Thursday, December 05, 2013

My bad thoughts for the day

In a flashy TV ad, Victoria Secret announced their "bras are now half off" sale. I love a bargain but 50% off? What a deal! One breast exposed without the ritual of dinner-and-a-movie. Am I missing something ... aside from the other covered breast.

Naturally, I went to see Victoria Secret's generous offer. Man, was I embarrassed as the attractive clerk told me that the ad referred only to the price.

That's what I get for going to the Victoria Secret half-cocked. Of course, anything more would have gotten me banned from the store. Or arrested.


The Pope was once a bouncer? As he exorcise unruly patrons, did he say, "The power of Christ compels you ... out the door. Turn the other cheek and I'll smite thee on that one too."


Is it possible to find a prosthetic arm in a second-hand shop, or just ironic? What if you get it cheaper with a five-finger discount?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The hills are alive with the sound of snarking

Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty ImagesApparently, most people didn't like NBC's live version of the "The Sound of Music". Perhaps NBC should've had Julie Andrews reprise her role from the original 1965 movie.

Or maybe not. Even though a spry 78-year-old Ms. Andrews is still as talented as ever, how would the public react if she sang, "the hills are alive with the sound of mucilin"?

Friday, November 29, 2013

I am thankful for tools

Thanksgiving dinner? Nailed it! Mashed potatoes, mashed cranberry sauce, mashed turkey, mashed dinnerware. It's amazing what a great cooking tool a hammer can be ...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beating at its own game

So George Kalogeropoulos, Ning Liang and Michael Wasser heard the wailing and the gnashing of teeth as good citizens tried to access the Governorment's Health Care site. Within a few days, they put together the web page that we should have had: no accounts to set up, no passwords to memorize, no multiple screens of denied access.

You simply enter your zip code and compare plans to your heart's content (and I hope your heart is a healthy one). As of this moment, their site covers 34 states with more states on the way.

Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

What are the chances these guys get the presidential Medal of Freedom?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

my thought for today

I'm not saying my friend's marriage is in trouble, but the only time he pokes his wife now is on Facebook.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

knee-to-the-groin observation # 1306

Have you noticed how Fate pokes a fortunate few in their bank account? Then it laughs and pokes the rest of us in our eye.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

This is incredible!

I know you're not going to believe this, but here is Raquel Welsh in 1 million B.C.:

Obviously, the camera wasn't around in 1 million B.C., which makes this stone carving all the more amazing. Just look at the fine details of shadow and color.

And not only is Raquel's name in English, but the carver even knew the year (sadly, months had not been invented yet).

So let's jump ahead in time to a few weeks ago.

Who says the cavemen diet doesn't work, eh?

Oh wait. Sorry.

My obnoxious fact-checker has informed me that:
1) Ms. Welsh was in "One million B.C." ... the movie, not the year.
2) That movie was made almost a half-century ago in 1966.
2) Raquel is not 1,002,014 years old, but only a scant 73.

Hopefully, you're not too disappointed with this post.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Miley: Past, Present, and Future

Last decade, we were inundated with the diabetes-inducing sweetest of Miley Cyrus:

This decade, diabetes moved into stomach-churning:

What does our future hold?  Hopefully, blindness ...

.... my apologies to Jim Carey ....

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chinese Car Crash tests? Not so good...

How did a car made in China rate in a crash test? How about ZERO!
Here's the video (since blogger is inept at linking video):

Ahhh, Chinese-made cars. They come in 2 stick versions: manual and chop. Crash one and an hour later, you're hunger for another.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Luck of the bounce

Last July, a tornado touched down a mile to the west of me, bounced over my house, and landed again one mile to the east. This incident answered my question, "When is my lottery number going to be picked?" Maybe Fate has a better idea of when and what I should win.

Not that I would turn down today's $400 million payout.

Still, now that I've blogged about it, perhaps Fate owes me. Just a little.

When receiving becomes giving ... and not the good kind

In my younger days, my friends and I played all over the neighborhood. Carefree frolicking, giddy with childish laughter, we ran through people's yards, usually ending in that most neighborly of greetings by the grumpy old guy, "Hey you kids! Get off of my lawn!"

You would think we would be more respectful as 30-year-olds. But we were so young and silly then.

I've changed since those wonderful, happy-go-lucky days. A couple of decades have swiftly passed, taking their toll on my age. And on my patience.

Now, I'm that grumpy old guy, living in a technological different world. I find myself yelling almost the same words at flippant youth, "Hey you kids, get off of my LAN!"

How to deal with regret .. sort of

Nothing good comes from when I think back about the times I've wasted. Only depressing regret.

On the plus side, I try not to regret the time spent thinking about those regretful times. Otherwise, that would be more time wasted. Regretfully.

Musical entrapment

My first musical instrument captured my heart, my mind, my spirit. Little did I know this would be a lifetime of wonderful musical enslavement.

Call me an idiot. I should have known I was going to be trapped. What else would you expect from learning to play something called a snare drum.

Friday, August 02, 2013

I Know What You Will Do

Terrafugia demo'd their flying car at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. After this great air show, Wisconsin should add an "N" at the end of their state abbreviation for the WIN.

So welcome to the 21st century. Finally. Soon you can drive to the store to pick up presents, and then fly to your family in the next state - for a mere $280,000.

Of course, how you use your flying car will match how you use your cellphone.

If you call, you'll fly from NY to CA. If you text, you'll drive.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How To Succeed in the Dentist Chair

I went to the dentist this morning and faced my biggest fear ... nose hair. Mine.

That's right. In a recent survey, 9 out of 10 people said dental pain is nothing when compared to pain of social embarrassment. The tenth person simply twitted, "OMG! I just wet myself at the dentist and I feel fine." (This survey must be true; I read it on the Internet. After I wrote it.)

