Thursday, December 28, 2006

Valley Advocate Attacks Fat Folks - And You Loser Drug Addicts, Too

In a shocking display of bitter hatred that many liberals oftentimes insist only the Right possesses, the Valley Advocate has unleashed a scathing little critique of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh in its end-of-the-year "Halos and Horns" issue (Dec. 28, page 15), which I myself found rather amusing. In their brief tirade against him, they label Limbaugh a "fat, homophobic, drug-addicted, hypocritical windbag" for mocking the handicapped - namely Michael J. Fox. (On one of his radio shows, Limbaugh had accused Fox of exaggerating the affects of his Parkinsons Disease in TV commercials lobbying for federally-funded stem cell research.)

But aren't the liberal folks over at the Advocate being a tad insensitive themselves by referring to Limbaugh as "fat" and "drug addicted" in a derogatory context? After all, if you're going to complain about someone being mean-spirited, it hardly helps your case to sound every bit as crude and harsh as you say he or she is.

The last time someone publicly referred to someone as "fat" in these parts, it was WRKO radio show host John DePetro, who was fired for calling former gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a fat lesbian. That was so insensitive of him. But his actual quote - "will someone tell that fat lesbian to shut up" - is similar in context to the Advocate's own written assaults on Limbaugh, not to mention VA editor Alan Bisbort's own routine, often ridiculous, but sometimes hysterical, hate-filled rants against Republican politicians in general and President George Bush in particular.

Apparently, however, making fun of someone's physical failings is only wrong if you happen to be a conservative. Liberals can laugh it up about someone's looks, education, and speaking skills as much as their bleeding hearts desire. And sheesh, VA editors, whatever happened to that caring display of sympathy and understanding when it comes to a person with a drug addiction? Oh well, I guess the same rule applies.

Or am I just being insensitive?

* *

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Elusive Live Giant Squid Caught on Film

A living Giant Squid has been captured on film by a Japanese research team. This is very significant because, while many giant squid carcasses have been recovered and photographed, this marks perhaps the first time that one of these creatures has ever been imaged while still alive. See below.

TOKYO (AP) -- A Japanese research team has succeeded in filming a giant squid live -- possibly for the first time -- and says the elusive creatures may be more plentiful than previously believed, a researcher said Friday.

The research team, led by Tsunemi Kubodera, videotaped the giant squid at the surface as they captured it off the Ogasawara Islands south of Tokyo earlier this month. The squid, which measured about 24-feet long, died while it was being caught.

“We believe this is the first time anyone has successfully filmed a giant squid that was alive,'' said Kubodera, a researcher with Japan's National Science Museum. “Now that we know where to find them, we think we can be more successful at studying them in the future.''

Giant squid, formally called Architeuthis, are the world's largest invertebrates. Because they live in the depths of the ocean, they have long been wrapped in mystery and embellished in the folklore of sea monsters, appearing in ancient Greek myths or attacking the submarine in Jules Verne's “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.''

- Story here

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Well, What Do Ya Know...

I have one of those "answer" books you're likely to find at book fairs and such. It's one of those easy-to-edit, easy-to-sell texts that publishers like to put out for predictable sales. I got my book at one of those discount book sale outlets that you see inside shopping malls. Mine is about general science, and it's loaded with little factoids of knowledge about everything from the atmospheric makeup of the earth to who invented bifocal lenses (Benjamin Franklin, in 1784). Unfortunately, it's also about ten years old, so I could use an updated version. But for now, let's use it to take a little stroll down Trivial Knowledge Lane, shall we?

NOTE: I've also decided to sprinkle in a couple of my own little nuggets of wisdom. See if you can weed out my personal observations from those that science has to offer.

- What weighs more - a pound of gold or a pound of feathers?
Gold is measured in troy pounds, of which there are 12 ounces per pound. Standard pounds (avoirdupois pounds) have 16 ounces per pound. So the feathers would be heavier.

- Why do some folks get runny noses while eating?
This happens because eating can stimulate the release of acetylcholine, which causes an increase in production of nasal mucus (as well as saliva and stomach acid). And the spicier the food, the more one's nose tends to run.

