Monday, April 26, 2010

Apparently Fred Phelps and his "followers" don't like the tables turned on them

Apr 26, 1:03 PM EDT

Veterans' group pickets Phelpses, Westboro Baptist

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A Topeka church that has gained notoriety in recent years for picketing the funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers was itself picketed after turning a group of veterans and their families away from its noon worship service.

Veteran Jerry Bacidore and 15 supporters traveled to Topeka from across Illinois to attend a service at the Westboro Baptist Church on Sunday.

They had planned to stand at the back of the church dressed in black, silently representing soldiers who have been killed, Bacidore said in a letter published last week in The Topeka Capital-Journal.

At the last minute, church officials told the veterans' group that they were not welcome to attend, so the group from Illinois picketed nearby.

Westboro members - most of whom are related to church patriarch Fred Phelps Sr. - are best known for protesting at military funerals to express the belief that U.S. troop deaths are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

Laura Cordell of Peoria, Ill., said in comments published in the newspaper Monday that the group had contacted Phelps' daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, by phone and e-mail informing her that they would be attending a service, and she welcomed them. Phelps-Roper confirmed Sunday that she had given Bacidore permission to attend.

"Anyone is welcome to sit in the pew and listen," Phelps-Roper wrote in an e-mail to Bacidore. "Anyone is free and within the bounds of the law to protest out on a public right of way."

Group members arrived in Topeka at 5 a.m., ate breakfast, changed into their church clothes and gathered in front of the church at 11 a.m. That's when they were turned away.

"We were told that the public service had been canceled, and that they had a private service that we were not allowed to enter," Bacidore told the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star.

Although her church churns out hundreds of e-mails telling media outlets, including The Associated Press, where Westboro members will be protesting, Phelps-Roper objected to Bacidore's letter to the newspaper. She said it showed the group's "contempt for the church's religious service."

"When you come into the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, you sit in the pews. You're not welcome to make a scene," she said.

She said the time of the Sunday service was changed to accommodate members who had to leave for Virginia to picket a memorial service for 29 people who died in a coal mining accident.

Phelps-Roper said she advises all visitors to call her cell phone to verify times because the group's picketing schedule can affect when services are conducted.

The Illinois veterans' group assembled at a nearby intersection, where members waved American flags and held up large signs with patriotic slogans such as "We defended freedom, let our fallen rest in peace." Several drivers honked in support.

"They impose themselves on sacred events, such as funerals, but when you come to them, they rear their ugly head," Cordell said. "They are playing games. It's obvious they are not a church. We hate to call them a church, and we want to strip them of that title."

Cordell and Bacidore are trying to organize a Topeka group and will try to attend a future service.

"It's obvious they are trying to ignore us," Cordell said.

� 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For my computer firends who may not be with us

If you have McAfee as your antivirus program you are most likely not with us.... McAfee's update today (21 April) introduced a Windows error by misidentifying a legitimate Windows file as a virus. It triggered an ongoing reboot cycle which shut down systems all over the world. It closed hospitals in Rhode Island, paralyzed Law enforcement in Kentucky, and the National Science Foundation (!) lost computer access among other things, Intel was also affected.

While McAfee is attempting to put out an update that will not have the suspect files, the damage is already done. I will definitely not be putting McAfee on any systems I own anymore. Its standard on Acer systems, and I had an Acer for a while. The damage to their reputation is likely to be long lasting.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Latest Trend - Unschooling

The Unschooling Movement: School's Out ... Forever

If she is lucky -- very lucky -- Michele Darr-Babson can get from one end of a sentence to the other uninterrupted.

Mornings in her Salem, Ore., home are slightly, shall we say, chaotic.

"We're able to give our children ... Louis! Don't stand on that!" she tells ParentDish (and Louis).

What Darr-Babson is trying to say is that unschooling -- a movement where children get no education and basically teach themselves what they need to know -- gives kids more choices. Apparently, the choice for Louis to stand on whatever "that" is, is not one of them.

Darr-Babson has 10 children in her blended family. She used to unschool most of them, and it's a good idea, she says. In theory, at least. Most of her children are in traditional school these days. That's because attending school was one of the choices they were free to make. Darr-Babson's ex-partner didn't share her enthusiasm for homeschooling.

But when unschooling works, Darr-Babson tells ParentDish, it can work magnificently.