So why should I fear nasal follicles, especially mine? It started a couple of years ago when my body crossed that half-century mark. Seemingly overnight, random nose hairs - once slow-growing and stealthy-black - began mutating into a rapid-sprouting shade of white known as "mistakable thin slivers of snot".

I groomed them several times a week. But even with an industrial-strength weed-whacker, my trim job didn't cut it. If I were bald, a week without trimming would give me a handle-bar comb-over guaranteed to gross out the best of you.

I wasn't worried about reclining in the dentist's chair. My embarrassing worry was of a wayward hair or five waving frantically at the dental technician while I tried to breath and she tried to clean my teeth. All I could imagine was her thinking, "Why can't this unsophisticated idiot clean his nose?"

So I decided on a brilliant tactic of diversion. Just before the appointment, I ate two boxes of Oreo cookies.

With the creamy white filling scrapped off.

My plan worked very well. By the time I clogged the suction tube for the 3rd time, they had the vacuum pressure turned high enough to pull my belly button inward.

More importantly, the dental hygienist didn't say a thing about my nose hairs. Not only did she not look towards my nose, she hardly looked at me at all.

Although it was a bit awkward when she tried to floss my chin.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Let me predict the royal birth

Judging from the news, billions of people are obsessing on one life-changing event, an event that doesn't even involve them: When is the birth of a certain baby?

It's not like we are talking about the start of the second coming, or the arrival of an expected savior (or destroyer) of our species. No, an awful lot of people (at least in the news and entertainment media) are rather excited about the continuing lineage famous for living rent free these past centuries.

The world wasn't this excited about your birth. Or about mine. (Although "royal" was often used to describe me, always with the word "pain".)

But let me try to help. Being the skilled mathematician that I am, I would like to offer my prediction. I base my almost-always accurate forecast on real data, this time provided by United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Over the next 12 months, our human race will grow by 143,328,412.6 babies. This means the Middleton/Williams offspring will be born … whenever it's ready along with millions of other squalling infants.

Why are billions of folks obsessing over the birth of one unrelated child? Couldn't they just act like the soon-to-be royal baby and get a life?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Run for the border? Nah, you go ahead.

According to the latest news, one country now has the honor of being "fatter than the United States". Congratulations, Mexico.

We in the United States shouldn't be surprised. Sure, I could shed a pound or 50. But who has the time and motivation. If someone asked me to travel 100 mile in the hot sun with little or no food for three or four days, I would have to say, "You go ahead. I'll catch up with you later. In fact, why don't I stay here and mind the food that you're leaving behind."

Traversing the US–Mexican border is not for the faint of heart. While you don't have to be a triathlete, you do have to give up a several servings of donuts and put in a several days of cardio.

So we're dealing with simple math. As the more motivated, athletically inclined Mexicans moved north and their fluffier counterparts stayed behind, Mexico became a weightier nation. Hurray for our side.

Will our hefty Hispanic neighbors ever migrate this way? Not if Wal-Mart is any indication. Have you seen our large North-American associates get around the aisles in those electric shopping carts? "Run for the border" would be more of a motorized crawl. Not much of a chase for the Border patrol (as long as they're in shape).

Don't worry. Mexico's achievement is temporary. The ambitious will continue their momentum and travel north into Canadian lands. The really ambitious will overshoot Canada, skidded pass the north pole, and stop their rushin' in Russia. The number of skinny folks in the US will drop and we will regain our title as "Fattest Country of the Solar System".


Sunday, July 14, 2013

What are you heffer?

In the realm of udderly sad news, a cow falls through a roof of a Brazilian man, Joao Maria de Souza, and lands in his bed ... on top of Mr. de Souza. As romantic as it might sound to certain people, Joao later died from the injuries.

To be clear, the cow did not leap into the roof from the shock of getting a Brazilian. It had conveniently "wandered" from its job as a lawn moo-er and on to Mr. de Souza's thin roof, which collapsed under the cow's slim one-and-a-half-tons.

Coincidentally, unofficial news report say Mrs. de Souza and the cow left the scene to escape grilling by the police - a mis-steak by some accounts.

A few rumors have the couple in a romantic tryst in the India. But that would be udder nonsense.

While it is reported that Mrs. de Souza enjoyed the company of 25 varieties of black Angus and of 25 varieties of white Charolais, this story is not about the 50 shades of graze.

Monday, July 08, 2013

How do you get to space? One Grasshopper at a time.

"Grasshopper, when you can land accurately on a single pebble, it is time for you to leave."

Get the Kung-Fu reference? Anyone? Anyone?

Sorry, I'm in awe on this amazing video of SpaceX's Grasshopper pin-point landing:

I'd really like to have that Hexacopter used to take this video ... hint, hint

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Required field must not be blank ... For fun and profit

Sometimes it feels like those hard-working folks at Google add infuriating features just to remind us who's in charge. Maybe it's their way of taunting us with their rewarding careers of free lunches, of free day care, of high pay, and of a working environment filled with play.

You may have found the latest "enhancement" when you tried to edit your blog. As you created a post, you immediately got an error message:
"Required field must not be blank. Ignore warning"

Google can't tell you which required field should be blank - that would defeat the purpose of taunting you. In fact, you can't even save any of your work in a draft form until you solve this mystery.

And clicking on the "ignore warning" link only brings the warning back in a few seconds. Nah-NAH nuh Nah-NAH!

So let me help. Just put some text in the title field. Ta-Da!

Of course, whatever you use for in the title-block becomes part of your post's web address. Forever and ever.

This can be a bit of a problem if you use something like "I'd love Hitler", then work on your draft on and off for several days, finally realizing your piece really needs to be published with "I'd love to kick Hitler in the groin" in its address. Too bad. (Although, your initial title may spike your web traffic as numerous, soon-to-be-disappointed skinheads flock to your site from a miss-interpreted search. Yes, I agree. Serves them reich, er, right.)

