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Tuesday, 31 March, 2009

Drexel Girls

Tonight, we feature a 1925 rifle team: The Drexel Girls.

I vote for #7. Otherwise, she'd shoot me.

You know how we were talking about timeless female beauty? Well, forget about it.


Permalink | Posted in Timeless Beauty @5:31pm | Comments (36)

Four Songs

Tonight, tracks from my collection that contain the word four. There are thirty and four of them:

  1. Eight Men Four Women - O.V. Right
  2. Four - George Benson & Al Jarreau
  3. Four - Torch
  4. Four Cent Cotton - Light and Hitch
  5. Four Five Or Six - Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies
  6. Four For The Roses - Stefan Grossman And John Renbourn
  7. Four Tens Strike Again - Bugs Henderson
  8. Four Walls - Jimmie Dale Gilmore
  9. Four Walls - Randy Travis
  10. Four Walls - Willie Nelson
  11. Four Winds - Philippe Kahn
  12. From Four Till Late - Robert Johnson
  13. From Four Until Late - Eric Clapton
  14. From Four Until Late - Peter Green
  15. Half Past Four - Unknown banjo player
  16. Half Past Four - Adam Hurt
  17. Half Past Four - Bruce Molsky & Big Hoedown
  18. Half Past Four - Dan Levenson
  19. Half Past Four - Isaac Akers & Jake Krack
  20. Half Past Four - Old Yeller Dog String Band
  21. Half Past Four - Rhys Jones, Jeff Miller, and Jim Nelson
  22. Half Past Four - Sierra Highway
  23. Half Past Four - Mac Benford
  24. I Got Four Big Brothers (To Look After Me) - Maddox Brothers & Rose
  25. I'm Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover - Willie Nelson
  26. Let the four Winds Blow - Fats Domino
  27. Love Is Just A Four Letter Word - Joan Baez
  28. The Four-Faced Liar - Peter Ostroushko
  29. Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen) - Tom Waits
  30. Twenty Four Hours - Eddie Boyd
  31. Twenty Four Hours - Muddy Waters
  32. When I'm Sixty-Four - David Grisman, John Hartford And Mike Seeger
  33. When I'm Sixty-Four - The Beatles
  34. Zone Four - Richard Bone

Not counted:

  • I Would Die 4 U - Prince

Permalink | Posted in Music Lists @5:11pm | Comments (19)

Half-Past Four

A jam at Clifftop, 2007.

That's Rachel Eddy on fiddle, Hilarie Burhans on banjo, Mark Hellenberg on banjo uke, Stuart Kenney on bass, and Bill Dudley on guitar.


Permalink | Posted in Banjo @4:30pm | Comments (7)

Beauty And Intelligence

At Psychology Today: Why beautiful people are more intelligent.

Sociologists and social psychologists have long known that there is a widespread perception shared by many people that physically attractive people are more intelligent and competent, as well as hold many other desirable characteristics.

Is this perception actually true?

In the Wave III of Add Health, conducted in 2000-2001, respondents take an IQ test called the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. And then their physical attractiveness is measured objectively by an interviewer, who is unaware of their IQ test scores, on a 5-point scale (1 = Very unattractive, 2 = Unattractive, 3 = About average, 4 = Attractive, and 5 = Very attractive). The following graph shows the association between Add Health respondents' physical attractiveness and their intelligence. The data come from a large (n = 15,197) nationally representative sample of young Americans (mean age = 22).

But it's a cliffhanger article...

But now the question is: Why? Why are beautiful people more intelligent? I will address this question in my next post.


Permalink | Posted in General @3:43pm | Comments (13)

In Praise Of Bibs

Joey Camire sez, Food tastes better with a bib.

Before there were napkins there were bibs. This is true from a historical perspective, the bib was ‘invented' first, and it's also true from a developmental perspective. As a child you didn't gently fold a piece of cloth or paper and place it in your lap, your mother or father wrapped a bib around your neck and just let you eat.

They just let you eat. Think about that for a second.

They never tried to get you to wipe your face, and you were happier because of it. They essentially just strapped you in and let you take yourself on a culinary voyage. Granted the meal may not have been gourmet, Vienna sausages and pureed vegetables, you enjoyed every second of it.