- Why do some people talk so [damn] much?
Because they have nothing at all to think about: Empty head, loaded mouth. There is nothing on their minds to ponder or philosophize about. No questions swirling inside, no puzzles to solve or issues in life to deconstruct. To such people, a silent room is unacceptable. They need to fill it with speech. The result is a rather unfortunate (for their listeners) and unbelievably unending, uninterrupted monologue of ranting about anything from the day's latest news to the previous year's weather. The only way to prevent such an experience is to remove one's self from the environment entirely, and even then the offender may follow along - as it rarely occurs to him that you are attempting to flee.

- How much does human hair grow in one year?
Each hair can grow about nine inches per year.

- Who made the first golf shot on the moon?
That would be Alan Shepard, the commander of Apollo 14. And like a true hacker, he duffed his first attempt - missing the ball entirely.

- What was the first monkey in space?
A squirrel monkey named Old Reliable was sent up into space on December 12, 1958 (but not into orbit). Unfortunaly for O.R., his space vehicle was not-so reliable, and the little guy drowned during recovery in the ocean.

- Are some types of women more likely to be nags than others?
Contrary to what some people may assume, there is no evidence that points to any one type of woman becoming a nag. And although all women have within them the potential to be nags, the term is more commonly used by husbands in reference to their bothersome wives.

- Will birds reject their chicks if they have been touched by humans?
Generally speaking, it will not matter. The best action to take with a fallen newborn bird is to locate its nest and return it there as quickly as possible.

- What is a kissing bridge?
A bridge with a roof and wooden sides, so called because it allowed for couples to not be viewed from outside.

- How many gallons are in a barrel of crude oil?
42 U.S. gallons.

Feel smarter now?

* *

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Parker Street Blues

Driving up Parker Street in Springfield, MA, and showing once more that a good day for one person can be a bummer day for another.

* *

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Stopping by Louie's Auto Body

This is a video of the apparently long-defunct "Louie's Auto Body," located on East Columbus Avenue, in Springfield, MA. This closed shop faces Interstate 91 (northbound), and is a good example of the ugly that Springfield presents to visitors and passers-by.

Just after I shot this video, I was walking past a "resident-at-large" when he called out to me; "Hey - you got 50 cents for me? Merry Christmas!" As I stopped to look to him, he started to walk forward. I put up a hand, gesturing for him to hold up. "I've got nothing for ya, guy," I said. Then I turned around again and continued on my way. I get quizzed for money routinely as I take my walks around the city. They almost always ask for 50 cents. Personally, I think it is rude to ask for money from strangers. But I understand, too, that there are a few folks around these parts who honestly think I'm the rude guy for not coughing up the change. Welcome to Western Massachusetts.


Red State Voices

I received a request via e-mail to get out the word on the below project. It seems like it could be pretty interesting, so here it is:

Red State Voices, a film by Neal Weiner will be showing on Vermont
Public Television at 10pm on December 22nd 2006

America is in the midst of a social and political crisis rooted in conflicting ideologies. Whichever side of the fence your on, this documentary is the perfect first step towards mutual understanding and a dialogue that might bring reconciliation and progress. Red State Voices explores the thoughts and attitudes of those who have been demonized by the left, glorified by the right, and trivialized by the media. They turned the 2004 election for Bush. Bigots? Zealots? Dupes? A philosophy professor from blue Vermont goes south to find out who these people really are. He questions 10 of them - black and white; men and women; secular, Christian and Jewish. They talk about abortion, homosexuality, and gender; relativism, tolerance, selfishness, and freedom. These articulate people allow the camera into their homes. We see their kitchens, their books, the pictures on their walls. The results may not change your mind, but they are likely to surprise you.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

FLASH! Adult Store To Open in Northampton

It's over.

In a climactic ending to a stirring, emotional, and heated battle, Capital Video has finally won approval by the Planning Board of Northampton to open an adult store in that town.

Jeeee-zum crow. Big deal. Few times in our local history has so much press been dedicated to such a ridiculously silly story. So now there's an adult store in Northampton. Of all places! My God, will the shocking unfolding of events never cease?

Who cares? So now the pervs are supposedly going to be hanging out at the local adult video store, trolling for victims? Is that what they do at adult stores in other towns? If this store is as unwanted as its opponents apparently insist it is, they should have just let it open months ago. It may well have gone out of business by now.

