Craig Conley's Blog


11/22/14 at 04:15 AM

I suppose there are many different reactions to President Obama’s national address on immigration the other night. I’ve already begun to see some of the negative ones from the far right wing characters. But one thing stands out: if you senators and congressmen wanted to create an immigration policy, then why the hell didn’t you do it? Millions of people have been in limbo while you fools procrastinated and BS’s over the way it should be done. Obama did exactly the right thing…he stepped up, took the reins in hand, and made a decision. The people would have waited forever for you elected buffoons to act; he decided that was intolerable and shoved you out of the way (I mean literally – out of the way!). He hasn’t rewarded criminal behavior, nor has he opened unquestioningly our borders, but he took measures to deal with a situation that was not going to go away and was not going to be resolved by sitting on our arse and jabbering about it. I applaud him for being the strong President we have needed for so long. It did my heart good to see him smack those blathering idiots on Capitol Hill aside and create a solution to the problem – maybe not the ultimate best solution perhaps, but a starting point. Something concrete to begin with. The way to climb the highest mountain is to take the first step. We’ll improve on his plan as we go along...

Read More


11/20/14 at 04:00 AM

There are a lot of people who wake up in the morning, put on a loose-fitting, comfortable old bunch of rags ludicrously called ‘house clothes’, and go about their daily routines round the house. Fine. I’ve done that myself…many times. But…and here’s the rub…I wouldn’t go out to Wal-Mart (or the grocery store) wearing them! Yet on any given day, you can go into Wal-Mart (or even your local grocery store!) and find people dressed in unbelievable attire. There have been several sets of pictures posted on the internet of some of these folks…and they absolutely blow your mind! Now I know we’re in the midst of this ‘California Casual’ dress style here in America, but enough is enough! Have you no shame? No sense of self-respect? No awareness of the fact that your dress style is annoying to your fellow man (well, to those of us who aren’t banded together in your mass conspiracy to wear disgusting apparel in public)? Comfortable is one thing – slovenliness is another. C’mon, people, show a little class. Improve the view of our surroundings. Don’t make me regurgitate my lunch when I go shopping. How about you, Wal-Mart? Ever consider a dress code? Yeah, like that’ll happen. The day they turn anyone away who still has a farthing left in their filthy sweatpants pocket...

Read More


11/18/14 at 04:58 AM

The Rosetta mission has successfully landed a probe on a comet moving at 34,000mph in a historic first for space exploration. Staff at the Lander Control Center 300 million miles away in Cologne said information they were receiving suggested the probe had made a "soft, gentle" landing, but they were investigating data that indicated the lander’s anchor "did not shoot" as planned, casting doubt over whether the probe was properly fixed onto the comet. The anchoring is necessary because gravity on the comet is 100,000 times weaker than on Earth so the potential for ‘bounce-back’ is a major challenge. It took 7 hours between the probe's detachment from the Rosetta orbiter and its touchdown on the comet's icy surface. It had to negotiate a distance of 14miles between the orbiter and the comet and land on the 2.4 mile-wide lump of ice and dust as it hurtled through space. There had been concerns after a problem with the lander's active descent system emerged overnight and for a while it put the final approach in jeopardy. A thruster intended to counteract rebound at touchdown could not be activated...

Read More


11/16/14 at 04:56 AM

Eight women died recently while undergoing a sterilization procedure organized by the Indian government. Many other were hospitalized when they developed infections after the procedure. The doctors responsible have been arrested, but the practice is decidedly unsettling to me. I realize that India has, with over a billion people; a terrible population problem…the country isn’t capable of supporting so many people, but sterilization? That’s a tough nut to swallow for several reasons. The first which comes to mind is what about the instinct to have children deeply rooted in females? What happens when that is denied, or worse yet, forcibly restricted? Another is that in India, it is only the women who are sterilized, not men. Cultural reasons forbid men from being sterilized. Seems a bit unfair. I understand that over four and a half million women were sterilized in India last year. That’s a lot, but compared to the figure of one billion, it’s only a drop in the bucket. Issac Asimov did an essay on overpopulation before he died in which he predicted the unrestricted reproductive process might someday (soon) have us all squeezed together like downtown Manhattan on the streets during lunch hour. The math doesn’t...