Then why do we use napkins as adults? We use them because we have been trained, conditioned, and reinforced to believe that there is a right way to eat. We have been programmed to think about ‘how‘ we eat instead of ‘why.' You can't enjoy your food because there are too many things to think about. People don't even like to eat in front of each other anymore, afraid they may be being watched. The fear of being judged for the way you are consuming food is constantly hanging in the air.

Napkins are SUCKING THE JOY OUT OF EATING!

To support his position, he presents a photo of a happy bib-wearing kid, shown above.

Think about every picture you ever seen of a child eating with a bib on. Can you think of one where that child looks unhappy? Now think about the people you saw last time you ate at a restaurant. Did you see any faces that looked this happy? Probably not. But I bet you saw a whole lot of napkins…

Bibs are common at seafood restaurants. Why not elsewhere?


Permalink | Posted in General @2:38pm | Comments (10)

Red Envelope Day

Another thing you learn from reading World Nut Daily: 1 million red envelopes deluge White House.

Over one million, empty, red envelopes have poured into the White House mail room, symbolizing the empty promise of lives snuffed out in abortion; and with Red Envelope Day planned for tomorrow, coordinators estimate that number could more than double.

The Red Envelope Project is an idea sparked in the mind and prayers of a Massachusetts man, Christ Otto, who envisioned in January thousands of red envelopes sent to the White House, a visual expression of moral outrage over the president's position on abortion.

A religious guy name Christ. How cool is that? Not really so cool. It rhymes with "wrist."

So if they really send 2 million red envelopes, that represents nearly $1 million in postage and office supplies. That should help the economy.

Ken Gurley, a Houston blogger, disagrees with sending red envelopes:

I believe that a heart-change in our nation is needed and that will not come via the US Postal Service, but through prayer.

There you have it, prayer: The all-purpose solution that makes people feel like they're doing something when they're not.


Permalink | Posted in Religion @2:23pm | Comments (23)

Performing For Horses

In the UK: Woman who plays classical music to soothe horses told to get license.

Rosemary Greenway has been playing passages of opera and orchestral symphonies on the radio to the animals at her stables for more than 20 years, convinced that it helps soothe them.

While not all of her staff are quite as fond of the output of Classic FM as she is, Mrs Greenway, 62, kept the radio tuned to the station religiously while mucking out because of the apparent benefits.

But she has dropped the practice after being told that she must pay a 99-pounds annual licence fee as it constitutes a "performance".

Because her stables, the Malthouse Equestrian Centre in Bushton, Wilts, employs more than two people it is treated in the same way as shops, bars and cafes which have to apply for a licence to play the radio.

She received a telephone call from the Performing Right Society - now officially known as PRS for Music - which was targeting stables as part of a drive to get commercial premises to pay for licences.

The PRS denies it:

"Of course, we don't ask people to pay for music played to animals. Mrs Greenway was only asked to pay for music played for staff, like any other workplace."

Someone needs to invent headphones for horses.

Permalink | Posted in Music @9:22am | Comments (14)

Google’s Gags Gathered

Here's a collection of Google April Fools' Pranks 2000 - 2008.

I don't even remember some of them. Maybe it's because they weren't so clever. For example, last year it was Google AdSense for Conversations.

One of the best Google pranks wasn't even done by Google: Google Content Blocker.


Permalink | Posted in Internet & Computers @8:26am | Comments (8)

Interview With Ahclem

Here's another...

How did you first hear of the J-Walk Blog, and how long have you been reading it?

Sorry, can't remember how I first heard of it - probably just stumbled across it. I've been here for 3 - 4 years.

What's the significance of your screen name?

It comes from Firesign Theater's "I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus". "Clem's" refusal to unquestioningly accept the status quo, and the havoc that follows, spoke to me as soon as I heard it, and still does. As for the "Ah" part, well, if you're not familiar with it it's well worth the listen to find out!

Do you read this blog from work or at home? How many times a day?

I read it at home which is also work, many times a day. I have it as a gadget on my Google home page so I can check in whenever it's updated.

Basic stats?

