Archive for July, 2009

Charlie McCarthy’s Sister Is No Dummy

July 31, 2009

Candi

Such sibling rivalry must have existed between her and Charlie, the foil to Edgar Bergen’s ventriloquism.

I always knew Candice Bergen as being a beautiful and talented actress, but she was simply stunning in her youth.  Hands down.

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Mozilla Firefox Has One Terrific Logo

July 29, 2009

big_firefox_logo

What is Mozilla? (I like their mission statement…)

They’re a global community of thousands who sincerely believe in the power of technology to enrich people’s lives.

They’re a public benefit organization dedicated not to making money but to improving the way people everywhere experience the Internet.

And they’re an open source software project whose code has been used as a platform for some of the Internet’s most innovative projects.

The common thread that runs throughout Mozilla is their belief that, as the most significant social and technological development of our time, the Internet is a public resource that must remain open and accessible to all. With this in mind, their efforts are ultimately driven by their mission of encouraging choice, innovation and opportunity online.

To achieve these goals, they use a highly transparent, extremely collaborative process that brings together thousands of dedicated volunteers around the world with their small staff of employees to coordinate the creation of products like the Firefox web browser. This process is supported by the Mozilla Corporation, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.

In the end, the Mozilla community, organization and technology is all focused on a single goal: making the Internet better for everyone.

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The Mozilla Firefox Logo is pretty cool, too. I love how the fox has a flame-like tail and is wrapped around a neutral-looking earth (no recognizable continents).  Simply superb!

Pluto Not A Planet Debate Rages On

July 28, 2009

Mightymights

Seems like people, like myself who are set in their ways, cannot adjust to demoting Pluto from being the ninth planet in our solar system…. Here is a variety of viewpoints:

Pluto is no longer a planet, according to a new official definition. Instead the icy sphere will be considered one of more than 40 “dwarf planets.”  http://www.news.nationalgeographic.com

Why is Pluto Not a Planet? The story of how Pluto lost its status as a planet. Pluto is no longer a planet, according to a new official definition. Instead the icy sphere will be considered one of more than…. http://www.universetoday.com

Space.com: Astronomers approve new guidelines under which distant Pluto is no longer defined as a planet — but the icy world’s advocates …   www.msnbc.msn.com

Pluto is still a planet. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. One reason the IAU definition makes no sense is it says dwarf planets are not planets at all! That is like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear, and it is inconsistent with the use of the term “dwarf” in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another is essentially useless. Pluto is a planet because it is spherical, meaning it is large enough to be pulled into a round shape by its own gravity–a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets, not of shapeless asteroids held together by chemical bonds. These reasons are why many astronomers, lay people, and educators are either ignoring the demotion entirely or working to get it overturned. I am a writer and amateur astronomer and proud to be one of these people. You can read more about why Pluto is a planet and worldwide efforts to overturn the demotion on my Pluto Blog at http://laurele.livejournal.com ~Laurel Kornfeld

PLUTO is not a planet,but its far better to be a Dwarf PLANET,and there are hundreds of Dwarf PLANETS in the solar system which does not resemble PLANETS. www.conradaskland.com/blog

Suddenly Pluto has been demoted from being a true planet to being a dwarf planet. Discover why the solar system just got smaller, how Pluto differs from the…  www.school.discoveryeducation.com

Pluto Demoted! Not a planet anymore?  by Chris Frantz … A dwarf planet does not meet the third condition of a planet, but it must meet a… www.infoplease.com/spot/pluto-demoted.html

Pluto the planet is dead. The baby in the solar system’s familiar nine-planet pantheon, … It did not settle on an official name for the category… www.washingtonpost.com

Pluto’s Not a Planet. It’s My Home. Welcome to eightSeven music dot com … not enough stones so i gotta stay rollin. www.eightsevenmusic.com

Pluto not a planet? WTF? I’m sorry but I’ve said this before, God made 9 planets. I heard that somewhere so its true.  www.blog.kexp.org/blog

If Pluto’s Not a Planet, Is Ketchup a Vegetable, a Fetus a Person, or Same-Sex Marriage an Oxymoron? www.writ.news.findlaw.com

As most people probably know by now, pluto is no longer a planet. I find this funny, and I actually made a t-shirt that says “PLUTO’S NOT A PLANET!” www.scratch.mit.edu/projects/KoalaBear/5197

A planet has to dominate the neighborhood around its orbit. Pluto has been demoted because it does not dominate its neighborhood… http://www.chacha.com/question/why-is-pluto-not-a-planet-anymore

“Pluto is not a planet” – well, the good people of Aschheim – a little place just outside Munich – may have known it all along. …  www.toytowngermany.com

Pluto not a planet? Oh, you mean like Rhode Island’s not a state… Pluto is not a planet. The asteroids are not planets and the hundred of thousands Pluto-like bodies that swim in the region just outside the…  www.kairosnews.org/pluto-not-a-planet-oh-you-mean-like-rhode-islands-not-a-state

Why I’m glad Pluto’s not a planet… This is a thoroughly stale topic, but it manages to come up again and again. www.mengbomin.wordpress.com/…/why-im-glad-plutos-not-a-planet

