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Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

As another year ends I'm reminded of the words of Emo Phillips who said, "The toughest time...in anyone's life...is when you have to kill a loved one just because they're the devil."

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Reading CNN last night I saw an article headline that science has brought us the first images of extra-solar planets.

The first-ever pictures of planets outside the solar system have been released in two studies.

And the image made me immeditly think of the Eye of Sauron.

The Eye of Sauron

Geek: it's not just for breakfast anymore.

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

A CNN report shows a home movie of the Pitton family on vacation on a lovely sunny day at Ecola State Park in Oregon.

Ecola State Park, Oregon. Alaina Pitton falls over a low fence rail in this still from home video. Right behind her is a 150-foot cliff.

Mother, Charolotte Pitton video tapes as three year old Alaina Pitton and her cousins walk around an observation area.

Ecola State Park, Oregon. Alaina Pitton falls over a low fence rail in this still from home video. Right behind her is a 150-foot cliff.

The three young children peer over the edge of a 150 foot cliff.

Ecola State Park, Oregon. Alaina Pitton falls over a low fence rail in this still from home video. Right behind her is a 150-foot cliff.

Now, let's stop the action for a moment, and give everybody a quiz. - From the perspective of an adult mother (or father), is it a good idea to let your 3 year old wander near the edge of a 150 foot cliff while you stand back, out of reach? Hmmm....

Ecola State Park, Oregon. Alaina Pitton falls over a low fence rail in this still from home video. Right behind her is a 150-foot cliff.

Obviously, it's a perfectly fine idea since 3 year olds are well known for their agility and balance...

Ecola State Park, Oregon. Alaina Pitton falls over a low fence rail in this still from home video. Right behind her is a 150-foot cliff.

...and CLEARLY the railing is a fool proof safety measure even in the great unlikelihood that something went wrong... Uh oh! Wait a second!

Ecola State Park, Oregon. Alaina Pitton falls over a low fence rail in this still from home video. Right behind her is a 150-foot cliff.

,... Something seems to be amiss! Watch out little Alaina, that's a 150 foot drop to the rocks and ocean below!

Ecola State Park, Oregon. Alaina Pitton falls over a low fence rail in this still from home video. Right behind her is a 150-foot cliff.

Phew! Thanks to small strip of land between the railing and the edge of the cliff, and the fast thinking actions of her older cousin, little Alaina is saved from become chum.

Ecola State Park, Oregon. Alaina Pitton falls over a low fence rail in this still from home video. Right behind her is a 150-foot cliff.

Good taping mother Pitton! Without your video tape we wouldn't have such a nice view of the 150 foot drop as Alaina is lifted over the guardrail.

Charlotte Pitton: angry mother.

Wow, that was a close one, and I think we've all learned a lesson here: parents, always stay vigilant... Oh, wait, Charlotte has a lesson that she's learned, let's hear what she has to say...

"Alaina's Mom wonders why there isn't a better railing to keep this from happening again. 'The more I thought about it, the angrier I got at the state parks because there is just no excuse for that.'"

Of course! How silly of me! We need to fence in the nature and views better! I'm going to write my congressman and state senators right now and petition for laws that put up more guardrails - nay - walls and fences around scenic overviews. Clearly, that's the best solution for problems such as this. Fence in the nature!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The audacity of hope: Yes we can!

The Obama sun rises

- And we did!

Friday, October 31st, 2008

We all have our peculiarities where things bother us completely out of perspective of their importance to the grand scope of life.

One of my best friends told me that when he was a kid, he didn't allow other kids to use their Tonka trucks in conjunction with matchbox cars because they weren't in scale. I can totally relate.

This same friend called me this week and told me that he's still super geeky. He lives in New York city now and was waiting in his vehicle while his girlfriend ran into a store. On a nearby sidewalk, somebody was dressed as a Star Wars storm trooper, handing out some kind of flyer. As part of the process the storm trooper made robotic gestures.

