Posts filed under ‘Musings’

Throwback Tuesday?

Whut?  I’ve been crazy busy so this is my version of throwback Thursday on Tuesday.  My beautiful heart dog, best dog ever, Mr. Al, two years ago:

Flash back al 7-20-14

July 23, 2014 at 8:26 PM Leave a comment

Planes Avoiding Ukranian Airspace Tonight

Good idea:

Planes Avoiding Ukranian Airspace tonight via Rt news

(Image via

July 17, 2014 at 6:57 PM Leave a comment

Median Price of a Home in San Francisco Reaches $1,000,000

Wow.  I knew that sky high wages paid to tech workers in the San Francisco area was causing a massive gentrification of San Francisco proper but this is insane:

San Francisco via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

$1 Million City: S.F. Median Home Price Hits 7 Figures for 1st Time

The median price paid in June for a new or existing single-family home or condo in San Francisco hit $1 million for the first time, according to a report released Wednesday by DataQuick.

It was the first time any Bay Area county hit a seven-figure median, DataQuick spokesman Andrew LePage said. The median is the price at which half of homes sold for more and half for less.

The nosebleed price is a result of limited inventory and an influx of cash buyers willing to pay whatever it takes, says Cece Doricko, a Realtor with TRI Coldwell Banker. Many are tech workers with stock compensation from an initial public offering or takeover.  Realtors call them “Google kids,” even if they are 40 years old and work in biotech. A secondary group of cash buyers are investors from outside the country, mostly Asia, who see San Francisco as a relative bargain.



July 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM 3 comments

Smog in China and Yes, This Photo is Real

Just came across this article, China’s Fight for Cleaner Air over at It includes a short, four-photo slide show.  This is the third one:

Shanghai smog in dec 13 via bob schmitz marketplaceorg

A shot of Shanghai on its worst air pollution day in December, 2013. The city’s air quality index surpassed 600, beyond what is labeled ‘hazardous.’ – Rob Schmitz/Marketplace

July 15, 2014 at 3:42 PM Leave a comment

Tube to Work!

Today is Tube to Work Day here in Boulder.

Tube to Work Day

(Image via TubetoWorkDay on Facebook)


July 15, 2014 at 8:53 AM Leave a comment

If You Don’t Know What AFAIK Means, You Better Read This

Here’s a handy guide to the “new-age abbreviations” folks are using when they text, or write in general, I guess.  It took me forever to get what ROFLMAO meant down so you can bet I’ll be referring back to this All.  The.  Time.  Oh, and AFAIK means, “As far as I know.”

TExt abbreviations 1

(Image via

Text Abbreviations 2

(Image via


July 13, 2014 at 1:34 PM Leave a comment

Love These Colors!

Aeonium plant via Traditional Home

An Aeonium plant. (Image via Traditional Home)

I have a potted Aeonium plant I put out on the deck about a month ago.  It’s been inside all winter so it doesn’t have the rosy-tipped leaves this one does but I’m hoping it will by the end of August.  It needs lots of sun to get this look.

Gorgeous, gorgeous.

July 10, 2014 at 5:35 PM Leave a comment

Video: Terrifyingly Close Near Miss at the Barcelona Airport Yesterday


Yesterday [Saturday, July 5] early in the morning…What you see is what happened.

An UTair Boeing 767-300 (VQ-BSX) incoming from Moscow as UT5187 and Aerolíneas Argentinas Airbus A340-300 (LV-FPV) were involved into what could be the bigger disaster of Barcelona Airport.

The Utair 767 was about to land on Runway 02 while the Argentinas was crossing the runway.

By the time russian [sic] pilots sights Argentinas (they were taxiing to Holding point of RW25R for take-off) on runway while they were on final approach, they do their best making an impressive and close go around.

After that incidence the plane landed safely on runway 02, and the Argentinas took-off heading Buenos Aires.


July 6, 2014 at 3:13 PM Leave a comment

Train Derails in Montana, Dumps Boeing Fuselages Into the Clark Fork River

I’m posting this mostly because of the dramatic photos.  Wow.

Boeing Fuselages in river photo kyle massick

(Image Kyle Massick via


SUPERIOR, MT — A train derailed near Superior Thursday, sending Boeing aircraft fuselages into a river.
Nineteen cars on the westbound train derailed. Three of the cars contained aircraft parts and ended up in the Clark Fork River.
No one was hurt. The cause is under investigation.
For more photos click on “More…” above.

July 5, 2014 at 2:01 PM Leave a comment

The US Is Turning Into a Hard-Ass, Mean Country

I presume you’ve heard about how Michigan’s Republican-controlled government (and its self-appointed comptroller of the city of Detroit) is turning off the water of destatute Detroit residents.  It’s so bad the affected people there have asked the United Nations for help, claiming access to water is a fundamental human right (ah, yeah, especially when you’re in a state that’s surrounded by the biggest fresh-water lakes in the world).