I think it is a horribly bad idea for Pluto not being a planet. I so totally think it is a dumb idea that Pluto is not a planet. The scientist people that… www.blogwaffe.com/2006/08/24/417

Pluto Not a Planet, Astronomers Rule -by Mason Inman. Pluto has been voted off the island. The distant, ice-covered world is no longer a true planet, according to a new definition of the term voted on by scientists today. “Whoa! Pluto’s dead,” said astronomer Mike Brown, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, as he watched a Webcast of the vote. “There are finally, officially, eight planets in the solar system.” In a move that’s already generating controversy and will force textbooks to be rewritten, Pluto will now be dubbed a dwarf planet. But it’s no longer part of an exclusive club, since there are more than 40 of these dwarfs, including the large asteroid Ceres and 2003 UB313, nicknamed Xena–a distant object slightly larger than Pluto discovered by Brown last year. www.pdfoxy.com/16610-pluto-not-a-planet-astronomers-rule-pdf.html

Pluto, a planet since 1930, got the boot because it didn’t meet the new rules, which say a planet not only must orbit the sun and be large… www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,210275,00.html

SciGuy: Pluto’s fate has been decided — NOT A PLANET.  Oh my, Pluto is not a planet. Please join me in opposition to discrimination against Pluto. I have set up an organization… www.blogs.chron.com/sciguy

Pluto: The Planet That Used to Be. Pluto is not only the smallest planet in the solar system, but it’s smaller than seven of the moons in the solar system (Earth’s moon; Jupiter’s Io, Europa,… www.wired.com/science

So Pluto’s not a planet. It’s an iceball. Deal. www.scottwesterfeld.com/blog

A Walking Satchel Tree

July 27, 2009

Leroy_Imagery

Robert Leroy “Satchel” Paige reportedly got his nickname in his youth from carrying passengers’ bags at the railroad station in Mobile, Alabama.  He devised a system of carrying several bags, or satchels, at once utilizing a long pole and resembled a walking satchel tree.

Paige was older than forty-two when he joined the Cleveland Indians in 1948, helping them to win the World Series. According to Negro Leaguer Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, Satchel was born on July 7, 1900.  He was forty-eight that season!

Contrary to popular belief, Satchel Paige did not win “Rookie Of The Year” honors.  In 1948, that award went to the New York Giants’ shortstop Alvin Dark.

But Robert did indeed become Satchel, and Satchel became legend.
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His six rules for staying young:
1) Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.
2) Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
3) If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
4) Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
5) Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society – the social ramble ain’t restful.
6) Avoid running at all times.
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Trunkbunker.com named Satchel Paige to be the best athlete who ever wore Number 25.

LSP CARTOON

The Holy Grail Of Coin Collecting

July 26, 2009

1909_S_VDB

As famed coin expert, Ed Reiter, points out – Few men are so prominent that people routinely refer to them – and recognize them instantly – by their initials:  FDR… JFK… LBJ… MLK.

In the world of coin collecting, one set of initials is far more familiar – and readily recognizable – than all others. The initials are “VDB” and they stand for the name of Victor David Brenner, the artist who designed the Lincoln penny.

What makes these initials famous is the fact that they appear on the rarest of all the Lincolns. The holy grail of the numismatic realm: The 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent.

The very first Lincoln cents carried Brenner’s initials in large, conspicuous letters at the base of the reverse between the wheat ear stalks, following the precedent set by James B. Longacre, whose initials “JBL” (or simply “L”) graced a number of U.S. coin designs for much of the latter half of the 19th century. Outcry arose almost at once that this outsized “signature” was not only disproportionately large but also inappropriate simply as a matter of principle.

Under public pressure, the U.S. Mint removed the offending letters soon after the start of production – after a mere 484,000 pieces had been struck with the initials at the San Francisco Mint. The “S-VDB” has been a highly sought after rarity ever since.

In 2009, the hobby is observing the 100th anniversary of this venerable and perennially popular coin. And it’s interesting to note that while the coin has given lasting fame to Victor D. Brenner, his name, in turn, has enhanced the appeal of other numismatic collectibles, as well.

This was dramatized two decades ago when a group of Brenner medals, plaquettes and related materials came up for sale at a New York City auction conducted by Bowers and Merena Galleries. They attracted strong interest and drew impressive prices.

“Items designed by Brenner are quite popular with collectors,” said well-known numismatic cataloger and scholar Michael J. Hodder, then director of research for the Wolfeboro, N.H., company.

“A medal by Brenner,” he said, “will bring perhaps 30 percent more than a medal by someone else without a coinage connection – just because Brenner designed the Lincoln cent. If the piece has a Lincoln motif, the price goes up another 40 percent. And if his name appears prominently on the medal or plaquette, then you have a REALLY saleable piece.”

The Brenner material in that auction came from the collection of the late Glenn S. Smedley, a prominent numismatist who served for many years on the board of governors of the American Numismatic Association. Smedley greatly admired Brenner’s work, and over the years he not only formed an important collection of items designed by the artist, but also wrote extensively on the subject.

In a booklet entitled “The Works of Victor David Brenner,” Smedley pointed out that the man who designed the all-American Lincoln cent was not an American by birth.

