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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Whoops...

Don't worry, I'm only last because I'm slow.

Didn't mean to go so long between posts. Sorry 'bout that! Here are a few snippets that have run through my mind lately...

  • The City of Sioux City goes around every now and then looking for raggedy yards and puts little pink signs up in the yards, reminding the owners to mow. Fine 'n dandy, but why do they put little signs up on City property? Why don't they just mow their own yard? And why do they never come to my neighborhood to tell people to mow their yards?
  • How is it that my four-door car gets better gas mileage than my motorcycle?
  • Why is it that when I e-mail someone a question I never hear back from them, and when I e-mail them a nice long personal letter I rarely get a reply, but if I send them a dirty joke it gets forwarded back to me within minutes?
  • You mean to tell me Celine Dion isn't from Latin America? French-Canadian? Since when?

Google Maps

I love Google stuff. I've been using Google Maps and Google Earth for years. If you haven't messed with 'em, give it a try.

Google Maps is free, and is nifty indeed - not only can you get fairly good directions from place to place, look up addresses, zoom in and out, but you can also click on "Satellite" or "Hybrid" and see a bird's-eye satellite photo of whatever it is you're looking at. They've recently come out with a "Traffic" button, too, that tells you how bad traffic is in any given location, but I've not messed around with it much.

The interface is simple. Double click on the map to zoom in (or you can click on the "Zoom Bar" on the left of the map), click and hold to drag the map around...

One new thing they have is that you can draw lines and put place markers on individualized maps now, such as the bike trip we took last Sunday (click here to see it). There's a way you can put photos in there as well, which I'll do tonight if I get time.

Google Earth is kinda like Google Maps on steroids. You have to download free software and install it on your computer, and it takes a TON of bandwidth, but what you get is pretty impressive. It's got 3-D features, and you can do "flyovers," pan, tilt, and do all sorts of neat stuff. The problem is that it really takes considerable computing power; my three-year-old computer at home can't handle it.

I can spend hours looking at the satellite views... You can zoom in on the Mississippi delta and see the individual barges being pulled up the river. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge. You can see Europe without leaving your comfy chair...


Soldiers Lost

I hate this war. Not only do we have no goal, no definition of "victory," and thus no way to win the war, but the sheer amount of lives lost, money thrown away, material used... It's staggering.

This part of the country has lost three more young men in the line of duty. These soldiers have gone and done what we asked them to do, and they did it well; they deserve our respect. I'm gonna go to as many of the services as I can to hold a flag in honor of the men, and, as usual, I'm going to be wondering why our nation's leaders don't do the same.

I've never seen our Fifth District congressman, Republican Steve King, at a military funeral. It seems to me that if he voted for the war, he should be expected to go to the funerals and look the families in the eye, feel their pain, and take responsibility for his actions. This should be expected of all our leaders. They should see the real consequences of their votes. These are not numbers we're burying, but people. Young men. Dreams.


Pudgebucket

My wife has been losing weight left and right, and I'm so proud of her I could burst! Of course, I could also burst 'cause I've been eating so much myself... She works out every night. I lay on the couch with the cat, eating Tootsie-Rolls, watching her. She eats tofu and organic grassy-looking things. I lay on the couch with the cat, eating Tootsie-Rolls, watching her. She's energetic and healthy and happy. I lay on the couch with the cat...

The cat is now on a diet too. The vet is mad at us because the cat's at almost 17 pounds and should really be at 12 or 13 pounds... I realized the other day that if I were magically transported back to high school, I'd be wrestling in the Heavyweight category (I wrestled at 105 pounds back then).

Maybe it's time for me to do something about this paunch... Maybe. After I finish these Tootsie-Rolls...


I'd Like to Be a Child Again, Please.

I saw this on the news the other day, then read about it again in The Week last night. The Washington Post put Joshua Bell, one of the world's top violinists, and his $3.5 million Stradivarius violin on a train station and had him play for 45 minutes and secretly videotaped the performance. No one knew this was going to happen in advance - to the people hustling through the station to catch their trains, Mr. Bell was just a street-corner musician playing his fiddle, dressed in a T-shirt and blue jeans.

