Picture 065

Posted in The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 30, 2013





The other day this blog published a feature, Jury. There was a collection of photographs, taken at the Brookhaven Bolt 5k, May 18, 2013. The pictures have a look. This post is about how to get that look. If you see something that you already know, then skim past that part.

Image a is the original. It is reduced to 720 pixels wide. This is the size of the columns, and the width that pictures are processed to at Chamblee54. The original is 3264×2448. The camera is a Nikon COOLPIX L26, It was taken at 8:15 am. This is towards the start of the race. All the participants are running at this point. After a few minutes, you start to have people walking, some with strollers.

The actions taken to get this look use basic functions of GIMP. Most of these tools have keyboard shortcuts at Chamblee54, which is a great convenience. The keyboard shortcut, used in the original version of the program, will be used here, to tell you how to get to these tools.

Image b is the cropped original. The section to be used is cropped to the golden rectangle, or 161:100. This section is reduced to 720×447. Open the Rectangle (R) tool. In the options menu, go to Fixed. Enter 161:100. Check the box next to the word Fixed. Draw a rectangle around the section that you want to select. Open Crop to Selection (alt+I, C). To reduce the selection (from roughly 1200×750), hit Scale Image, (alt+I, S). In the Width field, enter 720. Click on Scale (alt+S.) Hit 1 to bring the image to 100%. You might have to increase the size of the window to see the entire image. You do this by placing the mouse on the corner of the window, and dragging the corner away from the window.

Image c is the first step in the formula. You apply a Gaussian Blur (alt+R, B, G). In the Horizontal field, enter 22. Click OK.

Image d is the key to getting this look. Open Fade Gaussian Blur(alt+E, F). Click on the triangle next to Mode, and a menu will drop down. Choose Darken only. Click Fade (alt+F.) This is a good look already, and you might want to call this complete. For the purposes of today’s demonstration, we will work on this image a bit more.

The next two steps involve the levels. This is basically the lightness and darkness. Image e is the picture after you use the Levels tool (alt+C, L). Go to where it says All Channels, and hit Auto. Click OK.

Image f involves the use of the Curves tool. This tool allows you to make part of the picture lighter, and part of it darker. Open Curves (alt+C, C). The picture below image f shows the Curves tool. The image on the left is the Curves tool when you open it. The image on the right is the Curves tool as it was adjusted for this image. The left side of the slanted line controls the dark parts of the image, and the right side controls the light parts. In this image, the dark parts were made lighter, and the light parts were made an equal amount darker. Click OK.

Image g is where the colors are saturated. Open Hue-Saturation(alt+C, S). In the Adjust Selected Color section, (leave it on Master), slide Saturation to the right as far as you need to. Saturating the colors will sometimes turn white people’s skin into an unappealing red shade. To offset this, go to the field beside the Hue slider, and enter 6. Click OK.

Image h is the final version of this picture. Open Color Balance (alt+C, B). For this image, in Select Range to Adjust, choose Shadows. In the Adjust Color Levels, under Cyan-Red enter 10, under Magenta-Green 0, and Yellow-Blue -20. Click OK. Open Save As (ctrl+shift+S), give it a name, click OK. You are finished.






Spelling Bee And Dee

Posted in Commodity Wisdom, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 29, 2013

There is a post to be considered, The Seven Deadly Spelling Sins. The first sentence should send any sane person running…
“Because I am a writing teacher and a former editor, I am constantly exposed to the most egregious mistakes in writing, grammar, and spelling.” PG is not a sane person. Here is the post, with supplemental comments for your reading pleasure.
1. There, Their, and They’re These are three different words, and they are not interchangeable. “There” refers to a place and is the opposite of “here.” “Their” refers to ownership of something. “They’re” is a contraction that means “they are,” as in: They are having a spelling party.

This is what is known as a homophone. You might have thought that was a communications device in midtown. If you think about it a bit, you realize that one is possessive, one is a place, and one is a clumsy third person plural verb. They’re going to take their ice cream and go there with it.

2. To and Too “To” is the beginning of any infinitive form of a verb: to run, to be, to smile, to write, to blog. Taking foreign language classes is the best way to drive this one home. It is also a preposition. “Too” means “also” or “in addition to.” It can also mean “in excess,” as in: There are too many shoes in my closet. (Well, that’s simply not possible, but you get the idea.)