Read More


11/14/14 at 04:39 AM

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to go live in England for a while. I was struck by the civility and politeness of the people there first off, but another thing caught my attention, too. Almost without fail, everyone out on the streets (or even at home) was nicely dressed. Men all wore suits and ties; women were well turned out in dresses or pants suits…even the children were quite spiffy. I had my coarse American wardrobe with me and I noticed how out-of-place it seemed, so I invested in several new outfits. The bug got me. I found I absolutely adored dressing up. The feel of an expensive dress shirt – all crisp and freshly ironed – the glitter of cufflinks, and the glorious finish – the colorful tie. So many colors; some rich and bright and others demure and pastel, usually parceled off into a myriad of patterns. Men’s fashions haven’t changed in ages. The same cut of a suit has prevailed forever…since the early days of the twentieth century. I shouldn’t say the ‘cut’ of the suit because the style of lapels and collars and buttons do change – quite often actually – but the same basic form is pretty standard. Also, men’s suits colors hardly ever change…charcoal gray, navy blue, light gray, and occasionally, black. But the distinguishing factor is the tie. Oh, the glory of the tie! This one splash of color...

Read More


11/12/14 at 04:05 AM

It seems Starbucks has come out for a ban on ‘vaping’ (using e-cigarettes) in their coffee shops in England because of over 100 fires attributed to the devices. Apparently, the chargers for the e-cigarette things overheat and get mismatched by people switching them or trading them off and start fires. There is also some talk (finally) about the wretched things still keeping people involved in nicotine addiction and actually still promoting the smoking of regular tobacco cigarettes. I strongly agree with that…after all, it just reinforces the same habit of cigarette-in-hand, the oral masking of taste and smell, and mimicking the ‘coolness’ of smoking presented as the ‘thing to do’ in so many Hollywood films of years past. There’s also some complaint about people blowing ‘vapor’ in someone else’s face…I certainly don’t want anyone doing that to me! I don’t care what scent it pretends to be in the little bottle! The medical problems are also going to be there with this ‘vaping’ thing. You’re introducing something alien into your lungs and respiratory system – something that naturally would not be there. And in formidable quantity, too! Nicotine is still nicotine and what happens when the ‘vape’ shop runs out of juice? Turn back to cigarettes because you never really kicked the habit to begin with? I know smoking is a tough one to get rid of...

Read More


11/10/14 at 04:03 AM

The elections are over and it looks like the Republicans scored big. I watched the news conference held at the White House when the results were finally in. President Obama stood at the podium and fielded questions from a large group of reporters. I was so very impressed with him. He stood straight and tall, exuding dignity and statesmanship. It was a difficult time for him; it must have been; the media hounds were lambasting him repeatedly with inferences that he had lost ground – that he would have to knuckle under to the Republican majority in the House and Senate – that his favorite programs would be on the chopping block, yet through it all he stood steadfast, never allowing their attempts to rattle him succeed. I don’t know if I could have withstood that onslaught. But he did…and never lost his poise nor allowed his responses to veer from clear and concise reason. True statesmanship is what I saw. The ability to stand fast in the horrid face of those vicious media bastards requires a strength of character few men possess. I’m so glad our President is one of those few. Many of my readers will disagree with me on this...

Read More


11/08/14 at 04:01 AM

Two recent disasters have occurred during our attempts to advance into space. The Antares re-supply rocket headed for the Space Station exploded just after lift-off in Florida, and the Virgin Space Rocket Liner designed to ferry people into space exploded in mid-air shortly after being dropped from the mother ship over California. One person was killed in the Virgin mishap; none in the Antares explosion…it was fortunately unmanned. These two events were terribly depressing. Our development into space is painfully slow and extremely expensive. The big rockets necessary to reach the escape velocity from Earth’s gravity field cost millions and are massive engineering undertakings. Thousands of parts and awesome amounts of volatile fuel are incorporated into each one. Space is our new frontier; the problems associated with exploring it are basically unknown…we’re learning, but only gradually. Each mission sends back new information about trying conditions and unique situations. However, no matter how difficult the task may be, we must keep going. Liken it to the ancient ships sailing to discover the “New World”. How many were lost...