I'm 57, male, married 34 years. Gainfully (marginally) employed as a webmaster for a small educational non-profit while keeping up with our homestead here in Vermont - gardening, keeping the woodstove supplied, househusband stuff. Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on a coop for the chickens we'll be getting in a couple weeks. Eeyii, eeyii, oh.

Send a copy of the weirdest photo of yourself.

This was taken during the Spring of 1982. I'm preparing refreshments during a break while (maple) sugaring.

What other blogs to you follow?

Miss Cellania, HuffPost, TVWithoutPity, Onion's AV Club (don't know if all those count as blogs) but my main go-to blog is J-Walk. Hope that doesn't put any extra pressure on you.

Which are your favorite topics covered at the J-Walk Blog?

The stupidity of religion, parapsychology, all those other superstitions.

Which are your least favorite topics covered here?

Bacon (I'm a vegetarian) and banjos. Sorry.

Have you ever spent any time in jail?

Not really jail, but I spent the night in an armory after being arrested at a demonstration at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

What foods do you absolutely hate?

Anything that originally had a face. But also lots of veggies, like asparagus, brussels sprouts, all squashes, etc., etc. Go figure.

Printed on your tombstone?

"Can you believe I wasted all this space?!"

Was there ever a J-Walk post that you found so offensive you temporarily stopping visiting the blog?

Absolutely not! It's like you're my twin (except for the bacon and banjo thing).

Celebrity beer?

Douglas Adams, because that would mean he's still with us.

What is the strangest thing you believe?

That if I keep investing a dollar a week I might someday win the lottery.


Permalink | Posted in Reader Interviews @8:19am | Comments (30)

What Color Is The Internet?

Question: What is the color of the Internet?

The answer depends on the type of site:


Permalink | Posted in Internet & Computers @8:13am | Comments (3)

Not Delusional If It’s Religion

More wacky religion: Death Opens Doors on Group.

Members of One Mind Ministries drew little notice in the working-class Baltimore neighborhood where they lived in a nondescript brick rowhouse.

But inside, prosecutors say, horrors were unfolding: Answering to a leader called Queen Antoinette, they denied a 16-month-old boy food and water because he did not say "Amen" at mealtimes. After he died, they prayed over his body for days, expecting a resurrection, then packed it into a suitcase with mothballs. They left it in a shed in Philadelphia, where it remained for a year before detectives found it last spring.

Tomorrow, five of the group's alleged members -- including the boy's mother, Ria Ramkissoon -- are scheduled to be tried in Baltimore on murder charges. Sources and Ramkissoon's mother said Ramkissoon, 22, has agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge on one condition: The charges against her must be dropped if her son, Javon Thompson, is resurrected.

Psychiatrists who evaluated Ramkissoon at the request of a judge concluded that she was not criminally insane. Her attorney, Steven Silverman, said the doctors found that her beliefs were indistinguishable from religious beliefs, in part because they were shared by those around her.

"She wasn't delusional, because she was following a religion," Silverman said, describing the findings of the doctors' psychiatric evaluation.

(via Pharyngula)

Permalink | Posted in Religion @8:04am | Comments (8)

Colorful Computers

Back in my day, computers came in any color you wanted -- as long as it was gray. Then I started seeing black computers, and even silver computers. Are you ready for this? New Dell Inspiron towers come in eight candy colors.

Dell today introduced its new vibrant array of Inspiron slim and mini-tower desktops, available now in China and worldwide later this spring.

Continuing to keep customization its trademark, the company will offer the new Inspirons in eight colors: Piano Black, Pure White, True Blue, Formula Red, Tangerine Orange, Spring Green, Plum Purple and Promise Pink.

What? No Lemon Yellow?


Permalink | Posted in Internet & Computers @7:51am | Comments (17)

Faith Shaken, Not Stirred

Let's say you're a Mormon, and you finally come to your senses and realize that the religion is a crock. Here's a book just for you: Shaken Faith Syndrome.

In today's Internet world, an increasing number of Latter-day Saints are encountering anti-Mormon material. Since most members don't have all the answers at their fingertips, LDS-critical claims can be unsettling or create doubt. Some arguments have caused a few members -- even active members with strong testimonies -- to lose their faith.

