Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Epic Fail

     I have done some stupid things in my life, Company.  Some truly dumb things that I am not proud of, and that I tried hard for no one to find out about.  But I am not sure that I have ever done anything as stupid and embarrassing than what I did today.
I could have screwed this up somehow I am sure...
     I was installing a window air conditioner in the Worldwide Headquarters today because, well, it was time to install the window air conditioner in the Worldwide Headquarters.  Anyway, it sounds easy enough and straightforward enough but you should remember that I am Big Dave, and nothing ever ends up being easy or straightforward for me.  In this case, the problem comes from the fact that we have a normal-style air conditioner that is made for a traditional up-and-down style window, but I was trying to install it in a window that slid open left-to-right, or in this case right-to-left.  Last year we had it in sideways so it sort of fit better, but that looked just plain dumb.  It was effective, and it cooled my whole private quarters, but this year I wanted things to be done right.  So I put it in the right way and let the fun begin.
     Anyway, the dumbest part came once I had the AC installed and reasonable well bolted and screwed down, and I was looking to fill the area above it where the window couldn't close, because, you know, it is a right-to-left sliding window.  So I went down to the friendly local hardware store and I had this idea in my head, and I asked someone working in the place where I could find those little screens that slide to a bunch of different sizes.  I found one, and of course they didn't make one that would fit the dimensions that I would need, so I bought the closest thing and started to make my way home.
     Halfway home I had a sort of epiphany.  If you had been riding in the car with me, or maybe watching on television, you would have heard a little bell "ding!" and seen a light bulb appear above my head.  It is always a traditional incandescent bulb, but in my case maybe a flourescent bulb would be more appropriate because it sort of flickered on over the course of several seconds.  "Why did I just buy a screen?  Why the hell would I put a screen in if I was running the air?"  That was the exact sentence I spoke to myself.  Why would you buy a screen to close off the window of a room in which I was going to be running THE AIR CONDITIONER.  That is just fucking retarded, but for some reason that was my big plan.
      In the end I whipped a shitty and went back to the friendly local hardware store and fessed up to what I had done.  The guy laughed at me and traded it for a precisely cut piece of plexiglass (which I cracked later on) which once installed looked perfect.  I was really happy with it, and it was probably what I had wanted all along.  Not a screen though.  That was just dumb.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Honoring our Armed Services, the Memorial Day way.
     Now that the barbecue coals are starting to cool, and people are starting to get comfortable back in their homes after their weekends away, it is time to reflect on exactly why we get to have a three-day weekend at the end of May that traditionally signifies the start of summer.
     The reason that we do all the things that we do on our extra Monday off is to celebrate those men and women whose sacrifices have allowed us to do that stuff.  There have been millions of people who have given everything that they have - including their lives - in order to protect our nation, our lives, and our ways of life.  Those people, of course, are our armed forces and our veterans.  Memorial Day is meant to be a day to honor them.
     Some places have parades.  Some places have barbecues and picnics, some people use the opportunity to travel and recreate.  And those are the best things that we can do.  Oh of course it is great if you go down to the cemetery or participate in a twenty-one gun salute or something military related, but I think that best way to honor those who serve or who have served is to engage in all of the activities that they are fighting for you to be able to do.  That is the best way to honor their sacrifices.  I am not totally sure but I would guess that is what they would want you to do.  To have a brat and a beer in honor of them.
     So I hope you did something enjoyable today on your extra day off, if you had an extra day off.  If not then I thank you for working so that I could have an extra day off.  And now that your day is winding down I hope that you take a moment to think about all those who made this day and these activities possible.  That is the real reason for Memorial Day.  And we hope you had a good one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bad Parking

    I was going to unleash a post of epic proportions upon you today, Company.  But then I came upon something that was even more epic and surreal.  It came courtesy of photographer Ryan McGinnis and his blog The Big Storm Picture.  He is part of the Vortex 2 project, and he rolled into Joplin, Missouri in the aftermath of the massive and devastating tornadoes that struck that community.  Among the things he found there was a semi truck wrapped around a debarked tree.  Take a look.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Just A Quick Note

     Just a quick note, Company.  The last few days I gave up dicking around on Facebook and looking at pictures of road signs to write posts.  Tonight I did the opposite.  You will live.  Have a great night and we will see you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts that have occurred to me over the last couple of days, that I want to share with you:

-  When I read that some guy named Scotty McCreery won American Idol last night, my first thought was "Holy shit, that show is still on?"

-  The orchestra at Buckingham Palace started playing "God Save the Queen" in the middle of President Barack Obama's toast at a royal dinner the other night.  A lot of people seemed to care but I am not sure why.

-  I live in the north during the summer and I drive a lot, but the bugs hitting the windshield at such a rate that it sounded like rain suprised even me.

-  Turns out that the same methods that bats use to see are being used by blind humans to locate objects, a new study has found.  Strangely enough the people in the study had all stayed at a creepy castle with a creepy count in a cape last night.

-  Harold Camping has come out since my last post about him and said he has miscalculated again.  So I am done with him.  He has led me on an emotional roller coaster of epic proportions and I am just finished with it.  You suck.

-  There have been a lot of studies to show that German and British society and customs are different.  A lot of grant and research money could have been saved by just paying me $20 to tell them that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Places, New Faces

     I am not in the Worldwide Headquarters right now, Company.  That is the truth.  I am in a different, new, and exciting place.  Well, not really.  But it is exciting to me because I have never been here before, and I love going to new places.
I tried to look down this road but I failed because I
tried to look down the road that ran in the other
direction as well.