I know there are rare writers out there who have a headline in mind before they begin to compose their masterpieces. Unfortunately, I'm not that proficient. I have to write my ideas down first, and then develop the working title afterwards.

But if Google is changing the rules of the game, so be it. I'm going to try the old SEO approach to naming my preliminary drafts.

"SEO" is the web version of those catchy headlines you see at the checkout counters on the magazine covers - those glossy, over-priced tabloids that promise life-changing advice if you read their articles. Usually, these stories are the same sort of advice you rejected from your parents.

Remember the defiant attitude of a younger you when your mother freely told you to "eat your vegetables"? Yet now, as an adult, you'll pay good money to magazines that promise "how to live forever with the revolutionary pea and broccoli diet".

A lot of successful bloggers use the same newsstand trick to get people to their sites. Often, the posts don't quite deliver on their banners.

So I apologize ahead of time if you are mistakenly enticed to read my entries and learn it's not what you expect. (Not that that should be any different from before.)

So here are a few titles that may show up in the addresses of my posts:

"Five ways to remove road tar from your mosquito's wings."

"Bikini wax: A soldier's best friend for that shiny bikini."

"How to tell if your goldfish is not into you."

"If at first you don't succeed (the joys of celibacy)"

"10 things you should know about 3 secrets involving your friend's 100 highlighted hairs."

"Thyme and Tide wait for no man: A Bachelor's guide to cooking and laundry."

"How to live the life of luxury as a Google employee while giving your customers more aggravating lives." (Just kidding, Google guys. Wait. Don't .....)

After further investigation, I have to you tell that I was wwwwrrrrr, I was wwwrrrrooonnn, I was ... wrong. There! Feel better?

You CAN save your draft under one title and then publish your post with another. I found this important fact at the blog "The Real Blogger Status".

I apologize to the Google for implying any elitist attitude by their developers. I hope this means we can still do lunch. At your campus, of course.

"I shouldn't have spent" only lasts a lifetime

Life is full of regrets. The worse remorse probably comes at the end.

The dying man in a hospital who thinks, "I shouldn't have spent so much time at work instead of with my family."

The elderly woman wasting her final moments in a nursing home with thoughts of "I shouldn't have spent my life so safe and boring."

The man plummeting down the side of a tall building, thinking "I shouldn't have spent $299.95 for this flying portion."

Good news though - these lamentations are temporary. For example, one day you will no longer worry about "I shouldn't have spent time reading this post."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Courage in the Check-out Line of Fire

My girlfriend scowled and grew angrier by the second. I had given up by that point and could only laugh at the absurd situation.

We stood with our groceries in the shortest check-out line. Only 3 people stood between us and freedom from the store's din. The lady in front of us held a gallon of milk. The two ladies in front of her each had a half-full basket of food, with the front-most woman putting her last item on the conveyor belt.

That's when the fun started.

When the cashier announced the total of the bill, the woman embarked on a lengthy search through her purse. At first, I thought it was one of those embarrassing "Oh no! I left my money at home!" moments. But no. She stopped her less-than-frantic search when she handed the cashier a small mountain of coupons.

The annoyed clerk spent the first few minutes scanning and rescanning mangled coupons. She then spent another couple of moments reviewing the long grocery printout. Finally, we all endured the next five minutes as cashier and customer haggled over the legitimacy of the reject coupons.

Ultimately, after glaciers had crawled a few inches further on the Earth, our cash conscious shopper agreed to the total and spent another agonizingly long time searching her purse for ... wait for it ... we did ... a check book.

As this wondrous transaction concluded, our line of weary shoppers contained their celebratory cheer. Our coupon clipper moved up to wait on the next woman behind her.

Now, you and I - being contentious citizens of the check-out line - would have had our coupons and payment ready before that last item hit the price scan. But what do others do? That's right. They form shopping clubs. And our line was privy to one of their meetings.

Her friend waddled forward to begin the sequel: "Day Of The Damned ... Coupon Clippers". Yes, her friend graciously gave us a repeat performance.

By then, the patient lady in front of us left the line. Her gallon of milk had expired.

When Fate promoted us to the front of the line, we placed our few, meager items on the counter. The check-out clerk asked how we were doing. My girlfriend said, "Not using coupons."

I shouldn't knock coupon users. With these pieces of shiny paper, our thrifty time-wasters saved $10 each (according to the cashier ). And it only cost those of us in line 20 minutes of our lives ... each.

Had I known ahead of time, I would have given those women $20. But that's the action of a richer man. Maybe I should be cutting coupons. And maybe I can get a deal on a bullet-proof vest to wear while checking out.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Watch out for falling rocks

Let me introduce myself. I am the Sisyphus of blogging. I spend months struggling to push that burdensome rock of frequent posts up the steep slope of popularity. Then, when I take a few days off from blogging to rest, that rock careens down the slope, taking my hard-earned audience with it. Then, like Sisyphus's punishment, I begin the laborious work all over again.

I've been repeating this fruitless cycle for several years now - always motivated by hope that enough popularity would transform into financial rewards. I write; you like; you tell your friends, and one of them has the business connections to keep me gainfully writing.

Then I wake up.

Lately, that blogging rock has become much heavier. And more discouraging. From my rumble of words, I find it harder to release an acceptable post.

But you probably have noticed that. Or not.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Yet Another Facebook Danger: Cloning

My daughter's facebook account just got cloned by some idiot. Apparently, cloning someone's page is the latest in security attacks on your FB site. Here is an article on how it happens and how to prevent it: Facebook Cloning

Monday, May 27, 2013

always glad to help the innocent animals

I showed up fashionably dressed to my friend's party. His wife said I was the cat's meow.