Read More


11/06/14 at 04:19 AM

I was thinking about the CIA the other day and I realized that if things keep going the way they are those boys are going to be out of a job. With social media and global connectivity climbing steadily, soon nobody’s going to be able to keep a secret anymore. No matter how hard you try to hide it, somebody somewhere is going to find out about it and post it on Facebook or Twitter or e-mail it to their friends. The CIA bases its existence on the necessity to find out what other people in unfriendly countries are hiding from us here in the USA. What’s gonna happen once everybody knows all about what those folks are doing – and you can access it on your smart phone 24/7? I see pink slips in the future. Surely that’s going to save us a lot of money when we close down Langley. I don’t know where those poor employees are going to go to apply for another job…there’s not much of a job market for people who sneak around and spy on others…maybe become a paparazzi would be one option. And with the social media exposing all the secrets anyway, I imagine all they’ll have left is the few weeks of unemployment when the stuff hits the fan. Gonna be tough times. Maybe the government will start up some agency to provide support for unemployed spies – probably could call it Spy Support Guardians or the SS Guards for short. Probably draw in a lot of those guys. Hmmm…the times they are a-changin’, as Bobby said...

Read More


11/04/14 at 04:39 AM

We need to rethink our definition of space. Right now, the prevailing opinion is that space is something…a platform, a medium, a container…which just goes on forever. But that cannot be. In order for a thing to exist, it must be finite. It must have definite parameters in order to exist…it can’t be infinite ‘cause then it just wouldn’t ever be. It must be something! The idea of infinite is a construct of the mind; a speculation or conjecture, if you will. We believed space was infinite because it was so big…I mean, it just seems to go on forever. It’s hard to imagine it limited. But we must. It has to have a limiting definition in order to be at all. There must be a closed system there. This brings to mind another point; one of the laws of physics states that energy cannot be lost within a closed system. It can change from one form to another, but it cannot disappear…the same amount will always be present. Apply that to the Universe. Matter is converted to energy in stars, a little bit at a time, then the energy radiates out into space and then what? Does it eventually run out of steam and decay? Back to what? Matter again? Only to round-robin and be converted back into energy once more in the heart of a star? A closed system. So far, we’ve been able to see back to 13.7 billion light-years distant, spotting some quasars and galaxies which were around at the beginning of the Universe, they say. What can we see in the other direction?...

Read More


11/02/14 at 04:43 AM

There is so much danger from criminals with guns out there. Of course, the only solution is for you to have a gun to protect yourself. So you make sure no laws are passed which would restrict you from owning a gun. Make it easy to get one. But then, those very laws make it possible for the criminals to get guns. There are lots of guns in circulation and a lot of them will fall into the hands of the criminals, one way or another. If a criminal steals your gun, you will go buy another. Now you’re safe again. Trouble is, the more guns we build, the more guns become available for the criminals who want to kill you. The Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary I keep on my desk defines ‘vicious circle’ like this: “1. The process or predicament that arises when the solution of a problem creates a new problem and each successive solution adds another problem. 2. The accelerating effect of one disease upon another when the two are coexistent.”...

Read More


10/31/14 at 04:17 AM

Halloween or Hallowe'en is a contraction of ‘All Hallows' Evening’ and is also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve. All Hallows’ Eve dates back to about 1556 while Halloween is of Scottish origin and first came into use in around 1745. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted house attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films. Modern day kids enjoy the holiday because they get to load up on candy from the neighbors. I remember going round in my costume and loving it when some generous homeowner dropped full-on chocolate bars into my bag instead of pitiful little hard candies, or worst of all, an apple or an orange. Within the church, All Hallows’ Eve initiates the period supposedly devoted to remembering the dead, saints, martyrs, or faithful departed believers. It intends to use humor and ridicule to confront the power of death…hence, the scary and/or outrageous costumes. The custom of wearing costumes was also explained once by a...

