Thursday, July 24, 2008

Berliners Welcome Obama as They Did JFK

This article from the Christian Science Monitor, written before Barack Obama gave his speech in Berlin today, predicted 100,000 people would attend. The article also states that 76% of Berliners would vote for Barack Obama.

It turned out that approximately 200,000 people were on hand to hear him speak.

This is a YouTube video of his speech.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kiteboarding - A Jetty Island Kind of Day

I was watching the kite boarders on Jetty Island Saturday and it looked fun!

A definite plus is that is totally fuel-free (ther than getting yourself and a kayak to the 10th street boat launch on the Everett waterfront). The kiteboarders carry their gear in backpacks on kayaks from the boat launch over to Jetty Island.

The west side of Jetty Island is a great place for that sport since it has fairly steady winds and shallow water that is warmer than the rest of Puget Sound (although not so warm that they aren't wearing wetsuits or drysuits). When they fall they are often in water that is shallow enough to stand up in.

I've been reading about kiteboarding and learned the first step is to learn to fly a Beginner Kite which costs about 100 dollars. Knowing how to fly the kite will make kiteboarding lessons much more productive. If it looks like a sport that would appeal to you Seattle Kiteboarding at 17230 Bothell Way NE, Seattle WA. has equipment and kiteboarding lessons.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This is Your Brain on Music

This is Your Brain on Music written by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin sounds like it would be interesting reading based on this review on Salon

If you don't have time to read it you could listen to some short samples of the music discussed in the book...or you could listen to this YouTube of Herbert von Karajan directing Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor and see if that has any effect on your brain - some people think this song in particular helps with concentration and creativity.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

NPR had a piece today about the videos on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog that were released earlier this week. The first two episodes are posted now and the third one will be posted on Saturday.

According to this article you can watch Dr. Horrible free until Sunday night, after that you have to buy it on iTunes or wait for the DVD.

Here's a link to a YouTube video on from a fan who wants to be Dr. Horrible's sidekick.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Singing About Working at The Wal-Mart

Free Range Studios has an animated video with a Garth Brooks-like voice singing about working at the Wal-Mart.

Free Range creates a variety of socially conscious videos like the Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard, and this National Partnership for Women & Families piece supporting paid sick days for all workers, where I learned that nearly half of private sector workers don’t get a single paid sick day to recover from illness, and 94 million workers don’t have a single paid sick day to care for a sick family member.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sharing Is Healing - Noémi Ban

I was fortunate to be able to hear Holocaust survivor Noémi Ban tell her story today.

Noémi was a young woman when the Nazi's invaded Hungary and forced all Jewish people into a ghetto, then a factory, and finally onto rail cars destined for Auschwitz.

Her mother Julishka, sister Erzsébet, 6 month old baby brother, Gábor, and her grandmother, Nina were killed at Auschwitz.

Noémi is a peace-filled and loving person; telling a story to honor those she lost and to remind us how precious life and human dignity are. Even though she suffered terribly she is thankful for many things - simple things like a cold glass of water, and wonderful things like having two sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on the way. She received a Golden Apple Award in 1997 after more than 30 years of classroom teaching and continues to teach by sharing her story to this day.

When she talks about the Holocaust, he asks one question we all need to keep asking....


Monday, July 14, 2008

Typing Practice

Got an iPhone and I'm practicing typing with my thumbs.

I wish I could upload a picture from my iPhone..

Figured it out - this is my only picture right now.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ebey Island Boat and Kayak Rentals

Kayaking 044
Originally uploaded by Jack Crossen
The last time I was kayaking in the Snohomish river estuary I ran across a new kayak and boat rental facility on Steamboat Slough. Their location is a good starting point for anyone who wants to experience kayaking in the estuary. I paddled over and talked to the owner who was very nice - he offered to let me try out one of their new Hydrobikes.

If you have your own kayak you can launch from Langus Park on the Snohomish River and then paddle upstream for 1 mile to enter the estuary. If you don't have a kayak you used to have to rent one at Popeye's on the Everett waterfront and then paddle 4 miles upstream to the estuary. With the new Ebey Island Boat & Kayak Rentals you can start out in the calm waters of Steamboat slough and poke around in the waterways looking at old boats, birds, otters, deer and other wildlife - without having to get out into open water on the sound or in the Snohomish River.

Ebey Island Boat & Kayak Rentals is just east of Everett, Washington, thirty miles North of downtown Seattle. The address is 5501 12th St. SE. Everett Washington 98205. I've posted a map below and here's a link to directions.

Their location offers public use facilities such as bathrooms, shower and laundry as well as short term camping which can be accommodated with prior arrangement. This is a members only establishment and a complimentary trial membership is included with your rental of any of our equipment. If you choose to use their facility to launch your own equipment and/or use the facilities, a trial membership can be purchased separately.

View Larger Map


Link to a Seattle Times article about a 64 year old man who has been commuting two miles across Puget Sound by hydrobike almost every day for 7 years -

Local News | Commuting in the liquid lane | Seattle Times Newspaper

Friday, July 11, 2008

Night Losers - Romanian Music Rocks!!!

I happened across the "Night Losers" music at Link TV.

They combine Transylvanian, Gypsy, Hungarian, Romanian folk music with American blues, rock and roll, and some unique sounds all their own. They have a great fiddle player, an interesting singer/guitar player and a guy who sometimes plays a leaf. It looks like they have a lot of fun and so does the audience. I love the way they include old and young people in these videos.

They have quite a few videos on YouTube and a page on MySpace

Two of my favorites from YouTube are the "Shame" and "Blue Suede Shoes" videos below. I also embedded a documentary from their MySpace page that explains their history and musical style - it's fascinating. Finally there is a Mixpod MP3 player with some of their songs - I particularly like the rendition of "Good Night Irene".

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard provides some thought-provoking insights about buying, consuming, and disposing of all the stuff we've been brainwashed into thinking we need.

This is part of the description of this short film which was released last December, from the website -

"From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

According to the film, consumer mania may have been born from the post World War II era, but economic manipulation has driven consumerism to where it is today. From the limited life cycle of personal computers to changes in footwear fashion, Leonard demonstrates that products are either designed to be regularly replaced or to convince consumers that their stuff needs to be upgraded. This notion of planned and perceived obsolescence drives the machine of American consumerism year round."

Here's an interesting factoid that gives some idea of the scope of just one piece of the "consume at any cost" mentality...

In 2001 - in parts of the Pacific Ocean there were 6 pounds of plastic debris for each pound of zooplankton. Fish, birds and eventually humans will end up consuming that plastic and suffering the health consequences as it moves up the food chain. That information comes from this video -

This is a more recent article from the San Francisco Chronicle - Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean

Probably a good time to stop using plastic water bottles, plastic grocery bags and buying other throw-away plastic junk - and certainly for recycling any plastic articles we can.