     I am one of those people who want to go to every place that I have never been.  Well, scratch that.  I want to go to most of the places that I have never been.  When I am travelling to somewhere new, I want to turn down every road that I come to in order to see where it goes.  When I am riding in the car and not driving, I am like a little puppy because I freak out and try to look down both direction of every cross road when we go past.  The usual end result is that I see nothing, but I still haven't learned.  When I get to a new city, I always start by watching The Weather Channel to see what type of locations they put on their "Local on the 8s" and then I read the friendly local phone book.  Not the whole thing, because I don't need to know all thos people's phone numbers, but I read the front pages with lists of parks and maps and government information, just to get an idea of what it is like to live in the place that I am visiting.  Then, when I come home I usually try to look at my hometown through the eyes of a visitor.
     So I know that I am what scientists would call a dorkus mallorcus.  And that is fine.  I am happy to wear that title because being that way while traveling makes me happy.  It feeds my lame soul in some sort of way.  And that is what life is all about, don't you think?  So I am having fun exploring the area in which I am staying, even though it is a sad chore that brings me here.  At least there is some sort of silver lining, right?  I think so.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rapture Reaction

     I have been wrong before, okay Company?  And I will be wrong again many, many times.  But I have always prided myself on being the kind of media mogul who was always willing to take a second look at a person, and who was always willing to reconsider their opinion of someone as new facts emerge.
     I have been coming down pretty hard on Harold Camping the last few days, in light of his stunning and I thought foolhardy prediction that the Rapture was going to happen this past Saturday.  I repeatedly said that he was a quack of some type, and I even went to lengths to imply that he was doing all this for the money and the fame.  And maybe he was.  Maybe he is just an incredible actor.  But I don't think so.  His reaction to not being in Heaven yesterday was pretty genuine, and I am ready to waffle on my opinion of the 89-year-old uncertified fundamentalist minister.
     Camping's camp was supposedly going to issue a statement today or tomorrow, but he did take just a minute to speak to a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday.  the word he used was "flabbergasted" and noted that it had been a really tough weekend.  And I bet it had.  This was the reaction of a man who really, truly believed in what he was telling people.  Going so far as posting a doomsday clock on his website and 2000 billboards across the United States.  So much so that he and a supposed 200 million true believers were ready to cross into the Great Beyond.
    I have come to believe that he really, truly believed in what he was saying.  If he had pawned this off on a calculation error or something similar like he did back in 1994, then I would be the first one calling for the lynch mob because he was just in it for the money and the fame.  But he seemed as stunned as the rest of his "true believers" probably were that he was standing in Alameda on a sunny Sunday morning.  So I am flipping.  I am becoming a true believer in Harold Camping, even thought I don't believe in what he preaches.  I feel that I can believe in the honesty and sincerity of a person even though I don't believe in his message.  So more power to you Mr. Camping, I hope you get your own personal Rapture, and I hope that you never lose your faith in your message.  All that being said, I sure am glad that you were wrong.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Day After the Day After

It looks like the normal shit happening to me.
     You may notice that I didn't write any posts yesterday, Company, and that was because I was busy preparing for the supposed Rapture that was going to be happening, setting off the end of the world.  I even got violently drunk and went to be early becase (a. if I was part of the Rapture then I didn't want to be awake when I was yanked up to heaven because I am not good with heights unless there is some sort of platform or large floor below my feet and b.) if I was one of the damned then I figured I might as well start the end times all pissed off and hung over.  I actually woke up this morning believeing that the Rapture had actually happened, the world was beginning its end times, and Harold Cmaping had actually outsmarted me.  I looked around, the sky was fire-red and hazy, there were zombie-like people all over the place, the urban landscape was devoid of all life, and there didn't seem to be anyone around who had a soul.  Then I remembered I was in Los Angeles.  BA-ZING!  Sorry, LA, but I just couldn't help it.  Anyway, I would like to take the opportunity to say that I was exactly spot on when I made my own prediction on Friday.
     There was, as I predicted, no Rapture last evening, unless of course everyone I know and all the people in my neighborhood were left out, which I think is highly impossible.  I mean, there would have to be at least one pious person hanging around the Worldwide Headquarters one would think, right?  So I am assuming that it didn't happen.  And I knew it wouldn't.  God is not a stupid being, okay?  He or She or It or whatever you believe (I am going to say "He" because it is my blog and I can, and all those feminists can just deal with it for one post) is able to keep tabs on whatever is going on in our world and all the other ones, and I would suspect that since he was able to design some pretty cool shit, that He would be able to see what would happen if He announced that He was going to end the world.
     First of all, there would be unbelieveable long lines at every church, as Catholics around the world lined up for last minute confessions.  Oh yeah, you know that would happen.  The Economy would either skyrocket for a brief time as everyone bought everything they could ever want on their credit cards (you can't take the stuff with you but the nice thing is that if the world ends, your debt is wiped out too) or they just started looting the shit out of everyone, so there would be anarchy, and that really isn't His style, you know?  So I am pretty sure that, even if God is terrible at keeping a secret in general, he would be wise enough to keep this one under wraps and not leave a whole bunch of clues in the Bible.
    In the end, I just found - with my skepics brain - too many reasons to doubt Mr. Camping, all of which I outlined the other day.  And the thing about these projections too is that if you really scour history and the Bible and anything enough, you can always find evidence to support your positions.  Someone being all scholarly in the 1920s or 1860s or whenever could have found plenty of goings on in their society to point to the End Times.  That is just how it works.  Ten, twenty, thiry years from now another quack will make the same prediction and get people all riled up again.
    And it could be Mr. Camping.  I would suspect that we won't hear much from him for another ten or fifteen years or so, or until donations to his little radio network start to dwindle again.  Then I am sure he will have revised comptations for all the world to hear.  That is just my gut feeling, but then again I tend to be a skeptic.  That is just how I roll.  It is probably the reason why I am not in Heaven today.  Oh wait, it's because I was right and nothing has happened at all.