"It enables children to focus what they're interested in," she says.

A growing number of parents are unschooling their children. ABC News reports there are 56 million American children in traditional schools, with another 1.5 million being homeschooled.

Of those, according to the network, about 10 percent are unschooled.

Unschooling is not homeschooling. In homeschooling, children receive structure, discipline and curriculum.

Darr-Babson explains that unschooling has no rules. It is all organic.

"It really promotes how learning is accomplishing in real life -- through experience," she tells ParentDish.

Her two oldest children, ages 18 and 20, are in Egypt. "Now that's a learning experience," she says.

But does visiting the Sphinx teach a person algebra?

Children can take care of that on their own, unschooling parent Christine Yablonski of Massachusetts tells ABC News.

"If they need formal algebra understanding, they will find that information," she tells the network.

She knows her kids will do what they need to do, she adds.

"They might watch television. They might play games on the computers. The key there is you have to trust your kids to find their own interests," she tells ABC News.

It doesn't bother her, for example, that her 15-year-old daughter Kimi Biegler stays up all night.

"She's getting everything done that she wants to get done," she tells the network.

What about Kimi? Does she feel prepared for college?

"No, not really," she tells ABC News. "I haven't done the traditional look at a textbook and learn about such and such."

When such and such becomes important, she adds, she'll study it.

"If I wanted to to go college, then I would pick up a textbook and I would learn," she tells the network.

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, there are no laws regarding homeschooling or unschooling in Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut or New Jersey.

All you have to do in those states is notify the school district that your child won't be attending classes. There is no testing or other requirements.

The rest of the states vary in the amount of notification parents must give and how much student testing is required. Colleges can set their own requirements for the admission of homeschooled and unschooled students.

"We find that we don't need a whole lot of rules," Kimi's father, Phil Biegler, tells ABC. "They will do what they need to do whether or not they enjoy it because they see the purpose in it."

Ann Pleshette Murphy, the former editor of Parents magazine and the current parenting expert on ABC's "Good Morning America," is doubtful.

"This to me is putting way too much power in the hands of the kids -- something that we know kids actually can often find very anxiety producing," she tells ABC News.

"And it's also sending a message that they're the center of the universe, which I do not think is healthy for children."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Internet Addiction

First there was the man in Joplin, MO who shot up his house over loosing cable. Now comes THIS:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Man stabs five of his kin, torches house, after Net access row

NAGOYA (Kyodo) A 30-year-old man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of stabbing five members of his family, killing two, at a house in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, and setting the building on fire.

Takayuki Iwase is suspected of stabbing his father, Kazumi, 58, around 2:15 a.m. Saturday while he was sleeping in a bedroom, the police said. He was later confirmed dead.

Tomomi Kanemaru, the 1-year-old daughter of Iwase's younger brother, Fumihiko, was also confirmed dead.

Iwase, who is unemployed, was taken into custody at a funeral hall near the house after admitting that he stabbed the five with a kitchen knife and set fire to the house, the police said.

Iwase reportedly told police under questioning that he was angry that his account with an Internet service provider had been canceled by his father.

After receiving an emergency call from a neighbor at around 2:25 a.m., the police arrived and found the house on fire and the five family members inside with stab wounds. Police are treating the investigation as a murder case.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

British Airways Flight 9

If you find yourself wondering why the whole of Europe is shut down to air travel, take a look at this. Now this video has 5 parts and has a little bit of sitting so If you want to watch it and find out I'll post the spoilers after..

What happened is on 24 June 1982, British Airways Flight 9, a 747 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Perth, Australia had all four engines fail in flight. At the time, the results of an aircraft flying into a volcanic ash cloud was unknown. Flying through the cloud resulted in the abrasive ash clouding the windshield and abrading the surface of the aircraft. It occurred in the dead of night and a fire sheen of St. Elmo's Fire clung to the aircraft. It affected the instruments by clogging the pitot tubes and giving false speed readings. However, the most significant affect was the failure of the engines.

Volcanic ash is a fine dust made up of sandy particles. Sucked into the huge, air-thirsty engines, the ash is then heated by the 3000 degree heat and melted to the fan blades of the engine. The engine cannot function properly with the glass melted to the turbine blades and consequently they shut down.

