Monday, September 29, 2008

Have a Biohazard Birthday

stained glass biohazard 01
Happy Birthday to Drew, my youngest brother. His birthday was the 26 of September but this is the most timely I have given him a gift in maybe 10 years.

I wanted to make something appropriate but kind of evil looking. My mom was the one who came up with the biohazard symbol since Drew is a an engineer working in the environmental remediation field. His degree is in nuclear engineering but the radiation symbol is pretty boring. We agreed the biohazard symbol was much cooler.

Kelli was the one who suggested I use black as the background instead of using a clear or a light color. It worked perfectly.

stained glass biohazard 02

stained glass biohazard 03

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stained glass biohazard 11

Friday, September 26, 2008

Braking News!!

Today’s safety tip brought to you by the return of The Summer of Love.

Yesterday there was a 4 car accident in our fair city caused by the second most dangerous type of driver*. This female driver was DWBB, Driving While Bell Bottomed.

The driver caused the accident when she tried to brake to avoid a vehicle which had slowed quickly in front of her. Unfortunately she got the leg of her flared jeans caught on the gas pedal as she was trying to move her foot from the gas to the brake. A chain reaction ensued, fortunately causing no injuries, just vehicle damage.

Beware of flares – they are unsafe at any speed.

*The number one most dangerous driver is one who text messages while they are driving. Talking on the phone is bad enough but text-messaging?? One might as well be playing with your PlayStationPortable and cooking in your Easy Bake Oven on the highway. Mo-rons.


Incidentally, being a typical Los Anchorage accident it involved:

a Toyota Highlander,

a Ford Explorer,

a Honda Civic, and

a Landrover.

In Alaska those whose vehicles are more “green” end up getting black and blue in traffic accidents.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Outrageous (and not in a good way)

I’m not even talking about the 700+ Billion Dollar bailout of very private enterprises with very public monies. Although that’s so outrageous I can’t even blog about it right now.

I’m talking about the political rhetoric these days. For instance:

1) Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings on Wednesday warned two minority groups to beware of Sarah Palin because “anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.” (FoxNews)

What? Firstly, moose is kosher (albeit not without the proper slaughtering techniques and supervision). I’m not Jewish but I’m pretty sure the Jews and the moose have a reasonably decent relationship. I can’t find any evidence of blacks having moose difficulties either.

Leave the moose out of it Representative Hastings. Dumbass. *

2) During Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sara “Skinny G” Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson “Gibson alluded to McCain's recent statement that Alaska's proximity to Russia lent Palin some expertise on that nation, asking Palin to explain.

’They're our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska -- from an island in Alaska,’” (LA Times)

Stop it. Here’s a map.

Here’s the Wikipedia entry. Nothing of significance is on either Little Diomede (USA, population 144) or Big Diomede (Russia, population ZERO). The only time Russian forces will storm across the Bering Strait from Kamchatka to Alaska is when you play RISK.

The distance between Magadan, Russia (the most significant city in Siberia and Anchorage’s Sister City) and Anchorage, Alaska is 1,958 miles (roughly calculated with Google Earth). Moscow to Juneau is 4,533 miles.

We are close to Russia like we are close to Japan, Korea, China, etc. In fact Wasilla, Alaska, to Singapore, China, is 4311 miles.

So except for wanting our natural gas pipeline to go through Canada, she has no experience with any foreign relations. To imply otherwise is disingenuous at best.

3) The Obama campaign ran an ad saying McCain is so out of touch technologically that he doesn’t even use the internet or send email.

Who the falafel cares?

Apparently, due to his POW related injuries, he gets shoulder aches when he uses a keyboard or does other repetitive tasks so he relies on his wife or his staff to do these things.

What President is sending his own emails anyway? Do you think George Bush types “OMG we need 700 Brazillian dollars? What’s the exchange rate anyway on those – LOL !”

Your staff does that sort of thing, that’s why you have them.

4) I want to give Skinny G’s folks the benefit of the doubt but they come off as aloof and inept. She won’t answer questions including whether she supports Don Young or Ted Stevens. (Politico)

From this Alaskan’s point of view she should have a public opinion on that. Either she’s a loyal Republican supporting two senior statesmen despite current controversy or she’s a maverick standing against her party for the good of Alaska. She has to pick a side on this.

She also won’t let her staff or her husband comply with subpoenas or aid the investigation surrounding a simple personnel issue. This begs the question why won’t she just say, look, here’s the deal” and get it over with.


