Rod's "Seasons in the Sun" (The Kingston Trio)

Songwriter, Poet Rod McKuen Dies At 81

The obituary in The Los Angeles Times describes Rod McKuen as "prolific" and that may well be an understatement considering the many compositions he churned out. McKuen is credited with more than 200 albums and more than 30 collections of poetry. His work included the Academy Award-nominated song "Jean" from the 1969 film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and McKuen's music for the animated feature "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" was also nominated for an Oscar. The Los Angeles Times writes: Among McKuen's commercial success in the 1960s and '70s were his reworking of Jacques Brel's song "Le Moribond" for the English-language version of "Seasons in the Sun," which was later covered by the Kingston Trio and Terry Jacks. Frank Sinatra recorded an album of McKuen songs in 1969 called "A Man Alone," which included "Love's Been Good to Me."
Comments: "Seasons in the Sun" & The Kingston Trio


Why A Fake Article Titled "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" Was Accepted By 17 Medical Journals

Why A Fake Article Titled "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" Was Accepted By 17 Medical Journals

Shrime decided to see how easy it would be to publish an article. So he made one up. Like, he literally made one up. He did it using www.randomtextgenerator.com. The article is entitled "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" and its authors are the venerable Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles. The subtitle reads: "The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals." Shrime submitted it to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. (They have not "published" it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a "processing fee." Shrime has no plans to pay them.)
Comment: Image source


Would you bow before this man?

'I have everything in my life because of him': Poignant moment Holocaust survivor salutes American soldier who liberated him from Nazi concentration camp hell in emotional reunion after 70 years Excerpt:

This is the poignant moment when a man rescued from the hell he endured at the hands of the Nazis met his saviour and gave him a salute almost 70 years later. Joshua Kaufman first saluted his rescuer Daniel Gillespie. Then he kissed his hand and finally, he fell to his feet, exclaiming: 'I have wanted to do this for 70 years. I love you, I love you so much...'. Kaufman, now 87, was a 'walking corpse' on April 29 1945 when U.S. Army soldier Gillespie, 89, marched in with his comrades to liberate the charnel house that was the Dachau concentration camp near Munich. Gillespie, a machine gunner with the 42nd 'Rainbow Division,' moved to block 11 of the infamous complex which was the first camp built by the Nazis to house its enemies in 1933.  ... Kaufman had the last word on the beach when he said: 'I have everything I wanted in life through him. That is the reason for my thankfulness.'
Comment: I would bow before the man who saved me from the hell of the Holocaust! In the same way, I bow before the Lord Jesus Christ: "For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God" (Romans 5:7-9)


The the last and "real Marlboro man" dies at 85

Darrell Winfield, long-serving Marlboro Man, dies in Wyoming at 85


One of the last of the Marlboro Men has died in Wyoming. Darrell Hugh Winfield was 85. He died Monday at his home in Riverton, Davis Funeral Home said. The Marlboro Man was a macho cowboy whose image in advertising from the 1950s to the late 1990s made filtered cigarettes more appealing to men. Previously Marlboros were marketed to women. Winfield's rugged good looks made him the face of Marlboro cigarettes in magazine and television ads from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. The Leo Burnett ad agency discovered Winfield in 1968 while he was working on the Quarter Circle 5 Ranch in western Wyoming.
Comment: Image capture from. Wiki. Info on others. If he was a smoker, he did well to live to 85.