After falling about 15000 feet in a gentle glide, the aircraft fell below the ash cloud layer. The ash accumulated cooled and broke off the fan blades. By this time the crew had desperately attempted to restart the engines multiple times. Below the ash layer, their attempts were successful and the aircraft diverted to Jakarta in Indonesia.

After this there was another incident in 1989 when a KLM flight was not notified about the eruption of Mount Redoubt and flew into an ash cloud over Alaska. Like this incident, the aircraft successfully landed.

The Biggest Loser

Tonight I had a dinner which my Mom partially burned. Enough was salvagable that I had a decent meal. I am sitting at the computer downloading Space Shuttle videos from Europe. Then I am looking forward to a night at work with who knows what kooks at the Theatre. A few weeks ago some nuts jumped the counter and stole a couple of bags of chips. They were arrested for shoplifting after the cops searched for them an hour or so. (Not much going on that night so they were able to look for these dudes). So don't go thinkin you have it bad... ;-)

The reason my Mom burned dinner was she was watching "The Biggest Looser" on NBC.. But I digress..

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No ham radio this week

Well, I got my sleep goofed up so I couldn't do the ham radio. Most of my wake time was night and then I fooled around on the computer too much. But I did get out and about. I spent most of yesterday at the salvage yard wandering among the the graveyard looking for trucks like mine. I wanted to get me another ashtray so I can install the ham radio bracket on that. I also found a two plug power outlet in a newer car, so my strategy has changed.

Rather than trying to tap into the fuse cluster for the power outlet and then tapping into the cigarette lighter for the power for the ham radio I am going to just put the two outlet plug down close to the 4x4 shift, then tap that into the cigarette lighter. Then I can power the Ham radio with a cigarette lighter adapter, then have another outlet for my phone, computer or other item to charge. I bought an inline fuse for that line so it will have double fuses which I suppose will be good for fire prevention.

My situation for the rear windshield wiper may have changed. I was thinking about putting in a new window from another salvage vehicle with a windshield wiper installed. Then I could have a windshield wiper on the back. I can put the wires along the side and through the pillars. However, I looked back there and the mounting may be different for one with a motor verses one without. I'll have to look next couple of weeks if and when I spend the $75 for the window class.

Meanwhile I have the parts, wires, fuses and the sealant for the moon roof. That way I can get the antenna wire through without drilling a hole through the roof or have a wire dangling from the door.I have a conduit to put the antenna through to keep it from getting in the way of my legs and now I just thought I have to get something to hold the antenna wire down on the roof of the car. I can use those as well to hold the wires on the underside of the dash like we have for our truck installations at work. They hold up rather well and have put up with hail, rain washing and the like. I know about washing because I wash the trucks and I am pretty vigorous about that.

Well, there is always next week and I will have a good truck. Then the week after that, I'll tackle the rear windshield wiper if its possible. I'll keep you updated.

Twitter Question

I was asked today about something via e-mail and I thought I'd share my response:

--- On Thu, 4/15/10, G wrote:

From: G
Subject: Twitter question
To: Stephen
Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010, 2:57 PM

Explain to me something about Twitter.

Here is something I saw:


RT @# * Reply * Retweet # Shawn Lewis salact81 @BrentSpiner I love you!!!! --Thank you, Shawn. You are very wise for your age.

What does the "@" sign indicate.


On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 4:10 PM, Stephen Koehler wrote:

Very good question. I would ask a friendly teenager. Taking a stab I would assume @ stands for 'AT". However, I might be wrong and the whole meaning is something else entirely. I am getting to the point that texting is a whole other language and translators will soon have to be employed to sort out the gibberish.

Unfortunately I do not use Twitter that much. Well, really I see no real use for it and I log on only once in a blue moon. I have too many online accounts as it is and its getting to the point of information overload.

This whole exchange sounds like that kind of shorthand that texters use and this whole thing about keeping it under 150 characters really limits it in my opinion. It looks like some have made use of it though and God bless em. Call me a Luddite, but I have only relatively recently started using the text function on my cell phone. I am the idiot you seeing typing whole words on texts and thus using all 150 characters.

Sorry I couldn't help, and I probably could have been a little less verbose, but I am bored at the moment and this is a wonderful day off. I hope you get out and hike and see the sun if its there.


I miss the day when it was just us technogeeks on the computer and we could understand each other.....

Maybe someone out there has a translation?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Cardiologist's Funeral.

