Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"The Monkeys" down by one.

Remember "The Monkeys"? Posters of the leader singer, Davey Jones, used to plaster the walls of my sisters' rooms along with Donnie Osmond and other Tigerbeat crooners.

Today, I learned that Davey died. How is that possible? Wasn't it just a few years ago that we were kids?

"I'm A Believer" that my days are passing faster than I care to admit. That "Last Train to Clarksville" will be here sooner than I want. Maybe the secret here is with not buying that train ticket. It's worth a try.

Anyway, R.I.P. Davy. Thanks for the songs and the silliness.


The Outer Banks are not financial institutions dangerously operating on the fringes of established banking procedures. No, the Outer Banks refer to beautiful coastal lands operating on the fringes of the North Carolina.

Of course, there are several money businesses operating in this tourist-filled area of the Tarheel state. These Outer Banks banks prove how well they count by operating with six windows and three tellers -- except during busy times when there is the streamlined efficiency of one teller.

(Side note: I realized that some of you feel a little childish saying, “Outer Banks banks”. So from now on, I will refer to the Outer Banks as OBX. If you want to rename money institutions residing on the coast as OBX BX, then go right ahead. I think you're being childish.)

While walking along the sun-drenched, sandy shores lined with laughing children and crazed sea gulls, people often experience tremendous personal insights. I don't know if it comes from being in the sun too long, from being around those obnoxious children, or from anxiety of walking under low-flying seagulls. Whatever the reason, several folks have had that life-changing revelation, "I'm not the person I used to be.” Then they follow this shocker with that stupefying realization, “So why should I keep paying his (her) debts?" Unfortunately, this moment of brilliance has led to many obx foreclosures, and to many people returning to Mother Nature to become daughters and sons of a beach.

Let's not worry about that for now. Enjoy yourself whether you are banking at the beach or beaching at the bank, and avoid the OBX fringe with its smiling kids and noisy birds.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

it was a dark and stormy translation.

When you use Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS) to dictate your thoughts in text, the idea is to not mumble or slur your words when speaking into the microphone.

You can see how this would be a problem for the great writers of our age. For example, Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his greatest works while drinking Mojitos. Obviously, his typewriter handle slurring speech quite well.

But that was then, and this is now: a new day of great technology and even better drinks. So how many potentially famous writers will go unrecognized this century because of DNS technology. After all, the translated slur of "it was a dark and stormy night" into “you was dark and Dorney night” does not lend itself to Pulitzer Prize winning works of literature.

I know what you are thinking. Lewis Carroll did rather well with Jabberwocky Naturally Speaking. But that was last millennium ...

word play

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, they clean carpets. That is to say, they clean carpets in Chapel Hill, NC. Some love cleaning carpets in Chapel Hill, north of South Carolina. Others love carpet cleaning chapel hill nc.

Do people to clean chapels in Carpet Hill, North Carolina, or do they prefer clean hills in Chapel Carpet, NC?

Perhaps Carolina would rather hill a carpet in the North Chapel. Some say Carolina would rather be on the North Hill than on a clean carpet.

If you made it this far, wait till I get started on rugs in Nome Alaska.

Twilight and snoozing dawn.

I am not saying that "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" is a bad movie. However, I did have to wolf down a lot of coffee so I could stay awake enough to watch it. It was kind of like I had to become Count Chocolatte of vampires.

Monday, February 27, 2012

One Ring To Rule You All

If you are a young man with thoughts about getting married (or an older man who didn't learn his lesson the first few times), compare your situation to these two extremes of wedding rings.

At the one end, you have titanium: extremely strong, unyielding to the pressures in your life, always retaining its shape no matter what. However, if you succumb to that secondary effect of marriage – a slight expanse in your girth – that ring is never coming off your finger unless somebody cuts off your precious digit. This also means that, not only will any subsequent divorce cost you an arm and leg, the proceedings will cost you your finger as well. Nothing says commitment like titanium ... or a jump out of a plane.

