Monday, June 30, 2008

What a great web site. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide.

The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Go try it now!

Here's one I did.

Here's another.

It's so much fun! You won't be sorry.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Last Day Of Work

Today was the last day of work for Bill Gates. He is leaving Microsoft to run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with his wife, Melinda, on a full time basis.

As a testament to the work he has done as a co-founder of Microsoft, I was able to watch the interview Tom Brokaw did with him on my laptop.

Let's hope he's just as successful in his endeavors to eradicate malaria, vaccinate children in third world countries and better educate the world.

After all, he's already made the world a better place for some of us and he's very likely to improve it for those less fortunate.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Early Morning or A Late Night

Every morning, just about this time, the birds outside come alive. The tweets and chirps are like a symphony that I just can't miss. The sky becomes brighter with the promise of a new day.

I find that I have been staying up for this, or like today, waking up for it.

Either way, it's a nice way to start the day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bigotry Is Alive On The Radio

So now we know for sure that Don Imus is a racist.

You would think that he would be careful about what he says, considering there are people listening and it didn't work out so well last time. But no, he spouts off again.

Just goes to show you what a hypocrite he is.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Trouble is gone.
The upside down word has left
But everything is still out of focus.

How long before trouble returns?
Will my greens be green again
Or still yellow and blue?

Trouble can build anything,
Taking a piece of wood and
Making a cabinet, a table, a shelf.

Trouble has a heart that
Doesn’t always work,
But trouble doesn’t know how
To ask for help to fix it.

Trouble is gone.

I wrote this poem about Dennis about 6 or 7 years ago while taking a writing class at Brown. Needless to say, Dennis never stays gone. But last February(07) I put my foot down and banished him forever. This morning I get a call; how are you doing? Blah, blah, blah. He knows where I live, knows Patrick lives next to me! I told him to beep as he drives by, don't bother stopping.

This evening I was getting out of the car to go into the market, and my phone rang - guess who calling back. I let it ring.

His message was that he bought scratch tickets (no surprise) but today he won a grand, I must bring him luck.

Trouble needs to stay gone.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Drive Safely

The year was 1994 - June 23rd to be exact.

That day was one of the best days for me, because I drove my brand new 1994 Volvo 850 out of the Auto Show showroom! Getting a Volvo was something that I had dreamed of for years and I doubted if I could ever afford a new one. But thanks to Mr. Cooper and my living arrangement at the time, I was able to afford my dream car.

How I loved the smell of the leather seats, the little wiper blades on the headlights and the heated seats.

And all these years later I still love my car. It's a little (ok, a lot) worse for wear, but it has served me quite well for these past 14 years. The leather is worn and split in places and it certainly doesn't have that "new" car smell anymore. As for the headlight wipers, well, there's just one left as the drivers side headlight is covered with clear tape after Veronica's little bump into the back of a Jeep last year. The heated seats still work just fine, though, and I hope they are the last to go.

So other than some maintenance of oil, anti-freeze and other liquids and an occasional visit to the repair shop for brakes and tires, it's still a very dependable car.

I just hope it lasts another 14 years!

Hippie Dippie Weatherman Dies

Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout most of the evening, with some widely-scattered light towards morning."

George Carlin has died.

While I didn't agree with all of his opinions, he sure was funny at times. I did, however, agree with his views on religion. Here's the link to you tube if you want to check out what he had to say:

Never mind the "Seven Dirty Words that you never hear on television" - when written in the 70's, was true - now we hear them all! And some of say them from time to time too!

Just last night I watched/listened to an hour long show of his from the 70's, which is why I remember the hippy dippy weather man. Strange how those things work.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Boss? Who Is He?

Okay, so I woke with a sore throat today, so no going to the beach for me. Next Wednesday will have to be my first beach day of the year. I slept for most of the day and when awake, I drank lots of orange juice which always seems to help me feel better quickly. We'll see.

Tonight I watched the memorial service that was held this afternoon for Tim Russert. I am so pleased that the Russert family and NBC decided to televise it, many of us in the Tim Russert fan club needed some sort of participation.

