Utterly Meaningless » 2009 » January

    Filed on January 31, 2009 at 6:37 am under by dcobranchi

    The home-pricing website thinks values in my zip code (28306, in case anyone is interested) have gone up in value some 30% since last September. Apparently the recession hasn’t hit here.


    Filed on January 30, 2009 at 5:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    They really are pretty stupid, aren’t they?*

    *And, no, I don’t mean Congress. 🙂


    Filed on January 28, 2009 at 7:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    Picked this trick up from Consumer Reports. If you connect a HiDef TV directly to your cable (without going through a converter box or VCR) and then autoscan for channels, your TV will find all of the analog signals as well as a bunch of digital.


    Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s hard to believe that a band in which the men dress up in skirts takes itself so seriously that a nod and a wave have become an internet storm.

    (CNN) — An Ohio man who was suspended as the drum major of a band for giving President Obama a nod during last week’s inaugural parade is calling it quits.
    John Coleman quit his band after it suspended him for nodding to President Obama last week.

    John Coleman resigned from the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes & Drums a week after the parade in Washington. Publicity about his suspension had gotten to be too much, he told CNN affiliate WEWS.

    Representatives from the group did not return calls from CNN. But bandleader Mike Engle told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Coleman was suspended because he ignored military protocol.

    “We had gone over and over time and again with everyone in the band that this was a military parade,” Engle told the newspaper. “Protocol and proper decorum had to be followed at all times. Unfortunately, John chose to ignore that.”

    Coleman had been suspended from the band for six months.

    Military parade. Right.

    NEW AD —>

    Filed on January 27, 2009 at 11:52 am under by dcobranchi

    From my friends in the Great White North.


    Filed on January 26, 2009 at 4:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    Are dumb terminals really going to make a comeback?


    Filed on January 25, 2009 at 7:54 am under by dcobranchi

    This look back at 25 years of Mac history is a little bit too hagiographic , IMO. I was using early Macs back around ’85 – ’86, as ChemDraw was the best way to get chemical structures into papers. But the thought, then, was that it was still a toy. Intel-based machines (first the 8086/8087 and then the 80286/80287), were much more powerful for number crunching.


    Filed on January 24, 2009 at 5:27 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t think that word means what she thinks it means.


    Filed on at 5:20 am under by dcobranchi

    How many kids will we allow to be sacrificed on the altar of pseudo-science?

    (CNN) — A childhood illness that has mostly been curbed through vaccinations has killed one child and sickened four others in Minnesota, health officials said Friday.

    The five children were infected with a bacterial infection known as Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b.

    Three of the affected children had not received any vaccinations, including the 7-month-old who died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


    One in 20 children infected with Hib dies, according to the CDC. And survivors of the disease can become deaf; 10 to 30 percent have permanent brain damage.


    Before vaccines became widely used, about 20,000 Hib cases were reported each year in the country. After children began receiving the vaccinations in the early 1990s, CDC officials said, there was a 99 percent drop in cases.


    Filed on January 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s been a good 24 hours for women:

    President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that repealed the Global Gag Rule.

    This executive order will have a monumental impact by saving the life, health, and suffering of literally millions of women worldwide yearly. In part because of restricted access to reproductive health services caused by the Global Gag Rule, more than 70,000 women annually die from unsafe abortions worldwide and the incidence of HIV/AIDS is skyrocketing.

    The Global Gag Rule prohibited family planning programs in other nations that receive US aid from using non-US monies for abortion counseling, advocacy, and referrals. The rule was instituted by President Reagan in 1984, was repealed by President Clinton, and was reinstituted by President George W. Bush.

    The Global Gag Rule inhibited women worldwide from access to gynecological exams, AIDS prevention and treatment, and contraceptive options. It also halted shipment of condoms and contraceptives to more than 20 countries.

    The Feminist Majority has been working with the Obama/Biden transition team on women’s policy changes and is overjoyed with this victory for our sisters worldwide.

    For Women’s Lives,

    Eleanor Smeal

    And this:

    Tonight the Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by a bipartisan vote of 61 to 36, vindicating Lilly Ledbetter’s long search for redress after 19 years of pay discrimination.

    “This is an important first step in our efforts to undo years of backsliding on the right to be paid a fair and equitable wage,” said National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy. “The Ledbetter bill will allow redress for workers with the energy and willpower to seek redress in the courts, but we have a long way to go before we have fair pay for women, and laws with real teeth.”

    While it is too late for her to receive the compensation she deserved from Goodyear and was denied by the Supreme Court, Lilly’s determined quest for equal rights for women in the workplace led to today’s Senate passage of the legislation introduced in her name. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation next week after an expected concurrence from the House.