Friday, May 20, 2011

No Camping for Me

   So, according to some crackpot retard televangelist the world is going to end tomorrow.  I am here to tell you that isn't going to happen.
    There are so many reasons.  First of all is that I have a lot of shit going on tomorrow, like running a rummage sale, babysitting some kids, and taking in the recycling.  Also, I have to go out of town next week and I am pretty sure that the world is going to end with that kind of stuff happening.
     There are so many other reasons too.  First of all, no one that you know has ever heard of Harold Camping or his Christian radio network known as Family Radio Worldwide before today.  And so in the couple of weeks leading up to today he has got a lot, and I mean a lot, of free publicity.  Just for being him.  Just for saying that he sat down with a giant Sherlock Holmes-type magnifying glass, a Bible, and a calculator and he has figured out that the world is going to end today.  A lot of sudden publicity for a radio network that no one has every heard of and that solicits donations, right?
     Speaking of donations, Camping is taking donations for his radio network beyond tomorrow.  My question is this: if the Rapture is going to occur tomorrow and the world in going to implode in October-ish then why the hell do they need donations?  Someone please explain that to me, because I just don't understand.  I hope someone has asked Mr. or Rev. or Whatever Camping that questions, because I would love to hear his answer.  I wonder if salvation is part of it.
     Third of all, he has predicted this wrong before.  He once said that September 6, 1994 would be the Rapture and end of the world and he was dead wrong.  I know that because today is May 20, 2011 and nothing of the sorts has happened.  If it had I wouldn't be stuffed up from the pollen and up to my asshole in debt.  Because the world would be over.  But - and I will repeat this again - IT IS NOT!  Because Camping was wrong.  He blamed this on a calculation error or something, like maybe he was using a metric slide rule or something, but this time he assures us that he is right.  And he was nice enough to wait until like last month to say something.
     And of course, let's not forget that everyone from the Mayans to Dr. J are predicting that the world in going to end in 2012 like in December or something, just in time to screw us out of Christmas.  And there are a lot of people with a lot of strong evidence (supposedly) that have been screaming about it for a long time, that I tend to believe that if it were going to end anytime it would be then.
     The whole point is - of course - that the Rapture is most likely not going to happen tomorrow.  No wait, none of this "most likely" shit, it is just not going to happen.  The world is not going to end in October.  He is wrong.  Harold Camping is wrong.  Chalk it up to a computing error or maybe he read a passage wrong, I don't know.  But I don't believe he is right.  The birds are still chirping.  The animals are acting normal.  I have shit to do.  Life will go on.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

From Russia With Love

    You all know about Roswell, New Mexico.  Right, Company?  Not that it is the seat of Chaves County, or that it is a center for farming, ranching, and petroleum production, and that it is home to one of the world's largest mozzerella factories.  Or even that it is the home of the New Mexico Military Institute and the Demi Moore was born there.  You know it because in 1947 it is alleged that an Unidentified Flying Object landed somewhere near town, was scooped up by the governement, and taken to Area 51 for whatever it is governments do with UFOs.
     Well, there is a new book about this incident (and believe me that there have been a lot of books and papers and probably even leaflets written about it over the years) that has just come out and it has a fresh and new theory about what exactly fell to Earth on the Foster homestead north of town.  Annie Jacobsen has written a new book appropriately titled Area 51, in which she postulates that what was captured that day by the US Army was actually a Soviet spy plane that crashed in a storm.
     So far so good.  This to me, is a completely reasonable concolusion, and to me seems more plausible than a craft from outer space crashing down in the American Southwest.  Let's be honest, the Soviets had all sorts of surveillence equipment that was watching us 24/7/365.  They knew our every move and we knew theirs, okay?  Don't bullshit me.  They knew if we parked a jet plane in a different place than we did yesterday.  And even though in the years since it has come to be known that a lot of the Soviet might was sort of smoke and mirrors, they had some incredibly talented scientists and engineers, and they came up with a lot of innovative and advanced technology.  So I wouldn't be surprised in the least bit if they found a way to have a very early version of an unmanned aircraft.  Wouldn't surprise me one bit.  And this theory is being given a little bit of credit because, as the Yahoo! News blog "The Upshot" noted "...the tome is penned not by a crackpot conspirator, but a respected journalist."
This isn't a UFO genius, this is a cloud.  It is probably
over Roswell though.
     Here is the deal.  It is shit like this that can turn a "respected journalist" into a "crackpot conspirator," because Jacobsen goes on to postulate that the beings inside of the craft which everyone always believed to be little green men were actually a group of strange-looking, child-like pilots that were genetically engineered by former Nazi "Angel of Death" Josef Mengele at Josef Stalin's order to scare the American public in a plan apparently inspired by the reaction or Orson Welles' 1938 radio broadcast War of the Worlds.  Read that sentence again, because it is pretty fucked up and it will take your brain a couple of times to process the whole thing.  If it can't comprehend, let my lay out for you what she thinks happened:
     First, the USSR at the end of World War II captured the "Angel of Death."  Then Stalin hears about the whole War of the Worlds thing with people thinking it is a real invasion.  So he swipes a bunch of frindly, local Soviet children and directs the "Angel of Death" to gentically modify them to have big foreheads and really overly rounded eyes.  Then he sticks them into a unmanned aircraft and crashes it in New Mexico.  The rest is history.  That, to me, is fucking absurd, for a lot of reasons.  First of all, she is basing her book on an eyewitness account from a retired engineer who supposedly worked on the project in 1978, which by the way was almost 30 years after the intitial incident.  I suppose that if he came out and said "Yeah, I saw the craft, and there was all sorts of Russian writing all over it and red stars and what have you" I suppose I would have given him more credit, but he instead told her all about genetically modified human beings sent for no real reason.  Secondly, I find it hard to believe that the US Army - once it figured out that the Soviets had dropped an aircraft on our shores - wouldn't at least identify it as such to get a one up on Stalin and his cronies.  Maybe they didn't want the embarassment of not having done something more proactive - I don't know.  Maybe they didn't want to scare people into thinking the Soviets were miles ahead technologically, which we found out when the space race began.  I just don't know.  But I find it hard to believe they wouldn't have said something about the aircraft and just swept the little people under the rug.
     Anyway, all that aside, the book is out and it is causing a stir.  It has been getting lots of reviews and Jacobsen even went on The Daily Show and chatted with Jon Stewart.  Since the government still keeps all papers on the incident classified, I suppose that we will never know what actually happened.  But there will always be new people with their crazy ideas, and there will always be people willing to subscribe to a theory that something from somewhere other than the US crashed in Roswell, New Mexico that day.  Be it from Russia, from Mars, or anywhere else.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Losing the Battle

     Everyone is always trying to win the war.  That is the ultimate goal, right?  In the end, you always want to come out ahead.  And to win the war, you just have to win the bulk of the battles.  Over time you have to just come out ahead more than you come out behind.  Sometimes you lost the battle, but the key is that a battle lost doesn't mean that you've lost the war.
      Today I lost a battle.  A pretty important one.  It does not mean that I have lost the war.  I left the battlefield feeling bad, feeling like I had lost, but I know that there is more war to be fought, and that there are other battles to be won.  So it isn't so bad.
      The point here, Company, is that when the chips seem down you have to remember that whatever just occurred is only a small slice of life.  A very small piece of the overall war.  The important thing to remember is that while you may have just lost that small slice of it all, that that small little bit may not have gone well, there is still a lot of events left to come.  A lot of battles left to be waged.  So keep on fighting, the war is not lost.  It was just one battle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Watermelon Explosion

