Illustrates Ecclesiastes 10:1

Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor ( Ecclesiastes 10:1)

Colorado Sheriff Pat Sullivan (1989) (Hero)

Colorado Man Kills 2 Women, Then Himself


''All he said was, 'Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, he shot me,' and then went upstairs and shot himself,'' Sheriff Pat Sullivan of Arapahoe County quoted the hostage, Jake Carper, as saying.

A police assault team rescued the wounded officers, lobbed flash grenades into the house and found the hostage and Mr. Thompson, Sheriff Sullivan said. The gunman died at 5:56 P.M. at Swedish Medical Center, said a hospital spokeswoman, Beverly Jacobsen. Hostage in Critical Condition

Comment: While I cannot find the relevant article, we lived just blocks away. Sheriff Pat Sullivan crashed his police vehicle through a fence and lead the assault!

Former Colorado Sheriff Pat Sullivan (2011) (Chump)

Former Colorado Sheriff Accused of Trying to Trade Drugs for Sex


Patrick Sullivan was the kind of lawman Coloradoans loved: a straight-shooting, Republican sheriff who once crashed a Jeep through a fence to rescue two deputies from a deranged gun-toting man and pleaded with legislators to keep assault weapons off the street lest any more citizens get shot.

On Tuesday afternoon, though, investigators from the same sheriff’s department he oversaw for nearly two decades found themselves monitoring a home near Denver that Mr. Sullivan was seen entering.

Soon after, the police arrested Mr. Sullivan, now 68 and long retired from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, on charges that he had been trying to exchange methamphetamines for sex with a man. He was booked that night at a local county jail that proudly bears his name.

“The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is saddened, and this is a sad time for our community,” said Grayson Robinson, the current sheriff, who served under Mr. Sullivan. “But we have a greater purpose, to serve our community with integrity and professionalism, and that’s exactly what we’ve done with this investigation.”

Comment: Sad for Mr. Sullivan and sad for the community


5% Returns Will Be 'Upper Echelon'

5% Returns Will Be 'Upper Echelon' for Years


Most investors for the next several years will be lucky to get a 5 percent return in their portfolios thanks to the growth-constricting debt problems in the U.S. and Europe, Pimco's Bill Gross said.

Europe's "dysfunctional family" of disparate nations will make a long-term debt solution elusive and cause the crisis to spread to other countries, said Gross, who as co-CEO at Pimco helps run the world's largest bond fund.

In his monthly commentary, Gross paints a grim picture of Europe's future and advises investors to avoid the region and focus on other parts of the world such as Brazil and Asia.

"Investors should recognize that Euroland's problems are global and secular in nature, reflecting worldwide delevering and growth dynamics that began in 2008," he wrote. "It will be years before Euroland, the United States, Japan and developed nations in total can constructively escape from their straightjacket of high debt and low growth."

Until then, he said, investors should get used to low rates, slow growth and weak returns from their portfolios.

"If you can get long-term returns of 5 percent from either stocks or bonds, you should consider yourself or your portfolio in the upper echelon of competitors," Gross wrote.

Comment: I aim for 3.4% dividend yield. It's conservative but obtainable.


Santa's beard

Santa Hat. Beard at 8 weeks

CatEye LD-500 Tractor light

Roger (my son pictured above) mounted a CatEye LD-500 flashing bike light on the back of my tractor. We used the CatEye read rack mount bracket (SKU 534-2250 ) and some small parts from the hardware store (stainless steel screws, etc) to attach the bracket to the back of the tractor. CatEye tech support in Boulder was particularly helpful in suggesting the correct bracket.

Light (purchased at a local bike shop): $ 18.23
Bracket from CatEye:$ 8.00
Batteries and small parts:$ 6.03
Total:$ 32.26

I also had to pay the son .... Jimmy Johns for 3 - $ 20. (Roger returning from Jimmy Johns bags in hand!)

I could have saved $ 5.00 had a bought the light from Amazon.


Superbug fragments in drinking water?

Superbug fragments found in state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant; study done in Duluth


The best-known superbug is MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which even has been found in the locker room of a National Football League team but usually picked up in hospitals. It is sometimes defeated by massive doses of multiple antibiotics, but not always.

A new superbug, Clostridium difficile, which can cause a fatal colon inflammation, now is on the rise. Two antibiotics work for that bug most — but not all — of the time. A quarter of patients relapse and some will die.

While there has been some progress in reducing outbreaks by better practices, such as careful hand washing in hospitals, the situation remains serious. Alcohol-based hand rinsers kill Clostridium difficile, but not its spores.

The increase in superbugs is usually blamed on the extensive use of antibiotics in agriculture, especially chicken and meat, and the over-prescription of antibiotics by physicians. A study released this week from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington, D.C. reported an increased overuse of antibiotics in the United States, particularly in the Southeast.

The resistance problem is exacerbated by people who do not follow directions and quit taking their pills too soon.

LaPara did not look for any particular bacteria; he was searching for genes of bacteria that would have superbug attributes. The genes LaPara found came from bacteria formed in the digestive system, excreted and then sent through the sewer systems to municipal wastewater treatment plants.

Comment: Clostridium difficile pretty much defined my year up until October.


Project Compass

Wells Fargo Plans Layoffs


Wells Fargo & Company ( WFC ) is mulling over retrenching technology and operations workers as part of its cost containment measures, according to Reuters . The company will take this initiative with an aim to reduce about $1.5 billion quarterly operating expenses.

Moreover, according to sources, the bank is planning to layoff approximately 25 staff and removed 30 unfilled positions. Wells Fargo plans to reduce quarterly expenses for technology and staff by $188 million, and therefore more number of headcounts can be reduced in this area.

