November 2011


Have not had time to properly research this yet so I’m just going to supply a screenshot of my email letter and the two links that were inside so you can read, respond or just go hide in a corner – because to be honest, hiding in a corner is my first and preferred reaction 🙂

[click to enlarge]

Link to more information. (Includes a Vimeo video I can’t embed.)

Link to contacting your senator. (Requires zip code.)

I’m all for copyright owners collecting their well-deserved royalties. But I also hate censorship and am really, really tired of big corporations getting congressional votes on anything.

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NOTE:  Have found and enabled the nested thread feature – hopefully this will allow us to respond directly to a comment without having to copy/paste posters names, etc. Wish I could get wordpress to allow .jpg’s to appear in comments – that would save a stack of time and grief…

Have just spent over an hour on the phone with my mother – me in Australia and mom in California – both watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live in New York City – how cool is that! Live streaming! Where have you been all my life!

So with all the other things I have to be thankful for this year I’m including giving thanks for all the really great gadgets and techy toys some pretty amazing geeks have invented that made my visit with mom this morning possible!

Eat lots and lots of turkey and cranberry sauce and baked sweet potatoes covered with mini marshmallows and stuffing with gravy and corn on the cob and pumkpkin pie with gobs of whipped cream on top! And then have a second helping for me because there’s no Thanksgiving downunder *sniff* and spouse and I decided to skip our unorthodox celebration this year. (We sometimes invite a few friends the first week in December to share what we’ve dubbed our American Thanksgiving A Week Late & In The Wrong Country celebration.)

Anyway I’m off to call all my kids – can’t wait to hear their voices – I hope you are all enjoying family and special friends – and those who are able – take a plate or two to a homeles shelter and share the joy 🙂

Courtesy of earthcam.com here are some screenies (click to enlarge) of the parade:

Did you know this little guy has been around since the 1870’s? The Morton Salt girl too evidently!

An actual Kool dude 🙂

Hi Mickey!!!

 

Have a lovely day everyone 🙂

What a delightful, lively group you are! Thank you to everyone who contributed to the last post – and I hope this post will answer the big question ultimately hanging over my head like an annoying thought bubble… what in the Sam Hill were you getting at lady? (Which is, actually, a common question posed by my spouse almost daily for numerous subjects!)

When cliveden posted a link and a question in another comments section, I casually strolled across the web to have a sticky beak (that means take a look for you mainlanders). I found the photo, captured it and reposted it here to get all your opinions. The next day I went back to the site and began perusing the other entries. By the third one I was sitting straight up in my seat, alarmed and uncomfortable.

I immediately removed the link from my comments and sent cliveden an email explaining my reasons. I asked her to please not post it anywhere else until I’d had a chance to show it to a professional, get his opinion, and capture certain information that might otherwise disappear (like some myspace accounts) should the quiet blog suddenly be the recipient of heavy traffic.

To be perfectly honest, my initial impression of the photo was that it had been photo-shopped by the blog author. The post read like a quiet occasion shared by two close friends. But in reading further it began to feel more like the long, melancholy letter one would write to a lover at sea, referring to one of the Palin women as ‘my sweetness’ and reading the posts felt like such an intrusion of privacy I had to stop. On the advice of a friend and professional, I’ve sent the link to Alaska authorities. On the advice of a friend and a blogger, I’m not going to release the link here and sincerely hope that any of you who might be privy to the web address will not make it public, either.

We have a responsibility – all of us – on all sides of the political aisle – to ensure we have a place to conduct deeply passionate, heated discussions about our policies, our elected officials, our elected-wannabes and in these rooms we share some pretty adamant, unyielding and differing opinions of people. But one thing we need to always agree on and that is we mean no one actual physical harm. I am genuinely concerned that the author of the blog I read is troubled, pathologically focused on the Palin family and neither I nor any of my readers need to be the catalyst for putting this poor soul over the edge.

And then I had an email exchange with Gryphen from tIM in which he not only confirmed my reactions but had this profound statement to add as well:

As things with the Palins start to die down there are a few VERY unhinged people, on both sides of the spectrum, who seem to be having an especially hard time letting things go.  Just recently  Shawn Christy decided to plead guilty (http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/sarah-palins-stalker-plead-guilty) which is good because he was another one who was becoming increasingly scary.

Sarah and Todd Palin may very well be genuine phonies who grifted their way to fame and fortune, cheating the general public out of millions of dollars – but as disingenuous as they might be, stalkers are very real. And unfortunately we can’t always know who they are because – well, for one thing, they don’t wear name tags. So for now, at least, I’m taking the high road and not releasing the blog link.