So while I'm watching the memorial service, Veronica came home. She took a shower and then joined me on the couch to watch. She sat down just as Tom Brokaw introduced The Boss. A screen came down and Bruce Springsteen spoke about Tim for a few minutes and then played Thunder Road, which was Tim's favorite song (Springsteen was his favorite rocker. As a law student in Cleveland in 1972, Tim booked a then unknown Springsteen to play at the university. Tim was instantly a fan, right up to the day he died.)

After a few minutes of Thunder Road I asked Veronica if she knew who that was. She didn't!! She didn't know who Tim Russert was either!

Many years ago I realized that, because of our eleven year age gap, that my twin brothers were going to be listening to a completely different type of music. So I decided to teach them all about music of the 70's. They got to listen to The Beatles, Chicago, Cat Stevens, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Who, etc.. I also taught them the names of the band members, so they always would know who was in what band. To this day, if you ask either of them who was in The Who, they would recite; Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, Roger Daltry and Keith Moon. I thought it was important that they have some history of music, but the best thing that came out of it is that they still listen and like that music!

Now I must teach Veronica about music history, US history as well as family history. Otherwise it will be all gone.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics Bring NBA Title Back To Boston

It wasn't Larry and Kevin, or DJ and Robert, or even Danny and Bill, but the Celtics did win the NBA title after 22 years! The score was an unbelieveable 131 - 92 over the Lakers!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marriage Equality For All

Amber Weiss, left, and her partner of five years Sharon Papo, from Berkeley, Calif., pose for a photo after receiving their marriage license on the first day of same sex marriages at City Hall in San Francisco on Tuesday, June 17, 2008.

It's about damn time!

Gays and lesbians have started to marry in California.

Today, Norway has passed a gay marriage law that takes effect January 1, 2009.

Massachusetts has allowed gay marriage since 2004.

Here's hoping that the rest of the United States and the world get with the program. Two people who love each other should be able to marry, period.

So Long Tim Russert

I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that Tim Russert is gone. I feel like we have all lost a friend and an advocate, and it's really going to be hard going forward.

The folks at NBC have, and so shall I. So long Tim Russert, you were a good man and you will be missed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert May 7,1950 - June 13, 2008

I am completely devastated.

Tim Russert of NBC News, moderator of Meet The Press, has died.

I feel like I have lost a treasured family member.Tim Russert, through his books and his show, shared much of his life with us. He was a great storyteller and he loved to tell stories about his family, including his father; Big Russ, as well as his son, Luke. Big Russ worked several jobs when Tim was a student. There was nothing that Big Russ wouldn't do for his son. And Tim was crazy about his father. You could see it in his face when he spoke of him and how proud he was of the sacrifices he made for Tim to go to college and then onto law school. In turn, Tim would do anything for his son, and was he crazy about Luke also.

Tim's intelligence, grace and humor have been unsurpassed in the news industry. He was so enjoying this year's presidential race and was really looking forward to the outcome. I always enjoyed when he would come on the TV screen, knowing that he would bring up points that others hadn't covered. You could tell that he absolutely enjoyed his job, the enthusiasm showing in his face while he was talking.

He treasured his family and wasn't shy about telling people that. He would choke up sometimes, telling us family stories about his dad or son.

One of my favorite stories of Tim's was when his son had read the book "Big Russ" about his grandfather. Tim and Big Russ share the same initials - TJR, as Tim was a junior. Sometime after Luke had read the book he returned home from college. Tim heard his wife Maureen yell to him "he has a TATTOO!" Tim went running to see what was going on, reminding Luke that he had promised that he wouldn't get a tattoo. Luke then responded that after he had read the book, he decided to get a tattoo to honor his dad and grandfather. So he pulled up his shirt and there were the initials TJR tattooed on his side. Luke then said he always wanted to have his dad and grandfather "on his side". Tim choked up at that point and said "What could I say?"

So as I am typing this, my heart has broken a little bit more. The world was a much better place with Tim Russert in it and he will be greatly missed, especially by me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kucinich Presents Bush Impeachment Articles

It's nice to know that at least one person in Congress has some balls to bring this to the floor of the House of Representatives.

Dennis Kucinich spent over 4 hours reading his articles of impeachment to a mostly empty building on Monday night.

"The House is not in order," said Kucinich to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), upon which Pelosi pounded her gavel.

"Resolved," Kucinich then began, "that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate. ...

"In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power..."

