Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court approved the Muslim ban Monday, and today gutted American labor law. Then Justice Kennedy retired, a moderate swing vote.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Why do I love the band Imagine Dragons? Let me count the ways: One lead singer..

Monday, June 18, 2018

What the heck just happened? Suddenly, I'm popular on Flickr...

It's Alison Moyet's birthday today.

June 18, 1178 – Five monks in Canterbury, England, see an explosion on the Moon. This is the Giordano Bruno crater being formed when a small asteroid hit the Moon. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon's distance from the Earth (on the order of meters) are a result of this collision.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

When I was a newly-out gay boy, I lusted hard for men like this. Hairy men just weren't my thing, unless they were an extremely narrow, special type. But smooth-skinned, bearded, long-haired guys? Bone me.

Lava lake on Jupiter's moon Io.

Saturn's small moon Pan.

This is a democracy. Why do people expect GOP leaders to oppose Donald Trump? 128.8 million Americans voted in the 2016 election. 46 percent of them supported Trump.

Among those who voted for Trump, his approval ratings remain at about 90 percent.

You need to go oppose those 62.5 milion Americans who voted for an obviously racist, misogynistic, posturing, insecure, illiterate moron.

Until that happens, nothing will change.

Ever since seeing the film Moonraker, I wondered where that word came from. I just assumed it was something made up by Ian Fleming. I was incorrect. Seeing Hobson's Choice only made me wonder further: The bar in that film is named "Moonrakers", and clearly had a meaning. I finally looked it up.

The word comes from an English legend from the mid 1700s. The King's revenue officials were trying to catch some smugglers in Wiltshire in South West England. The smugglers were hiding barrels of French brandy in a local pond. A couple of the smugglers were caught one night using rakes to try to snag the barrels and bring them up. Knowing that Londoners believed Wiltshiremen to be incredibly stupid, the smugglers played dumb. Pointing to the reflection of the full moon in the water, they said, "Why, we saw a round of cheese in the water and were trying to get it out." The revenue officials believed them, and left -- thinking the locals a bunch of morons.

Depending on the context, a "moonraker" can have two meanings. It can mean "incredibly dumb and easily misled". Or it can mean someone who pretends to be an idiot in order to deceive others who are too self-important and arrogant to see through the ruse.
There he is again, Mr. Perfect.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Heavens to betsy. What's he doing using online dating??

My name is Tim... Yes, I am addicted.

snow leopard kitten - Cleveland Zoo

A snow leopard kitten investigates a metal clip attached to a ball at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

Three kittens -- two male and a female -- were born April 22, 2018, to mom Sombra and dad Amga. The Cleveland Zoo is working with the Snow Leopard Trust to breed this critically endangered animal.
sloth bear sunning - Cleveland Zoo

A sloth bear catches some rays (and some zzzz's) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.
Lulu and her mom - Cleveland Zoo

Four-month-old Lulu and her mom have a nap at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

Lulu means "gem" in the Malay language. Both are Eastern black rhinos, a critically endangered species.
I'm taking a bath here - Cleveland Zoo


Actually, this caribou was upset at the mosquitoes biting her butt at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.
flamingo fancy - Cleveland Zoo

A fancy flamingo at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.
andean bear yeowling - Cleveland Zoo

Andean bear food fight!!!

The male bear (right) didn't want to share his kibble. But a solid yeowling from the female made him stop being so selfish. (Andean bears are also called spectacled bears.)

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States, has two Andean bears which they hope to breed. The Cleveland Zoo is one of four zoos involved in the Andean Bear Alliance, which is helping to preserve this endangered species -- the only bear native to South America.
a very sleepy tiger - Cleveland Zoo

A very sleepy Amur tiger naps in the sun overhead in the Rosebrough Tiger Passage at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.
The modern Prometheus.... he brings me fire.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

When the police told Jason to "spread 'em", he did as he was told.

This has had me laughing all day long...

The Browns chose Baker Mayfield as their top pick in the NFL draft.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Baker Reagan Mayfield. He's named for a male friend of his mother's, who had the name Baker. His father balked at the name, and declared he'd approve only if he could give his son Ronald Reagan's name. She agreed.

He attended Lake Travis High School in Lake Travis, an unincorporated area southwest of Austin. It is extremely liberal, 48 percent white, 35 percent Hispanic, and wealthy (median income is over $58,000 a year). Despite its wealth, 17 percent of the population lives in poverty.