Drug to hell

After a little bit, my friend couldn't resist. He got out and went to the woman who assisting the storm trooper by holding the flyers. He didn't want to interrupt the storm trooper so he said to the assistant, 'I know this is really geeky, but I just have to tell you that storm troopers aren't robots'. The woman said, 'I know'. As he got back into his vehicle he heard the stormtrooper ask the woman 'What are they?' She responded, 'People'. As my friend drove away he saw that the storm trooper resume his robotic movements.

As I've said before, one of the things that bothers me beyond reasonable perspective is: non-scary Halloween costumes. People who dress up like Halloween is just some kind of free-for-all masquerade drive me crazy. One of the ideas behind Halloween is that people dress to blend in with the dead who were said to walk the world on Halloween. So, there is a little wish in me to see some undead rise up from their graves and drag all of the ballerinas, nurses, cowboys, super heroes, and pirates kicking and screaming to the netherworld.

Like I said: we all have our peculiarities...

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

The Happiest Place in the World has gotten a little more sinister since my last visit.

I've known a few anti-Disney people but most of them have never visited a park. For my part, I recognize some of the unsavory corporate policies - such as its draconian copyright prosecution - but I've always let the kid in me relax and enjoy Disney's excellent craftsmanship, creativity and customer service.

However, on a recent trip to Disney World's Magic Kingdom and EPCOT center, I was greatly dismayed to see Disney now fingerprints its park visitors! What's more, tens of thousands of visitors willingly, apparently unthinkingly, slapped their fingers down on the little scanners. Nowhere in sight did Disney have signs explaining the process, however, I did some research upon returning and learned that starting in 1996 Disney started this process as part of a ticket anti-piracy control.

I'd already driven to the park, paid for the hotel and the tickets but I objected and found out that I could scan my license instead which is what I opted to do. Obviously, this is providing information to the company but at least it wasn't new, biometric data.

Fingerprint Micky Mouse
The two times I was in line, asses behind me objected - they wanted to pass, because it took me an extra 30 seconds to get my license out. And it is for these people, more than the Disney corporation that I hold my greater contempt.

Disney Fingerprint Scanner

- These people who so thoughtlessly submitted very personal information just because an amusement park asked for it.

And how critical will the next generation being after watching their parents so blindly submit their fingerprints to a corporation as if they were petty crooks? Will these children grow up to except bar codes on their skin so that they can buy a pack of gum?

"In the last analysis, our only freedom is the freedom to discipline ourselves."
~ Bernard M. Baruch

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Being a non football fan in football obsessive-compulsive Pittsburgh, I grew up having my masculinity questioned.

This has transformed me from somebody who wasn't interested in football to somebody who pretty much hates it. So if (as I've been accused), I have a 'chip on my shoulder', then it was placed there by all of the rabid fanatics.

Case in point: some 'attitude' captured on a vanity license plate:

Steeler (Stiller Fan) Shit

I know that this license can be taken as light hearted kidding of non steeler fans, but I've encountered this sentiment sincerely expressed by locals. To some fans, you might as well be a member of the Taliban if you don't love the steelers - let alone (gasp) football!

The humor for me is that this literally translates into: Stiller fans are shit.

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Sometimes you can just tell when the marketing department was out sick. Spotted in the grocery store this weekend, I give you the unfortunately named 'Flavor Sack':

Flavor Sack

'Flavor Sack', just gets the mouth watering - doesn't it?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Damn: the end of the month and I've not posted here... That's okay - I'll think of something worthwhile... Hmmm: perhaps Barack Obama's disappointing support of the Bush administrations warrantless wiretapping bill... Nah - to depressing and requires too much research... Perhaps a movie review on Batman The Dark Knight? What would I say? Good movie - good acting but a bit over rated with some elaborations about un-engaging action sequences and a need for editing. Nah - then I'd have to get into a whole long spiel about the infeasibility of jumping from heights and surviving just because you have a big cape... Or perhaps a review of Wall-e? - Eh - I'd just say the same stuff I've already said about the geniuses at Pixar - yadda - yadda - yadda...