The first article (of 35) Kucinich presented, and many that followed, regarded the war in Iraq: "Article 1 - Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for war against Iraq."

To read the entire 35 articles, follow this link:

From what I can tell, none of the mainstream media covered this. I came across it on You Tube and then found an alternative news website with extensive coverage of this.

Of course nothing is going to happen, there will be no impeachment, but I am glad that Kucinich finds this to be important, unlike most of the Senate and House. The spineless Democrats in Congress have been complicit in the Idiot's criminal deeds. I'm thinking it's time we replace some of them in November as well as all the repulsive republicans.

President Idiot and his "misrepresentation" of the facts leads me to believe that he is responsible for the deaths of almost 4,100 soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens. Why is it that the "terror suspects" get their day in court, but countless innocent Iraqi citizens have been killed?

In my opinion, the Idiot, Cheney, Rove, Rice and Rumsfeld deserve to be in prison. What needs to be done is for the Obama Administration to re-institute the Special Prosecutor Law to investigate the Idiot and his cronies. If Clinton was impeached for lying, Bush et al should be imprisoned for life for the lies and crimes they have committed.

Dennis Kucinich is a true patriotic American.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Those Effing Republicans

It looks like the Republicans STILL only care about themselves and their pocketbooks! If we don't take ALL of them out of office in November, we only have ourselves to blame - sort of like the last 8 effing years where this country has done nothing but go backwards in every aspect of American life. acdc

WASHINGTON - Saved by Senate Republicans, big oil companies dodged an attempt Tuesday to slap them with a windfall profits tax and take away billions of dollars in tax breaks in response to the record gasoline prices that have the nation fuming.

GOP senators shoved aside the Democratic proposal, arguing that punishing Big Oil won't do a thing to lower the $4-a-gallon-price of gasoline that is sending economic waves across the country. High prices at the pump are threatening everything from summer vacations to Meals on Wheels deliveries to the elderly.

The Democratic energy package would have imposed a 25 percent tax on any "unreasonable" profits of the five largest U.S. oil companies, which together made $36 billion during the first three months of the year. It also would have given the government more power to address oil market speculation, opened the way for antitrust actions against countries belonging to the OPEC oil cartel, and made energy price gouging a federal crime.

"Americans are furious about what's going on," declared Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. He said they want Congress to do something about oil company profits and the "orgy of speculation" on oil markets.

At the Capitol, Democratic leaders needed 60 votes and they got only 51 senators' support, including seven Republicans who bucked their party leaders. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a state tied closely to the oil industry, was the only Democrat opposing the bill.

"We are hurting as a country. We're hurting individually as Americans ... and the other side says, `Do nothing. Don't even debate the issue,'" complained Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

"Average citizens are scratching their heads and saying, what's wrong with Washington," said Schumer.

GOP opponents argued that little was to be gained by imposing new taxes on the five U.S. oil giants: Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Shell Oil Co., BP America Inc. and ConocoPhilips Co.
While these companies may be huge, they don't set world oil prices and raising their taxes would discourage domestic oil production, the Republicans said of the Democrats' plan. BS

The bill's supporters argued that their proposal was different from the windfall profits taxes of the early 1980s that thwarted domestic production and led to a rise in imports. The oil companies could avoid the tax by using their "windfall" to push alternative energy programs or refinery expansions, they said.

Shortly after the oil tax vote, Republicans blocked a second proposal that would extend tax breaks that have either expired or are scheduled to end this year for wind, solar and other alternative energy development, and for the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation. Again Democrats couldn't get the 60 votes to overcome a GOP filibuster.

Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada complained of "a pattern of obstruction" that has produced weeks of Senate gridlock.

"There's a presidential election going on," Reid noted, suggesting the GOP standard bearer, Sen. John McCain, hadn't done enough to persuade more Republicans to cooperate. Neither McCain nor his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, were in Washington to cast votes on the energy issue on Tuesday.

Election-year politics hung over the debate. Democrats know their energy package has no chance of becoming law. Even it were to overcome a Senate GOP filibuster — a longshot at best — and the House acted, President Bush has made clear he would veto it.

But there was nothing to lose by taking on Big Oil when people are paying $60 to $100 to fill up their gas tanks.

