Pizza Theory of the Universe

Last Thursday was the last time that I put pinkies to keyboard. In the interval, I have been living out of my computer bag and in hotel rooms. The BMW is still stuck at the airport, because I lost the key a week ago. And all around me, celebrities of all sorts are dropping like flies.

More people are dying than have ever died before. We have Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays and Fred Travalena kicking off and leaving their mortal coils behind. Fred who you ask? I remember watching him many years ago on the Tonight Show, as he imitated a European police siren perfectly. I used to hear the European siren in the French movies that I watched.

I used to think that Farrah Fawcett was the epitome of female pulchritude when I was a young man. I liked Michael Jackson when he was black. As for Billy Mays, I just got hooked watching "The Pitchmen" on the Discovery Channel. Are all of these deaths in a short space of time connected? You bet. They are all manifestations of the Pizza Theory of the Universe.

When the Big Bang happened, matter didn't spread evenly across the universe. Clumps of it accreted together and formed stars, planets, comets and plastic. If matter was spread evenly in the universe, it would be cosmic pablum with a soupy consistency.

It is the same way with mushrooms or green pepper or any topping on a pizza. It is not distributed evenly. There are spots on the pizza where the groceries clump together. That is why some slices of the pizza are more preferrable than others.

This also happens in the time domain. Celebrity deaths clump together instead of spreading evenly through the year. Trouble and stress all come in clumps, and that is why I am frazzled. It is why my car is stuck in daily parking at the airport, and I don't have a minute to myself.

But I keep telling myself, it is just a manifestation of the Pizza Theory of the Universe. I can hardly wait to get out of this clump of stress. But as the old sayings go, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Except if you are the Lovely One. She freezes them and fills them with sherbet. They look kind of suggestive.

Shell Chandelier


We took our UK guests to show them a tropical church.
This is a chandelier of local shells and sisal that hangs in St. Paul's Church in Lyford Cay. There are several of them, and the shell work is exquisite.
The church is a blend of modern, folk, and traditional.

Air France Photo Hoax

The Lovely One got the following photos in an email. This is the text of the email:



The extraordinary photographer, who kept his cool even in the last moments of his own life and took these photos.

The world saw the disappearance of an Air France aircraft during a trans Atlantic flight between Rio to Paris .

Two shots taken inside the plane before it crashed. Unbelievable photos taken inside the aircraft that was involved in the crash.....

The two photos attached were apparently taken by one of the passengers in the aircraft, just after the collision and before the aircraft crashed.

The photos were retrieved from the camera's memory stick. You will never get to see photos like this. In the first photo, there is a gaping hole in the fuselage through which you can see the tailplane and vertical fin of the aircraft. In the second photo, one of the passengers is being sucked out of the gaping hole.



These photos were found in a digital Casio Z750, amidst the remains in Serra do Cachimbo.

Although the camera was destroyed, the Memory Stick was recovered. Investigating the serial number of the camera, the owner was identified as Paulo G. Muller, an actor of a theatre for children known in the outskirts of Porto Alegre .

It can be imagined that he was standing during the turbulence, he managed to take these photos, just seconds after the tail loss the aircraft plunged. So the camera was found near the cockpit. The structural stress probably ripped the engines away, diminishing the falling speed, protecting the electronic equipment but not unfortunately the victims. Paulo Muller leaves behind two daughters, Bruna and Beatriz.

The Lovely One was horrified when she saw these photos. We had just taken the Air France flight from Miami to Paris and returned a week earlier. Her horror was that people were alive and aware as they were sucked out of the plane.

The trouble is that these "photos" first appeared on the internet in June of 2006. They were ascribed to another Brazilian mid air collision.

The images are taken from an air crash sequence featured in the popular television series Lost. Fans of the drama series will recognize the woman using the oxygen mask in the left of the pictures as "Kate" (Evangeline Lilly), one of Lost's characters. The figure beside her is "Edward Mars" (Fredric Lehne) the U.S. Marshal who was escorting Kate back to the United States as his prisoner. Kate's status as a prisoner is shown by her handcuffs, which are clearly visible in the images.

