Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flutist Anne's famous Dad ...





...happens to be Miles Sullivan, world-famous Inventor,
still alive and well in Michigan:






Saturday, September 25, 2010

There's more where this came from

The day after his moulting, Python Dante ate a meal.  I knew then that as long as he remained our pet, a series of nameless, cute rats will be paraded before our eyes ---only to be eaten by him. The rats' squeeks of terror are part and parcel of what it means to own Dante.   

What do I remember from this particular feeding?  The rat managed to scream longer. Its mouth wasn't enclosed in the folds of the Python's death grip as was the previous rat.  We could see its eyes as it was asphyxiated. I did not notice them clouding-over in unconsciousness and death.  As the rat was lifted by Dante in the process of being swallowed, I saw that it had dark poo remnants on its bottom. Likely the result of its overwhelming fear.  

To my family's credit, we remained mostly silent during the feeding. There is nothing funny in the death of one creature to benefit and support another.  Hmmm....sounds almost Biblical. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Comparing Conservatives and Liberals

 If a conservative doesn’t like guns, they don’t buy one. 
If a liberal doesn’t like guns, then no one should have one.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, they don’t eat meat. 
If a liberal is, they want to ban all meat products for everyone.
If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
 A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.
If a conservative is homosexual, they quietly enjoy their life.
 If a liberal is homosexual, they loudly demand legislated respect.
If a black man or Hispanic is conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
 A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels. 
Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church. 
A liberal wants any mention of God or religion silenced.

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. 
A liberal demands that his neighbors pay for his.


From a forwarded email.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Snakeskin

The top 2 energy-sapping activities in a Snake's life are the following:
  1. Killing/Swallowing/Digesting prey
  2. Shedding skin/Moulting
Other than the above, Python Dante spends a lot of time in one corner of his glass case, coiled quietly by the heating "rock". His forked tongue flicks in and out, smelling his environment.  His  always-open eyes give every indication of being alert.  How do I know he can see adequately?  I don't, but he looks like he's staring back at me, ready to pounce.  At other times, he's at the other end of the glass case, checking-out what's going on.  I think this end is also his main bathroom.    

Here are pictures of activity number 2.  He was unusually subdued for over 10 days before this occurrence.    The actual shedding took about an hour.  Man, he was all-muscle!  The process almost reminded me of giving birth.  Just push that baby out (or off, in his case). The end result looked like half of a used-up panty hose.  Python Dante was quite active afterwards, almost as if  endorphins were working their way through his system after quite a workout (and indeed it was!).  Time for him to relax and paaaaaarty!  And get re-energized.  Hey, Waiter!

It began at the snout area; his eyes still partly covered






Ta-daaaaa!!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Slim pickings

Today, Hubby attended the ITMS  (International Manufacturing Technology Show) convention at McCormick Place.  Occasions such as this has me more interested in the loot he takes home.  It was  anemic this year.  Could be 'cause it was the second to the last day of the convention.  Could be the economy.  Could be something else.  Who knows.

Not pictured were the logo-ed bags. We will use them for hauling books from the library.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Python Dante update

From clear-eyed and bushy-tailed (August 30, 2010)...



....to this (September 13, 2010)



Python Dante is getting ready to shed !

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicago Half Marathon Race 2010!

Half Marathon = 13.1 miles
13, 546 who finished the race
(5652 Males, 7894 Females)

Jared clocked in @ 1:56:03
# 3396, overall
# 2258 among Males
33rd in his age group
Thank God for good health;
Thank God for the opportunity!
YaY!


Jared, Tabitha, Matthew


Exhausted!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Healthcare: USA versus Canada versus England, statistically speaking

A recent "Investor's Business Daily" article provided very interesting statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization.


Percentage of men and women who 
survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:
 
  U.S.             65% 
  England        46% 
  Canada         42%

Percentage of patients diagnosed with 
diabetes who received treatment within six months: 

  U.S.             93% 
  England        15% 
  Canada         43%

Percentage of seniors needing hip 
replacement who received it within six months: 

  U.S.             90% 
  England        15% 
  Canada         43%

Percentage referred to a medical 
specialist who see one within one month: 

  U.S.             77% 
  England        40% 
  Canada         43%

Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool)

per million people: 
  U.S.             71 
  England        14 
  Canada         18

Percentage of seniors (65+), with low 
income, who say they are in "excellent health": 

  U.S.             12% 
  England        2% 
  Canada         6%

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Robert G Bone Scholarship

Remembering the faithfulness of God in providing for Kristi during her senior year in college.  Thank God for giving us such a talented daughter.