This forgets two, which is a number, but the spelling is so different that usually the distinction is made. Just like spelling, as in bee, is different from Aaron Spelling. He was the father of Tori Spelling, and a Hollywood producer. Aaron Spelling made lots of money, built the biggest house in California, and was married to Morticia Addams.

3. You’re and Your “You’re” is a contraction form of “you are.” “Your” again refers to ownership.

Words like this are a problem with spell check. If the word is spelled conventionally, it will not set off the device. This also happens when you mean to say to, but type do instead. This is a normal word, and spell check will not know the difference.

4. Judgment This word never ever (in the United States) has an “e” in the middle.

Words like this are pronounced in different ways by white people and black people. White people say “munt”, and accent the first syllable. Black people say “mint”, and accent the second syllable. The mint sounds like a brand of gum, like spearmint or double mint. Did you know that the doublemint twins have had substance abuse issues? They are currently in a twenty four step program.

5. Definitely I don’t know why, but some 90 percent of my students have difficulty spelling this word. There is it, in black and white. Memorize it. I have seen it misspelled as: Defiantly, Definately, Definetley, Definitly And so on. I’m sure there are numerous variations to a bad spelling.

PG is part of the ninety percent here. This is a toughie. Maybe if you break it down into parts, it will make sense. De Finite Ly. De is pronounced duh, which is smart. Finite means only so many, all there is and there ain’t no more. Ly is one of those suffixes that gets tacked onto everything.

6. Its and It’s Again, we have a contraction. The contraction means that two words have been combined, so “it’s” means “it is.” Now, the tricky part is the fact that possession usually uses an apostrophe. However, because this apostrophe is already taken for “it is,” “its” refers to possession.

This is one of those things that make you think English was invented by a race of drunks who call soccer football. To any reasonable person, a word meaning possession should have an apostrophe and s. Here, it’s means it is. Sometimes, the best thing to do is play along and don’t wonder why things are so screwed up. It is usually easier.

7. Lightning This one is my personal pet peeve. This refers to that giant flash of light in the sky that usually occurs during a rainstorm and is always followed by thunder. However, I see many people spell it as “lightening,” which can refer to making something lighter, in color or weight. However, it also means the dropping of the baby before a woman gives birth, and that’s what I always think of. So, when people write on Facebook, “The lightening was fantastic last night,” I can’t help but wonder if they are relieved to have finally given birth.

PG was going to end with a comment about religion, but was afraid of being hit by lightning. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

Cruise Control In The Rain

Posted in The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 28, 2013








There is a bit of facebook “wisdom” floating around. This time, most of the the internet skeptics seem to think it is the truth. Lets begin with the message:

A 36 year old female had an accident several weeks ago. It was raining, though not excessively when her car suddenly began to hydro-planeand literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence!When she explained to the Police Officer what had happened, he told her something that every driver should know – NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON. She thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain…. But the Police Officer told her that if the cruise control is on,your car will begin to hydro-plane when the tyres lose contact with the road, and your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making you take off like an aeroplane. She told the Officer that was exactly what had occurred. The Officer said this warning should be listed, on the driver’s seat sun-visor – NEVER USE THE CRUISE CONTROL WHEN THE ROAD IS WET OR ICY, Along with the airbag warning. We tell our teenagers to set the cruise control and drive a safe speed – but we don’t tell them to use the cruise control only when the road is dry.

This message makes intuitive sense. Unfortunately, a lot of other bits of internet wisdom sound good at first, but turn out to be frauds. There is no way to confirm the story of the “36 year old female.” When you are repeatedly lied to, your instinct is to not believe what you are told. In this case, if you google the key phrase, you will find abundant confirmation.

Snopes has numerous critics. In this case, the story is confirmed, and a link supplied to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. “Turn off the cruise control: Wet roads can cause wheels to spin and lose control. The only way to stop wheels from spinning and maintain control is to immediately reduce power. An activated cruise control system applies continuous power, keeping the wheels spinning. By the time you disengage the cruise control it may be too late – you may have already lost control.”