So I guess I have nothing to say. Magic 8 ball says, 'Try again later'.

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Spoiler and gripe alert.

If you haven't seen Iron Man, or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, you may want to avoid this next entry - I give away plot details. Similarly, if you don't want to hear me vent about something as a silly as an action movie, you might want to switch over to Amazon.com and buy yourself that oven mitt you've had your eye on.

Everybody left who is going to leave?... Good, I didn't like them anyways.

I've talked about movies and 'suspension of disbelief' before but here's a quick recap: I'm fine with a man who can fly at faster than the speed of light, is bullet proof and strong enough to lift a block of land the size of Manhattan (i.e. Superman) as long as the movie establishes his capabilities and limitations and then operates by the rules it set. Because, even though I can suspend my disbelief for the sake of the story, if at the end of the movie you suddenly show that he can turn invisible with no prior explanation - my suspension of disbelief will be broken.

So I'm watching Robert Downey Jr. give an entertaining and humors portrayal of the character Tony Stark in Iron Man. We watch as Stark is seriously injured and knocked out by an explosion that leads to his capture. In the scene where he escapes from the middle eastern terrorist-type captors, he stomps around in his lumbering prototype Iron Man suit. We see it display flame throwers and enhanced strength. As the scene's climax, Stark/Iron Man's flame thrower catches some explosive materials on fire. To escape, Iron Man deploys jetpack style rocket boots and blasts away from the flames. So far - we've established that Tony Stark is a brilliant genius, but otherwise a very normal human being capable of being injured just like anybody else. But then his rocket boots run out of fuel and we see Stark, still in his heavy-duty Iron Man suit, plunge to the earth from several hundred feet up and I'm thinking: we'll obviously, he's going to deploy some giant parachute to slow his fall. But no. Instead, we watch as he smacks into the side of a sand dune at about a hundred miles an hour. My brain registers: well, clearly - he's dead now. Again: no. We see that the suit is shattered but that Tony Stark is slightly scratched but otherwise fine - not even unconscious.

Let me ask you: if you were placed in an ultra hard, ultra sturdy metal suit and dropped several hundred feet - what do you think would happen to your body? - Pretty much liquefied - right? - Even if the ultra sturdy suit survived, you'd be soup sloshing around inside of it. And I can personally attest from jumping around on a few sand dunes in my life - if you hit one hard enough, they aren't soft and forgiving at all.

I'll admit that that at that point in the movie, I extended the lines of the suspension of disbelief and was confident that Stark was going to be fine no matter how hard he was smacked around, as long as he was in the suit. But that still doesn't forgive the fact that the movie had already contradicted itself by, in one scene showing Stark mortal and subject to injury under the same conditions that one would one would find in the real world and in another scene, showing him slamming into ground with nary a bump to show for it.

Alright now, Iron Man - that gripe aside - is a pretty rollicking good time. (Even though the movie's climax was a bit anticlimactic since Stark's victory depended more on dumb luck than guile. - Yeah, Stark encouraged Gwyneth Paltrow as 'Pepper Potts' to start an explosion that finishes off the bad guy, but why the bad guy is destroyed and Stark isn't - is not at all clear.)

Now let's switch to or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. We've seen three other movies with Indie. We know the character. We know that he is smart, lucky, stronger and in better shape than any real human. - But he is never portrayed as any Superman. Hell: not even Spiderman tough. Arguably - not even Batman sturdy. So, when, during the movie's first act, we see him climb into a refrigerator -which the camera pans down to show is 'lead lined' (as if that's going to make a difference) and subsequently survives a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION AT GROUND ZERO - my suspension of disbelief, got up from the theater, got in the car, drove to the airport, flew to California, rented a taxi drove to Marin county, found George Lucas and Steven Spielberg toasting each other with glasses of champaign over another 'job well done' and kicked them both hard in the throat.

