Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DanO’s line of canned air products!

I can remember a time, not so long ago, when the idea of bottled water would have been met with laughter. ‘Water, for sale in a bottle, my friends would have quipped. ‘Are you nuts?’ Today the bottled water business is a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Now, some a wealthy Chinese entrepreneur, Chen Guangbiao, is selling fresh air in soft drinks cans, similar to bottled drinking water. Each can sells for about 80 cents and is rocking off shelves all across the country. But wait! There’s more. Chen plans to introduce a whole line of scented air under labels such as ‘Fresh Spring in Tokyo’ and ‘Lotus Blossom’. That got me to thinking that there may just be something in all this.

As I so totally missed the water bandwagon, I’ll be darned if I’m going to miss this deal. I’ve already begun operations to market and sell a domestic line of canned air right here in the US. I’m also looking for seed funds to get me started. So, if you have a few hundred thousand just lying around and you want to get in on the ground floor, please give me a jingle!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A rainy night in Georgia, or even Missouri!

The sounds of rain falling is one of the best sounds of all. All the more so when sung by legends...

I agree with Sheriff Jimmie Russell on gun control!

I recently read an article that concerned gun control in a local edition of the Branson Tri-Lakes News. The article was written by Stephen Herzog and concerned comments made by Taney County Sheriff Jimmie Russell as to his thoughts concerning what has become a national controversy, ever since the  events that transpired at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.

Sheriff Russell made it clear in his remarks that he feels the root cause of many problems with face with shooting lie not in the weapon as much as it does the on-going failure of our society to address mental heal issues. In the article, Sherriff Russell noted that ‘they’ve closed two mental hospitals’ in Missouri; this occurring at a time when the number of mental patients is on an increase and not a decrease. An article posted by ABC News found a study that shows as many as 1 in 5 Americans currently suffer some form of mental illness. And, increasingly, these people are falling through the net that is supposed to be in place to protect the rest of society.

Sheriff Russell also directed some of his remarks to local area schools and the need felt by some to install persons with concealed carry privilege onsite as a possible deterrent to random acts of violence. Mr. Russell felt that while the idea should merit consideration, he would be concerned that a person who was carrying a concealed weapon might not be able to retain it properly and so would require additional training.

My response to that statement would be for the state to insure proper training, but to also insure that they get some guns on location and then to advertise the fact. The reality is that the chances for someone to attack one of our schools in the manner that happened at Sandy Hook is very remote. (Even the gun control lobby acknowledges that fact). However, I would propose that just the rumor that some personnel ‘may’ be carrying’ would be enough to deter unstable individuals from even trying. (I base that assumption on the fact that in every instance of past mass shootings, these acts were done in ‘gun free zones’). While these shooter may be truly 'insane', they still are intelligent enough to pick the 'softest' targets available.

In summary, I think Sheriff Russell and others might agree; if you enforce the laws currently on the books, make gun offenses Federal offenses, teach kids responsible gun safety and protect our school children in the same manner we protect our money in banks, then everything just might work out!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Saturday Sun remix

Learn more about Nick Drake and why this singer has become popular now, so many years after his death!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sometimes, as a young Johnny Depp would agree, we are all...

Credits go to Radiohead for this song!
And then...
there is the more literal version...

GoldFrapp - White Horse

Just on the chance you've never been exposed to GoldFrapp, I wanted to present here one of her great videos. If you can guess what the 'White Horse' is, you're ahead of the game.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fort Bragg can no longer blow up goats!

I'm so not making this up!

Thousands of goats per year will be spared now that lawmakers have passed a law ending the killing of goats for Army medical training.

For years, Fort Bragg has shot, blown up and otherwise killed some 300 goats per month to train Army medics for treating wounded soldiers, according to the Fayetteville Observer. Documents show Fort Bragg's Army Special Operations Command requested up to 3,600 goats last year. Animal activists claim the goats are shot, stabbed, bludgeoned and blown up to simulate the types of injuries those in combat face, according to the newspaper.

But the new law appears to be the end of the practice, which angered animal rights activists. Instead, medics may train on humans wearing "organ suits," which have simulated human organs, breakable synthetic bones and even bloodlike fluid.

The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act requires the Department of Defense to provide plans by March to replace animals that are currently used for medical training, The Fayetteville Observer reported. (My note: It does, however, allow for the imprisonment of suspected 'enemies of the state' on an indefinite basis)!

Officials with the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and Army Special Operations Command wouldn't tell the newspaper how they plan to replace the animals (?) or say how many are killed during training.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The flu got me!

