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?

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I think "figsomer" should be a word. Meaning, of course, "more fig-like" - "that tree's fruit is figsomer than this tree's fruit."

Why? I'm playing my wife in a game of Scrabble on Facebook, and it would have been a 176-point killer word. But I couldn't play it.

Oh well...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Love of "German" engineering?

Another amusing commercial oddity: the "Routan boom" - observe:

However, the Routan isn't a product of "German engineering" - it's a Chrysler minivan. Yes, it has a "German-tuned suspension" - and a VW badge - but that's about it. (Yes, slightly different exterior/interior, but that's typical of cousin-vehicles, like the Ford Crown Vic/Mercury Grand Marquis, the Mitsubish Eclipse/Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon, etc.) It's a Chrysler platform, drivetrain, electronics, etc. It's even built in Ontario on the same assembly line as the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country.

Just thought I'd clear that up before it becomes too widespread a misconception. Of course, the Germans have their own minivans/MPVs (Sharan & Touran), but they don't think them appropriate for the US market.

Personally I think I'd prefer the actual German-engineered vehicles.

Who wants a 50" Plasma TV? Also, dumb cows...

First the dumb cows part (I think this should be part of Dean's blog; visit it for better reading, but think about coming back here afterward, yes?): anyone else find it amusingly ironic that Chick-Fil-A, who always put educational "toys" in their kids' meals, puts out ads that intentionally misspell things ("eat mor chikin")?

And now to the TV... anyone want a 50" plasma TV for a good price? Apparently these people did. If you don't want to read the article, let me summarize: a Wal-Mart employee, attempting to open the doors yesterday morning to let in the waiting crowd, was knocked over and trampled. To death. This is what we've become? A nation so concerned about "the good price" that we no longer care about people? What kind of "Christmas Spirit" is it to walk over a man - being trampled - to get into the store to shop for gifts? Sounds sort of like another story Jesus told (albeit with a less happy ending in the modern version). In fact, other store employees were trampled trying to get to the guy, and even an 8-month-pregnant lady was injured (she and the baby are fine, according to the article). They even managed to literally break the door frame.

COME ON, PEOPLE! This is ridiculous. In fact, the shoppers refused to leave the store even after they were told it was closing because the employee had been killed.

Sorry for such a depressing article... I just wanted to say, "STOP IT!" To lighten things up a bit, here's a video that I "stole" from Dean (who got the link from Christy):

Not exactly the same, but the words ring true: "STOP IT!" Let's remember what Christmas is all about - love. "For God loved the world so much that he gave..." (the extra-underline emphasis, which you probably can't see, is mine) - that's why we give. Love. Keep that in mind while you're shopping: it's not about the giving, it's about the loving.

Ok, and now back to your regularly scheduled life...

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Here's a stupid, frustrating "game" for you. My personal best (so far) is 5.5 meters. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How to cure hiccups

My kids were discussing cures for hiccups, so I offered one: cut off your head. While I've not personally tried this cure, I'm pretty sure it would resolve the issue of hiccuping, stopping the hiccups nearly immediately. Curious: why is "hiccup" also spelled "hiccough"? Seems weird.

On a completely different topic, you may have seen on my Facebook or twitter that I'm considering attempting to write a Facebook app (just for fun). But I'm idea-less at the moment. Anyone have any cool ideas they'd like to see in a Facebook app (one that's not already out there, or that's poorly implemented)? If you have any ideas for such a thing, let me know, and we'll try to work out some details (and I'll try to figure out how to write such a thing).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thinking about Time

Throughout the day I've been thinking about time. Interesting thing, when you think about time vs. eternity. What is "eternity" (as from a Biblical perspective)? Quite honestly, I think it's a concept that we humans have very little grasp of in our current, temporal form (which, to some degree, happens to be a temporary form as well). "Way back when," you know, "In the beginning God created everything." (an amalgam of Genesis 1:1 and John 1:3 from the NLT)

First, that's pretty cool of itself, and shows how incredibly creative God is. Second, think about what He created: everything, from things so large we can't see the end (the universe) to things so small we can't see their constituent pieces (atoms). But along with all that He created the laws of physics (to keep us well-glued to this planet, for instance, and the light and heat we get from our sun to keep us visible and warm) and time itself. Apart from our universe, where does time exist? I don't think it does. Sequentiality (there I go, making up words again!) is a gift that God gave us to allow us to enjoy a chronological life. When we try to think about and discuss "what's after life" - we run into a problem because we try to think in temporal terms - the very terms that God created in us through the universe. I don't think those limits exist outside our universe... and that's a very difficult thing to try to comprehend. Hence our somewhat inadequate terms "forever" and "eternal" and "infinite" - I don't think they really do justice to the life (or death) that awaits once we've finished our chronological lifetime in this universe.

It's not a "forever" per se - it's a life outside of the limits of time. That's weird (but, I'm sure, quite wonderful; at least as long as you're prepared it will be).

Anyway, that's just what I was thinking about at times today. On a completely different topic of time, I wonder what's to happen now... I've introduced the woman of my dreams, the love of my life, my beautiful wife (yes, they're all the same person! and sometimes it does seem like she has three personalities... but I love them all! :) to the fantabulous world of Facebook. Will she have enough time to get done the things she normally did before being introduced to Facebook? Will the amount of time I get to spend with her change? Will I have to interact with her through Facebook now? Will I have time to help explain all the oddities of Facebook to her? (I'm kidding, of course; hopefully you have found her through my own Facebook account, although I'm not sure I've listed it before now.)

On another completely different topic of time, I'm fairly confident I won't have enough time at work to accomplish all the tasks I need to get done tomorrow. But I think I'll put off thinking about that until at least Tuesday, at which point the tasks will be overdue and thrice as stressful. :)

For those who have made it this far, I'll share an original joke:

A manicure is something that makes a fake person better.

Until next time... (sorry, couldn't resist)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Anyone else find this funny? (As in "odd" funny, not "haha" funny, as Dean would say; click on the hyperlinked word "this" to read the article.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My facebook did WHAT?

First, let me say, "Facebook" is still simply a weird name. Think about it: "face book" - huhwhat? Sounds like an overly-simplified explanation an irritated girlfriend would give to her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend in a sunny apartment in a low-grade comedy film upon returning home after finding out she was cheating on him:

"face. book. facebook!"

Upon completing the utterance of which she would smack him upside the head with a ridiculously large dictionary that just happened to be sitting on the coffee table.

