Thoughts Gallery April 2003
April 1
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It's looking like I'll be having a thanksgiving baby at the end of the year.  Have all the preparations made for the baby boy that's coming along, at least until I'm told of the sex of the baby otherwise.
April 2
Image of the Day
After slaving away for the past few days and finishing up all the odds and ends of renovation I am ready.  I called in the final inspections for plumbing, mechanical, concrete and building today.  I have everything lined up and hoping for the inspector to be in a good mood.
'TIME-TRAVELER' BUSTED FOR INSIDER TRADING
Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges -- and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256! Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28. "We don't believe this guy's story -- he's either a lunatic or a pathological liar," says an SEC insider. "But the fact is, with an initial investment of only $800, in two weeks' time he had a portfolio valued at over $350 million. Every trade he made capitalized on unexpected business developments, which simply can't be pure luck. "The only way he could pull it off is with illegal inside information. He's going to sit in a jail cell on Rikers Island until he agrees to give up his sources."
       The past year of nose-diving stock prices has left most investors crying in their beer. So when Carlssin made a flurry of 126 high-risk trades and came out the winner every time, it raised the eyebrows of Wall Street watchdogs.  "If a company's stock rose due to a merger or technological breakthrough that was supposed to be secret, Mr. Carlssin somehow knew about it in advance," says the SEC source close to the hush-hush, ongoing investigation.  When investigators hauled Carlssin in for questioning, they got more than they bargained for: A mind boggling four hour confession.  Carlssin declared that he had traveled back in time from over 200 years in the future, when it is common knowledge that our era experienced one of the worst stock plunges in history. Yet anyone armed with knowledge of the handful of stocks destined to go through the roof could make a fortune. "It was just too tempting to resist," Carlssin allegedly said in his videotaped confession. "I had planned to make it look natural, you know, lose a little here and there so it doesn't look too perfect. But I just got caught in the moment."

       In a bid for leniency, Carlssin has reportedly offered to divulge "historical facts" such as the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and a cure for AIDS.  All he wants is to be allowed to return to the future in his "time craft." However, he refuses to reveal the location of the machine or discuss how it works, supposedly out of fear the technology could "fall into the wrong hands." Officials are quite confident the "time-traveler's" claims are bogus. Yet the SEC source admits, "No one can find any record of any Andrew Carlssin existing anywhere before December 2002."
April 3
Image of the Day
It seems the anal city inspection has yet to relax, he managed to come up with several new items and totaled 21 things he things still need to be fixed for the renovation.  I can see why so many people choose to go around the city inspections, as they are very unreasonable on things, and it is very much a closed good-ol boy network within the City of Austin.
Iraqi Uses Web to Chronicle a City Under the Bombs
A mysterious Iraqi who calls himself Salam Pax, writing a Web log from the heart of Baghdad, has developed a large Internet following with his wry accounts of daily life in a city under U.S. bombardment. Salam Pax, a pseudonym crafted from the Arabic and Latin words for peace, came back on line on Monday after a two-day break because of interruptions in Internet access. The traffic on his Web site, http://dear_raed.blogspot.com, caused the server to go down and Salam's e-mail folder has filled with inquiries about his true identity. Salam, who writes in English, is the only resident of Iraq known to be filing accounts of the war directly to the Web.
He has spoken against the invasion but clearly has no great love for Iraq's Baathist leaders.
       "Freaks. Hurling abuse at the world is the only thing left for them to do," he said last week after media appearances by Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf and Interior Minister Mahmoud Diyab al-Ahmed. But he does not like seeing his city bombed either. "The only thing I could think of was 'why does this have to happen to Baghdad'. As one of the buildings I really love went up in a huge explosion I was close to tears," he wrote on Saturday.  Salam and his family have been out on reconnaissance missions around the city to inspect the damage and they report the bombing has been accurate but dangerous to civilians. "Today before noon I went out with my cousin to take a look at the city. Two things. 1) the attacks are precise. 2) they are attacking targets which are just too close to civilian areas in Baghdad," he wrote on Sunday. On Saturday he reported a rare eyewitness account of Iraqi policemen setting fire to the oil in trenches dug around Baghdad, apparently to confuse the guidance system of bombs. "My cousin (sic) came and told me he saw police cars standing by one and setting it on fire. Now you can see the columns of smoke all over the city," he wrote. Salam reports that the streets of Baghdad are busy but few shops are open. Vegetable prices shot up in the first days of the war but by Sunday they had fallen back to normal.