After skating through the Holiday season pretty much unscathed, I had my comeuppance in mid January when I contracted the flu bug that's really been going around this year! And no, I did not get a flu shot! I really had thought I could stay uninfected if I washed my hands often and scrutinized the people around me. I also went into harms way when I sat down to breakfast one morning where one of the diners was obviously sick! I'm unclear if I got the bug from that one person or if its just simply so widespread it was only a matter of time!

But now that I have the flu, and even though I'm feeling miserable, I can take comfort in the fact that for this particular strain of the flu, I will now enjoy some immunity. How much and for how long depends on a lot of factors. Older folks like me tend to lose their immunity even after they've had the vaccine; generally the CDC asks that everyone get fresh vaccinations every year in the fall. The other thing with the flu is its ability to change or mutate from year to year. This requires a who new custom batch of vaccine be made. And sometimes, the technicians don't get the mix just right and so even a vaccine can fizzle out and not provide as much protection as was hoped for. I tell you, it a hard world out there!

This year, the vaccine turned out to be a good match and had I gotten a shot, I would have been protected after about 2 week. (That's the time it takes for my immune system to make the antibodies and have them on hand) – After all, a vaccine is really nothing more than 'deactivated flu virus'. It can't make you really sick, but fools the body into thinking it has the flu and so those antibodies get produced.

So, assuming I don't have any complications, I should be good to go in another few days. And, I've already made my mind up to get that shot next fall!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Under the Dome series to be released on CBS!

Stephen King and Steven Spielberg's adaptation of "Under the Dome" will premiere on CBS at 10 p.m. on Monday, June 24, the network announced Saturday. I can hardly wait! This should be a blockbuster series that is planned to run for at least 13 episodes! If you haven't yet read the novel, be sure to as it was a great read for me! I think copies may be available at many local libraries...

There’s Cap and Trade! And then there’s China!

While the US, lead by Barrack Obama, prepares to boldly redistribute billions of taxpayer dollars via the UN to help ‘pay our way’ with a carbon tax, I wanted to show everyone what one other country is doing. China is firing up coal fired plants like there was no tomorrow and to no good effect.

In an article released by CBS News, the air pollution index for this populous city located in China, went ‘off the charts’ registering an index of 866! The US scale for pollution only goes up to 500, so this amount of particulates could pose a real problem for anyone living in that city.

Critique: Del Pino’s Mini Beef Ravioli!

For about eighty five cents in 2013 currency, you can buy a Save A Lot canned brand product by the name of Del Pino’s ‘Mini Beef Ravioli’. On the label of this 15 ounce can is a picture of little beef ravioli’s all simmering in a tangy (it’s assumed) tomato sauce. The ingredient label reads like one of those TV drugs ‘Calmesterol’ (I made this one up) where the commercial spends a tiny amount of time on the supposed benefits of taking the drug ( for a calmer you) before launching into an much more extended explanation of the serious side effects some people (you?) experience when they take it. Seriously, one commercial reads; ‘some users have experienced; nausea, migraines, dizziness and in rare cases, exploding bladders along with other life threatening events’! Yeah, like that’s the drug for me. (Think I'll recommend it to people I don't necessarily like)!

Thankfully, Del Pino’s does not fall into this category. Although it does present some challenges to a health conscious person like myself. From a nutritional standpoint, each can contains about two cups worth of product – that’s 256 grams per serving to you metric people – and you’re getting about 240 calories when you eat it! And, a word of caution here; if what you're eating (be it from a can or from something you recently killed), and the food comes anywhere close to 1 calorie per gram, then watch out, it's potentially fattening! This product falls neatly into that range! Remember, high caloric foods translate into big hips for many of us common folk!

In addition, I noted that the sodium impact, per serving, was a hefty 1100 mg. That’s a lot of salt, and the reason they add so much is twofold; 1) salt is a great preservative and 2) we humans are genetically built to crave it. So, loads of added salt make for a cheap product, that tastes blinking good, stores for about a year on the shelf and which will help us all along the road to higher levels of blood pressure. (You’ve been warned)!

After all those disclaimers were noted, I nuked myself a cupful and would rate the product thusly: Really good and even damn good! This was one of the better ravioli dishes I’ve eaten and it only takes a moment or two to prepare in the microwave! (A busy parent's dream come true)! I’d rate this product a solid 8 on a scale of 10 in terms of taste while giving it a 4 when it comes to nutritional value – The bottom line for me? Something I’ll stock in the pantry for occasional consumption!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Wheel in the Sky by Journey!

Long ago and far away - still a good place to go!

When signing can turn deadly!