Hoax Slayer says the story is true, but “misleading and overly alarmist.” They say the number one problem here is the slower reaction times with cruise control. People typically move the right foot away from the control pedals when CC is used. If there is an emergency, you will react a split second later. HS has a link to Car Point Australia, which makes this point: “This is the key that makes a nonsense of the email. Modern cars take their speedo reading from the driveshaft or transmission. This means the cruise control bases its responses on the speed of the driven wheels, not the car itself. This is an important distinction and fail safe position. If the driven wheels skid because they lose grip, the spinning wheels will cause the speedo to show a higher reading which will force the cruise control to release the throttle faster than most drivers. Regardless of whether the car itself slows down or speeds up, the cruise control will always reduce the throttle no matter what until the driven wheels slow down back to the pre-set speed. If the wheels continue to slip under this scenario, this will always leave the car traveling more slowly relative to the road, not faster as described in the email. “

Truth or fiction and urban legends agree with snopes that this is a real problem. The only dissenting voice seen so far is museum of hoaxes. They give a link to Australia’s Royal Automobile Association, which doesn’t think it is a problem. ” “Should the car’s tyres break traction with the road, such as in an aquaplane situation, the increase in wheel speed would be sensed and the cruise control system would then reduce the amount of throttle and maintain the set speed. Additionally, cruise control systems are deactivated as soon as the brake is applied. As braking is usually an automatic reaction in most emergency situations, the scenario of cruise control causing an increase in vehicle speed is highly unlikely.” Maybe it is ok in the southern hemisphere, but a problem north of the equator.









Posted in forty four words, Politics, Race, Trifecta, Uncategorized by chamblee54 on June 28, 2013














Baton Bob

Posted in Georgia History, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 27, 2013







baton-bobbwA few years ago, a man started to twirl a baton around Atlanta. He wears eye catching outfits, traditionally intended for females. His handle is Baton Bob. Yesterday, BB went out to celebrate the Supreme Court decisions on DOMA, and Proposition 8. He went to Colony Square, where apparently his act is not appreciated. He was asked to leave, became verbally abusive, and was arrested. Here is the police report.
Baton Bob is African American. So is the arresting officer, and the two security guards. This matter might not be about race. Further, it seems as though BB has had problems with the management at Colony Square before. A security guard, on private property, has a right to tell a man not to come in to the food court and blow a whistle.

Baton Bob does not appreciate those who don’t enjoy his act. He does not have a problem with cussing out those who get in his way. Apparently, this was a problem when he was in St. Louis. Could it be that Baton Bob has gotten too big for his Tutu?

Historic pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”. The mug shot is from Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.









Ozzy Osbourne

Posted in Book Reports, Music by chamblee54 on June 26, 2013

PG read I Am Ozzy, the autobiography of Ozzy Osbourne. (The copyright is given to “Ozzy Osbourne”.) The ghostwriter is Chris Ayers, who PG suspects did the majority of the writing. John Michael Osbourne is dyslexic, among other things. Honestly doctor, I thought the bottle said six pills every hour, and now you say it was one pill every six hours.

This is quite a story. John grew up poor in Aston, England. When he was through with school at 15, he faced a life of manual labor, or prison. The first few jobs he had were horrible, and a stretch behind bars made an impression on him. He put an ad up, saying he wanted to be a vocalist, and was about to give up when Tony Iommi (spell check suggestions:Mommie, Commie) came knocking on his door.

Mr. Iommi was well known in Aston as a musician, but he had to keep a day job. Before he left the factory to become a star, an accident cut off the ends of some of his fingers. He had to change his style, and developed his own, unique way of playing guitar.

The original name of the band was the Polka Tulk Blues Band. They were named after a brand of cheap talcum powder Mrs. Osbourne used. They would load their gear into a vehicle, and hang out by arenas where famous bands played, in case the headliner didn’t show up. One night, Jethro Tull’s truck broke down, and Earth (as the band was then known) played the gig.

Soon, the band…Osbourne, Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward… settled into the business of playing heavy music, with satanic themes. They never took the black magic business seriously, but the combination of a good gimmick and ….their music….clicked, and they began to make buckets of money.

Or rather, somebody was making buckets of money. There was the management, which were typical rock and roll crooks. A few cocaine merchants got some of the revenue, as well as liquor merchants. Ozzy was off on a forty year bender, taking every substance in sight. Supposedly he is clean today.

So Black Sabbath fired Ozzy, and he started a solo career. Ozzy divorced his first wife, and married the daughter of a management heavyweight, Sharon. The alcoholic escapades got more and more bizarre. One night, someone handed him something that looked like a plastic bird. Ozzy bit the head off, and went into rock and roll infamy. (Leviticus 11:13 And these ye shall have in detestation among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are a detestable thing: … 19 and the stork, and the heron after its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat,)

The stories come one right after another. After a while your bs detector sends out a warning, but the stories are so much fun to read. Besides, many of these stories were headlines, and can be easily verified. How many people would claim to be arrested for pissing on the Alamo, while wearing his wife’s nightgown? Before long, he is starring in his own reality TV show.