But that said… a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Commenter Carolyn stepped forward to identify the photo in question and if nothing else, her knowledge of the event convinced me that the melancholy blogger is not responsible for any alterations which may have befallen our wedding mystery photo of Sarah & Todd – so that event and this photo are – in my humble opinion – up for grabs, topic wise. The link is off limits, but the photo is still in play.

A short tutorial in photo-shopping:

Behold the following photo of Todd Palin taken by a professional photographer with a high quality resolution of 300 pixels (dots) per inch (.dpi). When you lighten or enlarge this photo, the image (in particular the shadow on his cheek) doesn’t lose integrity. That’s because at 300 dpi there are enough pixels (dots) in each square inch to maintain the original image as it stretches. The image is left with clean, undistorted lines.

(Click image to enlarge)

Now we have a photo of Todd taken with a lesser quality camera and uploaded to youtube. The end result is an image resolution of 72 dpi – which is normally suitable for most images but the conversion to a youtube format added another process called compression. I found this answer on a forum to be the most comprehensive:

Image compression, like what is used for JPEG files, does just what it sounds like it does: it takes all of the data recorded by the sensor … and eliminates redundancies to create a smaller file size. In practice, this process takes the form of reducing the number of recorded colors to those specifically found in the image, and combining data from closely-colored pixels sitting near each other. The more heavily you apply this process the smaller the file will be, but the more details will be lost.

(Click to enlarge)

Simple shadows taken at a low resolution and then compressed lend a gritty look to normal shadows. In the case  of the August 17 youtube clip, the normal shadow on Tod’s cheeks appear darker than in the original image. When that same image is subsequently sharpened to pull it back into focus, a shadow can appear so gritty it gives the appearance of being a creeping beard.

The image of Todd in the wedding photo – to me – looks like a compressed photo that’s been shopped into a bigger picture. The image has been changed probably in size and then had a sharpening tool applied to compensate for the small distortions left behind. Interestingly enough, someone commented earlier on Todd missing his right ear. As you can see in the above image, compression and/or alteration can leave rough-looking, jagged edges which then need to be erased to hide or painted over to blend into the parent image. In either case, Todd is looking ‘almost’ straight on into the camera and – imho – at least a portion of his right ear should have been visible.

I can’t imagine this is a genuine photo of Sarah & Todd, even though I told Carolyn I would bow to her knowledge of this event – so I will bow out of this now with just one final observation…

What on earth did Todd do to ‘chubby up’ so dramatically in only 8 days?

 

============   UPDATE   ============

I am truly sorry the original conversation of the last two posts got derailed but will attempt to respond to a couple of things here. I am remiss in not having been more clear to begin with so allow me to backtrack:

A commenter sent me a photo and asked if I thought it was shopped or not. I had no stake in an outcome either way. My initial reaction was that yes, I thought it had been, although for what purpose I had no clue. Then I revisited the site of origin and became alarmed at the intimacy of the writing. It felt as if I’d opened a door to a room where I had no business being. Like a kid who accidentally walks in on his parents having sex – even though there were no parents here and no sex – just a style of writing that went well past a sense of correctness in blogging from a simple ‘fan’ in my opinion. So I pulled back and sought professional advice.

In the meantime Carolyn came on board and offered to share the original of this photo, knew the event it represented, some of the people involved and her knowledge answered a few of our questions. I have no evidence to support the suspicion that she lied when telling us the photo was genuine – but I also have no evidence which might support her claim of its authenticity, either. A couple of people dug around and located flickr accounts of this wedding event but not a single photo of Sarah & Todd appear in either of the flickr slideshows of the ceremony and reception, or in the newspaper account of the event which got a decent sized write-up in a local paper. Carolyn did provide a photo of Willow and Trig that I was delighted to receive because many of us have been disappointed by the lack of public photos of Trig growing up. But supporting photos of Sarah and Todd at this event? Not one.

I am not obsessed with this photo – I’ve just tried to be thorough. And the reason to even go down this avenue at all is because of the preponderance of evidence that has surfaced over the past three years showing how Sarahs initial quest for political power was riddled with false scenarios deliberately set up to make her appear more than she is. The release of emails alone showed Sarah to be rather deceptive and conniving inasmuch as she actually stooped to writing her own letters of praise and then had staff sign and submit them to local newspapers as if they represented the voice of the average Alaskan citizen . It was also discovered through these emails that Sarah had to locate and borrow a jogging stroller so she could be photographed with it in a national magazine ‘as if’ running with Trig in tow was a part of her normal routine. So in that vein, if this wedding photo is yet another phoney ploy concocted by the Palins for whatever reason, then we have every right to persue those facts.