Ok, now that's out of the way, let me alert you to something: face. book. beacon. Facebook/beacon

Say what? Take a gander at this guy's article (and his follow-on article) for more details, in particular about how to stop what I'm about to explain from happening to you. But here's the scenario. I'm playing a game on Kongregate (99 bricks, if you want to know, an infuriatingly frustrating yet way-cool evolution of the Tetris theme - I once did fairly well in a Tetris tournament in my year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Tetris was the cause for the failure of the "y" key on my keyboard when a friend got mad at having lost and slammed down on "y" for "yes, a new game!" and the "y" quit typing thereafter; incidentally, WPI had a really great use for their fantastic lecture hall: on Saturday nights it became a 50-cent movie theatre for the students with one of the best sound systems I've ever heard, and this was back in 1990-1991).

Wait, sorry about that.. where was I? Oh, yeah... Kongregate... so I'm playing a game on Kongregate (99 bricks, if you want to know...), when up pops this little Facebook windlet (that's a mini-window... I like making up words!) that says, "Hey, you last played 99 bricks on Kongregate, you want me to add that to your Facebook?" Um, what's the deal? I don't even have a facebook window open! (I just opened a window, and it has me all logged in now, even though usually it asks me to sign in...) So what's going on?

Looks like facebook is now doing this little "tracking" thing... and lots of people are starting to get in on the action. And they'll (facebook) gladly keep track of where you've been and what you're doing. Now, say you have several people who use the same computer... or you access facebook on a public computer (like a library - yeah, we all know you wouldn't be doing THAT! - or an internet cafe)... and suddenly your facebook profile is being shared around like it's anybody's business. What's up with that? And even if you are the only person to ever use your computer, do you want facebook keeping tabs on you? And suddenly you're getting highly targeted merchandising that seeks to exploit your habits and weaknesses? For example, say you tend to spend a significant amount of time exploring, I don't know, music-instrument-related sites because you really want a set of bagpipes to learn (don't tell my wife), and now when you log into facebook there are 17 bagpipe related ads attempting to pull your hard-earned cash away from important things like food for your family or new jewelry for your wife (sorry, babe... unfortunately this is merely hypothetical... :) but I do love you!)... and it happens to hit on a day when you forgot that an automatic debit hasn't yet cleared your account and you decide it's been a hard day and you want to splurge on just a small practice chanter to get started and then that bill hits and suddenly you're overdrawn and your lovely wife can't get milk and bread and Lucky Charms to feed your 17 starving children (ok, I'm the one who wants the Lucky Charms)...

Not that that has happened, mind you, but I'm just saying. Could if you don't have much willpower. On the other hand, if instead you'd simply had the standard random ads from facebook it's not likely that the one intermittent ad for a bagpipe clearance sale would have caught your attention.

Anyway, you decide... there are instructions on the articles linked above for blocking the facebook beacon site from being able to track you as you bound wildly across the open internet landscape. Oh, and be careful... it's a jungle out there. (As you probably will have guessed if you've ventured onto this blog post, and now I'll bet you're regretting having read for this long.)

Monday, November 17, 2008


Hey, potentially anonymous person I don't know. Welcome to my blog if you've never been here before. Well, welcome if you've been here before, too. You are all welcome here. In fact, bring your friends, and your friends' friends, and their friends' friends. If you want, let me know and I'll visit your blogs, too... multi-level blogging, that's what I'm all about! :)

Seriously, though... I had an impromptu life/Bible session with my family at the dinner table tonight, and the main point I wanted to make regarded habits. During the discourse (well, can you call it a discourse when it's all of about 5 minutes of talking? of course, with my family, it took us about 15 minutes to get through it) I came to the realization that the word "habitat" has the word "habit" right in there! And what is your habitat? It's where you live. And do you want to live in a good place or a bad place?

Up to you. Take the time and effort to start good habits (and they're not habits if you do them once each!) and stop bad ones (and note: it will take conscious effort at first on both counts; however, after you've been consciously striving towards either goal you will eventually find that it's no longer either conscious nor an effort... it's, in fact, a habit, or the lack thereof in the latter case). Then you'll be living in a good place - a habitat made up of good habits, not a bad place - a habitat of bad habits.

(Or maybe I'm just weird and the words aren't really related at all.)

Oh, you might want to take a look at a new blog I've linked over to your right (if you're reading this at my blog's homepage instead of in some sort of reader): The Reverend Mojo. He's not really a reverend... he's my littlest brother, the one who my middle brother and I used to sometimes drop on his head in our garage converted into a nursery on Saturday mornings and then tell my parents we didn't know why he was crying, he just woke up like that... anyway, either in spite of or perhaps because of all those head injuries he has some interesting things to say. Sometimes. Maybe you'll get lucky on the day you visit. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pet... or Party Tray?

You may not want to read today's blog or watch the embedded video (below). I don't know how you'll know whether or not you want to read/watch it until you do, though...

Similar to my post here (which includes info on, this post will discuss potential alternative food sources. One which is easier to raise than, say, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, deer, etc. I'm talking about the cute, cuddly cuy - aka "guinea pig." This little critter is a delicacy in some nations (like Peru). Now here is the video, an excerpt from "Bizzarre Foods" (from the Travel Channel, video on YouTube):

Interesting how the roasted cuy looks on the plate, eh? I'm sure some will say, "What a horrible thing to do!" (If you want a more pet-friendly way to "cook guinea pigs" check out this site - it's safe, promise) But it's just a cultural difference. We think nothing of raising other animals for food which, I'm sure, other nations may find odd. But think about cuy for a second: you could keep a whole farm of them in much less space than, say, chickens or rabbits. Yes, they won't provide as much food per critter, but still, you could have a farm of them without causing too much fuss. As long as you have a yard you wouldn't even necessarily need tons of GP (Guinea Pig) food, either. And there are (out)side benefits... maybe it's time to revisit an idea I had and shared on my extended-family web site. Here is the text of the original e-mail regarding the business opportunity (I'm looking for investors):

Dear all,

I have had sudden inspiration for a new business opportunity. What
I'm proposing is environmentally friendly lawn service. My lawn
service would feature a corps of well-trained, but mostly hungry,
guinea-pigs, which would be loosed on the customer's lawn for the
purpose of reducing the grass height. The guinea pig army would be
released in the morning, left, and retrieved in the afternoon, for a
reasonable fee. The upside, of course, would be the ecologically
sound, environmentally friendly method of lawn treatment (the guinea
pigs would also fertilize said lawn during the course of their primary
yard service, that of reducing the grass height).

