Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Own Original Christmas Videos

Merry Christmas Everyone
video


video


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice..

.. at 4:38 PM EST tonight (Dec 21, 2010)

Winter solstice occurs on the shortest day, and longest night. From this point forward daylight will become longer and the nights shorter.

A time-lapse video shot on the University of Alaska
Fairbanks campus around the winter solstice last year.

(video courtesy University of Alaska Fairbanks)


Friday, December 17, 2010

"Tigre Stone" Road Printer

I imagine tourist who visit the Netherlands are impressed with the ornate brick roads, but how do they construct them?

The answer is by using the electrically powered Vanku "Tigre Stone" road printing machine.


This certainly is a lot more ergonomically advantageous then working on one's knees.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

West End Oktoberfest 2010

Allentown, Pa. - October 2, 2010

(video courtesy "Allentownsputnik")


Post Sputnik is a video production boutique in Allentown, Pa.: "Not only do we do commercial, television and marketing videos, but we also like to make short films animations and other "what not-s"."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Religion And School Calendar Conflicts



According to Reuters News Service, Muslims want certain religious holidays off for their kids who attend New York City public schools. Muslims observe 11 holidays. Not any which fall on any of the public schools' days off. And they aren't happy!


Before I discuss the Muslims' request take a look at this "INTERFAITH CALENDAR".

This request may only be the tip of the iceberg. So many faiths. So many "Holy" days. This could just be the beginning of the school administrators nightmare on how to accommodate such requests. Most likely each of these religions will challenge schools in various courts.


Before everyone gets their panties in a ruffle, I have some rather simple suggestions I will present shortly for your consideration.



Public schools already have the former Christian holidays covered by calling them "Winter Holidays". This takes care of the Christians and the Kwanzaa folks. (Since Kwanzaa falls on Dec. 26, 2010).

Each year the "Spring Holidays" overlap Good Friday. These skirt the legal issues surrounding major Christian religious observances.

Some of the other more significant "holy" days remaining in December are; Dec. 2-9: Hanukkah * - Jewish

Dec. 8: Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) ** - Buddhism

Dec. 21: Solstice-Yule * - Wicca/Pagan Northern hemisphere

How can our public schools accommodate all of these and stay out of future legal squabbles?

Based on the Allentown School District 2010-2011 calendar, here's what I've come up with.

Let's take December's Winter Holidays (Dec. 24 & 27-31). The Martin Luther King day (Jan. 17). Add in the President's Holidays (Feb. 18 & 21). The three days of Spring Holidays (April 21,22 &25). There are 3 more for Thanksgiving. 1 more for Memorial day.

This gives us a total of 16 days to work with. Let's rename them PD's (Personal Days). These PD's would apply to both teachers and students.

These then would be days that schools were no longer closed on.

Before September 1st of each school year both students and teachers would be required to fill out request forms in order to receive their desired "Personal Days" off. The order of priority would favor those who require religious leave for their various faiths. This makes provisions for even the atheist that walk among us and have their own objections to these religious holidays.

By submitting these days in advance the school administration would have a heads up regarding the required staffing for those days. Based on staffing requirements, the school then can make a certain number of slots available for those teachers, who request them, to take off. Firstly based on their religious needs. Secondly by order of seniority.

As in having any such days off, academics would have to made up by those who have missed those lesson days.

There are three advantages to this. Number #1 is the schools wouldn't get involved in a protracted courtroom legal battles. Number #2, everyone gets the days most significant to them. Number #3, it doesn't pit people against one another as they exercise their individual religious freedoms.

---



We have become is a nation of peoples who shout at one another. Shortly this matter may come up and become an explosive issue in the media. It needn't be so with the plan I offered.

Quite simply we can accommodate one another if we just use our intellect (brains) before our emotions (mouths). What I have presented is a common sense solution.

Whether the motives for these religious holiday requests are driven by Muslims (anyone else for that matter) with impure intent just to stir the pot OR whether the motives are genuine, this diffuses the entire matter before it gets all ginned up by those who seek to destroy America by creating self destructing division within.

Make no mistake there are those who seek to pit us against one another. "Divide & Conquer". Right now it looks like those with malicious intentions are gaining the edge.