This man, 22 year old Robert Jarell Neal is my candidate for a lifetime membership in Densa. A fine organization whose logo reads 'Stupidity is a Destination', would welcome someone of Robert's stature (or lack of it).

For it would appear (remember he's innocent until proven otherwise) that this individual managed to stab a deaf person, Terrance Daniels, after observing Mr. Daniels 'talking' to another man on the street. Robert, it would appear, mistook the hand movements as gang signs. Huh!

Now really Robert, just how dumb are you anyway. I find the thought of you stabbing an other person in broad daylight and with witnesses present somewhat distressing, but to attempt murder over a lousy gang sign?? You've got to be jacking me!

Friday, January 11, 2013

What if?

Gosh! How can the Feds miss?

Once the President is finished with stripping the rich of their hard earned money, he's coming after you and me! I mean, gosh, we're such a big target! Isn't enough enough?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Simplify the tax code! No way!

The country’s top taxpayer advocate urged Congress on Wednesday to simplify the tax code, saying it is the most serious problem facing taxpayers and that individuals and businesses spend about 6.1 billion hours annually complying with tax-filing requirements.

The analysis and recommendation are included in the 2012 report to Congress by the national taxpayer advocate, the IRS' internal watchdog.

My thought: After getting a clear mandate via the last landslide election, President Obama understands that the American people want (demand) more free stuff and that payment for said stuff must come from the rich. Therefore, he has stated publicly that now that the tax rate issue has been settled, 'it's time to go after all those rich people's loopholes.'  This effort to fund the Fed will require a vast new set of tax regulations, not fewer ones. As one who is getting lots of free stuff, I'm certainly in favor of that! And seriously, don't you think the the Federal Government is better suited to say and implement what's good for you?

The definition of looney!

The internet dictionary I referenced when looking up the term ‘looney’ as it pertained to a person or persons gave me this; ‘a foolish or crazy person’. Now, I think I understand what foolish means. That’s a person who is a knee-jerker or who goes off half cocked when all the facts have not been properly examined. Here’s an example:

“I held my breath until I passed out and that was foolish of me.” Yes, it was!

I now understood what foolish meant, but what about the term ‘crazy’? OK, I looked that one up too and got ‘foolish or impractical; senseless’. Another entry referred to such a person as ‘insane’! Well, you can see where that eventually went – I came right back around, full circle, to the term ‘looney’.

Now normally, being looney would be no big thing. I’ve done all sorts of looney things myself! Although, I do pride myself (delude might be a better choice of words), that I’ve learned from those past mistakes! However, the term looney takes on a much larger meaning when applied to say the Congress or our President. In those cases, acts of looeyism (my term) could be downright harmful to a lot of people. Take the collective actions of our Congress over the past four years and look carefully at the way they've handled our Republic. Did they do a good job or was much of the legislation somewhat... looney? Next, look at President Obama. He’s come right out and implied that his mandate is for America’s center will be to move it over to the left a tad in a more Socialist direction. I ask you, is that looney or just insane?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fluageddon: The coming killer epidemic!

In the fall of the year 1918, a bad and terrible flu swept over the planet killing more people in America than were killed in the last century of warfare combined. As many as 50 million worldwide died horrible deaths as they either slowly drowned from fluids that filled their lungs or from other complications. Yes, influenza can and has enacted terrible suffering worldwide; a scenario continues to this day.

In America alone, the CDC has estimated that over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. But, that’s not the scary part!

Not counting the pandemic outbreak of the Swine flu, it’s now been over forty years since the world has seen a novel or new version of the flu. Fortunately, the influenza type Swine Flu (type A H1N1) was not very serious, but on a more ominous note it was highly contagious. In just three weeks, after first appearing in Mexico, the Swine Flu was seen in 20 countries on five continents! After just the first year, it has been estimated that 1 in 7 people have been exposed. And, even though this flu was relatively mild, it still managed to kill a lot of people. One study estimated that ‘globally there were 201,200 respiratory deaths (range 105,700—395,600) with an additional 83,300 cardiovascular deaths (46,000—179,900) associated with 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1. 80% of the respiratory and cardiovascular deaths were in people younger than 65 years and 51% occurred in Southeast Asia and Africa.’ So, its apparent that even a mild version of the flu can result in very high mortality and morbidity rates, if it also happens to be highly infectious!

Now consider the so-call Bird Flu or as it’s most scientifically known, Type A H5N1. This flu is a true killer, killing as many as 50% of the people who contract it! That’s why it’s also referred to a HPAI which stands for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

Thankfully, HPAI does not spread very easily to humans…at least not yet. Recent studies have indicated that the virus is contained mostly to birds at this time. However, they’ve also indicated that this particular version may be just a few mutations (or genetic tweaks) away from becoming an airborne Fluageddon! (A situation that could develop if it manages to gain the contagiousness of the Swine flu while retaining its high level of pathogenicity)!

