Apr 24, 2011

Peleliu Fishing Trip, 1945

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Pictured on the left is a group of Seabees in 1945 with some fish they caught near the island of Peleiu. My grandfather is in this picture, and he is the third Seabee from the right.

My guess is that these large fish are examples of some type of sea bass, though the many decades that have passed have eroded any memory of the fish type. In fact, even though I spotted my grandfather in about three milliseconds after looking at this picture, he seemed reluctant to give me much more than "yeah, that's probably me, but who knows?"

Not sure if he was just being self-effacing, or if he just didn't want to talk about Peleliu when we visited with him the other day.

Apr 19, 2011

Attack of the Irradiated Historians!

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As part of my attempt to determine the extent of dysfunctionality of my gallbladder, I underwent testing at the nuclear medicine department of Flower Hospital today. The test performed was called a HIDA scan, and the procedure involved the injection of the radioactive nuclear isomer Technetium-99m into my bloodstream, which causes the liver, gallblader, and duodenum to glow for a gamma camera.

Interestingly, while considered safe for humans, Technetium-99m has the potential for setting off anti-terrorist radiation detectors that Homeland Security has placed in airports and other strategic locations. The accompanying photograph depicts the radiation card I received and was told to carry for the next three days (the half-life of Technetium-99m) on the off chance that my status as an irradiated human being might trigger a false security breach somewhere.

One of my students today also suggested that - should such an act of false radiation alert occur - that simultaneously shouting Allahu Akbar would not be found humorous by Homeland Security types.

Apr 18, 2011

Life No More

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The wind storm that roared through yesterday seems to have taken a nascent avian life, and I felt a brief pang of sadness at seeing the broken egg shell on thr ground. There were no mourners for the former occupant of the shell, and I suppose even the bird's mother had yet to develop much of an attachment to what was little more than a warm lump the size of large grape.

Maybe the grey April skies that dumped a brief snowfall this morning brought down my spirits, or maybe I am simply in a funk. Yet the sight of the unfulfilled life haunted me for more than a few minutes, and even hours later the cracked shell seems depressing.

Apr 14, 2011

Spring Daffodils

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I have been rather ill of late. The beginning of my health woes involved a kidney stone for which I had to go through outpatient surgery last week, and now I have some gastric-oriented problem that keeps me nauseated and in pain all day. I had an ultrasound today to see if gallstones are the problem. If not, I probably have a peptic ulcer, or some other source of gastric annoyance.

Fun times.

Anyways, it warmed my heart to see that the daffodils are beginning to brighten up the yard, as nothing screams "SPRING!" like the bright yellow flowers of these perennial friends. The combination of sunshine and yellow petals did not cure me, but for a few minutes the day was a bit brighter.

Apr 10, 2011

Use Google for Sunrise and Sunset

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The folks at Google never cease to amaze me.

I was trying to time my early bedtime this evening by checking the sunset time, as I have an almost pathological inability to sleep when the sun is out. Perhaps this has something to do with my childhood, growing up with a father who instilled in me a rather intense work ethic.

Or maybe I just have a strong circadian streak in me: who knows.

Anyways, when I typed in the word "sunset" in the Google search bar, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the top search result was a customized sunset time for my area. Typing in "sunrise" brought a similar result, with the following handy information: "7:01am Monday (EDT) - Sunrise in Toledo, OH 43623: 11 hours 17 minutes from now ."

Friendly, fast, accurate: what more could you want?

Humorous Weather Icon

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I am not sure if this is a new graphic at Intellicast.com, my favorite weather site, but I chuckled when I saw the fog icon this morning. The graphic features an out-of-focus automobile with its lights on, suggesting the conditions a motorist would face in foggy conditions.

Then after I thought about this further, I struggled to think of another image that might convey the nature of fog. A blank gray blotch would capture the gloominess and lack of visibility, but a website visitor might mistake this for a coding error.

Perhaps fog simply lacks the more spectacular meteorological extravaganza of, say, a thunderstorm or a blizzard, and the best image we can create to represent fog is one that captures the effects of the weather, rather than the weather itself.

Anyways, the fog was short-lived in Northwest Ohio, and by dawn it had mostly evaporated around my house.

Apr 8, 2011

Canine Hoarding

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Pictured on your left is Missy, a nine-year-old terrier mix we adopted through Planned Pethood a few years ago. Missy suffered serious abuse and neglect in her previous home, and though she is much more social than when she first arrived, she still has some moments of feistiness.

In the image Missy has rounded up most of the fillable bones we set out for the dogs, and every time another dog ventured within a few yards of her "stash," Missy chased them away. Her acquisition methods were also quite impressive, as she managed to simultaneously keep tabs on the bones the other dogs were chewing. As soon as they walked away from a bone, BAM! She raced over, grabbed the unattended bone, and added it to her collection.

Pretty funny stuff, unless of course you were one of the pooches who had a bone purloined by Missy. I should add that most of the dogs made the mistake of setting up chew-camp near Missy, and thus made it easier for her to spy on their treat.

If I were a dog, I would take the treat behind a couch or someplace that was a bit more defensible. Then again, if I were a dog, I would probably not possess enough cognitive skills to work out such a solution.

Apr 2, 2011

Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris lacustris)

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The interminably long winter that has been the bane of my existence over the past five months finally seems to be abating, and I was pleased to see that some bulbs I planted last fall have started to sprout and blossom. Pictured on your left are some violet Crested Dwarf Iris flowers, also known by the scientific name of Iris lacustris.

These early-blooming rhizomes are a welcome addition to the color provided by the various crocus varieties that started appearing a few weeks ago in my yard. Accompanying this visual burst of color is the growing awareness that the many months of frozen temperatures are close to an end, and I cannot remember a winter that seemed so unwilling to leave.

I also see quite a few tulips and lilies poking out of the ground, and while I am leery of planting any seeds just yet, I suspect I am but a few weeks away from sowing the annuals and garden vegetables.

A-freaking-men, that: I cannot recall a winter I despised as much as this past season.