On the other end, we have stainless steel jewelry. Those of you considering the prospects of the second marriage may find this more suited to your state of mind. Not only does a stainless steel ring meet the fashion requirement of “shiny”, it will bend more easily to the pressures of the day, and – more importantly – can be easily cut off from your finger in times of emergency (such as when you need your hand ready for the joys of bachelorhood in your later years.) Nothing says flexibility like stainless steel (or the promises of a politician).

So there you have it. On one hand, you give your heart, soul, mind, and body to your beloved. On the other hand, you get to keep that hand intact while you give everything as before.

I hope that my words have helped you. As you contemplate marriage, let me remind you it is not a good thing for a man live alone. But as a divorce man, let me add that the relief is incredible!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

working write away

At work, I can take thin pieces of wire and tiny electronic components and solder them into complex battery-powered devices, or even works of art. That is what you can do after years of practice with a soldering iron, followed by more years with very little supervision during work hours. However, if someone asked me to build my exotic creations on a larger scale by using welding supplies, I’m pretty sure the result would be lots of singed hair, raging fires, and an inconvenient lawsuit.

That's about how I feel right now as I try to work on my writing skills. I learned the basics of putting words together into somewhat coherent sentences. But after years of very little supervision, I’ve developed bad habits and sloppy skills. Instead creating enjoyable prose, I might as well be trying to weld pieces of rusted metal together with toothpaste.

So for the past few weeks, I have been reading “how-to” books on grammar and composition. I’ve practiced as much as my full schedule will allow. What I need at this point is an editor - someone give me the guidance needed to develop my silly scribbles into a self-sustaining craft. Or, at least, someone with a arc welder to zap me whenever my motivation wanes.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I tried.

Six weeks ago, I had nothing for assignments. Then last week, I discovered I had 13 plus the filler posts to complete by today. So between two jobs and school, I attempted to created 26 enjoyable, fun-filled entries. Sadly, at this moment, after spending all of today to finish 17 releasable posts, I can only say that I've failed. I will do what I can tomorrow. It is a shame that this feast wasn't spread into the famine of a couple of weeks ago.

pool defense

Here in my all-American city, land of private property and individual responsibility, our city leaders have decided to aggressively pursue the alarming increase of trespassers on the lands of their taxpayers. Henceforth, all landowners with a swimming pool is required to surround their enticing body of water with enormous pool fences.

I can understand the thinking of our elected officials. It's not about protecting unsupervised wanderings of our youthful population into places they should have better sense not to wonder into. No, our brilliant bureaucrats are looking out for us. They know any body of water acts as an undeniable magnet upon the will of human beings everywhere – unless, of course, it's a three-year-old anticipating bath time. Our city leaders have in fact protected us from the greatest threat to our happiness: our mooching relatives and their families.

So, not only did I act in the spirit of the law, I also surround my personal wall of China with a large moat filled with cool, clear water and floaty toys. Once I realized the second watery magnet that I inadvertently created, I then surrounded it with another fence, a machine-gun nest, and patrolling guards complete with German shepherds and whistles.

If you've never seen a dog blow on a whistle, then you’ll be in for a treat when you trespass on my property. Unless, of course, you pay the $10 admission fee at the gate. Then, for the small price of an additional $5, my guard dogs will perform Lil Wayne's "Run This Town" for your whistling pleasure. I've got to pay for these defenses some how.

See you soon!

old age problem for new age medicine

While visiting my sister in San Diego, the number of New Age and holistic medical businesses astounded me. So I wondered, given the litigious nature of America, could there be such a term as "pseudo-medical malpractice brokerage in California" for the pseudo-medical practice?

For example, can someone sue you for ineffective aromatherapy, without telling you that they have blocked sinuses?

What if you have a meditation business and, during one intense session, the mind of one of your students wanders off, trips over a contradiction, and severely bruises their id? I don't think you can get away with a nonchalant "never mind".

What happens when an important acupuncture session fails to deflate an overinflated ego of a patient?

What if someone claims that, while being treated in your sensory deprivation tank, they ended up being deprived of their common sense? Will the court system see this silly argument as being all wet, or will they award the defendant a boatload of money?

During the course of sitting on an "energizing" crystal as part of their therapy, what if your client sneezes and lodges the crystal in a very inconvenient bodily orifice? Would you be able to get away with shining a light down their throat to show how they now emit rainbows as no one else can? Or will you be wishing to escape over a rainbow during the ensuing lawsuit?