The ongoing Project Compass, the efficiency program of Wells Fargo, which was initiated at the end of 2010, aims at eliminating jobs to reduce expenses. Under the project, Wells Fargo targets to trim down quarterly expenses to $11 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 from $11.7 billion in the third quarter of 2011. Apart from reducing jobs, the company plans to achieve its target through loss alleviation and foreclosing assets. These initiatives will be executed in the upcoming quarters.

Wells Fargo remains committed to expense management, but not at the cost of any negative impact on its revenue. Project Compass is a company-wide initiative focused on removing unnecessary complexity while eliminating duplication as a way to improve the customer experience along with the work process of its team members.

Comment: There's a certain tension and uncertainty around the office. I have certainty! Trusting the Lord.

Another "flash mob" w video

Flash Mob Shoplifts at Silver Spring 7-Eleven


About 50 people simultaneously shoplifted from a Silver Spring, Md., 7-Eleven Saturday night.

Officers arriving at the store in the 12200 block of Tech Road after 11:20 p.m. saw several people gathered in surrounding parking lots and on side streets, police said. They began to disperse when police arrived.

The shoplifters -- described as teens and young adults -- took items including snacks and drinks, police said

Police stopped a group of six people ages 16-18 near Tech Road and Broadbirch Drive. Each had items from the 7-Eleven but no receipts, police said.

Comment: OK .. this is going to sound racist but every flash mob video I've seen has been black youth. Thoughts.


Facebook's “small world” findings

Separating You and Me? 4.74 Degrees


The original “six degrees” finding, published in 1967 by the psychologist Stanley Milgram, was drawn from 296 volunteers who were asked to send a message by postcard, through friends and then friends of friends, to a specific person in a Boston suburb.

The new research used a slightly bigger cohort: 721 million Facebook users, more than one-tenth of the world’s population. The findings were posted on Facebook’s Web site Monday night.

The experiment took one month. The researchers used a set of algorithms developed at the University of Milan to calculate the average distance between any two people by computing a vast number of sample paths among Facebook users. They found that the average number of links from one arbitrarily selected person to another was 4.74. In the United States, where more than half of people over 13 are on Facebook, it was just 4.37.

“When considering even the most distant Facebook user in the Siberian tundra or the Peruvian rain forest,” the company wrote on its blog, “a friend of your friend probably knows a friend of their friend.”

Comment: See Yahoo, Facebook to test ‘six degrees of separation’ theory . Disney knew it was a Small World some time ago.

Occupy Wall Street: Tents and sleeping bags free speech?

ACLU sues Hennepin County over Occupy Minn. rules


The Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued Hennepin County officials Monday on behalf of anti-Wall Street protesters, claiming rules including a ban on tents and electricity are violating the demonstrators' rights to free speech.

Protesters have been at the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza since Oct. 7 as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The protesters have never been allowed to have structures like tents. But last week, new rules went into effect saying they could no longer tape signs on county property or sleep on the grounds.

The lawsuit asks that rules restricting the use of chalk, electricity and tents be declared unconstitutional. The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction to keep the rules from being enforced, and they want the county to provide electricity to the protesters.

Plaintiffs' attorney Justin Perl said the rules are troubling because they were created specifically for the protest. "They were not based on any previous ordinances," Perl said. "The Constitution does not allow the government to just make up new rules as you go along in order to target a particular group."

Are Tent Cities Free Speech? The First Amendment does not protect behavior that threatens health and safety.


One lesson of Occupy Wall Street is that if local authorities permit campouts, people will camp out. This permissive approach created a false impression of the strength of the movement. The crowds dispersed once the authorities applied typical time, place and manner rules.

Occupy Wall Street is suing to bring their tents and sleeping bags back to the park, but in Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence (1984), the Supreme Court held that the National Park Service could enforce its rules against sleeping in tents at Washington's Lafayette park and National Mall, even for a symbolic protest about homelessness. The tents in Zuccotti Park were shelter, not symbolic speech. As First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams told Reuters, it's a "real stretch to maintain that sleeping in a designated area itself is anything more than what it appears to be."

Comment: 1st article is Minneapolis related; 2nd is New York. But the free speech issue is the same


Occupy Wall Street: Bathe, Reality check on 1st Amendment, and the W

The Brain-Dead Left


It is true that constitutional "speech" goes beyond the exercise of the vocal function and includes symbolic actions. Perhaps the most famous example is the burning of an American flag, which the Supreme Court in 1989 held to be "symbolic" speech. But it is not the act of burning that is protected by the First Amendment. Texas v. Johnson did not strike down fire codes, or even set out an exception to them for expressive purposes. It said the government may not penalize the specific act of burning a flag because of that act's symbolic meaning.

Similarly, if, say, the New York City Police Department allowed Tea Partiers but not Obamavillians to camp out for months at Zuccotti Park, that would be a First Amendment problem. But the law, in all its majestic equality, forbids the right, as well as the left, from sleeping in a publicly accessible park. Breaking the law may be an effective way to call attention to one's ideas, but that motive does not confer a right to do so.


Occupy Wall Street protesters stay at $700-a-night hotel


A key Occupy Wall Street leader and another protester who leads a double life as a businessman ditched fetid tents and church basements for rooms at a luxurious hotel that promises guests can “unleash [their] inner Gordon Gekko,” The Post has learned.

The $700-per-night W Hotel Downtown last week hosted both Peter Dutro, one of a select few OWS members on the powerful finance committee, and Brad Spitzer, a California-based analyst who not only secretly took part in protests during a week-long business trip but offered shelter to protesters in his swanky platinum-card room.

The land the Pilgrims left

In the Pilgrims’ Footsteps, Through England and the Netherlands


The 102 passengers who sailed on the Mayflower in September 1620 came from all over England (and not all of them were religiously motivated), but the leaders of the separatist movement came from just a handful of farming villages in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and southern Yorkshire, most within walking distance of one another. This is not the touristy, thatched-cottage part of England, but it is beautiful nonetheless, and last spring my wife and I visited to see what we could learn about her ancestors, who in so many ways are forefathers to us all.