Cardiologist's Funeral:

A very prestigious cardiologist died, and was given a very elaborate funeral by the hospital he worked for most of his life... A huge heart... covered in flowers stood behind the casket during the service as all the doctors from the hospital sat in awe. Following the eulogy, the heart opened, and the casket was rolled inside.The heart then closed, sealing the doctor in the beautiful heart forever.

At that point, one of the mourners burst into laughter. When all eyes
stared at him, he said, 'I am so sorry, I was just thinking of my own
funeral... I'm a gynecologist.'

The proctologist fainted!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Among the Righteous

After Robert Satloff saw the Twin Towers fall in 2001, he was transferred with his wife to Morocco. He then made it his mission in life to find a Righteous Arab. There is a memorial in Israel to Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust. But among the thousands of names there is not one Arab. Robert Satloff set out to find one and maybe more. His journey took him through the former Jewish communities through out North Africa. In Tunisia which was occupied for many years by the Nazis he found several stories. In Morocco, he found the king who said that if they put stars of David on the Jews of Morocco, then they should make more for every citizen of the country.

The hope of his mission is that if he finds righteous Arabs and their names are on that Holocaust memorial then there can be a better dialogue between Arabs and Jews.

40 years ago today

Fourty years ago today, at around the time I am writing this, three men were on their way to Moon. their Apollo spacecraft was state of the art. They had been on the way to the Moon three days and everything was going normally. The media didn't even bother to run the TV show they broadcast from about halfway between the Moon and the Earth. Having concluded their broadcast they got ready to close down for the night. There were a few "housekeeping procedures" they had to perform. Jack Swigert flicked a switch he had turned many times before. The current flowed through the wires and stirred the slushy liquid oxygen in tank number 2. What he didn't know was that in a previous incident several years before, the tank had been overheated and the wires in the tank were bare. A spark flew and the pure oxygen exploded into a fire. The explosion damaged all the other tanks in the Service Module and the vehicle was now useless.

What happened next was a triumph of technology and innovation which allowed them to safely return to the Earth. That triumph became NASA's finest hour.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Random thoughts

Someone commented on another blog here about loosing the ability to read. She lamented that as a former avid reader, books no longer held her interest. I feel the same way. I love the stories of Larry Niven and his fantastic Known Space Series. The Ringworld, Jinx the Easter Egg Planet, the puppeteers and the Kzinti all dance in my head. Niven hadn't written much in Known Space, but then a fan has written three novels which Niven put a co-author stamp on which has made the universe a lot richer and I have been listening to the audio books for them lately. I have hundreds of books. I used to read and reread them voraciously. Now I am lucky if I can get a book or two a year in. Lately I have been listening to Audio books which have helped somewhat since I spend hours driving a security truck around a mall in the middle of the night with nothing to do. It helps pass the time. But then I find myself squirming sometimes wanting it all to be over with, not really life but just the day so I can get home and away from the boredom.

Someone else commented on Smoking. They just passed a smoking ban here in St. Louis county. The city law depended upon the county vote happening. So now both the City and the County have bans soon to be in place. There are exceptions for big money areas like casinos and the like, but in general we have smoking banned. the opposition to this law, you would think they were banning cigarettes all together. I think smoking is a reprehensible habit because one's money can be better spent on other things. Plus its a very unhealthy habit

But I am one to talk. My diet/lifestyle needs changing and I find it difficult with my schedule to modify it. I live pretty varied as far as time is concerned and setting a schedule is so problematic. but soon I hope to start something as far as an exercise program. I am the only one that can change myself. My uncle who is a retired doctor called me the other day and had me come over for dinner where he expressed his concern for my health and offered me a gym membership. I am probably going to take him up on the offer since I do need to get something done about things.

I need a few successes to make me feel good about myself. I have been really down lately and I think its seasonal. Spring being in the air has made things feel so much better. My recent success with my car radio installation has confirmed that I can do things right and accomplish things. In the recent past, something like that would have sat for ages hanging out and never have gotten done. I am so glad to have accomplished something.

Next week is my ham radio and maybe a few other things about my car. I have toyed with putting a windshield wiper on my back window using one pulled from a junker. I'd have to replace the back glass, and there would be no washer, but beggars can't be choosers. Another item to install is to replace my tire rack on the back with a newer model that eliminates the infernal rattling that goes on. I have a list of projects that might span into infinity. I love my Blazer because its the car I can work on without worrying about things getting over my head technically. New cars you need a masters degree it seems to work on them.