Read More


10/29/14 at 04:19 AM

Recently, in Cincinnati, Ohio, a couple who had been married for 73 years died within 28 hours of each other. They got married in 1941, had 8 kids and numerable grandkids and great-grandkids, and were never apart during their long union (except for his service in WW2). I’ve often wondered about such people. This is not the only instance of this thing called ‘broken heart syndrome’. There are numerous examples of couples who have lived long quiet lives together and when one goes, the other follows almost immediately. Do you imagine that these folks are the actual true ‘soul-mates’ we hear so much about? Traveling through eternity side-by-side, hand-in-hand forever? Of course, having experienced the loss of a wife myself, I understand how the sudden evaporation of purpose leaves one empty and with a vacant feeling, and perhaps that’s what this is in all these couples – simply the loss of the desire to go on living. And I imagine it would be especially strong if the union had been nearly lifelong. For Joe and Helen Auer (she was 94 and he was 100 when they passed), they would have known no other way to live...

Read More


10/27/14 at 04:43 AM

Why, oh why, do you write graffiti on your lovely body? In ink, no less! Permanent ink! How foolish to permanently imprint the catch-phrase of the moment onto yourself for all your days. I see lovely women with colored ink all over their arm. It’s utterly repulsive to me. They have to wear long-sleeved shirts and dresses for the rest of their life. Men, too. You may defend your tattoo all you want, but I know that you are riddled with regret at having been such an idiot. You can deny it, but we both know it’s true. It was a mistake. And such a long-lived mistake! All your life? What about the guy who gets his girlfriend’s name tattooed on his arm? Gee…is there a chance that the happy couple might break up? Hopefully, he’ll find another girl with the same name; otherwise there’ll be hell to pay. I’ve heard that people do tattoos because they want to establish some sense of identity. That colored picture lets them be unique…different from everyone else. I don’t know if this is going to come as a surprise to some of you, but in fact, you are different from everyone else! You were born that way. There are no two alike – not even identical twins...

Read More


10/25/14 at 04:41 AM

One of the newly-defined psychological afflictions being asserted to be affecting children is called ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder. It has a companion known as ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Basically certain symptoms observed in children’s behavior will earn one of these monikers. Behavior like focusing intently on stuff the kid likes, and not paying attention if the subject is boring. Maybe the child flits rapidly from one thing to the next, or does several things at once. Perhaps they don’t concentrate well in school, interrupt others when they’re talking, blurt out answers before the question has been completely asked…or sit quietly just staring off into space as if daydreaming. The current quick-fix often prescribed for these youngsters is medication. I tell you that is just so wrong! I, myself, was a hyperactive kid. I buzzed around...

Read More


10/23/14 at 04:18 AM

The Hubble telescope recently discovered three new objects out beyond Pluto in the Kuiper Belt which might be possible to explore after the Pluto flyby in July 2015. The KBOs Hubble found are each about 10 times larger than typical comets, but only about 1-2 percent of the size of Pluto. Unlike asteroids, KBOs have not been heated by the sun and are thought to represent a pristine, well preserved deep-freeze sample of what the outer solar system was like following its birth 4.6 billion years ago. The KBOs found in the Hubble data are thought to be the building blocks of dwarf planets such as Pluto. The three KBOs identified each are a whopping 1 billion miles beyond Pluto’s orbit. Two of the KBOs are estimated to be as large as 34 miles (55 kilometers) across, and the third is perhaps as small as 15 miles (25 kilometers). The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in 2006 from Florida, is the first mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program...

Read More


10/21/14 at 04:46 AM

When I was younger, I used to practice self-abuse voraciously. Everything from sex, drugs, booze, hamburgers, candy bars, driving fast, staying up all night, no matter what…I always pushed things to the max. I felt strong, healthy, and invincible even. So why not? I paid the price for my excesses; hangovers, sore body parts, heartburn, you name it, I had it. But now that I’m getting older, I find I’m lightening up a bit. I don’t push the envelope anymore the way I used to…I opt for comfort rather than discomfort. Back then, it was almost a badge of courage to brag to my friends; ‘Wow, man. I haven’t slept in three days,’ or, Jeez, I got so drunk last night I couldn’t walk’. It was like I was trying to be the alpha-male of the pack using self-destruction as the measuring tool. Have you ever heard of the ‘27’ club? This is an exclusive club whose members have all died at the tender age of 27 years old. The list of famous names is impressive: Jimi Hendrix, John Belushi, Janis Joplin, River Phoenix, Jim Morrison...