The most important of the Pilgrim villages, and probably the epicenter of the whole separatist movement, is Scrooby, in Nottinghamshire, where William Brewster, the local postmaster and later a Pilgrim leader, lived and held clandestine religious services in a large manor house. Scrooby today is a bit of a backwater and most of the house (which is now in private hands) was demolished in 1636.

Comment: My sister and mother are members of the Mayflower society


"Stupidity writ large"

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration


EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.


Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.

“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.

“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

Comment: One would think this would be from "The Onion"


Government borrows 36 cents for every dollar it spends

House Says No to Mandating Balanced Federal Budget


The first House vote in 16 years on making federal deficits unconstitutional came as the separate bipartisan "supercommittee" appeared to be sputtering in its attempt to find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions to head off major automatic cuts. The lead Republican on that panel said members were "painfully, painfully aware" of its Wednesday deadline for action and would work through the weekend.

The House voted 261-165 in favor of the measure to require annual balanced budgets, but that was 23 short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment.

Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the proposal, arguing that such a requirement would force Congress to make devastating cuts to social programs.


With the national debt now topping $15 trillion and the deficit for the just-ended fiscal year passing $1 trillion, supporters of the constitutional amendment declared it the only way to stop out-of-control spending. The government now must borrow 36 cents for every dollar it spends.

Comment: An amazing statistic - government borrows 36 cents for every dollar it spends! How long can this possibly go on?

"The Geico caveman has a right to be angry"

Neanderthals doomed by breeding with humans, CU study finds


Humans didn't kill off Neanderthals by outsmarting them or outfighting them.

Humans wiped out the prehuman race by sleeping with them. Often. And across most of Eurasia, apparently.

A new study co-written by a University of Colorado Denver researcher used computer modeling of how Neanderthals moved around to pose new claims that prehumans were not subhuman.


The computer modeling comes after a study last year revealed 1 to 4 percent of modern human genes in Eurasian peoples are leftovers from Neanderthals. Scientists consider that proof of breeding between the two distinct species before Neanderthals died out roughly 30,000 years ago.


"It shows you don't need to depend on the old cliches to explain the disappearance of Neanderthals," Riel-Salvatore said. "You don't need to make assumptions about them being stupid or less flexible."

The Geico caveman has a right to be angry, he added.

"They'll have to make a more equal-opportunity commercial — 'So easy, anyone can do it,' " he said.

Comment: Image source


Rice Krispies bars

Comment: Kathee was in a meeting all day where lunch was served. She brought me home a Rice Krispies bar. I haven't had one of these in a long time. Wow! Enjoyed it with coffee.

Rice Krispies bars

Back in 1965 .... "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

Back in 1965 I was a Junior in H.S. This song was a huge hit. I didn't have a clue it was from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

More on: Turn! Turn! Turn!

OWS: "[Slackers] from the park"

Occupy Atlanta disrupts two Wells Fargo banks


"Right after everybody left, one person asked, 'Are those the ***** from the park,'"

Comment: Yup! More on

TI-2500 Calculator

Comments: I'm am bidding on a TI-2500 Calculator on EBay. I bought one of these new way back in 1974. Checkout the Datamath Museum for more information on the TI-2500.

The concept of a “retirement age” is going the way of the typewriter

80 Is The New 65


The concept of a “retirement age” is going the way of the typewriter, another 20th-century relic that has been made irrelevant by changing circumstances. Middle class Americans now expect to work until they have saved enough to afford to retire, according to results from the seventh annual Retirement Survey from Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC). Three fourths (76%) of the 1,500 middle class Americans surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive in August and September 2011 say it is more important to have a specific amount saved before retirement, regardless of age, while only 20% say it is more important to retire at a specific age, regardless of savings.

Comment: Wells Fargo press release. Interesting. Image from an Ebay auction. About what my folks had when I was growing up.


Fact checking: “Whose park? Our park!”

Judge Backs Camping Ban at Protest Site


The protesters, about 200 of whom have been staying in the park overnight, initially resisted with chants of “Whose park? Our park!”

What Occupy Wall Street Owes to Zoning


The geographic center of the protest is Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, a one-block collection of trees and benches that is owned by an office landlord, Brookfield Office Properties Inc. Private ownership actually makes the space more accessible than public parks, many of which close at night.

As discussed in a Journal article Saturday, the city’s zoning code requires that many privately owned parks be open to the public at all times – one of the factors that made Zuccotti Park a hospitable venue for the protesters’s all-hours encampment.

Termed a “privately owned public space” — or POPS, in zoning parlance — these plazas stand at the intersection of capitalist instinct and public interest.

The zoning code puts restrictions on the scale of towers that developers are allowed to build. In an attempt to add public space in Manhattan without buying new parkland, city government allowed developers to build bigger structures if they set aside a plaza that remains open to the public.

While many of these are tucked away in the backs of buildings or in lobbies, Zuccotti Park turns out to be one of the most accessible POPS in the city. Of course, there is an irony that the space in which Occupy Wall Street has found a continued home is owned by the city’s largest landlord for financial services firms — the very industry they are protesting.

The rules governing POPS make them pretty accessible by design. At least half of the 500-plus plazas in the city must be open 24 hours, although the real-estate industry’s main lobbying group wants to change the rules so that they can close at night. Some owners have received permission to close theirs at night if they can make a convincing case that there is a security concern associated with 24-hour access.

Landlords are allowed to post rules that restrict people from some activities (such as skateboarding), and if a visitor breaks one of those rules, the landlord can ask the person to leave. At that point, a refusal to leave can be considered trespassing and the owner can ask the police to arrest the person, according to Gabriel Taussig, an attorney in the city’s Law Department.