Brenner was born of Jewish parents on June 12, 1871, in Shavli, Lithuania, a small town near the Baltic Sea. His father, a metal worker, was skilled at carving and engraving – and young Victor demonstrated similar gifts at an early age.

While still in his teens, he left for America, arriving almost penniless in New York City in 1890. But he soon found a job as an engraver, and during the years that followed he sharpened his talent by attending evening classes at Cooper Union. In 1898, he went to Paris, where he spent three years studying under such leading French medalists as Alexandre Charpentier and Louis Oscar Roty.

Brenner produced a number of impressive medals during the first decade of the 1900s, and his reputation was growing as the end of the decade approached – and with it the observance, in 1909, of the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

In the year or two preceding the observance, Brenner prepared appealing portraits of Lincoln for special centennial medals and plaquettes. Then, in the summer of 1908, fate brought him in contact with President Theodore Roosevelt.

President Roosevelt was posing for a Panama Canal service medal being designed by Brenner, and the artist suggested the notion of a coin honoring Lincoln. Roosevelt invited him to furnish proposed designs – and within a matter of months, the idea became a reality.

Brenner died on April 5, 1924 and is buried at Mount Judah Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York.

As long as Lincoln cents are set aside and treasured, the initials “VDB” will always mean something special to coin collectors. This is especially true for the rarest of pennies: The 1909-S VDB.

Ed Reiter writes “Collector’s Corner” articles exclusively for Littleton Coin Company. Ed Reiter is senior editor of COINage and executive director of the Numismatic Literary Guild. Reiter wrote the weekly Numismatics column in the Sunday New York Times for nearly a decade, and is the author of a new book called The New York Times Guide to Coin Collecting. He also is former editor of Numismatic News.

The Exciting Adventures of Jonny Quest

July 25, 2009

Adv_JQ

Great Hanna-Barbera cartoon growing up. Very entertaining. I lived vicariously through Jonny’s exciting life along with his best friend, Hadji Singh, who was always chanting “Sim sim salabim!”  When once asked to spell the word “Mississippi”, Hadji responded “Do you mean the state or the river?”

Bandit was the dog.  Jonny’s father was Dr. Benton Quest, some scientist guy.  Julie Bannon came along later. The best character on the program was, without a doubt, the bodyguard and assistant Roger “Race” Bannon.

Race was awesome. He had all the snappy retorts, too. He was like a true G.I. Joe-type. Probably had government military training in special ops. He is Jessie’s father on the show and best described as being cool, quick and confident. What a macho dude.

The Game of Bottle Caps

July 24, 2009

Bottlecap_Field

Before the advent of personal computers, the internet and cable television, play was ruled out in the street.

One popular outdoor game was called “Bottle Caps.”  It was conducted on a chalk-drawn playing field and the game pieces were simply modified bottle caps.  One would place a penny inside the cap then drip hot candle wax to fill it up for added mass and weight.

The object of the game was to slide or “pling” (using catapult finger-action) your bottle cap from the numbers “1” to “12”, stopping briefly in “Deadman’s Box”, and then back to “1” again.  That’s when your cap became a “Killer Cap” and you could destroy other bottle caps just by touching them.

If you happened to land inside “Deadman’s Box” by mistake, you had to go back to “1” if ascending or back to “12” if descending, depending on which way you were headed.

Of course, the game was temporarily held up with a shout of “Heads Up!” whenever an automobile drove by.

Fa*t Food Restaurants

July 23, 2009

Burger Food Logos

That’s what they are so that’s what they should be called.

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Here are typical meals at three popular franchise restaurants and how they compare:

BK’s Whopper Sandwich, Medium Fries, and Medium Coke:
1230 Calories  /  59 Grams of Fat /  1610 mg Sodium

Mickey D’s Big Mac Sandwich, Medium Fries, and Medium Coke:
1130 Calories  /  48 Grams of Fat   /  1325 mg Sodium

Wendy’s Classic Single, Medium Fries, and Medium Coke:
1010 Calories   /  40 Grams of Fat    /  1250 mg Sodium

A packet of ketchup is an additional 10 calories.

Ummm… salad anyone?

Zodiac Sign Makeover

July 22, 2009

cancersign

Nobody likes cancer.  Neither should astrology.

I think people born between June 22nd and July 22nd should no longer be called Cancer.  Cancer is not a nice term.

The sign of the crab… Crabby is not a nice term either.

(Cut to scene from a restaurant:)
“Excuse me, do you serve crabs here?”
“Why of course, sir…. we serve anyone.”

They should be called Crustacean instead.

(Cut to scene from a bar:)
“Hey, what’s your zodiac sign?  You’re a Capricorn?
Okay, that’s cool… I’m a Crustacean.”

Crustacean works.

What If Neil Armstrong Were Gay?

July 21, 2009

Lunar Gay Landing

Okay, he’s not a homosexual. He’s a national hero for being the first astronaut to step on the surface of the moon forty years ago. But this sure would have been a funny quote if he was.

It’s not an original concept. It might have come from Rowan & Martin’s “Laugh-in” yet it still makes me chuckle every time I think about it.