Wednesday, December 31, 2008


While playing mancala with my youngest son, I realized something: you can only win by an even number. Think about it for a second: for each piece that I get from his side (or vice versa), that's one less for him, one more for me. In other words, a difference of two in the number of pieces that I have compared to him. The next piece is another difference of two. You can only win mancala by a multiple of two difference in final score. Cool: applied math! :)


While I'm sitting here thinking about chili, I thought I might also post a new blog post. Wait, that's a bit redundant... oh well. Here come some random thoughts.

I was thinking the other day about a new sport we should add to the Olympics: motorcycle jousting.

My dad heard on the radio a few weeks ago about an imminent danger that is even worse than global warming. He heard a guy on the radio talking, that the guy had been noticing, over the past few weeks (this was before Dec. 21), that we'd been losing about 2 minutes of sunlight per day. Based on his computer models and calculations, the earth will be completely dark by July. This looming catastrophe, "global darkening," certainly deserves our undivided attention and resources!

Yes, that's ridiculous. To take data over the tail end of a cycle and project catastrophic consequences from it... who ever heard of doing such a thing? Oh, wait, all the global warming pundits who fail to realize we're at the end of the last ice age and of course the earth will be warming as the ice age passes... like it's done for centuries. Silly... and yet, here we are, in the middle of the present global economic situation, with people still trying to push human-induced global warming and remedies for it.

I spent an hour or so out in the backyard with the boys this evening playing "nerf rifle tag." Ok, it's not really "nerf" - it's a Buzz Bee Ruff Stuff Air Blasters Rapid Fire Rifle - quite a long name, but also quite a fun toy. We got four of them at the KB outlet in the Foley Tanger Outlet Mall - it's going out of business, so the $18 toy rifles were $9 each (you can get them on Amazon for about $33...???). You load the foam darts into plastic shells, put the 6 loaded shells into the clip, insert the clip into the rifle, and then cock the rifle (using the lever-action), which loads a shell into the chamber, and pull the trigger to fire. The next lever action ejects the empty shell and loads the next shell. Sometimes it jams... which is lucky if you're firing on the jammee, and unlucky if you're being chased and trying to fire on someone when you're the jammee. So far we've only lost one foam dart. I think I need to check on the refill packs from Buzz Bee toys.

Anyway... much fun. We played as "two hits you're out" - and threw in the "football grenade" - one hit is out - for good measure.

Now I'm sore. And now I'm going to eat some chili or something... happy new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mmm... Krispy Kreme

After driving around looking at Christmas lights, we headed over to Mobile to the 24-hour Krispy Kreme donut shop.. As evidenced by the photo.. To enjoy some nice, hot, fresh donuts. Mmm! Great family tradition!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Noelle, the First - FFF Children's Choir

Just thought I'd share with you all the Faith Family Fellowship Children's Choir presentation of "Noelle, the First." I'll let you try to figure out which kid is mine. :)

Note: the quality of the Google-ized video isn't great, but you can download a better quality version. If you really want a better version, let me know and I'll see what I can do about making a DVD or some kind of higher-quality download version available.

Also note: it's really dark at first, during the musical intro, which is over a minute long (don't recall exactly how long).

Also also note: it's around 50 minutes... but I'm sure you all want to spend an hour watching my kid perform in a Christmas musical, yes? Here you go:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm sorry, I can't help it:

"hibernation" - a sleeping country...

(I did apologize in the very title of this post!)

I'm # 7! I'm # 7!

If you search "chick fil a alien commercial" on Google, my blog (this post) hits the #7 spot in the rankings! Hooray for me!

Ok, maybe it's not that impressive... and I just noticed a typo on that page that's been there since it was posted (back in February)... anyone else catch it?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weird dream...

I was helping a dinosaur who lived alone design a rebuild of a water "thing" (sort of a flowing water tower) to include two wheels to generate a small amount of electricity. I think this was to help the dinosaur be a little happier, and to avoid having the dinosaur eat me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How to stack chairs and start a nation

Tonight was my daughter's choir concert - which was really good - and afterward they asked us to all pitch in and stack chairs on the racks. Now, this is something that I've grown aware of: people don't know how to stack chairs on a two-level, hanging rack. They often stack them on the top rack first. This is NOT the way you should stack them, as once the top rack is filled it becomes difficult to add chairs to the lower rack. Indeed, once the top rack is filled, it's quite easy to accidentally knock chairs off the top rack while trying to add to the bottom rack, and it's difficult to see the bottom rack to accurately place the chairs (and you end up knocking off the top rack chairs onto your head, which while some may consider this fun, usually actually isn't). Put the chairs on the bottom rack first, then on the top rack. It's easier to see the top rack when the bottom's filled than vice-versa, and you don't typically end up knocking chairs off the bottom rack by putting them on the top rack. Next time you stack chairs, be sure to do it from the bottom up... and make it loudly, obnoxiously known to all around of your superior chair racking skills. (Kidding on that last part, but do try to encourage bottom-first racking of chairs.)

So, you're tired of living in a nation that doesn't line up 100% with your ideals, eh? Why not do something about it? No, not like running for president or writing a congressman... I mean, starting your own nation! I saw this today and though, "Well, now, my 3 blog readers would be wonderful candidates for starting their own nations! Especially after they know how to correctly stack chairs on a rack!" Just think of me when you do, maybe throw a "TM" in the corner of your nation's flag or on your national currency or something.