This endeavor would require a fairly large farm of guinea pigs (once
the initial investment was made, however, said farm should be self-
sustaining, and perhaps even income producing depending on the
reproduction rate of said farm). The individual guinea pigs would
have to be implanted with an RFID chip, for ID and tracking purposes.
When the GPs are placed, they would be scanned out using the RFID
chips, and when retrieved, they would be similarly scanned in. Any
missing GPs would then have to be tracked and located via the RFID
tracking device (only a low-level transmitter would be required, since
the locomotive capabilities of munching guinea pigs has been observed
to be rather low).

This is where you come in. I'm seeking investors to participate in
making my business dreams come true. Invest as much or as little as
you want, but I hope it's in the former category instead of the
latter. As a bonus, for a mere $10,000 investment, you'll get a
picture of your guinea pig, signed by me and imprinted by the foot of
said GP, that you can frame and hang on your wall to let others know
of your investment in the future of our planet. If you invest
$20,000, not only will you get the framed certificate, you will be
allowed to name the guinea pig (what a great honor to bestow on a
loved one, naming a guinea pig after them!), and the name will be
included on the picture, as well as a certificate assuring that your
guinea pig has actually been officially bestowed with the name of your
choice. For $25,000, we'll even throw in the framing and express mail
charges of your guinea pig's picture and name certificate. For
$50,000, you can have the opportunity to actually launch your guinea
pig on a live lawn-care run, complete with the privilege of scanning
said GP in and out of the tracking system (and, if it goes missing,
you can track it down yourself using our high-tech rGPTS - RFID guinea
pig tracking system). For an investment of $100,000 or more, you will
receive your guinea pig once it enters retirement, and for $250,000
you will have the honor of having your guinea pig retired early, where
it can service your own lawn. For investments of $500,000 and up, you
will be provided with a pair of guinea pigs and all of their direct
offspring will be treated as if you had invested $25,000 (that is,
you'll be able to name it and we'll send you the framed picture and
certificate express mail). Investments of $1,000,000 or more will
include second generation offspring, although the naming rights will
be offered to the first investor in the event that two $1,000,000 GPs
have converging family trees.

I hope that this investment opportunity has come at a great time for
you, and that you'll seriously consider all the benefits of investing
in this company. The company is not officially a company yet, since I
don't have the Delaware company filing fees at the moment, but once we
do, we'll see about getting some sort of tax credit for investors and
those using the service since we're providing ecologically safe,
environmentally friendly alternative lawn care.

Thanks for listening, and I hope to be hearing from you (especially if
you're sending large checks!) soon.

Tony Moore, founder of GPESEFLCS (Guinea Pig Ecologically Safe,
Environmentally Friendly Lawn Care Service)

-- addendum: also good for food!

Enjoy! (Now is the time to invest, when the market is down... I guarantee I won't lose any more of your money than you invest in the company!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Video: My Hands Are Bananas

Don't know why. You'll have to watch to find out. Maybe I need help...

No, I am not responsible for that video... only for putting it on my blog for your viewing pleasure...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Move awaaaay from the flu...

Yeah, that's right - Google is now providing estimates of flu activity based on analysis and evaluation of search data by location. If you take a look at the image above (which is currently linked to the image on Google's "learn more" page of their FluTrends site), you can see how the Google search analysis compares to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; why it's not "CDCP" I don't know... maybe too close to "CCCP" from back in the days of the USSR?) analysis of the data provided by doctors. The thing: Google's data was available one or two weeks earlier than the CDC data.

That's pretty cool. Using search engine technology for public good - the CDC reports are used to help hospitals, pharmacies, and doctors' offices prepare for upcoming demand as the flu spreads in various parts of the country. And earlier warnings are better, of course. In fact, you could even plan to take vacations away from moderate flu areas into minimal flu areas if you have that opportunity and ability. Or, if you're a traveling doctor (aka "quack"), you could plan your travels into moderate- to high-flu areas in order to peddle your amazing cure-alls. Or, if you're like me, you could stock up on Mt. Dew (the title of that post doesn't seem like it, but read the whole post to find out) when the flu starts to spread into your area.

Anyway, pretty cool. A useful use (that appears slightly redundant it seems) of search engine technology beyond, well, searching for information (such as "avoid to play song dead turkey" - where my blog used to have the 7th entry on that search page, but apparently no longer does; still don't know who would search that, or why).

On a different topic, let me know if you can see the extrasolar planet in the image at this article. I can't.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is my son...?

I came home today to find my son had morphed into this thing..

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How did we miss the Internet for 20+ years?

If you take a look at this article on Wikipedia, you'll see the history of the "internet" which became a commercially available entity in the late 80s and commonplace by the mid 90s. However, if you look at this site (on, which is where the retiring Denny Zager sells his custom guitars), you'll see that, apparently, Zager Guitar was providing online video guitar lessons since 1969. Look at the logo in the upper left corner:

EZ-Play Guitars - Online Video Lessons - Since 1969

What? PCs weren't even available until the mid- to late-70s... so where did you have to go to get these online video lessons? And why did it take another 20 years for "online" to become commonplace? This is baffling to me.

Oh, and Denny Zager - he's part of the duo Zager & Evans, who had a single hit: "In the Year 2525" - interesting song:

Zager since has primarily been a luthier, originally customizing others' guitars, then hand-building his own custom guitar line. He's retiring this year, though. You can still find some of his guitars (or guitars customized by him) on eBay (just mentioning in case you're interested).

Saturday, November 8, 2008


My wife is making pancakes. I made an observation:

Pancakes are a lot like babies: they start off small, then grow; they start off kind of wet and gooey, and they're soft & squishy; and they taste good.*

What a great post for #200 (at least by Blogger's count; I've not verified, nor checked if they'd corrected their counting error), eh?

Last night my oldest son (whose birthday is today) said something like, "I could run a million miles in these feet." So, I figured out how long that would take.

Consider the equation above; if a person started running at age 5, ran 10 hours per day, 6 days per week, and 51 weeks per year, at an average speed of 5 mph (that is, a consistent 12-minute mile over the entire time spent running), that person would have run a million miles around age 70 years, 4 months, 1 week, 2 days. (That's not really an exact number, just an estimate at 4 weeks per month, which technically is only true of February in a non-leap year.)

