People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Gone Fishin'

Meet the love of my life. Jayla, 37 months but preparing for her doctoral dissertation, went fishing with me Sunday. For the first time in her life.

My daughter captured the rare moment with her camera when the line was actually in the water. Jayla was obsessed with the thought that a fish had stolen our worm and chose to frequently reel him in. And I could tell there wasn't nearly as much excitement for her sitting motionless, waiting for a fish to bite, as there was in playing with the slimy, wiggly - fascinating - worm.

She would cast the line out, and everyone would duck or take cover, sit on my lap for - on average - fifteen seconds, and turn to me and say, "I think a fish got the worm, Gramps." So she'd reel the confused worm in for the umpteenth time, give it a quick inspection, and fling him out into the lake again.

It was a wonderful day. Oh, by the way, we were celebrating my daughter's birthday. I forgot to mention it. Happy Birthday, Jodi.

Click on image to enlarge.
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One Of Life's Mysteries Solved

I've always wondered why I can microwave my Orville Redenbacher Extra Buttery, Extra Salty popcorn and find, every time, about twenty unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bag. My mind races from wonder to rage to bewilderment over it. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat after having dreamt that I'd popped my popcorn and twenty kernels failed to pop.

Well, I'll sleep well from now on.

New kernel of truth about the old maids

INDIANAPOLIS -- Eat your way to the bottom of almost any bag of popcorn and there they are: the rock-hard, jaw-rattling unpopped kernels known as old maids.

The nuisance kernels have kept many dentists busy, but their days could be numbered: Scientists say they now know why some popcorn kernels, too pooped to pop, resist exploding into puffy white globes.

It long has been known that popcorn kernels must have a precise moisture level in their starchy center -- about 15 percent -- to burst. But Purdue University researchers found that the key to a kernel's explosive success lies in the composition of its hull.

Unpopped kernels, it turns out, have leaky hulls that prevent the moisture pressure buildup needed for them to pop and lack the optimal hull structure that allows most kernels to explode. (link)
Aha. So now you need to figure out how to plug the leaks! Orville.

As a footnote: You might wonder why Purdue University, world renowned for its engineering school, is involved in the study of popcorn. Well, if you live in Indiana (Purdue is located in Lafayette), you no longer talk about Indiana University basketball - since Bobby Knight left - so you talk about the corn crop, the second most exciting thing to occur in the state. And ... Orville Redenbacher happens to be from Valparaiso. Now you know.

Make Her Eat That Finger!

I brought to your attention the story about Anna Ayala and the finger in the Wendy's chili (here) and (here).

Well the law is catching up with the woman.

Woman in Wendy's Finger Case Arrested
By CHRISTINA ALMEIDA, Associated Press Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The woman who claimed she found a finger in her bowl of Wendy's chili last month has been arrested, the latest twist in a bizarre case about how the 1 1/2-inch finger tip ended up in a bowl of fast food.

Anna Ayala was taken into custody late Thursday at her Las Vegas home, police said.

Authorities would not provide details until a news conference Friday in San Jose, Calif. - the city where Ayala claimed she bit down on the finger in a mouthful of her steamy stew.

Ayala's claim that she found the finger tip, complete with a well-manicured nail, on March 22 initially drew sympathy. But when police and health officials failed to find any missing digits among the workers involved in the restaurant's supply chain, suspicion fell on Ayala, and her story has become a late-night punch line. (link)
Punch line? Like: Wendy's should change their marketing approach. "Try our new chili. It tastes just like chicken."

Or how about this? "Try our new chili. It's finger lickin' good."

Courts Won't Allow Parents To Save Child

Well, this comes as no surprise. It's diabolical. But it's not surprising.

British Court Rules to Allow Baby to Die
NewsMax.com Wires

LONDON -- Rejecting a bid by the parents, a British judge on Thursday upheld a court order allowing doctors to let a critically ill baby die if she stops breathing - a move doctors say is the only humane way to end the child's suffering. Eighteen-month-old Charlotte Wyatt can hardly see or hear and weighed about a pound when she was born prematurely. Her brain and other organs are so seriously damaged that she has "no feeling other than continuing pain," according to physicians.

Darren and Debbie Wyatt, who believe in preserving life at any cost, sought to overturn a court order granted in October.

But Justice Mark Hedley was not persuaded by the parents' pleas.

