Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nineteenth Ammendment 89th Anniversary

Today is the 89th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
I wrote more about it not long ago. But I noticed today that it was the anniversary and thought it was worth a reminder.

Still amazes me how short a time it has been that women could not vote.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Jeep in the shop.

Fortunately Mark knows what he is doing and I know enough to let him alone until he's finished.

New battery, starter, and some work on the starter foot pedal has been completed.

Brakes are next.

And important, too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Baby the Cat

It was Saturday, May 30, 2009.

We were staying out at the little house in the country. As I drove into the yard by way of the pasture road I saw the cat, whose name is Baby, lying on the patio.

Just a few days had she taken to lying on the patio. Usually she was around front and when I drove in she would take up a place under my car.

Something seemed wrong so after I parked I went around to check on her. At first glance I thought to myself that she was dead. Immediately I thought about how I really so hated to tell my wife because she and that cat had been together a very long time.

So I thought I better make certain and squatted down and touched her with my hand. She didn't move at all. I stood again and touched her with the toe of my shoe and again there was no movement.

I walked inside and told Judy that I thought something was the matter with Baby and maybe she should come with me and look. Thought that was better than blurting out what I thought. Mr. Sensitive that I am.

When we got to the cat Judy sat down and ran her hand across Baby's body.

Suddenly Baby came awake with such a start that we were startled, too. She looked at us and purred. I thought she might be just a bit embarrassed. She was breathing kind of hard and I thought there was kind of a crease across one side of her head.

Really I was amazed because I thought she was gone.

The next day she was okay. Judy enjoyed a little sun bathing and Baby stayed right with Judy. Judy caressed Baby and held her and just spent time with her.

The next day was Monday, June 1.

When we returned home we didn't see Baby in any of her normal places. We looked all over for her. We walked out into the fields and along the fences and even down the road in front of the house. We walked out pretty far into the pasture.

We didn't find her but the vegetation was tall and thick so we might have missed her.

Likely she went to the creek even though it is an awful long ways but really we don't know.

So it has been more than 2 months now and I look for her at her normal places when I am at the house. And when I get the mail I always look down the driveway and miss her walking out to meet me.

Baby was not an inside cat. Last year another cat attacked her and she didn't fare too well. She was already kind of beat up. She had one floppy ear with some of it missing due to some other battle long ago. One eye was pretty rough. Part of her mouth was messed up.

Outside cats are pretty independent. It wasn't so much that she was our cat or even that we were her humans. It was more we all lived at the same place I think and she enjoyed the accommodations and the food I put out for her.

I don't know exactly what she thought of me. I think she kind of liked me because if I put my hand down she'd come over and head butt it. She'd sometimes rub against my leg. And she liked my car's shade.

I think that's pretty close to affection for an outside cat.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Health Care Debate

I watched Meet The Press yesterday.

Really I wish I had not. Usually I don't but I made an exception yesterday because I am interested in health care.

On the Obama Health Care side were Rachel Maddow, Tom Daschle, Bill Ritter, and Charlie Rangel. I suppose really I should include the show's host, David Gregory, because his position seems pretty clear to me.

Opposition included Tom Coburn and Dick Armey.

There was a fellow from the Chamber of Commerce but I missed what side he was on if he actually said.

I agreed with Senator Coburn which shouldn't surprise anyone really
.Just as an aside I actually received a telephone call from Senator Coburn's office regarding Alzheimer's and my own caregiver role during the time I was caregiving. He was the only senator that took any interest at all in any of the letters and emails I wrote and sent during that time. Representative Tom Cole also contacted me and I believe he was the only representative.
The only thing that I know for sure is that there are two sides and they seem to me to be irreconcilable.

The Democratic position as nearly as I can tell is that "they" (meaning the Democrats in power) are in favor of improving health care and that anyone opposing is in favor of either the status quo, depriving more people of health care, and/or making health care actually worse than it is.

In terms of policy the Democrats seem to favor a government controlled health care system. They would accomplish that goal with either a government system alongside the private, or a single payer system. Eventually they would like to move to total control of all medical facilities and personnel. This they say offers the greatest opportunity for cost savings by eliminating administrative bureaucracy.