As it is now, some folks will probably be checking it off on their "to visit" list just to see what all of the hubub was about.

Or not. Because, as I've mentioned previously........



Friday, December 15, 2006

PC Gestapo Strikes Again

The arrogance of Political Correctness struck again recently when a city employee in Riverside, CA, took it upon herself to silence a choir troupe singing Christmas carols because she wanted to be "sensitive" to their guest, ice skating champ Sasha Cohen, who is half Jewish. The fool neglected to ask Cohen herself, however, if the carols bothered her. Had she done so, she would have known that Cohen celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, and had no issues at all with the choir.

This is exactly the problem with the progressive PC police. They simply assume people will be insulted or made uncomfortable without even ever asking the supposed "victims" how they feel. In this case, the city employee stepped out-of-bounds and should have conferred with a supervisor, if not Cohen herself.



No Room for Jesus at the Manger

Springfield, MA's, Nativity Scene across from City Hall is conspicuous in its missing baby Jesus. Everyone else is there: The people, the animals, the sets. But no baby Jesus. One would think that could be remedied rather quickly. But we are, after all, in Springfield, where the city's vagrants have determined there will be no benches in Court Square (due to their use of them as cots). I guess if the baby Jesus was replaced, some jerk would probably just steal it and try to sell it for drug money, anyway...

Meanwhile, we have the "Arrange the Nativity Scene" for children. Adults can play with it, too.

* *

Good & Bad Sights of Springfield, MA

Springfield, MA, has many good sights and many other not-so-good sights. Oftentimes, they are side by side. This is a short video of a walk through downtown Springfield to check out a few of these contrasting views of the city. (More to follow in coming weeks.)

* *

Thursday, December 14, 2006

So Many Things to Dislike....

- I hate snow. I've just got no use for it. Planets with no life, no air, and no water still can have snow. Just an FYI...

- I dislike it when people promise nothing but good stuff, only to deliver nothing at all.

- I dislike it when people believe people who promise nothing but good stuff.

- I don't like maple flavored bacon. At all.

- I dislike mercury (both the substance and the planet).

- I dislike Al Gore. Sorry.

- I dislike a few Muslims, and I distrust most of them. I have to admit, when a Muslim man or woman walks by, it does dawn on me that I may have to duck quickly. You are, after all, what your most vocal members say you are.

- I dislike people who never smile. You only live once.... lighten up!

- I dislike Pat Robertson.

- I dislike politically correct speech and behavior. It is as a big a lie as any other gesture made simply to appease or please others.

- I dislike racial quotas and preferences. It was wrong when whites did it to blacks, and it is equally wrong now that set-asides work the other way around. Some folks may smile and call it "payback." I call it an injustice and wrong. It is unfair to qualified whites, and it is an insult to minorities because it implies they are incapable of attaining success on their own merits. All of society suffers when unqualified persons get jobs based merely on the color of their skin.

- I dislike it when people accuse me of being wrong about something when the subject is a matter of opinion (there is no "right" or "wrong"). It's like me saying I don't like peach ice cream, and then someone saying "you don't know what you're talking about."

- I dislike being wrong, too. But stuff happens.

* *

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Video: Fetching Golf Balls

Searching for next golf season's practice balls...


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tommy Devine

I just wanted to send back a "Thank You" post to Tommy Devine over at his Online Journal. Tommy mentioned my recent videos, and I appreciate that.

Tom has been reporting on the local & regional political scene for years and years and years and years and years and years and years and years. Many, many years, in fact. His independent viewpoints are a refreshing departure from the usual "progressive" dogma of the Western Massachusetts political and social scene. (I have always been uncomfortable with using the word "refreshing," but this would seem to be the post to use it.)

Tom's Baystate Objectivist was a thorn in the side of local Important Folks for quite some time before morphing into its current online rendition.

Thanks for the mention Tom. Right back at ya!


Friday, December 08, 2006

A Stroll Along Riverfront Park (Springfield, MA)

Just a brief stroll along Springfield, MA's, Riverfront Park. The riverfront has definitely seen better times. The only people I saw were a couple of guys pimping smokes (one of whom simply could not believe me when I told him I didn't smoke), a couple of joggers, and a guy on a bike.