Read More


10/19/14 at 04:03 AM

Are there no laws which restrict the signs proliferating along our roadways during election years? I’m constantly besieged by large garish signs espousing this candidate or that, this amendment or that – signs warning of impending doom or disaster if so-and-so is elected to office, etc. As if there weren’t enough of that crap on TV already. Now, since we live in an equal society, where all folks can express their opinion (supposedly), I wonder what would happen if I made up a bunch of colorful signs which read, “Vote for who you want, but buy Craig Conley Science Fiction books!” and went around the city sticking them in the ground alongside streets and intersections? How much you want to bet I’d be in jail within days for littering, or obstructing motorist’s view of the roadways, or violating some other city law originally designed to limit obnoxiousness among its good people? Of course, if things followed the patterns established in years past, many of those signs would still be up months after the elections were over…some poor schmuck with a faded sign in his front yard saying ‘Bush/Cheney 2004’ would be a prime example, or the guy with a half-torn ‘Romney/Ryan in 2012’ sticker flapping in the back window of his car...

Read More


10/17/14 at 04:00 AM

A green leaf is green because of the presence of a pigment known as chlorophyll. When it is abundant in the leaf's cells, as it is during the growing season, the chlorophylls' green color dominates and masks out the colors of any other pigments that may be present in the leaf. Thus the leaves of summer are characteristically green. Chlorophyll has a vital function: that of capturing solar rays and utilizing the resulting energy in the manufacture of the plant's food -simple sugars which are produced from water and carbon dioxide. These sugars are the basis of the plant's nourishment -the sole source of the carbohydrates needed for growth and development. In their food-manufacturing process, the chlorophylls themselves break down and thus are being continually ‘used up’. During the growing season, however, the plant replenishes the chlorophyll so that the supply remains high and the leaves stay green. In late summer, as daylight hours shorten and temperatures cool, the veins that carry fluids into and out of the leaf are gradually closed off as a layer of special cork cells forms at the base of each leaf. As this cork layer develops, water and mineral intake into the leaf is reduced, slowly at first, and then more rapidly. It is during this time that the chlorophyll begins to decrease. Often the veins will still be green after the tissues between them have almost completely changed color. As the chlorophylls degrade, the hidden pigments of yellow xanthophylls and orange...

Read More


10/15/14 at 04:24 AM

On Sunday, October 19th, comet Siding Spring will pass within 87,000 miles of the Red Planet, Mars. That’s less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth. This celestial visitor originated in the Oort Cloud – a spherical region of space surrounding our sun and occupying space at a distance between 5,000 and 100,000 astronomical units. It is a giant swarm of icy objects believed to be material left over from the formation of the solar system. Siding Spring will be the first comet from the Oort Cloud to be studied up close by spacecraft, giving scientists an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the materials, including water and carbon compounds, that existed during the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. We have quite a battery of scientific instruments ready for this critter…the several Mars-research satellites in orbit around the Red Planet, and the myriad of scientific investigative satellites orbiting Earth and the Sun. Hubble will be taking a look, too. NASA’s astrophysics space observatories - Kepler, Swift, Spitzer, Chandra - and the ground-based Infrared...

Read More


10/13/14 at 04:42 AM

This Amendment 68 brouhaha has me concerned. I don’t think I want money from gambling to be incorporated into the funding structure of our education system. What happens if receipts fall short? Do we open another casino? Raise the limit at the tables…or track? Would there be even the slightest chance that the gambling dons would have a say in where the money goes within the education system, i.e., suppose they withheld certain amounts until better players (and more favorable betting odds) were purchased for the school sports teams? Having the kind of people who make their money off the get-rich-quick mentality of casinos and racing tracks in our education structure is absurd. Education is about raising people to the heights of artistry and intellectual magnificence…gambling and betting is going in the opposite direction. The ads currently running on TV purport to do nothing more than benefit schools if the race track is allowed to add a casino. That is utter nonsense and blatant spin doctoring. Don’t fall for it. Those...

