Chamblee54

No Flag Pin for JSM

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 15, 2008


If you go to the website for Jill Chambers, you will see a link to the State of Georgia Sex Offender Registry. No, her opponent is not listed. If, however, you search the last name Chambers, you get a list of nine people. These registries are like that…if you know names you can plug into the search engine, it can provide hours of entertainment.

A former duplex neighbor of mine is on the list. He is also on the Federal Sex Offender registry. His first and last name are common, but I prefer not to disclose it. The last time I saw him, he was being led away in handcuffs. I called the jail the next day, and found out that he was busted for “aggravated child molestation”. He had been babysitting the eight year old girl next door. This was in 1994. The conviction listed on his “WhySpace” was in 1998. He lives in Lawrenceville, and by coincidence another s.o.r. honoree ( both white), with the same first and last name, lives in Lilburn.

Another search engine is run by the Georgia Department of Corrections. It shows people that have been in Georgia Prisons. If you ever wondered about someone, you can take a look, and see if the state remembers him/her. A former co worker would spend hours looking at pictures of women behind bars. I never did find out if he hooked up with one.

Candler Park Sunday

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on October 14, 2008


When Uzi called PG that Sunday morning, he had a place for them to go that afternoon. The Candler Park festival was going on in the park. PG was back from his vacation of chasing goats out of tents, and was ready to go.
After finding a legal parking spot and a brief walk, the park was pleasantly occupied with tie dyed splendor. Both PG and Uzi have a sense that they missed their calling by not living here, but not enough to give up the comforts of Sandy Springs/Chamblee. Still, it is fun to have a refuge like this.
PG ( paparazzi goober) has learned…maybe…the lesson of asking permission before taking pictures of an artist’s work. He was only turned down once, and the images that he did get were worth the effort. And a band on a stage…well, they are there for the attention.
At one point, Uzi got some chicken fingers, and PG checked out the band. The stage was at the end of a small bowl, and the audience was scattered around . Children danced with hula hoops. Couples…in all sorts of combinations… held hands in the sun. Many held drinks for small children, or showed elders around. You could compare it to a thanksgiving dinner, but the band was not a turkey.
During the inevitable tour of the booths, PG got to talking to a panorama photographer. His camera uses a 6″ wide negative, that is exposed through a slit in the camera. A motor drives the camera while it makes its sweep of the image. The prints for sale were contact prints from the negative. The man bought his camera from the estate of “Panorama Ray” after he passed on. Meanwhile, Uzi was five booths down the row and looking back. BTW, in the early sixties the channel five news show was called “Panorama”.
Before long, the booths ran out, and Uzi decided against any more festival food. After a bit of suspense over what road they were parked on, the car was found, and set course for the comforts north of Ponce de Leon.

Blogging with Dyslexics

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on October 13, 2008


TwentyTwoWords weighed in today with a comment about web design for dyslexics. No jokes please.
The post linked to a site called dyslexia.com. They say that dyslexia is a gift. While I would not go that far, some of their ideas are useful. The
basic concept is that if something is easier for dyslexics to read, it will also be easier for non dyslexics.
This makes sense. While I don’t follow all of them, there are some good points here.

1-Keep paragraphs short, and use a medium amount of text on each page. If a long article is posted, create a topic index at the beginning, so that the dyslexic reader can quickly narrow in on the parts that interest him or her.

2-Use default font settings or provide a way for users to choose their own styles. That way, a user can choose their own preferred font with their browser, or create their own style sheet. Many dyslexics find they read best with one particular font.

3-Keep your main text left-justified. It is very hard to read paragraphs where all lines are centered or which are right-justified.

4-Use a consistent layout and format throughout the site. It helps to have navigation aids laid out consistently on every page.

5-If you use frames, be sure to provide a no-frames alternative; some text-to-speech software cannot read text on framed pages.

6- Make a list of relevant links at the end of a paragraph or section, rather than merely placing the links within the body of the text. That way the user can find the important links without needing to read all the text. Be sure to clearly describe the type of information or site the link will lead to.

7-Use medium icons to help with navigation between frequently used web pages. There should also be a text alternative for navigation (or the ‘alt’ tag should be used), for those individuals who rely on computers to read the page contents to them.

8- Never use flashing text. Do not use animated or moving graphics unless the animation is necessary to illustrate important information, such as an animation demonstrating how a machine works. Even so, it is best to place the animation on a different page, or to set it up to start only when clicked.

9-Avoid using background images behind text. Make sure that there is a good contrast between the color of the background and the color of text.

10-Do not set up background music to play, unless the site gives the user a choice whether to turn it on.

Several points ring especially true here. Short paragraphs are the way to go. A long block of text is intimidating to many readers, and screams out “skip over me”. On a more personal level, I have a tough time with quotes from the Bible. That is a subject for another post, if not a new blog.

