morning, the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. A new corn broom is place by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new.

Non-Pagans celebrate February 2nd as Ground Hog’s Day, a day to predict the coming weather, telling us that if the Groundhog sees his shadow, there will be ‘six more weeks’ of bad weather. It actually has ancient roots, weather divination was common to Imbolc, and the weather of early February was long held to be a harbinger of spring. On Imbolc, the crone Cailleach‘s grip of winter begins to loosen. She goes forth in search of kindling so that she may keep her fires burning and extend the winter a little longer. If Imbolc is rainy and cloudy, she will find nothing but twigs unsuitable for burning and will be unable to prolong the winter. If the day is dry and kindling is abundant, she will have plenty of fuel to feed her fire and prolong the cold of winter. Spring will be very far away. As an old British rhyme tells us that, “If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.”

Whatever you celebrate or believe, let us all hope that that the local groundhog doesn’t see his shadow and there is only one winter this year. I have nowhere else to pile the snow.

Blessed Be.

Feb 02

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Masked Vision

Feb 02

Late Night Karaoke

Feb 02

Oh my darling

At one point in the “arts festival” at my 4th grade nephew’s parochial school, after much memorized traditional poetry and what-not, including “the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” musket-balls and all (I thought the sisters would go more Gerald Manley Hopkins-ish, Wreck of the Deutschland, the drowning nun christening her wild-worst Best,  or the many dappled things of Pied Beauty, or something, but I suppose the festival was pure Americana at heart), the kids sang, “Oh my darling, Clementine,” a story about a miner whose daughter falls down some gold-sluice, or something; he can’t swim and just watches her go under.  There are definitely “levels” to the grief contained in that little ditty, e.g., “Clementine’s” presumed narrator-lover and little sister can go Elvis themselves, with respect to the “grief aspect,” which I’m sure they did, and god bless, really, but “I’d help, but I can’t swim,” says Pops?  There is an obvious logic to his inaction, also, of course, which only adds to the grief.  I hear my nephew sing that song through the walls, and my Colbertian gut tells me that the Silesian Sisters knew exactly what they were doing (to the parents) when they taught the kids to sing that song about “roses fertilized by Clementine” to the big folk.  Just a guess.

Feb 02

How Americans Lost America

I suburban baby boomer, a kid during JFKs “Camelot” years relates to the engineered deliberate destruction of America, the social engineering which brought us here.  Strange mood tonight for these strange times.

Quite definite I have lost my house and will surely drain the lifesavings over a bizzare Khafkaesque Superior Court case.  There are no small towns anymore.  Places in which everybody knows your name.  A forced retirement too soon.  Dad died.  My horse died along with dreams of buying a horse farm.  A dead end job at what used to be a premier defense company.  Daily observations of people, no not really people but bots, zombies of varied types.  They are “just doing their job”.

They wear ideals on their sleaves.  Not really standing for anything save the trivialities given to them from an electronic box in their living room.  Ten years of this cancer, that surreal Steven King Wars of Error 911 police state horror movie that never ends.  It’s woven into the destructive fabric of a rotting Dmitry Orlov deliberate planned post industrial future dystopia.

“Have a Good One”?  How about just saying Fuck you too.  I’d appreciate some honesty for a change.

Bring it 2012.  Let me please light the match.  Let the poles reverse.  Let the sunspots take out every, every single piece of silicon globally.  Maybe after the rage wears off I will regain some semblance of coherent thought pattern but right now.  Nah, I just don’t feel the love.  The abnormal has been normalized for far too long.

waronAmerica.com  Meh, probably too late for a website.

Feb 02

My Little Town 20120201: Raising Children Then and Now

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

There is tremendous betwixt how children were raised 50 years ago and now, whether in a little town or a large city.  Tonight we shall contrast how I was raised to how children today are.  I am not talking so much about the cultural evolution as I am the technology available, but the two are quite entangled.

This is going to be sort of a stream of consciousness set of recollections about how we did things back when I was little and how it is done now.  Most of the topics are everyday activities that families do routinely.