    The Ledbetter Act, which was blocked in the Republican-led Senate last year, will essentially reverse the 2007 Supreme Court decision that required workers to file charges on a pay discrimination claim within six months after receiving their first discriminatory paycheck. The Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, which reversed the jury’s compensation award to Ledbetter, essentially gave employers the go-ahead to discriminate in pay, as long as they weren’t caught in the first six months after the onset of their illegal actions.

    Earlier this month the House passed the Ledbetter Act with a companion bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes that allow employers to pay men and women discriminatorily and provides consequences for that discrimination. The Senate today acted only on the Ledbetter Act, so work on passage of the companion bill begins tomorrow.

    But tonight NOW salutes Lilly Ledbetter and promises to continue working for passage of fair pay legislation with real teeth, so that her long journey through the courts and the halls of Congress will not have been in vain, and all workers will be able enjoy a fair, safe and equitable workplace where they can do their jobs and support their families.

    That bipartisan vote was just barely. Every Democrat (save the ailing Ted Kennedy) voted in favor. All of the GOP men voted against. All 5 of the Republican women voted “aye.” Hmmm.


    Filed on at 6:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    The commenters on this pro-vaccine HuffPo piece really don’t sound like they want to live in the reality-based community.


    Filed on at 5:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Or a reporter?

    I heard on the radio news last night that some state’s pick 3 lottery had yielded the same winner winning number two nights in a row. According to “some statisticians,” the odds of this happening are one in a million. If s/he really said that, the authorities ought to pull her/his stats license.

    I’m sure, though, that there are some missing data.

    Here’s my imagined Q & A of the unknown statistician:

    Reporter: What are the odds that 6-4-2 would be drawn two nights in a row?
    Statistician: 1,000,000 to 1. But is that really the question you want to ask? Or did you really mean what are the odds of drawing the same number twice in a row? That’s a different question with different odds. That one’s only 1,000 to 1.
    Reporter: Errrrr. 1,000,000 to 1. Got it.


    Filed on January 22, 2009 at 6:54 pm under by dcobranchi


    HSLDA got a local one right. But she could have asked anyone on NCLOOP and saved herself $100. This one was a no-brainer.


    Filed on at 6:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    Check it out. Driver’s licenses online.


    Filed on at 6:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    Not the kids. The cops.

    Disruptive snowball fights on the ECU campus Tuesday resulted in some injuries, one arrest and an officer using pepper spray.

    At least they didn’t tase them.

    HA! HA!

    Filed on January 20, 2009 at 9:45 am under by dcobranchi

    A CNN reporter just said that “The long national nightmare is over.”


    Filed on at 9:33 am under by dcobranchi

    1/20/09 12:01 p.m.

    Can’t wait!!!


    Filed on January 19, 2009 at 5:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t often post articles about home education in the UK, but the Education Otherwise folks ought to be keeping their eyes open for this:

    Parents who home school their children could face more monitoring from their local council under proposals out.

    Ministers have launched a review of the home education system, which allows children to be taught outside of school.

    The review will investigate current systems for supporting and monitoring home education, as well as looking at how concerns about the safety, welfare and education of a child are dealt with.


    Filed on January 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    A real laptop (not a netbook) for $380 AR.


    Filed on at 9:20 am under by dcobranchi

    This is a must read.


    Filed on at 8:43 am under by dcobranchi

    The devil is always in the details:

    There are bills advocating a sales tax exemption for clothes, sports equipment and protective gear, a $100-per-child state income tax credit, and a tax deduction of up to $2,000 for the cost of textbooks and instructional supplies used for home schooling.


    Filed on January 17, 2009 at 7:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    AFAIK, the only relationship to home education is the hed.


    Filed on at 7:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    But that will never stop the media from reporting it as such:

    MARTINEZ, Calif. — An Antioch couple known as friendly churchgoers who home-schooled their children are accused of repeatedly sexually abusing three children over an eight-year period.

    Zion and Glenda Dutro were arraigned Friday in Contra Costa Superior Court on numerous sex crimes, including lewd acts against children under 14.


    Filed on at 10:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Can he really believe this?

    “Around the world we assembled a coalition of more than 90 nations to fight terrorism and advance the cause of freedom, in the great ideological struggle of our time,” Bush said at a farewell address at the State Department Thursday. “In short, we made our alliances stronger, we made our nation safer, and we have made our world freer.”

    What color is the sky in Bush’s world?


    Filed on January 16, 2009 at 7:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    Former HEK Andrew Wyeth of Chadd’s Ford, PA (just up the road from Wilmington, DE) died today. Wyeth was probably my favorite painter. DuPont has more than a bit of his work hanging in the Brandywine Room restaurant at the Hotel DuPont. It was always pretty amazing to me that these original paintings by a very famous artist were hanging on the wall over my table.

