Monthly Archives: May 2013

Very Funny

This was originally a commercial for a beeper.  The tag line was about embarrassment.  I think I saw this several years ago, but for some reason it came up in conversation the other day.  It is only 30 seconds long.  Anyway, here is a Youtube link, enjoy:


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More Cosplay Pictures

Having lost about 2,000 of my cosplay pictures, Phoenix Comic Con and my plethora of cosplay friends have replenished my stock considerably.  Here then are some more cosplay pictures.  If you want to see more of these, type “cosplay” into the search box on my home page.


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Bitcoin Update

Could bitcoin go legit?


Published May 30, 2013

  • Bitcoin
The online-only currency known as “bitcoin” is a hit — one currently trades for about $130 U.S. dollars. But regulators are less excited, fearing money laundering and tax evasion. How can bitcoin go legit?

On May 15, the Department of Homeland Security seized a digital bank account used by “MtGox,” the world’s largest exchange, where people buy and sell bitcoins. DHS alleged, and a judge agreed, that there is “probable cause”that MtGox is an “unlicensed money service business.”If proven, the penalty for operating such a business is a fine and up to 5 years in jail.

Reached by about whether MtGox has taken steps to comply with U.S. regulations, CEO Mark Karpeles responded that, “Unfortunately we cannot make any official statement at this time.”

‘I had a good corporate career — there was no need to jeopardize it by doing something that’s illegal.’

– Keyur Mithawala, CEO of bitcoin exchange CampBX 

The MtGox incident was a wake-up call for many bitcoin businesses.

“The seizure was kind of the moment where people realized, this is really serious stuff,”said Patrick Murck, general counsel of The Bitcoin Foundation, which represents exchanges and users.

But can they navigate regulations successfully? What would a bitcoin exchange have to do to be legal?

There are currently none that have a seal of approval from the U.S. government, but a few come closer than others. One exchange that touts its regulatory compliance is “CampBX,” which is the fourth-largest U.S. dollar/bitcoin exchange and is based in Alpharetta, Georgia.

“We were the first bitcoin exchange to register here in Georgia, and we talked to the state Department of Banking and Finance to make sure we were above-board before we launched the business,”CEO Keyur Mithawala told

“I used to work for Cox Communications and Equifax, so I had a good corporate career — there was no need to jeopardize it by doing something that’s illegal,”he explained.

Mithawala estimates that between 60 and 75 percent of his company’s expenses are for regulatory compliance. CampBX requires users to submit a government-issued ID and a utility bill before joining, he said.

“When someone submits their documents to us, their name then goes through three government databases that list suspected terrorists and financial criminals. Once the application clears all three databases, that’s when we clear their account,” Mithawala said.

So far, he said, he knows of just “six or seven”out of thousands of applicants who had failed that check.

Federal regulations then require that every purchase or sale of bitcoins on the site be reported to the government agency known as the “Financial Crimes Enforcement Network” (FinCEN).

“You submit all transactions every quarter,”Mithawala said. “And there are a couple other reports you are also required to file. If you detect any suspicious activity, you are required to file a Suspicious Activity Report, and then there is also a Large Transactions Report.”

Mithawala said that he had seen some suspicious activity on the site in the last couple weeks and that it would be reported.

As additional safeguards, CampBX keeps track of users’ IP addresses and has a 31-day waiting period before a user’s first bank wire deposit to the site clears.

CampBX is currently awaiting approval from federal regulators. The FinCEN website lists CampBX, under its formal legal name “Bulbul Investments,”as having filed an “initial registration.”

“It’s an application in progress … I’m confident we will get a positive decision, because we have the right policies in place,” he said.

Others have also applied for licenses, including San Francisco bitcoin seller “Coinbase,”which offers a simple interface and is backed by more than $5 million in venture capital funding.

Regulatory compliance does not end with the federal rules, and each state has its own license requirements. Mithawala says that his site is in compliance with Georgia state regulations but that his company is currently reviewing the laws in others, which it also needs to comply with when users are from outside of Georgia.