I could never accomplish such a feet (er, feat) with my feet. One, I could sustain a 12-minute mile for, at most, 11 minutes, not 10 consecutive hours of running (or even nonconsecutive hours in a 24-hour period). I'm not a runner. Back in the Navy I used to exercise... twice a year, at the semi-annual PRT (physical readiness test), where I would do at least 40 push ups, 28 sit ups, touch my toes, run a mile and a half, and be sore for two weeks afterward. Yeah, my idea of exercise is picking up babies*... and mine are all growing up (not all grown up yet, but no longer babies). Of course, I have a really cute niece who seems to like me who's 15 months old, and a 3-year-old nephew (who's destined to be a cowboy), and I have two more nieces/nephews on the way, so I'm keeping in practice.

* note: I've never really eaten or even tasted "baby" - other perhaps than veal - that comment was simply for humor's sake, as un-funny as it was.

Friday, November 7, 2008

slower traffic keep RIGHT!

And you don't have to drive 10 mph below the speed limit (and 20 mph below your normal speed) just because you're on a bridge - the lanes are the same width, you know. (I say 20mph below normal 'cause that's often the amount you speed up once you get past the end of the bridge.) And it's kind of silly for traffic to be 5 mph below the limit in ALL FOUR LANES ... and for traffic to STOP for minutes at a time with NO accidents or breakdowns or anything...

Ok, enough of that. I think there is a side effect of the medicine I'm taking for my ankle injury...

Gotta run, more later. Ok, not really, just want to go watch a movie or something... but I'll write more later, I promise.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This is a test, only a test. Trying to see if mobile blogger, via mms, will recognize my phone again. It used to work, then apparently t-mobile changed something, and now it doesn't seem to support my phone number anymore. So, this is only a test..

Werewolves in Sweet Home Alabama All Summer Long

Don't know if you are familiar with it, but I like Kid Rock's "new" song, "All Summer Long" (I previously mentioned that I find it funny that there's a version with "smokin'" censored, but not the other potential illegal and/or amoral things). "New" - there's a funny notion. My wife noticed, naturally, that you could overlay "Sweet Home Alabama" over the song with little interference. Personally, I noticed that it sounds like "Werewolves of London" (ca. 1978 or so; until this morning I thought it was "Werewolves of Thunder" and had no clue who the artist was or what the lyrics were) by (the late) Warren Zevon. (If you take the link on "All Summer Long" - above or here - you'll see that it was, in fact, based on the two.)

Despite the failure to change the pitch of "Sweet Home" to match, consider this YouTube video which does a comparison of all three songs:

Whatcha think? If you want a version of Werewolves with the lyrics embedded in the video, take a look at this vid on YouTube. Anyway... I like all three songs. Not necessarily together, especially when one's in a slightly different key, but all three.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wow, three! You're getting your money's worth!

Especially since you're not paying anything!

Anyway, just found this wikiHow article:

how to remove dog saliva from car windows

I like some of their advice:

  • To prevent dog saliva problems in the future, remove dog from car.
  • Boiling water can scald. Be careful
(there's no punctuation after "be careful" in the wikiHow article - it's not a typo on my part)

I just thought, "I should make a wikiHow on 'how to catch an alien.'" Then checked to see if they had one by entering "catch an alien" in the wikiHow search box. Take a look at the results if you want to see a very strange "collection" (I say "collection" in quotes because, other than having the words "catch" and "alien" in them, they're not very collective about any particular subject).

And now I will leave you alone (for at least a couple of minutes). Until next time... nah, it's getting old now.

Wow, back to back posts! Aka, what I learned about Google...

I was looking through Google's Webmaster Tools about my [Lapse... brain dead] blog, and I learned a new way to search. Consider this:
"Lexus * retractor"
That will match "lexus <anything> retractor" - such as "lexus ls400 seatbelt retractor" - and my blog hits #1 billing on that particular search page! In fact, if you click the "show with the similar links" (or whatever the text is) at the bottom of the search page, my blog runs away with the hits on that particular search. But the main point is the search capability - I hadn't been aware of the "wildcard" search capability of Google, until now. This will open a whole new way of searching things - I often use Google to help find out how to do things I'm having trouble with in my job (software development; and I must say that the DataGridView of Microsoft Visual Studio is quite an infuriating beast! I'm sure that with experience it will turn out to be wonderful, and it definitely has some really cool features, but some of its idiosyncracies are really irksome at times, such as "how to change the focus of a cell during the "CellEndEdit" event - you can't call "<dataGridViewObject>.CurrentCell = <newCell>;" - that throws an exception at runtime due to "infinite recursion into the SetCurrentCellCore() (or similarly named) function" and stops you dead in the water. I suppose I could check it later, such as in the "on cell enter" function (if I've set something in the "EndEdit" to flag that I need to change my cell focus) or in the "dataGridView loses focus" event (if the user changed to a completely different control instead of to another cell in the data grid view object, although I'm not sure I could completely stop the change in focus outside the dataGridView). Sorry, getting way off on a tangent here...).

Where was I? Oh, yeah, Google search. I'll have to go back and re-educate myself about all the possible ways to search using Google. Could be some useful stuff I'm missing! Maybe I'll write you all a "Google User's HowTo" to help explain some of the more useful features I'm bound to uncover.

Till then, a topato!

Went to the doc...

about my ankle... they shot me.

Guess it was worse than I thought, eh?

Heh, it was just a steroid shot to help speed medicine to counteract the swelling in the ankle. You know where they shot me, of course, and that made walking (and sitting and pretty much existing) even more difficult over the next hour or so than the ankle had been.

They also gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory, which has been making my stomach upset for the last 24 hours or so (despite my having taken it with food as recommended). Actually, the first dose didn't, but the next few have (tonight's wasn't at first, but is starting to, I think). But at least the ankle's not broken (at least it didn't appear that way on the X-ray image).