The oil companies have been frequent targets of Congress. Twice this year, top executives of the largest U.S. oil producers have been brought before congressional committees to explain their huge profits. And each time the executives urged lawmakers to resist punitive tax measures, blaming high costs on global supply and demand.

In addition to the proposed windfall profits tax, the Democrats' bill also would have rescinded tax breaks that are expected to save the oil companies $17 billion over the next 10 years. The money would have been used to provide tax incentives for producers of wind, solar and other alternative energy sources as well as for energy conservation.

In an attempt to dampen oil market speculation, the legislation would require traders to put up more collateral in the energy futures markets and would provide authority to regulate U.S.-based trading in foreign markets. And it would make oil and gas price gouging a federal crime, with stiff penalties of up to $5 million during a presidentially declared energy emergency.
After Tuesday's defeat, Democrats did not rule out pushing the issue again.

"This was politics at its worst," complained Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. "This was a refusal to debate the biggest problem confronting the American people. ... That takes nerve."

Monday, June 9, 2008

What A Day

It's 8:00 at night and it's still 91 degrees! Of course this is the day I decided to go out. My car has been parked since last weekend's trip to see Rosie and it's covered with pollen, pine needles and a bunch of other stuff. It's green though, so it's okay.

The last couple of days have been quite cool here in my house. Because this house was a garage to begin with, the ends are about 15" of concrete. The back of my house is built into a hill, so it's underground. It's only the front that's normal construction and the windows are very good quality. The bedroom is cool because I have the windows covered (okay, I will admit I have towels hanging there, haven't made the curtains yet.) The weekend was great, with the ceiling fans on, the temperature has been quite comfortable - until today. It was hot in here for Hannibal. He was panting like crazy. After my shower, I put him in the tub which he didn't really like. However, he loves the feeling after when he runs around the house drying himself on the rug and all the furniture.

But he was still hot, so I got the air conditioner out of the storage room, installed it in the bedroom, turned it on and ahhhhh. I closed the door, we laid on the bed and cooled our hot big and little bodies off.

Finally, after cooling down the entire house, I left for my errands in the 97 degree weather! I thought that the stuff on my car would blow off as I drove which didn't happen. I left here and went to the bank, then off to pick up some freecycle items. I got 2 step stools, one for Patrick and one for JaeMae when she's here. I also got two very nice red camping chairs. Nice score!

Then I stopped at Benny's to get some paint for my new Adirondack chairs, green of course. It was so hot, I stood in front of their fans until the line to check out petered out. When I went to the check out I found Banana Boat lip balm, which I have been looking for for months! Nothing else works on my sensitive, chapped lips. So I bought a few, along with some sunscreen because next Wednesday is the start of our beach day!

Anyway, I headed over to the town hall. A couple of weeks ago Veronica had set off the security system at my house. A few days later, I received a letter from the police department that my dog was unlicensed!! I still don't know how they found that out. Was the police officer able to get close enough to Hannibal when they responded to see that he didn't have a tag? So I went to the town clerk's office and $8.00 later, my dog is now legally licensed. Then I headed over to the police station. (Yes, the temperature is still 97 degrees as I'm doing this and my car is still covered with green stuff, and I think the car a/c is broken!) So I went in to see if my alarm system also needed to be licensed. Surprisingly, my town does not require this, unlike just about every other city and town in Rhode Island.

The police officers that I spoke with were very nice and answered all my questions, including the one where I asked if the responding officers checked pets for licenses. They laughed and said that was Dave, who is also the animal officer. I gave them my drivers license along with my phone info in case there is another alarm (Oh, I hope not!) We spoke for a few more minutes as I tried to cool down and I left for home.

It was so cool in my house when I got back, I just couldn't believe it. I actually had to turn down the ceiling fan in the bedroom, it was so cool. My phone was ringing off the hook; Lillian returned my call, Patrick got home and called and a few minutes later, one of the police officers that I spoke with called. He is a lieutenant and I was impressed with his thoroughness. He wanted a picture of my house to go along with the information that I gave them. The compound I live on/in has a lot of houses and he wanted to add a photo so they would know which house is mine. Usually he gets the picture from the town assessors website, but for some reason, my house isn't shown there. I already knew that and I've always wondered if any taxes are paid. Who knows? I stressed to him that my dog is the ONLY reason I have an alarm system. Should someone break in, my biggest fear is that Hannibal gets out of the house, which would be very bad. So I asked if he would put that info in with the other info he got from me. I emailed a picture of the house to him. Then I emailed him again because I forgot to tell him my dog's name is Hannibal!

