Musings, rants, rambling, general nonsense

Map It

Posted on | February 15, 2014 | No Comments

I was trying to find another version of this map of the USA, composed of state flags, via Google image search.

In the results was this version of a map of the USA, composed of university mascots. Pretty cool but…sorry Lumberjacks, apparently Arizona only has two universities the artist felt worth mentioning ๐Ÿ˜‰

Curiosity Breeds Success

Posted on | January 18, 2014 | No Comments

“When kind Dean Barris led the procession back and said, ‘I am pleased to announce,’ she never heard the end of the sentence, for she was convinced that he would only have been pleased had she passed! She ran home happily through the rain to cable Frank, and tried to explain to the children why she was excited, and what a ‘Ph.D.’ meant”
~ Lillian Moller Gilbreth (the “Cheaper By The Dozen” mom), in “As I Remember

Lillian’s story is yet another example in support of my “curiosity leads to success” theory. One common element in all the biographies I’ve read of people I have admired is “an inquiring mind”. A curiosity that was encouraged and rewarded by family, friends, and/or teachers along the way. Her excitement in discovery and “the work” comes through on every page.

Lillian M Gilbreth In Lillian’s case, though her family thoroughly supported her learning in childhood, her father tried to stop her from attending college. He reasoned that “College is only for teachers and other women who have to make a living. No daughter of mine will have to do that. I can support them – I want to!” (Harumph) He later gave in because she adored learning, and he adored her. She graduated from Berkeley in 1900.

Though I am barely half-way through, I am loving this (slightly oddly written) autobiography. I knew she must have been an amazing woman, but having even more detail only makes her life that much more intriguing. For instance, I knew she was a single mother after Frank died, I never realized how much time she was without him even when he was alive – not that she ever complained. She did have help from family and “the college girls” they hired, but… wow.

To be sure, I am fairly amazed at life in general at the turn of the 20th century. Throw in a woman accomplishing so much, while also giving birth to 12 children, in a time when a well-kept house would be all that was expected…wow.

She had a wonderful collaboration with Frank Gilbreth, in fact referring to the both of them as “the partners” throughout this book. He was, indeed, her biggest fan. When publishers had no interest in a scientific tome written by a woman, her husband pushed it until he found a taker – “…provided the author’s name should have only initials and the publicity should not include the fact that it was written by a woman. This disturbed feminist Frank more than it did Lillian.” When Berkeley would not give her a Ph.D. without her doing her work in residence, Frank helped her find a school that would (Brown, 1915)

I’ve read “Cheaper By The Dozen” a few times now, and I’ve seen the movie version of that and the sequel, “Belles On Their Toes“, many more. How rewarding to learn more of the story.

(BTW: The movie is such a part of my consciousness that I hear Lillian’s words in Myrna Loy‘s voice. It fits very well, actually)

Did Tom Cruise Compare Acting To Combat?

Posted on | November 14, 2013 | 2 Comments

Tom Cruise

No. No, he didn’t.

And you all need to stop posting stories claiming he did.

When Tom Cruise said, “It was brutal“, it was in reference to being separated from his daughter.
When asked whether he thought the situations were the same [going to war, location shooting], he said, “Oh come on, you know, we’re making a movie.

Look, I am no fan of Tom Cruise. I think his acting is mediocre and he seems well past 11 on the crazy meter.

The fact that this misinformation keeps getting posted bothers me for several reasons – the main one being: It isn’t the truth! I am so tired of people and organizations spreading untruths simply because it suits their agenda or helps spin up their readership. Just because I dislike the subject (Cruise) and support the “maligned” (combat troops), doesn’t mean I should be OK lying about his statement.

It bothers me because many right-leaning “news” sites have posted it – repeatedly. I place the scare quotes around “news” because, if they can’t be bothered to get the facts, I can’t take them seriously when they report the “news”. I have come to expect that behavior from left-leaning sites and even the MSM, but I expect better from our side. Even worse, I know several of these outlets have been told the truth, and yet continue to spread the lie – in one case, defending their doing so because the “concept is important” (no, I will not give them a link)

It has now engulfed Mark Wahlberg, who was asked, while promoting a movie he just completed about soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, what he thinks of actors who compare acting to combat. He, understandably, let loose with more than a couple of bad words. It doesn’t appear Wahlberg mentions Cruise by name, and he may very well have been unaware of what the interviewer was referencing. In fact, since Wahlberg references S.E.A.L. training, not separation, odds are he thought they were asking about something more general. However, this is spreading across the internet as “Wahlberg goes ballistic on Cruise“, thus manufacturing a feud out of whole cloth. (Incidentally, he doesn’t seem to be going ballistic, he seems pretty calm)

The original statement, by a lawyer, not Tom Cruise, “By your reasoning, any actor who is shooting on location in a foreign country could be charged with child abandonment, as could all of the mothers and fathers serving overseas in the military” is true. I do not have the links right now, but there have been cases where parents have had their custody challenged, and some who lost, because they were deployed.video chat Obviously the experiences away are decidedly different, as are the motivations for doing so. Still, discounting a man’s (or woman’s) parenting and accusing them of abandonment for temporary work away is not good for anyone. In Cruise’s case specifically, he had the peace of mind that his daughter was being well cared for and he was able to communicate with her on a regular basis. Video chatting is a luxury that is available to more & more parents on the road, even those fighting wars in far-away lands, in horrible conditions.