A lot of the credit for this book goes to Chris Ayers, and whoever helped him. Mr. Ayers has a keen ear for British slang, and keeps the action zipping along. Once you get started with these stories, they are tough to put down.

When PG was young enough, he didn’t think it was cool to like Black Sabbath. He was able to ignore them for a while, until that night in 1980 when PG stood outside a stadium in Seattle WA, and listened to Sabbath (with Ronnie James Dio) play inside. Two years later, he pulled up to the triangle building in Century Center. 96 rock was in this building, and a man was standing outside giving away something. By the time PG got to him, he had run out of free tickets to the Black Sabbath concert, at the Omni. The next encounter with the band was at a job. There was an eight track tape player, and a copy of Paranoid. PG played the tape , and a salesman immediately left the building. This is a repost.

How Am I Doing Mama?

Posted in History, Music, Trifecta by chamblee54 on June 25, 2013

November 17, 1963, Liza Minnelli was on “The Judy Garland Show”. The former Frances Gumm was looking rusty from years of hard living. Five days later, President Kennedy made a trip to Dallas. Six years later, Judy Garland left the building. Liza Minelli is still with us, fifty years later. She has been every bit as wild as her mother, but lived to see another day. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

The Last Night Of Judy Garland

Posted in History, Music by chamblee54 on June 25, 2013

In march of 1969, Judy married her fifth husband, Mickey Devinko, better known as Mickey Deans, a gay night-club promoter. Judy had an unfortunate habit of marrying gay men. They lived together in a tiny mews house in Chelsea, London. The evening of Saturday June 21 1969, Judy and Mickey were watching a documentary, The Royal Family, on television, when they had an argument. Judy ran out the door screaming into the street, waking the neighbors.
Several versions of what happened next exist, but the fact remains that a phone call for Judy woke him at 10:40 the next morning, and she was not sleeping in the bed. He searched for her, only to find the bathroom door locked. After no response, he climbed outside to the bathroom window and entered to find Judy, sitting on the toilet. Rigor Mortis had set in. Judy Garland was dead at the age of 47.
The press was already aware of the news before the body could be removed. In an effort to prevent pictures being taken of the corpse, she was apparently draped over someone’s arm like a folded coat, covered with a blanket, and removed from the house with the photographers left none the wiser.
The day Judy died there was a tornado in Kansas…. in Saline County,KS, a rather large F3 tornado (injuring 60, but causing no deaths) did hit at 10:40 pm on June 21st, that would be 4:40 am, June 22nd, London time, the morning she died. I know the time of death has never been firmly established, but since Rigor Mortis had already set in, I think this tornado may very much be in the ballpark in terms of coinciding with time of death…. Other news articles suggest the tornado struck Salina “late at night” which could certainly also mean after midnight on June 22, or roughly 6:00 am London time.

The Toledo Blade for June 24th, also in an article located right next to a picture of Garland, in a write-up on the Salina tornado noted that “Late Saturday [June 21] and early Sunday [June 22, another batch of tornadoes struck in central Kansas.” So it seems the legend seems confirmed.

The text for this story comes from Findadeath. You can spend hours at this site. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

Lisa Jackson Is White

Posted in Georgia History, Politics, Race, The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 24, 2013









The New York Times did it’s liberal media duty Saturday with a story about Savannah, and the Paula Deen controversy. There were three curious words in paragraph four. “The predicament that Ms. Deen finds herself in began when a former employee — a white woman who is now managing restaurants in Atlanta — filed a discrimination lawsuit in March 2012.”

This thing has seemed, er, fishy from the get go. The restaurant industry is full of disgruntled former employees, few of whom are paragons of virtue. DFE worked in a restaurant partially owned by a famous person. It is uncertain how active the famous person was in the day to day operation of the restaurant. DFE has a lawyer, who gets famous person to say embarrassing things in a deposition. Somehow, this deposition is leaked to National Enquirer. And now we learn that DFE is white.

Confirmation of the ethnicity of DFE is tough to come by. Few pictures are available. You have to ask Mr. Google repeated questions. A law industry blog called Huseby (spell check suggestion:Houseboy) has a good story on the matter, with a couple of links.

