Monday, August 25, 2008

Friends sent me an urgent email to be sure to vote in the MSNBC poll asking if the phrase "In God We Trust" should be removed from the currency. The intructions were to forward it to everyone, so they would vote and show their faith in God. It was a forwarded version that I got, and ended with the speculation that MSNBC would be surprised by the outpouring of outrage represented by "no!" votes.

Personally, I don't think most Americans are as worried about this poll as are worried about where the next mortgage payment is coming from, but it is a real poll by MSNBC. I checked out the MSNBC website itself, as I'm always reluctant to go to a web site purporting to be any organization's web address without checking the real site for fear of a security risk. It is real.

I doubt MSNBC is surprised. The stats are now up to 79% no 21% yes. Most people know this is not a political reality, and MSNBC is simply publishing the result. We haven't yet, but soon we'll be hearing about internet stories claiming Obama supports such a silly nonexistent law. I'm pretty sure he doesn't/wouldn't, but there is bound to be someone out there who will claim he did/does/would....

There is not now, nor has there ever been, a serious challenge to "In God We Trust." Every so often a foolish atheist files a dumb lawsuit. That was what this rather ill advised poll was about.. Rarely do they win significantly. Even prayer in the schools is not "banned", it is merely prohibited as a requirement. Anybody wants to pray in school is and should be free to do so. Nobody, however, should dictate to anybody else how or to whom or when they pray. That is between man and God. God has way more authority then Congress. Only the Taliban seem to really want to dictate these terms so far. I hope we don't become like the Taliban.

Incidentally, I voted to keep the coins the way they are. Hope the judge sees the poll.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Google me sometime, please....

Well, they finally got around to us. Not Big Brother, Big Google. By going to http://maps/google.comand looking up 3003 W. Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85745, you can "drive" around our complex andlook at (pretty much) every house, including the club house. Can't see the pool, though. Now, since I don't plan to do anything illegal, this doesn't bother me as much as it seems to bother some. I just think it's kind of humorous that it isn't Big Government that's doing it: its Big Biz.

In the street level photo, "look" to the east as you "drive" up Maricopa. We're just around the courner, with two hugh saguaro in front. It looks like Carol was working and I was home (or both out in her car) because our van is in the drive, but nobody came knocking at the door to find out. They just drove around video taping, I guess. Google hasn't updated the satellite photo (or high altitude photo) as it still shows the park's old pool and the un-renovated club house, even though the street view photos show the "new" one. If you "drive" all the way 'round the park, you can catch a glimpse of a few local folk out for a drive or a walk.

Burglars don't know how to use computers, do they? Or, do they......? Hmmm. Now for the really frightening stuff. There's even a topo map function that shows the hill behind us, also visible in the next photo (picture the topo map rotated 180 deg.). Pretty neat! Everything a terrorist would need to know, should one want to find out. Try (if you haven't already) looking up your own neighborhood. Or some defense installations, or Yankee Stadium.....Including driving directions! Or the Holland Tunnel, perhaps.....

Scary, huh? This took me about 15 minutes to find and paste into an email. Most of the timewas spent cutting and pasting. The finding part was easy.... Somehow, having my house in the pictures isn't as worrysome as the last two. One of them was actually a target not long ago! Maybe we give too much away?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lighning Rod? I don't think so!

When I heard the thunder I did what any red blooded photog would do: I grabbed the digital camera and ran outside to see what the first monsoon in this year's long march of thunderstorms would bring. I've done it many times before, probably will be MUCH more careful from now on. I ran out the way I was. It was hot, and we don't keep the AC down real low (80), so I was wearing sweat shorts only, no shoes, no shirt.

I walked carefully to the end of the drive, snapping stills of the black, roiling clouds to the south. When I reached the street the first rain drops began to fall, but the hot pavement was still dusty dry and stony enough to slow me down. The next roll of thunder sent me slowly back under the edge of the aluminum carport, watching the sky. I saw flashes off to the south, over the top of the "mountain" (really a 250' foothill of the eastern Tucsons. A quick twist and the camera went from still to video. The camera pointed at the sky to the south, I waited for the next flash, hoping to catch a lighning bolt striking behind the mountain. I got one. Captured it to video, by golly.

And while I was doing that, looking in the 2 1/2 inch screen for the image, my eyes drifted fromthe camera to an area in the clouds directly above my head. Standing as I was only 2 feet out from the carport's aluminum edge, I couldn't see all of the sky above. I could and did see the pretzel like shape of a huge cloud to cloud bolt, or the edge of the pretzel, directly overhead. Now I know what "my hair stood on end" means. When I was in high school we had a gent who brougt in a Van de Graf generator for an assembly demo. He called for volunteers to help set up, and our physics class got to be the set up crew. You can guess the rest. Got the full experience. In case you don't know what one is, Google it. It's not as much fun as it looks....

Neither, it turns out, is "nearly" being struck by lightning. My hands started tingling, all the way to my elbows, and so did my feet and legs: just like the generator of yore. Without shutting the camera down, I beat feet directly back in the house, getting a good sequence of said feet and the opening and closing of the door, along with full audio of me swearing.... Note the bare feet... how dumb is that?