Date: 4/22/08
Contact: Marc Lebovitz
Fourteen students at Illinois State University have been chosen as Robert G. Bone Scholars for the 2008-2009 school year, according to Honors Program director Kim Pereira.
The Bone Scholarship, the highest university-wide honor given to undergraduate students, includes a monetary award from the Bone Scholarship endowment.  Pictures of the recipients are displayed in the Bone Student Center, and their names are engraved on a plaque displayed permanently there.  The 14 new Scholars will be introduced to University administrators, the selection committee, and to current and alumni Bone Scholars during a May 3rd luncheon.  In the fall, they will be recognized at the University’s Scholarship Awards Ceremony.
The scholarship is named in honor of the late Robert G. Bone, president of Illinois State from 1956-1967.  Bone Scholars are selected through a rigorous campus-wide competition on the basis of their scholarly achievements and their engagement and leadership in activities, in the university community and beyond.  Invited finalists submit a comprehensive portfolio including several essays and statements, a project, and five letters of recommendation.  The mean grade point average of this year’s Bone Scholars is 3.96 on a 4.0 scale.
The selection committee consisted of Beverly Barham, Cyndee Brown, Victor Devinatz, Patricia Olsen, Debbie Shelden, and Wendy Woith of the Illinois State faculty; current Bone Scholar Jennifer Hitt; Alumna Bone Scholar Patricia Berndt; Foundation Association representative Peg VanMeter; and Alumni Association representative Darrel Sutter.
The new Bone Scholars, and their majors, are Sarah Beth Albers of Freeport, a Special Education major; Patrice Elaine Baumhardt of Springfield, a Biological Sciences major;  Michelle Elizabeth Carroll of East Moline, a Family and Consumer Sciences major; Christine Marie Doman of Downers Grove, a Communication Studies major; Kristiana Joy Escobar of Hanover Park, a Music Therapy major; Jack Glenn Fombelle of Atwood, an Agriculture major; Amelia Christine Gould of Rapid City, a Biological Sciences/Communication Studies double major; Jenna Nicole Grider of East Peoria, a nursing major; Tara Sue Hohulin of Normal, an English Education major;  Molly McSherry Keith of Park Ridge, a special education major; Lindsey L. Miller of Normal, a Theatre major; Robin Faye Mina of Gurnee, a Special Education major; Amy Marie Sudhoff of Highland, a Chemistry Education major; and Sarah Lyn Trautwein of Wheaton, a French Teacher Education major.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reepicheep --- Pet Python eating a Rat

"How's the snake?"  Mr Pet-store owner asked.

"It was delicious", Jared said, patting his tummy and smiling

"Oh, don't say that!"

"Actually, we're here to buy a rat. It's time for it to eat"  I knew a sale would please any storeowner.

"Okay, I'll get a live one in the back"

"Live?!  Aren't those dangerous for the snake?"  The warnings from snake books we had read were fresh in my mind.

"Take it out if it doesn't get eaten.  Anyway, yours has always gone for a live one."

The storeowner returned shortly with a totally unsuspecting black & white rat with large ears, and graying whiskers. It had beady, albeit innocent-looking, alert eyes.  It was at least a foot long from nose to tail; and looked bigger than the snake was round.  It was sniffing around, grateful for the fresh air and relatively open space.  My heart sank, knowing that this lovely creature would be dead by the end of the day.  "Take it back," I said. "Give us an ugly Rat!!!"






Should we have even named the Rat?


Part 2: It's still breathing....---Pet Python eating Rat

Is it still breathing???!!!

Part 3:She's tooo fat for me...--Pet Python eating a Rat

Poor rat!

Part 4: Down the tube -- Pet Python eating a Rat

Just one more swallow, little guy!

Part 1: I like how the rat squeeled (quote from neighbor)

God has given pythons such amazing abilities!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Eat your heart out, Gloria Steinem!