The Democrats see two very evil villains: insurance companies and anyone else who oppose them. And they are not shy about excoriating their opponents.

The Republicans are adamantly opposed both philosophically and practically. However, the Republicans did agree that health care could and should be improved. They also see an evil villain, namely the Democrats.

Actually Rachel Maddow seemed particularly angry with Dick Armey. Daschle was more angry with Coburn. Rangel was just angry at everyone.

I am pretty sure if Rachel Maddow was in charge of health care that Dick Armey would be on his way to a "government clinic" to be prepared for "going home" (using language from Soylent Green).

The Democrats have the votes to pretty much do anything they want regardless of the Republican opposition. So it seems to me that the public debate and town hall meetings and so on are public relation efforts.

That said the Democrats are not tone deaf to public sentiment either and public sentiment so far is not favorable toward too much government.

Still my guess is that some kind of reform bill will make it into law. Everyone will claim victory and we'll all go on our merry way.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

End of Life

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the cost of care during the end of life period.

I wonder when you start counting the end of life period especially if you don't know when the end occurs?

In the recent house bill there was a provision, since removed, that reimbursed doctors who provided end of life counseling.

Some senator or congressman I read said that having counseling like that at the end of life was too late and it needed to happen 20 years earlier. Thought that was interesting.

I noticed an article in the Wall Street Journal that reported some rather old statistics. The article referenced a 2001 study. That's 8 years ago and I suspect things might be different now but I didn't really find more recent data (which is not to say it doesn't exist).

However, I paid more attention to the graph than the statistics after I noticed it.

But back to the stats: The 2001 study reported that each year about 5% of Medicare beneficiaries die and that spending in the last year of life accounted for 27.4% of total Medicare spending. So that last year of life is definitely expensive.

I think that was true in my parents' case but only if I include the cost of caregivers I hired and paid for myself. I never did know really what hospice cost so I can't comment on it.

Just last Friday though an attorney friend told me that he really thought we all needed end of life counseling in order to cut medical costs because that's where the most money is spent. It is kind of like robbing banks I guess.

That same idea definitely is repeated in the WSJ article.

There's even mention of a report by The Urban Institute that concluded about $10 billion per year could be saved with "better managed end-of-life care." How this would be done:
"The savings would result from training aimed at discouraging doctors from providing care simply because they would get paid for it, and from having teams at hospitals help terminally ill patients manage their pain once they chose to stop treatment, among other things."
Well there is talk about the cost of the health care plan being about $1.5 trillion over 10 years or some $150 billion per year. So $10 billion per year savings would be about 7%. Really doesn't seem like that much when you think about it that way -- at least to me.

About then I noticed the graph.

My next thought was a brief memory flash of that 1973 movie, "Soylent Green." It is set in the year 2022 in New York City where 40 million people live. There are government assisted suicide ("going home") centers ("clinics"). Soylent is a giant company in cahoots with the government that makes processed food because real food is long gone.

The newest Soylent product is a wafer called Soylent Green.

Turns out that it is made from humans who have "gone home."

I wonder if the "green" comes from the idea of recycling life?

You do have to admit that according to that Kaiser graph we could save a lot of money if all of us 65 and older just went "on home." Or maybe we should make it 3 score and 10.

We could save even more if we moved the age down to say 60. Then you wouldn't even have to pay social security at all. That would solve the social security problem, go a long ways to fixing the medicare problem, eliminate a lot of trouble with old age diseases including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and probably help the unemployment situation.

It is interesting to me that the cheapest years are 5 to 17. But really it is pretty much the same until age 45. Save a lot if you cut off at 45.

I started thinking about the cost for a family of 4 let's say: Father and mother in their 30's and 2 children say 5 to 17. It works out to about $7,500 per year. If I applied it to my family (me and my wife) then it works out to just about $10,000 per year. That's interesting because that's quite a bit less than my health insurance costs my business. My parents did not spend anywhere near $8,776 per year until they were about 85.

Then I began thinking about how much is an extra hour of life worth? Or an extra day? Or an extra week? Or an extra month? Or an extra year?