Bolivian TV, Belgian Radio and Polish TV are among the media outlets that fell for the hoax.

Dilly Sherbet Recipe

Dillies or Sapodillas are in season. When I bought mine a couple of weeks ago, it was rock hard. I let it ripen with the bananas until it was mushy. Here is my sapodilla recipe for blender sherbet.

I skinned the dillie with a knife. I broke the flesh up into chunks, and threw in a broken up banana as well. I threw in a cup of half and half cream, and a huge dollop (two tablespoons) of honey. I then added most of a tray of ice cubes.

This is what it looked like.



I hit the grind button until it became smooth and then I went to the high speed. After it was all smooth, I put the whole blender pitcher in the freezer for ten minutes, and then served it. It was delicious.

Sapodilla or dilly tastes like pumpkin pie. It is surprisingly sweet.

Things that I have learned this Sunday

I came back after overnighting in Freeport on business. Things that I have learned:

1) If you have a BMW with an RFID chip in the key, and the only way to get a replacement, is to get a dealer to send to Bavaria to get one, never toss your car key on the hotel table and forget it. I am without a car.

2) If you want to be unpressured, never take your spouse on a business trip.

3) If you hadn't thought of a way for technology to fail, that will be the way that it will fail.

4) I met with the IT (Information Technology) Officer on a cruise ship. It doesn't sound like fun, living on the ship 24/7 for 6 months and then getting two months off.

5) Cruise ships have all the toys.

6) You can never go back. I visited the hotel in Freeport that I stayed at as a young man. Two successive hurricanes destroyed it, and now it is a shell of a building sheltering transients. The windows are blown out.

7) The golf course that I almost bought when I had the money is still for sale. This time around I am not tempted.

Freeport does not have the same allure that it did for me when I was 17 years old.

Lionfish

This is the lionfish. They have come from the Pacific in the holds of ships and now they are an invasive species in the Caribbean. They have no natural predators. They have another surprise. The ends of the "feathers" are extremely poisonous. They have venom that can kill a man.

I have taken to shooting them with my Hawaiian sling. They are slow moving and easy to hit. When I do miss, they fold up their plumes and dart away. They are quite a skinny fish with their feathers down.

When I do pot one, I carefully take it to the beach and bury it on the beach. It turns out that I am wasting some real good tasting fish.

The way to safely clean the fish, is to have thick rubber gloves and cut off the appendages with a pair of scissors. You have to be careful, because even when the fish is dead, the spring-loaded nemacysts are still capable of delivering a lethal dose.

I went to a function of the Bahamas National Trust, and they were serving lionfish fingers. They were delicious. They tasted as good as grouper.

This lionfish was photographed by Becky at Atlantis.

I wouldn't be surprised

I wouldn't be surprised if very soon, you will be reading about the death of Michael Jackson. He is a train wreck waiting to happen, and his lifestyle cannot continue that way it has been going these past few years.

Shark Waters

There hasn't been an entry on my blog for a couple of days. I have been island-hopping on business, and even though I stayed in a Sheraton property, there was no internet in the rooms. There was wireless in the lobby, but it was full of young party animals, who later on in the early hours of the morning would knock on my door and run. As Oscar Wilde said "Youth is wasted on the young".

I am examining the countless images on my digital camera, and have come up with the picture above to post today. Just past the brick wall, is where I took our UK guests snorkelling. I promised them that the sights under the sea would be cool. It turned out that I did not disappoint.

As we were swimming along watching the multitudes of fishes, we saw a Caribbean reef shark. This prompted the lady in our group to bail and scramble for shore. The menfolk continued on, and we saw another shark -- a nurse shark, as well as a brace of big barracuda. The added edge of being in the water with a potentially dangerous predator was a bit exhilerating.

I didn't get any pics, but I did find one on the internet, of a reef shark gutting a barracuda.

Cool!

Poverty of Spirit


As I walk to work, I pass this massage parlour. I am a regular consumer of massages, because I have a bad back.