   Gallagher would be in heaven.  Or maybe it is his hell, I don't know.  But if he were to travel to the Chinese province of Jiangsu, he would find a watermelon explosion of epic proportions.
     Oh wait, did I say "watermelon explosion?"  My mistake, I meant to say "exploding watermelons."  That is right, the fields and greenhouses of China are alive with the sound of exploding fruit.  It looks as if hundreds of mischevious youths have sneaked in with a truckload of fireworks as melon after melon have split open with their gooey fruit spilling all over the place.  Chinese state media have said that the problem is creating fields of "land mines" but I think my biggest worry would not be so much the actualy explosion of the watermelons but the high velocity little seeds that must be whizzing out of the things.  It would be like being under small arms fire or something if one of those things exploded near you.
    Okay, okay.  All joking aside these watermelons are exploding, but it is not like a violent, dangerous type of explosion.  They are more like cracking open and spilling their guts all over the place.  You can get a good idea of the sense and the scale by looking at the photo below, which came from Sign On San Diego via the Associated Press.

What it would have looked like if Gallagher used an axe instead of a
big sledge hammer.
     So as you can see the melons are just sort of splitting open, and they are ruining acres and acres of crops and destroying the incomes of many farmers.  Officials are at somewhat of a loss as to why these melons are behaving, although the likely culprit is a growth-promoting chemical called forchlorfenuron that is being used to make the melons grow larger.  Although there is some discrepency regarding what melons are exploding because some people who have not used the chemicals have had problems, here is how the folks invesitgating things think all this is going down:

1.) Watermelon prices in China (and maybe worldwide, I don't know) spiked last year, which led to lots of Chinese farmers jumping into the watermelon game wh had never grown watermelons

2.) Many of these growers used imported seeds, and many of them used forchlorfurfenuron (it is legal in China; it is legal in the US too but only on kiwi and grapes) but since they were inexperienced they used it at the incorrect time or in incorrect amounts in an effort to increase profits and yield

3.) It was an exceptionally wet spring

4.) Most of them were using the chemical on a variety of melon known to have a very thin rind that was actually nicknamed "exploding melon" before all this shit happened.

Add this all together and you get the story of farmer Liu Mingsuo, who said "On May 7, I came out and counted 80 (burst watermelons) but by the afternoon it was 100. Two days later I didn't bother to count anymore."  Some melons - the ones that survive - are being sold at markets but a fibrous, misshapen, with mostly white seeds, all telltale signs of forchlorfenuron use.  Many farmers have resorted to chopping up the melons for food for fish and pigs and other animals.
An elderly Gallagher
might like these melons.
    And so watermelon growing has gone to the dogs.  Literally.  And that is sad, because most of these guys probably would have made a haul just doing it the honest way, but such is life.  I am upset because they have missed a prime opportunity to make at least some money off of their misfortune.  See, Gallagher isn't getting any younger, and the sledge hammer isn't getting any smaller, and the melons aren't getting any less smash-resistent.  So maybe these farmers should have sold some of these messed up melons to the guy.  Turn the open part away from the audience and he wouldn't have to work so hard to smash the hell out of them.  Either that or get one that hasn't exploded yet and let nature (or chemistry I suppose) do the work.  I am a genius.  Someone get China on the phone...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Small Victory

    Yesterday, which would have been last week if your week begins on Monday, we talked about how we were feeling good for helping a girl finish a marathon in our own small little way.  And that was cool.  But today I want to take just one more mushy day to talk about how we made ourselves feel good in our own way.  Maybe tomorrow we can talk about how we are strangely addicted to referring to ourselves as "we."
Buy my used stuff!  Buy it now!
     We, we, we.  Let me try "I."  Baby Doll and I have decided to have a rummage sale.  Garage sale.  Yard sale.  Whatever you want to call it, except that really none of it will be taking place in the yard.  We have been working on it for some time, and the major goal was to sell the bulk of the four pallets worth of stuff that we had stacked to the rafters in the garage.  So we got some saw horses and boards to make little tables (hilariously low tables, by the way) and hung some curtain rods from the rafters to hang clothes on and put little circular price tags on everything.  So out in little rows in the garage went a whole house worth of stuff.  It seemed daunting.  There were so many boxes to be unpacked and they were all so full.  There was so much stuff to put out.  So many prices to figure out.  I never thought I would be done.
     Well, we plugged away at it for a few days, spent a couple of long weekend days, and just slowly chewed our way through the pallets until everything was out.  Then I sort of organized the things that we were going to keep.  We expected that they would be resting on two pallets (we put everything on pallets because our garage has a tendency to leak water on the floor during the winter or when it rains heavily during the summer) and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it fit with room to spare and it wasn't stacked that high at all.
      I know it doesn't seem like much, but after months and months of seeing the menacingly high (and poorly stacked to boot, I mean seriously, it looked like it was the leaning tower of freaking Piza or something) pile of boxes every time we pulled into the garage there was just a wave of relief that just came over me.  It was that self-satisfaction with a job well done, with seeing a vast improvement in your situation that came from nothing but your own hands.  Now I understand that it was not a big deal - organizing boxes of stuff.  But it was still something that we worked for and it made us feel so much better.  Sometimes you have to take a win from something small.  They add up you know.  Now if I could just find where I stacked my box of CDs in this pile...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