Darrell Winfield, 85 of Riverton died on Monday, January 12, 2015, at his residence. As were his wishes, cremation has taken place and no service will be held. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Darrell Hugh Winfield was born on July 30, 1929 in Little Kansas, OK to Marion H. and Dapalean (Caywood) Winfield. He was the oldest of six children and was raised in Hanford, CA where he attended school. The family moved to California when he was 6 years old. He made many trips to visit Wilburn Spring, also known as “Springer”, which was what he told his mother while he was actually courting the love of his life, Lennie L. Spring. They were married on July 3, 1948 in Hanford, CA. Together they raised six children, 3 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. Many more children came through their doors and they “raised and mentored” all of them. They were always more than willing to help out a child. In 1968, Darrell and his family moved to Pinedale, WY. He was working on the Quarter Circle 5 Ranch in Pinedale when he was discovered by Leo Burnett/Philip Morris Advertising and became the “Marlboro Man”. He remained loyal from 1968 to the time of his death. At one time, his face was known as the most photographed around the world. Darrell was asked what his life would have been like if he had not been the Marlboro Man, he said “life would have basically been the same”. Darrell was a “true” cowboy. In 1974 he moved to Riverton and started WD/Winfield Horses. He followed the American Indian Spirituality. He was given the Native American name of “Strong Mountain”. He attended sweats at several lodges, including his own, where everyone was welcome. In his younger years he belonged to the Rodeo Cowboy Association (RCA), which later became the PRCA. He was also a member of the Screen Actors Guild. His family said he loved horses, rodeo, especially team roping, ranching, and the cowboy way of life. He liked to tease, was quite a character, and never met a stranger. He collected bits and spurs, loved to read western non-fiction, history, and stories of the Native Americans. He loved to play Gin Rummy and Backgammon with his family and friends. He deeply loved his wife of 66 years and made her and his family his highest priority. He also cherished his friends and all were welcome at their home. After having a stroke, his loving wife became his primary caregiver, along with help from family and friends. He was very grateful to Dailen for his assistance in overseeing his ranch. He is survived by his wife Lennie; son, Brian Winfield and companion Karla Eckhardt; daughters, Janet Mendes and companion Guy Faris, Nancy Eppler, Linda Saunders and companion Dailen Jones, Debi Walters and husband Dave, Darlene Raymond and husband Robert; three grandchildren the couple raised, Kelly, Kari, and Katie Winfield, one great grandchild, Aspen Winfield; numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren; brother, Ray Winfield of Oklahoma; brothers-in-laws, Norman White and Manual Thomas, both from California, Dean Spring and wife Wendy of Arizona; sisters-in-laws, Nancy Sue Garcia and husband Stan, and Bealy Joaquin and husband (Tony) all of California . He was preceded in death by his great grandson, Clay Walters; sons-in-laws, Dan Mendes and Billy Eppler; five siblings, Bill Winfield, Barbara White, Marilyn Brooks and Buddy Winfield; sisters-in-laws, Billye Winfield and Cora Lee Thomas; parents, Marion and Dapalean Winfield; his wife’s parents, Wilburn “Springer” and Corrine (Oakes) Spring and close family friend, Floyd Nichols. Memorials may be made to the Donor’s choice of any organization dedicated to benefit children. Memorials may be sent in care of the Davis Funeral Home, 2203 W. Main Street, Riverton, WY 82501.


Netanyahu Persona non grata

Hollande asked Netanyahu not to attend Paris memorial march


French President Francois Hollande conveyed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend asking him not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror on Sunday, according to an Israeli source who was privy to the contacts between the Elysees Palace and the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The fact that this message had been conveyed was first reported by Channel 2. After the French government began to send invitations to world leaders to participate in the rally against terror, Hollande’s national security adviser, Jacques Audibert, contacted his Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, and said that Hollande would prefer that Netanyahu not attend, the source said. Audibert explained that Hollande wanted the event to focus on demonstrating solidarity with France, and to avoid anything liable to divert attention to other controversial issues, like Jewish-Muslim relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Audibert said that Hollande hoped that Netanyahu would understand the difficulties his arrival might pose and would announce that he would not be attending. The source noted that one of the French concerns - not conveyed to representatives of the Israeli government - was that Netanyahu would take advantage of the event for campaign purposes and make speeches, especially about the Jews of France. Such statements, the Elysee Palace feared, would hurt the demonstration of solidarity the French government was trying to promote as part of dealing with the terror attacks.
Comment: More here. Image source. The cynical part of me thinks France has a "jewish problem" and that perhaps Netanyahu's attendance has something to do with Obama's shameful no-show!

Come for our Freedoms ... Enjoy our Freedoms ... Respect our Freedoms

Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam tells fellow Muslims who do not appreciate the 'freedoms' of living in the West to 'pack your bags'


The Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam has said Muslim immigrants who do not appreciate the way of life in Western civilisations can 'f*** off'. Ahmed Aboutaleb, who arrived in the Netherlands aged 15, spoke out in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last week. Appearing on live television just hours after the shootings, Mayor Aboutaleb said Muslims who 'do not like freedom can pack your bags and leave'.
Comment: Franklin Delano Roosevelt's The Four Freedoms speech insired Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms. A print of Rockwell's Four Freedom's hangs on the wall of our kitchen.

Related: The Troubling Math of Muslim Migration

Rob Konrad's amazing 27 mile swim to safety

'I shouldn't be here' -- former NFL fullback Rob Konrad talks about his 16-hour swim to shore