The Mayfields lived in a wealthy pocket of Lake Travis. Baker has an older brother, Matt, who was a walk-on baseball player in college. Baker grew up watching cartoons on Saturday morning and sports on ESPN, and playing hide-and-seek with the family. (It's a family tradition, and one they still engage in.) Cooking together as a family was important. As kids, Baker and Matt would ride dirt bikes up and down two artificial dirt hills their father built for them in a nearby field.

Baker's mother, Gina, attended the University of Houston and is a runner. His father, James, played quarterback and was a punter for the University of Houston. James founded Camwood Capital Group, an Austin-based buyout company. Gina and Matt both work for the firm.

Baker Mayfield grew up a Sooners fan. He idolizes his older brother, who has a huge influence on him. James and Gina Mayfield pushed their sons to be super-competitive. School, sports, board games: It didn't matter. Competing was everything.

Lake Travis is a three-year high school. Baker was only 5'2" his sophomore year, but grew eight inches over the summer. Nevertheless, he was still shorter than most quarterbacks and shorter than LT's starting QB, Collin LaGasse. When LaGasse suffered a season-ending injury early in his first game in 2011, Mayfield took over. He led 4A Lake Travis that year to a 16-0 record and the 2011 4A State Championship. His production his senior year fell off by almost a third in pass yardage and by more than half in TDs. The team's record fell to 9-2 as injuries hollowed the lineup, but Mayfield hung in there despite being hammered a lot. (Lake Travis was reclassified 5A in 2013, and 6A in 2015.) Mayfield made an unofficial commitment to Oklahoma University in high school, but OU coaches were unimpressed.

* * * * * * * *

Baker's rankings as a college recruit were middling. He only received three out of five stars from 247Sports, Scout, and Rivals, and ESPN gave him a grade of 70 (out a possible 100). Mayfield brags that a five-star collegiate football program recruited him, but most people say few schools showed any real interest except for Washington State. Other schools which showed interest include Florida International, New Mexico, TCU, and Houston.

Mayfield did not sign with any school. Instead, he attended Texas Tech, which had one of the lowest in-state tuitions. His parents lived with in-laws for two years so that he could attend Texas Tech.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech, and won the starting quarterback job. He became the first walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season opener at a BCS school. Texas Tech is a middling five-star program facing some much bigger schools in the Big 12 Conference. Mayfield led the team to a 4-0 record, but was twisted his right knee in the third quarter of the fifth game. The team went 2-5 over its next eight games. Mayfield returned for the last game, which he won. This left Texas Tech with an 7-5 record overall, 4-5 conference. Ranked sixth in the conference, Texas Tech went to the Holiday Bowl and won. There were some mixed signs in Baker's performance that year, as he threw a whopping nine interceptions.

Mayfield claims he was healthy several weeks before returning to the field. He says coach Kliff Kingsbury did not communicate with him when he was injured, while he was recuperating, or afterward.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

During the holiday break, Mayfield was so angry that he decided to leave Texas Tech.

Under Big 12 and NCAA rules, walk-on athletes without scholarships are permitted to transfer and not lose a year if and only if the first school gives its permission in writing. Texas Tech refused. Everyone was shocked, Mayfield most of all. Mayfield appealed to the Big 12, and lost. He appealed to the NCAA, and lost. His parents hired an attorney.

It was to no avail. Mayfield was forced to sit out the 2014 season, losing a year of eligibility. The Sooners went 8-5 under QB Trevor Knight, and were unranked.

In May 2015, Mayfield's mother and aunt were in a serious automobile accident while on vacation in South Carolina. Three others died.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In August 2015, Mayfield beat Knight and OU back-up quarterback Cody Thomas -- both taller, broader, and heavier -- to win the starting job. Mayfield led OU to an 11-1 record, 8-1 conference. The team went to the Orange Bowl, where they lost to Clemson. OU ended up ranked fifth in the nation.

Mayfield finished the year with 3,700 passing yards, 36 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He had a Football Bowl Subdivision pass-efficiency rating of 196.4 -- a record. Mayfield placed fourth in Heisman Trophy voting that year.

At the end of the season, Mayfield took some shots at TCU coach Gary Patterson, accusing him of promising a scholarship in 2013 and then yanking the offer just before National Signing Day. Mayfield claimed he "turned away" other offers because of TCU's promise. Patterson denied it wholesale, saying TCU told Mayfield he wasn't getting a scholarship the first week of January. Patterson then accused Mayfield of stealing TCU's signals and called Baker's dad "an arrogant guy who thinks he knows everything".