Background music that starts without asking is a peeve of mine. This is highly unthoughtful to your visitor. If you are already listening to something, or are in a place music is inappropriate, this is going to cause problems. Flashing text and background images are also annoying, but at least they do not make noise. There is a reason I do not like MySpace.

For blocks of text, left justified is simply the way to go. While centered text may be good for ads and invitations, it is a lot of work on the eyes to follow for extended reading. And, why on earth would anyone ever use right justified?

A post like this is not complete without a hypocrite alert. I have heard people say they do not like multi colored text, that it can be difficult to read. Black text is a holdover from dead tree journalism. I probably will continue to use colors, though maybe with a bit of restraint. The rainbow posts are fun. Using colors for quotes and different themes helps the reader to tell when the subject has changed. Red letters stand out when you want to make a point.
The internet is a work in progress. People are learning what does and does not work. Just because you can do something…like have an automatic music player…doesn’t mean that you should. It is like when telephone answering machines first came out. At first, the idea was to have a clever message for incoming calls. Then, people got tired of listening to those, and the basic messages we have today became popular. Some techie things are suggested here…letting the user choose the font…are a bit too geeky for me, although I guess that could change. The main idea is to show a bit of courtesy to your visitor. It is not like your blog is the only one.

Acorn

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on October 12, 2008


An organization called ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been in the news lately. The word is they are registering voters, and not being too choosy who they sign up. Vote early, and vote often. Since a lot of these new voters will presumably vote for BHO, the JSM campaign has made an issue of this. The talking points have gone out, and suddenly ACORN is an issue.

This brought back some memories for PG. He used to work, briefly, for one of those community organizations. In 1980, he answered an ad for “Activists”. The job was for a group called Georgia Action, which was connected to ACORN.
The job was going door to door, getting people to sign a petition. The petition called for the Public Service Commission to take action against Georgia Power Company. When the petition was signed, the signer was asked to make a donation. Checks were preferred, since people seldom make checks out for less than five dollars.
PG trained for a couple of days with a senior operator. The word operator is appropriate. The man had a slick routine down, and did not take no for an answer. One lady said she was on chemotherapy, and was strapped for cash. The operator did not bat an eye, but said she could save money on her power bill if she would help Georgia Action.
Back at the office, PG learned that most of what Georgia Action did was “build a base”. They had meetings for Senior Citizens. The worked with neighborhoods to get garbage picked up. They did almost nothing with Georgia Power. The power company was a handy villain to use in fundraising. PG began to be disillusioned, but decided to stick it out.

The first day on his own, he was walking from the bus stop to the office. An acorn fell off a tree, and hit him in the head.

PG tried, but never did too well. He called on a Georgia Power employee, who ridiculed what he was doing. His heart was not there, and the money wasn’t that great either. He called it off after a couple of days.

Now, this is just one story, about one of many community organizations. It took place 28 years ago. The petition drives against Georgia Power have not been seen in a while. Is ACORN committing voter fraud on behalf of BHO today? Who knows. The charges by JSM have the feel of noise from a losing candidate. There just might be an organization doing the same thing to register voters for JSM.

81st District Coverage

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on October 10, 2008


The 81st district of the Georgia House of Representatives is having an election in a few weeks. And, as one of the candidates notes, it is the silly season.
The race is between Republican Incumbent Jill Chambers and Democratic Challenger Chris Huttman. To look at the “issues” website that both maintain, it is tough to tell much difference. Both offer the usual promises to help education and transportation. Mrs. Chambers touts her experience, and connections with the party leadership. Until I read the postcards, I was ready to support Mrs. Chambers. I met her at a campaign party at the old park and shop, and she seemed like a nice lady. While I ordinarily don’t care for Republicans ( on the national level this distaste is stronger than ever), I felt like the connections Mrs. Chambers has with the State party leadership could help her represent our district.
The only problem is the postcards. In the spirit of fairness, it should be noted that both sides have sent mailers out, with both parties attacking the other. In the pile that I have now, there are nine from Mrs. Chambers and two from Mr. Huttman. Also, Mr. Huttman has the “bug”…the little stamp that lets you know this was printed in a Union shop. Mrs. Chambers does not display the “bug”.
In the battle for tackiest mailout, Mrs. Chambers wins in a knockout. She makes a lot of personal charges against Mr. Huttman, based on drinking habits, having a lewd website, and being a supporter of Vernon Jones, DeKalb County CEO. One mailout features a prominent picture of Vernon Jones, and a picture of Mr. Huttman with Al Sharpton. Can we say race baiting? The fact that a state legislator would not be directly involved in county government is ignored. Mrs. Chambers, btw, is pushing a referendum to limit the powers of the DeKalb County CEO. This measure will have little impact on Mr. Jones, who is going to be spending more time with his family.
Mr. Huttman has a site devoted to debunking the mud from Mrs. Chambers. Curiously, Mrs. Chambers uses the URL name of this site…”Trust is the Issue“…prominently in her own mailouts. In addition, there is a picture of Mr. Huttman in a “party” pose in several of these postcards. When I browsed the URL listed as a source (http://www.spock.com/Chris-Huttman-QAvt1GI?highlight=true), the site said it had never heard of the picture.
As for having a drunkard in the state legislature, I am SHOCKED. If this is true, then it only means Mr. Huttman will be better able to get along with the rest of the lawmakers. He denies that he was drunk in the picture, which was taken when he was 20 years old. I wonder if Mrs. Chambers has any embarrassing photos from her youth? To her credit, they are not on the internet.
I am disappointed in Mrs. Chambers. The 81st would seem to be a solid Republican District, and she has a good record of representing us. It is discouraging that she would stoop to this kind of mudslinging. But then, you know she is a Republican when you vote for her. The frog knew it was a scorpion when he gave him a ride.