One fine Sunday as I was walking to work, the woman who owns this place hailed me. Her name was Brenda. I went over and she tried to sell me a massage. Initially I resisted because I was off to France and I was tying up some loose ends. But I spoke with her at length. She asked my my opinion on advertising, and many many specifics on how to increase her business. She asked me for new business ideas.

I am never at loss for ideas. I told her that I would think about it and give her the benefit of an outsider view on increasing her business.

Last week, I needed a massage badly. I decided to try the woman out. I went to her place of business and she wasn't there. The security guard phoned her and told her that she had a client. I waited for half an hour for her to show up. Apparently her car was broken. The first thing that she did, was ask me for ten bucks for gas for whoever drove her.

I went into the massage place, and the first thing that I saw was ten year old fake flowers. I went on the massage table, and she was using paper towels as hygienic paper. As she started I asked her the rate and she said that an hour massage was $85 dollars. This is more than my regular massage, but if she relieved the chronic pain in my back, it would be worth it.

She told me that because of the shape of my back, she would work a little longer. I am used to this. My regular massage therapist often goes for an hour and fifteen minutes and charges me just for the hour. I tip her and I am a regular client. Regular clientele is a problem for massage therapists, because in this economy many people do not get a massage regularly.

As I was being massaged, I explained my business ideas and how to generate new business. She took all of this information in. During the massage, she tried to get me to sign a contract for weekly visits. When that failed, she tried monthly visits. At the end of my massage, which went an hour and a half, I got off the table. I honestly expected it for free, because of quid pro quo. However I did not mind paying. She asked me for $170. I immediately knew what was going on. She saw me as a ticket to get the money to fix her car in one shot.

I told her that she "swing me". It is Bahamian for being cheated. When the penny dropped for her and she realised that she was not getting the $170, she started shrieking at me. She told me that there wasn't a price on good health. She told me that she used special avocado oil on me. She said that there was an ATM around the corner. She begged and pleaded with me. She said "Come on, you can afford it!". She had already mentally collected the money and spent it already. I told her that I was disgusted that she saw me as merely a white person who had a wallet. She yelled that it had nothing to do with race. Then she switched gears and said that her hands hurt from massaging me.

I left her the fee plus the money that she asked for gas and walked out. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I would have consulted for free to help her with her business. I would have given her my business. I came up with the idea of a foot spa that Bahamians could afford. I came up with several options along with viral advertising and how to advertise for free.

Instead, all that she saw, was money to fix her car, and she would swindle it out me. She tried to brazen her way to collecting an outrageous sum.

This was poverty of spirit at its extreme. She sacrificed a lot by trying to rip me off. She really thought that she could get away with it.

I honestly thought that there would be a happy medium in this country between blacks and white. The chasm is a lot wider and deeper than I ever thought. And that chasm is the reason for developmental resistance as a nation. I wonder if this country will ever climb out of the third world status.

Amos Ferguson


This painting is worth about $50,000. It is a depiction of Christ entering Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday. It was executed by a local artist named Amos Ferguson, who paints in the "Naive" school.

The Naive School is a simplistic mode of painting that has little or no perspective. There are very few gradients in the colour and painting elements are cartoon-like.

Amos Ferguson is a self-taught Bahamian painter who has become eminently collectible, and personally rich from painting. He seems to capture the tropical spirit and colours. The American Museum of Folk Art has deemed Ferguson as the genuine article and as a result of this anointing, the rich art patrons in the Bahamas have driven his prices into the stratosphere.

This painting was probably a commission, and executed before he could command the prices that he does today. It hangs in a local church.

Some early Ferguson's have archival issues, because he painted them on cardboard with found paints, however that is not an issue today.

If you take a look in the corner, the artist doesn't sign his work. The writing says "Paint by Amos Ferguson".

Launch Number Two


We are having two major product launches this month. The first is the all-inclusive island concept and the second is the tourist money card.

Both initiatives are in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism to revitalise the tourism product and boost tourist spending.

I provided the technology, the technology direction and implementation to make this work.

If you are in town, you are invited to pop by the British Colonial Hilton Hotel and say hi.

Social Anthropology Experiment Part II

Here is my second social anthropology experiment on this blog. Look at the faces. They are all men except for one woman in the bottom center.

