The Watering Hole, Monday, March 31st, 2014: Late Again!


sombrero drink

And we have a SOMBRERO GALAXY:

Which one, if any, would you like to discuss?

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

72 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, March 31st, 2014: Late Again!

  1. In the northeast that drink is called a Sombrero. Not so here in So. Cal. It is called a Mexican Hat. I was a bit surprised after moving here 21 years ago, to a largely Hispanic area. Nor did many know what a Whiskey Sour *straight up* meant. ( seriously folks, NO ICE!). Anyway, my first smile of the morning. 🙂

  2. In Politics, Hog Castration Cuts Through The Ad Clutter

    One candidate talks fondly about castrating hogs in her youth and suggests that could be a useful skill in Washington.

    Another fires semi-automatic weapons at a 2-foot-high stack of paper representing the Affordable Care Act before feeding it through a wood chipper.

    Yet another has a group of crying babies stand in for his opponents.


    Joni Ernst, the castrator, is running for the Iowa Republican Party’s U.S. Senate nomination. Brian Donahue, a strategist with Craft Media, says that when you see an ad like Ernst’s you’re also viewing a message based on political consultants’ understanding that emotion resonates more with voters than repetition.

    Guess what, Outstanding? You’re qualified to run for Senate in Iowa! 😀

  3. In this morning’s work, episode #7 of Cosmos, NdGT tweaks creationists again in the first half of the show, scientifically showing how we determined the true age of the earth. Here was the first determination of the earth’s age. I’ll almost quote exactly here:

    “…in 1650, Archbishop James Usher made biblical calculations, found a known historical date in the bible…and added up the 139 begats of the Old Testament and discovered the earth began on October 22, 4004 BC … at 6pm. It was a Saturday.” (The NdGT smirk accompanying that.)

    In the second half, he segues into the dangers and origins of lead and its impact on humans. He lionizes CC Patterson, a little known Caltech physicist who was responsible for saving millions of lives.

  4. Gerd Ludwig’s Long Look at the Chernobyl Disaster

    “Deep inside, at a dark hallway, we stopped in front of a heavy metal door. The engineer indicated I had only a brief moment to shoot. It took him a long minute to open the jammed door. The adrenaline surge was extraordinary. The room was absolutely dark, lit only by our headlamps. Wires were obstructing my view. At the far end of the room I could make out a clock. I was only able to fire off a few frames and wanted to wait for my flash to recharge. But he already pulled me out. I checked my pictures. Out of focus! I begged him to allow me in one more time. He gave me a few more seconds to frame the clock showing 1:23:58 AM—the time when on 26 April, 1986 in the building that housed Energy Block # 4, time stood forever still.” —Gerd Ludwig on photographing inside reactor #4, where an explosion caused a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. Ludwig describes this as one of the most challenging situations he has ever photographed.

    • well its obviously God looking for a bunch of semi-literate goat herders to lead somewhere….. or maybe wallaby herders? Are there any wallaby herders?

    • AFAIC, each cheerleader should be paid NO LESS (and probably a lot more) than the average pay of all the players on any given team. Period. WHY? Simple: cheerleaders at least have the capacity to make one or two minutes of the average NFL contest interesting, a capacity the players clearly do NOT possess.

  5. I’m going to need a bigger sombrero to house my rapidly swelling head. My most popular comment ever, on any forum, is up to a very appropriate 666 likes!

    To be perfectly honest; I’m humbled that I have apparently reached so many people with a comment that’s half snark and half deadly serious. I just hope some of them do, indeed, spread the message around.

  6. OK, I’ve just got to brag to somebody. My son made a C in Algebra this quarter. No child has ever worked harder, or (mostly) cheerfully struggled through piles of what is to him incomprehensible gibberish, for a grade. I’m as happy as if he’d graduated valedictorian.

    • good for him…i struggled with algebra in high school too. i was always more of the artistic, verbal, creative type than an analytical. i suppose it has to do with being either right of left brained.

    • I had the worst Algebra teacher on the planet in 9th grade. Got a A in geometry the next quarter but couldn’t even get started in Trig because of the crappy algebra experience…Still fumble when it comes to sines/cosines, anything more complex.

      • I was very lucky to get an amazing algebra teacher in 9th grade. He made it seem easy, and I still find it to be easy. Geometry was the bane of my existence.

          • The rules are pretty straight forward, and the balance is perfection itself! Geometry goes all squishy and shapey, and and my brain says, “Ow.”

        • I was in my third year of college before I finally found the right prof to teach me “intermediate algebra” as it was called back then. He somehow managed to turn on the lights, after which all of math suddenly became ‘logical’ and oh, so simple to deal with. That was one of those unforgettable moments in education for me, and I’ll never forget it.

          Congrats to the young’un, hope it’s just the beginning for him!