The shell of a movie goer who was left sitting in the theater was thereafter no longer surprised at all to see other wonders such as Indie and three other characters proceed over three Niagara Falls scale waterfalls in an amphibian boats and walk away without so much as a bruise.

There are more bad things to say about the movie, but that will have to do for now. But I have to admit: I hated it for an Indiana Jones movie, but I was mildly entertained outside of that context. I suppose that some of the sentimentality for the other movies keeps me from fully damning it. But it really, just wasn't good. (Sigh.)

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Today we had our office birthday celebration for those born in May. Our office admin had bought cake and ice cream for the team.

The Giant Eagle box that contained one of the cakes had this helpful schematic:

How to cut a cake

Fortunately we saw this diagram before we started randomly scooping circles of cake with our spoons.

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

May 22 is the 142nd day of the year (143rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. Seven years ago today - in 2001 (for those math handicapped like myself) - GlenGreen.com. was born.

Happy birthday dear website - happy birthday to you my HTML friend.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Rush Limbaugh, is the nation's top-rated talk radio host, so given the tremendous size of his audience and the influence of his voice over public airwaves, one might almost wonder why the corporate controlled news media hasn't made a bigger story over his calls for deceitful election manipulation.

Limbaugh, called his 'ditto heads' fellow Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in open primary states like Ohio, Texas and Indiana to prolong the Democratic primaries (so the Democrats can fight each other) with the possible side benefit of nominating Clinton who he perceives would be easier to defeat in the national elections.

I won't enter into debate about the legality of this other than to say that it appears to be illegal in Ohio at least and to point out the irony that it has been the GOP that has pushed so hard to pass ID laws to prevent voter fraud - a law that was just upheld by the conservative controlled supreme court.

But I will expound on the morality of these self entitled 'value voters' who hold the democratic process in such poor esteem that they comfortably - cheerfully and willfully corrupt the voting process. For my part, I advocate legitimate and easy voting for all: right, left or other and it would be my shame if I ever advocated such underhanded deceit.

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I know that Las Vegas has a high infestation of superstitious thinking but I was disappointed to learn that one of my favorite hotels there is hosting the ghoulish huckster Sylvia Brown - pretend psychic. ("Pretend psychic" is redundant - I know. I want to be clear: I'm under no illusions that there are real psychics.)

The woman is a lie monger and a fraud. If a con artist attempts to sucker money from the unsuspecting through scam, they are thrown in jail. Instead, Browne is featured on shows like 'Montel Williams Show' and 'Larry King Live' and is given a venue where she can charge $82.50 to $137.50 for her blood sucking claptrap.

Sylvia Browne - fraud and huckster at the Las Vegas Excalibur

As to the harm that she causes, I quote from the StopSylviaBrowne.com website:

"1. She is taking money, under false pretenses, from people who are in a very vulnerable position, emotionally.

2. She constantly gives medical "diagnoses" to people (and in fact, she refers to these people as her "patients") without any medical training. This can obviously be dangerous, leading people to pursue incorrect diagnoses, and to possibly ignore the advice of their own medical professionals.

3. She gives advice to families of missing children (and adults). Not only does this false information add to the trauma being suffered by the family (read about Opal Jo Jennings for just one example), but can lead those families to insist on law enforcement following up on these fictional "leads," wasting hours and manpower which could have been put to use following up on real leads.

4. By inventing information about (and messages from) lost loved ones, she is stepping on the true memories of these people.

A ghoul is a legendary monster said to prey on young children, robs graves, and eat the dead - metaphorically - just like Browne.

Even though I have low expectations for a gambling casino to be a bastion against the irrational, it pains me to see that this criminal - this purveyor of lies - this larcenist by fraud and deception - is not ridden out of town on a rail.

Sylvia Browne: ghoul

In related news - score one for the skeptics:

Skeptic giggles on Indian national TV as mystic totally fails to curse him to death

Pandit Surinder Sharma defeated by Sanal Edamaruku

"Pandit Surinder Sharma, a famous Indian tantrick (magician) was on a televised panel discussion when he claimed he could kill any man with black magic in under three minutes. Fellow panelist, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, challenged the tantrick to kill him right then and there. Hilarity ensued as Sharma chanted the death mantra, and, when that failed, waved a knife and sprinkled water on him, as Edamarku laughed the entire time.