When the protest began inside Zuccotti Park one month ago, there were few rules applied to the protesters. After people set up a camp inside the plaza, however, Brookfield posted new rules that prohibited camping, tents and “lying down on the ground,” among other rules.

Comment: More on Zuccotti Park


Warren Buffett buys high-tech

Berkshire buys 5 pct of IBM


Warren Buffett said Monday that his company has spent $10.7 billion to buy more than 5 percent of IBM's stock this year, a surprising move by the billionaire investor who has long shied away from investing in high technology companies.

Berkshire Hathaway also revealed several other new investments made during the turmoil of the third quarter. Besides the new IBM investment, Berkshire added much smaller stakes in Intel Corp., DirecTV, General Dynamics Corp. and CVS Caremark Corp.

Most of the details emerged from the quarterly update Berkshire filed with regulators on its $59 billion U.S. stock portfolio. Buffett disclosed some details in interviews earlier in the day.

Monday's filing doesn't offer a full picture of Berkshire's holdings, however, because the Securities and Exchange Commission allowed the Omaha-based company to keep some of its investments confidential.

Buffett has long refused to invest in high-tech companies because he has said it's too difficult to predict which technology businesses will prosper in the long run.

But he said he recently realized his view of IBM was wrong based on what he read in the company's annual reports and what he learned by talking to information-technology departments at Berkshire subsidiaries. He said he should have realized years sooner that hardware is no longer the heart of IBM's business.

"Now they're very much a services company, and they're very intertwined with their customers," Buffett said. And he said IBM's customers are reluctant to change once they start working with IBM.

So Berkshire has bought about 64 million shares since March, or about 5.5 percent of IBM. Buffett says he believes IBM has a sound plan for the future.

Comment: We bought into IBM earlier this year and it has been our most positive stock of the year. Just starting to buy INTC

Windows 7 at work

I was reimaged to Windows 7 SP1 at work. I have a Lenovo T-410 with 3 gig of memory. I must say that Windows 7 is a nice improvement over XP. I also got Office 2010 SP1 (up from Office 2007) and Lync.


Internet Home Values: "guesstimates, not gospel"

How to Figure the Fuzzy Math of Internet Home Values


All of the competitors make it clear their numbers are guesstimates, not gospel. "A Trulia estimate is just that—an estimate," says a disclaimer on that site's new home-value tool. Zillow goes a step further, publishing precise numbers about how imprecise its estimates can be. And every major site urges home-price hunters to consult appraisers or real-estate agents to refine their results.

But despite the disclaimers, homeowners and real-estate agents say, many Web surfers put enough faith in the estimates to sway the way they shop and sell.


Determining a home's value has traditionally been the job of an appraiser, who gathers data on recently sold homes and compares them with the "subject property" to arrive at an estimate.

In the late 1980s, economists started developing automated valuation models, or AVMs, computer models that could analyze data about comparable sales, square footage, number of bedrooms and the like, in a matter of seconds. For years, these tools were mostly reserved for in-house analysts at lending banks.

It wasn't until 2006 that Zillow took them to the masses, with its Zestimates, which now offer values for more than 100 million homes based on the company's own algorithms. "Humans don't make these decisions," says Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.


But appraisers and real-estate consultants say the online models can veer off target with alarming frequency. Most data for the models come from two sources: records from tax assessors and listing data for recent sales. Collection is a challenge, however, because not every county tracks properties the same way—some calculate home size by number of bedrooms, others by overall square footage. And automated models aren't designed to account for the unique construction details that often make or break a deal, or for intangible factors like a neighborhood's gentrification.


Zillow surfers who read the "About Zestimates" page find out that the site's overall error rate—the amount its estimates vary from a homes' actual value—is 8.5%, and that about one-fourth of the estimates are at least 20% off the eventual sale price. In some places, the numbers are far more dramatic: In Hamilton County, Ohio, which includes Cincinnati, it's 82%.

Comment: I'm glad I am not selling right now. And when we do I will use a realtor who is familiar with my neighborhood.

Contending .... NOT the "Fight Club"

Contending without Brawling

Comment: Links to a brief blog post that I wrote. Frankly I think some in fundamentalism just love to fight!


Intel ... toe in water

It wasn't a major purchase .. but I bought my first shares (only 5) of INTC yesterday. The Wiki article on Intel is pretty interesting as is the corporate site (Check out "See what 40 years of innovation looks like"). My first computer had an Intel 8080-compatible Z80

My son asked me why I bought Intel. Answer: They are big.  They are public (listed). They are profitable. They pay a dividend. Chart from yahoo finance.

Kids and shots

Kathee and I got our flu shots yesterday. I asked the nurse what percentage of kids cried when they got a shot. Answer: Infants = 100% because of the shock of it. 10 year olds = about half

Comment: Image source: Polio shots for children at Lincoln School, St. Cloud, 1953


The serious choice if Iran Has Nukes

Cal Thomas: Surprise! Iran Has Nukes


When Iran lies, the State Department believes their lies; when Iran tells the truth, say, about wishing to wipe Israel off the map, State doesn't believe them.

WSJ: If Iran Gets the Bomb - The world immediately becomes a far more dangerous place


The serious choice now before the Administration is between military strikes and more of the same. As the IAEA report makes painfully clear, more of the same means a nuclear Iran, possibly within a year.

Comment: My take is that Israel will hit them soon.

U.S. Plans Bomb Sales in Gulf to Counter Iran


Recent arms deals include a record $60 billion plan to sell Saudi Arabia advanced F-15 aircraft, some to be equipped 2,000-pound JDAMs and other powerful munitions. The Pentagon recently notified Congress of plans to sell Stinger missiles and medium-range, air-to-air missiles to Oman.