He was taking his boat for servicing last Wednesday and decided to do a little fishing along the way. He had caught a large fish and was tending to the rod when a large wave hit, flipping Konrad into the ocean. His boat was on autopilot and headed east. There were no other boats in sight. Konrad wasn't wearing a life preserver. It was 12:30 p.m. "I realized I was in some real trouble," he said. Konrad quickly decided to swim toward shore, although he figured the trip would take more than 10 hours, and feared succumbing to hypothermia or cramps after two or three hours. The ocean temperature was in the low 70s — far from frigid, but a lot colder than his body temperature. So Konrad decided he'd better keep moving. He took off his shirt and began alternating between a breaststroke and backstroke. He said he's not much of a swimmer, but Nyad figures his football experience made a big difference. "We're not really talking about a swimming story. We're talking about a survival story," Nyad said. "I'm sure his background as an athlete — toughness, having resolve, knowing things are going to be painful — were the saving grace for him." Konrad said he got bit "by a whole bunch of stuff." A shark circled before moved along. "There was a lot of stuff glowing at night, probably some jellyfish," he said. He could also see lights along the coast and pick out landmarks. As he tired, he gained emotional strength. "Five or six hours in I realized, 'Maybe I can do this,'" he said. Twice he was nearly rescued. A recreational fishing boat approached to within 50 yards, but Konrad couldn't flag it down. Then a Coast Guard helicopter searching for him flew overhead. "They had their lights on me and kept going. They didn't see me. That was a difficult time." But the ex-Dolphin kept swimming, thinking of his daughters, ages 8 and 10. "He had two angels on his back," his wife said. "I was probably pretty delirious at the time, but I could see the lights getting closer and closer," he said. Then the sound of the ocean changed. He could hear waves hitting the shore, and finally he reached land as well. "The problem was I couldn't walk. My body was shaking uncontrollably. I crawled up on the beach and warmed myself up enough to be able to walk." Paramedics were summoned, and soon he was en route to the hospital. His boat was found near Grand Bahama Island on Deadman's Reef, the irony of the name not lost on Konrad. He had gone the other way.
Comment: Image capture from the New York Daily News.  More here and here.


Of course the climate is changing

Climate change's instructive past

In "The Third Horseman: Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century," William Rosen explains how Europe's "most widespread and destructive famine" was the result of "an almost incomprehensibly complicated mixture of climate, commerce, and conflict, four centuries in gestation." Early in that century, 10 percent of the population from the Atlantic to the Urals died, partly because of the effect of climate change on "the incredible amalgam of molecules that comprises a few inches of soil that produces the world's food." In the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), from the end of the ninth century to the beginning of the 14th, the Northern Hemisphere was warmer than at any time in the past 8,000 years — for reasons concerning which there is no consensus. Warming increased the amount of arable land — there were vineyards in northern England — leading, Rosen says, to Europe's "first sustained population increase since the fall of the Roman Empire." The need for land on which to grow cereals drove deforestation. The MWP population explosion gave rise to towns, textile manufacturing and new wealthy classes. Then, near the end of the MWP, came the severe winters of 1309-1312, when polar bears could walk from Greenland to Iceland on pack ice. In 1315 there was rain for perhaps 155 consecutive days, washing away topsoil. Upwards of half the arable land in much of Europe was gone; cannibalism arrived as parents ate children. Corpses hanging from gallows were devoured. Human behavior did not cause this climate change. Instead, climate warming caused behavioral change (10 million mouths to feed became 30 million). Then climate cooling caused social changes (rebelliousness and bellicosity) that amplified the consequences of climate, a pattern repeated four centuries later.
Comment: At one time the ice was a mile thick at Chicago


The specialty gas companies

Key Links:
Comments: The Street has Praxiar as a "Buy" When I worked at Monsanto Chemical back in college, I sometimes had to move chemical cylinders. It's not easy. Final image source.

Venezuela: No hay papas a la francesa

 McDonald's runs out of French fries in Venezuela


Forget the French fries. How about a side of yuca with that Big Mac? Venezuela's more than 100 McDonald's franchises have run out of potatoes and are now serving alternatives like deep-fried arepa flatbreads or yuca, a starchy staple of traditional South American cooking. McDonald's is blaming a contract dispute with West Coast dock workers for halting the export of frozen fries to the country. The dispute also caused several days of French fry rationing in Japan last month. But Sonia Ruseler, an Argentina-based spokeswoman for Arcos Dorados, which runs McDonald's restaurants in Latin America, declined to say Tuesday why Venezuela's neighbors are not suffering from similar scarcity. Accustomed to shortages of their favorite foods, and equally in the habit of grumbling about the government as they walk away empty-handed, many Venezuelans assume the embattled socialist administration is to blame. "It's because of the situation here; it's a total debacle," said Maria Guerreiro, who huffed out of a Caracas McDonald's with her family when she found out they were serving only fries made of yuca, which is also known as cassava. Her daughter won't eat the super-starchy root, she said, and they'd come for the sole purpose of treating the two-year-old to a Happy Meal.
Comment: There's probably no toilet paper in the restrooms either! And it has nothing to do with socialism! Image source. 

More: Venezuelan Textbooks Teach Math, Science, Socialism

Math lessons include calculations of how much production has increased as a result of the government's agrarian reform initiative, and how much land the government still has to reclaim from private owners. Students are asked to figure out how much shoppers save at government-subsidized appliance stores created by Chavez. Learning English? Answer the question, "Where was Hugo Chavez born?" "They are brainwashing our kids, erasing our nation's history, and replacing it with their own version," said information technology worker Hector Cuevas, who was appalled when his son brought home the books as a sixth-grader.