What happens when a client accuses your Reiki session of being a little too “hands on”? Will it be too late to cut back and offer to give them just the finger?

As you can see, even new age practitioners are in need of malpractice lawyers and insurance; or, at the very least, a name change and a new address.


Growing up, I used to hear, "Wait until you are 50. Then you'll understand." Well, now I'm 50. I still don't understand.

But that's okay. I'm passing on the tradition of "you'll understand" to the confused, younger generations. I think it's called "paying it forward". Or, "payback".

Building on my mistakes

Recently, I received my property tax bill, which listed one mobile home. Don't tell anyone but I actually have four. Lucky for me, you can only see one from the road.

That's the beauty of quicksand. It's as slow as I am. After making three seemingly erroneous buys, I now have a solid foundation of three mobile homes, each one resting on top of the previous purchase.

Actually, I don't think of it as three failed purchases. Rather, I created a three level bunker basement, and the tax man isn't the wiser. Now if I can only come up with a way to get to those of the houses.

leather and lace (well, velvet rope)

As we slowly cruised down the dusty, rock-filled dirt road in Jake's dilapidated truck, I couldn't help but fear for my safety. As we violently jostled on the stone strewn road, the truck had no doors to keep us from tumbling out of the cab. Instead, Jake had taken the ushers rope - complete with its golden tassels - from a condemned nightclub, and rigged the velvety straps across the truck’s absent doorways. Unfortunately, the only bouncer at these crimson ropes was the aggressive lurching of the truck.

Also, this rickety, rust-covered bucket of gas-powered bolts had no proper seats. I gripped the dashboard and the door frame while trying to sit on bales of hay. Jake comfortably sat on a small cow. Not only was she eating my seat, but she would carelessly mistaken my left pant leg for straw.

Sensing my discomfort and stress, Jake casually talked about the recent turn-around in his cow farm and auto upholstery business. Things were improving so much that he had returned to writing his book on how to repair leather car seats. As Jake's cow took a rather painful nibble on my leg, I glared down at the doe-eyed bovine and said, "I hope it's a cookbook on beef, and you start by repairing this one." That's when his potential hamburger bit me.

Spanish for Coca-cola is.

Every Friday, a group of us leaves work for our ritual lunch at the local Mexican restaurant. We've been going there often enough that the wait staff knows us very well. Sometimes we try to order in Spanish, sometimes we order in English, and sometimes the waiter translates it either way.

As we sat around the lunch table yesterday giving our drink orders, one of my friends said, "Aqua." The waiter responded with, "Water." My next friend said, "Sweet tea." The waiter answered with, "Té dulce'." My third friend said, "Coca-Cola." The waiter said, "Pepsi." I said, "Do you see how he translated that? I did not know that Pepsi was Spanish for Coca-Cola."

You learn something new everyday.

Cary Politics

If you are from California, and find yourself lonesome for the passionate politics of, say, Berkeley, you only have to go and spend some time in Cary, North Carolina to feel like you're home in Southern California.

Of course, this East Coast lo-cal is not as extreme as the West Coast city. On the plus side, Cary's policies aren't quite as politically one-sided as Berkeley's are. However, these southern town powers-that-be do love them some government action. On one side, you have those who enjoy poking into your wallet; on the other side, you have those who enjoy poking into what you do with your free time.

In spite of these two faces of the same coin, there is an amazing amount of fighting between these "representatives". So, with some major shake-ups threatening the elected officials, we should be in for entertaining battles on TV, radio, and news media. All of which will culminate on that fateful day in November – or as they call election day in this quaint little town: "cary cleaning services" day. The question is will anything really change ...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Decline of the Sole of Society

Last night, every available police officer in Orlando Florida had to be called out to handle an unexpected riot. Can you guess why a crowd of concerned citizens had gathered and required the presence of Orlando's finest?

A) It was a demonstration to protest some social injustice,
B) It was a job fair for billionaires,
C) It was bingo night at the senior center, and the take was particularly large,
D) None of the above.