      • For me; algebra, geometry, and trigonometry came easily. My teachers were good but not great. I didn’t need them to hold my hand but they didn’t set me back. Then? I started taking calculus 1 in college and was cursed by a professor who wrote his own textbook. Every question asked was “answered” with a page reference.

        Q: Can you explain this example?
        A. The derivation of the answer is on page 3-1.

        Q. I’ve read page 3-1 and it doesn’t make any sense. Could you explain how you arrived at the derivation on page 3-1?
        A. You will find that on page 3-2.

        And around and around it went for the entire semester. My second semester I signed up for Calculus 1 with a different professor but the damage was done and I never reached the point of epiphany where “calculus light” turns on.

        • I hated the professors with their own textbook. Frequently the class only used about half of it and when you took the next class you had to buy that guys book to cover material found in the second part of the book you already owned. I was poor. I really hated the guy who made me buy the Process and Controls Handbook. It was $120, in the 70’s. I had to trade my lab reports for food.

    • “My son made a C in Algebra this quarter.”

      Umm, I was under the impression there’d be no math involved on this site.

    • Congrats!

      I excelled in 8th grade math, did good in geometry, but from then on and into college could not make algebra work for me at all: I can memeorize the formulae no prob, but when I plug in the numbers it all comes out wrong! But I can do logic problems, and did not have a problem with formal logic. Weird. (I would like to say that my strength was always in language (and it was) …. but you all have seen me post! 😉 ).

    • And a pet peeve of mine: “C” is, by the scale of the grade system as set up, AVERAGE. Any student showing all C’s should be congradulated, by the nature of the system. This country (including teachers) has got into it’s head that a “C” is a lesser grade and that an “A” is attainable by anyone. I have heard parents and teachers all telling students at all grade levels, “You didn’t get an “A” becasue you weren’t trying hard enough (or similar)”, which is totally missing the entire point of the grading system. And “A” is not something that any student should be able to attain, and when it is (like it is) the entire grading system (A, B, C, D, F) is being completely misused, becasue if anyone can earn an “A” then “A” becomes the average. The majority of students should never be able to get an “A” in every single subject, in fact the majority are supposed to “only” be “straight “C” students”. And regardless that it is used incorrectly, I always praise those who make “C”, for my part.

      I could go on, but I will spare everyone.

      • I agree. C is huge victory for my child who is by no means average. He tests in, though I doubt actually inhabits, the mentally retarded range. I know any number of parents who would be horrified with a C, because they live in a world where all the children are exceptional, especially theirs.

        • Well.. they live in aworld that they have helped create with the illusion that all the children are “exceptional”.

          I don’t see “exceptional” in any test scores (sorry any “straight “A” over achievers here 🙂 ). “Exceptional” is in the person and their character, not any kind of test scores. In your child’s example there is FAR more “exceptional” becasue of the effort.

          A student who gets “A”‘s becasue the standard for “A” has been lowered sufficiently that they do not have to actually put forth effort to learn the material, and thus only superficially improve themselves through accidental passive retention of information, is not an excpetional student. Your child, however, is clearly exceptional.

          • LOL You described me to a tee! I breezed through high school with straight A’s. Got to University and had to put forth an effort that I wasn’t used too to be a C student.

            • I’ve told him how much I value his hard won C over anybody’s easy A.

            • Late to respond here, but to be honest I did that, too — but I was a mostly straight “B” student (except math (D’s) and english (A’s) ), without much effort. I was both pleased and disgusted witht he system over it.

  7. Unionize? How about those student athletes? Aaron Harrison’s 3-pointer made $329,166 for his coaches and Kentucky’s athletic director due to contract bonuses.

  8. ¡feliz cumpleaños, César!

    Labor Leader (UFW)
    Civil Rights Activist:
    bringing to light the exceptionally harsh conditions field workers were made to endure.
    Short handled hoe ( that made tending the crops backbreaking). They are no longer allowed.
    César’s marches and dedication brought potable water and shaded areas for short rests to the field workers.

    Today is a State Holiday in honor of Señor Chavez:
    (whose motto was) ¡Sí, se puede!

          • There’s nothing at all wrong with being a Muslim. The ones who resort to terrorism are not true Muslims, IMHO, any more than those who try to kill abortion doctors are true Christians.

            But the key thing about those who claim Obama is a “secret Muslim” (who sat in that hateful Rev Jeremiah Wright’s Christian pew for 20 years) say it as though being Muslim is, in and of itself, a bad thing, which is why Obama has to keep it a secret.

            • The best part is when they call him a secret muslim atheist. How in the heck do you pull that off?

          • The best part is when they call him a secret muslim atheist. How in the heck do you pull that off?

            They are soooo scared of the President and believe he can pull off anything!

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