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Palomar Observatory

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lightning strikes girl on a sunny day and other ramblings.



From the wire:
CANONSBURG, Pa. -- An 11-year-old western Pennsylvania girl is recovering after she was struck by a bolt from the blue.
Lisa Wehrle tells the Observer-Reporter newspaper of Washington, Pa., that the sun was shining when her daughter, Britney, was struck by lightning Friday, apparently from a storm several miles away.
Lisa Wehrle says, "There was no rain. It was a beautiful day. All she heard was some thunder."
The lightning hit Britney as she was walking down a hill in North Strabane Township with a friend about 2:30 p.m. that day. The bolt hit her on the left shoulder, leaving a burn-like mark and exited her wrist, where it left another mark.
She was treated at a Pittsburgh hospital. Doctors discovered her arm was broken, but otherwise she's OK.
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I was talking with Charlie, a very good trainer at my gym, this morning. He mentioned that he had a young client who had experienced an unfortunate stroke and was exhibiting some unusual cognitive behavior. For instance if the guy wanted to say "three hundred" he might say "four, fuck, hundred." His neural omelet had been a little bit scrambled, maybe with a dash of a little tourettes as well. As you can imagine, the disconnect for the man had to be maddening.
Charlie, in his young wisdom, suggested that his client sing the words back. By the way, Charlie is always singing himself. In any case, they were startled to discover that the client could communicate perfectly without pause and with full clarity if he would sing instead of speak. The singing function must take place in a different location in the brain.
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Jerry Schad, the longtime columnist for the San Diego Reader who wrote the popular hiking column Roam-a- Rama called it quits in the paper this week. Schad hiked every trail in the land. He was an astronomer, teacher and photographer but let on that he is living with stage four of cancer. Join me in wishing Jerry well.


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We got an email yesterday that Mel had found us the perfect dog, a six month old great pyrenees puppy. Our last two great dogs were pyrenees and we love the breed. Leslie called the guy up in the valley and we were all set to drive to Encino and pick up our new dog. He called this morning and welched, he has decided to give the dog to his best friend, some flatfoot from the FBI instead. Bummer.
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Soon I will start my annual pilgrimage to the land of enchantment. Communication will be spotty and may temporarily cease entirely. Stand fast, man.
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Some interesting new studies out that show how exercise can halt or forestall mental decline. Even moderate exercise.
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I am reading a rather odd book, T.H. White's Once and Future King. The writing for the Arthurian yarn started in 1938 and the book was finally published in 1958. Imagine Alice meets Joyce meets the Hobbit. And throw a little Orwell in. I don't have it in front of me and I swear I won't finish it, being so bizarre and twisted but one  passage stands out in my mind. The future king, Arthur, convinces Merlin to turn him into an ant. When he becomes the busy insect, he is shunted into a work camp. There is a sign on the wall that states: Everything not forbidden is compulsory. Or something to that effect. And I knew at that second that the writer was a kindred lunatic.
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Blast contributor Roy Cohen, a fitness trainer and fine writer got national publicity this week that is very cool for his recent information technology fast. Read about it here.


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Check out this site for very kool World War II nosecone photographs.




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Republicans declare war on the environment!


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Obama rebuffs Wyden on spooks.


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The Darling Tarsier - Gaucamole Gulch

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