Monday, June 24, 2013

New World Trade Center

This is What the Average New Yorker Experiences

Everybody sees the television shows and movies set in New York City, with their artful framing of "The Big Apple." Lots of people have visited and seen "the sights." My tiny goal is simply to give you an idea of what a real New Yorker sees of the City. Herewith, an average scene from an average apartment on an average night, with a quick view of the World Trade Center to cap things off. To orient you, Long Island is toward the left and New Jersey toward the right.

Charming scenes of NYC

Yes, This is Typical

As part of my continuing attempt to give greater insight into the "real" side of New York City, here is a brief clip of what you will see on an average day in an average park. I left the video sideways because I just think that gives a better feel for what the whole experience is like.

Denizens of Times Square

This is Times Square

Times Square is one of those places that most people want to get to at one time or another in their lives. Anyone who visits New York as a tourist is going to wind up there at some point. I thought I would save some of you the trip and show you what it is really like. Anyone who lives in NYC will vouch for the accuracy of this quick clip.

See, those seven seconds just just saved you a trip!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Kid Meets His Hero and....

Hero Worship Ain't All It's Cracked Up To Be

So Robert Downey, Jr. is in some little Massachusetts town filming his next film. A couple of locals decide it would be a terrific idea to bring their little kid over to meet the star of "Iron Man." Turns out the kid is a huge fan of Downey's character, Tony Stark.

So, Downey is completely happy to help out and take some pictures with the child, Jaxson Denno. That was his first mistake. Naturally, everything goes wrong.

Robert Downey, Jr. introduces himself to Master Jaxson Denno, 18 months old

Little Jaxson is in his own little world, minding his business, and this, you know, guy gets in his face.

W.C. Fields had a great quote about this kind of situation:
Children should neither be seen or heard from - ever again.
W. C. Fields 
Anyway, Jaxson wasn't quite up to meeting some dude in a polo shirt acting like Jaxson should be happy to meet him. Jaxson took one look at the over-exuberant Downey, and, as the song goes, that's when the tears start, fella.

Robert Downey Jr. with the best expression of his career - and he's not acting!

Well, at least Downey was a good sport about everything, even if no good deed does go unpunished.

Brief Up-Close Look at the Black Forest, Colorado Fire

The Black Forest Fire Continues to Burn

A short video taken at the edge of the Black Forest, Colorado wildfire on June 13, 2013. It is classified as the most destructive wildfire in the history of Colorado, with two persons killed and a record number of homes destroyed.

Monday, June 10, 2013


For Shame! Shame! Shame, I Tell You, Shame!! No, Really, Shame on You!

You know how it has become, well, almost chic to put some poor, defenseless juvenile delinquent who ate somebody else's cookies or something out on a street corner with a sign reciting his or her "great crime" while the parent stands nearby, smugly smiling and nodding his/her head sagely as cars drive by and honk their horns in support of the kid's humiliation?  Well, what if we did that with our pets.....

And, for the bonus round:

Feel Like Giving Up? Remember This....

Prove Them Wrong!

prove them wrong
Always good to keep things in perspective

Success isn't the best revenge - it's taking your detractors' insults and slurs and slinging them back in their faces!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

More Natural Painkillers

Natural is Better Whenever it Works

There are plenty of ways to take care of pain without going to your local drugstore. Try some natural remedies first, you might be surprised at their effectiveness.

I previously posted some other natural painkillers here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cure for Cancer?

A Cure for Cancer, Some Would Believe

Lei gong teng Thunder God Vine
Lei gong teng, Thunder God Vine

We are going to file this under "Wouldn't it be nice" for now. A study is getting a lot of publicity for supposedly finding a plant that will cure cancer. The plant is lei gong teng, which also is known as Thunder God Vine. If you've never heard of it, you're not alone, but it is a well-known plant in China.

This is a "wonder plant." It is thought to cure or have healing properties for rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, chronic hepatitis, chronic nephritis, ankylosing spondylitis, polycystic kidney disease as well as several skin disorders. Not only that, it may provide the long-sought "male contraceptive" to complement The Pill. It has been used as a herbal remedy in China for hundreds of years.

The University of Minnesota has a cancer lab, the Masonic Cancer Center, that did a study of the plant using mice. Extracts from the plant removed tumors from the mice after 40 days, and the tumors remained gone after discontinuation of the treatment. Two compounds, the diterpenoid epoxide triptolide and the quinone triterpene celastrol found in the plant, may have potential as antitumor drugs. Thunder God Vine has numerous other active compounds.