Depends I guess on whether it is you or someone else and whether or not there's pain or unawareness or depression or all sorts of other parameters.

It's quite a bit easier I suspect if it is someone else and someone you dislike to boot. If you like them then its probably harder.

What do you tell someone in end of life counseling? "Wow, you're about to die and really there's no sense in prolonging your life. Why don't you just go ahead and check on out now and save us all quite a bit of trouble and don't be so damn selfish."

Probably not that crude. Would be smoother -- more like Soylent Green I imagine or some of the dialogue in 1984. "Wouldn't you like to just lie down here and enjoy the pretty pictures of Earth they way it used to be and have a nice, long, deep sleep?"

Of course there's no problem really if someone has an advance directive that specifies no heroic measures be taken to prolong life. No problem because that's the consensus of the majority.

But what about the person that goes against the majority and either has no directive or actually has the gall to specify his or her desire for longer life? What then?

Does not society have the right, indeed, the obligation, to force that person to accede to the best interest of society?

Probably we would have some kind of boards established like the old draft boards I remember from the Vietnam War era. Everyone will get a card with a designation. Some people we need to keep around longer.

I'm going back to reading 1984 now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Victim Turns Table

While I hate what happened to the victims, I loved the outcome reported in this story:

Kidnap victim in Miss. beats alleged sex attacker
By HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press Writer
Wed Aug 12, 1:47 pm ET
JACKSON, Miss. – Police had been watching Vincent Goff for years, convinced he was the masked man who sexually assaulted couples at gunpoint on the Mississippi coast. But before investigators closed in, they say Goff picked the wrong victim and was beaten nearly to death with his own rifle.

Goff, a 37-year-old unemployed Biloxi man with a wife and two stepsons, was being held Wednesday in the Harrison County Jail after spending five days in a hospital recovering from severe head wounds.

Little is known about Goff's background or the unidentified man who beat him so hard that the wood stock of the rifle broke. But authorities say Goff's arrest caps a terrorizing series of attacks that began on the sandy banks of the Biloxi River in 2006.

Goff allegedly approached a man and woman last Thursday afternoon on an isolated logging road in Harrison County and forced them into the woods with a rifle, Sheriff's Maj. Ron Pullen said Wednesday.

They were forced to strip off their clothes and told to perform sexual acts when the male victim, described as a physically fit member of the military in his mid-30s, wrestled the gun away.

"He beat him until the stock broke over his head and then continued to beat him until he thought he had him incapacitated," Pullen said.

As the victims were getting dressed and calling police, the attacker staggered to his car and sped away.

A deputy pulled Goff over based on a description of the car and tag number. The officer called for medical assistance and Goff ended up in an intensive care unit, Pullen said. He need numerous staples to close the gashes in his head.

Goff was charged with six counts of kidnapping, five counts of sexual assault, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of molesting an underage girl for crimes dating back to 2006. He does not have an extensive previous criminal record.

Pullen said he doesn't think Goff has a lawyer and would likely be appointed a public defender. Goff's home phone number was disconnected Wednesday.

Pullen said investigators were awaiting the results of DNA tests on previous victims when the latest attacks occurred. The results came back Friday while Goff was still hospitalized and allegedly linked him to the 2006 crimes.

The first suspected assault was on construction workers who came to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to find jobs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Pullen said. The man and woman had not been able to find a place to stay and were camping on the banks of the Biloxi River. A masked attacker approached early that morning, pointed a rifle and made the couple disrobe.

"He forced them to do sexual acts on each other and then he participated in it," Pullen said.

A man and underage teenage girl were assaulted in a nearly identical attack only a few months later. The attacks become increasingly violent, though the victims were not badly hurt, Pullen said.

Over the next few years, there were other attempted assaults in the area by a masked man with a rifle — one couple escaped by jumping into the river and swimming to the other side, Pullen said.

While Goff was under surveillance earlier this year as a suspect in an indecent exposure incident, investigators said they saw him steal a purse from a woman at the beach. That, along with the indecent exposure charges and other evidence, persuaded a judge to issue a warrant for a DNA test two weeks ago. Pullen said Goff's DNA matched that found at some of the crime scenes.