       In the first days of the U.S. and British invasion, Salam gave the impression of calm resignation but his tone changed on Sunday when Iraqi resistance surfaced and casualties rose. "If Um Qasar (the port of Umm Qasr in the south) is so difficult to control what will happen when they get to Baghdad? It will turn uglier and this is very worrying," he wrote. "People (and I bet "allied forces") were expecting things to be mush (sic) easier. There are no waving masses of people welcoming the Americans nor are they surrendering by the thousands. People are doing what all of us are, sitting in their homes hoping that a bomb doesn't fall on them and keeping their doors shut." The electricity has gone out in parts of Baghdad and the Bush administration has launched another e-mail blitz on Iraqis, sending him five messages, he reported." Three of them are to army personnel and two to the general public. In those they gave us the radio frequencies we are supposed to listen to. They are calling it 'Information Radio'," he said. 
April 4
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Went to Georgetown for the evening, picked up a hauling trailer to take to Houston for a shopping trip.
Masahiro Fujita of Sony Corp shows the company's newly developed small biped entertainment robot, SDR-4X II, at an unveiling in Tokyo, the prototype robot will be exhibited at ROBODEX 2003, to take place from April 3 to 6 in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. 
April 5
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Had a long round trip to Houston for the day, visited the Foley's furniture outlet center, a brief stop off at my parents house, and found some nice heavily discounted leather furniture, picked out a tan couch and a red chair. 
Honda Motor's newly-developed prototype biped humanoid robot 'ASIMO' (R) walks in front of a earlier-version ASIMO during a press preview of Robodex 2003, a robot exposition, in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. The new 'ASIMO' has a walking speed of 3km/h, weighs 52 kg, and is 120 cm x 45 cm x 44 cm. 
April 6
Image of the Day
It's good to see that the lds church's recognizable images have yet to be copied over for commercial sales of non religious items.  Only the non moveable g.i.-joe nephite figurine seems to come to mind offhand.  Conference was good this time around, nice to see that the church was able to comment on the current political and war situations and not leave everyone just wondering in the dark what it's official stance is.
A red rose in a puddle reflecting Erfurt's cathedral. The Erfurt tourist authority is selling condoms that highlight the town's 700-year-old cathedral.
April 7
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Met with the city inspector this morning to resolve what all the inspection items are, and met with a framing contractor to have his work on some of the items during the next few days. That combined with my night work should let me get another inspection by the end of the week.
A model of the famous Bavarian castle Neuschwanstein where King Ludwig II of German State of Bavaria ruled in the 19th century, is unveiled at the Legoland leisure park in Guenzburg, Bavaria, southern Germany. The castle is made out of 300,000 Lego pieces, weighs 300 kilos (661 pounds) and took 6 months to build as a new attraction of the Legoland park.
April 8
Image of the Day
Arabs Laud Iraqis' Resistance
CAIRO, Egypt - Among many Arabs, it has become an icon of the war, an image first broadcast on Iraqi television, then repeated in newspapers across the region: Iraqi farmers in flowing, checkered headdresses, and the U.S. attack helicopter they claimed to have shot down. In the Arab world, military victories have been so scarce in recent decades that Arabs celebrate the mere fact that Iraq hasn't lost yet and that its people haven't surrendered in the face of America's technological superiority. Retired Gen. Hossam Sweilim, a former Egyptian army commander, said he understands why Arabs from other countries are eager to believe Iraq's claims that it is humiliating the American and British invaders.
       "Our history has a lot of victories against the Crusaders, against the Mongols," he said. "But we can't manage a victory against Israel in these times because of the American support for Israel. That's why Arabs are angry." Sweilim, a soldier for 35 years, said victory for the powerful U.S. military over Iraq is virtually certain. But those less schooled in military matters still hold out hope. Americans may defeat the Iraqi army, but "I doubt if they can claim to defeat 27 million Iraqis," said Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian political scientist. "The Americans will have to endure a similar defeat to the one they endured in Vietnam." Mokhtar Ali, a teacher escorting his students from Minya, 120 miles south, to tour a Cairo museum dedicated to what Egyptians like to think of as the Arabs' last military triumph, said Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) already has proven himself "so strong against the United States."

       The war museum's centerpiece, a giant mural in the round, depicts the Oct. 6, 1973, assault on positions Israel had captured in the 1967 war, with 400 Egyptian tanks crossing the Suez Canal and Syrian forces pouring into the Golan Heights.  Museum visitors pose next to tanks, fighter jets and life-size cardboard cutouts of Egyptian heroes, and listen to the narrator of a sound and light show proclaim the 1973 battle the "greatest victory in history." In truth, the ground Arabs gained on the first day was lost over subsequent weeks, and Israel held the military advantage by the end of the war. The 1973 war, Ali said, was about regaining land and pride. Similarly, in the Iraq war, Arabs faced with an invasion from all directions "have to defend their country," Ali said. In 1967, Israeli troops took just six days to defeat the Arabs. The 1948 war set off by the founding of Israel is still remembered among Arabs as "the catastrophe." In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon, including its capital, and did not fully withdraw until 2000.