Wave that Banana

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on October 9, 2008

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I started with a column by Carl Hiassen.Mr. Hiassen is a great writer with an unpronounceable name. His novels make me scared to be living next to Florida, much less go there. He also writes a weekly (sometimes) column for the Miami Herald. He says that what goes in his novels is the watered down version of what he sees in real life.

Today’s feature is about the meltdown on Wall Street. A lot of people are writing about that. It is less painful than suicide, but without the happy ending. Mr. Hiassen ( HIGH as sin? hi ASS en’? There is a t shirt slogan there somewhere, and t shirt supercenters in Destin to sell them) blames the pecuniary melodrama on Cindy Crawford. You know, the supermodel, with an actor ex husband who left her for a gerbil. Miss Cindy designed a collection of yummy furniture, and went on TV to sell it. The couch potato to be could purchase this splendid stuff with no money down, and the rest of his life to pay for it. ( I have to take…Carl’s…word for this. I seldom watch TV, and turn the channel if Cher, or a supermodel, start selling stuff.

According to Mr. CH, these people needed a bigger house to put their furniture in. The banks decided that what works for furniture finance, is just dandy for a big house. All of a sudden, people who need eight years to pay for their sofa were buying MondoMansions in Dacula. They were not deterred by worry about how to pay for these splendid digs, or about buying gas for their SUV. They drive 40 miles one way to work. One day, the whole house of cards came tumbling down, lotsa smart people looked stupid, and a gerbil was smirking.

The fun is just starting. To get to this Cindyphilia, you get to navigate through a popup ad. Now, this machine has a pretty good popup blocker. Today, 51 monkeys got through. Yes, 51 animated monkeys, one for every state and the District of Columbia. That makes three even rows of 17. The primates are waving, and eating bananas. If you move your cursor over one, it turns a lighter shade of brown and waves the bananas. These critters are advertising a facility that offers free credit report scores.

This is poetry. A turbocharged popup, featuring 51 banana happy monkeys, who want to tell you your credit score. All before you read a column by ….HIM… about how a supermodel is responsible for the disaster in our country’s credit score. Does it get any better than this?

Spell check suggestions for this feature:
carl- carol, car, earl, call, curl, care, cart, carp
hiassen- baseness, unbiased, ashien, absentia
Destin- dustin, destiny
dacula-dracula, Dauchau, oracular, ejaculate
cindyphilia- necrophilia, anglophilia, syphilizing, pedophilia

Nuclear Unclear

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on October 8, 2008


During the debates, JSM has repeatedly touted Nuclear Power as a solution to our energy needs. Perhaps this talk needs a second look.
There is a lot of money involved in Nuclear Energy. The plants are very expensive to build. There is a lot of potential for profit, and opportunities for moneylenders to earn interest. With this much at stake, it is not unreasonable to think that someone is paying JSM to promote Nukes.
The capital intensive nature of Nukes brings up another problem.
Nuclear Power=Big Government With billions of dollars invested, the banks are going to make sure they get a return on their investment. With this much money involved, Big Government is going to get involved. This is also a factor in the safety issue.
Yes, Nuclear Power is safe. However, there is a need for constant oversight. The potential for disaster is immense. The process needs to be heavily regulated. With the companies trying to show a profit, the temptation to cut corners, and bribe the regulators , is going to be there. With global…and potentially domestic… terrorism a fact of life, the nuclear fuel needs to be constantly watched. Again, this is a job for Big Government.
Nuclear Power=Big Government
While Nukes are nominally safe if handled properly, the potential for disaster is huge. There are stories of materials so toxic, that a mass the size of a softball could give the world cancer. While the systems can work well, the potential for corruption, corner cutting, and old fashioned human error cannot be forgotten.
Did someone say that Nuclear Power is expensive? Money is not the only scarce commodity required in bulk by Nukes. Water is also required in vast quantities for a Nuclear Power Plant to operate. The energy from a nuclear reaction is converted into electricity by boiling water to power steam turbines. This is the same steam technology that has been used since the start of the industrial revolution. The nuclear reaction produces vast amounts of heat, which water is used to cool. With water an increasingly scarce commodity, the allocation of vast amounts for a Nuclear Power plant must be questioned.
It should be noted at this point that I am not a scientist. I am just a slacker with internet access. It is also true that coal fired power plants have horrendous environmental issues, and pump millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. I honestly don’t know what the answer is.
I recently spent a week at a community with solar power. There were constant reminders to use the juice sparingly. I tried to recharge my cell phone, and the system was not strong enough to do so. While solar can reduce the dependence on “the grid”, it is not going to completely replace it. But then, maybe we could do well to use less energy. We have gotten spoiled, like the man who wants an emerald green lawn in October. Part of the answer would be to live simply, so that others can simply live.
Nuclear Power=Big Government