Read More


10/11/14 at 04:29 AM

Fracking is using 7 billion gallons of water a year in four western states: Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and North Dakota. Oil and gas deposits have been found along the Colorado Front Range and oil companies, in March 2012 at Colorado's auction for unallocated water, aided companies that provide water for hydraulic fracturing at well sites to become top bidders on supplies once claimed exclusively by farmers. A 2013 study published in Endocrinology - "Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region" - found water samples near Colorado gas drilling sites using hydraulic fracturing showed the presence of chemicals linked to infertility, birth defects, and cancer, at higher levels than areas where fracking was not taking place. The study also found elevated levels of the hormone-disrupting chemicals in the Colorado River, where wastewater released during accidental spills at nearby wells wound up. State officials charged with promoting and regulating the energy industry estimated that fracking required about 13,900 acre-feet of water in 2010 and projects water needs for fracking will increase to 18,700 acre-feet a year by 2015. Environmentalists point out that the water used by fracking gets lost from the hydrological cycle forever because it is contaminated. I’ve seen so many ads on TV...

Read More


10/09/14 at 04:38 AM

I live by an airport. I’m constantly annoyed by the rasping rattle of small airplane engines as they fly over my house. They aren’t required to have mufflers on their engine exhaust. Why not? I know the roar of the engine helps feed the Snoopy and the Red Baron fantasy of a lot of those pilots, but they should have a little more consideration for those of us they’re buzzing over. Too many times my peaceful, quiet solitude as I sit under my tree in my back yard gets shattered by the loud drone of a little Piper Cub doing touch and go landings at the airport. Yeah, you can say it’s my fault for buying a house so close to the airport, but that’s not entirely true. You can say it’s the city’s fault for building the airport so close to housing, but that’s not it either. Automobiles and trucks and motorcycles are all required, by law, to have muffler systems in place to reduce the noise they make. Why not airplanes? Sure, if they fly high enough, you can’t hear them (or can just barely hear them), but they don’t always fly that high...

Read More


10/07/14 at 04:30 AM

I step out onto my back porch. I look up at the night sky. It’s 11 or 12 o’clock. The hustle and noise of the day is winding down. The night air smells so wonderful. Clean and fresh. The stars glimmer through the restricting haze of the atmosphere. I am alone. I am free. All the judgmental condemnations of the daytime are gone; it is becoming quiet. The good people are asleep. The few patrolling police officers have missed me. For this moment, I am free. I look up at the majesty of the stars and I am One with the Universe. No one to tell me what to do; no one to insist that I fit into their program. I walk along the empty deserted street in the wee hours of the morning; perhaps I see another person…I nod gently – an imperceptible smile on my face – he (or she) nods back with the same smile. Acknowledged wisdom; acknowledged understanding of our shared perspective…words can’t fully connect us…we are too deep. Only the nod will do. I know and you know. I walk on. The...

Read More


10/05/14 at 04:00 AM

The recent beheadings by members of this so-called Islamic State in the Middle East begs a question. What kind of religion requires its followers to brutally cut off someone’s head? If that’s in your scriptures, trust me, you’ve got the wrong religion. The truth of the matter is that this is a gang of angry folks who’re unhappy because they don’t have the shiny goodies they think everyone else has, and they gather together under the banner of religious persecution and fight for their God. Such a motive allows pretty much any atrocity anyone can think of because it’s being done for God. Tell me, boys, as you’re slicing through that flesh and blood is spurting everywhere and the victim is howling in pain and anguish, do you believe that your God is praising you for your actions? Sitting on his throne up in Heaven and putting a gold star beside your name on the rolls? Telling all the other high-minded holy men sitting beside him to make sure and give you special treatment because you have become such a good person? I rather imagine that it’s much more likely that when you die, you’re going to find that your inhumanity to your fellow man has condemned you to eons of dark thoughts, ignorance, and gnawing pains in the pit of your stomach – never (or barely) able to look another person straight in the eye from the weight of the guilt – until a suitable period of penance has passed. Could be lifetimes…maybe even one for every person you killed? Finding a...

Read More