Thursday, July 26, 2007

Baxter's Back

Light posting for a while. Some stories to tell in the coming days.

The Bush View of the Constitution

Based on recent events, Bush must think this fine print is part of the U.S. Constitution:[inspired by Josh Marshall]

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Friday Beagle Blogging (Early Edition)

Baxter surveys his kingdom. Or maybe he's just checking out the cute girl doggie next door. Yes, the lawn needs mowing.


Having been tagged by Desdinova, Thinking Things, and Sniderman, I present 8 Things You Didn't Know About Me, the secretly fun meme going around:

1. Demographer Larry Long* found that a hypothetical cohort of 100,000 individuals would move to a new residence 10.5 times over their lifetimes. I've moved 17 times to 16 different homes in four states. Having finally purchased a mortgage, Mrs. DocLarry (who's moved nearly as often) says we're never moving again.
*Larry Long, Migration and Residential Mobility in the U.S. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1988)

2. My parents live 30 miles from the University of Iowa and have been Hawkeye football fans for years. No one in my family ever attended the school, but it was Big 10 college football close to home. They and my brother regularly purchased season tickets and attended nearly every home game. All three missed my wedding-rehearsal dinner in order to attend a game. Not sure if it was fortunate our wedding wasn't on Saturday.

3. In October of 1979, Pope John Paul II officiated a mass in suburban Des Moines, Iowa. Some 300,000 people gathered at Living History Farms. Most of Des Moines closed for the weekday event. Working for a local TV station, I shot news film of the lack of vehicle traffic, among other things. I was hanging out of a helicopter in flight at the time. I was much younger and lighter then.

4. Even in the most tornado-prone parts of the U.S., the chance of a particular square mile of land being struck by a tornado of any intensity is about once in 1000 years. I've been in three locations in three states when tornadoes hit. I've seen two additional funnel clouds that did not touch down. One turned clockwise. Most tornadoes in the United States turn counterclockwise. And no, I'm not a storm chaser.

5. Harry Chapin is a favorite singer/songwriter. I met him at a fund-raiser concert for Tom Harkin in 1976. I attended two other concerts Chapin gave with his band. Chapin died July 16, 1981. I had tickets to see him in concert for the fourth time on July 19th.

6. Tony Wright holds the record for the longest period without sleep, 266 hours, 4 minutes and 8 seconds. My record is 92 hours. I was trying to make 96 hours (4 days) but I forgot what I was doing. Too many stimulants, I guess.

7. As a child adults nagged me to keep my head up not realizing the unnaturalness of doing so. I was born with two fused vertebrae in my neck, causing my head to tilt forward. It also keeps me from sleeping on my back without extra head support, which I also require in the dentist's chair.

8. I've visited 38 states and three Canadian provinces. I drove to every one of them.

And now, Duane Keys, Granny Geek, Strannix and Betty B., you're up.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

In Case You've Forgotten

Today is the 2,120th day since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre of killing nearly 3,000 people is still at large.

Why are the men responsible for the deaths of 3,578 American soldiers in a country which had nothing to do with 9/11 still in office?

What Will We Tell the Children?

A certain weather person at one of the THREE local television operations did an excellent job keeping Ozarkers informed of the quick-moving severe storms on Saturday. However, my SPIDEY sense tingled when this weather person appeared on camera in the afternoon sans suit coat. I thought casual day was Friday?

Sunday Factoids

The June edition of Harper's Magazine includes several articles explaining how much work is needed to undue eight years of the Bush misadministration. It's worth the read at the library.

Harper's each month also includes a list of statistics chosen and arranged for ironic effect. The online version for the past six months is only available to subscribers, but it may prove educational and fun to read through pre-2007 indices:

From January 2005:

Number of House members in 1979 who voted against making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday : 133

Number who are still in the House : 9

Number who are Vice President : 1

[Moral: Dick's a dick]

Average number of suicides per 100,000 residents in states carried by President Bush in November (2004) : 13.5

Average number of suicides in states carried by John Kerry : 9.9

[Moral: Buch kills]

Another Edition of Things That Make You Go AAAAAAAAAUUUGGGGHHHH!

The Sunday News-Leader has a story about Reeds Spring biology teacher Mike Collins returning to his classroom. Toward the end is a discussion of an incident in 2005 when Collins admitted to forging a parental permission slip for one of his students.

Collins spoke to the News-Leader in March about the forgery. He acknowledged doing it, but said about 15 minutes after he turned the forgery in, he reminded it and confessed.
"He reminded it?" I know we live in the Ozarks and people don't always use proper English, but this was not a direct quote. Rather, the reporter wrote this phrasing and a copy editor approved it. According to my dictionary reminded means "To cause to remember; put in mind." So the above sentence says Collins caused the permission slip to remember, or Collins put the permission slip in mind. That latter one sort of fits, if a few extra words had been included in the reporter's sentence.

However, I don't think that's what the reporter meant at all. I'm betting the word the reporter meant to use was "remanded" which my dictionary defines as "To send or order back." In other words, Collins ordered the forged permission slip back, and cofessed to having forged it.

Simple typo? Maybe.

The more egregious error is contained in a graphic linked to the story, and reported in a side-bar story about the joint statement issued by three school board members who voted against reinstating Collins. The graphic is of the scanned statement with signatures of the three board members. It includes contact information, listing the phone number of board member Hank Smythe, followed by "not for publication" enclosed in parentheses. Smythe obviously did not want his phone number published. The News-Leader ignored that request. Why?

Smythe's phone number could have been blacked out, leaving his name and the parenthetical request. No reasonable reader would have wondered what had been blacked out and accused the News-Leader of hiding something.

I wonder, will the reporter and/or editor will apologize to Smythe?