Monday, August 27, 2007

Blonde Joke No. 2

Miss Teen USA 2007 finalist, Lauren Caitlin Upton of South Carolina, on her fellow Americans' poor grasp of geography:



Remember, it's not a beauty pageant. It's a scholarship pageant.

Today's Funny

Two blondes are walking in a forest and come across a pair of tracks,
1st blonde: "How cute deer tracks!"
2nd blonde "Those are dog? tracks!"
1st blonde: "Deer tracks!"
2nd blonde "Dog tracks"
1st blonde: "Deer tracks!"
2nd blonde "Dog tracks"
They argued for almost an hour before they got hit by the train.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Family Time

A few weeks back Mrs. DocLarry and I traveled north to visit the parental units as well as my Canadian niece and nephew. Oh, and their parents, my sister and the Canook. Given the many miles between Ozarkland and Canada I don't often get to see my only niece and nephew, so I consider such visits special. My parents are also getting up there in years, my father suffering from Parkinson's.

This trip proved to be extra special as we viewed a DVD of my niece performing at a national Orff conference. Never heard of Orff? Neither had I until this happened. And it is really quite fascinating. From the Orff Canada web site:

Carl Orff (1895-1982) is probably best known as the composer of such works as Carmina Burana and Catulli Carmina, but it is his work with "Music for Children" which has inspired a global movement in music education.

The Orff approach to Music Education is holistic, experiential and process oriented. It is for all children, not just the most musically or intellectually gifted and encompasses aural, visual and kinesthetic learners.

Orff's philosophy is based on solid, pedagogical principles. A structured, sequential development of knowledge and skills encourages joyful participation, creativity, and personal musical growth from all participants. The Orff approach taps the very essence of our beings. Children learn through doing, exploring and improvising. They are active participants in an integrated, guided process, one which allows for differing musical abilities. In the Orff approach, no child is neglected.

The Orff philosophy combines the elements of speech, rhythm, movement, dance, and song. And at the heart of all this is improvisation - the instinct children have to create their own melodies, to explore their imaginations.
The organization holds a national conference every two years and schools compete to perform at the conference. My niece was a member of a group chosen to perform, and ultimately wowed the audience. It's hard to describe an Orff performance. Students play recorders, the metallophone, xylophone, glockenspiel, and other percussive instruments, as well as perform dance and some voice work.

The effects of Parkinson's are showing in my father, but seemed to lessen somewhat when he was around his grandchildren. I enjoyed sitting on the sidelines watching the interaction between grandparent and child, especially when both would end up with big grins.

And while I know it's not a competition, I've often felt a bit overshadowed by my brother when it comes to being an uncle. He lives in Iowa so the Canadians always see him when visiting the grandparents. His location also makes a trip to Canada a bit easier and he's visited them far more often than I.

However, this visit, I got to be the "fun" uncle. On our last day I got into a pillow fight. My nephew started it, but my niece soon joined in for a two-front attack. The nephew had no qualms about climbing aboard Uncle Doc Larry, putting a pillow across my face blinding me to the flanking attack of his sister. Silliness abounded, noise was made, photos were snapped, and DocLarry napped on the drive back to Springtown.

The best part? The smile on my father's face and the laughter in his eyes.

No There, There

We've all encountered individuals whom we've considered lacking something between their ears. And we all know of a place or two we think must be the absolute emptiest place on the planet. Now astronomers have discovered a "there" where there really is nothing.

Astronomers have stumbled upon a tremendous hole in the universe. That's got them scratching their heads about what's just not there. The cosmic blank spot has no stray stars, no galaxies, no sucking black holes, not even mysterious dark matter. It is 1 billion light years across of nothing. That's an expanse of nearly 6 billion trillion miles of emptiness, a University of Minnesota team announced Thursday.

Astronomers have known for many years that there are patches in the universe where nobody's home. In fact, one such place is practically a neighbor, a mere 2 million light years away. But what the Minnesota team discovered, using two different types of astronomical observations, is a void that's far bigger than scientists ever imagined.

"This is 1,000 times the volume of what we sort of expected to see in terms of a typical void," said Minnesota astronomy professor Lawrence Rudnick, author of the paper that will be published in Astrophysical Journal.

[snip]

"It looks like something to be taken seriously," said Brent Tully, a University of Hawaii astronomer who wasn't part of this research but studies the void closer to Earth.

Tully said astronomers may eventually find a few cosmic structures in the void, but it would still be nearly empty.

Holes in the universe probably occur when the gravity from areas with bigger mass pull matter from less dense areas, Tully said. After 13 billion years "they are losing out in the battle to where there are larger concentrations of matter," he said.
"Void" doesn't seem the best description. Perhaps a new word will need to be created to describe this "nothingness."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

Regular readers may have noticed the relative quiet here at Chez Lost Chord. It's partially due to some traveling, partially due to family, and partially due to work. My current employer has been gearing up for a major change beginning this weekend involving lots of techy stuff that I so thoroughly enjoy. And I truly have been having fun with this job.

However, it is time to move on. Sometime in the not-too-distant future I'll be joining the Chatter guy in the KSPR newsroom. I'm honored to have been hired and excited about the opportunity to build the news department. Most of my professional journalism career has been behind the scenes, and that will be true here. A new set and lots of new faces await me. The big roll-out is September 9.