The U.S. has also sought to build up missile-defense systems across the region, with the goal of building an integrated network to defend against short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles from Iran.

Our daughter was born 27 years ago today

Comment: This is not a baby photo of her!


Distance to McD's ... visualized

Comment: Select for larger. Why McDonalds is a good stock! People buy 'em

Why Gingrich Could Win

Why Gingrich Could Win


[Newt Gingrich] showers them with details, facts and history in a degree no candidate in recent memory has even approached. Audiences have a way of rewarding such trust.

No one listening that night to candidate Gingrich's reflections on the menace of radical judges from Lincoln's time on down could have ignored the power of his fiery assessment—including the Dred Scott decision, others by courts today that threaten our national security, and much in between

Comment: On Ron Paul (same article)

Congressman Ron Paul, who last weekend let it be known that if he doesn't like the views of the person who wins the nomination, he won't support the Republican candidate. This is a good reason—one of many—for Mr. Paul to retire himself from further debates. It's a certainty, to put it mildly, that he's not going to be the nominee.

It would be passing strange to have as a candidate for the presidency of the United States an envenomed crank who regularly offers justification for the 9/11 attacks that resulted in the annihilation of 3,000 Americans. It was an act, Mr. Paul explains in these exculpatory sermonettes, to which the terrorists were driven by American policies. Mr. Paul may get all the fond buddy treatment in the world from his fellow debaters, but few Americans outside of his devoted army of isolationist fanatics will forget these views.

Rick Perry is "toast"

Comment: Let's get real ... this guy just plain looks stupid! This is not his first gaffe! My take: There are now two possibilities: Mitt and Newt


Bil Keane, Family Circus, creator passes

Wry Cartoonist Created 'Family Circus'


Bil Keane was creator of "The Family Circus," the gentle, long-running comic syndicated in almost 1,500 newspapers.

Mr. Keane, who died Tuesday at age 89 at his home in Arizona, became a wry poet of the innocence of childhood, his single-panel cartoon portraying the joys and travails of growing up. Except that his characters, based on his own family, never aged at all.

The themes stayed constant for the more than half-century Mr. Keane wrote and drew the comic: The children play with their pets, track snow into the house, have tantrums, kneel for their prayers, and tire out their long-suffering, ever-affectionate mother, "Mommy."

The cartoons were more sharply observed than ha-ha funny. "I would rather have the readers react with a warm smile, a tug at the heart or a lump in the throat as they recall doing the same things in their own families," Mr. Keane once said.

Comment: Wiki The Family Circus

Kathee: 20 years with Bank

Comment: I am very proud of my dear wife. I met her at IBM back in 1973 when we were new hires. We married in 1974 (187 Kardashian units ago). We moved to Pittsburgh and she worked for Mellon Bank. Then back to IBM while I was in seminary. Then she was a pastor's wife and mother. When we were near-broke she went back to work at the Rocky Mountain Motor Tariff Bureau (1989). Then was hired by United Bank ... to become Norwest .... to become Wells Fargo. There was a celebration honoring her today

Engineering Flowchart

Comment: For Bert P.

A great bank for our deposits ... but we hate you!

Occupy Oakland Protesters Deposit Funds At Wells Fargo After Bank Attacks


A group of Oakland anti-Wall Street protesters who blame large banks for the economic downturn have decided that one of those institutions is the best place to stash their money for now.

Protesters at an Occupy Oakland meeting Monday voted to deposit a $20,000 donation into a Wells Fargo account. The move comes just days after one of Wells Fargo’s branches was vandalized during a massive downtown demonstration.

Banks Targeted In Marches, Rallies During Occupy Oakland General Strike


About 200 people chanted outside a Wells Fargo Bank branch at 12th and Broadway, which did not open Wednesday because of its proximity to the Occupy demonstrators downtown. Hours after the original gathering, protesters broke out some of the bank’s windows.

The branch had graffiti scrawled on its wall. The messages read, “The 1 percent won’t back down” and “Who’s robbing who?”

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Holly Rockwood said the company was open to discussing issues with Occupy Oakland leaders in the community.

Comment: Articles have photos of broken windows at Wells Fargo and a defaced Wells Fargo sign.

187 Kardashians: Measuring marriage in Kardashian units

Comment: Online calculator to measure your marriage in Kardashian units. (Also pretty easy to do by hand or even in Excel)

Kardashian Calculator

Kardashian Marriage Calculator Proves Reality TV Is Missing Out on Real Love

The jokes about the longevity (or lack thereof) of the Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries union have been running wild. But nothing has quite captured the insanity of spending $17.9 million on a wedding for a marriage that lasted just 72 days like the Kardashian Calculator. Or as it should be known, the Kardashian Kalculator.

A coder from Iowa named Bryan Forbes is somebody with a little bit too much time on his hands and a lot of mathematical know-how. And he has figured out how to measure your marriage in Kardashian time. Which we, naturally, put to the test ... for some intriguing results.

By entering your wedding date and hitting "calculate," Forbes' little gadget divides the time that's passed since you said "I do" by 72 days. Or as he calls it, by a Kardashian, a unit of measure representing 72 days of marriage.

At first I thought the Kalculator was just a bit of fun, but after determining that I've logged 56.28 Kardashians with my husband (that's a little over 11 years for those of you who don't do multiplication in your brain), I then plugged in my parents' wedding date and, for the hell of it, my grandparents'. The first is just over 187, but the second? At the time of my grandmother's death, they'd been married 310.74 Kardashians!

Final comment: On 12/28/2011 it will be 37 years OR 188 Kardashians

Attention turns from Greece to Italy

Crisis in Italy Deepens, as Bond Yields Hit Record Highs


Italy’s financial crisis deepened on Wednesday despite a pledge by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to resign once Parliament passes austerity measures demanded by the European Union.