So, I've been working on some new music (not anything newer on my music page, yet, though), and have also been thinking about how great some music is with good horn parts. (I play sax, among other things, mind you, so I like good horn parts!) For instance:

That's Stevie Wonder with the song "Superstition" performed on Sesame Street. Pretty cool. I may have to post links to some of the Alice Cooper on the Muppet Show videos from YouTube next article. Anyway, maybe I should put some good horn parts in my music! If you care, here are a few things I'm working on (that will hopefully be making their way onto the music page before too long):
  • My Baby's Smile (yes, written to my lovely wife, who happens to be the only girl I've ever really kissed (you know, a romantic-type kiss), and my first girlfriend, whose smile makes the world a better place regardless of whatever else might be going on in life)
  • Robot Penguins from Mars
  • a rewrite/parody of a fairly recent song that could be considered controversial... but when I sing it it will be perfectly fine
Wow, I tried to insert my headphones into the jack on the side of my computer (because my daughter was complaining the music was too loud in her room - yep, I'm listening to Stevie on YouTube) - ok, I was only trying to put the plug of the headphones in the jack, not the entire headphones, Dean - and apparently I missed the headphone jack and hit the USB port, 'cause suddenly my computer rebooted itself (and I lost half of this blog post that I'm now rewriting).

So, anyway... how's everything going out there? I haven't had many comments recently... guess you quite reading when I quit posting. Sorry about that. I'll try to be more frequent... maybe I'll even resurrect my other blog (Not-tional Geographic), even though no one ever read that one. :)

Until next time... a topato!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ahoy, there!

Been a while, I guess.  Quick update on the ankle: after two weeks most of the swelling has subsided, I'm still wearing a (cloth) brace during the day, still some pain when I do things like twist on it (I know: "don't do that!" - it's always unintentional) but mobility is fairly improved, and no visit to the doctor.

And the TV I was unloading that caused the mis-step and sprain doesn't work.

I have more thoughts, but it's late and I'm tired, so you're going to have to do without them for now.  Sorry about that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That's Gotta Hurt

While watching a bit of a show called "That's Gotta Hurt" (on TLC), one of the clips was about a cat that tried to jump from a barn into the owner's bedroom window, but the window was shut, cat bounced off and (Dean, shut your eyes) impaled itself on an iron spikey fence between the barn and the house.  They taped the cat to the fence (to imobilize it to keep it from further injuring itself) and called the cops, who called the fire department, who eventually cut the fence using the jaws of life so they owners could take the cat to the veterinary clinic.  The cat was fine - the fence had merely impaled the excess skin on the cat and hadn't hit any vital organs or anything.  I mused, "I wonder if any humans died that day in that town because of lack of emergency response because the fire engine and firefighters were busy removing a piece of fence with a cat on it."

Guess that's how I think.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ATM on Windows?

I had to stop at the ATM this morning to get some cash for the kids' school enrollment fees. The screen was stuck on "processing this transaction".. Then it rebooted. The picture is of the computer running its POST diagnostic test. Shortly after I heard a horrifying sound: the Windows startup sound. Yes, people are running your ATM transaction software on Windows. Now don't you feel secure about your ATM transactions?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities...

Well, actually they are unincorporated areas, not part of the cities (Madison and Daphne). And really this tale primarily focuses on travel between the two, although part will occur at the second.

We moved.

We moved from Madison, AL (which is here - if you go to street view, you can take a peek at the 1967 Mustang GT that my uncle bought brand new off the showroom floor in November of 1966, and gave to me on my 30th birthday on December 20, 2001; note: the Mustang's no longer at that address, so don't bother trying to steal it; in fact, very little is there, so don't bother with any of that, either; and there probably isn't enough wiring to make it worthwhile to attempt to steal it for scrap copper, and we'll be in and out periodically until the house sells) to Daphne, AL (near mobile; here, to be exact, and this is where all our stuff is currently located, mostly in boxes; this is where we're located now, too).

On Friday night I drove up to Madison; on Saturday morning I picked up a 26' U-Haul truck (note that it's really equivalent to a 24' truck, since the main cargo portion is 23' 5"). Saturday we loaded it - but didn't finish; stayed in a hotel Saturday night (since our beds were no longer in the house); and finished loading Sunday. Didn't get started down until around 3:00 (I'd hoped to leave bright and early Sunday morning, but obviously underestimated the loading process). About 9:45, somewhere around mile marker 40 or 41 on I-65 south (it's about where the image changes color in the Google maps satellite photo, or at least it was when I last looked), there was a "BANG" and suddenly the truck started driving funny - yep, a blowout. Pulled to the side of the interstate, got out, verified the flat. Called the U-Haul 1-800 number, explained I'd had a flat ("blow out or flat?" "blow out") on the interstate, and was promply put on hold. A little while later a lady came on the phone...
u-haul lady: "What's the trouble?"
me: "Had a blowout on the left rear."
u-haul lady: "Ok... is that on the front or the back?"
me: "uh... the back rear" (ok, I just said, "the back")
u-haul lady: "Ok... that's the passenger side?"
me: "are you really asking that? do you not know what left rear means?" "it's the driver's side"
u-haul lady: "Ok... where are you located?"
me: "I'm on I-65 south in Alabama, around mile marker 40."
u-haul lady: "No, I mean what city and state?"
me: "you mean a mile marker isn't specific enough?" "I don't have any idea, I'm moving! I know where I came from, I know where I'm going, but I don't know where I am!" "I don't know - I'm in Alabama, on I-65 south near mile marker 40; don't know what city; can you not look it up based on the mile marker?"
u-haul lady: "I really need to know what city so I'll know where to send the mechanic; what city did you last pass?"
... I spent the next 5-10 minutes with her looking over her Mapquest to try to pinpoint my position, as she was unable to find specific roads I knew were nearby...
u-haul lady: "Ok... I'm going to call the mechanic and they will call you back."
About a half hour later the "mechanic" calls - I think this was someone in a corporate office somewhere (the "wingfoot" place)...
mechanic rep lady: "I'm going to send a guy to change your tire, he's coming from Mobile, so it will take him a couple of hours to get there; if he's not there in two hours, give us a call back or call the U-Haul hotline again, but the wingfoot man is usually Johnny on the spot."
... I'm near mile marker 40; that means it's no more than 40 miles from Mobile - according to Google Maps, about 39 minutes away. Why two hours? And I have my two youngest boys with me, and there are no seats in the other two vans caravaning with us since we have them loaded with stuff as well. Eventually my wife makes it to our new place, unloads enough cargo & passengers, and returns to pick up the boys, since it's really late and we're sitting on the side of the interstate and it's only 30-45 minutes away...
Two hours and five minutes later I call them back, since the repair guy hasn't shown up. She says, "Let me call him and I'll call you back." Ten minutes later she calls and says, "I can't get hold of him, but I left a message - I'll call you back as soon as he returns my call."

Great, thanks.

A while later she calls and says she has the repair manager on the line... he says, "The truck I'd dispatched to you broke down on the way to the shop... I have another truck en route that will arrive in 30 minutes."