At the end of the year, Lubbock sports columnist Don Williams wrote a scathing column in which he called Mayfield a publicity hog and ego-maniac, and all but declared him and his father liars. He declared James Mayfield an "uber-involved" meddler who wanted special treatment for his boy.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In June 2016, the Big 12 finally altered its rule, permitting walk-ons without written scholarships to transfer without permission. The rule was applied retroactively, allowing Mayfield to play one more year at OU. (TCU was awarded an extra scholarship during the process to compensate the program for Mayfield's departure.)

Mayfield led OU to a 10-2 record overall, 9-0 in conference. The team won its second consecutive Big 12 championship in a row. Oklahoma played in the Sugar Bowl that year against Auburn, and blew them out 35-19.

Mayfield ended the season throwing for 3,965 yards, 40 TDs, and 8 interceptions. He had a 203.8 pass efficiency rating, another FBS record. Mayfield was once more a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. He finished third in the voting.

* * * * * *

In February 2017, Mayfield was visiting friends with his girlfriend, Morgan Mayberry, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They went to a Chinese restaurant, and Baker got drunk. Another patron tried to steal some food from the restaurant. A scuffle broke out, and Baker had some food thrown at his chest. He and another man started having words. Someone called the police. Mayfield attempted to flee, and a police officer caught and tackled him. Mayfield was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing, and resisting arrest. Mayfield pled guilty, and was sentenced to community service and forced to attend an alcohol education program.

In the fall of 2017, Mayfield led Oklahoma to an 11-1 record overall, 8-1 in conference play. OU handily beat TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game, 41-17. It was Mayfield's third consecutive Big 12 championship. Oklahoma was the 2nd seed in the 2017 College Football Playoff. The team lost to third-seeded Georgia in the Rose Bowl, 48-54 in double-overtime.

Mayfield ended the 2017 season throwing for 4,340 yards, including 41 TDs and 5 interceptions. He set yet another FBS pass efficiency record, with a 203.8 rating. Throughout the season, Mayfield stiff-armed or blocked many larger and heavier defenders, suggesting uncanny strength for someone who is only 6'1" tall and only weighs 220 pounds.

Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy in December 2017.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Several controversies dogged Mayfield during the 2017 season.

On September 9, OU played Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State was then ranked second in the nation, and OU fifth. Ohio had trounced Oklahoma the previous season, spanking them 45-24. This time, it was Ohio's turn to be embarassed -- and before a home crowd of almost 110,000, Mayfield drilled the Buckeyes, 31-16. After the game, Mayfield planted the Oklahoma University flag in the middle of the painted "O" at Ohio Buckeye's stadium after then win. He was widely criticized for unsportsmanlike behavior, and issued an apology.

On September 23, OU and Baylor University players got into a tussle during pre-game warm-up drills. After the scuffle broke up, Mayfield taunted the Baylor team, shouting "You forgot who daddy is! I'm gonna have to spank you today!" A 48-yard touchdown pass quieted the rowdy Baylor fans, and Mayfield taunted them again by pretending to listen for their cheers. OU won the game, 49-41.

On October 1, during warm-ups, Mayfield drilled a TCU player in the head with a football. OU staff said the TCU players were running through Oklahoma's warmup drills, and it was an accident. TCU coach Gary Patterson claimed Mayfield did it out of spite.

On October 15, the captains of the University of Kansas Jayhawks refused to shake hands with Mayfield after the coin toss. During the game, Mayfield became upset about cheap shots he felt the Jayhawks had taken at him. OU blew out Kansas, 56-3. Retaliating against the slights and attacks, Mayfield grabbed his crotch and shook his junk while shouting "fuck you!" at the Jayhawks coach. At the press conference after the game, he told Kansas fans to "go cheer on basketball". Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley punished Mayfield by not starting him or allowing him to be team captain in the upcoming game against West Virginia.

On October 28, when Oklahoma played Texas Tech, Mayfield walked into the stadium wearing a t-shirt that said "traitor" -- a taunt to Tech fans. OU won the game, 49-27.

* * * * * * * * *

Baker Mayfield is immensely charismatic. Almost everyone who has met him says so. His teammates and coaches call him a natural leader, someone very attentive to others and their needs and who easily identifies problems and tries to help others overcome them.