    NEW AD —>

    Filed on at 8:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out the sample pages by clicking through. I’m not sure those are what I would have chosen.

    BTW, sorry for the lack of posts lately. We’re in the throes of a new semester. Our oldest is taking a night class at the CC and it’s keeping Lydia and me on the go. He passed his driving test this week, so that should help settle things down soon.


    Filed on January 12, 2009 at 9:11 pm under by dcobranchi


    “On behalf of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, we are so very thankful for the vote of confidence that this Jubilee Award represents. Even more than that, we are humbled to be part of what God is doing to propagate the truth of Creation, especially to homeschool families.”


    Filed on at 8:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Computerized medical records might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I absolutely don’t trust the gov’t, the insurance companies, and sales & marketing types not to abuse the database. If I have to, I’ll cajole and/or bribe my physician to keep me out.


    Filed on at 7:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    My F-I-L gets his 15 minutes. No blood, no foul.

    Lydia and I slept in the ground floor room to the right of the garage just 2 weeks ago.


    Filed on January 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    Really cool pic today.


    Filed on at 1:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    Dumb advice AND a dumb text error:

    An environment in the home should be set up for conductive learning. Teaching your child to read in the middle of a family room may not be the best setting and could be disruptive to learning. Choosing a room to devote to educational means and for storing school-related material is important. Children learn that this room is for school and the rest of the family home is for socializing and play.

    How you set up your home-schooling room is important as well. The room should be one in a quiet area without disruptive noises or distractions. The area should be kept press release format and neat at all times, and children should be taught to put away their materials and books after working with them. This behavior taught in a public school system is good to practice in home-schooling environments as well.


    Filed on at 1:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    Michael Smith is afeared of the UN. Again.


    Filed on January 9, 2009 at 7:56 pm under by dcobranchi


    In order to create a wine bottle garden fountain you must first decide on where you want to dig the hole that will accommodate a minimum of 18 bottles, a spray fountainhead, water pump, a sump, rocks, bricks and some pavers. All of your materials are going to be submerged.

    The wine bottles will be turned upside down so that the bottoms are at the top. You want to find traditional wine bottles in a variety of colors, as their high school home school are concave. The dipped bottoms catch the water as it sprays from the fountainhead and create magical, tiny, colorful pools. The reflection from the tiny pools that this creates in the sunlight is spectacular and inspiring.


    Filed on at 6:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    Never thought I’d say this, but HSLDA deserves kudos here:

    “We’re seeing an increase in the number of families that might cite moral and religious instruction as one factor but not the overriding one,” says Ian Slatter, spokesman for the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, a Christian-led advocacy group. The association estimates that evangelicals account for just over half of home-schooling households today, down from about two thirds in 2000.

    In one sign of that growing diversification, membership in the Homeschool Legal Defense Association has grown by 42 percent in the last decade, to about 85,000, while the number of home-schooling families has grown at a much faster rate.


    Filed on January 8, 2009 at 6:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Buy porn.


    Filed on January 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    I find this one hard to believe:

    The greatest change from 2003 was an 11 point increase in the desire to provide religious and moral instruction which went from 72% in 2003 to 83% in 2007.

    Homeschoolers have become more religious over the last 4 years? That just doesn’t feel right.


    Filed on at 12:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one is burning up the front page of my local paper’s website.


    Filed on January 4, 2009 at 3:43 am under by dcobranchi

    Frank Rich gives GWB a goodbye (and good riddance) kiss.


    Filed on January 3, 2009 at 7:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one really is a press release. It even tells you right in the middle of the text:

    For example, many families turn to their wider family or friends for help and invite family or friends into their home to help. This is nothing new of course and, for many years, it was common for families submit free press release a friend or an older family member like an uncle, aunt or grandparent accommodation in exchange for helping with the care and education of the children.

    PAID AD?

    Filed on at 7:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    Press release or opinion column? You make the call.


    Filed on January 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Last time I checked, light still obeyed the laws of physics. Someone might want to inform whoever photoshopped this pic.


    Filed on at 3:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    Who else would order pepper seeds from the UK at almost $1 ea? But how could I resist 1M Scoville units?


    Filed on at 1:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve been using Google’s Picasa 3 since it first came out months ago. This week I installed it on my dad’s new laptop and noticed several new features. The biggest is you now have the ability to select the degree of sharpening. Also new is an automated red eye fix. So, if you’re running an early version of Picasa 3, it’s worth the few seconds to update.