Such a flu, should it be let loose on the world, would make the movie Contagion seem like a walk in the park! Imagine catching a ‘cold’ where you had only a fifty-fifty chance of survival! Imagine a ‘cold’ so infectious that tens of millions came down with it all in a short time. Emergency services, hospitals and clinic would be almost instantly overwhelmed. Key personnel who maintain essential services like gasoline, electricity and water might easily abandon their posts setting up instances of widespread outages that would only fuel a growing panic. Such a dastardly flu could easily topple governments and start wars all across the globe….

But, what are the chances of this ever happening, you might well ask? I don’t think anyone does, but I’ll tell you this! The World Health Organization along with the CDC are growing increasingly uneasy as time goes on. One article, How Worried Should We Be’ published in Nature describes some of the reasons behind their concern.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The flu this year is serious! Are you?

Click on to enlarge
OK this is a graphic of ILI or ‘Influenza Like Illness’ that the Centers for Disease Control compiled for the week ending Dec 29, 2012! It compares this year with precious ones, and as you can see (take note of the red line), we are certainly off to a good start this season!

Now would be a good time to go out and get a flu shot if you haven’t already done so! The current vaccine that’s being administered looks like a good match for what's circulating around out there. And, I’m urging everyone (including me) to get a shot. This year, the flu seems to be gearing up to be a real meanie and has already killed!

Be situationally aware!

The flu virus is very, very tiny ball of nothing which can travel far on wind currents. And, while sunlight will quickly kill it, any fomites (hard surfaces) it might happen to land on can allow for it to survive for days and days. So be aware, whenever you go out, not to touch surfaces that might be teaming with other peoples germs. Some areas to be especially careful of are:

Shopping cart handles
Plastic coated menus in restaurants
Bank window counters
That cute little push top ketchup dispenser
Children's play areaa – kids are notorious at acquiring germs

If you see someone who appears sick (people with the flu generally look pretty bad), take pains to avoid them, even if they are relatives. Likewise, when you are out try and refrain from touching your mouth, nose or eyes! And, as always, wash your hands really often, like you are a practicing surgeon. Above all else - if you yourself are sick, then please stay home!

Do these things and you will dramatically cut down on the risk factors for this and most other viral infections!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A few area food prices at the beginning of 2013!

As we are all still basking in the radiant afterglow of a most magical President; a man who was re-elected by a landslide and who most recently crafted the passage of a fiscal reform bill, I thought it a good time to get out and check in on some food prices - you know for future reference!

My small town of Forsyth Missouri is blessed with two full featured grocery stores along with a couple of convenience stores (both gas and non-gas island locations). Thrown into the mix are a couple of what I would prefer to call ‘cut rate’ emporium types of businesses that are just a little bit hit an miss when it comes to a full selection.

But, for this post, I decided to stick with the regular grocery stores where I would be pricing generic brand foods whenever possible. (I choose the generics mainly because that class of food is about all I can afford these days)!

Following are the foods I looked at along with what they cost:

Now, while this list is by no means complete, I feel that it is representative of some of the items many of us folks buy fairly often. I hope to publish another similar list this coming summer and then another one in the fall. It should be fun comparing them.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Chili dogs – my personal favorite!

Chili dogs are one of life’s true culinary pleasures…only - just what kind of chef are you?

Beginner Level: If you're lucky enough to have a batch of chili hanging around and you have some wieners and buns available, then, you're one lucky dude or dudette! In my book, nothing compares to the delight of eating a good old chili hotdog! And, gosh darn it, they’re so easy to make! Personal technique involves heating a wiener in boiling water, adding it to a warm bun and then slathering on an ample amount of my own homemade chili! Wham bam - thank you ma’am - a few seconds later I got yourself some real comfort food that was prepared in no time at all! But, then it was time to kick things up a notch and to see just what kind of chef material you are made of...

Experienced Chef: Not satisfied with just a chili dog! Then consider sprinkling on some diced onion over which is sprinkled a little shredded cheese! Truly, a mouth watering experience!

 Da Pro Chef: But, if you are a consummate pro, felt the urge to splash on some extra's like chopped onion and shredded cheese. Wow!

King of your castle Chef: A truly out of his mind chef will have run to a fast food emporium like McDonald's for an order of their signature French fries! Now you're ready to kick back, watch a  game on TV and live life large!!