"I am quite clear that it would not be in Charlotte's best interests to die in the course of futile aggressive treatment," Hedley ruled Thursday at London's High Court. (link)
Judge George Greer, he of Terri Schiavo starvation fame, must look on this with a great deal of pride. It was his intransigence and warped sense of mission that got the Culture of Death ball rolling.

Expect to see a lot more of this kind of government intervention into your lives as time goes on.

Goodbye. Good Riddance.

Jim Jeffords, who will go down in history for having pulled off the cruel betrayal of his fellow Republicans by foregoing his party affiliation just at that point when the GOP had gained a majority in the Senate, thus giving the Democrats control once again, has decided to quit.

Sen. Jeffords Won't Seek Re-Election
NewsMax.com Wires

Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords, an independent who triggered one of the most dramatic upheavals in Senate history when he quit the GOP four years ago, intends to retire at the end of his term next year, The Associated Press learned Wednesday.

Jeffords will make the announcement Wednesday afternoon in Burlington, multiple sources in Vermont and Washington told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity. No calls to Jeffords' press secretary or staff were returned Wednesday morning.

Jeffords, 70, has been adamant in saying he will seek re-election, but there have been increasing concerns voiced about his health in recent weeks. He has suffered from a bad back and neck for years and lately has seemed confused by some questions in several news interviews. (link)
If you’ve followed his career, you know that his being confused has been a problem for a long, long time. Go home, Jim. You've done enough damage.

Tony Blair's Run Out Of Ideas

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” - Benjamin Franklin

When you’re the British prime minister, and you’ve gone before the citizenry and passionately pleaded with them to surrender their rifles, shotguns, and handguns - as well as their civil liberties - in order to take deadly weapons out of the hands of criminals and, thus, reduce crime, only to see crime skyrocket, leaving a disarmed public at the mercy of murderers and rapists, what do you as a politician do?

You tell the law-abiding people of Great Britain that they must surrender even more of their liberties to the government. Oh, and this time they must give up their knives. As it turns out, it was the household silverware that was causing all the mayhem.

Of course.

Blair promises weapon crackdown

Tough new powers to tackle the use of knives and guns were unveiled by Labour as fresh figures showed violent crime rose 9% in the final three months of last year.

The Prime Minister joined Home Secretary Charles Clarke in announcing a 10-point plan to "fight back against thugs" and cut crime overall by 15%.

Labour pledged that a new Violent Crime Reduction Bill, would be introduced within weeks of a General Election victory. It will include tougher sentences for knife and gun crime, raise the age at which a young person can buy a knife from 16 to 18 and make it illegal to buy an imitation firearm below the age of 18. (
Raise the age of persons buying knives. Yeah. That’ll disarm the criminals.

Ministers plan to consult on the feasibility of banning replica and imitation guns altogether and set up a Gun Crime Hotline for people to raise worries about gangs using guns to intimidate communities.
Banning replicas and toy guns. Yeah. Rapists who are unable to obtain squirt guns will repent for sure.
Under the crime crackdown, hooligans responsible for anti-social behaviour would be publicly named and shamed so local people knew who was responsible for any trouble.
Publicly name them on MTV and the network will throw them a party. Jesus. They’ve got to be kidding.

Mr. Blair promised to ensure a "visible uniformed presence" in every community by adding to record police numbers with 20,000 extra community support officers by 2008. "On any basis, crime has fallen since we came to office," Mr. Blair said. "Yet we know that for many people in local communities it doesn't feel like that."
Really? As a student of statistics, I know one can make any number look good. But I wonder how Tony Blair explains this:
Violent crimes leap 9%

The number of violent crimes recorded by police jumped 9% in the final three months of last year, Home Office figures revealed.

The total in England and Wales rose to 295,400 - and separate figures showed the number of gun crimes also rose by 10% in the year.

The government could point to the overall number of crimes recorded by police falling 5% in the quarter to 1,381,400, compared with the same period the previous year. Recorded robbery fell by 6%, domestic burglary by 17% and vehicle thefts by 16%.

But the shine was taken off the figures by the rises in recorded violent crime and firearms offences, which numbered 11,082 in the year compared with just over 10,000 in 2003. (
May I suggest a solution to the problem with rampant crime in jolly old England, Mr. Prime Minister? Get to the root of the problem. Lock everyone up.

As for the people of Great Britain: Arm yourself. Your government will not be there to protect you and your family.