Now, you just know there has to be some problems with this, and sure enough, there are. It's a potent little sucker, perhaps a bit too potent. The plants extracts have all sorts of nasty side effects, including immunosuppression, hair loss, skin rashes, and so on and so forth. The United Kingdom takes a dim view of the drugs produced from the plant, with its Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency publishing a drug safety bulletin in 2011 warning patients not to take drugs from the plant because of those side effects. Even the China State Food and Drug Administration warned people about the plant's toxic properties. The NIH has this to say about the perennial vine, which is native in China, Japan and Korea.

But all hope is not lost. It is believed that careful extraction of the plant's active ingredients could reduce or even eliminate some of portion of the side effects.

Since it will need to be processed, we all know what that means: some big pharmaceutical company will take it over, patent it, and charge oodles of money for each dose. But it's a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Tuna... Good.  Cans... Bad.

I was in a tuna mood, so I decided to do an homage to tuna ... and the cats that love it. You probably love tuna. I like tuna. There's nothing wrong with tuna. Tuna is great. We're just going to look at cats who love tuna, too. And they're entitled to love tuna. Just like you and me. Because the world loves those who love tuna, and we all love cats.

Now, where's that tuna.....

Tuna, tuna, where's the tuna...

See, tuna can be good, not bad. Good tuna!

Tuna is good. No, really, it is good. Very good. For cats, too.

Some of us pray for worse things than that

What do you think ancient humans did when they wanted something like tuna?

But me wantz tuna

Tuna, tuna, where's the tuna.

It's finger-lickin' ... scratch that

Now, some cats like tuna so much that they figure out all sorts of clever ways to get it.

Are we there yet???

Cats will go to extraordinary lengths to get their tuna fix!

And now I'm in love!

Cats are very open about their love for tuna.

Ewww, bad tuna, bad bad tuna

But be careful, sometimes it is bad tuna. Don't give a cat bad tuna!

This is our educational moment

Lots of different kinds of tuna. Lots and lots!

You want some of my WHAT??

Now, do cats get possessive about their tuna? What do you think?

The best thing about "Sons of the Musketeers" wasn't the lovely Maureen O'Hara -  it was Alan Hale, Jr. (the Captain in "Gilligan's Island") as the son of Porthos.

Okay, since we're on the subject of Alan Hale, Jr. somehow...

The Captain

All right, back to Tuna.

Every cat's dream, a school of tuna.

What? All that TUNA?

"We're out of TUNA???"

But, oh no, no tuna in the cupboard?

"Born free, as free as the wind blows...."

Better go find some tuna, Charlie!

Charlie the Tuna says "Thanks for stopping by!"

Thanks for visiting.


15 Surprising Uses of Bananas

And there probably are a lot more!

Turns out that bananas have a lot more going on than just the fact that they taste good. Did you know that Europe loves bananas? But the United States is the top individual country that imports bananas.

Rank  Countries  Amount  
# 1    United States:$1,389.00 million 
# 2    Germany:$689.00 million 
# 3    Japan:$548.00 million 
# 4    United Kingdom:$534.00 million 
# 5    Italy:$346.00 million 
# 6    France:$201.00 million 
# 7    Sweden:$152.00 million 
# 8    Russia:$151.00 million 
# 9    Canada:$149.00 million 
Total:$4,159.00 million  
Weighted average:$462.11 million  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Best Tackle Celebration in History

Yes, This is it, and You Will Likely Agree

Football has been around as a professional sport for almost a hundred years. In every game, there are dozens of tackles. Every year, there are thousands of games.

And yet, after all that time, there still is room for something new and original. This is my candidate for best celebration of a tackle in the history of the sport.

Yes, in the entire history of football. If it matters, this was in a game between Seattle and the LA Temptation, season 4, 2013. No, I've never heard of them either.

Kindly do not watch this if you are easily offended.

You go, girl!

Film of San Francisco, 1906

A Ride Down Market Street

Okay, without further ado, I will start off with the video and discuss them below. Lots of interesting facts are known about this video in case you are curious who took it, when, and why.

First up: a colorized version.

Next, we will view it in the original black and white.

Another version just in case the one above gets deleted.

Actual film taken only days before the destruction of San Franciso.