Things have to change for good or ill or I will surely vegetate into catatonia. Maybe I am out of my deep blue funk.

The Facebook Song

I saw this song on Barb Nutopia's page and here is a different version of the song. I swear this so funny. Warning! ADULT language. Quite a few F-bombs in this one!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Please read - very important

Please read this and look at the pictures so you can recognize this person. Please be on the look out for her.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Project DONE

From this to-------


I had a slight problem getting the brackets to line up, but I'll deal with that later... at least it doesn't look like someone tried to rip off my stereo.

My project for the week

I bought a stereo a year or so ago with the intention of putting it in my Crown Victoria. It has sat at various times in either my trunk or my house gathering dust. This weekend I decided it was finally time to put up or shut up. The Blazer is a nice car, but the radio only puts out on the front left speaker and its really frustrating. So the Blazer gets the stereo.

I have never attempted my own stereo installation, and I had no idea how to do it really. However, its just matching wires for wires and getting the panels back into place right. I also have to match a dashboard unit to make the installation look factory. Since the stereo is different from the factory installation, I have to use a bridging harness to put the wires on right. Matching the wires proved simple and now I have to put the dashboard back together. Its present condition is as such:
I have been having trouble finding the right bracket to complete the installation of the finished piece that allows the unit to look factory installed. If I can figure out which one, I can finish this off. I am taking a break after spending a few hours matching wires. In a power up test, the unit works and I have all my speakers back. Its now just a question of finishing the braket and mounting the completed installation in the dashboard. I took a break also because its raining and I just didn't want to get wet.

This is the new stereo:
What I love about it is that it will have bluetooth and has a slot for and SD card which will let me listen to my MP3 files. I can also put them on CD and listen to them as well. It can also play WMA files so I don't have to convert a whole lot of files I already have ripped to WMA. It promises to be a nice little addition to my entertainment selections.

Friday, April 2, 2010

America's Religious Future

The future of America when the Talibaptists are elected:
(Courtesy of Chuck Shepard and "News of the Wierd")

Latest Religious Messages

Japan's Mantokuji temple in Gumma province was historically the place where women went to cleanse themselves in divorce, aided by the temple's iconic toilets, into which the bad spirits from the failed liaisons could be shed and flushed forever. The toilets have been modernized, according to a February Reuters dispatch, and today the temple is used by the faithful to rid themselves of all types of problems. (The upgrades also permitted a solution to a longstanding annoyance at the temple, of visitors mistaking the iconic toilets for regular commodes.) [Reuters, 2-26-10]

American Taliban: Michael Colquitt, 32, got a judicial order of protection in January against his father, Baptist preacher Joe Colquitt, in Alcoa, Tenn. According to Michael, Pastor Joe had threatened him at gunpoint about his poor church-attendance record. [Daily Times (Maryville, Tenn.), 1-29-10]

Kevin Johnson, 59, was arrested in Madison, Wis., in February and charged with using a stun gun repeatedly on a local dance instructor, whom Johnson believed was a "sinner" (also a "fornicator" and a "peeking Tom") who "defiles married women" by teaching them dances involving bodies touching. [Wisconsin State Journal, 2-9-10]

Child-Unfriendly Religions

Jeff and Marci Beagley were sentenced to 16 months in prison in March after a jury in Oregon City, Ore., found them guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the death of their teenage son, whose congenital urinary tract blockage was treated only with oils and prayer prescribed by the Beagleys' Followers of Christ Church. Doctors said the boy could have been saved with medical treatment right up until the day he died. (The Beagleys' infant granddaughter died in 2008 under similar circumstances, but no criminal conviction resulted.) [CBS News-AP, 2-1-10]

A 7-year-old girl died in February in Oroville, Calif., and her 11- year-old sister was hospitalized needing critical care, after being "lovingly" beaten by their adoptive parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, who are followers of religion-based corporal punishment. The Schatzes, as recommended by a fundamentalist Web site, had whipped the girls with quarter-inch-wide plumbers' rubber tubing, to supposedly make the children "happier" and "more obedient to God." Criminal charges against the couple were pending at press time. [Chico Enterprise-Record (Chico, Calif.), 2-12-10]

About Me

My photo
I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.