What can you tell from a face? Do you know the common thread that ties all of these faces together?

These faces are the faces of violent criminals. Those with a red asterisk * are actually murderers.

How did I come across these pictures? The police here at the keystone cops. They are largely inept. They are too lazy to issue parking and speeding tickets. Many of those that are not inept are usually corrupt.

Each month, a document is circulated of released prisoners.

One of the police officers sent it to one of his non-police friends. That is all it took to get into the public domain. This is a small place, and the document eventually ended up in my email box.

The most hilarious crime if you can call it that appears in the pic below:



The guy was jailed for sacrilege. That usually means swear words using religious terms. What a Mickey Mouse penal code! Oh my God, I just broke the law !!!


To see my other social anthropology experiments, click on the following link:

Seagrape Growing

Since the 18th of May, we have had maybe three days without rain. Some days, it starts out promising with the sun shining, and by the afternoon it is raining dogs and cats (and hailing taxicabs).

Other days, I wake up to the pounding rain, and maybe by the time that work is over, the rain has stopped. There are puddles everywhere in this tropical paradise, and I am really missing the sun.

However the rain is excellent for all things that grow. I snapped these seagrapes growing along a hedge. All of the tropical greenery including the seagrape is extremely lush with all of the rain.

The Day that the Internet Died


The day that the internet died was Sunday June 7th, 2009. I do not know what happened. This blog got only 3% of the usual normal hits. There was an incredibly big dip. Things are back to normal, but there is no explanation for the crash, other than the theory of chaos.

Tropical Boarding Pass

We have a major project on a neighbouring island. It necessitates me travelling by air. The carrier is a piddly company with 14 seater prop driven plane. There is no assigned seating. You buy your ticket 30 minutes before the flight, and you get a coupon as above to let you pass onto the tarmac. There is no jetway. You have to dash out to the plane.

On this flight, it was raining cats and dogs. The pilot pulled the plane up to the doorway of the terminal so we wouldn't get as wet as walking across the tarmac. I had the seat right behind the pilot. There was no separation between the passengers and the cockpit.

There was no stewardess. Nobody checked to see if seatbelts were fastened. My seatbelt would fasten, but I could not tighten it, and a very fat person sat in the seat before me. You would bump your head on the fuselage if you tried to look out the window. There was no place to stow my carry on laptop so I held it on my lap.

We took off into the driving rain. The pilot turned on the forward looking radar and as we took off, the radar indicated in emergency red, the center of a thunderstorm super cell ahead of us. There was a small area in yellow between an adjacent supercell. The pilot threaded the needle as we were climbing. The plane bounced and jarred.

For the next 15 minutes, the pilot flew by the seat of his pants, trying to avoid the red areas on the radar screen ahead of us. At one point we made it to 11,000 feet. I had an unobstructed view of the cockpit instrumentation. Then we hit a red area and the plane bucked. The next thing that I knew was that my stomach was in my nostrils. I glanced at the altimeter and in that little bump of turbulence, we dropped 800 feet in nanoseconds. I thought that I was going to die. When we landed, I wanted to kiss the ground.

Especially after Air France 447, I am now a believer in terra firma -- the more firma, the less terra.

Life Hacks --Sugaring the Coffee with the Milk


I have a book on Appalachian folk music. One of the fiddle ditties goes:

How the hell
do the old folks know,
that I take sugar
in my coffee - O.

This popped into my head this morning, as I discovered another Life Hack. I found a way to sugar my coffee as the same time that I add milk.

Yesterday I made Pina Coladas for our UK guests. I had half a tin of sweetened condensed milk left over. I popped it into the fridge, and this morning as I was pouring my morning coffee, I got the Eureka moment of sweetening the coffee with the milk.

It works like a charm. The sweetened condensed milk not only whitens the coffee, but sweetens it to an acceptable, but not overly sweet level.

FIFA Congress Ends

FIFA -- Fédération Internationale de Football Association which is the international governing body of football held its congress here in the Bahamas. It wound up a couple of days ago, but the delegates are still here, lounging (or perhaps languishing) on the beach.