NOTE: I reference the movie, "The Reincarnation of Peter Proud," in the video, and I mentioned the lead actor as being Peter Fonda. But I was corrected on that by a commentor (see comments, below): "It was Michael Sarrazin, not Peter Fonda in "The Reincarnation of Peter Proud", quite a few Springfield landmarks in the film."

Well, here it is:

* *

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Planet Mars May Have Water

In a very good news development, researchers examining satellite photos of Mars recently taken from the currently-MIA Mars Global Surveyor have compared them with identical images taken over five years ago and have found signs of movement of the landscape that could be indicative of water. That's great news for Mars lovers like me.

NASA photos

This of course increases the possibility of there being current life on Mars - IF the surface changes are due to water. Now, just to calm you space rookies out there, we are not talking about little green men with antennae on their heads. Even microbial life found underneath the arid surface of Mars would be a historic event.

Water on Mars would also mean that future human missions could use it for nourishment, growing plants, and creating fuel.

Just think, by this time next century, we could have soda cans and candy wrappers littering the surface of our sister world!

Exciting news!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

First Snow for Springfield, MA - 2006

Well, it turned out to be a dud, but Springfield has seen its first snowfall...


Springfield's Tosado Sides with Sex Offenders

Apparently confused about the difference between right and wrong, Springfield, MA, City Council President Jose Tosado has taken up the cause of sex offenders living in the city. From a Dec. 4th article in the Springfield Republican: Council President Jose F. Tosado said it was unfair to target registered sex offenders with residency prohibitions... "We are going after different parts of the population, people who don't have a voice. Where do we draw the line?"

Asked to elaborate later, Tosado said the City Council with the sex-offender measure was going after those who already have paid for their offenses.

"I don't like the direction this council is going in," he said.

Message to Mr. Tosado: Pedophiles do not "learn their lesson" - they do not change their minds about how they feel towards children. They are sexually attracted to young kids. Period. Spending three, five, or twenty years in prison is not going to change their sexual preference.

Sadly, there are many people in our society today who feel a very strong need to forgive criminals regardless of their crimes, and to pretend the offender never did a thing wrong upon his release. But we are not talking about burglars or tax evaders here. Sexual predators will always return to wanting to satisfy their sexual desires. More children are going to suffer abuse because of leaders and administrators who insist on coddling pedophiles and other predators.

City Councilor Timothy J. Rooke, who proposed the new restrictions which would prohibit sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of where our little ones tread, was quoted [from the article] as saying, "I wouldn't lose a minute's sleep on it. In fact, I would rent the bus to send them where they want to go."

Good job, Mr. Rooke. There are very many residents in the city who share that view. Unfortunately, Councilor Mazza Moriarty isn't one of them.

Councilor Rosemarie Mazza Moriarty opted to side with Tosado on the issue. She mentioned that a concern about the ordinance was that there might not be any place left in the city for offenders to live, given the spread of parks and schools.

Awww. What a shame. So the answer, then, is to just allow predators to coexist near children? That is ridiculous. Actually, it's worse: It's sickening. And what will be your consoling speech, Ms. Moriarty, to the families of victims of repeat offenders. You do know that sexual predators are often repeat offenders, don't you?

Springfield needs better leadership on the City Council. For the sake of our city's children and other innocents, those leaders who care more about the welfare of criminals than their victims (past or future) should be put on notice: Start representing the interests of the law-abiding citizens of Springfield or find another part-time job.


- "Urban Compass" Report Here


* *

Friday, December 01, 2006

Edge: Mardi Gras

The below video is of "Desert Odyssey," a Middle Eastern belly dancing troupe out of Springfield, MA.

I've never seen "real" belly dancers perform before. Not bad. But what is it with the folks walking up and throwing money at the girls? I don't give up that much green to the ladies at the Mardi Gras (gentlemen's club), who, by the way, I would have to give the nod to - if only by a halter top.

Dec. 1st Audio: The Alligator Incident

Linked below is an audio segment discussing the recent alligator attack in Florida. ADVISORY: At about mid-segment, I refer to the incident as a "crime." This is accidental! I just didn't want to bother editing/re-recording. Animals do not commit crimes, only people do. (Yes, animals can be trained to commit crimes, but they just think they're doing a goody for their criminal human trainer/master.) So please, no hate mail correcting my reference!

[right-click icon, "save target as"]