       Even the 1991 liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi invaders was seen as an Arab defeat, because outsiders had to be brought in to resolve an Arab crisis. Some still ridicule Kuwaitis for greeting American troops with sweets and flowers.  This time, Ashraf el-Bayoumi, an Egyptian rights activist and anti-war campaigner, has seen Egyptians' surprise and elation as they follow Arab media reports focusing on Iraqi resistance. "If they resist for another two weeks, that's victory, because of the repercussions and dynamics it is creating in the Arab world," el-Bayoumi said. "Perhaps we are moving into an era where the people are the heroes. The Iraqi men, women and children who are resisting we don't know their names, but they are the heroes." 
April 9
Image of the Day
Look at all those microphones, I don't see any of the US networks outlets presence there.
U.N. Fears U.S. Bomblets Resemble Food Packets
UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. children's fund UNICEF  expressed concern that Iraqi children might mistake yellow food packets being handed out by U.S.-led forces with small bombs with identical coloring. "Confusing unexploded ordinance with food places children at huge risk of injury or death," UNICEF said, calling on the military to urgently change the color of the food packets. A UNICEF statement said food packets known as "humanitarian daily rations" that were being handed out by the U.S. and British forces in Iraq were covered in a bright yellow plastic wrap. The color of the wrapping was identical to that of an air-dropped bomblet that UNICEF identified as a BLU 97.  A similar problem had arisen during the war in Afghanistan , where the U.S. military eventually changed the wrapping on food packets to blue, the U.N. agency said. In Afghanistan, both the food packets and the bomblets were dropped from U.S. aircraft while in Iraq only the bomblets were being air-dropped. But children can still confuse the ration and unexploded ordinance, because of their identical coloring, UNICEF warned. 
April 10
Image of the Day
I finished another window screen today, only 5 more to go. Erin & I watched the movie Changing Lanes and munched on cheese fish and jello eggs as a snack. 
This is a bathroom in Saddam Hussein's palace as British Royal Marines take over the palace in Basra, Iraq
April 11 - Dedicated to my rich heritage and Family bloodline
Joseph Rodes Buchanan (1814-1899) was an American scientist, Faculty Dean and Professor in the Eclectic Medical Institute, in Covington, Kentucky, and research pioneer in psychometry. It was Joseph Buchanan who, in 1842, coined the term "psychometry" as meaning the "measuring of the soul." General Bishop Polk of the Civil War once told Professor Buchanan of his curious sensitivity to atmospheric, electric, and other physical conditions. If he touched brass in the dark, he immediately knew it by its influence and the offensive metallic taste in his mouth.
       Dr. Buchanan began to experiment and soon discovered that these sensations are not restricted to the sense of taste alone. Students of a Cincinnati medical school registered distinct impressions from medicines held in their hands. In order to eliminate thought transference, the substances were wrapped in paper parcels and mixed. Eventually, it became very evident to Dr. Buchanan that some type of emanation is thrown off by all substances, even by the human body; furthermore, certain sensitives can feel and interpret these emanations in their normal state. Actually, he was staggered by the possibilities of this discovery. He stated:

       "The past is entombed in the present, the world is its own enduring monument; and that which is true of its physical is likewise true of its mental career. The discoveries of Psychometry will enable us to explore the history of man, as those of geology enable us to explore the history of the earth. There are mental fossils for psychologists as well as mineral fossils for the geologists; and I believe that hereafter the psychologist and the geologist will go hand in hand, the one portraying the earth, its animals and its vegetation, while the other portrays the human beings who have roamed over its surface in the shadows, and the darkness of primeval barbarism. Aye, the mental telescope is now discovered which may pierce the depths of the past and bring us in full view of the grand and tragic passages of ancient history."

       If you consider this statement, along with the era in which it was spoken, it really is quite remarkable how far ahead of his time Dr. Buchanan was.  He called the subtle emanation given off by the human body "nerve aura." In the Journal of Man, one of the first Spiritualist monthlies, he published a complete exposition of his system of neurology and anthropology.