Harrison County Assistant District Attorney Charles Wood said the case would be presented to a grand jury.
And to be fair I hate that there was violence of any kind at all. I feel terrible for the perpetrator's family. I even feel terrible for the perpetrator himself.

But if I have to choose between perpetrator and victim I will go with the victim every time.

I admit to wondering though if Goff, the perpetrator, would sue his victim for damages. I hope not but it wouldn't surprise me.

Also wondered which TV network would make the made-for-tv movie first.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Government Health Care

Here you go from our local newspaper:
Social Security deal brings relief to Durant woman
Class-action lawsuit fought denial of benefits
Published: August 13, 2009
I'm just going to retell the story though rather than print the whole thing but feel free to click the link.

Seems as though Ms. Roberta Hobbs, 75, Durant, Oklahoma had an outstanding warrant from California stemming from a 2001 car accident prior to her relocation. In 2006 our government passed a law to deny social security benefits to fugitive criminals.

The SSA in their enlightened ignorance used that law as reason to suspend Ms. Hobbs' benefits along with another 200,000 benefit recipients.

Now Ms. Hobbs at the time had an electric wheel chair, a terminal lung condition that keeps her on oxygen 24/7, and $46 per month from Oklahoma Old Age Assistance.

After she lost her social security benefits she exhausted her savings, lived with no heat in her home which had been vandalized, and with no wheelchair which someone stole.

She survived thanks to a local church, her daughter, and a few other non-governmental organizations.

She asked every government agency she could find for help but was turned down by all.

That no help was forthcoming from the government does not exactly surprise anyone who has ever had to deal with the government.

Eventually though the National Senior Citizens Law Center represented Ms. Hobbs and 5 others in a class action suit against the SSA in 2008. At this point it appears that Ms. Hobbs and her fellow plaintiffs have won that case on behalf of some 200,000 people of whom 80,000 will get their benefits returned.

The other plaintiffs: a woman whose warrant was intended for someone else; a mentally disabled man whose warrant was issued when he was 12 and ran away from his home; a stolen vehicle charge that was dismissed but not recorded properly; someone who bounced a check to a grocery store in Texas; and, another California traffic accident.

The price to the SSA is $500,000,000 plus.

Why do we want to turn more of our health system over to the same government?

And by the way there are end of life provisions in the health care bills now being discussed.

Here's a link to the text of HR 3200. The section dealing with end of life consultation is Section 1233.

No, those provisions don't explicitly state that sick people should be killed in the interest of saving money. Likewise I am certain no one that voted for the provision to deny benefits to fugitives intended to nearly kill Ms. Hobbs. But that's what happened.

In my own experience as just one example there is the case where my mother was in the hospital with a broken leg. At 3 days I was told she was due to be discharged but they had managed to secure us 3 more days. After that we had to leave. Her doctors did not want to discharge her. Her nurses didn't either. Nor did the hospital officials. It was Medicare rules that forced us out. Just a few days later my mother died. Would she have lived longer if she had been given more time? I suspect so.

So there was no explicit conspiracy on the part of the government to kill my mother. But there was certainly a lack of regard for her personal condition in light of their sacred rules.

I do not consider myself an alarmist or an extremist but I can certainly appreciate the concern that people have about this issue.

And that is from someone who had to try and talk to my own father about end of life directives after he was diagnosed with Alzheimers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I watched on TV Mr. Fritz Henderson of the new General Motors speak about the new Chevy Volt.

Besides a web site the car has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

He talked about the ad campaign for the new car that features the numbers "230" displayed so that the ZERO is an electric plug with a smiley face appearance. He said that 230 represents the miles per gallon efficiency rating for the car.

The Volt is likely going to sell for $40,000. According to Mr. Henderson it is designed to be used optimally by the person who drives 40 miles per day and that is supposed to be about 75% of us or something like that.

That's because 40 miles is about what you can drive on one charge of the lithium-ion battery. You just plug it in to your normal house outlet. The estimate is that a single charge is between $.75 and $2.50 depending I suppose on the cost of electricity and how depleted the battery is.

