Post-Valentine’s Day olla podrida

February 22, 2013

How’s the NRA going to spin this one?

Psy got more than 7 billion views on one video.  Can you help Sesame Street get to one billion, total?  It’s a better cause.  And it may frost the heck out of Sal Khan, too.

Sesame Street actually has a lot of video up for YouTube use — that is, for your use.  This is one of the most important educational sites on the entire internet. 992,469,603 total views at this moment.

Whose educational video works best, Sal Khan’s or Cookie Monsters?

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, said she doesn’t think we need an increase in the minimum wage, especially not to the $9 level President Obama asked.  She said her $2.15 minimum wage was enough . . .

Oops:

At that time, the minimum wage was $1.60, equivalent to $10.56 in today’s terms. Today’s minimum wage is equivalent to just $1.10 an hour in 1968 dollars, meaning the teenage Blackburn managed to enter the workforce making almost double the wage she now says is keeping teenagers out of the workforce.

Do Republicans ever learn history, or make the minor mathematical calculations to adjust for historic inflation?  Pretty tough to flunk history, math and economics in such a short statement.

Is there a rational reason that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s  solutions to U.S. problems always involve economic pain to others?  Will cuts in food and health care make these 600,000 children smarter, too?

Here you go, Mittens in winter:

The Mittens in winter, by Howard Noel, via National Wildlife Federation

Caption from the National Wildlife Federation: Howard Noel’s photo of Monument Valley captures the East and West Mitten Buttes, as well as Merrick’s Butte on the right. These natural sandstone and shale structures are just a few of the world-famous geological features in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, located along the Arizona-Utah state line within the Navajo Nation Reservation. The Utah resident used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera and a 24-105mm lens.

Where in Utah does Howard Noel hail from?  While I’ve been by these formations in winter, it was never with a camera to catch the snow.  This park is an ideal place to spend a couple of days learning landscape photography, if you’re looking for a place to try out your new camera.  Great place to be anytime, for me.

Hey, if you’re planning drive to see the Mittens, you should be aware that part of Highway 89 is out of commission due to a slump off the roadway between Flagstaff and Page, Arizona — the Navajo Reservation being as large as it is, and as unroaded as it is, when a main road goes out, detours can be spectacularly long.   Earthly Musings carries geological explanations, history and great photos.  How much detour?  This one requires a job to the east, through Tuba City, probably adding about an hour to the trip between those two cities.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says traffic will detour around the closure by using U.S. 160 and State Route 98, adding 45 miles of driving. (emphasis added here)

Meanwhile, in the rest of America? This is okay.  America is ashamed of Rush Limbaugh’s ranting, too.  Fair, no?

Why was the death toll so high in season 3 of “Downton Abbey?”  Writer Julian Fellowes explained it’s a kind of contract issue — anti-regulation types will no doubt crawl out of the woodwork to complain about government interference in the right of contract in English theatre.


Maine Boy Scout gets hero’s award; saved two from drowning in hotel pool

February 22, 2013

A feel good story, reprinted from the website of the Bangor (Maine) Daily News:

Portland Boy Scout earns rare award after saving two from drowning

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff
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Posted Feb. 18, 2013, at 4:44 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 19, 2013, at 8:48 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Parker Montano, 15, was in a hotel pool surrounded by about 20 other swimming and splashing youths when one, weighing almost 200 pounds, grabbed onto him and pulled him under in a panic.

Lifesaving Boy Scout Parker Montano of Portland, Maine

Boy Scout Parker Montano of Portland, Maine; photo by Peter Montano

Now, seven months later, the Portland Boy Scout will receive one of the organization’s most rarely given honors after saving that boy and another girl moments later at the same pool.

Montano, a Cheverus High School sophomore from South Portland, will receive the Boy Scouts of America’s Heroism Award during a ceremony in Portland on Feb. 28. Montano belongs to Troop 1 in Portland.

“This is a big deal,” Troop 1 scoutmaster John Hume told the BDN Monday. “The kids are always taught first aid and rescue techniques. Most of us take CPR, and most of us never use it. Parker was able to put his training to use when people needed it most. You need to make a conscious choice to act [in a situation like the one Montano faced], when realizing full well that everybody’s going to be watching you. … Parker took action, and that takes a level of courage that’s not common.”

Montano was on vacation with his family last July when the incidents occurred. He was swimming in the deep end of a hotel pool in New Jersey when the larger boy grabbed onto him, according to a news release issued Monday by the local Boy Scouts unit.

“The pool did not have a lifeguard,” the release reads. “Both boys went underwater momentarily, and on resurfacing, the boy told Parker he couldn’t swim. Parker used rescue techniques learned in Boy Scouts to take control over the larger boy and get him to safety.”

Montano was still catching his breath at the side of the pool when he was called into action again. A woman at the scene began screaming that her daughter had gone underwater without resurfacing.

“Parker scanned the pool and located the approximately 12-year-old girl,” the Troop 1 account of the incident reads. “He swam to the girl and dove to rescue her. He pulled her to the surface and swam her to the side of the pool, to waiting adults. The girl began coughing and was able to start breathing again.”

Montano said in a statement his reaction to the two pleas for help was “like an impulse.”

“It seemed like what was right at the moment,” he said. “My mind processed it later. The fear dawned on you over what happened, and then there was a sense of relief that you were there and could help.”

The Boy Scouts of America’s Heroism Award was given to 155 of the organization’s roughly 2.7 million members in 2012. That means fewer than one out of every 17,000 scouts earned the award last year. Hume said when the Feb. 28 ceremony takes place, it will be the first time he’s seen one awarded in his 40 years involved with scouting.

“[Parker] believes there is good in the world and sometimes it needs a helping hand,” Peter Montano, Parker’s father, said in the release. “I have never been so proud of my son.”

Parker Montano is pursuing Eagle Scout status, one of the highest levels attainable in the organization. He also is an accomplished runner who is scheduled to represent Maine as part of the East Central Conference cross country team in an international meet in Australia this summer, the Troop 1 release stated.

Morals to the story:  Post a lifeguard when you swim (do not swim alone); if you have a choice, swim with Boy Scouts around who can pull you out if you get into trouble.

BSA awarded 66 honor medals and 155 other heroism medals in 2012; I know of no list of the awardees.  Does anyone keep such history?

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