Psychometry, for Dr. Buchanan, was essentially a human faculty of the mind; he did not feel it involved the intervention of spirits. However, Mrs. L. A. Coffin, in her preface to Dr. Buchanan's Manual of Psychometry (Boston, 1889), states that she was often impressed by spirits while performing psychometry. This was not in conflict with Dr. Buchanan's views, as he was an avowed Spiritualist. He simply felt that psychometry was primarily a psychic faculty, not a mediumistic influence.
       His classic, Manual of Psychometry, is considered to be the most authoritative text written on psychometry. Finally, he was one of very few medical professionals who, with great determination, defended the Fox sisters, when they were experiencing incredible negative publicity. In the course of his investigations, primarily through the mediumship of Mrs. Hollis-Billing, Dr. Buchanan received direct writing, purportedly from St. John. After being held in privacy for 17 years, these communications were published in 1897 under the title of "Primitive Christianity. Containing the Lost Lives of Jesus Christ and the Apostles and the Authentic Gospel of St. John." He claims that he tested the St. John script, properly concealed, with three psychometrists -- Cornelia Buchanan, Mrs. Hayden, and the famous Dr. J. M. Peebles -- and all three agreed as to its source, giving very similar descriptions of a great spirit devoted to Jesus Christ. I have read this book and, personally, I am not totally convinced that it is direct communication from St. John. Nonetheless, the text is quite remarkable.

       On other occasions, but in similar manner, Dr. Buchanan obtained between slates a portrait of Moses and the Tablets of the Law, a picture of Aaron, of Helen of Troy, of John the Baptist, and communication from Confucius. Again, he substantiated the sources of these items though reputable psychometrists.  Regardless of what one may think of these more recent revelations, the work of Joseph Rodes Buchanan played a very important role in the history of Spiritualism. He was a pioneer in one of the most amazing and mysterious faculties of human consciousness. 
April 12
Image of the Day
I like the architecture of this hallway, the mixing of the straight ceiling lines with the curved circles overlapping it.
April 13
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Once again I admire the architecture of this building.
Iraqi soldiers run out of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's palace in Baghdad. U.S. troops took control of President Saddam Hussein's main presidential palace in Baghdad
April 14
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Where's my "friends" cola to go with my "american idol" sandwich and "freedom" fries. 
A Mecca Cola bottle. The fizzy drink with a message on every bottle to "drink committed" to the Muslim cause, were due to inaugurate a bottling plant in Morocco.
April 15
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We had a late spring frost this year, our yard was covered in ice pellets and eventually froze over most the ground.  These flowers were luck enough to still emerge from the fresh ice on the ground.
April 16
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Glad to see that most things able to be stolen, can and will be in the era of the chaos of war.  Mental Note to self -  Remember to bolt down the refrigerator when I leave the house in times of war.
April 17
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Spent the evening enjoying Fuddruckers, and getting movies from Blockbusters.  I managed to sneak in a haircut amid the chaos of work and hiring new inters for the summer.
Iraqi civilians try to install a rope around the neck of a statue of Saddam Hussein to tear it down in downtown Baghdad.
April 18
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I am glad for the weekend to have finally arrived.  This has been a long hectic week.  As I gear up for another house inspection next week, I have to work for the first saturday in a while.
In this undated photo, Brazilian Picuruta Salazar rides the so-called 'Pororoca', a wave which flows upstream and reaches a height of 4 meters, on the world's longest river, the Amazon, Brazil. The 'Pororoca' wave happens every year, between February and March, when the ocean whips back on the heavily drained Amazon river and creates a giant swell that flows back upstream for hundreds of miles. Salazar rode the dirty-brown wave an astounding 37 minutes long through the rainforest and in so-doing, seta phenomenal record.
April 19
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 First saturday in a while that I've had to work.  Fixed some virus infected computers, some corrupt email archives, and did some excel spreadsheet model projections.  Relax in the afternoon as we got a little rain mist, and had a nice 4 hour nap.  The nap enable me to watch tv on my new 32" flat screen projection sony television.  Now if only I had a nice surround sound system to go with it.  We fogged the house today, first time in a while in order to get rid of the constant flea encroachments.  Seems as they bread faster than the mosquito's these days. 
Two yellowfin tunas, which have 64 megabyte computers inserted into their bodies, swim at the Achotines lab in Panama, Pedasi, Panama. With funding from the InterAmerican Tropical Tuna Commission, based in California, a team of scientists in Panama are studying the tuna to protect it from over-fishing in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
April 20
Image of the Day
It has taken way too long to find my first image of a camel, in a middle eastern country where a camel is as common as a dog is in the US. Spent the day up in Georgetown at Erin's parents house. Enjoyed some good food, some nice roasted honey ham and company.