Wait, on the way to the shop? Shouldn't this have been taken care of earlier, and shouldn't you have let me know?

Almost an hour later the repair guy arrives... with one tire. (This was about 1:40 am, or 4 hours after I'd called to report the blowout.) Both, of course, are flat... but they never asked me to check that, and I couldn't very well see it in the dark on the side of the interstate anyway. During the interim, waiting on the guy, I'd looked through the U-Haul emergency procedures, which said to assemble and properly place the warning triangles, directios are on the passenger visor. Um, no triangles, no directions there, nothing. And apparently the guy was supposed to have given me a tour of the truck's features before I left with it, discussing this sort of thing... what I got was, here's your key, there's the truck. (Incidentally, the truck was not nearly as difficult to drive as I'd imagined it would be, and the lower loading deck height of the U-Haul was certainly a plus; but it did not manage the 7 MPG it was supposed to get - I'm estimating it was more like 4 MPG.) But back to the tire(s) - both were flat, he brought one replacement. You'd figure they would send two knowing that it was a back tire that was blown out, and the likelihood of damage to the second tire on that side; if they didn't need the second tire, return it to inventory.

Anyway, he set it up with a single tire and an empty wheel (I was impressed by the ability of the guy to literally change a tire on the side of the road - that is, remove the old one from the rim and put a new one on), had me drive to the next exit (37, which I was planning to take to go to my new home anyway, he wanted to get me off the interstate to make it a little safer to change the second tire), and wait at an ex-gas station that had been levelled and was now a concrete slab across from a BP. Which was closed... so I couldn't use the restroom inside or get something to drink. So I sat, alone, with my U-Haul in a dark, empty lot at 2 o'clock in the morning. A policeman pulled by, circled around the BP a couple of times, stopped with his headlights shining on me (as I was sitting on the front bumper of the truck), and then slowly drove away. A while later he returned and pulled in to ask what was going on (I figure the first time he was giving me a chance to move on in case I was simply loitering), and (after I told him) said to give them a call if I needed anything. A while later a (different, I think) cop drove by, shined his bright spotlight on me for a while, then pulled into the BP, stopped with his headlights aimed in my direction, and then went on. He returned after the repair guy finally got back and was changing the second tire, stopped to ask what was going on, and then left. So, four visits from cops during the two hours I was off on that ex-gas station slab.

The mechanic returned around 3:40, and I was on the road again around 3:55. Now it's been about 21 hours since I got up, after having spent the whole previous day loading the truck and half of the current day, and I have to drive the remaining 30-40 minutes to my new place. And not just drive, but drive a 26' U-Haul truck. Alone.

Yes, I eventually made it home, and even managed to back it in the driveway (on my third attempt, which was from a different direction than the first two attempts). I got a drink (had been thirsty all this time) and went to bed around 5 AM (about 2 hours short of 24 hours since I'd gotten up). Over 6 hours from the time I called U-Haul's hotline for help until I was back on the road; the last half hour of the trip taking nearly 7 hours altogether.

Slept for about 5 hours (till around 10 AM), then woke and got up to help unload the U-Haul. My dad had come to help, and he, my wife, and my kids were unloading things. I jumped in to start helping and promptly turned my ankle really badly while taking a 35" CRT television down the U-Haul ramp (no, I didn't spill the TV, which was on a dolly). Continued to help unload things despite my injury until my wife made me sit so she could take a look. This was the ankle I'd broken in half in 9th grade (jumping down a flight of stairs at church: my friend and I were having a contest to see who could jump down the most steps - at 11, the entire flight, I won, yet lost as well, breaking my ankle in the process; I'd just successfully made it from the 10th step; I ended up spending six weeks - during school - with a plaster cast from my toes to halfway up my thigh - what fun). Anyway, it was swollen about an inch or so... she made me stop and put on her old air cast (sort of a splint kind of thing). I still helped unload until my dad basically refused to let me help anymore (despite his own frequent back problems). It's still swollen and sore, maybe not as much, though. Maybe I should go to the doctor... nah...

Anyway, there you go - a tale of two cities (or, more accurately, a tale of a move between and unloading at one of two incorporated areas outside two city limits). Sorry, but it's late - I'm not going to proof-read this one before publishing... feel free to comment on my grammatical and typographical mistakes.

Still no comments (like which one you like better) on my recent music, eh? Later, all...

Thursday, October 9, 2008


In case you haven't already checked it out, I have a second version of "Not me - Him!" on my music site.  Let me know which you like better (or neither, if that is the case, of course... you won't hurt my feelings... sniff-sniff).  In a comment is fine - I don't feel like setting up a poll for it right now.  Later...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What - why am I not sleeping?!

Cause I'm doing this for your listening pleasure!  (or not)  There's a new song out there: "Not me - Him!"  Needs some work, but it's been too long coming, so I figured I'd go ahead with my (seriously) flawed version.  The lyrics... well, they basically came from a sermon I heard, and pretty much wrote themselves (with a little tweaking from my wife to make sure things weren't misunderstood, and a review by my friend Dean who could probably have done this whole thing much better than I).

Speaking of Dean, when I start typing "deanlu" (of "") in Google Chrome's web browser address/search bar, it suggests "" as my intended target.  Cool, Dean!  Way to go!  You got into Google's mechanism somehow! :)  Also I notice Google's Chrome doesn't seem to play well with Google's Blogger "compose" window - the keyboard shortcut for creating a link doesn't work.  You'd think those two, both being from Google, would get along better.  Oh well.  Bedtime, I think.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

thumbing around

Was working on getting some stuff done around the house, getting it ready to put on the market. Did this to my thumb. Not intentionally, obviously. :) wait, I shouldn't be smiling, I smashed my thumb!

Friday, September 26, 2008

state of today

So, here I am doing 81 on the interstate- being tailed, no less- and texting a new blog post on my phone. Anyway, this new song by Kid Rock comes on, you know, the one about singing sweet home alabama all summer long. I like the song, but that's not what this is about. Some stations play a version where the word "smokin'" is muted. Now, they also mention drinking (probably under-age, although that's not explicit) and sex out of wedlock, but only the smoking part, admittedly of "funny things," is censored. Why?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Need Cassettes?

I just looked at Musician's Friend's "Stupid Deal of the Day" - and for today it's a 10-pack of 30-minute cassette tapes! Weird. I didn't know you could still buy such things. (Ok, maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I did.) Anyway, if you're looking for cassettes, Musician's Friend has some. And they're on sale today!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A regular POST!