“We’re going to run into a lot of lawyer hours this year,”Mithawala said.

State regulations can be the most onerous.

“I really believe in complying and keeping track of bad guys,” said Peter Vessenes, CEO of a start-up called CoinLab, which is attempting to get full regulatory approval before launch. “But with all the different state rules we put in so much more time and energy … than we should have to.”

Despite the regulations, technology experts say that they will not prevent people from anonymously using bitcoins for illicit things like buying drugs online. The real-world analogy is cash; the government can tell when it is dispensed by banks, and to whom, but it loses track once it is dispensed.

“Bad people are going to do bad things. Right now the people who do the most bad things do it with cash,” Murck of the Bitcoin Foundation said.

The author of the story can be reached at or on twitter at @maximlott

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Asthma is Not Funny

Ok, a brief rant…  I am so tired of movies and television shows portraying people with asthma as nerds that get nervous and use an inhaler.  When they decide to become more normal, they throw away their inhaler.  You have probably already brought up that vision from the inundation of images to that effect.  One such scene is in the film Hitch, where the lovable accountant Alfred uses his inhaler when he is scared to take action.  He throws it away and mounts the steps to kiss his girl in passion, no longer having asthma.

The truth is, asthma is a very serious condition which kills.  If a child appears ‘nerdy’ in school as a result, it is because they have to avoid activities that trigger an attack and might kill them.  Using an inhaler more than two puffs twice a day can cause heart attack or stroke.  Anyone constantly using an inhaler in a movie or television show is doing so improperly.  They need to go to their primary care physician or pulmonologist to get their asthma under control.  Movies teach asthma is a mental weakness, psycho-somatic and mis-portray the use of inhalers.  Over use of an inhaler, or throwing one away you need to have can be fatal.

Krissy Taylor, model and sister of model Niki Taylor, died at 17 years of age from asthma.  Not a nerd, not a hypochondriac, a real person with a real disease.

Krissy Taylor, model and sister of model Niki Taylor, died at 17 years of age from asthma. Not a nerd, not a hypochondriac, a real person with a real disease.

Please writers, stop!  If you want to add dimension to a character by giving them a medical condition, get it right.  It is as cliche and as wrong as the ugly girl who just needs to remove her glasses, get a make-over and now she is popular.  It’s poor writing at best, and harmful to asthma sufferers’ psyche and health at worst.

I have asthma and have to use an inhaler from time to time when I cannot breathe.  If you have ever tried to breathe, and every time you take in air you wheeze and don’t get enough oxygen, it is not funny at all.  Here is the real face of an asthma attack:

EMS for a day asthma attack 2


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Random Humor

More random humor from my vault of hopefully amusing photos.  For more, type “random humor” into the search bar on home page.  Enjoy!

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King Richard III buried in hasty grave, archaeologists find

King Richard III buried in hasty grave, archaeologists find

By Stephanie Pappas

Published May 27, 2013


  • king-richard-skull

    The skull of the skeleton found at the Grey Friars excavation in Leicester, potentially that of King Richard III. (University of Leicester)

The body of King Richard III was buried in great haste, a new study finds perhaps because the medieval monarch’s corpse had been out for three days in the summer sun.

The new research is the first academic paper published on the discovery of Richard III, which was publically announced in February 2013. A team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester found the body beneath a parking lot in Leicester that was once the site of a medieval church. The full study was available online Friday, May 24.

The archaeological analysis contains details only alluded to in the initial announcement of the findings. In particular, the archaeologists found that Richard III’s grave was dug poorly and probably hastily, a sharp contrast to the neat rectangular graves otherwise found in the church where the king was laid to rest. [Gallery: The Discovery of Richard III]

Richard III’s journey to Leicester
Richard III ruled England from 1483 to 1485, when he was killed during the Battle of Bosworth Field, the definitive fight in the War of the Roses.

‘Richards damaged body had already been on public display for several days in the height of summer, and was thus in poor condition.’