Turning to my blog – it’s time I think to make a public commitment to all you reading my blog, whether you feel I’m one of the unhinged or not… everyone is welcome at Oz Mudflats. I have never and will never chastize a commenter or delete a comment because it is critical of my writing, my opinion or the subject of the post. A very wise professor once told my class – If we were each the same – one of us would be unnecessary. We need to praise and correct each other and be willing to take both as well. We need debate and differing opinions and opposing viewpoints to create and maintain a healthy balance in society and I do not preach what I do not practice. You may not get me to bend to your point of view but you’re welcome to try and I may do handstands to get you to see my side of an issue. I may clean up some of the more colourful language from time to time in the comments if I feel the cussing is overdone and could offend one of our more gentle readers but I will not ever delete the contribution itself or in any way attempt to humiliate the person behind it. In three years I’ve shown only one person the door and not for the thought behind the comment but because of the harsh language used to deliver it – but even that comment was left up after editing out a few of the fucks and suggesting he didn’t know me well enough to call me a slut.

This of course doesn’t mean I won’t challenge anyone who waves a red flag under my nose. I am half Irish after all. And I proudly voted for President Obama. It just means everyone is welcome here. No one of you will ever get a post, comment or email from me, belittling you, calling you rude or telling you to go away.

-Oz

I know, I know, I haven’t posted the final-final summary page of the half marathon fiasco yet – but I actually wrote and tossed so many drafts I needed to step away from it to regain my perspective. And then Herb Cain came along and – well if you know me you know Side-Track is my middle name. Will get it finished soon though I promise 🙂

However – while my focus on the running post is resetting (so the piece can be as succinct and perfect as possible), let me share a photo just submitted by our friend cliveden. This came with a link that I’m choosing to withhold until other items on the site can be verified. The photo questioned, however, is priceless.

So without benefit of seeing what the author has written, tell me your first impressions – both about the photo itself and the author behind it:

For me, the torso on the male figure is just – wrong. I don’t even know where to begin. The shirt is pulling at an odd angle across his belly – the collar looks to be for a dress shirt (notice the under-the-collar button indicating it’s meant to be worn with a tie and yet there’s no shirt edge or buttons down the front)  and the waistline is out of proportion to the neck and shoulders.

To my eye, Sarah looks like she’s leaning against something that isn’t there and Todds head is way too small. Todd’s neck? He’s an Alaskan – not a giraffe. And I can’t for the life of me work out why anyone would have photo-shopped Todd’s face over another person’s body and seated next to Sarah (if she’s even there at all). It’s all rather bizarre.

Compare this photo to other headshots of the pair:

And this should offer more realistic proportions of Todd’s actual head and neck:

Let me see your first impressions and then I’ll post a sample of the writing. Oh and many thanks again cliveden!

PLEASE NOTE: In case you happen to know the site this photo represents, please do not post the link here. All will be revealed in due time – Thanks – Oz

============  UPDATE  ============

Appreciate all the input and I have to say I agree with almost everyone who says this is just the most unnatural photo… That said, our friend Carolyn has claimed it to be a genuine photo, identified the event as a cousin’s wedding held 09 August 2010 and submitted the full photo from which our selection had been cropped. Carolyn has blocked the faces of the relatives who do not normally appear in the Palin spotlight and I support her decision.

Carolyn also sent me two other pictures taken at this event, one I’ve inserted into the larger one showing Sarah feeding Trig at the table. The other was taken outdoors and I’m really only posting it because – well because in the middle of all the skepticism and doubts we endure from the adult Palin deceptions – we don’t often get to share the sweet side of these bubs and it just struck me as the most adorable photo of Trig I’ve ever seen.

From Carolyn (click to enlarge):
I am still bothered by the 5 o’clock shadow that goes all the way up one side of Todd’s face – it’s not a shadow cast by Sarah’s head but is indicative of how a shadow would appear had it been reduced in size from another photo (one of poor quality). The neck and torso continue to strike me as completely out of proportion – and Sarah really does look like she’s falling off his lap. If this photo sent to me by cliveden was altered, it’s possible this is the version of the photo that had the alteration done. If it’s genuine, as Carolyn claims, than it’s a truly bad photo of Sarah and Todd in a group where everyone else appears rather normal.