Am I on track?

Am I on track to retire right?


In his book Your Money Ratios, for example, financial planner Charles Farrell estimates that to retire by age 65 someone should have roughly 1.4 times their annual salary tucked away by age 35, 3.7 times by age 45 and 7.1 times by age 55.
Comment: I was able to find the book, used, on ABEBooks for $ 3.65. Top image is from CNN's Retirement Calculator (Goes without saying the the numbers above are not mine!)


"Our CEO just…disappeared": Where's Blackfield Capital's Kim Karapetyan?

Chaos Rules at Russian Hedge Fund as Boss Vanishes


Blackfield Capital CJSC was one of Moscow’s hottest hedge funds, hosting glitzy parties and embarking on ambitious plans to expand to the U.S. The firm’s founder in 2013 even rented a Manhattan apartment for a record-setting price, according to a real-estate broker, and instructed his U.S. staff to buy a $300,000 sports car. Now, the founder is missing, allegedly along with all of the firm’s assets, according to former employees, in an international mystery that has captivated Moscow’s investment community. The firm’s employees didn’t know anything was amiss until mid-October, when three men charged into Blackfield’s offices in an upscale complex along the Moscow River in central Moscow, said people who were there. The men, who didn’t identify themselves, said they were looking for Blackfield’s 29-year-old founder, Kim Karapetyan, according to the people who were there.
Comment: Never trust someone who wastes money! Image capture. WSJ may be behind paywall. Alternate link. Official site. Probably a better post title from Yahoo Finance: 29-Year Old Russian Hedge Fund Founder Disappears With All The Firm's Money


Where Americans are "Move' N On"

Americans on the move want warmth, affordability


Americans moving out of state in 2014 were most likely to head to places that were warmer and more affordable, such as the South and Southwest, according to studies by two major moving companies.

The 47th annual report by Allied Van Lines showed that Illinois topped the list of states people are moving away from with 1,372 net moves, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan and New Jersey. The states have remained in the top five since 2010, the company said.

In its 38th annual report, released Friday, United Van Lines reports that New Jersey, New York, Illinois, North Dakota and West Virginia represented the states their clients exited the most last year. Illinois, where outbound moves represented 63 percent of total moves for the state, has ranked among the top five for the past six years, the company says.

Michael Stoll, an economist with the department of public policy at the University of California in Los Angeles, said in a statement for United that migration patterns reflected long-term movement to the South and Southwest, where housing costs are lower, climates are less severe and job growth has been at or above the national average.
Comment: Detailed State-to-State Migration Flows. Images above: Capture from two NYTimes articles: Here and here.

My wife's brother and his wife just re-domiciled to Naples Florida (from Minneapolis).


Dan Gustafson's sliver of land

5-foot strip of land on Medicine Lake provokes two-year war


Dan Gustafson bought a 5-foot-wide sliver of land wedged between two homes on Medicine Lake just so he could dock his boat there. The narrow strip of land on the popular Twin Cities lake — a leftover old fire lane — is close to his Minnetonka home, he said, cheaper than buying a lake home and more cost-effective long term than paying thousands of dollars a year in boat slip rentals. But two years later, he’s still unable to build the dock. The city of Plymouth says zoning rules restrict Gustafson from having a dock and it’s too close to his neighbors. “We’re trying to do what everybody on the lake and across the state does,” he said. “You own lakeshore, so you want to put up a dock.”
Plymouth City Council decides Medicine Lake dock dispute


Plymouth zoning rules prevent Gustafson from building a dock because he has no principal building on the site and because it's too close to adjacent properties. City zoning rules call for docks to be set back six feet from side lot lines. Tuesday night, the city council considered whether to allow docks on sites with no permament structures such as a house. "In some ways, I think it's very unfortunate that we're here," said Jim Erickson, Gustafson's attorney. "The two property owners that were immediately adjacent certainly could have bought that property had they wanted to protect those rights. They did not." Plymouth Planning Manager Barbara Thomson said there are nine other vacant lots in the city with a similar situation. Ultimately, the council voted down allowing Gustafson's dock because of the precedent it would set. "I want to be clear that I do not support the ability to put a dock on a five-foot strip of land without any setbacks," said Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik. As for what's next for Dan Gustafson and his 5–foot strip of land, his attorney said today they're not sure what their next move will be.
Comments: Top image screen shot from Facebook. 2nd image screenshot from the Hennepin County tax map. One of the more interesting stories from Plymouth last year. Of interest to me because I actually thought about buying the property myself for the very same purpose. I'm not sure if this has been finally resolved.