– A team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester 

Historical records reveal that after the battle, Richard’s body was stripped and brought to Leicester, where it remained on public display for three days until burial on August 25, 1485. The church where the body was interred, a Franciscan friary called Grey Friars, was eventually demolished around 1538. A former mayor of Leicester built a mansion on the site, but by the 1700s, the land had been subdivided and sold off, the location of the church lost.

With it went all memory of where one of England’s most famous kings was buried. Richard III was immortalized by a Shakespeare play of the same name and made out to be a villain by the Tudor dynasty that followed his rule. Today, however, there are societies of Richard III enthusiasts called Richardians who defend the dead king’s honor. One of these Richardians, a screenwriter named Philippa Langley, spearheaded the excavation that discovered Richard III’s body.

Digging for Richard
The new paper, published in the journal Antiquity, outlines how archaeologists dug three trenches in a city government parking lot, hoping to hit church buildings they knew had once stood in the area. They soon found evidence of the friary they were looking for: first, a chapter house with stone benches and diamond-pattern floor tiles. This chapter house would have been used for daily monastery meetings.

South of the chapter houses, the excavation revealed a well-worn cloister walk, or covered walkway. Finally, the researchers found the church building itself. The church was about 34 feet wide. It had been demolished, but the floors (and the graves in the floor) were left intact. Among the rubble were decorated tiles and copper alloy letters that likely once marked the graves.

Brick dust suggested the outer church walls may have been covered with a brick faade, which would have created a striking red-and-white look with the church’s limestone-framed windows, the researchers wrote.

A hasty grave
Most of the graves in the Grey Friars church floor are neat and orderly, with squared-off rectangle sides. Richard III’s is an exception. The grave is irregularly shaped, with sloping sides. It was also too small for the 5-foot-8-inch skeleton interred within: Richard’s torso is twisted and his head propped up rather than laid flat. The body was also crammed against the north wall of the grave, perhaps because someone stood against the south wall to guide the body into its resting place. Whoever it was did not spend time afterward rearranging the body into a more symmetrical position.

“The haste may partially be explained by the fact that Richards damaged body had already been on public display for several days in the height of summer, and was thus in poor condition,” the researchers wrote.

There was no coffin in the grave, and likely no shroud, judging by the loose position of the skeleton’s limbs. However, the corpse’s hands were crossed and perhaps tied in front of him.

The study also delineates the 10 injuries on the corpse’s skeleton. Most are likely battle wounds, including two fatal blows to the back of the head. Two wounds on the face, one to the ribs and one to the buttock were likely delivered post-mortem, after Richard III was stripped of his armor, the researchers wrote. These “humiliation wounds” may have been designed to disrespect the king in death.

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Nostalgia Time – One of my first posts…

This was a post from December 2011, when I first started posting somewhat regularly.  The mystery of butter and cheese, something still with me today…


The Greatest Mysteries of All Time – Butter and Cheese!

I grew up on a dairy and milked cows growing up.  Unfortunately, I was also allergic to milk.  Even now the smell, taste and even look of milk disgusts me.  I never have butter on my bread and I was sixteen before I had my first piece of cheese.  Despite that, the two greatest mysteries to me is where butter and cheese originated.  This might sound silly at first, but who came up with the idea to take cream, shake it or churn it for 20 to 30 minutes, and add salt?  The thing is, they did this 10,000 years ago, and the first written reference to butter is on a 4,500 year old sandstone tablet.  Hunter-gatherers unable to write were making butter.  Here are some more facts about butter from the Dairy Goodness site:

Butter’s origins go back about 10,000 years to the time when our ancestors first began domesticating animals. Today, butter in its many flavourful forms is the world’s most popular fat. As a versatile spread, a delicious enhancer for so many foods, and the essential ingredient for baking, butter’s simple goodness has no equal…

