Friday, July 29, 2011

Alex Sings an Italian Love Song and "Stars" from Les Miserables

My son Alex took part in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Summer Vocal Institute over the past two weeks. Today was recital, and Alex sang two songs, Giovanni Battista Bononcini's Per la Gloria d'adoravi och Schonberg's Stars from Les Miserables.



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Who Do You Call When You Have a Squirrel Trapped in Your Fireplace?


How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 1.
It is Sunday afternoon and you hear something from the living room. Ignore it!

How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 2.
It is now past dinner time and you are discussing Paris restaurants with your oldest son. Then you hear that sound from the living room again. Erik heard it too, so now you can't ignore it. He suggest that I call animal control, but animal control is no more in West Windsor, NJ. Budget cuts!

How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 4.
We realize that if we open the glass doors, the squirrel may disappear in the house, and we will have a lot of work chasing him or her. I start to look for something to catch the squirrel with in case...

How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 5.
I google "How do you get a squirrel out of your chimney" and before I have finished the line google has delivered 2.8 million answers. Wow! I'm not alone. The google answers are interesting, but I don't want to climb the roof and lower a rope down the chimney so that the squirrel can escape.

How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 6.
By the way... how did it get in? We have a mesh that the chimney guy put in to prevent birds from getting stuck. Those clever rodents.

How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 7.
I went into the garage to look for something to catch a squirrel with, but the only thing I could come up with was one of the large garbage cans. The lid was however to clumsy to operate so he/she might escape, so I went to the basement and picked up a poster board, which covered the top of the can nicely.

How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 8.
My home-made squirrel trap.
Back at the fireplace it was eerily quit. I took a flashlight to see if he/she was hiding in a corner, but all I could see was pieces of insulation that he/she had ripped into. No squirrel. Did it escape? Well, I moved on and set up my home-made squirrel trap, which you can see on the photo. Note the poster board to the right behind the garbage can.

How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 9.
The trap was now set, but no squirrel in sight, so I went back into the kitchen, returning to a project I was working on. Fifteen minutes later, I here noise from the living room. YES! He is in the can, and I carefully slide the poster board in-between the fireplace opening and the can. I shake the can slightly to check if the squirrel is in it. It is!

How to get a squirrel out of your fireplace... Part 10.
Erik and I carry the can out and flip it over away from us and boy, was that squirrel happy, bouncing off like on a squirrel date. 

End of story!

Hans Sandberg

A Huge Problem with an Obvious Solution

Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables

A great expose by Mark Bittman. It is a life and death issue, and addressing it could lower the deficit.
Subsidized. Photo: Hans Sandberg
Not subsidized.
"WHAT will it take to get Americans to change our eating habits? The need is indisputable, since heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all in large part caused by the Standard American Diet. (Yes, it’s SAD.)....changing it /our diet/ could improve our health and save tens of millions of lives..... and... save tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs.Yet the food industry appears incapable of marketing healthier foods.... Their mission is not public health but profit, so they’ll continue to sell the health-damaging food that’s most profitable, until the market or another force skews things otherwise. That “other force” should be the federal government, fulfilling its role as an agent of the public good and establishing a bold national fix.
Rather than subsidizing the production of unhealthful foods, we should turn the tables and tax things like soda, French fries, doughnuts and hyperprocessed snacks. The resulting income should be earmarked for a program that encourages a sound diet for Americans by making healthy food more affordable and widely available."
It's so obvious and makes so much sense and would save so much money that one wonders if it ever could be done. It's almost like if we were to get people to stop smoking.... oh, we actually did that, and it worked. And we do regulate and tax tobacco. Why isn't the Tea Party huffing and puffing about that?
Hans Sandberg

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where Are They Now, Those Rebels Against Big Brother?

Remember those daring revolutionaries who took on Big Brother in a famous 1984 ad. Well, as Rebecca MacKinnon explains in this sharp TED presentation, they are now busy censoring iPad and iPhone apps on behalf of Big Money, Big Power or simply to block the naughty bits.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Party Is Almost Over For the Republican Party

The clean-up is going to be very expensive, and they will as usually leave the bill on the table for the rest of us to pick up.
“Our problem is, we made a big deal about this for three months,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina told the New York Times.
“How many Republicans have been on TV saying, ‘I am not going to raise the debt limit,’ ” said Mr. Graham, including himself in the mix of those who did so. “We have no one to blame but ourselves.”

Hans Sandberg

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Let the Kids Pay Our Debts - We Can't Do Without Our Private Jets

It seems that the deficit wasn't that big of a problem after all, at least not big enough for the zillionairs to have to pay tax on their private jets. What happened to all the talk about not putting a crushing debt burden on our children? Well there are limits, I guess. After all, what would the world look like if Gordon Gecko and his men had to fly First Class and not take their Corporate Jet to Aspen next time?

Hans Sandberg

Hubble Telescope Images