That said, I’m loving this community action:

Destitute people of detroit

(Image via



I just gave them $10.  If I was Oprah, I’d give them $10 million.

What the Republican government is doing there is so wrong, so immoral.  Who wouldn’t pay their water bill if they could?  These people just flat out can’t.  They’re destitute.  So we shut off their water?



June 29, 2014 at 6:57 PM 1 comment

It’s Friday

About 20 years ago I harvested some poppy seeds (I don’t know the genus) from a neighbor and scattered them in two of my backyard flower beds.  They’ve been popping up all over the place ever since, without any effort on my part and needless to say, I couldn’t be happier.  I thought then and I still think that they’re gorgeous:

Poppy 6-27-14

Happy weekend everyone.



June 27, 2014 at 6:38 PM 3 comments

Millionaires and Billionaires Talk Amongst Themselves

It’s 8:42 p.m. ET and I’m watching CNN’s Anderson Cooper. He’s talking about Hillary Clinton and gaffs she’s made about her income — downplaying it — and about Chelsea Clinton living in a $10M apartment while drawing a $600,000 salary from NBC for “doing nothing.”

So here we have Cooper, an heir to the Vanderbilt dynasty that was instrumental in destroying the U.S. economy during the first depression in the 1920s, complaining about Hillary Clinton trying to downplay her wealth while it was reported today that Cooper bought a $5 – $9M 10,000 sq. ft., 18 room  mansion in Litchfield, CT.

What is this?  Millionaire/billionaires talk amongst themselves while We the Little People watch?

Oh, and BTW — here’s looking at you CNN –  this is “news?”


June 23, 2014 at 8:18 PM Leave a comment

Oh Great, a Pepper Spray-Firing Drone

Hummingbird Drone via

Hummingbird Drone via

Oh man.  I hate to think where this whole drone thing is headed:

The maker of a drone that fires pepper spray bullets says it has received its first order for the machine.

South Africa-based Desert Wolf told the BBC it had secured the sale of 25 units to a mining company after showing off the tech at a trade show in London.

What would a mining company want with 25 drones?  Oh, wait:

It is marketing the device as a “riot control copter” that can tackle crowds “without endangering the lives of security staff”.


Desert Wolf’s website states that its Skunk octacopter drone is fitted with four high-capacity paintball barrels, each capable of firing up to 20 bullets per second.

In addition to pepper-spray ammunition, the firm says it can also be armed with dye-marker balls and solid plastic balls.

The machine can carry up to 4,000 bullets at a time as well as “blinding lasers” and on-board speakers that can communicate warnings to a crowd.


FYI, here’s Desert Wolf’s website.

June 18, 2014 at 11:08 AM Leave a comment

Beautiful Stairways put together a slide show of beautiful stairways around the world. The tiled one in San Francisco will blow your mind but this one in Seoul, South Korea is my favorite.

Stairs in Seoul, South Korea via

(Image via

See more here.

June 15, 2014 at 3:33 PM Leave a comment

The 2014 World Cup Begins

I copied this about two weeks ago and it’s been sitting on my desktop ever since.  I don’t remember where I found it (apologies!) but I post it on behalf of all the poor Brazilians who’ve been shoved aside to make this year’s $11 billion games a festival for the rich and famous in Sao Paulo:

Bfazil Opp to World Ciu[


June 12, 2014 at 3:23 PM Leave a comment

Cool Interactive Site: World Wide Lightening Network

World Wide Lightning Location Network

Lightening network




June 5, 2014 at 9:48 PM Leave a comment

The Earth, From Saturn

See that little white dot? That’s the Earth and every human being, plant and animal on it. So hey, let’s spend billions more on wars and bombs huh?


Earth as See from Satur via Science Poorn

(Image via


June 5, 2014 at 9:17 PM 1 comment

This Beautiful Thundercloud Formed Just North of Our Backyard a Few Minutes Ago in Boulder, CO

Beautiful Thunder cloud just north of me 6-5-14

H/t Mother Earth.

June 5, 2014 at 8:14 PM Leave a comment

China Flattening Mountains to Create More Buildable Land

Great Wall of China via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikimedia)

I’m thinking China might come to regret this craziness:

Scientists have criticised China’s bulldozing of hundreds of mountains to provide more building land for cities.

In a paper published in journal Nature this week, three Chinese academics say plan to remove over 700 mountains and shovel debris into valleys to create 250 sq km [96 sq mi] of flat land has not been sufficiently considered “environmentally, technically or economically.”