  • The first reference to butter in our written history was found on a 4,500-year-old limestone tablet illustrating how butter was made.
  • It is generally believed the word butter originates from the bou-tyron, Greek for “cow cheese”, however it may have come from the language of cattle-herding Scythians.
  • Butter was used as food by ancient tribes of Asiatic India, as well as for burning in primitive lamps and smeared on skin to protect from the cold.
  • In early times, unlike today, butter was so costly it was used in religious ceremonies. It still is today in India and Tibet.
  • In ancient Rome, butter was valued cosmetically. Not only was it used as a cream to make skin smooth, but Greeks and Romans massaged it into their hair to make it shine.
  • Much esteemed for its perceived healing properties, butter was also used in poultices to fight skin infections and burns. The ancient Egyptians even valued it as a cure for eye problems.
  • During the T’ang Dynasty in China, clarified butter represented the ultimate development of the Buddha spirit.
  • The ancient Irish, Scots, Norsemen and Finns loved and valued butter so much they were buried with barrels of it.
  • Christian missionaries travelling in central Siberia in 1253 mentioned a traditional fermented drink, kumyss, which was served with generous lumps of butter floating in it.
  • In Northern Europe, in centuries past, butter was credited with helping to prevent kidney and bladder stones as well as eye maladies. (This was probably thanks to butter’s vitamin A content.)
  • Sailors in Elizabethan times were guaranteed 1/4 lb of butter a day in their rations, and it was an old English custom to present newlyweds with a pot of this creamy delight as a wish for fertility and prosperity.

Now for cheese, which is even harder to understand.  To make cheese, you take milk and add rennet.  For those that don’t know what rennet is, it is a stomach enzyme in mammals, usually taken from cows.  So, once again, who said for the first time, “Let’s take a bunch of milk and put it a big container.  Then, let’s take stomach juices from the inside of a cow and stick that in there.  When it starts to clump up, let’s take the clumps and press them together.  Then let those clumps sit there until they mold.  Then let’s eat it!”  I just don’t understand how that happened.  Again, cheese predates recorded history.  No one knows who made it first, but it started getting made all over the place.  Here is a brief origin from Wikipedia:

Cheese is an ancient food whose origins predate recorded history. There is no conclusive evidence indicating where cheesemaking originated, either inEuropeCentral Asia or the Middle East, but the practice had spread withinEurope prior to Roman times and, according to Pliny the Elder, had become a sophisticated enterprise by the time the Roman Empire came into being.[3]

Proposed dates for the origin of cheesemaking range from around 8000 BCE(when sheep were first domesticated) to around 3000 BCE. The first cheese may have been made by people in the Middle East or by nomadic Turkic tribes inCentral Asia. Since animal skins and inflated internal organs have, since ancient times, provided storage vessels for a range of foodstuffs, it is probable that the process of cheese making was discovered accidentally by storing milk in a container made from the stomach of an animal, resulting in the milk being turned to curd and whey by the rennet from the stomach. There is a legend with variations about the discovery of cheese by an Arab trader who used this method of storing milk.[4][5]

Cheesemaking may have begun independently of this by the pressing and salting of curdled milk to preserve it. Observation that the effect of making milk in an animal stomach gave more solid and better-textured curds, may have led to the deliberate addition of rennet.

The earliest archeological evidence of cheesemaking has been found in Egyptiantomb murals, dating to about 2000 BCE.[6] The earliest cheeses were likely to have been quite sour and salty, similar in texture to rustic cottage cheese or feta, a crumbly, flavorful Greek cheese.

Cheese produced in Europe, where climates are cooler than the Middle East, required less salt for preservation. With less salt and acidity, the cheese became a suitable environment for useful microbes and molds, giving aged cheeses their respective flavors.

So, now that you know more, I ask you – where did butter and cheese come from?  Other inventions are easy to trace, but butter and cheese seem to have always been with us.  Alcohol is also a long standing mystery.  That, I theorize was discovered when someone ate old grape juice or rotting grain and got buzzed.  Once someone gets a buzz, they figure out why, be it mushrooms, hemp, or licking a frog.  But butter and cheese?  The world may never know.  I personally believe it may be either divine inspiration and guidance, or alien visitation.

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Latte Artwork

This is all artwork made in latte drinks.