Right now is the time to show the world America can unite as one nation. That we can find solutions irregardless of our differences. Failure to do so, will weaken us and lead us to fail as a nation.

What better place to start then with our youth?

What better way could we "teach" our youth on how to get along with one another?

Before I wrap this up.. please take a moment and allow me to introduce my former college professors
(1937)


Friday, August 6, 2010

My Position On Blogging


Anonymity/Creditability

What's in a name?
By way of example let's take what made Epicurus, Bertrand Russell and tons of other famous names. Was it because of the name they were born with or was it for the opinions they expressed?

I maintain that ideas and opinions far outweigh the importance of those whose names are spoken. We only use their names in order to reference their works. W/O their ideas who would know of them?

Nearly all of the math's sciences are based on someone's work, yet who amongst the mathematicians know the names of those who have invented the formulas that they now rely on?

I freely express my opinions to everyone in this community. Like them or hate them as you so determine.

Whereas my name is mine and mine alone. I get to decide whether to expose myself or family to the entire internet throughout the world. It's not my wife's choice to be dragged into the mud over my internet activities as a hobby. Nor is it my children's. If you can't accept that then perhaps this blog's not for you.

Certain people have attempted to knock at my door. They also threaten to seek me out in a public place to confront me.

Sorry, you have every right to harass my blog, but I defend my private life vigorously. My ideas are freely exposed to everyone. This is not the choice I made when it comes to sharing my "REAL" physical life.

This is a blog about ideas. It's not about me... get it?

I could further speak on this at length, but I'll make this brief and to the point. There are lots of nationally recognized individuals I could name that I find have near zero creditability. The two are not interrelated. Hence what is the obsession for some people to have a face associated with this LVCI blog? Why is that so important to you?


Original Content

I've been further criticized-- "what perspective do you provide readers that cannot be gained by reading a newspaper.

The answer is my own expanded perspectives on those very news stories. Most every last one of the biggest (even monetized) blogs in the entire internet do exactly as I do.

Are you kidding me? W/O doing that there would be no blogs at all!

I start out basing my post on something I read. From there I give my thoughts and viewpoints based on a number of other links to additional material. I attempt to go beyond what the single article provides.

Where would the newspapers be w/o a full staff of reporters, a legal department, the AP and the UPI? These are large multimillion dollar firms.

I witness everyday how the cable news channels report on exactly what I have already read online 8 hours earlier. Where do you think these TV producers pull these stories from? They just follow up with calls to get video clips after the print media did all the work. Nearly all of their budgets are made up of everything other then field reporters.

I'm just one little ole' person with a blog and an opinion for God's sakes.

What I'm attempting to do is take the things I find of my greatest interest, pull a bunch of links together to do the research.

Research that readers may not have the inclination to do on their own in light of the tedious time consuming process required to delve into these things.


Summation
If your looking for original content. Most likely you will not find that here. What you will find is a compilation of my viewpoints on current major items that interest me and when I feel they merit comment.

I dice that up with a whole bunch of other things that I enjoy and come across from time to time. There's no theme here. I like the grab bag idea of readers not knowing what to expect each time they visit.

While most blogs consider loading up videos as a deviation from what blogging supposed to be, I feel videos are like pictures and can say a thousand words. In others they speak far more eloquently then I could simply by typing words. They can offer you video presentations of what they are speaking about.

Still other videos I find amusing or entertaining and wish to share them. No one says you have to play them, but there they are. Available if you want to. If they annoy, no one need do other then skip right past them w/o wasting anyone's time.

I truly feel I'm not in competition with either the news sources nor other bloggers. My intentions are to use this median to expand what is available to users. Not to take away, but rather to add to the information that is made available.

This entire piece is about my position regarding publishing this blog. It is not (nor will it ever be) used to criticize another blogger.

The most important things to me is to maintain this blog's links to all sources of materials used here. And my honest intentions to provide accurate, ethical and reliable viewpoints with respect to opposing views. Just as I live those in my "REAL" life.

Irregardless of whether LVCI is anonymous or not, I am not saying anything here that I wouldn't say to a person's face in "REAL" life. That is the number one policy I adhere to here.

The second most important policy I maintain is that of not using my name.

Like many others throughout history, I prefer to publish under a pseudonym (LVCI). This in order to protect myself against all kinds of kooks and screwballs that abuse individuals such as myself who put themselves out here on the internet.

