Wake up Call

There is a legend. And to protest is daft.
Peter O’Toole-actor

Thou shalt not tape unless all parties consent. That seems like a simple enough concept. Sounds like a law written to keep the police from taping criminals without a warrant; however, it is a two-edged sword.

So Chris Drew, a Chicago artist discovered, according to an article in the Mail Online at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349966/Chicago-artist-Chris-Drew-faces-15-years-jail-recorded-arrest.html?ito=feeds-newsxml.

Mr. Drew set out to protest a Chicago law limiting where artist can sell their work. As a hippy in the 1960s, he learned how to protest, so he geared up to modernize his efforts. He was going to be arrested and videotape his arrest to embarrass the police. Big deal, a misdemeanor arrest, just right to anger enough people to push for a change in the law.

It took three tries before the police took the bait and arrested Mr. Drew. The third time was a charm. He was arrested and the whole thing was videotaped; Drew’s definitive proof of the unfairness of the soliciting law.

Only after his arrest did Mr. Drew learn about the Illinois eavesdropping law. Taping, without prior consent of all parties being taped is a class 1 felony, punishable by up to three years in prison . . . unless a judge, a prosecutor, or the police are those being unknowing videotaped. Then the punishment is up to fifteen years. Doh!

Mr. Drew has changed the focus of his protest. He is now protesting the eavesdropping law. Imagine that.

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Published in: on January 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Marriage announcement

Go to a place where you’re not going to be stressed, because a honeymoon itself can be a stressful thing.
Diane von Furstenberg—designer

In the ultimate act of eco-love, a man publicly married, live on the internet, the Earth.

http://plogspot101.blogspot.com/2010/12/man-marries-earth-in-rare-ceremony.html

It was a late-in-life marriage for the groom, he is 61; however, his age pales in relation to his 4,000,000,000 year old bride.

It can only be assumed that the happy couple, in an attempt to get away from family and friends for their honeymoon, will be spending their first night together on Mars.

Published in: on December 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm  Comments (2)  
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A wise expenditure of taxpayer funds?

I think the cost of energy will come down when we make this transition to renewable energy.
Al Gore

Yep, the United States is going green, at least the U.S. Navy is. While I am sure there must be a local news release, I heard about it from a U.K. news article http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/oct/27/us-navy-biofuel-gunboat?intcmp=122. The navy has successfully tested a 50/50 mixture of diesel and algae-based biofuel. If one reads it as a humorous article, it is very funny. If one reads it as proof of a successful use of green technology, it is amazing. If one reads it as a practical fuel source, it is tragic.

The Navy’s purpose was to demonstrate the ability to avoid dependency of fossil fuels . . . by using 50% fossil fuels. Wait, what? Well, one could suppose that 50% is better than 100%, which is good, right?

Well, the first test did not go so well. The diesel and the algae separated and the algae started growing. It caused corrosion to the engines. Oops.

The second test worked. It is a wonderful thing . . . except it costs $424 dollars a gallon. To break that down a little, the cost of diesel has not been over $5 a gallon in the last three years. It is now at about $2.49, but to be fair, let us say it costs the Navy $10 a gallon—we all know how economical government agencies are when spending other peoples’ money. That means that the algae side of the fuel costs $414 a gallon. Not to worry, it is other peoples’ money. The Navy was so impressed that they ordered an additional 150,000 gallons of the fuel. Mixed 50/50, that is 75,000 of diesel at $10 a gallon ($750,000), and 75,000 of algae-based fuel at $414 dollars a gallon ($31,050,000). Wow, that is a total of $31,800,000 for a whole 150,000 gallons of fuel. Everyone needs to go out and buy a diesel vehicle. That is a bargain too good to pass up.

There were two rationales in the article as to why this is worthwhile. First, the avoidance of dependence on foreign supplied fossil fuels; and second, the ability of this fuel to be made locally instead of having to transport it thousands of miles.

There was a recent article (which I cannot locate now) about the cost of fuel in a war zone; the U.K. article mentions the cost but does not reference where it originated. When all the costs (loses in transport from torpedoes or roadside bombs, the necessities of fuel conveys, the extra trucks and manpower) are totaled up, fuel in the war zone costs around $400 a gallon.

Apparently, the Navy feels we will be able to grow the algae and process it into a fuel anywhere it is needed; therefore, that ship, transporting warriors and war machines to a battle thousands of miles away, will be able to sprinkle a little algae over the side, allow it to grow, haul it back aboard, process it and dump it into the fuel tanks. Better yet, the Marines fighting in the mountains or deserts of Afghanistan will just start their own algae farms. Instant fuel, it does not get any better than that.

Of course, for those who think algae farms and processing plants will be a little more restrictive on where they are practical, there will still be the costs of transporting it to the war zone. Instead of costing $400 a gallon for $10 a gallon diesel, it will cost that same $400 plus the $412 for the algae soup. That is $812 a gallon for something that may separate and corrode the engines it is supposed to be fueling. Mmm, somehow I do not feel very confident, but what the heck. It is other peoples’ money.

Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The end of another “Don’t ask, don’t tell”?

Because of the diverse conditions of humans, it happens that some acts are virtuous to some people, as appropriate and suitable to them, while the same acts are immoral for others, as inappropriate to them.
Saint Thomas Aquinas

The Diocese of Rome (not the Vatican) is urging gay priests to come out of the closet and leave the priesthood, according to an article on page A13 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Religion section on 7/24/10.

Could the solution be that simple? Has no one bothered to ask the priests their sexual orientation? If the gay priests in Rome do “come out” and quit the priesthood, “because homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered’” according to the article; will the Vatican urge the same action to priests worldwide?

Somehow, I just do not believe many gay priests will give up their calling at the behest of the Diocese of Rome, but what do I know?

Published in: on July 24, 2010 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What kind of coffee?

If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.
Abraham Lincoln

There was a small article on page A3 of the St. Louis Post Dispatch on Wednesday, July 21, that caught my eye: Civet coffee Ok’d for Muslims. The article said that Indonesia’s top Islamic body gave the okay for Muslims to drink civet coffee: the most expensive coffee in the world.

Now I do not pay much attention to the idiosyncrasies of the Muslim diet, but I wondered why Muslims would need the okay to drink coffee. Also, the word “civet” confused me. The only civet I was aware of was an animal . . . a civet cat . . .a spotted skunk to be exact. What could a skunk have to do with coffee?

A quick Google search turned up the answer at (Click link). The civet cat (yep, a member of the skunk family) likes the ripe fruit from coffee plants and eats them. The soft outer shell is digested but the inner seed (the coffee bean) is not. They are passed out of the skunks system after supposedly being modified and improved by stomach enzymes. Apparently some lucky stiff follows along behind them, picks the coffee beans out of the skunk poop (now there is a job I would love to have), and brings them in to be roasted (hopefully after being washed). Only then can they be sold at $320 per pound.

According to the web site, civet coffee is also called bucket-list coffee, from a movie about a list of things one would like to try before dying. I love coffee, and as odd as it may seem, I would like to try just one cup of civet Joe, but then again, I was raised on a farm and am not as squeamish as most of my city friends.

How about you? Would you pass — on a cup of coffee brewed from coffee beans that had already been passed through a civet cat? Ya want that in perk or drip?

Published in: on July 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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