High Five

     I spent most of Saturday morning chasing my Baby Doll around as she participated in a half-marathon power walk (she did a tremendous job of it too I thought, with a time under 4 hours and an average speed over 3 mph).  Basically, she walked 13.1 miles through the forest along with people who were running 13.1 miles through the forest, other people who were running 26.2 miles through the forest, and still other people who were driving their cars down the roads where everyone was running.  Get it?  Because the marathon, half-marathon, and power walk all used the same course and it was run entirely along public roads that were open to traffic.  And it was all through the forest.  Anyway, like a good boy I tooled around the back roads and met her every three miles or so to see how she was doing and cheer her on.  Because I was using a miracle of modern technology - an SUV - I was making considerably better time than she was and I had time to wait at each spot and watch other runners go by.  And since I was always to where I was going about a half hour or 45 minutes before she was there, I saw the same people over and over and over.  And I was cheering them on.
     Yeah, that's right, I was cheering them on too, chatting with them and telling them they were doing great.  Offering words of encouragement as it were, because they were out here doing something that I sure as hell wouldn't want to do, and they were trying hard, so they deserved all the encouragement they could get.  So I am sitting at about mile 9 or so, which would be like mile 22 for the marathoners, and it is raining.  In fact it had been drizzly and rainy and windy and raw and cold all day long.  I am standing on the shoulder of a road holding an umbrella and giving out high fives.  I am about 30 yards from a corner, right at the point where the runners are crossing the road to cut the corner.  One young woman - probably in her late 20s - was starting to cut across when she suddenly veered back towards me.  I was confused.
    She ran towards me and stuck out her hand.  She had seen me giving people high fives and she said "I really need one of those right now."  I don't understand what it is like to run 26.2 miles because I have never done it and I have no desire to do so, but I can't imagine that it is fun.  Runners talk about "hitting the wall" all the time but I would imagine that I would hit wall after wall after wall.  And I can imagine that this girl was hitting a wall something fierce.  So I was more than happy to give her a big high five.  I may have even jumped up in the air when I did it - but we aren't sure.  We are still gathering witness reports.  I don't if she finished or with what time, but I hope she did.  Because I gave her some sort of strength and will to go on with her bad self.  All by standing in the rain and slapping my palm to hers.  Strange how things work.  I wonder what a fist bump would have done for her.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Missing Links

     So you may have seen that we haven't had much up for you to read about the last couple of days, and I am tempted to blame it on the recent crash of Blogger (for those of you who don't follow the blog world Blogger had an epic crash and a lot of posts disappeared from a lot of Blogs) because I am pretty sure I had everything set up to just miss one day (Friday) from my blogging cycle, but then again you never know.  See, the folks at Blogger are really good at what they do, and they do a generally fantastic job of things (with the occasional minor mishap) and when they say that they are close to restoring all the missing blog posts, well, I tend to believe them.  Also, I tend to be somewhat inept at most of the things that I do, so you can see where I would wonder whose fault it really is.  The proud person inside me, the vain one, wants to blame Blogger and knows that you won't really care and will just accept it, but the honest, down-to-earth person - the realistic person I suppose you could say - wants to just say that it is most likely my fault because I just didn't get around to doing it.
      I suppose that we will find out in the coming days if a bunch of posts suddenly appear out of the blue.  Then we will know that it was Blogger's doing.  If those days continue to be blank, then we will know that it was me.  Either way I am sorry and am doing my best to get back on the proverbial horse.  Thanks for your patience.  We will be back with more tomorrow.  Or maybe even tonight.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dumb Warning Labels

I am not going to lie, I was going to type this out for you but I thought "Why bother, when Forbes has already done it and they have pictures to boot."  So click on the link below to read today's blog post, which was already written by the staff at Forbes Magazine some time ago, but which is still hilarious.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Day Early, and A Dollar Extra

    Not too long ago, the tiny Pacific Island nation of Samoa made the big switch - from driving on the right like we do to driving on the left like they do in Australia and New Zealand.  Or vice versa, I don't remember.  But it doesn't matter, because Samoa is about to make another major switch - an even bigger and more epic switch - that will render the Samoa of yesterday vastly differnet from the Samoa of tomorrow.  Unless they don't have a tomorrow.  Or a yesterday.  I'm not sure, because they are switching sides of the International Date Line and literally dawning a new day.

This messed up section of the International
Date Line will be changing again soon.  It last
changes with Kiribati (inexplicably pronounced
Kir-e-bas) brought their entire territory onto the
west side of the line.
      Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele was the driving force behind switching sides of the road (please excuse the pun) and he is the force behind this switch as well, and just like the last time it is confusing a lot of ordinary, every day Samoans.  30-year-old multimedia company official Laufa Lesa told the Associated Press "It will be really confusing for us.  I just don't see the point, and we don't know the benefits yet."
     Well that is a great question, Mr. Sailele, what are the benefits?  Why are you doing this?  Well, turns out he is doing it for those same ordinary, every day Samoans who don't know why he is doing it.  And he is doing it for the greater good of the country of Samoa.  As it turns out, when Samoa decided to be on the east side of the line back in 1892, they were pretty hot and heavy with a lot of American missionaries and trader back in California, so they thought it would be smart to be on the same day as they are.  Fast forward to 2011 and they find that they are more in line with places like Australia and New Zealand, so now they want to move the line to the other side of the island to help improve their economic ties with those nations.  So to put it in perspective, right now they are 21 hours behind Sydney, Australia.  Once the change happens they will be 3 hours ahead.
     You might be wondering how switching the day of the week is going to change the economic fortunes of this little island nation.  Well, keep in mind that currently Samoa is one day ahead of Australia and New Zealand, and then we'll let the Prime Minister explain it because, well, he does a really good job of it. "  In doing business with New Zealand and Australia we're losing out on two working days a week.  While it's Friday here, it's Saturday in New Zealand and when we're at church on Sunday, they're already conduction business in Sydney and Brisbane.  Today, we do a lot more business with New Zealand and Australia, China, and Pacific Rim countries such as Singapore."  So there you have it.  He wants to have more chances to chat with Canberra and buy Chinese chocolates I guess.
     So how is this going to all work out, you might ask?  Well, since they are going to be advancing one day but staying in the same time zone (figure that one out), they are going to have to skip 24 hours in there somewhere.  The main proposal is to do it at the end of December, and it will happen in the blink of the proverbial eye, but probably not a real one because they will do it at night.  So for instance, the clock will go from 11:59 pm on December 29, 2011 to 12:00 am December 31, 2011 or whatever day they decide to do it.
    Sucks to be you if you have your birthday on the 30th.  But maybe not.  See, to add to the confusion, neighboring American Samoa will stay on the east side of the line and now be a day behind non-American Samoa, which is like 50-ish miles away.  Talk about nuts.  So you will have to go there to celebrate your birthday this year.  Or, in the future, if you are really self-absoarbed, you can celebrate your birthday on both, on two consecutive "days" and have a real blast of it.  Same for anniversaries, etc.  That is the new tourism line that the Prime Minister is taking to replace Samoa's old distinction as being the flast place on Earth to see each day's sunset. 
    So anyway, it's a landmark time to be a Samoan, and if you were there right now someday you could be sitting in a rocking chair, confused as hell about what day it was, telling your grandkids that you remember when people drove on the right side of the road and when the day was actually a day behind.  And they would be able to roll their eyes at you, which is universal no matter what day it is.  What an exciting time to by a Samoan, no?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Feelin' Green