It’s clear we have a lot at stake with this election. So let’s cut the crap and make the candidates talk about real issues in a clear and calm way.

Is that too much to ask?

* This reminds me of Blood On The Snow, a true moose story. I crack myself up.

Russia Alaska Map

Monday, September 15, 2008

Please Don't Lash Me, Skinny G

Fun is fun but you'll not hear any serious criticism of Skinny G from me.

This is due to either

a) there is nothing negative or even mockable about the lovely and capable Mrs Palin


b) according to the New York Times her staff has contacted at least one local blogger to tell them to "Stop blogging right now!." Read it here (and I didn't make up the headline)

Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes

I really don't care to write a political blog anyway but even if I had such an urge I'm not nearly anonymous enough to take on the possible future President of the United States (who are we kidding anyway?)

My readership is probably 25 regular readers (thank you all) but I sort of know people who know people and therefore I'd be on a tight leash if I crossed any real lines. I'm not going to put my employment at stake, thank you very much.

So no more Skinny G talk.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, however, are HILARIOUS!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Joseph Lostrangio - A Memorial

(originally posted September 11, 2006 as part of The 2996 Project administered by D. Challener Roe in which bloggers memorialized each victim of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 individually)

Those who have read my blog already know about my love for guitars and my complete inability to find the patience or will to master them. Today I'm going to tell you about a guitarist I never met. His name was Joseph Lostrangio.

Joe never met a six string he didn't like and he was an avid player. Friends remember him playing Billy Joel tunes with zeal.

Joe also had a love of saltwater fish. He had four tanks including a 90-gallon showpiece. Have you ever tended a saltwater fish tank? It's not a walk in the park. His enthusiasm was infectious and many coworkers learned how to care for their own fish through Joe's guidance.

Joe had a lot of enthusiasm and many diverse interests. His wife of 26 years, Theresann, called him "a life explorer."

Joe and Theresann lived in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. By all accounts he was a good father to their two children and a good husband. He encouraged the kids to follow his example of devouring new experiences and supported their talents and interests.

Speaking of devouring, Joe had another passion: food. Some friends called him a gourmet chef but others suggested it went way beyond that. He was fearless with food and tried as many exotic ingredients as he could find, often querying staff members of New York restaurants about how to find the next, weirdest ingredient yet.

Which was probably yet another reason Joe was excited about his new job in New York City. He grew up in Long Island and went to New York Law School in Chinatown. He worked as a reinsurance consultant and often visited the city but the new job with the Devonshire Group would put him in the heart of the financial district. And it put him near some great restaurants where he could learn tricks and procure new culinary delicacies.

His son, Joe Jr., was attending St John's College and they agreed to share an apartment so that Joe Sr. would have a place to stay whenever he would be unable to commute home. It was a perfect arrangement.

His first day of work was September 10, 2001. His office was on the 77th floor of 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower). He called a friend at about 5pm that evening and left a message for them to meet at a Chinese restaurant later that week. Later he called Theresann from the apartment and they discussed family news, what bills needed paying, and that he would call her from work in the afternoon the next day, as was his habit.

I hope they told each other they loved each other. I suspect they did.

The next morning at 08:26 am, hijacked American Airlines flight 11 struck the North Tower somewhere between the 93rd and 99th floor. One hundred and two minutes later WTC1 collapsed.

Joseph Lostrangio was 48 years old.

I never knew you, Joe, but researching your story has made me sad that I did not have the opportunity to make your acquaintance and call you a friend. Perhaps you could have taught me to master that silly F chord.

You have inspired me and challenged me to devour life. Yours was cut way too short but you made the most of it.

"… I'm not sure about a life after this
God knows I've never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
That is running to the promised land

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night…"

Billy Joel – River of Dreams


This memorial is part of The 2996 Project administered by D.Challener Roe.
You have done an amazing thing Mr. Roe.


The New York Times

September 11 Victims: Joseph Lostrangio

9-11 Heroes: Joseph Lostrangio Joseph Lostrangio

September 11 Class Action: Statement of Theresann Lostrangio

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

De Plane, De Plane !

A gift for my former Sgt, Richard Stouff, recently promoted to Lt. Now that he's not in my direct chain of command I can say that he's a class act without it sounding like brown-nosing.

He's a pilot, by the way. Thus the whole plane thing. It's not perfect but I think it came out okay for my first 3D piece. And it's a kaleidoscope but that doesn't photograph well.