The blog will continue, but it may undergo a face-lift. As they say on the TV, stay tuned.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

On This Date. . .

▪ Mongol Genghis Khan died, in 1227.

▪ Pope Adrian V died, in 1276.

▪ Pope Alexander VI died, in 1503.

▪ Pope Paul IV died, in 1559.

▪ Virginia Dare (granddaughter of Gov. John White of the Colony of Roanoke) became the first English child born in the Americas, in 1587.

▪ Italian composer Antonio Salieri was born, in 1750.

▪ American explorer Meriwether Lewis was born, in 1774.

▪ The Spanish established a presidio at a location that came to be called Tucson, Arizona, in 1775.

▪ French astronomer Pierre Jules C├ęsar Janssen discovers helium during an eclipse, in 1868.

▪ A. Montgomery Ward issued the first mail-order catalog, in 1872.

▪ Cosmetics entrepreneur Max Factor, in 1904.

▪ Tokyo mayor Yukio Ozaki presented Washington, D.C. with 2,000 cherry trees, which President Taft decides to plant near the Potomac River, in 1909.

▪ Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was born, in 1917.

▪ American actress Shelley Winters was born, in 1920.

▪ Tennessee ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women's voting rights, in 1920.

▪ First Lady Rosalynn Carter was born, in 1927.

▪ Former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was born, in 1928.

▪ Academy Award-winning film director Roman Polanski was born, in 1933.

▪ American attorney and author Vincent Bugliosi was born, in 1934. Bugliosi is perhaps best known for prosecuting Charles Manson and other defendants accused of the Tate-LaBianca murders. Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski, was eight-months pregnant when murdered.

▪ Robert Redford was born, in 1936.

▪ The FCC issued the first FM radio station construction permit (W1X0J (WGTR) in Boston MA), in 1937.

▪ The Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting New York State, United States with Ontario, Canada over the St. Lawrence River, was dedicated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1938. Nearly 54 years later (short by a few days), Doc Larry drove across the bridge.

▪ Comedian Martin Mull was born, in 1943.

▪ Comedian Elayne Boosler was born, in 1952.

▪ Actor Patrick Swayze was born, in 1952.

▪ Actor and comedian Denis Leary was born, in 1957.

▪ Betsy Palmer joined the Today Show panel, in 1958.

▪ Verne Gagne beat Edouard Carpentier in Omaha, to become National Wrestling Alliance champ, in 1958.

▪ Actress Madeleine Stowe was born, in 1958.

▪ Floyd Patterson TKOed Roy Harris in 13 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title, in 1958.

▪ The TV quiz show scandal investigation began, in 1958.

▪ Blogger Doc Larry was born, in 1958.

▪ Collins Radio (in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) bounced a photograph off a satellite for the first time, in 1960.

▪ Construction of the Berlin Wall was completed, in 1961.

▪ James Meredith became the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi, in 1963.

▪ The first major American ground battle of the Vietnam War (Operation Starlite) began, in 1965.

▪ California Angels pitcher Jack Hamilton threw a pitch which hit Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro in the face, severely damaging his left retina, in 1967. Hamilton later opened restaurants in Morning Sun and Washington, Iowa. He now operates Jack's Plaza View Restaurant in Branson.

▪ Jimi Hendrix played the unofficial last day of Woodstock, in 1969.

▪ Musician Everlast was born, in 1969.

▪ Actor Edward Norton was born, in 1969.

▪ Actor Christian Slater was born, in 1969.

▪ Actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner was born, in 1970.

▪ Ohio nurse Donald Harvey, after poisoning 24 people, received triple life sentences, in 1987.

▪ Republicans selected the Bush-Quayle ticket at their national convention in New Orleans, in 1988.

▪ Psychologist B.F. Skinner died, in 1990.

▪ Dennis Rader received 175 years in prison for the BTK serial killings, in 2005.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Now We Have Everything

The Springfield News-Leader informs us of the latest effort to curb drunk driving -- talking urinal cakes.

Missouri’s annual, end-of-summer campaign to stop drunken driving has added a new tactic, Missouri Department of Transportation announced today.

Organizers of “You Drink and Drive. You Lose” will have talking urinal cakes placed in restrooms at Missouri alcohol-serving establishments.

The effort is aimed at men ages 21 to 34, who are the most common offenders.

Male patrons will receive the following message from a female voice:

“Hey big guy, going out tonight? Having a few drinks? Make sure if you’re drinking, you find a sober driver. Because if you drink and drive, the next urinal you use could be in jail. Remember, your future is in your hand.”
We wonder how some bar patrons, likely in a bit of a stupor, will react to that female voice. Coming from the urinal. And will some patrons talk back?

Of course, that female voice is making an assumption about some patrons. But perhaps flattery will work. Love the tag line.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

When Did Matt Blunt Move?

At 9:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday, August 12, CNN had this posted, updated 37 minutes ago. (I've enlarged the relevant portion of the screen grab)




I didn't know the Blunts are Mormon.

CNN -- "The Most Trusted Name in News"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Seen in Springfield

Didn't have a camera to photograph the bumper on which this appeared, so a replica from the Web will have to do. Takes a brave soul to display this in MegaChurch-field.

U.S.S The Romneys

(Inspired by this)


"One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."

-- Mitt Romney, explaining yesterday why it's okay that none of his five sons enlisted in the military.