Well, of course I was. Their cat had laryngitis and someone had to be the voice for this pathetic creature.

This is better than being called the cat's pajamas. Since I'm big enough to cloth several sleepy felines, I avoid psychotic cats who frequently rub lotion on you and knead your skin to see how soft you're getting.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You're making this up, aren't you...

What?! The IRS has been going after groups that chant, "Down with the IRS!"?

Yeah, right. Sure thing.

Next, you'll be telling me that the Department of Justice has been secretly seizing the phone records of reporters.

This is America, in case you've forgotten - where our governmental officials act with the up-most of integrity. At least, until they get caught.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Look Ma, I'm back in College!

So I'm about to plow into week three of my class through Even though Ohio State University offers their rhetorical writing class for free, they still have it set up as a full course complete with lectures, several assignments, and student-teacher interaction.

What amazed me about this course is that there is over 20,000 people signed up for it, several thousand on the forums, and a few thousand participating in the assignments.

The class's syllabus mentioned there would be about six hours of homework. Maybe it's because I haven't been in college for several years, but this work is taking a lot more than six hours.

One of the first assignments was to simply writing an article that introduced yourself to the "class". Here's what I wrote:

"Know your audience" and "Let them eat cake" are both well-quoted pieces of advice. And, had she listened to her publicist instead of her baker, Marie Antoinette might have lasted into the 1800s.

So, "How do I get to know my audience?" I wondered about this as I nibbled on my tasty dessert. I know you're out there. I can hear you typing - all several thousand of you (based on this course's statistics).

Not only do I have to know all of you, but this assignment is titled "Getting to Know You" as in "you knowing me". This means opening up, exposing myself. I might as well be helping people eat better by strolling by fast food restaurants wearing only a Speedo. As that poster child of unhealthy eating, I can have people spitting up those dollar cheeseburgers in no time.

Sorry. I apologize for that imagery. I hope you are not eating as you read this. However, if you have a sudden loss of appetite, please let me know. I might be on to the next greatest infomercial product for weight loss. No dancing involved. Just a lot jiggling.

Yes, I know. Should people get to know me only if they're armed with a barf bag? That doesn't inspire confidence for any beginning writer, does it. "Say, have you read my latest?" "Excuse me, … bbbbbBaARF." "Sorry, is my grammar that bad?"

So who are you? What would you like to know that will enrich your life? Perhaps, the first time the power of writing revealed itself to me?

In third grade, I wrote a story involving my friends as dirty snowballs. While reading that story to the class during our recess period, one of my friends laughed hard enough to spew milk out of his nose. This was pretty amazing since we weren't drinking milk. (Just kidding. He was breast-feeding at the time. It was a very progressive school.)

I tell this in hopes that you aren't a former classmate. Or my former friend who now has a debilitating nose injury and seeks retribution. Or a lawyer who loves creating legal briefs for dirty snowballs.

I'm just pointing out the power I discovered at an early age. It was like being a superhero who wears a cape made of paper and magical words. I felt I could throw this cape at the worst of fiends, then overpower them while they lay helpless with laughter. (As a youngster, I believed all fiends were readers. Look at comic books. Show me one crook who failed to react to Superman's speech balloon. That's a fiend reader, my friend.)

Almost a decade later, writing revealed its power of empathy. It was during my high school "senior writing assignment of death". You know, that final course grade that means the difference between graduating on to college, or being condemned to a job of repeating "you want fries with that?".

To graduate, I did what every responsible teenager does - I waited until the last few days of the deadline and then threw my adolescent angst into a story. Yes, I got an "A". I later discovered that my woeful tale ended up being circulated throughout the school. Apparently I wasn't the only one suffering turmoil of pimples and unpopularity while trying to laugh about it.

The muses of writing came to my aid in my adult years too. As an engineer and manager, my writing consisted of thrilling - well, almost - technical documents, often-ignored instruction manuals, and diplomatic emails to my bosses.

Diplomatic email? Anyone can point out the asinine ways of their gracious overlords. But a skillfully craft message keeps your job intact, and has your boss readily agreeing with you that he (or she) is an ass.

The next alluring moment of scrivening came during one of those wonderful, life-changing events: a costly divorce. To survive and to care for my family, I set up a blog and began earning money. I learned the fine art of writing meaningless reviews and of creating entries with SEO links. Sure, I put in lots of hours while pocketing less than minimum-wage. But those posts paid bills.

For example, one client assigned me the keywords "wedding reception". So I wrote about the marriage of two TV antennas. They had a terrible wedding, but a wonderful reception afterwards. While my post paid five bucks, it - like most of those assignments - only cost me a tiny bit of my dignity.

Writing such pieces taught me another important lesson. In fact, I want to share it with you ... and you, and you, and you, and you. And especially - you. That lesson being this: Meet your word count by padding your writing with needless filler phrases. (800 words, here I come.)

Know what else I've learned? Being a writer isn't as complicated as we might make it out to be. We simply record our thoughts so others can read them. What others do after they read your inspiring prose is up to their lawyers and your elected officials.

What I'm trying to say is this: We are all writers. Placing your signature and a gratuity on your dinner tab is writing. Granted, you're not going to win any Pulitzer prizes. But, if you aren't a stingy bastard, you made your waitress or waiter a very happy reader.

So, do I know you? Do I challenge your thoughts, or put you to sleep (not a bad thing if you are suffering with insomnia)? Did you enjoy this passing of time, or do you have regrets about the minutes lost reading my drivel?

OK. Here we are, finally at the end. As I stressed over this assignment's goals, I realized something - in 100 years, no one will care. In 1000 years, no one will remember.

Unless, of course, these scribblings becomes an epic work. In that case, I would like my royalties now please. Cash gratefully accepted; banknotes of 50s and 100s always welcome.