One of the largest projects began in April 2012 in Yan’an in the Shaanxi province, where the aim was to double the city’s area by creating an additional 78.5 sq km [30.3 sq mi] of land.


Soil erosion increases the sediment content of local water sources. In Shiyan, Hubein province, pounding hills into valleys caused landslides, flooding and altered water courses. This had serious implication for the city as it lies close to the headwaters of the South-North Water Transfer project, an endeavour to divert river waters along channels to Beijing.

In Langzhou, Gansu province, work was temporarily halted because of air pollution levels caused by dirt from the excavation. No one had thought to damp the soil to stop it flying in the wind.



June 5, 2014 at 1:39 PM Leave a comment

My Worst Nightmare Comes True

In 2009 I posted pictures of glass-floored balconies on the 103rd floor of Chicago’s Willis Tower and I asked if you’d be willing to step out onto one of them.  I said I wouldn’t because I’d be afraid that what happened last night would happen to me.  Yikes:

A family visiting from California got the scare of their life on Wednesday during a visit to Chicago’s Willis Tower Skydeck, the 103rd floor tourist attraction atop the city’s tallest building.

One of the four glass enclosures jutting out from the side of the building, collectively called The Ledge, cracked and shattered while Alejandro Garibay, his brother and two cousins were on it.


Skydeck shatters

(Image Alejandro Garibay via

Oh man.  I’m almost shaking just reading about it.

May 29, 2014 at 9:23 AM Leave a comment

Video: Google’s “Self-Driving” Car

I don’t know about this.  I would want a steering wheel and a break petal just in case…




May 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM Leave a comment

Maya Angelou — Rest in Peace

Maya angelou wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Maya Angelou died this morning, age 86.

One of my favorite quotes:

I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Such a softly fierce, amazing woman.

May 28, 2014 at 8:52 AM Leave a comment

Look Out: Brazil’s Military Ready for the World Cup

Look at the get-up these Brazilian soldiers are wearing as they prepare for the World Cup which begins on June 12:

Brazilian soldiers prepare for world cup ap via

(Image: AP via

Soldiers who will provide security at the World Cup in Brazil turned out as if they were preparing for war as they marched in Rio de Janeiro.

They wore full body armour and showed off their full chemical suits and shotguns as police chiefs instructed visiting fans not to fight back against potential robbers during the football tournament this summer.

Campaign leaflets, which also instruct visitors not to scream if they are being robbed, will be distributed to football fans arriving in Rio de Janeiro, in order to prevent robberies leading to homicides during the World Cup.

Sao Paulo has seen an increased rate of robberies ending in homicides, and is now telling tourists to hand over their valuables without a fight if they are threatened.


Sounds delightful.

The Brazilian government is obviously spending lots of money on its military (or are these guys police?) so I wonder how much it’s spending to alleviate the need for its citizens to commit robbery in the first place.

May 13, 2014 at 2:36 PM Leave a comment

Really, Really Bad Optics: Joe Biden’s Son Hunter Joins Ukranine’s Largest Private Gas Producer

Wow, does this ever look bad:

Hunter Biden via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Joe Biden has been the White House’s go-to guy during the Ukraine crisis, touring former Soviet republics and reassuring their concerned leaders. And now, he’s not the only Biden involved in the region.

The vice president’s youngest son, Hunter Biden, has been appointed head of legal affairs at Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, The Moscow Times reported Tuesday. Hunter described his new role in a statement on the company’s website:

As a new member of the board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion, and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine.


May 13, 2014 at 12:47 PM Leave a comment

Michigan Governor Essentially Selling Detroit to the Chinese

Holy cow.  I know some now-deceased, fiercely patriotic and proud auto workers who are spinning in their graves right now in total disbelief:

Motown via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Is Detroit destined to become a Chinese city?  Chinese homebuyers and Chinese businesses are starting to flood into the Motor City, and the governor of Michigan is greatly encouraging this.  In fact, he has formally asked the Obama administration for 50,000 special federal immigration visas to encourage even more immigration from China and elsewhere.  So will Detroit be the first major city in the United States to be dominated by China?  It could happen.  Once upon a time, Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city in the history of the world and it had the highest per capita income in the entire country.  But now it is a rotting, decaying, bankrupt hellhole that is in desperate need of a savior, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appears to be fully convinced that China can be that savior.


So this is what we’re going to do?  Essentially sell our distressed cities to the highest bidder?  Have we lost all sense of pride?

May 6, 2014 at 2:44 PM Leave a comment

I Was Fertilizing my Roses Today When…

I heard this song for the first time in roughly 30 years.  It’s simplistic and naive I know but I love the message of hope and optimism.

Dig it!  (Turn your volume way up and get ready to dance.)