The car seats 4 adults.

The 230 mpg number is achieved using "new guidelines" about which the details are unknown. Basically the Volt on one charge can hit a maximum of 40 miles using only the battery. It does have an engine which supposedly can take you another maximum of 300 miles using gasoline at a rate of 30 mpg.

As I watched this news conference here's what I thought:
  1. The new GM is the old GM less all the people they screwed over.
  2. The new GM learned absolutely nothing from its past.
  3. Same old same old - promise more than they can deliver - same as old GM.
  4. Advertising is more important than results to both GMs.
  5. Lack of respect for the intelligence of consumers.
  6. Wonder what a battery costs for these things?
  7. Wonder about where all those batteries go when they die?
  8. Wonder about the unintended consequences?
Then I quit watching.

I have owned cars by GM, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and other manufacturers. My Hondas all got better mileage than the sticker. My Toyotas (including Lexus) got exactly what the sticker predicted. My GM cars never came close to the predicted mpg number.

Later I left work, climbed into my Lexus and drove home. And on the way I thought about the fact that I paid the same amount for my Lexus that GM is going to ask for the Volt.

And I'm pretty sure a sarcastic smile spread across my face.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health Care Insurance

11.9% increase in our health care insurance premiums we were told by our agent.

Then he presented several options that would reduce the cost of our premiums. Of course this was achieved by either reducing some level of benefit or increasing the employee's share of medical cost or both.

But the increased cost of insurance is not really the subject of this post.

Rather I was interested in the discussion of health care and insurance and the ongoing political struggle.

The most significant thing I noticed was a stunning paradox. On the one hand there was uncertainty about the government plan we'd face in the future. On the other was absolute certainty that whatever plan the government ultimately enacted it would be more bureaucratic, less efficient, less effective, and more expensive.

The next most significant thing I noticed was the anger and disgust about the process that is underway to implement a broader government plan. It is the sense I think that the plan has been determined and is going to be forced upon the country period.

Our agent's clients are all relatively small businesses. He said there was not one among them that was not terribly upset about the prospect of increased government intervention.

I know something about government health insurance since I dealt with medicare for the last 10 years on behalf of my parents.

My experience does not make me very confident. I just imagine Medicare on steroids and there is this nightmarish vision of all the terrible problems I had with Medicare magnified by an order of magnitude that looms in my mind.

That's not to say that I am overwhelmingly positive about the current health care system.

It's just that I think if anyone can make it worse it is the government.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Me Watching 3D With Grandkids

I enjoyed such a happy afternoon yesterday.

My son and daughter-in-law asked if I wanted to go to the Warren Theater in Moore with them. I was also going to eat lunch with them but ended up on a phone call that interrupted lunch.

My cousin called to visit a bit. We're very close so I always take his calls. He said he was watching TV news and reading Atlas Shrugged and that made him think about me. But that is an entirely different blog post.

In the photo that's me on the aisle and my granddaughter, Emily next to me. Next to her are Austin, Kelli, Ian, and Aiden. My son took the picture so you can't see him. Seven of us all together. I bet the theater was happy to see us.

Emily took this picture of me with my iPhone. The movie hadn't started yet so there wasn't much need of the 3D glasses.

I am trying to smile. I've been working on smiling more. It seems a bit awkward. I am so impressed with those people on TV who smile all the time.

The 3D glasses seemed to give me just a little discomfort. Eventually I put on my regular glasses and then the 3D on top. I'm not sure that helped really.

And the glasses felt a little strange at first but eventually as I became more interested in the movie the glasses became more and more unnoticeable.

I have not seen a 3D movie in a long while. I was too young for the so called "golden era" of 3D in the 1950's. But there was a resurgence in 1970 with the release of The Stewardesses. This movie was "X" rated. A coworker and I snuck off from work one day and watched it in downtown Oklahoma City at one of the few then remaining grand old theaters. At the time we thought it was pretty "X" rated alright but compared to stuff today it was very mild. We hoped no one we knew recognized us and I remember we kind of turned our collars up.