If you've made it this far, I know one thing about you. You are a patient group of readers. Thank you. Please enjoy your cake.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Buzz off, Suckers!

Today's summer time helpful hint comes from my co-workers who enjoy lazing outdoors after work.  They say you can keep mosquitoes from biting by surrounding yourself with lemongrass. 

No one seems to know why this works. My guess is that, after hungry mosquitoes take a hit of that lemony plant, those little buggers aren't biting anything with a puckered proboscis.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

7-years of my driving as a chart

Early in the last decade, my life became blessed by that truly life-changing experience: a bitter and costly divorce. To survive, I tracked every penny as I worked to take care of my family.

Part of my penny-pinching strategies involved obsessively recording my gas receipts. I did this because some of my job includes tracking trends and data analysis. Since my Hyundai Tiburon crossed the 100,000-mile warranty mark, I wanted to catch and prepare for any upcoming mechanical failures.

Also, and truth is, I'm a math geek. There. I admitted it. Feel better?

I would record each ticket into a spreadsheet: the cost per gallon, my miles driven since last fill up, the amount of the gas purchase. The spreadsheet would then calculate the cost per mile, my miles per gallon, and trend lines about the data.

So now, after retiring my faithful Tiburon at 325,000 miles, I have almost 8 years of recordings. Today, I had one last look at the data I've collected. It's interesting because of the historical reporting of gas prices in my neck of the woods.

For some silly reason I thought I would share this with you. Perhaps I can do some good for anyone with insomnia. You can click on the charts for a bigger, better view. Oh joy!

The miles per gallon chart shows the average for each month. This is all of the miles driven for that month divided by the total gallons I put into the car.

One of the first troublesome trends the chart told me about was when my miles per gallon dropped dramatically as you can see. Turned out that my car's speed sensor was acting erratic. I didn't have to replace it immediately because I was testing various GPS systems for my company and relied on the speed reported by those units. This bought me a few months to put money together for the repair that October 2006.

This lengthy chart shows my cost per mile and the average price per gallon for each month. You can see on we had that ridiculous gas price bubble in 2007. And you can see how prices change seasonally.

And being the geek that I am I like to try and find correlations between groups of numbers. In this graph I'm comparing my cost per mile to my cost per gallon. That slope of the trend line in the midst of all those points gives you an approximate idea of my miles per gallon.

And so, there you have it - I drove a car a lot miles, put gas in it, and lived to tell about it.  Are you still awake?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Free College Courses

I don't mean that someone has jailed college courses and we need to free them. No, most college classes are out in the open and readily available. "Readily" being an old English word meaning "more money than you have".

I think that's what it means. What do I know. I can't afford to go back to college and learn otherwise.

That's way I'm happy to report what I've found: Several big-name institutes of higher ed-u-ma-cation offer free courses. But, since you are smarter than I am, you already know about Sorry, I'm riding the short bus of the Internet, so it takes me a little while longer to catch-up.

In any case, I'm signed up to take a course on "Rhetorical Composing" given by Ohio State University. So if you read my subsequent posts and begin to feel persuaded to do something besides sleeping, well, my short bus is getting a little longer. Prutty soon, I might be able to type without wearing my helmet. But don't expect miracles.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Forgive me, Old Friend.

We've been together for over 12 years. I thought - I hoped - that we would go further. But age wears on all things - our bodies, our minds, our relationships.

You probably don't know how excited I was in early September of 2001 when we first got together. I know you won't understand how important you were in all of my adventures since then. And you will never feel the depth and pain of my regret when we parted company this past Saturday.

I have no misgivings for the time and money I spent to care for you - especially these past few months. But I can no longer depend upon you. You've let me down one too many times.

After 325,500 miles, you served your purpose. If I were a rich man, I could have kept you restored in an immortal glory. Of course, if I were a rich man, your successor would not have been a cheap replacement.

I never understood how anyone could love a 2-ton hunk of metal and plastic and oil. But then you came into my life. Thank you, my dear, inanimate friend, my motoring companion of the road. Thank you for keeping me alive and safe and employed.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Solving Gardening Problems

These warm days of Spring make you think you can do anything. I thought I would plant a garden. So I started with something easy: runner beans.

Big mistake.

If you don't keep your eye on them, those beans will dash off. Then you have to spend much of the day hunting them down. It doesn't help with noisy neighbors accusing you of bean stalking. I would use a gun to keep my green creations under control, but this town has restrictions on bean shoots.

So now, I have to raised another plant to keep my runner beans in check. I thought about using dog roses, but they're too easily excited by the cat tails. So I'm going with a more domesticate version: the collie flower.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Electric Car for our Police Force

Our town joined the 21st and a 1/10 century as our police force added to their patrol squad: an electric car. A proud day for us all.


I'm not saying that our law enforcement is just a short level up from the Keystone Cops. But I overheard the training session. Our boys-in-blue had a lot of questions upon learning they had to keep the vehicle charged.

"What crimes do you charge an electric car with? Watt crimes?"

"If we park near a dumpster and the car gets full of flies, can we call in a swat team? Please?"

"Is the car considered green because it hasn't committed any offenses yet? Or, do we have to paint it first?"

"During the charging phase, do you read the car its rights or its warranty? Is it "the right to remain silent" or "the right to remain muffled"?"

"While we try not to get personal, we do run a pretty straight prison here. Shouldn't this AC/DC thingy matter?"

"Pretty Please?! We promise it would be just a small swat team."

"We were told we can "socket it to it". So we don't have to worry about being accused of police brutality then?"

"Do we cram the finger print box with a tread print? If we do that again, can we refer to the vehicle as a retread?"