I noticed that I've not posted a "regular" blog since sometime in August. Since then it's been all mobile-phone posts, which are typically fairly short. Sorry about that - I've been kind of busy recently. Just started a new job on September 2 - in Mobile, AL. We've been looking for a place to stay (the family) - right now I'm staying at my parents' house in Pensacola, which is a 75 mile commute, one-way. The other day it took over two hours to get back after leaving work - the traffic was pretty much stopped for most of the way on the tunnel & bridge. Silly.

And what about Gasoline? That's, as far as I know, the only publicly-traded commodity that's also a normal retail consumer good. That is, investors drive the price (based on the price of a barrel of oil), and consumers pay the difference. I understand it (I think) - but it's silly. I mean, Wal-Mart's stock price tanks, I don't see any savings at their retail outlets; the stock in O'Charley's goes way up, the price of food doesn't change. Silly? What about the SiRF stock price, which has fluctuated wildly over the past few months (SiRF makes GPS receiver chips, used in GPS receivers by various manufacturers). The cost of GPS receivers based on the chips isn't changing daily in the retail outlets based on the cost of the underlying technology. So why is this the case with gasoline? Its cost is fluctuating wildly based on the underlying cost of the barrel of oil. And that barrel of oil cost is based on market fluctuations, speculation, etc. I think we need to find a way to decouple the retail here... the underlying "value" of the gasoline really shouldn't change in such a dramatic way. Yes, it should follow the base product (oil), but not necessarily in such a fluid (no pun intended) manner. For example, the GPS receivers: they will adjust based on the underlying technology, but they do not vary wildly on a daily (or sometimes hourly or quicker) basis at the retail outlet. It is unreasonable that a retail outlet should change its retail cost so quickly. Especially when this means that investors are raking in a lot at the expense of the poor guy trying to get to work in order to feed his family (hey, that's me!). Actually, I'm not that bad off... but some people are. This is, really, killing our ability (as a nation) to reasonably provide a living

At least, that's my opinion. Feel free to comment. I may add more later... my stomach is telling me it's time to put something in it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

what I'm doing right now

This is the un-fun part of my current 70+ mile - one-way - daily commute. The bridge and tunnel over and under Mobile bay. People just drive really slow and inconsiderately right here. Guess I should quit texting and drive, huh?

Sunday, August 31, 2008


A vehicle presumably evacuating from south Alabama or Mississippi or Louisiana had a message for all the other evacuees en route away from the coast. See the picture.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Look down there!

Yet another mms blog post.. Tip time a picture of the kids. What's that, you can't see them? Look closer!

Oh really..

Follow on to the last mms blog post. The sign says, "Danger beyond this point." The sign is attached to a tree growing on the edge of a cliff. Thanks for the warning. :)

Where am I?

This is where I am right now (see the picture). Anyone know where this is? If you want a hint, my GPSr shows my coordinates to be 33 degrees 59.336 minutes N and 086 degrees 27.387 minutes W, with an accuracy of around 23 feet. Elevation is 1313 feet. Guesses? (Oh, and I'm at a family reunion. Wife's family.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Protect the environment, not your country...?

Apparently California is more concerned about the protection of marine life than protection of the American way of life. Surprise, surprise.

Ok, I'm neither an environmentalist nor a marine biologist. I haven't studied whales. I am a former Naval enlistee (Nuclear Machinist's Mate), but not a military strategist (unless Axis & Allies, Risk, and similar strategy games count). But I think, given the state of the world today, I'd prefer to be on the side of American safety than the side of marine life safety. I hope America's enemies aren't reading the news, since they might detect a good striking point. (Well, maybe we can spare California... ok, sorry, I didn't really say that!)

Anyway, this is where we are. I'd relay the story of the mom who's suing Bombardier (the manufacturer of the Sea-Doo line of jet skis, which also makes trains like the New York Subways and aircraft) because her daughter died after running into a pier. The mom claims the daughter, 14, would never have ridden the machine if it had a warning label that says, "No one under 16 should operate this vehicle." This was after the daughter asked the mom about riding it, while they were staying at the mom's boss's house, and the mom said no. Then the mom had to go to the store, and the daughter said she wanted to stay with the boss, and then told the boss (after the mom was gone) that "mom said it was OK, can we ride?" The boss took her out, then gave her some instructions, and then said, "Ride it up 150 feet, turn around, and come back." The girl then rode off and eventually hit a pier, knocking her out and she drowned. Yeah, right, a warning label (that actually isn't even legal, since it's the states who make the requirements as to minimum age and any licensing requirements regarding the operation of personal watercraft) would have stopped her. Did I mention it's the individual states who make the requirements as far as age and licensing for these things, NOT the manufacturer? I mean, how many of your CARS have warning labels, "you must be 16 to operate this vehicle"? My motorcycle doesn't have that warning label, but could I sue Suzuki if my 14-year-old (unlicensed) son takes it out for a spin and kills himself? I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. It was an accident. It was lack of supervision by the mom which led to it. If anything, the boss could have been sued, but of course the boss doesn't have the money that Bombardier has (and the mom would have lost her job, too).

This nation is simply crazy. Someone has money? Let's find a way to sue them, because it's not right that they have it and we don't! I think Bombardier should be suing the woman for attempted robbery, defamation, etc. After all, she's trying to take away Bombardier's money, and she's trying to make it seem that Bombardier doesn't care about children and that they are irresponsible. Bombardier should sue the woman and her attorneys (who, undoubtably, are the ones who really thought up this whole scheme).

But, since I don't have the information (news article, etc.; I saw it on the news while I was in Gulf Shores a couple of weeks ago), I won't tell you about that. Instead maybe I'll seek an attorney to sue Sylvania (the manufacturer of my TV), NBC, China, Greece, and the whole world, since I'm busy watching the Olympics when I could be doing something more productive, like sleeping or working. After all, I've been watching the Olympics a lot recently, and it's affecting my productivity. Sounds like time for a music video, but I can't embed it here (by the author's request at YouTube); you'll have to go here and watch it instead.