So, the wage gap is true. Only, it’s men who earn less

POSTED AT 11:30 AM ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2010 BY LORI ZIGANTO
PRINTER-FRIENDLY

The Left is still busily trumpeting the fallacy-filled idea of there being a wage gap in favor of men. In fact, the DNC recently sent out an email once again attempting to promulgate this lie, on the 90th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, no less. Hey, never waste a Crisis ™, real or imagined, and also never waste a chance to totally use women, right, Lefties? Have to keep those women in line! By in line, I, of course, mean completely shrouded in a veil of nanny state neediness and victim-hood.
As I said in my article about the 90th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, the woe-is-us “wage gap” myth has been shattered, despite the Left’s attempt to cover up pesky things like facts and figures and such. Math is hard:
They’ve gone so far as to scrub reports from the Labor Department itself that shatter this myth:
CONSAD found that controlling for career interruption and other factors reduced the pay gap from about 20 percent to about 5 percent. Data limitations prevented it from considering many other factors. For example, the data did not permit an examination of total compensation, which would examine health insurance and other benefits, and instead focused solely on wages paid. The data were also limited with respect to work experience, job tenure, and other factors.
The Labor Department’s conclusion was that the gender pay gap was the result of a multitude of factors and that the “raw wage gap should not be used as the basis for [legislative] correction. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”
What? Individual choice? That’s unheard of. Well, unless the choice is killing an unborn child, natch. Time Magazine is now even admitting the gender wage gap against women is unfounded. And, in fact, that some women are presently out-earning men. According to Time, we should think this is super awesome. They even titled the article “At Last, Women On Top“.  (I think that’s supposed to be titillating and edgy):
According to a new analysis of 2,000 communities by a market research company, in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of the guys in their peer group….
Here’s the slightly deflating caveat: this reverse gender gap, as it’s known, applies only to unmarried, childless women under 30 who live in cities. The rest of working women — even those of the same age, but who are married or don’t live in a major metropolitan area — are still on the less scenic side of the wage divide.
Time, while excited about “women being on top”, still whines that it’s not every demographic of women across the board. But,  if it was, why would that be a reason to rejoice? Not content with just reporting something factually, Time Magazine had to editorialize and, in true Lefty fashion, showed their absolute idiocy. National Review sums it up:
As this new research shows, it’s women’s (and men’s) attributes and career choices that determine earnings. Yet there’s something troubling aboutTime‘s tone, which suggests that we should all be celebrating the idea of women dominating the workplace. To the extent that this trend is driven by men losing jobs and remaining out of work, and young men failing to attain the skills needed to meaningfully contribute to the economy, this is not good news at all.
Of course, we all want women to have the opportunity to compete and succeed in whatever profession they choose. But we want the same to be true for men. Furthermore, given that some women still wish to stay home or reduce their workload in order to spend time raising children, women’s higher earnings may actually be a symptom of hardship: More women are having to work more since the men in their lives can’t provide for the family alone or because they are providing for themselves.
Why would anyone rejoice at the prospect of a reverse wage gap? Why celebrate the sure to continue trend – based on education trends and business trends – of  men earning less? Contrary to the opinion of those who believe that men are the root of all evil and the only thing holding us back from Utopia, it is not a good thing if men are finding it harder to provide for their families. I know. That’s probably my self-loathing and gender traitor-iness talking.
Or maybe it’s reality and common sense talking. No good can come when there are large groups of men who are only under-employable, if employable at all. Nor from mothers who may be forced to work instead of staying home with their children, if they choose to do so.
I’m quite certain that Rosie the Riveter wasn’t meant to permanently replaceRoger the Riveter. Well, until the government intervened to “help,” of course.
—–

Friday, September 3, 2010

Response to Stephen Hawking's There-is-no-God claim

Daily View: 

Stephen Hawking's Universe theory

Clare Spencer | 10:01 UK time, Friday, 3 September 2010

Commentators discuss physicist Stephen Hawking's argument in his new book that science can explain the Universe's origin without invoking God, instead arguing that the existence of gravity means the Universe can create itself from nothing.

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks says in the Times [subscription required] that Stephen Hawking's idea is both unoriginal and that he doesn't understand that religion and science answer different questions:
"What would we do for entertainment without scientists telling us, with breathless excitement, that 'God did not create the Universe', as if they were the first to discover this astonishing proposition? Stephen Hawking is the latest, but certainly not the first. When Napoleon asked Laplace, two hundred years ago, where was God in his scientific system, the mathematician replied, Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypoth├Ęse. 'I do not need God to explain the Universe.' We never did. That is what scientists do not understand.

"There is a difference between science and religion. Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation. Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean. They are different intellectual enterprises."
"Media furore over Stephen Hawking's new book, The Grand Design, has made it the biggest science news story of the day. But it's not like Hawking has suddenly given up a religious belief - let alone proved that God doesn't exist...

"As Hawking's long-suffering assistant dealt with a deluge of enquiries from journalists from around the world, she told me how the furore says more about the silly season than any change of mind. It also says much about how God is used to sell science to the public."
The Guardian imagines the relationship between Stephen Hawking and God:
"One accepts that if God were to choose one day to explain the universe to Hawking, the professor would be one of the few people on the planet with any serious chance of understanding the conversation. But spontaneous creation is, for most folk, just a contradiction in terms. God may or may not find all this amusing. The thing is - how to put this gently to Professor Hawking? - that God does not necessarily follow the ins and outs of our many arguments about His existence."
In the Catholic Herald Quentin de la Bedoyere argues that there is still a gap in Stephen Hawking's explanation of the creation of the Universe:

"Most particularly it would not touch the question of how something existing comes out from nothing. That is a question which science cannot answer, and will never answer, because nothingness is not within its domain. Hawking apparently does not address this question - which is the true and ultimate Theory of Everything."
In the Daily Mail John Lennox describes himself as a scientist and a Christian who teaches maths at Oxford University. He argues that Stephen Hawking is wrong to think they can't live alongside each other:
"Much of the rationale behind Hawking's argument lies in the idea that there is a deep-seated conflict between science and religion. But this is not a discord I recognise. "For me, as a Christian believer, the beauty of the scientific laws only reinforces my faith in an intelligent, divine creative force at work. The more I understand science, the more I believe in God because of my wonder at the breadth, sophistication and integrity of his creation.

"The very reason science flourished so vigorously in the 16th and 17th centuries was precisely because of the belief that the laws of nature which were then being discovered and defined reflected the influence of a divine law-giver."
In the Telegraph Graham Farmello is sceptical about the reasons behind scientists getting involved in the question of God:
"The science-religion relationship, in so far as there is one, continues to be a crowd-pleaser. It seems to be a fundamental law of PR that the God-science debate is a sure-fire source of publicity. Always welcome when one has a book to sell."
Links in full