The Lovely One and I found ourselves inside Atlantis (we were seeing what film was playing in the theatre) when we came across the FIFA-ites. There was an Italian sports commentator speaking to the television camera for the Italian fans. There was a polyglot of nations, all involved in the serious business of matching men on a pitch to kick the balls to each other.

It was a coup for this country to get the congress.

A reader writes:


A reader writes:
I have ideas on inventing things for the public. What do I do?

I guess that the reason that I am the focus for such queries, is that I have a regular feature on this blog called "Things That Need Inventing". You can see the spectrum by clicking on this link:

Where I have failed, is that I have not told my readers what to do after they invent the things that I think of. So I will help you there as well -- no charge.

Well, the first step is to build a prototype. This will tell you that your invention works. The second thing is to patent it. Then you have to market it.

One of the ways of marketing it, is to submit it to the two most famous pitchmen in the world, Sully and Billy Mays. They have a new show on the Discovery Channel called The Pitchmen and they are always looking for new products.

The submission form is online. You can find it here:

If they choose your (our) product, they will create an infomercial and market it on TV using Direct Marketing like the Shopping Channel.

The criteria for new product submission is this:

1. Solve a common problem? YES____ NO____

2. Is it highly demonstrable? YES____ NO____
3. Is it new and unique? YES____ NO____
4. Does it have a patent? YES____ NO____
5. Mass market appeal (is it for all ages, races, sexes)? YES____ NO____
6. Does it have a perceived high value? YES____ NO____
7. Is it considered to be a “prevention” product? YES____ NO____

There you go. All of the invention info that you need to market my invention ideas.

Is Technorati Dying ?

Technorati was a market leading in the blog ranking field. They participated in the blogsphere becoming an integral part of the internet, an integral part of the blogsphere becoming a newsmaker, and a shift of internet authority from the established media to the "blogcensus" that we see today. (The word blogcensus is used to describe the phenomena where thousand of blogs opinions are tabulated on any given issue and the concensus or blogcencus is deemed the majority opinion. In other words, this is another manifestation of the "the crowd is always right" law.)

Back to Technorati. Back in March they said that they were moving their colo. I do not know what a colo is, other than the fact that it involved moving a hundred machines. On the support blog, they said in March, something to the effect that all systems were go.

Fast forward to May 8. There were intermittent postings about problems. If you examine the screen capture above, you will see a small notice saying that "Maintenance the colo move continues". That was the last radio contact from the floundering ship. A few weeks ago, their rankings engine stopped working. There has not been another radio transmission since then. Top blogs are automatically updated on the home page, but when you click past the headlines, nothing works. I think that this is an automatic function that continues autonomously like the computers that transmitted data when Air France 447 broke up, or when the Challenger exploded, bits and pieces still continued to transmit telemetry.

Say it aint so. But it looks like Technorati is dying -- slowly slipslding away. The patient's vital signs are shutting down.

Time in a Harbour Light


After two years of owning a digital camera, I have just started to play with time exposures.

I took this shot of the harbour lights at night. I then opened the pic with photoshop and adjusted the levels to show the level of detail. Photoshop Elements (the software package) is like owning a big huge expensive colour darkroom -- without the expense of printing out your experiments.

This harbour scene has sultry tropical night written all over it.

Things That Need Inventing -- Robotic Shaver

Okay, kiddies, here we go again. I do the thinking and you get rich. This is another entry on the "Things that need inventing" file. Today, I need a robotic shaver. I do not want to shave anymore. I want to sit down (or stand) and press a button.

Then a robotic arm comes out. It has my face mapped in its database, so it will miss my mole. It knows my dimples and the difficult to get spots on my face. In short, it gives me a perfect shave every time.

If you get a pencil and paper out, and invent this thing, you too could be rich. And my royalties would not exceed 100%. So get busy and make this idea reality. This would be a perfect activity for this holiday Monday. (in case you didn't know, Whit Monday is a national holiday in the Bahamas).

I have all sorts of ideas that need inventing. To see some of them, click on this link:

http://cosmologicalcabbage.blogspot.com/search/label/Things%20that%20need%20inventing