So even though I’m still troubled by certain details, I will bow to Carolyn’s knowledge of this event, her access to these Wasillans and chalk this poor photo up to one of life’s little mysteries.

And here’s the icing on the cake – how cute is this little guy, eh? And how happy!
Trig one year ago – age 2 and 1/2

Carolyn – you may find us still poking at the group photo – but I am grateful to you for taking the time to send these photos and for adding your input in the comments – OzMud

This is my favourite morning show team. If you’ve got to wake up every day at 3am to get to a TV studio and read the news to an empty audience, then you might as well have a bit of fun while you’re at it.

The best on air blooper though happened last June with the visit from the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has probably never, ever stood in a pizza shop trying to decide which toppings to have on his pizza  (if he even knows what a pizza is) so Karl’s joke falls completely flat – and the poor man has been poked and jabbed on national TV for it ever since. He’s got a great laugh though – so there’s that.

If you never get to see these guys in America – I give you 16 minutes of pure, unedited, off the cuff humour from our most popular morning show:

Karl & The Dalai Lama

The Stabby Thing (the boys just walk into it – the girls never get it – which makes it all even funnier)

Best Miley Cyrus impersonation evah

The Today Brady Bunch

Today in New York & a Bunch of Muppets

G’day!

From my email bag:

Sign this petition and spread the word: Pizza isn’t a vegetable.

Friend —

House Republicans are ramming through legislation this week to classify pizza as a “vegetable” for the purpose of school lunches.Why? Because a massive lobbying effort of Republican lawmakers by the frozen pizza industry, among other corporate interests, is underway to get around Obama Administration guidelines to make school lunches contain healthier options.

In this Republican Congress, almost anything is up for sale to the highest bidder and most powerful lobbyists — including the literal definition of the word “vegetable” — and this time, it’s coming at the expense of our kids’ health.

This is business as usual for some in Washington, but shining a spotlight on it can stop it.

Look, we could have a lot of fun with this one. But the fact is that there is a very real bottom line: Childhood obesity has tripled in the past three decades. And for some kids, school lunches are some of the best nutrition options they have during the day.

School lunches are hard to change — and it doesn’t take a doozy like “pizza is a vegetable” to know that the corporate interests have more money and more Washington lobbyists than kids do. That’s why pizza was classified as a vegetable during the Bush years. The Obama administration made that common-sense change, but the Republican Congress wants to take us back to the money-for-influence status quo.

If you think this is as ridiculous as we do, tell the GOP that it’s time they started picking real people over corporations (and real vegetables over slices of pizza, for that matter):

Thanks,

Brad
Brad Woodhouse, Communications Director, Democratic National Committee

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Right or wrong, I smell a Godfather rat…

 

I can’t embed the videos but I’ll post links as they appear.

Air force One landed in Australia barely 30 minutes ago – the schoolies have already lined up to shake his hand.

From Channel 7 News:

President welcomed to Parliament House
(Video and full story here)

US President Barack Obama has arrived at Parliament House to be officially welcomed at a ceremony on the forecourt.

Mr Obama’s motorcade arrived about 4:30pm (AEDT) with the president in his personal, bomb-proof transport vehicle, known as ‘The Beast’ after a brief stop at his hotel to freshen up.

He was greeted again by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

There was a 21 gun salute as helicopters hovered overhead.

Gun smoke fanned the forecourt.

The US and Australian national anthems were played as the president stood on the dais in front of the army, navy and air force servicemen and women from the Federation Guard.

He was then invited to inspect the guard and the military band.

US President Barack Obama has arrived in Australia.

Air Force One touched down in the national capital Canberra about 3.10pm (AEDT) – 15 minutes ahead of schedule for his first official visit.

The president smiled and waved as he descended the steps from the specially fitted out Boeing 747 jumbo at the Fairbairn defence establishment.

He was greeted by Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Australia’s ambassador to the US Kim Beazley and the US ambassador Jeffrey Bleich.

The visit comes as security tightens in the national capital, with key roads closed and US Secret Service agents supplementing a bolstered federal police presence.

Mr Obama, America’s first black president, will meet Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, at Parliament House before holding a joint media conference and attending an official dinner.

The president will use a speech to a joint sitting of parliament on Thursday to thank Australia for 60 years of friendship through the ANZUS alliance, and spell out America’s renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Ms Gillard and Mr Obama also are expected to spell out the broad details of a new agreement for US Marines to conduct training and exercises with Australian forces based in Darwin.

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