Backed by extensive research and decades of experience dealing with anti-Mormon allegations, Michael Ash explores how we can be both critical thinkers and devout believers.

Because misconceptions can make us vulnerable to a shaken faith, the first half of this book offers suggestions on how we can strengthen our intellectual foundations against challenging issues.

I wonder if it covers that underwear thing?


Permalink | Posted in Religion @7:42am | Comments (4)

The End Of Encarta

For many years, Microsoft had an encyclopedia product called Encarta. But not for long: MSN Encarta to be Discontinued.

On October 31, 2009, MSN Encarta Web sites worldwide will be discontinued, with the exception of Encarta Japan, which will be discontinued on December 31, 2009. Additionally, Microsoft will cease to sell Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium software products worldwide by June 2009.

Why?

Encarta has been a popular product around the world for many years. However, the category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past. As part of Microsoft's goal to deliver the most effective and engaging resources for today's consumer, it has made the decision to exit the Encarta business.

Apparently, people actually paid for subscriptions. And they will get a refund.


Permalink | Posted in Software @7:19am | Comments (1)

What Governors Do

Our governors at work: Every clown has its day.

U.S. governors issued official proclamations in 2008 for scores of causes, marking events that you'll never see on a calendar or greeting card. For example:

  • March 27 was Medical Billers Day in New York.
  • April 26 was Tai Chi and Qigong Day in Alaska.
  • Aug. 1 was the start of Clown Week in Wisconsin.
  • September was Clean Hands Month in Nevada.
  • Sept. 26 in Hawaii was a day of awareness for the nene, or Hawaiian goose.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford receives dozens of proclamation requests a month, says Joel Sawyer, Sanford's communications director. "There are some very esoteric requests that come in, but we try to process most of the ones that we get," Sawyer says. Once, he recalls, a group requested a proclamation for Bear Awareness Week.

Are there bears in South Carolina? "Apparently there are enough to be aware of," Sawyer says.


Permalink | Posted in General @7:11am | Comments (8)

Calculating While Sleeping

All of these posts about songs in my music collection are getting to me. Last night I had a dream, and someone asked me about my music. Something like, "How did you get 38,000 songs?" I thought it over and replied, "Well, it's the equivalent of buying 10 CDs every day for a year."

In my dream, I assumed that the CDs have an average of 11 tracks. That actually works out to 40,150 tracks. The correct number should have been 10.4 tracks per CD. But still, not bad for a dream that didn't have a copy of Excel.


Permalink | Posted in General @7:06am | Comments (12)

Miracle Fruit Pills

I've been curious about these things for years, so I read this Cockeyed research report with interest: Miracle Fruit Pills Taste Test.

The name of the fruit is actually "Miracle Fruit" (Synsepalum dulcificum). Who names a fruit "miracle fruit"? That is a terrible name!

The claims were intriguing. The naturally-occurring chemicals in these African fruits were supposed to temporarily modify the way that your tongue tastes food. Sour things, it was said, would taste sweet. They were like rose-colored glasses for your mouth.

Bottom line? They work. They really work.

As an experienced lime-eater, when you bite on a lime, you brace yourself for the bite of sourness. After eating a miracle berry tablet, the sour was absent, replaced by a subtle sweet taste. They weren't exactly like an orange, but they had the texture of an orange with a non-sour lime taste. I ate about six slices of lime.


Permalink | Posted in Food & Drink @6:53am | Comments (12)

Daily Dose Birthday

Just a quick note to congratulate Dick Kusleika for five years of the Daily Dose of Excel.

Yesterday was Elle MacPhereson's birthday. Oh, yeah, it was Daily Dose of Excel's birthday too. Can you believe it's been five years? Feels like 20...

You know, they laughed at me when I named this blog Daily Dose of Excel. And they were right. I liked the way it sounded, but I didn't really think about the pressure I was putting on myself. OK, I don't really feel any pressure, I just post when I can. When I started, I would post three times a day - morning, noon, and night. That seemed like a reasonable schedule. :) Now I shoot for three times a week.


Permalink | Posted in Excel @6:49am | Comments (1)

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