I don't have a lot to add to what the video description says, which I reproduce in its entirety below. This is a terrific ride into the past that any history buff should enjoy. Many of the people shown in this short clip no doubt died four days later in the great San Francisco 1906 earthquake.
Unlike the film of New York City in 1939 that I have put up elsewhere, which seem eerily familiar to the modern eye, these scenes unequivocably show an alien and vastly different society than the present. One could say that there were far greater changes during the thirty years from 1906 to 1939 than the changes from 1939 to the present, in much more than double the amount of time, at least judging from a comparison of the two films.
San Francisco Earthquake
Grant Avenue.
While the men are dressed much more formally than is common today, they wouldn't look too out of place today at a formal occasion or in certain professions. The women, though, are much more elaborately dressed and have a distinctive 19th Century air about them. One thing, though, hasn't changed at all, and that is the tendency of people to mug and show off for the cameras.
San Francisco earthquake 1906
It's amazing how the Ferry Building survived so handily. That goes to show you the importance of building codes.
Produced as part of the popular Hale's Tours of the World film series, the film begins at the location of the Miles Brothers film studio, 1139 Market Street, between 8th and 9th Streets; it was filmed 14 April 1906, four days before the devastating earthquake and fire of 18 April 1906, which virtually destroyed the entire downtown area. The negative was taken by train to the Miles New York office on 17 April 1906, narrowly saving it from destruction by one day and thus preserving a moment in the history of San Francisco that would soon cease to exist.
San Francisco earthquake 1906
Utter devastation in San Francisco.
Public domain film from the Prelinger Archive (Library of Congress), slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.

This film was silent. I have added piano music composed and performed by Taylor Hayward. Mr. Hayward says: " to download and play, free to rebroadcast in any form for any purpose, free to play in public, free to publish for profit, and free to sample... There is no copyright on this music."

"This film, shot from the front window of a moving Market Street cable car, is a rare record of San Francisco's principal thoroughfare and downtown area before their destruction in the 1906 earthquake and fire. The filmed ride covers 1.55 miles at an average speed of nearly 10 miles per hour...
San Francisco 1906
Repairing this must have been intense.
Market Street, graded through sand dunes in the 1850s, is 120 feet wide, and nearly 3.5 miles long. The street runs northeast from the foot of Twin Peaks to the Ferry Building. Different street grids, diagonal on the northwest side and parallel on the southeast side, create several awkward diagonal intersections along Market Street, contributing to the chaotic traffic situation that is evident in the film.
San Francisco earthquake 1906
The people are dressed the same, but everything else is different.
San Francisco's cable cars, which first began operations in 1873, have no power of their own and operate by "gripping" a moving cable beneath a slot in the street. This is the origin of the name "south of the slot" for the South-of-Market Street district.
San Francisco Call newspaper building 1906 earthquake
San Francisco Call newspaper building in flames.
The Market Street lines, dating from 1883, merged in 1902 to form the United Railroads of San Francisco. Dark cars served westerly neighborhood lines extending along McAllister, Hayes and Haight streets, light cars served southwesterly neighborhoods, with the lines extending along Valencia and Castro streets.

San Francisco earthquake 1906
This photo is particularly poignant, taken from the route of the film on Market Street.
The Market Street section of the lines ended at the Ferry Building, where passengers boarded ferries for Oakland, Alameda, or Berkeley, across San Francisco Bay. East of Sutter Street, horsecars ran along Market Street. Independently owned, they ran on sidetracks to the Ferry Building. A few electric streetcars, dating from 1892, are seen in the film crossing Market Street. Market Street itself reverted to electric streetcars in 1906, following the earthquake and fire. In all, the film shows some thirty cable cars, four horse cars, and four streetcars.
San Francisco earthquake 1906
Nothing but smoking ruins.
An interesting feature of the film is the apparent abundance of automobiles. However, careful tracking of automobile traffic shows that almost all of the autos seen circle around the camera/cable car many times (one ten times). This traffic was apparently staged by the producer to give Market Street the appearance of a prosperous modern boulevard with many automobiles..."
Russian Hill Telegraph San Francisco earthquake 1906
Russian and Telegraph Hills.
It must have been quite a show - from a safe distance.
San Francisco fire 1906
A crowd gathers to watch from a nearby hill. What else could you do? If you go down there, you might just become another victim and add to the burden of rescue efforts.
It could happen again. Mother Nature is always in operation.