My hopes are that you will understand and respect that.




Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today In History

Sometimes these aren't all that interesting. BUT I found today's rather significant.



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nature's Paradoxical (Me Too)


For the last 6 weeks or so I've been nurturing a very sore shoulder. I'm not sure how it became that way, but I suspect it's from hanging onto the computer mouse too many hours. Last year I had the same thing. I walked away from the computer for a few days and it disappeared.

So how come it is when you think you have nature all figured out it turns your logic inside out? That little previous trick of mine hasn't worked out at all for me this time.

Being cheap and (even more so) bullheaded I'm determined I don't need to see a doctor for a cortisone shot (kenalog) and anti inflammatory meds (naproxen). Much would be the same case if I were to go the route of a chiropractor. Sure it would be the intelligent thing to do and my troubles would have been gone weeks ago. But hey..

I'm the same guy who thought my wrist would heal after a fall last year. Everyone who saw it declared it broken. NOT ME!

The cheap part relates to what my insurance denies provides. The bullheaded part is to be in denial over the fact that my wrist could possibly be broken, despite the severe pain and my hand wasn't lined up with the rest of my arm.

Apparently prayer and the mind over matter thing ain't all it's cracked up to be. :-)

Well after 3 weeks of denial I broke down and had the surgery. I was billed for $27,333! Course with a whole lot of luck and lots of back and forth negations over the next 8 months the total insurance allowed costs came in at around $5,100.

Yeah I may be cheap but the $27,333 certainly had me scared to hell!

Now back to this shoulder thing I'm trying to self heal. This is the part were nature interjects it's satirical humor and becomes paradoxical. Friday we went for a bike ride (yeah like that made my arm feel any better). While we were gone doesn't the 50ft sycamore tree decide to drop a 5" x 17 foot branch onto the street and come to a rest leaning on top of the neighbor's car.

Fortunately it did not damage her car because it didn't directly fall on it. Even more fortunate is the fact it didn't hit one of our many sidewalk walkers.

Now explain to me how we've had rain storms with 60mph gusts.. NOTHING. Explain to me how all winter in 20" snows.. NOTHING Then explain to me how on a day like Friday where there was no wind and nothing but blue sky, this branch decided to take a suicide leap? I'll tell you why. It's because Friday after the bike ride, my shoulder was screaming and nature likes to prank.

Rather then use the bow saw to cut it up and beat up my shoulder I got the bright idea to saw it up with my reciprocating saw. Instead it doubled my fun. My arm did more "reciprocating" to my sore shoulder then the damned saw that was supposed to be recipricating! Let me tell you severe vibro-therapy doesn't work all too well either for treatment of a painful shoulder. :-)

AND as a bonus.. I got a grandaddy of a blister. When I was done I also noticed I bendt the "shoe" on it too...DAMN.

Now, as I'm typing, I'm further aggravating the silly sucker. I sure don't heal in 24 hours like I used to. Guess I'm not a 20 year old anymore.

So it looks like today I will forced put away the ice packs and heat patches and pick up the telephone and call the doc and get me some meds..

I SURRENDER!


(video courtesy ConsumersUnion)

Now is a good time as any to warn people how dangerous trees are. I personally knew two people who were actually killed by falling tree branches.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rail Transportation Study I (Mine)

Here is a link to the official March 2010 FINAL REPORT by Systra Consulting, Inc.

Here's a couple of highlights that I found interesting..* The proposed Allentown station would be located basically where the former LVRR terminal once stood. The property would have to be reacquired. The Bethlehem station would be located 1,500 feet from the Sands Casino.

* Norfolk Southern RR own most of the 'right of 'way' so this plan would be contingent upon their acceptance.

Although not stated in this report.. Norfolk-Southern RR previously indicated their freight would have the preference as to right-of-way on their mainline. Therefore passenger trains may on occasion have to wait on a siding for freight to pass. Although I suppose it's how wise the dispatcher organizes the scheduled runs. Also new lock switches and other signaling devices are going to have to be installed to upgrade the current freight mainline to satisfy the safety standards for passenger trains.

* Between Phillipsburg and Allentown is 16.94 miles. Rail construction would cost an estimated $20 million per mile. An estimated $658.9 million total.

