Friday, October 31, 2008

Crescent Mercury

I previously posted some photos of the Planet Mercury taken by MESSENGER. Here’s another cool photo from NASA’s website showing a crescent view of the planet. Click on the photo for an enlargement.

Halloween redux

This is our second Halloween in our new house. Last year we moved in at the beginning of the month and Lisa was able to do some decorating. The holiday itself fell on a Wednesday and the weather did not cooperate. This year's holiday fell on a Friday and the weather here in Elgin could not have been better. It got into the low 70s during the afternoon and into the 60s in the evening. Heck, it's in the 50s now (around 10:30 p.m.).

Unfortunately, we had only one group of kids come to our door.

Part of the reason is that we live on a boulevard and the homes along the boulevard are not close to the main part of the subdivision. The other reason -- and I think it's the main reason -- is that there are not many new homes built near us. We are kind of isolated from everyone. We have a next-door neighbor, but they just closed on their house today and won't move in until the weekend. There are three vacant lots on the other side of our house and there is NO sign that those lots will be developed any time soon.

Guess we had better get used to having little activity at Halloween. It's a shame too as Lisa loves to decorate!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

World Golf Tour

Found a new online golf game. I scored pretty bad for the first time, but that's nothing new. I do bad on the real course too!

“Dear Mr. Obama”

I just saw this video and wasn’t aware until now that it’s the most-watched election-related video on YouTube. It was made by an Iraq war veteran and it’s directed to Sen. Obama and his comments that the Iraq war was “a mistake.” It’s a pretty powerful message, especially as he walks away from the camera.

‘24’ Season 7

The ”official” preview clip of the 7th season of ‘24’ has been released. The producers have taken a new direction and I like what I see.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why does Obama get more positive press coverage?

This is a title of a blog on Apparently research by The Pew Research Center has shown that Obama does indeed receive more favorable coverage than McCain: 36% for Obama vs. 14% for McCain. The simple explanation--according to Pew--is that there is more positive news surrounding Obama's campaign.

I'll leave it to the experts to discuss the press coverage. Regardless who wins this election, the post-mortem will go on forever. I'm sure there will be a number of books written about this campaign.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Governor Palin visits SNL

Governor Sarah Palin appeared on SNL last night and was involved in two sketches -- the opening skit (shown below) and on Weekend Update. I thought the opening skit was clever!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Plumber

I was watching last night's debate on Hulu when the whole "Joe the Plumber" discussion began. For the heck of it, I typed in "" and got this. I bet his web stats rose overnight!!

Can an SNL skit featuring him be far behind?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Comedy Central


Another funny video at the expense of Cubs fans!

Thursday Night Live

Another funny parody of the Obama - McCain debate. Bill Murray appears and asks a question about the Chicago Cubs. I'm sure my wife won't like the answer!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

SNL "bailout" video

Was this video "banned?" The video was originally available on Hulu and NBC's website but then was pulled without explanation. Supposedly, some post-production changes were made to it to make it worthy to be shown.

Update: Here is an article from the Los Angeles Times (via the Chicago Tribune website).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mercury…as seen by MESSENGER

MESSENGER—which flew close to Mercury on October 6th—has sent back some amazing photos from the innermost planet. MESSENGER was launched in August 2004 and will make a total of three passes by Mercury before settling into orbit in 2011. The photo above (click on the photo for an enlargement) was taken about 17,000 miles away. Nine minutes earlier, it took this photo when it was about 1,100 miles above the surface. It looks like a photo of the Moon’s surface!

More information about MESSENGER and its mission is here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My earliest presidential election memory

I’ve always found that the most interesting presidential elections are the ones in which there is no incumbent running.

My earliest election memory goes back to 1960, when John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon squared off. I was eight years old at the time and I remember my father was active locally in the Nixon campaign. I believe he served as a precinct captain or in some similar capacity. I remember having Nixon buttons and bumper stickers all over the house! [I wish I had some of them now!]

The 1960 election was certainly one of the closest elections with Kennedy pulling a narrow victory late in the evening. I stayed up late listening to the election returns on the radio (Fox News was not around!) and I had to go to bed before anything was official. I remember my father waking me up the next morning for school and I asked him who won. I recall how miserable he sounded when he told me that Nixon had lost! Of course, I felt bad if—for no other reason—because my parents supported the losing candidate.

Since then, the 1968, 1988, and 2000 elections have not included an incumbent. [The 1980 election felt like the incumbent wasn’t running, but only because President Carter chose to not actively campaign against Reagan.] We know how close the 2000 election was and it’s hard to know exactly how the 2008 election will turn out.

My dad also worked on the 1962 congressional campaign for Donald Rumsfeld. He actually lived in my neighborhood in Northbrook, Illinois for a little while and I believe my dad got to know him from the neighborhood. Rumsfeld won that race and served in Congress until 1969. A couple of years ago, I was driving my mother through the neighborhood and she showed me where Rumsfeld used to live. This was right about the time he stepped down under heavy criticism as defense secretary. I wonder if the current owners know of the house’s history.

In a few more weeks it will all be over and we’ll see a new chief executive in the White House.

Biden - Palin Debate (as viewed by SNL)

Friday, October 3, 2008

One year later……

Hard to believe that, on October 9th, it will be a year since my beloved Mozart was taken from me. We were in our new house less than two weeks when a coyote snuck into our backyard in the evening and snatched him. I had just put him out on a leash to do his business and stepped inside for a few minutes. I came back out to bring him in for the night and all that was left was his leash and collar. Apparently the coyote was nearby and saw Mozart on the leash and took him from me. I found what was left of him the next afternoon in an empty lot about a half-mile from my house.

What a horrible way to go.

I keep telling myself that he was “only” an animal and animals die everyday…many for the benefit of mankind. But he was also a companion to me and I do keep the memories of him sitting in my lap while I was reading or sitting at the computer. I always felt like I was the Pied Piper. He would follow me all over the house seeing what I was doing and trying to hit me up for a dog treat. He liked to play with our other dogs and he made a funny “chirping” noise when he was chasing Sam, our other Papillon.

There’s been a number of changes in the year. First, we’re more settled in the house (although we have a ways to go to make it feel like a “home”). My mother moved in with us in February…and broke her hip a couple of weeks later! Michael, my stepson, will soon be coming back from Iraq -- much to the relief of his mother! My older stepdaughter, Jessica, got married and now her husband is also in Iraq. My younger stepdaughter, Christine, moved to Louisiana to be with her sister and took Bailey, our oldest dog. Lisa got a puppy named Wrigley. Kevin is growing much too fast for me.

And I still miss Mozart!