While living in a dorm his sophomore year, he actively participated in dorm life. His roommate was a comp sci major who knew nothing about football; they bonded. (A year later, once Mayfield was quarterback and team captain, he brought a group of his friends -- none of whom knew a thing about football -- to a team meeting and introduced them all.)

He is extremely friendly and easygoing. He loves small children, and spends time visting disabled kids on his own. He likes to cook breakfast every day. He is unpolished and natural.

He likes Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, Aggravation (the marble game), and Halo (the video game).

He has played hurt and never complained. He has never let some of the most hostile environments in college football get to him. He galvanized his team, and stepped up strongly when confronted with adversity. He is considered one of the smartest football players in the nation, a swift learner, and fearless.

He's super-competitive, and has a massive inferiority complex. "That chip on his shoulder is not made up for show; that's as real as it gets," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley has said. "That chip is about the size of this room. It's him. It's not fake. And it's all the time."

Almost everyone who knows him agrees: The best way to fire up Baker Mayfield is to say "you can't do it".

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There are worries that Baker Mayfield is nothing more than a system quarterback.

There are worries that OU's Air Raid offense magnified Mayfield’s strengths and obscured his weaknesses.

There are worries that Mayfield has never been challenged by any teams in the Big 12, most of which had porous defenses.

The Cleveland Browns are going to find out if any of that's true.

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm............... No.

This isn't Halloween. This is "Retirement Home Serial Killer -- Presented by Sammons-Preston, The Top Name In Hip Replacement Prostheses".
Oh my god. Break my heart, why don't you...


Monday, June 11, 2018

I wish I still knew people who'd sprawl naked on my floor asleep at the end of the evening...

"Coronation of the autocrat of protection"
By Louis Dalrymple
Published in Puck, 1896 June 24

William McKinley -- a fierce advocate of protectionism -- is "crowned" at the Republican National Convention. His crown lists the states that supported him (Massachusetts, Texas, Maryland, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia).

Protectionism was widely seen as benefitting the rich.

Rep. Charles H. Grosvenor (R-Ohio) and Sen. Mark A. Hanna (R-Ohio) are the high priests, and Herman H. Kohlsaat (owner and publisher of the Chicago Times Herald and Chicago Evening Post ) is a court page holding the robe. Paying their respects, on the right, are Rep. Thomas C. Platt (R-N.Y.), Sen. William B. Allison (R-Iowa), Sen. Matthew S. Quay (R-Penn.), Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed (R-Maine), Sen. Shelby M. Cullom (R-Ill.), and Gov. Levi P. Morton (R-N.Y.) -- the primary backers of McKinley.
John Long Severance.

His father was Louis Henry Severance (August 1, 1838 – June 25, 1913), who was raised in Cleveland by his physician grandfather. Using his grandfather's connections, he gained employment at the Commercial National Bank. In 1863, the bank loaned money to John D. Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, and Samuel Andrews for their start-up oil refinery business. Using inside information, Louis started an oil exploration business himself in Titusville, Pa., in 1864 -- using a loan from the bank he worked for. He grew wealthy, worth more than $13,000 ($300,000 in 2017 dollars) by 1870. Severance quit the oil fields in 1874 and returned to Cleveland, where Rockefeller hired him as a cashier at Standard Oil. Severance proved so aggressive at the job that Rockefeller promoted him up and up the ladder. Within two years, Louis had become treasurer of Standard Oil. He retired at the age of 56, a multi-millionaire, and died in 1913.

His two children, John and and Elizabeth Severance Allen, inherited his wealth.

* * * * * * * *

John Long Severance was born in May 8, 1863, and graduated from Oberlin College in 1885. He immediately went to work for Standard Oil, leaving in 1892 to work for Cleveland Linseed Oil, a paint and varnish firm. After selling the company to American Linseed in 1899, he founded the Colonial Salt Co. (a salt mining concern) and the Linde Air Products Co. (an industrial gases company). He sat on the board of directors of a number of big firms, including Cleveland Arcade, Youngstown Steel Door, Cleveland Trust Co., and Youngstown Sheet & Tube.

John Severance was one of the co-founders of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and donated roughly a million dollars or so to it during his lifetime. In his will, he left the museum an art collection worth $3 million ($54.5 million in 2017 dollars). It included a large collection of jade and armor, the massive painting "The Burning of the Houses of Parliament", and a work by Sir Joshua Reynolds. In 1930, he gave $2.66 million of the $7 million needed to build Severance Hall (the home of the Cleveland Orchestra).