May 5, 2014 at 8:32 PM 1 comment

East Antarctic Melting “Would be Irreversible If Set in Motion”

(Antartica via Google Streetview)

Part of East Antarctica is more vulnerable than expected to a thaw that could trigger an unstoppable slide of ice into the ocean and raise world sea levels for thousands of years, a new study showed.

The Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica, stretching more than 1,000 km inland, has enough ice to raise sea levels by 3 to 4 metres if it were to melt as an effect of global warming, the report said.

The Wilkes is vulnerable because it is held in place by a small rim of ice, resting on bedrock below sea level by the coast of the frozen continent. That “ice plug” might melt away in coming centuries if ocean waters warm up.

“East Antarctica’s Wilkes Basin is like a bottle on a slant. Once uncorked, it empties out,” Matthias Mengel of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, lead author of the study in the journal Nature Climate Change, said in a statement.


Co-author Anders Levermann, also at Potsdam in Germany, told Reuters the main finding was that the ice flow would be irreversible, if set in motion.

May 5, 2014 at 1:34 PM Leave a comment

Why in the World Was the Los Angeles NAACP Going to Give L.A. Clippers Owner Don Sterling a “Lifetime Achievement” Award?

LA Clippers logo

I would love to be in on the phone calls between members of the board of directors of the L.A. branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People so I could hear what they’re saying about why in the hell they were going to give racist bigot Don Sterling, the owner of the L.A. Clippers, a “lifetime achievement” award at a gala dinner on May 15 celebrating their 100th anniversary.

The guy has a long history of really repugnant stuff and for the life of me I have no idea why Sterling was ever, ever, considered for such an award.  It boggles my mind.

I mean, look:

Housing discrimination

In 2004, Sterling was sued by the Los Angeles Housing Rights Center for discriminatory rental practices. After buying the Ardmore Apartments complex, he attempted to force out minority tenants by refusing to do repairs and refusing rent checks, then accusing them of nonpayment. When told that a 66-year-old, legally blind, partially paralyzed tenant named Kandynce Jones wanted to be reimbursed for the damage to her flooded apartment, he reportedly said, “Just evict the bitch.”


Plaintiffs in the case won $4.9 million in damages.

In 2006, Sterling was sued by the Department of Justice after he allegedly refused to rent to Mexican-Americans and African-Americans in his apartment complexes, reportedly saying that “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.” Sterling paid $2.73 million to settle the suit.


Employment discrimination

In 2009, former Clippers general manager and Hall of Fame player Elgin Baylor sued Sterling for wrongful termination on the basis of age and race. Baylor alleged that for years before his 2008 resignation, Sterling had frozen his salary at $350,000 per year for racial reasons (compared to $5.5 million per year for Mike Dunleavy, the white head coach).


A suit was filed, Baylor dropped some of the charges and in the end, the jury ruled in favor or Sterling.

Sexual harassment

Sterling is known for hiring dozens of female hostesses for his parties and charity events, reaching them through full-page newspaper advertisements…

In a 1996 suit, Christine Jaksy alleged that he touched her inappropriately and demanded that she visit friends of his to provide sexual favors.

In 2003, Sterling himself sued a former employee and mistress named Alexandra Castro over the possession of a Beverly Hills house. The pair reached a confidential settlement, but Sterling’s comments under oath as part of the deposition are worth noting: among other things, he explained that “When you pay a woman for sex, you are not together with her…you’re paying her for a few moments to use her body for sex. Is it clear?”


Now granted, Sterling is going to be suit-bait because he’s a billionaire but going back to the first category — housing discrimination — a jury awarded the Plaintiffs $4.9 million.  That alone should have been enough for the NAACP to say what the hell?, no we are not going to give Don Sterling a “lifetime achievement” award at our centennial anniversary gala.

Not only that but judging from interviews I’ve seen and articles I’ve read on this in the last 24 hours, Sterling’s racist and sexist views were well known in the basketball community and in the Los Angeles community.  Again, what was the L.A. branch of the NAACP thinking?

I would love to know what went on behind the scenes there.  In my opinion, that mystery is more compelling than Don Sterling being a hateful old billionaire having the misfortune of being caught on tape proving it.


April 27, 2014 at 6:15 PM Leave a comment

This First Bank Ad Mocking Google Glass is Pretty Funny

And we think things are bad now with everyone staring down at their cell phone all the time:

April 26, 2014 at 3:48 PM 1 comment

Abraham Lincoln: Photos Taken Five Years Apart

Good God. Look at how much Abraham Lincoln aged during his presidency.  The photo on the left is the first one taken of him as president (May, 1860).  The one on the right is the last photo taken (May, 1865).

Lincoln via HistoriaalPics

(Image via HistoricalPics)

Via HistoricalPics.

April 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM Leave a comment

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