The move failed to convince investors, propelling Italy’s borrowing costs through a key financial and psychological barrier of 7 percent, close to levels that have required other euro zone countries to seek bailouts.


yields on 10-year Italian government bonds — the price demanded by investors to lend money to Italy — surged on Wednesday to 7.4 percent, the highest level since the adoption of the euro more than 10 years ago.

In Europe’s months of crisis, yields in excess of 7 percent have triggered calls for bailouts and the subsequent demise of governments in Ireland, Greece and Portugal, but Italy’s debt is much higher than in those countries. The 7 percent barrier is seen partly as a symbolic threshold, but it also reflects hard financial facts: borrowing costs at that level make it difficult for Italy to raise new funds to pay off what it owes. The figure is widely seen by bond market analysts as unsustainable.

In the end, thus, it was not the sex scandals, the corruption trials against him or even a loss of popular consensus that appeared to end Mr. Berlusconi’s 17 years as a dominant figure in Italian political life. It was, instead, the pressure of the markets and the European Union, which could not risk his dragging down the euro and with it the world economy.

Although Mr. Berlusconi’s exit was not immediate — weeks of political wrangling over the austerity measures probably lie ahead — political commentators said they could see no escape this time for the prime minister, whose Houdini-like ability to wriggle free from scandals is legendary.

“A season is over,” said Mario Calabresi, the editor in chief of the Turin daily newspaper La Stampa, who said Mr. Berlusconi told him that he was not only stepping down, but also would not run for office again.

With fears that the debt crisis would spread from Greece to Italy, whose economy is too big to bail out, pressure had been building on Mr. Berlusconi to resign for weeks, including recently from members of his center-right coalition. Even the Roman Catholic Church, whose support is crucial for any Italian government, began harshly criticizing him.

Comment: Imagine a nation having to borrow at a 7.4% rate. An individual can finance a mortgage at 4% here. My HELOC rate is at 4%

Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) may move back to HongKong

HSBC says may leave UK, warns on global slowdown


Europe's biggest bank reported a 36 percent fall in third quarter profits as the euro zone debt crisis hit investment bank income and bad debts jumped almost $1 billion in the United States as homeowners stopped paying their mortgages.

Extra British regulations could cost $2.5 billion a year, which the bank said on Wednesday may be "too high" to stay, though it would delay its decision to move its headquarters back to Hong Kong or elsewhere until at least next year.

HSBC's shares fell more than 6 percent, as analysts said underlying profits of $3 billion in the three months to the end of September fell short of expectations and there was also disappointment on rising costs and U.S. bad debts.

Comment: HSBC Holdings plc was founded in London in 1991 by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation to act as a new group holding company and to enable the acquisition of UK-based Midland Bank (Source). More on The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. We don't have HSBC (HBC) stock but it could be a solid investment.


Bad weekend for Minnesota deer stand hunters

3 hunters die in the field; others injured


A 51-year-old hunter from Sartell who fell from his deer stand in north-central Minnesota was fatally shot by his own gun, authorities said Monday. His body was found about 10 a.m. Sunday near his stand in Beulah Township, near Outing, after authorities were alerted that a hunter was missing, according to the Cass County Sheriff's Office. His identity has not yet been released.

Saturday's death near Saum of Gene A. Berthiaume, 72, of St. Paul, was determined Monday to be a result of natural causes, not injuries from falling from his deer stand as had been suspected Sunday, according to Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp.

Arthur Joseph Knafla died about 9:45 a.m. Saturday in Lavell Township, southeast of Hibbing, when his clothing caught fire as he tried to light a propane heater in his stand. The 84-year-old Maple Grove man fell from the stand when his clothes began burning, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said.

Several hunters were injured in falls from tree stands, one seriously enough to require evacuation by helicopter,

Comment: The serious injury is a Baptist pastor from Brainerd who sustained a broken back. My brother (hunter, firearms expect, and instructor of hunter safety) was lecturing my middle son last week about the dangers of tree stands. His view (my brother's) .. real hunters don't need a tree stand. A helpful article on tree stand safety.

Cain is "toast"

Four accusers

Fourth Woman Accuses Cain of Sexual Harassment


A fourth woman on Monday accused GOP presidential contender Herman Cain of sexual harassment during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. At a news conference in New York City, attorney Gloria Allred identified the woman as Sharon Bialek, who she said had "sexually inappropriate" encounters with Cain.

Comment: He may have done nothing wrong. But in the end money will not flow to his campaign. He is not the Republican champion who will defeat Obama.

Joke at work:

Herman Cain approached a German Fräulein.

She sternly rebuked him: "Nein ... Nein .... Nein"

Comment: I did not get it at first (slow on the uptake!)



Comment: Brother (Roger) just got 'the haircut'. My beard at 6 weeks


The Ad that Changed American Politics

Book review of Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and the Ad That Changed American Politics: The Nuclear Option


Enter Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), a small New York ad firm best known for its spots selling the Volkswagen Beetle. DDB had radical plans for political advertising, which previously had consisted mostly of candidates buying blocks of air time to sit behind a desk and deliver a speech for 30 minutes. This was as scintillating as it sounds: In 1952, one disgruntled viewer sent a telegram to Adlai Stevenson that read "I like Ike and I love Lucy. Drop dead." That same year, Eisenhower did a ground-breaking series of television ads in which he answered questions from "regular" Americans. Although the former general found the ads humiliating, they were an enormous success.

DDB had come to the attention of the Johnson campaign by way of the young aides Lloyd Wright and Bill Moyers, and discovered a president whose own approach to advertising was blunt: "Everybody worries about war and peace. Everything else is chickens—."