Dear Neighbor

Posted in Religion by chamblee54 on October 7, 2008


PG went for a bike ride, and saw two signs of note. The first was the basic McCain/Palin sign, with a message at the bottom. The addendum was “Obama=Socialism…Just ask a Russian”.
This line of reasoning is bizarre. This election will include voters who were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The idea that voters can still be swayed by implying that a candidate is a communist is amazing. The truth is, some voters do think that way.
As for the ask a Russian part…Russia is an energy rich country now. Moscow is one of the most expensive cities on earth. It is doubtful that anyone there is concerned about socialism. Maybe, seeing as how much better their economy is than ours, we should look to Russia for guidance.

The other sign involved another form of economics. In Georgia, the precious commodity is water. There was a two part sign involving an economic dispute over water. The first part was an anonymous note criticizing a man for watering his lawn. The reply to that was equally abrasive.
PG would not want to be a judge in this case. The first note was snide, and made a threat to “stop the flow coming out of the sprinkler head ourselves”. The second note was just as uppity.

It is true that the lawn owner followed the letter of the law in getting a permit. It is also true that we are in a severe drought. Having an emerald green lawn in October is the sort of luxury we have become addicted to. It would not hurt this man to put straw on his yard until more water is available to grow grass. There may come a time when we have to choose between water to wash food, and water to put on sod. There is a question of values. Maybe we should ask a Russian.

One thing that got PG’s attention was the way the notes were signed. The first Dear Neighbor was signed Thank You!, followed by a smiley face. The second Dear Neighbor was signed THANK YOU AND HAVE A BLESSED DAY! There is a commentary on our culture in those signoffs. The smiley face is secular, and punctuates a most unfriendly message. The Blessed Day nonsense…in all caps… is the Jesus Worship answer. Neither one speaks well for the messenger.

No place like home

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on October 6, 2008


PG made it back from the Fall Gathering, and knew, as Dorothy had before him, There is no place like home. The Gathering was a delight…fabulous food, visual delights, mountain air…but returning to indoor plumbing was equally festive. The yellow jackets swarming on the porch, at lunch, will not be missed. How anyone could admire such a vile animal tough to understand.

PG did learn a thing or two this week. Setting your camera to a lower resolution will get you more pictures, but they will not be nearly as good. While this will provide plenty of editing fodder, sometimes you catch a good image, and wish for quality.
There is a formula for writing. It is ass plus chair. A lady told PG that, about having the patience to move beyond blog posts into longer work. PG got to talk to her because he asked permission before he took her picture.

When you walk in on a acting workshop, you are in danger of being cussed out. The fact that you did not know the playback theater was in progress does not matter. You will go the rest of the week wondering what it was you walked in on. When you are a veteran of Faerie Gatherings, you learn to take these things in stride.

When you leave a tent open with food inside, a goat might go inside and look for a snack. If you have your camera ready, it can be a photo opportunity. The goats did appreciate the weeds that PG fed them. There was a stone staircase that had fallen into disrepair, and PG spent Friday pulling weeds off the stones. The goats were happy. Short Mountain…where men are men, and the goats are happy.

Friday night, there was an Indian dinner prepared by Frenchmen. They took the kitchen and turned it into a Belle Epoque nightclub, and took a long time talking it up at the dinner circle. Finally you get inside,walk past the can can dancers, and get your meal. The year of the Diamond Dog. PG thought it all a bit much, so he went to the fire outside, and talked to a young man. After a while, PG went back to the kitchen, and joined the chorus dancing to “Save all your love for me”. Life is good.

Late Saturday afternoon, PG was bored before dinner, until he saw a drum without a fresh handprint. Drumming is tough to do wrong, and takes almost no practice. The energy was soon there, through another fabulous meal, more drumming, and a techno dance. At one point a burst of synthetic basstones formed a lightening bolt that ignited the lumbar region. At that moment, PG was no longer in control.