"Can we pimp-out the car? We considered hanging fuzzy handcuffs from the rear-view mirror. But that might send the wrong message about the police force. Wha'da mean it's too late? Anyway, we're thinking about installing fuzzy dice - the ones that flash when you plug them into the car's cigarette lighter, sorry, power socket. In the event of a crime, should the accessory be charged as an accessory?"

"Are you sure we couldn't call in the swat team? Shocking. No, me, not that precious criminal car."

Ah yes, technological progress in action. Almost.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Unnoticed, in the quiet background of world, I have saved lives.

Each year, a school bus runs over a child who was hidden in the bus's blind spots. Is it possible to prevent these unnecessary deaths and the resulting, burdensome lawsuits upon schools?

To do just that, I helped design a radar system to alert the bus driver about children in the bus's blind zones. That was six years ago. Since then, only a handful of school districts across the country bought and installed this life-saving technology. Even with the blessed benefits of this $1000 piece of hardware, it never quite caught on.

Maybe these tragedies were too infrequent: Given the millions of children riding school buses each year, only 20 to 30 families suffer through this horrific loss of their child. As a result, maybe the school district found it cheaper to pay the insurance claims than to install life-saving electronics.

Still, I have hope. Last week, our system made news in Iowa. All because of one grieving father who - after the death of his son - wanted no one to experience that heart-rendering pain for a beloved child who will never return home from school again.

His story is in the previous link. Here's the news video:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Miley Cyrus ... Twerks?

So Yahoo has an article about that upstanding role-model of teens and tweens: Miley Cyrus.

This might surprise you but the story didn't cover her Nobel-prize winning work in quantum physics. Probably because the web page would be blank. Yahoo! OMG may play fast-and-loose with their news facts, but even they have their limits.

No, the thrust of the piece (the story, not Ms. Cyrus) was about Miley and her viral twerking video.

In case you're wondering, twerking is a fad dance that started about 7 years ago. It involves shaking your rump violently enough to put out fires in its vicinity. The name comes from combining "twist" with "jerking".

And now that the fad has reached the younger crowd, we have tweens twerking. What is this twisted tworld coming two?

Certainly isn't helping my speech. Or Miley's reputation as a brilliant scientist with earth-shaking discoveries.

Whatever she's doing, booty shaking isn't earth shaking - especially her's.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How I know Spring Is Here


The heavy rains yesterday drove many a squiggling worms up from inside the earth to the soggy ground. This was followed by chirping and spring's anticipated winged creature: the mosquito.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ah, Spring time and Love

Ah, the wonders of spring time and l'amour. L'amour, l'amour, l'amour, l'amour, l'amour, l'amour.

You can never have too many l'amours. After all, as they always say: l'amour, la merrier.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Now that the election results for pope are in:

A friend asked about the colored smoke used during the election of the pope. Here is a quick reference for you:
> Black smoke means the cardinals have not reached a decision.
> White smoke means the cardinals have chosen a pope.
> Red smoke means the cardinals have resumed voting after tossing one of their obnoxious members into the fire.

Anyway, now that the Papal elections over and the smoke has cleared, one billion Catholics are breathing easier. Or at least easier than a pope with one lung.

What's eating you, Mr. Cannibal Cop?

The jury sentenced Gilberto Valle - the cannibal cop - to life in prison. His co-workers weren't surprised. They suspected something when the favorite part of Gilberto's job was grilling suspects.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Total Tuna Recall

Bad news: Bumble Bee is recalling thousands of cans of contaminated tuna.

Good news: The tuna is not contaminated with sea horse meat.

Allow me to flash these jokes at you

The hostage situation ended when a group of the captives exploded into song and dance. Instead of using the usual crowd-control grenade to end the siege, police relied on a flash-bang mob.


In a separate incident today, police arrested most members of a flash mob performance. Spectators had complained about the lack of clothes under the raincoats worn by the dancers of this popular craze – proving once again the disapproval of flasher mob mania.

You might be able to forgive these attention-seeking performers, provided they don't turn the other cheek.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

How to fish for writing

"Writing is like fishing: You have to go to the river every morning, or you won't catch anything. You can't predict what sort of fish you'll catch, but if you're not there you'll get nothing. Keith Richards said that he couldn't claim credit for writing his songs, only for being awake when they came in."
Eric Idle – "The Greedy Bastard Diary" (2005)

When I go to bed, I promise myself that I will get up a few minutes earlier the next day and write.

Then, morning comes earlier than it should. A few swats of snooze button later and I realize I only have a few minutes to get ready and get to work. So I promise myself that I will take time during lunch and write.

Then, lunchtime arrives while I'm in the midst of some crisis that absolutely, positively must get done or the world will end. I promise myself that when I get home that night, I will take a few minutes and write.

That evening, I arrive home to a house full of hungry inhabitants (including myself who had missed the day's meals). I turn into super chef, feed the hungry horde, become dishwasher extraordinaire, followed by chief financial officer, and finally defender of my homely realm as I tackle snail mail, emails, and voice messages. After all of that, it's time for bed. I promise myself that I will get up a few minutes earlier the next day and write.

The cycle has gone on for several months now. A few times I've succeeded in pounding away at the keyboard. Then I realize it's easier to use my fingers and type. Sometimes, those efforts created words. A couple of times those words came together and made sense.

For the most part, I would have had more success if I had tried to go fishing. In fact, people seem more accepting if you say you're taking a day off to dangle some string in flowing water. But tell them you're going to spend a day writing. They give you an odd look and ask why you're wasting your precious time like that. Bosses suddenly have projects you need to work on. Spouses suddenly have an impending sense of doom about the honey-do list that isn't getting done. Pets suddenly have toenails that need clipped, bladders that must be walked, and poop-boxes that have to be emptied.

The worse part is all of those excuses for not writing that pop up. If excuses were a cross between a fish and a mosquito, every one would get a bite.