If you went with “D”, congratulations. You were smart enough to know that billionaires have very little injustice in their lives, and that the only time they riot at a bingo game is when the tapioca and cognac have run out.

Yes, I'm being silly. The actual, also-ridiculous-but-true answer is "E”: limited edition of glow-in-the-dark Nike sneakers were being sold for over $200. Apparently, people with lots of time on their hands and little money thought they should go shopping.

Judging from the news videos, some people were more concerned with buying fancy, $220 shoes than with buying a $20 belt. I don't understand. How can you show off your fancy shoes when they're covered by your droopy drawers?

You probably will never see that Orlando crowd rioting for similarly priced Lowa boots. After all, there is a little more effort involved with hiking and mountaineering than with hanging around the street corner trying to look gangsta'.

I'm even more certain that you will never see those mobs go that crazy for a pair of work boots – and you see midnight sales for that footwear rather frequently. As with before, there is a lot more effort with being productive than with, well, just sayin’.

The Scale of Your Existence.

If you ever feeling that you are the greatest being in existence, if you believe you are the best thing since bread (whole or sliced), then go ahead and check out this incredible graphic on the scale of the universe. Let's see where your ego lies after playing with this interactive site.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Big Apologies

This post on HCG shots Austin is going to be one of my more difficult entries to write. After all, why the focus on Austin and not San Antonio or Houston?

In fact, why get a shot to lose weight at all? Isn’t everything in Texas supposed to be big?

Maybe it's just the alternative to making yourself not as big. I suppose that it is largely more painful and expensive to start a new life in a different state. Of course, that would be the last big thing you would do while in Texas.

I was hoping to have a huge ending for this post. It's not that I got an HCG shot; it's simply that I don't live in Texas. Sorry about that.

When Pretend Meets Reality.

A couple of days ago, our CFO, J. Pino (actual phonetic pronunciation of his name, but not the correct spelling so I can to protect the innocent – mainly, me and my job), announced that, henceforth, all salaried people will have to swipe their security card to get in and out of the building. Mr. Pino said that this new procedure was not to track our comings and goings at work, but to ensure our safety. (Since this new protection policy does not apply to the hourly people, I can only assume that they must be expendable.)

So as we, the trusting, salaried employees, sat there and looked at each other, we couldn't help but wonder if there was a silent part to Mr. Pino's name, such as “chino”.

Of course, there is a difference between Pinocchio and our CFO. Pinocchio is a wooden creature whose nose moves when he lies. While Mr. Pino, also a wooden creature, only has to move his lips.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

fighting the good fight

My ex is a wicked, wicked person. As she and I approach the 10-year mark of our divorce decree, she has yet to sign the quitclaim that would allow me to secure a home loan to refinance the debts I acquired to secure my freedom from her.

I have labored to come up with some method to lessen the money burden as I struggle to care for my family. Long hours and more work. Selling off more and more of my possessions. Last week, I thought fortune had smiled upon me when I found that you can get a loan based on your car title.

Yet, the devil is in the details, and this devil wants a car younger than 10 years old and a wholesale value more than $2500. My trusty 2001 Tiburon is about to cross the 300,000 mile mark. The only ones who consider my faithful vehicle worth more than $2500 are the tax collectors who have a convenient way of over-inflating the value of everything when they are the beneficiaries.

So it doesn't matter if the paperwork says "car title loans jacksonville" or "car title loans in your dreams", the loan isn't happening. Once again, the evil witch of the West prevails while I fight the good fight to take care of our families.

to eat or not to eat.

After watching some of the republican debates, I feel like a vegetarian who's been given the choice between chicken and beef. I can't wait for the presidential debates so I can wonder why I eat at all.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Triangle Direct Media

Have you ever worked with or for someone who is a true professional? While he or she treats you with complete respect, your relationship is purely business. You tend to regard them completely in a no-nonsense manner, forgetting that they are also human beings with family and friends outside of your time together. The focus is on getting the job done, and not about how your family is doing, or about the score of last night's game.

Then there's that unexpected moment when you discover something personal about them. Suddenly you have a new found respect as you learn about their quiet humanitarian undertakings. It's not that you didn't think they were capable of selfless acts of kindness. It's just that the time you spent with them had conditioned you to think otherwise.