Which leads me to the next item; I received an email from the Wealth Management/Vice President/Senior Fiduciary Officer who is my contact for the two different trusts that oversees the house that Patrick lives in as well as the house that I live in. Since Gordon, my landlord, passed away things have been somewhat up in the air. Today's email stated that things were okay (so far) with my house, but there's a bit of a problem with Patrick's rental. It seems that Gordon made some sort of agreement with the town that ONLY family members could live in the apartment and that it should not be leased out! He, along with the attorney are checking this out to see if it can be changed so Patrick can stay past the end date of the lease.

I couldn't believe it. It took me so long to find the perfect set-up for Patrick and I and now it is in question. I hope they get it resolved, if not, Patrick will probably have to move in where I live and I'll have to find another place for me!! I absolutely don't want to move again! Ahhh, we'll see how this goes.

I think that about covers my day. I'm tired, but very cool...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

6 Ways You're Wasting Gas

With all the worry over fuel prices, you'd think drivers would do whatever they can not to waste gas. But look around and you'll see lots of them tooling around as if they owned their own tanker fleet. One of them might be you.

Here are six ways drivers typically waste gas on every trip:

1. Racing away from green lights
When the light turns green, you don't have to take off as quickly as possible. That pedal under your right foot is called the "gas pedal" for a good reason. The more you press down on it, the more gas you're pumping into the engine. Press lightly on the gas pedal, and you'll still accelerate, and you'll still get where you're going. You might be surprised at how little pressure it takes to get your car up to speed in a reasonable time.

2. Racing up to red lights
When you're driving down the street, and you see a light red light or stop sign up ahead, you should lay off the gas sooner rather than later. There's no point in keeping your foot on the gas until just before you reach the intersection. Let off the pedal sooner and give your engine a rest as you coast to the stop while braking gently. As an added benefit, your brake pads will last longer, too.

By themselves, these first two tips can improve your fuel economy around town by as much as 35 percent, according to tests conducted by automotive information Web site

3. Confusing the highway with a speedway
Even if it doesn't involve hard acceleration, speeding wastes gas. The faster you go, the more air your vehicle has to push out of the way. It's like moving your hand through water. The faster you try to move your hand, the harder the water pushes back.

In tests by Consumer Reports, driving at 75 miles per hour instead of 65 miles per hour reduced fuel economy by between 3 and 5 miles per gallon, depending on the vehicle.

4. Bumper-buzzing
Tailgating is a bad move for many reasons. First of all, it's unsafe. You reduce your ability to react if the car in front of you slows or stops. It also means you have to pay ultra-close attention to that car which reduces your ability to scan for other hazards ahead of you and to the sides.
And tailgating wastes gas. Every time the driver ahead taps his brakes, you have to slow down even more than he did. (That's because you can't react immediately so you have to slow even more because you're slowing down later.) Then you accelerate again to get back up to speed and resume your bumper-buzzing routine.

Hang back and you'll be safer - plus you'll be able to drive more smoothly and use less fuel. A good rule of thumb is to allow two seconds of space between your car and the one ahead. You can figure that out by counting off two seconds after the car in front of you passes an obvious landmark like an overpass.

5. Driving standing still
You've probably heard that it takes more gas to restart a car than to let it run. Maybe that used to be true, but it isn't anymore. With modern fuel-injection engines, it takes very little extra gas to restart a car once it's warmed up.

Idling, meanwhile, burns about a half-mile worth of gas every minute, according to the California Energy Commission. That's why hybrid cars shut down their gasoline engines whenever they stop, even for a moment.

Now you don't want to shut your engine down for every little stop in your regular, non-hybrid car - it's not designed for that - but if you're waiting for someone to run in and out of a convenience store, turn off the engine.

And don't go through the drive-through at fast food restaurants. You're already paying enough for the oil in those chicken nuggets.

Bonus tip: Don't idle your engine to let it warm up before driving. It does your engine no good and it wastes gas. Instead, start driving right away, but drive gently until the engine is warm.

6. Short hops
For really short trips, take advantage of the opportunity to get some exercise. Try walking to the store instead of driving. You can save gas and burn a few calories instead.