A US Army tank guards the entrance of Baghdad's main presidential palace near a camel named Josephine
April 21
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I don't know whether to respond with how lazy americans have become consciously or if this is just the spread of sex and sex appeal to another aspect of life.
 Mistress Victoria scolds a student in her 'Slavercize' class in New York. Students at 'Slavercise', a class combining sadomasochism and exercise, get a physical workout by 'submitting' to the orders and whims of the dominatrix who tells them, 'If you don't keep up, you get punished'.
April 22
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Life and modern culture is definitely changing and adapting as time goes on. Seems as there are equal negatives to all the positives that technology and social advancement bring to the world culture.
Dress-up nails for men, false fingernails, are shown by model Takayuki at Wacoal Total Beauty Salon Amoem in Tokyo. The fingernails, easy to attach and remove with its adhesive tape, are available in various colors and designs, and are 12 nails per set for 3,500 yen ($29). The clean, manicured nails can give men a boost in self-confidence, the salon says.
April 23
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I always wonder about those microsoft press releases, as to what is phantom-ware to scare off competitors, verses beta software verses what is actually working software. 
 Handout image released by Microsoft, showing GWindows, a new development by Microsoft Research, which uses hand gestures to interact with the windows open on the computer. If you move your hand, the open windows can move from screen to screen. It is similar to the effects in the movie 'Minority Report.' This works well with large displays or many displays. Andy Wilson, one of the developers, demonstrates the use with his hand. 
April 24
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 A customs officer shows one of 315 'Elephant Bird' eggs found in a container from Madagascar. The world's largest egg, they were laid by the extinct 'Aepyornis Maximus' which inhabited Madagascar some 1500 years ago. 
April 25
Image of the Day
 This file image shows the prototype of the new Georgia state flag that the Georgia Legislature is debating on and is poised to pass. With only two days remaining in the southern state's annual legislative session, senators began debating a proposal to adopt a new flag that resembles a pre-1865 variation of the 'Stars and Bars' banner.
April 26
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Spent the day wandering around Austin lookins at houses, land tracts, and new housing communities. It's interesting to see how location can dictate asking prices so much, and how the lot sizes can vary so much around Austin.
 Peter Maybarduk of Washington, D.C., holds a flag which substitutes corporate logos for the stars of the states as he protests outside the Supreme Court. In an important free-speech case for businesses, the Court will consider whether Nike Inc. can be sued for false advertising over a publicity campaign to defend itself against accusations that Asian sweatshops made its footwear. 
April 27
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Finally finished sealing in the various holes in the chain link and wood fence from the second sewage line work.   Finished off the spring tree trimming process, and shuffled the limbs around, in addition to planting a few more flowers.
Dick, a 17-year-old goldfish, rests in a sling in his aquarium at the Sky Port Restaurant in Scotia, N.Y. The fish is suffering from a swim bladder disorder. Customers at the diner near Schenectady came up with the idea of a creating a fish sling after the goldfish fell ill in November and had difficulty swimming.
April 28
No Image of the Day
I got an interesting phone call from my sister Paige Sinclair this week.  Her husband Kyle has finally joined the millitary, the army branch with a 5 year commitment.  After talking about it for over 6 months they signed up and are ready to get the opportunity to move to an over-seas military base. Kyle will trained to be a chemical specialist, and got a handy $4,000 signing bonus.  Not much when you consider he is now owned by the US government for the next 5 years.   They are excited to get their education expenses paid for and looking forward to having assoaciates degrees after it is all done.  Only time will tell if his public office dreams will materialize. 
Naked volunteers stand on escalators during New York artist Spencer Tunick's 'Be Consumed' installation at Selfridge's department store in London. Around 600 volunteers posed naked for Tunick's Body Craze in the store.
April 29
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The buyer ready approval process from the bank is finally starting, I am trying to find out that magic number to see what price range of houses I can look to buy in the near future.
Model Nicola Churchwood models a pair of ruby and platinum slippers in the shoe department at London's Harrods store. The world's most expensive shoes, by designer Stuart Weitzman, go on sale at Harrods monday with a price tag of 1 million pounds ($1,594,505). The shoes are woven from platinum thread and set with 642 round and oval rubies, totalling over 120 carats.
April 30
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I have called in yet another final inspections for things, so tomorrow will be another day to keep my fingers crossed.  My timeline cash tracing project is almost complete with one account, I'm hoping that 2 accounts will be enough, as I'm not looking forward to having to trace 40 accounts.
Trendy Indians in Gujarat are turning to the sting of a scorpion to get their kicks