* Trains would depart for High Bridge, NJ connection from 4 locations (ABE and Phillipsburg). Currently buses head to NYC from 9 (when you include P-burg).

* What I wasn't aware of is you would board the train. Get off in High Bridge, NJ to transfer trains. Then in Newark you must transfer to yet another train into NYC at the current time. There is a project scheduled to be completed in the future that may eliminate the switching trains for some passengers. But as I stated this is still in future plans and not the case currently.
Again I reiterate will people park their cars to take the train?

Will folks who use the current buses be willing to transfer to three trains which may not be timed to your exact arrivals? Will they stand out in the cold winter months on train platforms to do so?

Or would they prefer to just make a single boarding on a bus which takes them right into Port Authority one block from Times Square?

Will folks who can currently travel by bus to NYC in around 1.25 hours be willing to endure more then the 2 hours it would take by train?

Keep in mind the $658.9 million is in 2010 dollars and it does not include the rail line to High Bridge, NJ. If that extension should cost $20 million a mile, the price tag could easily come to over $1 billion. Then there's always those unforeseen costs overruns.

The buses are already running at no costs to the taxpayer. Should taxpayers spend what will most likely be over $1 billion to reinvent the wheel?



Thinking Outside The Box: If we were serious about using public transportation-- I would think far less money would be spent by encouraging current commuters to use the public transportation that we do already have.* This could done by creating incentives through the use of designated lanes for buses, car pool lanes, etc.

Why not create new highways designated for the exclusive use of commercial vehicles and public transportation only.

That may sound dumb on the surface, but isn't that exactly what we're already proposing to do when we create these train tracks? And I bet we could create these for far less the $20 million a mile! Plus it would take the huge 80,000 lb trucks out of the equation. These don't mix well with cars anyway on our current highway systems. I bet truckers would like that one!

Think about this and give this a second thought. What if when I-78 was built it was built only for buses and trucks. Drivers either would have had the choice to continue driving that sucky old Route 22 OR pile on a bus that that flies up I-78.

* Bus issued vouchers for discounted future rides. Perhaps a deduction on the state's income tax where you submit these with your state income tax returns. These could have already been paid for by what we already spent just studying this thing.

* Although I'd prefer incentives not punishment I'll throw this out there anyway. Since inspections already track mileage between inspections, this could be something else to consider since it directly relates to highway signaling, policing, wear and tear, etc.

* On a local level. Remember the days of Park & Shop when stores refunded your parking fees? How about LANTA in conjunction with retailers?
Point is rather then focusing on tossing $1 billion the public most likely resist, why not offer them a carrot instead?

Now this is what I call local transportation.. TOO LOCAL :-)


Sunday, June 6, 2010

D-Day Remembered


Did you remember it's today?
Better yet why hasn't anyone else? Not the newspapers or TV..
Am I the only one?
I THINK SO!




Today In History

Wikipedia: D-Day
The U.S. Army Center Of Military History: Normandy: 6 June-24 July 1944
The Official U.S. Army's Page- D-Day



UPDATE:
Oops.. The Morning Call Posted This Later This Morning
(after I already visited TMC early today)


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Singer, Songwriter Rachel Aldous Song, "A Mother's Prayer"

"This song came straight from my heart one night as I prayed over my sleeping daughter.

As I stared at her beautiful frame I was just moved to tears by what an amazing gift from God she really is. She was born with neurofibromatosis and is considered legally blind. Some would have advised while she was still in the womb that I should have had an abortion because she isn't "perfect". That would have been a tragedy.

My hope is that this song would inspire all mothers to pray over their babies, no matter how old, and to see the value of human life"
.



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Today Is Cinco de Mayo







MORE INFO: Cinco de Mayo




Thursday, April 1, 2010

Amazing- Penguins That Fly!

Everyone Knows Penguins Can't Fly.. .

THEY SING AND DANCE!



Friday, January 8, 2010

Birds R MIA


With the best of intentions we have a bird feeder in the backyard to help out those hungry birds.

That is, when 4 squirrels aren't foraging up anything you put out and chase them away.. RODENTS!
Now I've spotted this predator.

It's a BIG bird.

Fascinating how this hawk puts the breaks on
just before landing on a nearby branch. It wasn't our intention to feed the hawk too!