After two hours of this, the show's anchor pronounced the attempt a failure. The tantrick said he must be under the protection of a very powerful god, to which Edmarku replied "I am an atheist". The tantrick claimed nobody could stand up to his extra-special death spell, but that could only be performed at night. The TV station promptly arranged another trial at night, with predictable results.

Thanks to Teddy Carroll for the story and the link.

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Congratulations to my friend on the YouTube debut of the Jesse Malin Video he directed: 'In The Modern World'.

You wouldn't know it to look at it, but it was produced on a shoe string budget. Be kind: leave the video the good comment and rating that it deserves. Have a website? Links to the video are greatly appreciated.

Best of all: enjoy! Not only is it a great video - it's a great song.

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Barack Obama for president

Well, I'm putting my money where my mouth is: I've contributed to Barack Obama for president.

Here's are a few of the reasons why:

- He wants to strengthen Civil Liberties. Strong civil liberties are fundamental to who we are as nation.

- Religious tolerance. - Although Obama is a devote Christian, he doesn't, 'believe that religious folks have a monopoly on morality' and he welcomes all faiths - and non believers into the public discourse.

- He has good goals for improving America's energy independence through multiple channels - including cleaner, renewable energy resources. This should be America's number one economic and security concern.

- He's viable: he has a very good chance to win.

But don't take my word for it: read the specific and realistic goals that he's outlined.

For years, I've not been voting for somebody, I've been voting for the lesser of two evils. With Barack Obama, although imperfect (I'm sure) - I believe in the man.

Thanks to Teddy and Sami Carroll for their fundraising efforts.

"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." - Pericles

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Great amusement and humor today. And like most humor: it came at somebody else's expense.

One of my colleagues reported that there was an icy spot on the Smithfield Street Bridge and that people were falling who crossed it.

Our office overlooks the bridge and a few of us took a gander. Sure enough: within moments we saw a beautifully executed pratfall. As if we were watching a circus performance, we ohhed and ahhed as about one out of every ten people who crossed the spot fell. (I'm guessing we saw an average of one fall every three minutes during the morning rush hour.)

Smithfield Street Bridge Ice Fall

More and more of my colleagues gathered at the windows to see what all of the fuss was about.


As some unsuspecting pedestrian would approach the icy gray spot on the snow, the tension would increase. Bets were called out - predictions made. People would hope out loud that some victim would lose their cell phone, laptop, brief case, purse or package over the railing to the frigid waters below.

When somebody would skate by, the crowd would boo. About a fifth of the time, a would-be victim would spot the ice and would skirt it - walking down a narrow dry patch to the side. It was suggested that somebody should 'go down there and pour water' on that particular dry spot. This idea was ruled out after the legality and liability had been determined as too risky.

When somebody would slip but recover, there was a great intake of breath followed by hisses of disappointment.

But when someone fell, there was a great round of cheering and applause. One of the favorites was a fellow who pulled a Fred Flinstone - his feet spinning futilely on the ice before ultimately landing on his ass.

Perverse – I know. But it was like having a live feed of America’s Funniest Home Videos.

I returned from lunch to find out that one of my officemates, after seeing a particularly gruesome fall, had called the city and the sidewalk had been salted.


Friday, January 11th, 2008

The temperature was in the mid-sixties on Tuesday and since then the weather has had an average of about forty-some degrees.

In the summer, such temperatures would be miserable but in the winter it cheers the heart.

This is the human condition: our happiness is relative and is so often dependent on adversity to allow us to appreciate what we have. Try as we might to value what we've got, our grasp is always tenuous and fleeting. I hope that I gain a little bit of wisdom and that my perspective on my good fortune grows. I hope this for all of us. Happy New Year.


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