I recently experienced such a sense of awe about a company that I have been dealing with for the past five years. In fact, my respect for triangle direct media has increased when I learned of their work with other businesses to the battle the horrific practice of child trafficking. I've included a link so that you can learn more and hopefully help fight this hideous slavery.

1st class letters.

I just read that the post office is planning to charge 50 cent to delivery a 1st class letter. I know the rapper is rich, but can 50 cent really afford to pay for all of our mail?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

doing it ... write away!

It's another episode of feast or famine. For the past few months, I had been receiving one or two assignments a week. Then, in the middle of January, all work stopped. When I checked in on Thursday night, still no work had been listed. Out of curiosity, I checked my account on Friday night and found a unexpected deluge of 13 assignments. With the requirement of an additional 13 filler posts, I now have 26 pieces to complete by next Saturday.

Given my main jobs and schoolwork, the question isn't whether I can complete this new batch of assignments. The challenge will be to write 26 items that you, my fine reader, find interesting and enjoyable. Let the feasting begin …

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Get To Play With Jeremy Lin ... sort of.

Given all the recent news stories about Jeremy Lin, ESPN may have won the award for the most insensitive story title. Of course, it could be worse. So far, no one has made any indiscretionary remarks that relate Mr. Lin’s heritage to his driving (on the court) skills, or to his crashing (into the board) moments.

Perhaps I should say “Lindiscretionary comments”. The news writers are having a field-day with Mr. Lin’s name: literary gems such as “Linderella” and even “Va-Lin-tine’s Day”. Being the smart fortune cookie that he is (sorry, couldn’t resist), Jeremy has cashed in on the fun by applying for a trademark on “Linsanity”.

What’s next with this “Lincredible” amount of word play? After acquiring caseloads of basketball trophies, will Mr. Lin follow the path of other successful sports stars and branch out into the fashion world? If so, should we expect Jeremy’s merchandise to have tag lines such as “hang your exquisite dress on a clothes-Lin”?

Of course, all superstars have downturns in their career. When Jeremy starts having off-days, will the sports writers refer to his Linability to maintain a perfect record?

What happens when Jeremy weds and brings upon himself that dreaded prospect of divorce? Should his marriage take an unfortunate turn, will the former Mrs. Lin sue Jeremy for a-Lin-mony?

Let’s hope not. This outrageous play on words is just pLin, I mean, plain silly. If you didn't like this post, I'm sorry. Please accept my deepest apo-Lin-gies.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

From my notes:

Some things I can't share on Facebook. Someone, somewhere, will get their panties in bunch. So, my lucky reader, I will share with you some old notes that I found today. I wrote these about 4 years ago: just a few titles for inspirational and instructional Christian videos that may never see the light of day.

"Uplifted: A Christian's Guide To Elevators"
"How To Walk On Water (Spirituality On A Frozen Lake)"
"Toilet Paper and The Conversion of the Bruin: The Tale Of A Pope In Search Of The Woods"
"Yeshua's Fish And Bread Diet For The Masses"
"The Amish: God's People or Barn-again Christians"
"Ascent into Heaven: How Scented Candles Are Destroying The Ozone and Hastening The Rapture"
from the 1950's: "Jesus And The Three Stooges Save Mars (All Good Martians Go To Heaven)"

From The "What Would Jesus Do: Mastering Carpentry" Series:
- "How To Build A Liquor Cabinet For Your Holy Spirits"
- "How to Bare the Heavy Wood of Your Cross -- The Proper Use of Sandpaper"
- "Footprints in the Sand -- Building a fence to protect your beach property from trespassers"

From the Evangelizing series:
- "How Do We Save the Banking Industry? One Soul at a Time"
- "Nike and the Devil: Saving the Shoe Industry One Sole at a Time"

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Google predicting election trends

So the story on the political street is how Google's research has proved to be an eerily accurate predictor of the past four primaries. Take a look at Google's election dashboard and some of the trend graphs.

If this continues, maybe we can all just stay home and watch the search results. After all, history has been much proved that, no matter who wins, we all end up losing. Letting Google pick the winner can't be any worse, can it?