The 1970 3D experience was entirely a different and much more unpleasant experience than the 2009 experience. The glasses then were not very good.

I have to say that 3D in 2009 is amazing. There were several times during the course of the movie that my perception was that things were coming at me to the extent that I wanted to reach out and grab them.

The movie itself wasn't so great but the kids seemed to really enjoy it. It wasn't a bad movie. The theme is pretty worn though. Ruthless businessman intent on monopoly unknowingly contributes to mad scientist plot to take over the world with computers. Good guys have to stop him. The wrinkle is the good guys are Guinea Pigs, a mole, and some other animals. They also have a scientist who is male, good, clueless, and has a hot, geeky girl assistant. There are some other wrinkles, too; but, hey go watch the movie.

Afterward we all drove over to Il Dolce Gelato for sorbetto and gelato. The boys and I sat together and engaged in an interesting discussion about dimensions while we enjoyed our sorbetto.

Austin said he thought maybe he would make a 5D movie sometime and maybe get rid of those glasses. So I tried to explain the concept of dimensions. That probably would have been worthwhile as a short video -- Pop Explains Three Dimensional Space.

When we left the movie all 4 grandkids wanted to ride with Pop (that's me) over to the gelateria.

As always the Warren Theater provided an excellent theater experience. In a way it does remind me of the grand theaters of my childhood but better. The quality of the sound and sight is just unsurpassed in my experience. But it is the wonderful design of the building and the comfort of the theaters and the uniformed employees and just how things are done that all contribute to a good time. It always makes me want to return to watch another movie.

I'm planning in my imagination right now a return trip with the guys at lunch maybe.

What a great time. I am just so thankful for my family and for the invitation and that I went along.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I've Been Reading Again

I've read a lot the last few weeks and months. I get on these reading binges and just read and read and read. The Kindle doesn't help control my near addiction to reading either. I'm definitely reading more since I bought the Kindle but is that a good thing? After the reading binge though I usually go through a "sober" period where I read much less for a while.

I say "less" because I try every day to at least read the local newspaper, my Bible passages from my "Read Through The Bible in a Year" program, and my emails. That's actually quite a bit although my emails are fewer now.

There isn't any particular order here. I usually read several titles at a time anyway and the Kindle, the iPhone Kindle, and my laptops all contribute to me reading more titles at a time. And again I am uncertain if this is good or bad.

Also, I may be repeating something I've already written about here.

When God Goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday Apologetics
by Paul Copan
I read about this title on a blog about the same time I happened to overhear a conversation about faith while sitting in my favorite Starbucks (Fritts Farm - Moore, Ok).

I can't really say I was misled exactly because the title clearly says it is "apologetics." But I was disappointed. I suppose for one thing I no longer really much like apologetics. For another though I thought it might be more about conversations I've actually had or overheard in Starbucks or other similar venues. But that's just me.

If you are interested in apologetics covering certain questions then this is a good book. The arguments are well conceived and logical and pretty succinct.
Retail Superstars
by George Whailin
I bought this one right after finishing the In-N-Out and jumped right into it. In-N-Out left me kind of excited about retail and I was kind of hoping for something similar in this book but covering a variety of stores. It didn't really do that.

On the other hand Whailin does a really good job of briefly describing and analyzing several retailers that were totally unfamiliar to me and that I am certain would have remained that way except for his work.

I guess I'd say interesting but nothing inspiring for me at least. There are only 7 reviews on Amazon and all gave 5 stars. I didn't review there but it wouldn't be 5 stars for sure.
The Neighbor
by Lisa Gardner
I liked this title a lot. It's kind of a cool story on several levels. Lisa Gardner never fails to satisfy on detailed research and procedures and so on and this title is one of the best she's done in that regard.

There's a husband, wife, and child. Something happens to the wife. The husband is the likely suspect -- even to the reader. Lots of computer stuff. At least one or two loose ends even at the conclusion for me at least.

On the negative the characters weren't exactly as sympathetic as I would have liked. That means I never came to really care about them too much. There was a certain feeling of contrivance that I ignored.