I have more thoughts... but it's late, I'm tired, and there's much work to be done tomorrow (in other words I can't take the day off from work), so I think I'd better get some rest. My thoughts might not be even this coherent if I continue much longer.

And, so, adieu!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Teeth, white, teeth, white...

I hear more and more about "tooth whitening" these days. I wonder, would white crayon work? Seems much cheaper and quicker than all those other remedies.


You know, it's kind of nice being near an outlet center... it makes Christmas shopping easier.

But that's not what's behind the subject of this post. I was thinking about something earlier: say my auto insurance is $1300/year. Then I switch to Geico, and save about $500. Then I switch to Nationwide, and save about $500. Then I switch (back) to Allstate, and save about $500. At this point, I should be making $200/year in order to insure my automobiles. Cool, eh? Does it really work like that? From the commercials, it seems like it should.

I wonder if I could just shortcut the whole thing and ask Allstate to pay me $200/year to maintain my insurance (instead of my paying them).

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to work quite a bit over the next few days. Fortunately, my new employer shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, so I won't have to work during that period.

Later, all... and if you're an ex-hocky player, be sure to shop at the Office Depot. (If you don't get it, ask... I'll explain...)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bankhead Tunnel closed because of 18-wheeler - Breaking News from the Press-Register -

Bankhead Tunnel closed because of 18-wheeler - Breaking News from the Press-Register -

Yeah, I was stuck for a short while because of this (you can see the truck - with its trailer wedged under the entrance to the tunnel - image from NBC15 Online in Mobile - notice how far to the left of center the truck is; now, did you notice THERE'S A TUNNEL IN THE LANE AHEAD OF THE TRUCK? apparently the driver didn't...). Guess I should have taken the other tunnel, eh? I'd tried to take a picture for your viewing pleasure, but I'd managed to fill my phone's memory recently and didn't have time to clear it out while driving by the truck.

The guy was stuck with several feet of the trailer crushed under the tunnel roof; he was also to the left of the centerline, making it not so easy to get by. What I want to know is how did he miss all the signs that said, "No Trucks In Tunnel" and "Trucks must use alternate route." And beyond that, how could he miss the TUNNEL IN FRONT OF HIM...?!?!?!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Llamas (not bananas)

In a not-quite-comment, I was told by an e-mail reader that "the banana thing is quite weird." In an actual comment (which failed to address the "burning plastic issue"), I was asked, "What is it with you and bananas lately?" (And another question about abandoning topatos...)

To satisfy my readers, I am now posting a video which does not address the subject of bananas (although it does touch on the orange, a related object), and which features (in passing) the inspiration of the topato.

As a note: I think that, during the one place (I think there's only one) where it has a possessive word featured, it should be a plural instead of a possessive ("s" instead of "'s"). However, do not confuse the possessive with the contractive use of the apostrophe ("'"), which I think are all correct. However, the possessive could be applied, but I think the intended use is of the plural.

With that caveat (and the fact that the video is slightly repetitive and then ends abruptly mid-thought), enjoy:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

DO try this at home!

I was grilling the kids (not literally!) on their multiplication (one was having some trouble). Alex, the youngest, was off in another room and popping out the answers that I was trying to get the next oldest to give. I was talking about how important it is to be able to do multiplication quickly because, in future math, the multiplication will be assumed as standard knowledge and - if not done quickly (as in "nearly instantaneously") - will significantly affect the amount of time it takes to complete each problem (and, in turn, the entire homework assignment).

Don't remember exactly how we got there, but Alex came in to answer some "tough problems." Lydia, the oldest, was trying to defend herself on a tough problem I'd just given by asking Alex, "Ok, what's 29 times 5?"

Two seconds later (maybe less) he answered, "145." (The boy is 10.)

Most of the table was stunned and amazed (there you go, Dean, using the word in perhaps less-than-amazing context...?); I was super-proud. Just thought I'd share.


Don't try this at home!

Does anyone else, when the super-glue won't adhere the plastic pieces, pull out the lighter or matches and burn the plastic to melt it together where it's broken apart? Just curious. (Don't inhale the fumes!) Once it's tacky and slightly stuck together, you can blow on it (to help it harden together) and then carefully put it in the freezer if you want.

Ok, just wondering about that (after having just "burned together" a broken chest-of-drawers drawer guide).

Enjoy this following video (which I can't type anything about because I told my wife, whom I very much love, that I wasn't typing anything about the subject of this video):

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Based on a Note on a friend's Facebook site, I thought I'd pose this question: is it no longer considered bad manners for a man to eat (e.g., in a restaurant) while wearing a hat? Personally, I think it's still "bad manners" to be indoors wearing a hat in general; then again, I was in the Navy for 6 years, and military etiquette (tradition) is to remove headwear indoors. (I figure the military is one of the few organizations that still, through its traditions, tends to promote good manners in general.)

What else are we losing as far as manners in this country and age? "Ma'am" and "sir"? Holding doors for others? Elbows on tables? Cleaning up after yourself (e.g., at a restaurant)? Not inconveniencing others? The simple courtesy of well-written (and proof-read) English (and not using "internacronyms" like "AFAIK" and "IMHO" and "b/c" (etc.) in our written papers)? Respect for authority and elders?

Is there anything we can do about this trend? I personally try to be a good example of good manners to my children and others around me (although I admit I am not perfect at it; I've even eaten while wearing a baseball cap - but usually only in fast-food places - but does the location really even matter?). Your thoughts?