And I'd have something for you to read...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

How To Have Better Skin. Step 1 - Don't be a Guy

Do you ladies think that us guys enjoy having the rugged "old man of the sea" look? I assure you that these runaway eyebrows, liver spots, and "grand canyon deep" wrinkles don't make us say, "Man o' Man, I can't wait to get even older!" Yet, why is it that whenever anyone talks about steps for younger looking skin, this discussion is only for women?

For example, has a video online for you gals called "Better Skin, Fast and Cheap". Even the phrase "Fast and Cheap" isn't referring to guys.

That being said, they have five recommendations from their contributor, Dr. Loretta Ciraldo. I've added a few notes from a guy's perspective. You can thank me later.

1) "Photograph Your Problem Spots." Personally, I would do this after drinking a bit. I find the ensuing blurry picture takes care of any problem spot. Unless you missed the toilet. But who needs evidence at that point?

2) "Upgrade Your Pillowcase." I knew about upgrading my computer, but my pillowcase? What version are they up to now?

3) "Cut Back on Washing Your Hair." Unless you're referring to the hair on backs and butts, this is a given for bald guys. For those of us who are taller than our hair, we simply spend a longer time washing our face. For women, I wonder if this refers as well to chin hairs - sorry, wayward eyebrows.

4) "If You Must Lather Up, take Precautions." I did not know women needed safety nets and spotters ("You are right there, girl friend!") As for guys: we always take precautions. A good lather always involves pointed at the drain. No need to clean up any more than we have to.

5) "Smile More to Banish Lip Lines." That's right, Ladies! If you need help, just click your heels together and repeat after me: "All of his stuff is mine! All of his stuff is mine! All of his stuff is mine!"

Follow these steps and you should see an improvement in six weeks. If you don't, sandpaper and a gallon of Sears Weatherbeater may be in order. As for me, I'm going to check the version on my pillowcase and replace my mirror.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What happens if you don't pay your bills

Back in 2010, the movie "The Last Exorcism" demonized movie screens across the county. In a couple of weeks, lusting after your theater money is - that's right - another "The Last Exorcism". Apparently, 'last' doesn't mean the same as 'final'.

This 'last' not being THE LAST is enough to make your head spin ... round and around and around. What could this last last movie be about? Maybe someone didn't not make that last payment to their exorcist. Now they have a ding on their credit report and their soul repossessed.

I haven't seen the movie poster. But if it has the tagline: "Once the bank gets your soul, you'll have a devil of a time getting it back", you'll know I'm right.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Massive Meteorite Strike: 1, My Massive Lottery Winnings: 0

Here's link to realtime updates about the meteorite that landed during a quiet, wintery morning in Russia.

"Landed" sounds so peaceful and beneficial. I should write "roared through the sky with a thunderous plunge into Chebarkul Lake. Officials now expect a high-than-normal demand for laundry soap and clean underwear."

Some on the Interweb are complaining about the use of the term "Russian Meteorite". They want news organization to say "the meteor that fell into Russia".

Let's be clear. The meteor did not poke along through the sky, taking it's merry old time to float gently to earth. This 10,000 ton mini-mountain raced through the air like someone with their pants on fire in search of a bucket full of water.

Let's make no mistake: It was a rushin' meteorite.

The news media just can't spell.

Holy Hats!

The pope is about to turn in his tiara,
Because in Vatican that's what he would wear-a.

Soon a cardinal will trade his galero hat,
and become the new pope when white smoke signals that.

What will a Bishop put on his head that is lighter?
Who cares? He's a bishop. Does it really miter?

Ex or Recovering Catholic?

During Lent, good Catholics show their faith by giving up something important to them. Apparently, the Pope has decided to give up Catholicism.

The excitement over the retiring pope has causes several bloggers to write about the Catholic reliigion. One popular blogger wrote about those who have left the church.

He argued that you can't give up the Catholic faith and call yourself an ex-Catholic any more than you can call yourself ex-Irish. According to him, you are, at best, a recovering Catholic.

Oh, I see.

You drop 100 pounds in weight by changing your eating habits and exercise patterns. You aren't healthy; you're just a recovering fat person.

As a 3-year old, my son believed in Santa Claus. Now, as a rational adult, he is just a recovering Santa-holic.

My former spouse isn't my ex. I'm simply recovering. Actually, after her nonsense during the divorce, my children and I are recovering. Ok, I'll give the blogger that point.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Early Morning Scare

This morning, an old unsmiling man stood staring at me. Why? Was he trying to impress me with the bulging bags under his bloodshot eyes? The only thing missing from those bags was the Samsonite logo.

His sagging face and body made him the perfect poster child for gravity - if gravity needed to promote itself with an aging, droopy child.

In a crowd, he would be easily spotted. Mainly, by his leopard-skinned clothing.

All I could do was stared back at him and his blemishes and wrinkles and drooping jowls and imperfections and spotted clothes.

All I could feel was contempt and nausea.

I really should stop looking at myself in a mirror.

Perhaps, I should wear make-up. I understand nothing does a better job than Sear's weather-beater paint and spackling compound.

Perhaps, I should dress in something less obvious. Camouflage comes to mind. But I can't find what I'm looking for. The material is that good.

Better yet, I'll just give myself an instant make-over ... by throwing away all my mirrors. Problem solved.

As long as I stay indoors.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII

Go, Celtics! Hit those home runs and win that Stanley cup. (Am I doing this right? I don't think I'm doing this right. And why does Stanley need a cup? Isn't that standard issue for athletes?)

Anyway, I haven't had time to watch football games this season. I do know that this year's Superbowl has something to do with 49 birds. Must be part of the overly hyped half-time extravaganza. Or Angry Birds has a new franchise.