For me it was a good solid 3 star read though. Good book and I like Lisa Gardner's stuff.
The Fat Resistance Diet
by Leo Galland, M.D.
This is a really good book in my opinion. I learned a lot reading this book and even have tried out some of the ideas and found them rather helpful. It is about leptin resistance. If you haven't heard of leptin then by all means take a look at this book.
The Cabinet of Curiosities: A Novel
by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
I enjoyed this book sufficiently that I have purchased another title by the same authors. I also enjoyed learning about "cabinets of curiosities" and several other subjects. I was disappointed some in the characters but found enough to keep me interested. There were several really implausibilities that bothered me but that I overlooked in the interest of my own joy. Again I've bought another title.
by Patricia Cornwell
It's kind of strange that I've never been much of a Scarpetta fan but I actually became interested in this rather long book. At first I was so bored that I nearly quit but there is something to be said for stubbornness I suppose. So in the end I enjoyed the experience of reading this book. The characters didn't much win me over. The ending was nuts. Still I enjoyed it anyway.
Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity
by Mark A. Noll
This book was exactly what I hoped and was a very enjoyable reading experience. If you're interested in the history of Christianity this is a good choice for a quick excursion of a rather long and complicated journey.
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
Alice Schroeder
Let me put it this way: DON'T BUY IT. If you do buy it don't read it. Good grief!! This thing goes on and on and on. There are all kinds of dubious facts and possibly some out and out inaccuracies. Boring. This author never heard of succinct.
The Cultivation of The Native Grape, and Manufacture of American Wines
by George Husmann
It was only $ .99. I had some interest in growing grapes there for a brief spell. Not sure it isn't a good idea even now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Flo, Flo, Flo

Rather the Progressive Insurance character, Flo.

The actress playing the character is Stephanie Courtney.

She's 39 and married. She has a Facebook fan page with more than 8 thousand fans.

I am certain that Stephanie must be a really nice person but I cannot stand Flo and I actually turn the channel to something else if one of those annoying commercials plays while I have the remote.

And compared to my wife I am a raving fanatic.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Era of the Petabyte

Information overload

A report released last week by the US National Academies makes recommendations for tackling the issues surrounding the era of petabyte science.
1 byte = 8 bits (a letter, digit, symbol, etc.,.)
1 Kilobyte (1 K) = 1024 bytes
1 Megabyte (1 M) = 1024 Kilobytes
1 Gigabyte (1 G) = 1024 Megabytes
1 Terabyte (1 T) = 1024 Gigabytes
1 Petabyte (1 P) = 1024 Terabytes
The article states that it took more than a decade to decode the human genome with its 3 billion base pairs. That was in 2003. In only 6 years modern computers can run through that much data in a week or even less.

Wikipedia gives some examples. All of the recorded works of humankind from the advent of history to the present in all languages would be about 50 Petabytes. AT&T has about 15 Petabytes of data transferred in its network each day. Google processes about 20 Petabytes each day. Facebook has about 1.5 Petabytes of images or about 10 billion pictures.

Pretty amazing that we are now entering "the era of the Petabyte."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Nineteenth Ammendment

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Jan 10, 1918 - Passed narrowly by The House of Representatives
October 1918 - Failed Senate by 3 votes
May 21, 1919 - Passed House of Representatives
Jun 4, 1919 - Passed Senate
Aug 26, 1920 - Ratified by Tennessee, the 36th state to do so

Feb 28, 1920 - My state, Oklahoma, ratified. (I wondered so I Binged it.)(

Mar 22, 1984 - Ratified by Mississippi - the last state to do so.

The reason for my post is that during our granddaughters' visit we watched the 2004 movie, "Iron Jawed Angels."

Before watching the movie they just assumed that women must have been able to vote a long time ago where long time means way back several hundred years in American history. They were shocked that it only happened in 1920.

When we met their father to hand them off we mentioned the movie. He thought it was before the Civil War when women could vote. He was also surprised it was just in 1920.

It was important to my wife that her granddaughters see that movie.

I understand why and I think it is important for everyone to be educated about just how recently women were unable to vote and just how badly many were treated in that struggle.