I have a pain in my side. Well, the side of my back. I'm afraid it's another kidney stone getting ready to try to make its way through the tiny tube the size of a human hair between my kidney and my bladder. Anyone have any thoughts on how to get rid of these things and prevent their formation? I still have some of the drugs left from the last one I had (which also was the first one and I was hoping also the last - final - one, but I'm currently afraid it's not), which should help once the pain really starts to kick in. Feel free to share any thoughts.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You don't say

I saw this stack of cups in the kitchen cabinet at work. It deserted a post on my blog. In case you can't read the wrapper in the picture, it says, "Party Cups" on the upper label. Then, on the subtitle (so-to-speak), it says, "Great For Parties." You don't say. The redundancy gods (devils?) have, once more, struck again. :) Oh, be on the lookout for a coming post about the English obfuscation genie in the hopefully not too distant future.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Can you spot the difference?

I was at Dollar General when I saw this cache of heavy duty triple outlets. Then I noticed something funny about them.. Can you find it?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Something to think about (carefully)

I was recently directed to an article concerning the efficacy of various tin beanies (thanks to MIT for supporting this research). Be sure to also check out the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie page. The information on these pages could be vital to preventing the government or other "multinational corporations" from controlling your mind. Perhaps, in the weeks to come, I'll work on some design and testing of my own to provide effective protection from the potential mind-controlling signals that the government and other agencies may be using to persuade you to follow their direction. (Then again, maybe not - you'll have to wait to find out.)

I just thought I would sound the alarm now that I'm aware of this information. I hope that it has been enlightening and informative to you.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Talking hands

Why do people "talk with their hands" when on the phone? I mean, the other person can't see what you're doing with your hands (I know, someone's going to mention video-phones - but I'm talking about plain old phones where it's voice-only communication). The other day the lady behind me, driving down the road, was holding her phone to her ear with one hand and mainly talking - occasionally driving - with the other. I mean really... that's not only wasteful of energy (why do something if it's not doing any good? talking with your hand while on the phone? no one's benefitting from it, you're just wasting energy; did I mention I'm kind of lazy? besides... you'll create more body heat by the extra motion, which in turn heats up the atmosphere around you, which in turn spreads, and suddenly you're an instigator of global warming!), but dangerous as well (fortunately there were no accidents during the time that I was in front of her; don't know about afterwards, but I was praying for her - and especially those around her - safety).

This sparked a brief discussion in our car of "talking with your hand" - I suggested that to do so you should pull your sock off your foot and create a sock puppet to hold up to your phone. That would really be talking with your hand.

--- subject change warning! ---

Does anyone else out there like the movie Hot Rod? That is my current favorite "recent" movie (Raising Arizona is probably my all-time favorite movie ever; Noises Off is really good, as is Big Trouble and The Rock and The Princess Bride - did I ever mention that I'm in the movie The Rock? If not, ask and I'll surely share!). I'm always quoting little things from Hot Rod... like today when I said in a text message to my friend (who has borrowed the movie, so he knows what I'm talking about), "Said cool beans.. reminded me of Hot Rod.. any chance I can get it back from you sometime soon?" Except my T9 predictive text input wrote (and I failed to correct), "Said book beans.. reminded me of Hot Rod.. any chance I can get it back from you sometime soon?" My next message (after he commented on that) was full of "book" in place of "cool" (at least four occurrences). Pretty clever, eh? (Ok, I admit, not really.)

So, anyway... talk with your mouth, not with your hands, especially if there are more important things you should be doing with them (like driving). Besides... you look kind of silly. Especially if you're talking on your Blue-tooth headset, leaving both hands free, and have your hands waving wildly while (appearing to be) talking to no one in particular... :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Off center

I'm sitting outside Starbucks and I notice something awry that's bugging me on a subliminal level. Then I notice it.. the hole on the cup lid isn't centered. Ahhhgh! It's driving me crazy. At least I have my wife here to keep me company in my time of distress..

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another game...

Sorry, you'll have to wait a bit longer for a post based on your ideas (see "Random Thoughts"). You still have time to add to them. (I'd wanted to post it tonight, but my mind isn't working well; of course, that might lead to the best material, but we won't find out tonight.)

Instead I thought I'd throw another game your way (courtesy of my kids, who tend to find these games). It's called "Totem Destroyer" - and it's quite intriguing. I'd come home for lunch today, and the kids mentioned it to me, and I ended up taking a longer lunch than I'd planned... :) Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Onion bangle..?

I was having brunch with the family at IHOP and one of my onion rings had a problem: as shown in the photo, it was not a complete ring. Thus, my thought is that it was that much rarer of onion-esque items; it was the elusive onion bangle. I ate it anyway. (That sandwich I'm eating is a Philly cheese steak, minus the cheese.. it was pretty good. As were the onion rings and, yes, even the onion bangle.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hedgehog Launch

For those who may not know, it's addictively fun to launch hedgehogs into space (if you don't already know, click the link and prepare to be amusingly addicted to a stupid-yet-too-much-fun game; you need to beat the game at least once - and watch through all the credits - in order to learn some amazing science facts!). For those who do, marvel at my accomplishment indicated by the partial screenshot to the left - I completed the mission of putting a hedgehog in space in only three days (surprising even myself). I've only done that twice. I think I got lucky both times. I'm getting better, though... I did manage to nearly duplicate this mind-boggling (or maybe mind-numbing, depending on your point of view) feat tonight, although I missed space on the third day just barely (I did make it on day four, of course). Now, not all my attempts are this fantastic - sometimes it takes six days, or nine. Sometimes, especially if I miss the three-day mark, I'll just send my hedgehog all over the place and try to rack up a princely sum of money (not that I can do anything with it once I've bought all the available upgrades).

On a less fantastic note, I'm having issues with the Samsung Katalyst phone that we got my wife to use with T-Mobile's Hotspot@Home service (this is slightly different from their T-Mobile@Home service which they've recently announced). The tech support guy was trying to tell me that it was because we hadn't registered our home address as the E-911 address that we can't connect the phone to our wireless router. Yeah, right. It's probably the router I have (I didn't get the T-Mobile one), although the phone has connected before. And this is the third Katalyst we've gotten (first had horrible battery life; second rebooted quite frequently; now neither the second nor the third will connect to my home wireless network). Whatever... one of these days my technological life will be nice and I'll have 100% working everything. (Yeah, right.)

Well, only a few more days to submit your ideas for my next great post (ok, maybe my first great post; ok, simply "another mindless, non-great post" - shut up already!). I'd have worked on it tonight, but I'm kind of [brain dead] at the moment. (What, you say, is the difference then? Compared to my "regular" posts? Shut up already!)

Going to go launch some hedgehogs...