I’m tired of people sharing stuff they don’t bother to verify first. I’m beyond frustrated with people who do so even when they know it is untrue. And I am livid that organizations that claim to be Conservative and present themselves as informational have not only shared this, but continue to do so.

And don’t even get me started on how I feel about having to defend Tom Cruise

UPDATE: Forgot to add this earlier. The majority of folks sharing the “Wahlberg sticks it to Cruise” angle are lauding Wahlberg as a hero. Many of those same people were chastising Wahlberg not so very long ago for his perceived anti-gun statements. Yesterday the goat, today the hero. Both characterizations are equally flawed, but, hey, don’t let the truth hit you in the outrage on your way out.

Ghost Season

Posted on | October 21, 2013 | No Comments

Today I found myself sucked in to a marathon of the ghostly Discovery Channel show, A Haunting.

Not that I am a believer in ghosts & ghoulies, but I do enjoy things that are creepy – especially this time of year. In watching episode after episode, a couple of things became clear.

    ghost girl

  1. These hauntings almost all take place in old homes, hundreds of years old. At some point in the “investigation” the homeowner – or the psychic researcher they’ve hired – discovers that a previous resident died in the house. Everyone is shocked and horrified by the news. Now, even in this day and age, people still regularly die at home. Hundreds of years ago, I am pretty sure most deaths took place at home. Even if the original owner didn’t die “within years of completing construction” (which would also seem common considering life expectancy of the time) it wouldn’t seem unreasonable that at some point in 250 years some resident would have had a heart attack, or cancer, or tripped down the stairs, or choked on a rutabaga… In other words, other than a brutal murder, not really anything shocking or scary about “died at home”
  2. In all but one episode, the “haunted” believed in ghosts prior to any paranormal activity and engaged in some sort of behavior that they “knew” would challenge/invite/anger the spirits (Ouija boards, seances, pentagrams…) If you believe something is going to happen, the likelihood of you experiencing it is considerably higher
  3. In all but one episode, the “haunted” reported a sense of foreboding prior to buying or occupying the home. I don’t accept the paranormal stuff, but if I was made physically ill when touring a property, I wouldn’t place an offer on it. Of course, horror movies would be a lot shorter if people followed their gut.
  4. All the ghosts, at some point, make their presence known by pulling the blanket(s) off the bed. Why would a poor trapped soul spend their energy making sleeping people cold? Is there some new ghost orientation where they get a checklist; pull off the blankets, make the lights flicker…
  5. Cell phones & webcams seemingly capture images that are clear enough to convince even the most skeptical of family friends they are in the presence of spirits, but not clear enough to actually use in the production of any of the episodes

Bonus behind the scenes: A Haunting, blooper reel

How Obama Wins the Shutdown Showdown

Posted on | October 9, 2013 | No Comments

Sad Panda ShutdownBarack Obama, Jay Carney, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid – all keep repeating the same position, “We will not negotiate with the GOP to end the shutdown” There is no ground whatsoever they are willing to cede.


The House passed a continuing resolution that funded everything, every piece of government spending, with only two conditions: Repeal the Medical Device Tax, and delay the start of the ACA for one year. And the Senate says no way. Obama says he would veto that. Not even going to discuss it.

Here’s the kicker, though.

  • The Medical Device Tax is universally unpopular. Senators on both sides of the aisle have noted its job killing effects.
  • Barack Obama already delayed the start of the ACA for businesses (extra-constitutionally BTW) Why would he dig in his heels over a delay for individuals (which would be constitutionally sound BTW)?

Now we know that, despite having 3 years to prepare, the ACA systems are not ready to go. Even late night comedians know it. Jon Stewart knows it. Actual members of the MSM have been forced to make note of it.

Should Barack Obama call up John Boehner and accept that original continuing resolution, he would look like a magnanimous negotiator, a savior of the poor furloughed government workers, and he would lose nothing. Eliminating the Medical Device Tax is a minor compromise, and delaying the ACA for everyone is not only fair – it gives the administration a chance to get their act together. Literally.

Barack Obama comes off as the winner and he gets to claim he saved the day.

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