The attorney for the plaintiff, Matthew Billips, has a few issues.
“The case began with an “inflammatory letter seeking over a million dollars for forgo filing a lawsuit and allow Deen ‘a chance to salvage a brand that can continue to have value,’ ” Withers’ document said. (Tom Withers, attorney for Bubba Hiers, the brother of Paula Deen) In the motion to dismiss Billips, Withers quoted a tweet by Billips in which he said “suing Paula Deen is a hoot.” Withers also referred to a sexually laced tweet Billips directed at Deen “even more concerning.” In it, “Billips promises to symbolically undress and have sex with” Deen, Withers said. “Billips has posted sexually explicit tweets using extremely graphic and profane language and imagery. He has used the “N” word,” Withers’ motion said.”
Huseby links to an article in the ABA Journal that is downright fascinating. This feature confirms that Lisa Jackson, the DFE/plaintiff, is melanin deficient. The Deen-Hiers legal team has filed a motion, that is highly entertaining. Unfortunately, the pdf is not copy friendly, so the ABA summary will have to do. If you have the time to read the legal motion, you will enjoy it.

“The motion by lawyer Tom Withers says the plaintiff pursuing race-based claims has no standing to assert them because she is white, the Savannah Morning News reports. The plaintiff, Lisa Jackson, had claimed she was sexually harassed and worked in a racially hostile environment at a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother in Savannah, Ga. Withers represents Deen’s brother and the restaurant.

According to the motion, Jackson claimed she was offended because her nieces “are bi-racial with an African-American father.” But the motion says there is just one niece, and she is related to Jackson’s partner, who said in a deposition that the niece’s father is Hispanic and she hasn’t seen the girl in years…. “Jackson cannot enforce someone else’s right, and she has no actionable claim for feeling ‘uncomfortable’ around discriminatory conduct directed at others,” Withers wrote. Jackson must show that any harassment was directed toward her because she was white, but at her deposition she alleged she was treated more favorably than African American employees at the restaurant.” (Page 153)

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.









One AM Break

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 23, 2013




PG does not always know when he has it good. It is breaktime, in a midtown office tower. PG is in an abandoned cubicle, away from the infomercials of the break room TV. He has a tupperware box with four slices of cold pizza. He has … the third shift manager just told him to get out of the cubicle. You can go anywhere but in this room … but that doesn’t steal his joy. There is a gatorade bottle with a quart of water, and a book of short stories by Hank Chinaski. The hero of tonight’s tale just got out of the hospital. His GF ran up a tab of $13.75 at the favorite liquor store.

The new hangout desk has better lighting than the other place, but the chair is not as comfortable.
Eventually, it was time to go back to work. Later, some people were talking about Paula Deen, and her troubles. PG said that one of her sons is supposed to be gay. Maybe this is who the plantation wedding was going to be for. Pictures are from Gwinnett County.




Citizenship Test

Posted in Book Reports, Politics, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 22, 2013










Atlantic Magazine online has a bit of amusement, Are You Smart Enough to Be a Citizen? Take Our Quiz. It is sponsored by Shell Oil, Prudential Insurance, and something called box. PG took the test.

It is thirteen questions, multiple choice. Some are the standards, like “6. How does a bill become a law?”. Some are creative, like the multiple choices for ” iconic American structures”. It would be interesting to see how many people answered Hoover Dam for a picture of the Gateway Arch. What this has to do with qualifying for voting and jury duty is a good question. (PG missed the Gateway Arch. He looked at the 20 available choices, and did not see the correct answer. Maybe the test of citizenship is looking carefully over long lists of options.)

Question 8 is strange. Pictures of the Supreme Court justices are shown, and the respondent is asked to match the picture with the name. Pictures of the Supremes are seldom shown. Even a fairly well informed person might have trouble telling Stephen Breyer from Anthony Kennedy. If you confuse Clarence Thomas for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you automatically fail.

PG scored 58, meaning citizens attained, with distinction. The scoring is weird. You get one point for every election you voted in over the last 10 years. Georgia’s tradition of runoff elections got PG 5 extra points. 6 of the 9 Supremes were named correctly. The “civic text” question, and the “references” question, were passed without a hitch. It is good to know that Rosie the Riveter was not a 1984 Ronald Reagan campaign ad.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.










Celebrity Cook

Posted in forty four words, Trifecta by chamblee54 on June 21, 2013