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RAF Museum to raise Nazi bomber from 1940 Blitz out of English Channel

RAF Museum to raise Nazi bomber from 1940 Blitz out of English Channel


Published May 07, 2013

  • Possible Do17_Wessex Archaeology side scan.jpg

    Side-scan sonar imaging provides a haunting look at the Nazi bomber, which the RAF museum plans to salvage in late May. (Port of London Authority/RAF museum)

  • Dornier Aircraft Wreck Site.jpg

    A sonar image reveals the body of the Dornier, half buried beneath the sands of the English Channel. (Port of London Authority/RAF museum)

  • The-Dornier-17-first-seen-in-public-at-Zurich-in-1937.jpg
A British museum has begun the process of lifting the only Nazi bomber to survive the World War II Blitz on London out of its shallow grave — under 60 feet of water and shifting sands under the English Channel.

In the fall of 1940, the southeast coast of England was under heavy attack by the German Luftwaffe, as Hitler sent wave after wave of bombers to the country in his efforts to blast the country out of World War II.

In August, early in a campaign that would come to be known as “the Blitz,” a formation of German Dornier Do-17 bombers was intercepted and one was shot down. It landed on Goodwin Sands, a large sandbank off the coast of Kent County, the last bit of rolling English countryside before Britain gives way to the straits of Dover, 20 or so miles of cold sea, and ultimately France.

‘It’s hugely important to British national history.’

– Peter Dye, director general of London’s RAF Museum 

The aircraft touched down relatively safely, but as it sank to the sea floor it flipped upside-down. And there it stayed, buried by the English Channel, the sandbar, the tides and the decades. Until now.

“When you find these fascinating, important objects, they’re in challenging places: the Greenland ice caps, the Egyptian deserts — or in this case, the English Channel,” explained Peter Dye, director general of London’s RAF Museum, which is spearheading a program to pull the plane from the sea.

Sidescan sonar images taken in 2008 revealed the silhouette of the craft, Dye told, as the shifting sands exposed the perfectly preserved plane for the first time.

The Dornier’s very existence is remarkable, he said; all of the hundreds of fighters that England shot down were smelted during the war and reused, ironically turned into British aircraft to continue the battle against the Germans.

“We’ve got a Spitfire and a Hurricane and a German Messerschmidt,” Dye said. “All the other aircraft were sent to smelters and recycled, ironically enough into our aircraft.”

“You might say it’s environmentally sound,” he added wryly.

But now that it’s exposed, now that the sand has shifted, every winter storm will degrade the plane, while sport divers and curious history buffs will unintentionally damage it merely by swimming by.

“The process of destruction begins with discovery,” Dye told So the RAF Museum, in conjunction with the Port of London Authority, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and Imperial College London are in the process of retrieving the plane. But that’s a challenge in itself.

The Dornier Do-17 has a 60-foot wingspan and stretches about 50 feet; it’s constructed of several aluminum sections. The plane is relatively light, but chloride in the ocean as well as the life teaming there have worked on it over the 70 years since it last saw sunlight.

The RAF Museum is currently on site assembling a special lift to raise the plane from the sea floor, a process that will take a few hours at most, likely during the last week of May.

The wing section will then be removed from the body, promptly sprayed with chemicals and gels to preserve it, and driven a few hours down the highway — likely the first time a Nazi craft has navigated England’s roads in half a century.

The preservation process involves a months — or even years-long — lemon-juice shower, an odd solution devised by the Imperial College’s Department of Material Science that strips away the Channel’s chemicals and prevents exposure to oxygen.

By washing away the chloride with citric acid, the surface is effectively protected and a barrier to further corrosion built, Dye explained. The process is lengthy, and the entire proceeding will cost roughly half a million pounds (around $750,000). But the uniqueness of the find makes it truly worthwhile, he told

“We feel that this is a unique survivor, the only German bomber from the Blitz that’s left. And it’s hugely important to British national history,” he said.

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Cute Dogs – Tuesday Edition

Since yesterday was Memorial Day holiday for many of you, I put the cute dogs post on Tuesday this week.  Enjoy!


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