Mr. Mann describes the ad and its creation in brilliant detail. He finds the sound man who pioneered both the use of real children's voices and the disembodied voice of a countdown. The ad itself, is a masterpiece of suspense. Never does it mention Goldwater. Never does it claim a candidate will start a nuclear war. But it instantly ended Goldwater's campaign.

The ad only aired once, a strategy that Mr. Mann concludes was a masterstroke. The specter of nuclear holocaust was terrifying. But if the ad had been repeated, audiences would have grown inured to the threat, a psychological effect called habituation. And Goldwater managed to keep getting in his own way. On September 18, he delivered a half-hour televised speech responding to the ad, giving it an extra radioactive half-life.

Comment: Amazing that it only was aired once! Wiki article

Paying much .... being taught little

What's Your Kid Getting From College? Occupy Wall Street has a point about student debt—sort of.


As for the "practical" majors, New York University's Richard Arum and the University of Virginia's Josipa Roksa tell us they might not be as useful as once thought. In a recent work called "Academically Adrift," these authors tracked the progress of more than 2,300 undergraduates at two dozen U.S. universities. They found that more than a third of seniors leave campus having shown no improvement in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, or written communications over four years. Worse, the majors and programs often thought most practical—education, business and communications—prove to be the least productive.

So yes, the student protesters with their iPads and iPhones may come across badly to other Americans. Yes too, even those who leave school thousands of dollars in debt will—on average—find their degrees a good investment, given the healthy lifetime earnings premium that a bachelor's degree still commands.

Still, when it comes to what our colleges and universities are charging them for their degrees, they have a point. Too many have paid much and been taught little. They've been ripped off—but not by the banks or the fat cats or any of the other stock villains so unwelcome these days in Zuccotti Park.

"If these students and grads understood the real issues with their college debt," says Ms. Neal, "they would change their focus from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy the Ivory Tower."

Comment: See The sad plight of Joe Therrien and his puppet degree

Bank Transfer Day

Bank Transfer Day won't help savers


Depositors joining the Bank Transfer Day protest Saturday are hoping to send a message to the nation's biggest banks that they're tired of annoying fees and government bailouts. Many of them are moving to smaller community banks and credit unions.

But they're not likely to get a higher return on their cash.

Comment: Facebook site

Today I did what was in my financial self interest

  • I checked my brokerage account and my IRA at Wells Fargo. What a great trading platform! 100 free trades a year (yesterday I bought 25 shares of Unilever)
  • I checked my 4 savings accounts and 1 checking account at INGDirect. This week (Thursday) I transferred money into these accounts. A great place to bank
  • Yesterday I had my paycheck (and my wife's) deposited into our joint Wells Fargo account. It's one of the world's great banks and I use a number of their services. By careful management I've been able to avoid overdraft fees for my entire life. That careful management used to involve the very tedious monthly balancing of our checkbook. But now it is a matter of using online banking.
  • Today I transferred money online from my Wells Fargo account to another Wells Fargo customer.
  • Today I used my Chase Sapphire credit card to buy gas for my tractor

Chase, Wells Fargo, and INGDirect. Three great banks. I highly recommend them.

McRib: "there's not a rib to be found inside"

From Nebraska Lab To McDonald's Tray: The McRib's Strange Journey


But even though there's not a rib to be found inside the sandwich, that pork patty drenched in barbecue sauce actually represents one of the greater innovations in meat science of the last century.


even though there's not a rib to be found inside the sandwich, that pork patty drenched in barbecue sauce actually represents one of the greater innovations in meat science of the last century.

Comment: Wiki on. NPR article details! Never had one but would like to try it

Bailouts for Me, but Not for Thee

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators advocate policies that helped create the mess they’re protesting.


“We are blessed with 2 full time jobs but still pay on student loans 16 years after graduating,” wrote one. “We live paycheck to paycheck and are one car repair away from missing our mortgage payment.” Another said he wanted to become a science teacher, “but I’m shrouded in inflated student debts I didn’t foresee.” There was a 41-year-old MBA with $80,000 in student debt, a second-year college student who has racked up $20,000 in debt so far, the over-educated couple who probably won’t be buying a house or having kids because of student loans, the public school teacher who lamented that “my kids owe a quarter of a million $ in student loans.” As a fellow 99 percenter summed it up, “I did everything i was supposed to do: went to college, got good grades, participated in sports and clubs, graduated on time. 3 years later i have nothing to show for it.”

To the extent that people were merely describing the grisly details of living through what has been the first- or second-lousiest economy since the Great Depression, most of us can empathize (even those of us who made the conscious decision to never incur student debt or buy a house). There is a growing body of economic literature suggesting that higher education is experiencing a price bubble at a time when the job market for graduates is more difficult than usual—though still exponentially better than that for nongraduates. But when unhappiness over the disappointing results of freely made choices spills into policy recommendations, the putative libertarian-progressive alliance breaks down—and the logic of the Occupy Wall Street movement eats its own tail.


As of this writing, the Occupy Wall Street movement appears to have legs. I am generally happy to see public displays of disaffection with a governing elite that has inflicted so much bad economic policy on the rest of us, even more so when the protesters lean toward the political party that currently occupies the White House. (Many Tea Partiers I’ve talked to express personal regret that they didn’t get their start opposing George W. Bush.) But I will reserve my enthusiasm until the moment that protesters stop bashing capitalism and start confronting the incoherence of opposing bailouts for everybody but themselves.

Comment: Image above: Ouroboros the ancient symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tail.

NFL: Why viewers can't see "All-22" Footage

The Footage the NFL Won't Show You - Despite Its TV Ubiquity, the League Won't Share "All-22" Footage


If you ask the league to see the footage that was taken from on high to show the entire field and what all 22 players did on every play, the response will be emphatic. "NO ONE gets that," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email. This footage, added fellow league spokesman Greg Aiello, "is regarded at this point as proprietary NFL coaching information."