    Lots of stuff going on in the world today, Company, but the thing that I want to address is a very special anniversary.  Today is the anniversary of the debut of one of the most beloved and popular children's and cartoon characters of our time.  So I think we need to talk about that.
Kermit in the early years on Sam and Friends.

    Fifty-six years ago today Kermit the Frog made his first appearance on a local Washington, D.C. puppet show Sam and Friends.  He began as a lizard-like character who would often nibble on something appearing to be a worm that would actually be the tongue of a monster or something that would end up eating him.  That apparently went for kids programming back in those days.  That seemingly unspectacular beginning turned into the Muppet Movie, the Muppet Babies cartoon show, "Rainbow Connection", Sesame Street, and even an appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  Oh, and he is easily the best Bob Cratchit that I can remember.
     So it is a wonderful day to sort of think about, that all those years ago Jim Henson put his hand up into the Muppet and started something big.  Something seriously big. A big production show in Manhattan.  The long-running love affair with Miss Piggy.  Being grand marshal of the Michigan State University homecoming parage in 2006.  Getting the Kermit, Texas water tower painted in your likeness.  Even a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  But beyond that, show me a child that grew up since the 70s who doesn't know who Kermit the Frog is.  He is an unbelieveably well-known and well-loved icon.  I don't know anyone who doesn't dig Kermit the Frog, with the possible exception of Doc Hopper, although admittedly I don't know Doc Hopper all that well. 
     At the beginning of The Muppet Movie, before he begins being chased by Doc Hopper, Kermit is lured out of the Florida swamp and towards Hollywood by the idea of "making millions of people happy."  I think that he has met that goal spectacularly.  From his humble beginnings on black and white TV in our nation's capital to super-ultra-mega stardom, he has been making millions happy since 1955.  So I guess it's happy birthday to you Kermit the Frog.  Keep singing and keep smiling.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

    It is Mother's Day today, Company, and you shouldn't be here reading this, you should be on the phone to your mother.  Talking to her and listening to whatever she wants to say to you.  If she lives nearby you should be going to see her and taking her flowers and a little gift to go with them.  Your mother is the most important person in your life, or at least was at one point and was designed by nature to be.  So thank her.  She is great.  I love your mom.  And I love my mom.  So I am going to tell her Happy Mother's Day.  And you should be doing the same thing.  Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

A Wonderful Thing Gone Horribly Wrong

    Things should be good today, they should be real good.  I don't have to work.  I got to sort of sleep in.  I had a wonderful evening yesterday.  It is a beautiful morning outside, and it is shaping up to be the nicest day of the year.  All that being said, I am still feeling a little bit amiss, just a little disturbed.  And it is all because of the dream that I had last night.
     It was a dream that by all right should have been a good dream.  A very good dream.  I am not going to get into any details in order to protect the innocent, but let's just suffice it to say that it was an adult themed dream, okay?  But it was so much more than that.  It was also one of those dreams that you wake up from, and then begins again once you lie back down.  Oh yeah.  I drank a lot of water before I went to bed so I had to get up and pee like three times, and each time I laid back down this dream picked back up where it had left off, almost like the front part of my brain was telling the back part of my brain that it wanted to see what the conclusion would be.  It was like having intermissions in a movie.
      Anyway, like I said, me being a twenty-something male this should have been a good dream.  A really good dream.  Except it has sort of left me feeling uneasy mainly because of the way the people in my dream were acting.  They were acting so out of character for the people as I know them, that it actually turned out to be more disturbing than anything.  I don't know how to describe it.  It was almost like one of those dark horror movies that were popular like five years ago, where someone becomes possessed by evil somehow and they turn into just a naughty version of themselves.  That is what it was like.  And the set and lighting seemed to fit that theme as well, which is especially strange since all I watched before I went to bed was The Golden Girls, and I can assure you that Bea Arthur wasn't one of the people in my dream.
     I am not sure what it was that set this off, but I am sure that the spicy meat pizza that I had to eat just a couple of hours before bed had something to do with it.  That is why they always say on TV "no more pepperoni pizza before bed for me!" and things like that.  It's true, that shit'll fuck you up.  I can attest to that.  Because that dream will haunt me forever, or at least for the rest of the day.  It should have and could have been a truly wonderful thing, but it ended up going horribly, horribly wrong somehow.

Friday, May 06, 2011

No Pants Day

Take 'em off!
     For years, Dr. J and I have celebrated "No Pants Friday" at work each week.  It is one of the highlights of the week, and it is a nice way to wind down the week.  To be honest, our pants are on, and there is nothing showing, but we like to joke about it.  Needless to say, we were astounded and super excited when I found out that today was No Pants Day all around the world.
     That's right, apparently the first Friday in May is an annual event dedicated the premise that people don't wear pants.  For the whole day.  I was astounded.  No wait, I am still astounded.  I can't believe that there is actually day when wearing no pants is the thing to do.  I suppose that all those signs say "No shirt, no shoes, no service" but I never considered that I could get away without pants.
     So I hope that you have spent your day with no pants on, in celebration of No Pants Day.  I know that I did, and that I will next year, and every year after that on the first Friday of the month.  It is liberating and is especially nice on a hot day.  Happy No Pants Day!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Horse's Ass