They counted well over 1,000 people who walked past the virtuoso as he played some of the most demanding classical music ever written. Of those 1,000+ people, only 20 paused to watch, and they only briefly. When Mr. Bell finished his performance, there was not a single clap of applause; people simply continued on their way. He did, however, find that people had tossed $32 worth of loose change into his Stradivarius case. Mr. Bell later said that it was odd to be ignored...

This brings up many questions. Why didn't anyone stop to listen? Were they too busy? Did they know he was good, or did they think he was simply panhandling with a fiddle? Did they even notice him? Do we recognize "high art" when we stumble across it, or do we need "experts" to tell us what's good and what's not? What would I do if I happened across an artist doing wondrous things; would I realize what I was seeing? If over 1,000 people walk past one of the world's best violinists without even looking at him, how many other geniuses are out there being ignored every day?

Putting myself in the shoes of those walking past, I think I honestly would have paused for a minute or two to listen to the unexpected concert. But then I'd check the time, sigh, and head to work. The stresses and clock-slavery of modern life simply have to be dealt with before there's time for art, unfortunately.

The observers of this little experiment noted one other interesting thing: people of all ages and races and demographics walked past the virtuoso without even looking up, but every single child stopped and listened and watched until they were drug away by their attending adult. Does this mean that children are more receptive of art than adults? Or does it simply mean that children don't give a hoot about "getting to work on time" if there's something more interesting to do?

When can I grow up and be a child?

6 Comments:

Blogger Leonesse said...

Wait, wait, waaaaaaiiiiit a minute here....

You mean I am supposed to eat funky green things instead of lovely little chocolate bundles of heaven? Aaaaand I am supposed to move?

Dammit.

Oh, and my verification for the day is artyojge.

I see it as Arty, Oh Gee. Like...geez post once in awhile.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Leonesse said...

Oops, let me finish..


I see it as Arty, Oh Gee. Like...geez post once in awhile, Arty

3:34 PM  
Blogger Bert Bananas said...

Regarding the violinist story, there has to be a universal truth buried in that story... But danged if I can decipher it.

But I bet really great prostitutes have similar stories to tell, but I don't think I'd make sense of them, either.

In my view, the only purpose to war is to keep ME safe. If you view it in that light, this war is working. But there are certainly a significant number of people who can't say this, but most of whom accepted that the risk of enemy action and friendly incompetence could result in war not being good for them.

Ants have wars, according to PBS... There's a universal truth buried in that, which I can't decipher, either...

10:14 AM  
Anonymous carrie said...

I'm sure your initial questions were rhetorical, but I'll answer one of them anyway :)

The weed police will check out a yard only if they get a report/request about it. They don't go out on patrol on their segways at $15/hr.

It's the citizen's duty to rat out their neighbors.

So, in your neighborhood you either have very tolerant people who don't want "the man" coming into their neighborhood, or they just don't care that the foot-tall green thing in their neighbor's yard is a noxious weed poised to take over the earth.

Some "city property" is the responsibility of the homeowner whose land abutts it, like the space between the sidewalk and the street. Other property may appear to be city property but really isn't. Another explanation could be that the right hand knows not that the left hand is slacking off.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

...but... but if I cut the weeds, the yard won't be green anymore.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Well I'm glad you asked. . .

They put signs on city property to justify all the money they spend on mowing that isn't really needed. If they don't come to your neighborhood, it's because there is a doughnut shop between them and you.

Your car gets better mileage than your bike for the same reason my rear tires wear out faster than the front tires. Born to be wild and all that.

Dirty jokes travel faster than light - scientists are still working on this.

Celine has a house in Hobe Sound Florida on Jupiter Island. I cruise past her house when I go south on the intracoastal waterway.

4:36 PM  

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