If you can't hoof it, save up your errands. A lot of short hops that let the engine cool down at home between trips can use twice as much gas as starting the car once and making a big sweep to all your stops, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Go to your farthest destination first so your engine has a chance to reach its optimal operating temperature. Then make your other stops on the way back. With the engine warmed up, the car will restart easily and run efficiently all the way home.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bobby Kennedy

Here's some very moving photos from the funeral train carrying the body of Bobby Kennedy to Washington for burial.

Please share it with your kids or with others who may not remember this part of our history.

Here's the link to a slideshow of pictures from Bobby Kennedy's campaign for president:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Fist Bump Heard 'Round The World

It seems that everybody is talking about the fist bump (or dap) that Michelle and Barack shared the other night just before his speech to claim the nomination.

I noticed it and thought that it was cute. What struck me was the affection and love they share which was pretty obvious (as you can see above.)

The slap that he gave her on her butt right after that seems to be overlooked by all. Wonder why?

Robert F. Kennedy 11/20/25 - 6/6/68

On June 4, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy scored a major victory when he won the California primary while running for President of the United States.

He addressed his supporters in the early morning hours of June 5, 1968 in a ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He left the ballroom through a service area to greet supporters working in the hotel's kitchen. In a crowded kitchen passageway, Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, opened fire with a .22 caliber revolver and shot Kennedy in the head at close range. Following the shooting, Kennedy was rushed to The Good Samaritan Hospital where he died the next day.

His body was returned to New York City, where he lay in state at St. Patrick's Cathedral for several days before the funeral mass held there. His brother, Senator Ted Kennedy, eulogized him with the words, "My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it."

Senator Kennedy concluded his eulogy, paraphrasing his deceased brother Robert by quoting George Bernard Shaw: "Some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why not?'"

Immediately following the mass, Kennedy's body was transported by special train to Washington, D.C. Thousands of mourners lined the tracks and stations, paying their respects as the train passed by.

Kennedy was buried near his brother, John, in Arlington National Cemetery. He had always maintained that he wished to be buried in Massachusetts, but his family believed that, since the brothers had been so close in life, they should be near each other in death. In accordance with his wishes, Kennedy was buried with the bare minimum military escort and ceremony. Robert Kennedy's burial at Arlington National Cemetery was the only one to ever take place at night.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

History Has Been Made

Wow. Never did I ever think that I would see this in my lifetime. It was amazing to have a woman and an African American running for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States.
So I am now a supporter of Barack Obama, who I do like very much. I hope, however, he can convince me of what his plans are for the change he has promised.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Teen Science Whiz with the Plastic Bag Breakthrough

It may surprise you to learn that Daniel Burd does not consider himself an environmentalist. The Canadian teenager has become bit of an environmental hero over the past few days, as word of his potentially revolutionary science fair project has spread. In case you missed it, Burd managed to isolate the naturally occurring microbes that degrade plastic bags in landfills, cutting degradation time from lifetimes to mere months.

Maybe anyone could have done it, but no one else has. And that, says Burd, is part of what inspired him to pursue the project, which he started researching at the end of 2006. "As I began to research more and more, I found out we're not doing too much," he told me in a phone call from his home in Ontario. He is, in his words, "just a scientist trying to solve a huge problem."

"In the end, all problems come back to us," he says. "The plastic bags in the water, they don't dissolve, and they attract hydrophobic chemicals. Fish or other organisms may eat polluted plastic bags, and then we have millions of marine animals dying. If they don't die, then we may eat these fish, and then we have a statistical increase in healthcare problems directly attributable to that pollution. That's why everybody should be concerned."

"I would hope that through my project I'm able to, first of all, show a viable solution, economical and doable, and then get people more aware of it," he says. "Then we can fix it."

I wasn't the first person to call Burd—far from it. Since news of his project broke, he says that his high school and the local newspaper have been fielding constant calls from journalists, scientists, and "concerned citizens," all interested in what he's going to do to make his discovery viable on an industrial scale. A scientist since he first planted a tomato seed to see if it would grow, Burd says he's completely dedicated to pursuing the project and improving his method using some of his scholarship and prize money. For now, however, he'll have to balance his continuing work with other obligations. Like, um, high school.

—Casey Miner