     We need to talk about the two-person horse costume, okay Company?  Because I have some serious questions and reservations about how that whole deal works, and why anyone would sign up for that kind of shenanigan.
     I understand the front part; I get how that works.  Okay, you are the front legs and the head and you get to lead the parade and make all the decisions.  And the most important part is that you get to stand upright, because if you have ever checked out the anatomy of a horse, the head area is generally above the front legs area.  Now I understand that all you horse connoisseurs will be quick to tell me that the head actually sort of sticks out forward from where the legs are located, and I get it, but if you are dressing up in the two-person horse costume odds are that you are okay with looking like the Gumby horse anyway (I know, his name is Pokey).
I call frontzies!
      My main questions and concerns, however, are with the poor bastard who has to be the back end of the costume.  First of all you are a horse's ass, and that is not good in any situation.  Second of all, your face is down near the ass region of the person ahead of you, and they are going to be awfully sweaty lugging around that costume AND they have probably eaten a lot of taco dip if you know what I mean.  And beers.  They have consumed several beers too.  So you are right in the...how do we say...blast zone.  The swass and blast zone.  It is like if they were going to drop a bomb on New Jersey.
     The worst part of the back end of the two-person horse costume has to be the posture thought.  Because I have spent a lot of time looking at pictures of horses, and some real horses courtesy of Sue Too and Helenocious, and I have yet to figure out how someone could be the ass end of the horse costume and not have to be bending over all night long.  Unless, of course they are a midget or Lieutenant Dan.
     There are only two ways that I can figure out that this works: a.) you have to walk bending over, which is really hard and would lead me to fall over a lot, I mean a lot, and have super tired legs or b.) there has to be some sort of bar on which to lean your arms or chest to support your upper body weight that is leaning forward, in which case all that weight goes on the back and shoulders of the guy in front, which I suppose is okay because he got the prime spot and deserves to have a little bit extra work.  But those are the only ways that it works, okay?  There are no other ways that it could be as far as I can see, and no matter what the solution cannot be ergonomically correct.  If you had to do that as a living OSHA would be all over your employer's shit.
     So I guess that in the end I just can't recommend or endorse the two-person horse costume for any reason, so long as I have to be in it.  Because let's be honest, it is cool as shit and I love to see other people wear it.  But I am not going to get in that thing.  Especially not because there is always some drunk-ass girl at the party what wants to ride on the back of the thing, and that would just cause the whole thing to come crashing down.  Unless of course we figure out a way that I can be in while sitting down.  Then it would be on.  It would be on like Donkey Kong.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Basic Singles Ping-Pong® Rules

1.) All games are played to 11 points. Games are not played to 21 points anymore.

2.)  Matches are the best of any odd numbered games (3 of 5, 4 0f 7, etc.).  Agree on number of games before you start the first game of the match.

3.)  To start, flip a coin (do not "PING" for serve). The winner chooses to either serve or receive first, or pick which end of the table to play at for the first game.  The loser gets the remaining choice.

4.)  Alternate serves every 2 points until the end of the game or the score reached 10-10 (deuce). At 10-10, alternate serves each point until one player is ahead by 2 points and wins the game.

5.)  The first server of one game becomes the first receiver of the next game.

6.)  Switch ends of the table at the conclusion of each game.  If the match goes to the last possible game (e.g game 5 in a 3/5 match), switch ends when the score first reaches 5.

7.)  To perform a legal serve:
     a.)  Hold the ball in the stationary open palm of the toss hand.  The ball is to be held behind the endline of the table and above table level.  The ball is not required to be withing the boundaries of the sidelines.  The ball must remain visible to the opponent throughout the entire service (no ball hiding).
     b.)  Toss the ball straight up a minimum of 6 inches (no maximum) and strike it as it falls.  If you fail to make a good serve after you've tossed it, you lose the point, even if you don't contact the ball.
     c.)  After the server contacts the ball the serve must first contact the server's side of the table, clear the net without touching it, and land anywhere on the opponent's side.
     d.)  If the served ball hits the net and falls back on the server's side, or off the side, the point is lost.  But if the served ball contacts the net and falls into the opponent's side, then the serve is called a "Net" and is re-served.  There is not limit to the number of consecutive "net serves."

8.)  The ball must bounce only once on the receiver's side before being hit back by the receiver.  From that point on, all returns must pass directly over of around the net assembly and land on the opponent's top surface.  A return touching the net or its supports is sill in play.  Returns striking anything other than the net or the opponent's playing surface are out of play.

9.)  If a player obstructs the ball by touching it before it has a chance to land on the player's side of the table, the point is lost, except if the ball is obstructed while returning a serve, in which case, the rally is a let and is re-played.

10.)  A ball striking the top edge of the table is good, but a ball striking the side is not good.

11.)  Returns rebounding directly off the racket hand or any part of the racket are still in play.  Returns struck by both hand and racket, or hand with no racket, or racket not in a hand are lost points.

12.)  A player touching the table with their free hand during a point loses the point.  A player touching the net or moving the table (even accidentally) during a point also loses the point.

13.)  A player cannot strike the ball twice successively (a "double hit").

14.)  Call a "let" and play the point over, if there is a disturbance during play (someone walks into the court, a stray ball rolls into the court, etc.).

15.)  If both players can not agree on a call, the call is to be made by the player on the side to which the ball was directed.  (This is not an actual rule, but an accepted convention for playing non-umpired matches.)  When an umpire is present, the umpire makes all calls.

These are rules for playing table tennis that come with the Newgy Robo-Pong system, which is sort of like a batting cage for Ping-Pong® lovers.  And you thought it was just hitting a little plastic ball back and forth.  Haven't you ever watched Forest Gump?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