For decades, NFL TV broadcasts have relied most heavily on one view: the shot from a sideline camera that follows the progress of the ball. Anyone who wants to analyze the game, however, prefers to see the pulled-back camera angle known as the "All 22."

While this shot makes the players look like stick figures, it allows students of the game to see things that are invisible to TV watchers: like what routes the receivers ran, how the defense aligned itself and who made blocks past the line of scrimmage.

Comment: When I was a child we used to play Electric football. It was a noisy buzzie game. More on it below (from the Wiki link):

The game is played on a small metal field, with plastic players placed on the field in formations, just as in real football. The ball is a football-shaped small piece of foam or felt. When the players are set up, a switch is activated that turns on a small electric motor which causes the field to vibrate, and moves the players around the field. The imagination then takes flight as players run around the board in an unpredictable manner.

Each player is attached to a base, with prongs on the bottom that allow the player to move. Rookie bases are not adjustable and the player hopefully runs forward. Pro bases have a dial that you can turn to have players turn to the right or left.

A special player called the Triple Threat Quarterback (TTQ) allows players to pass, punt or kick field goals. The ball has a slit that lets the game player place it on the TTQ's arm. The arm is pulled back and released to pass the ball. Use of this figure is a very difficult skill to master and was the primary form of advancing the ball.

For kicking the ball is placed on a tee on the TTQ and a plastic leg is flicked to kick the ball.

Images above: Sear's advertisement (we played with an earlier variety that pass pre-Superbowl era); Joe Namath circa 1960's (available on Ebay at a starting bid price of $ 25); and History of Tudor Games (image of a mid-'50s model)


Fall back!

Why Daylight Saving Time Should Be Abolished


The railroads were the first to set the time in the 19th century, coordinating distant clocks so that trains could run on theoretically precise timetables (this cut down on crashes.). You can also thank railroads for time zones—geographic swaths of the globe set to the same hour.

But it was evening-time activists like entomologist George Vernon Hudson and golfer William Willett​ who can be blamed for Daylight Saving Time. Noting that a little extra well-lit time on a balmy evening would be nicer than in the morning when everybody’s asleep anyway, the two independently proposed shifting clocks forward for the spring and summer. Governments soon seized upon the idea as a way to cut down on energy use — more sunlight in the evening means less coal-burned to provide artificial alternatives.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to hold up too well. And changing back and forth to Daylight Saving Time twice a year seems to be bad for human health — from increased risk of heart attack to more mine accidents. Nevertheless, in 2007, the U.S. Congress saw fit to extend Daylight Saving Time‘s reign from earlier in spring to deeper into fall in 2007.

It would make more sense to either scrap Daylight Saving Time or turn it into standard time—in effect, make it permanent. But since when have we been sensible about time management?

Comment: Today I had my tractor again converted back to snow plowing. Mowing deck off ... snow blade on. Work: finally starting to find that it is winding down for the year. I have off almost every Friday starting next week until the end of the year

The final Geico commercial

Comment: I cleaned up the language a bit

Engineering and Science majors: "It’s dry and hard to get through"

Why Science Majors Change Their Minds (It’s Just So Darn Hard)


Studies have found that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree. That increases to as much as 60 percent when pre-medical students, who typically have the strongest SAT scores and high school science preparation, are included, according to new data from the University of California at Los Angeles. That is twice the combined attrition rate of all other majors.


The bulk of attrition comes in engineering and among pre-med majors, who typically leave STEM fields if their hopes for medical school fade. There is no doubt that the main majors are difficult and growing more complex. Some students still lack math preparation or aren’t willing to work hard enough.

Other deterrents are the tough freshman classes, typically followed by two years of fairly abstract courses leading to a senior research or design project. “It’s dry and hard to get through, so if you can create an oasis in there, it would be a good thing,” says Dr. Goldberg, who retired last year as an engineering professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is now an education consultant.


The latest research also suggests that there could be more subtle problems at work, like the proliferation of grade inflation in the humanities and social sciences, which provides another incentive for students to leave STEM majors. It is no surprise that grades are lower in math and science, where the answers are clear-cut and there are no bonus points for flair. Professors also say they are strict because science and engineering courses build on one another, and a student who fails to absorb the key lessons in one class will flounder in the next.

Comment: STEM mentioned above is science, technology, engineering and math. Image above is Don Herbert from Watch Mr. Wizard. On Engineering majors ... I know from the experience of my son who is now a Senior at the University of Minnesota. Balancing school, work, an internship at 3M, the Army National Guard and marriage is tough.

How does the Euro work?

How the euro became a broken dream


Creating a currency which could be used across such disparate economies was always a difficult task. The idea for a single currency was promoted by Jacques Delors, a former French minister of finance, who held the European Commission presidency from 1985 to 1995.

The aim was to stamp a European identity in the markets, bringing, among other things, price stability, growth and trading benefits. The Delors report of 1989 defined a monetary union objective as being, in part, a "complete liberalization of capital movements."


The Greek economy has been in trouble since the country joined the euro, due to a mix of overspending and inability to raise enough revenue. In 2004, it admitted that the country's financial position was worse than reported and had breached the eurozone entry requirements.

By 2008 the government had narrowly passed a belt-tightening budget, designed to trim its massive national debt burden, triggering massive protests. In 2009, Greece admitted its deficit would be more than 12% of gross domestic product -- far higher than previous estimates and more than four times the requirements of entry into the eurozone.

The country was hit with ratings downgrades, pushing its sovereign bonds into so-called "junk" territory, and the damage continued to spiral. Despite the introduction of brutal austerity measures -- which have prompted waves of violent protests -- Greece has been unable to balance its books. There is a risk it could be forced out of the eurozone.

Comment: Good article on the history of the Euro and the Greek problem