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October 26,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We are heartened to know that the Obama team is not taking anything for granted.  Our belief is that most people will realize we need real change and vote for Obama. RainyDayMagazine's Electoral College prediction for November 4th is Obama 415, McCain 123.  What is your call?  Go make it on MSNBC's Prediction Map.

Send us your numbers via email with the subject line "Here is my call."  We'll give a prize to the reader with the most accurate electoral vote prediction (regardless of who wins the presidency).  In case of identical winning predictions, the prize will go to the one with the earliest submission. [Permalink] - Election Prediction


October 25,2008 (WeekendEdition)

The final week of the 2008 presidential campaign will be the nastiest we have seen in a generation.  It will make the 2004 "swift-boat" smear on Kerry appear pale by comparison.  The Christian Right has already stepped up its attacks.  It's classic fear-mongering and one can smell the stench.

There are still a lot of undecided voters, so it will be important for the Democrats to respond quickly and factually without sinking into the same slime pit.  Not an easy path to navigate.

Take the whole "redistributing wealth" distortion of Obama's tax plan being spouted by the McCain camp.  Obama is not Robin Hood;  he is not "taking from the rich and giving to the poor."  He is proposing to take less from the "average."  Giving a tax break only to the middle class may not be a good idea to Joe the Hedge Fund manager or a plumber making $250K a year, but it is a pretty good idea to the "average" person.  Some of us here, according to the Obama Tax Calculator, could be getting a tax saving of as much as $670. 

We think part of the problem for those who buy into McCain's "redistributing wealth" misinformation campaign may be that they don't like to think of themselves as being "average."  They may worry that someday when they ARE in the $250K+ category they will be taxed more.  That is putting the cart so far ahead of the horse for so many that they might as well be pulling the cart themselves with the horse in it. 

If you like how things are today, vote for McCain.  If you agree that we need a change, vote for Obama.  You know where we stand.   We urge you to stand with Obama, for a REAL change.   [Permalink] - Tax Cut


October 24,2008 (FlailingFriday)

With less than two weeks to go in the election, it feels to us that the McCain campaign is flailing about looking to connect in any way it can.  We find it disingenious for McCain to be talking about an irrelevant point (Ayers) at this juncture, especially with so many other critical topics (economy, energy, etc...) which needs to be addressed.

It appears to us that it is McCain who is willing to "say anything" to get elected.  At this point, it appears to us that he has abandoned all principles in his attempts to get votes.  Pressure...it does reveal someone's true character: Some will focus, others will fold, and then there are those who will lash out and flail about.   The country needs to always be guided by a steady and intelligent hand.  This is the reason why we support the Obama-Biden ticket.

We won't even go into what Ms. Palin is going on about.  We are just looking forward to the day when she disappears back to caribou country.  If that sounded dismissive, it was intended to be so. We'll take her seriously when she has something serious to say.  [Permalink] - Say anything


October 23,2008 (TelescopeTechThursday)

We fixed the Celestron ASGT mount almost two months ago, but have not had a chance to attach a scope to it yet.  The problem was neither of our two telescope optical tubes have rails attached.

For the past few months we have been putting the pieces together to mount the Meade 2045 tube, add a GPS unit, and a laser pointer.  We think we have finally got all the items assembled. 

To get the GPS working, we needed an adapter and some extra ports.  To attach the laser pointer, we needed a mount.  To attach the optical tube, we needed a rail and some rings.

It will be fun to finally be able to test out the Celestron mount.  Look for some deep space shots in the future.  [Permalink] - Telescope Mount Accessories


October 22,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

Want to "see" what's going to happen with the November election?  We are predicting an Obama victory by a landslide.  To see how others in the media are making the call, this Electoral College Prediction Tracker is one of the more interesting interactive viewers we have come across. 

It shows different media polls and their predictions by states.  Fox News (at the bottom) is showing McCain in the lead.  Hey, they are about as far on the right as one can and still be on the scale, but since when have they ever been "right?"  [Permalink] - Prediction Tracker


October 21,2008 (TechToyTuesday)

Yesterday we looked at the Zen mind, today we want to feed the geek mind.  The best way to do that is with a tech toy.  The CyberCube is such a toy.

The CyberCube is made with 216, 6mm, neodymium spherical magnets.  They are surprisingly strong and sometimes they act like they have a mind of their own.

One of the "natural" configurations for these magnets is the flat hexagon, but it's the three-dimensional shapes which arise from connecting the hexagons that are really interesting.

The geometric forms are obvious, but we found the more organically-shaped ones to be more interesting.  The possibilities are really limitless.  The hardest shape to make?  For us it was the cube!  It took us quite a while to figure out how to get the face to be square.  The magnets kept wanting to slip into a "rounder" configuration. 

The CyberCube is a great toy for anybody, for any reason, at any time.  Get one for a friend if you have a reason to give a gift, but definitely get one for yourself today.  [Permalink] - CyberCube


October 20,2008 (ZenMindMonday)

Zen Mind/Zen Brush is an exhibit which opened at the MFA in earlier this month.  We took a tour of the exhibit recently and came away with a new appreciation of the concept. 

This exhibit is from the collection of Kurt Gitter and Alice Yelen, who were among the first Westerners to collect later Zen paintings.  Gitter, an Air Force flight surgeon, began collecting while he was stationed in Kyushu in 1965. 

Today, they have amassed the largest holding of Zen paintings in the US, some of which are shared with us in this showing. Visitors will see familiar themes (circle, dragon, bridge) painted in unfamiliar styles. 

The brushwork is sometimes flowing and sometimes blunt, but always alive.  The calligraphies are free-formed, often oddly sized and positioned.  Some of the depictions are humorous and some powerful.  These are all deliberate techniques to make the works accessible yet challenging to the viewer. 

Hakuin, a Zen master featured in this exhibit, was the one who posed the famous illogical question, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"  One of the many questions to contemplate in one's pursuit of enlightenment.

For readers who want to learn more and are in the New England area this Saturday, the MFA is having a program titled "Zen and Art: A Day of Exploration."  This is a unique opportunity to learn more about this fascinating subject.  The program starts at 10:30AM.  We hope to see you there.  [Permalink] - Zen Mind/Zen Brush


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