This is No Apple

   Teachers all over the place are eating free at Applebees today, and I think that is the most wonderful thing.
   Teachers are some of the most underrated and underappreciated and most important people in our society.  Now, I admit that I might be stumping a little bit because...oh...every one of my friends from high school went on to become a teacher, and the college I went to cranked out an awful lot of teachers, but it's hard to deny when you look at the evidence.  First of all, teachers have to put up with a lot of shit.  For some reason, it is not reinforced in today's children that teachers have authority and should be respected.  A lot of that stems from the fact that kids aren't stupid and the courts have taken a lot of teachers' ability to be authoritative away.  So they are stuck with a lot of ingrate little bastards who they can't do anything effective about.  Secondly, teachers are always bearing the brunt of the rising costs of education, and the declining amount of public funding.  So they are being asked to do a harder and harder job, all the while their pay is remaining the same and they are paying more and more for benefits, and they don't get a whole lot to begin with.  Plus, there is a tremendous amount of job uncertainty that comes with being a young teacher.  I have friends who have been teachers for like five years and they get laid off EVERY YEAR at the end of the school year.  Granted, they get called back almost every year but you never know. 
     Now I understand that teachers get a lot of flak for generally having strong unions, and for having a system of tenure that doesn't take into account or reward performance in any way, and sometimes I think that it is bullshit that all you have to do is survive.  But the more I think of it maybe that is okay, because teaching is not a good gig anymore - you are expected to be babysitter, parent, disciplinarian, and you are expected to make kids that don't care about doing well do well and who relatively often bust into your workplace and start shooting randomly - and maybe we should applaud those who don't jump ship at the first available opportunity.
     Well that is exactly what Applebee's, and a handful of other restaurants are doing today, which is officially Teacher Appreciation Day.  If you go into these places you get either a percentage off of your bill, or you get free food for nothing more than showing your pay stub or school ID.  And rightfully so.  Nobody gives the teachers apples anymore, so the least they should get is some Applebee's, right?  Applebee's is probably the most well-known and universal chain that is having a promotion (although not all locations are participating, so make sure to call ahead and ask first) for teachers.  Now I am sure that it varies from area to area, but it basically works like this: you call, then you go in with proper ID (which could range from Teacher's Union card to school ID to a class picture) and show it, and then you get to order off a special menu, and then you eat it.
      Well, it isn't exactly a special menu, but it is a very limited part of their regular menu.  This is where the corporate America-ing comes in, because if you have ever been to Applebee's or are familiar with their menu you will see that they aren't exactly offering the highest priced things on the menu to teachers for free.  There is, however, a pretty good selection of things that you can get and let's be honest beggars can't really be choosers, even though you teachers aren't begging for anything.
     Besides, it's the thought that counts.  And you do deserve to be recognized for the things you do and the sacrifices that you make.  There are few people in public service that have as much of an impact as do our teachers, so all of you teachers out there make sure to take advantage of some of the special offers available to you.  And know that we appreciate you on Teacher's Appreciation Day.  And all week for Teacher's Appreciation Week. We wouldn't be where we are today without you.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Please Stop Humping the "Laser"

      We live, and have lived, in an age of technology that is almost unparalleled.  The pace of development of industrial and everyday technology has begin to increase almost exponentially, and I firmly believe that this has been aided by the development of the computer more than anything.  Computers and microtechnology have allowed for engineering to develop more quickly than at any other time in history.  That being said, I am relatively used to the fact that we can do some pretty amazing stuff, and that we come up with feats of engineering almost on a daily basis.  My laptop - which is badly outdated and can't even run the most recent version of iTunes - has computing power that was unheard of in the 80s and was only found in major research facilities and on university campuses, and that doesn't faze me.  It is just normal.  That cars get much better mileage and are infinitely cleaner running than just fifteen years ago is also sort of normal. All that being said, every once in a while there is still some feat of technology or engineering that comes along and just drops my jaw for one reason or another.

This picture is blowing my mind.
       That is exactly what happened when I saw an article on the BBC website about a team of scientists from Romania and Japan who have developed a laser-based replacement for the spark plug.  I know, it doesn't sound that exciting but it blew my mind for a number of reasons.  First off, spark plugs have been around for like 150 years, and the are basically unchanged in their design.  Sure there are improvements and there have been some changes, but the basic design are still the same as they have always been.  As such, they aren't really the kind of thing that one would think about unless they need replacing in your car, law mower, etc.  And if I were a scientist, I don't know that I would choose that as my area of research.  Secondly, it blows my mind that they are going to use lasers as the replacement.  Lasers in my mind have always been gigantic things that either shoot from spacecraft or gigantic things in research labs.  I know that they use lasers in a lot of medical applications, and that those lasers would have to be pretty small, but I just don't think of them as tiny little things.
        I am not going to get into the specifics of those the new laser spark plugs would work, and I am not going to get into the technological breakthrough that has allowed this to happen, you can read the article if you want all that information.  All I am really going to do is tell you that I am totally amazed by this, and I think that this is going to be one of those things that - once perfected - is commonplace and is the new standard in the industry.  Sort of like fuel injection was (when was the last time you saw a new car with a carburetor?).  And it is happening right now.  And I think that is pretty cool.  Oh, and totally amazing.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

May Day

     Well Company, it is May Day, and I just don't know how I feel about that.
     See, I don't really care about May Day.  Not at all.  I am not even sure what May Day is all about, and when one of the Unpaid Interns asked for the day off I slapped the shit out of them...excuse me, firmly but politely told them that was not in our company policy handbook.  Yeah, that's what I did.  Anyway, like I was saying I don't know anything about May Day other than it comes on the first of May and is the day on which I am most likely to write a "4" instead of a "5" where it says "Date" on my paper, so I just couldn't care less about it.
This could be a May Pole for all I know.
     That's not true.  I know a few things about May Day.  I just told you what day it is on: May 1st.  I know that somewhere people will be dancing around a May Pole, although I don't know what a May Pole is or how one properly dances around it.  I think ribbons are involved somehow though.  I know that May Day is when the Soviet Union has gigantic parades in Red Square with millions of billions of sharp-looking soldiers marching in step, big pictures of Lenin and Stalin on sticks, and lots of weapons that we thought were real but were apparently often made of wood and other non-scary materials.  Except that there is no Soviet Union so I don't know who is carrying around those Supreme Commissariat pictures these days.
      I could go out and find out some information about May Day and present it to you, as I have done in years past, but I care so little that I am not even going to go out and do that.  Nope.  If you want to know you had better go out and ask someone, or click around the Internet yourself.  I am just not going to do it.  Nope.  I just don't care one little bit.  So there.  Not that I wouldn't celebrate May Day if given the occasion, like perhaps if I were in the home of someone who was celebrating the holiday, I am just not going to put myself out in any way, shape, or form, in order to celebrate a holiday whose main thing is a pole and marching.
     So happy May Day to those of you out there who care, I hope you have a wonderful time doing whatever it is that you do on this most joyous or whatever of holidays.  May you have joy and a lack of indifference.  I just don't know what else to say.