About 1899, Severance began purchasing land in Cleveland Heights on the southeast corner of the intersection of Mayfield and Taylor Roads. Amassing 200 acres, he called the estate Longwood. Landscape architect M.H. Horvatch developed the property, which included several natural and man-made brooks and waterfalls, extensive formal gardens, and a large amount of man-made (but natural-appearing) forest.

Severance hired architect J. Milton Dyer to design the living areas on the estate. This included a 50-room Tudor Revival mansion, dairy barn, several stables, and a number of small gardeners' cottages. It took six years to build, and was completed in 1910. Severance hired architect Charles Schweinfurth to completely remodel the home in 1914. Schweinfurth added a tea porch, wine cellar, interior fountain court, and flower arranging room. The servants' wing was detached and a two-story addition built where the enclosed breezeway used to be. The remodeling took two years.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Across Mayfield Road from Longwood were two more Severance estates. Both were much, much smaller, and had been purchased by the Severance family in the 1880s. Small cottages existed here as summer homes for the Severances. A portion of the land was farmed, but much of it was still forested.

Ben Brae was owned by Severance's cousin, Julia Severance Millikin, and was located where Cleveland Heights Fire Station No. 1 and Council Gardens senior low-income housing complex are today. She and her husband, Dr. Benjamin Millikin, built in 1913 a large but not immense Tudor Revival home on the site. (The two-story home was actually quite similar in size to existing homes in the area today.) They extensively landscaped the estate, adding fountains, lawns, formal and informal gardens, and "naturalistic" groves of trees. Dr. Millikin died in 1916.

The other estate was the much larger, 45-acre Glenallen, owned by Elizabeth Severance Allen. It covered the land where the Bluestone condominiums are today, east to Yellowstone Road, and north to Edison and Woodridge Roads. The Allens hired W.H. Manning to landscape the site beginning about 1905. He added pools, statuary, gazebos, summer cottages, ponds, walks, formal gardens, and much more to the estate. Allen's rich physician husband died in 1914, and she hired Charles Schweinfurth to build a mansion on the site. It's not clear how many rooms Glenallen had, but a good guess is about 60 or more. (Only the floor plan for the basement survives, as far as I can tell.) She married industrialist Francis Fleury Prentiss in 1917.

This image shows the location of the three estates. (The smiley face is about where my house would be built in 1925.)

* * * * * * *

John L. Severance died childless in 1936, and his estate was inherited by his second-cousin, Severance Millikin (son of Julia Severance Millikin).

Elizabeth Allen Prentiss died in 1944, and Glenallen was demolished in 1945. Developers purchased her property, and they intended to subdivide it and turn it into homes. Homes were only built along two new streets, Glen Allen Drive and Birch Tree Path. About half the remaining property was sold to Lutheran High School East (which was completed in 1957), and the rest to the Jewish Community Center (completed in 1960).

Julia Severance Millikin died in 1950, and Ben Brae was demolished in 1953. Her land was purchased by the city. Council Gardens was built on the lower two-thirds in 1963, and Cleveland Heights Fire Station No. 1 on the upper third in 1982.

Severance Millikin refused to live in Cleveland Heights, which he felt was socially down-at-the-mouth. He moved to the exclusive community of Gates Mills, where he built the Ripplestone estate. This 150-acre estate consisted of a main house, various cottages, a barn, a stable, a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a climate-controlled gallery to display $1.5 milion art collection.

He immediately tried to develop Longwood in 1937, but local residents defeated his rezoning attempt. He tried again in 1949 and 1952 and was each time turned back. He finally stopped paying taxes on the property in 1953. He told the city in 1954 that he would have the property sold to pay back taxes if it did not relent. This would have sold the property for only a few thousand dollars, depriving the city of significant real estate transfer, property, and other taxes. The city council caved in, despite extensive protest from local residents.

Longwood was demolished in 1960 to make way for the Severance Town Center shopping mall.

Severance Millikin died in 1985. Severance Town Center went bankrupt in 2015. It is now mostly empty, 50 acres of pedestrian-alienating, crime-ridden parking lots surrounded by mostly low-income apartment housing.
Damnnnnnnnnnnnnnn... bar-backs got a hell of a lot cuter.

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that Congress authorized construction of the National World War I Memorial in Pershing Park in Washington, D.C., but the United States Commission of Fine Arts has refused to approve the design because all submitted designs intended to destroy (in whole or in part) the existing park?