So Sunday is America's big day for food, fun, and Super Bowl XLVII. XLVII? Why, in this 21st-century where we demand the most modern of everything, why is "Super Bowl" always tagged with ancient Roman numerals?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Here's a little known fact that I just made up: The reason is to taunt the rest of the NFL loser teams.

Those whiny wimps weren't manly enough to end up at Sunday's climactic game of blood, sweat, and beer ads. Those losers could only take to field during the season and roam - and not in a good way as portrayed in all those game-interrupting cellphone ads.

So as a big NAH-nah Nah NAH-nah to the 30 groups of NFL weaklings, we append "Super Bowl" with roamin' numerals. Football players think it's "Roman" because of gladiatorial connotations. But we know better.

(I say this will a air of superiority. Plus, the big bruisers don't know where I live.)

So who are you rooting for? For me there is only one Superbowl favorite. I say, "Go, my Superbowl favorite, go! Go, you crazy commercials and win!!"

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beyonce Admits Lip-syncing

Pretty bad when even Beyonce lip-syncs to Beyonce.

Could have been worse. Beyonce could have lip-synced to Roseanne Barr's singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Actually, I think I might pay money to see that ...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Blog in 2012


This time last year, I decided to spend less time writing content-mill dribble and focus on learning how to writing. Some ideas surfaced as public posts. A few of those garnered a surprising number of views. Who knew so many people wanted to know about P'zolo?

The numbers tracked by look promising. I have no idea how many of those views are people and how many are bots trolling my site.

Also, I've had a large number of visits from Russia, especially these past couple of months. Why? I have no national secrets here. Much of my money is already extorted by our American mob; so, sorry, Russian mobsters.

Are people in Russia that curious about a boring American? How about a comment or two? Please.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How do you handle cheese on fire?

"A road tunnel in northern Norway will be shut for several weeks after a 27-ton truckload of sweet goat's milk cheese caught fire."

You just can't make this stuff up. It took firefighters 4 days to put out the molten cheese. Not too long of a time when you consider that some of the firefighters had to get fondue sticks, another group had to stop for bread sliced into cubes, and every one else had to bring the wine and a piano for sing-alongs during the feast.

All went well. When a reporter asked one of the firefighters how their efforts were going, he replied, "It's not gouda, but it's not too baa-aad either."

Sorry. Sorry. I just heard a popular rapper wail a "song" full of puns. It was terrible. Of course, puns always get a bad rap ...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Are you a babe magnet?

My friend considers himself a babe magnet. He just doesn't realize his magnetic polarity is more repulsion than attraction.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Instant Indoor Pool

Today's home adventure started when I opened the door and stepped inside into a shallow pool. This would have been a great experience except I wasn't wearing swimming trucks. More importantly, I don't normally have a pool in my house.

Thanks to my washing machine hoses, water had gathered on the floor and traveled to the door to greet me. To show my thanks, I dashed to the washer and frantically twisted the shutoff valves to end my indoor waterway.

Because my house is almost 60 years old, all of the "shutoff" valves have aged into "reduce to a aggravating trickle" valves - the politest term I can type here. This means finding a bucket large enough to catch the continued flow of water while I rush to the store for plumbing supplies. So I disconnected those faulty hoses from the washer and shoved them into the washer's tub. Later, a run of the rinse cycle would remove all evidence of a leak.

With the errant water under control, I sped to my trustee low-priced venue. Lucky for me, Wal-mart is only five minutes away.

Amazingly, Wal-mart still sold the same brand of washer hoses that I installed two years ago - the same cheap "warrantied for 5 years provided you still have the original receipt" hoses.

Original receipt? Given Wal-mart's high quality fares, why would I hold to a receipt? Obviously, I must had bought a rare defective set of hoses. "What are the chances of another bad purchases?", I thought as I paid for my new set.

The scary part came after installed them. Water and plumbing have never been close friends of mine. So with my washer on the left side of my head and the hot/cold valves on my right, I scanned side-to-side inspecting each connection as I slowly turned the water on.

When I had the water pressure fully on and saw with no leaks, I breathed a sigh of relief. Success!

I then learned something new. When cheap hoses give way and begin drenching you in stereo, you can't shut the water off fast enough.

I ended up spending another hour doing what I should have done in the beginning: replacing Wal-mart's $14 pretend plumbing with Lowe's $20 professional set of hoses.

Fortunately, this time I had Wal-mart's receipt.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Battle Begins

As I got up out of the chair, I felt very light-headed. Not to worry. My blood pressure wasn't at 9-1-1 levels. I simply had had 5 pounds of hair removed by my barber.

That's what happens when the joys of work keep you from getting a haircut. My last one was before Halloween. Scary.

It also didn't help that I had begun to enjoy my long, flowing, artificially-colored brown hair. I looked like an older, sexy Fabian - if Fabian had a stressful day-job, graying hair, early stages of wrinkles, and no sex-appeal. Aside from those minor differences, people would consider us twins. Especially if those people were blind.

Regardless, the other day my boss was fretting over the upcoming investors meeting. When he saw me, he remarked that I looked a little too shaggy. I said, "Great, you be Scooby-Doo and we'll solve this mystery of 'our vanishing paychecks while the company has record profits.'" ... to myself. With maturity comes the knowledge of when to be a smart-ass and when keep certain thoughts suppressed.

My boss continued by saying my "unconventional mane" might suggest that I have a beef with the company. I said, "Great, I was planning to begin my presentation by offering hamburgers to the investors."

This, I said out loud. Sometimes, you have to push the envelope - even if it might contain a pink slip. Besides, I understand McDonald's double cheese burger has some cow. (I read that on the Internet. So it must be true.)

I also reminded him that my looks might be unconventional because everyone else at that meeting would be bald. Not the best look on our 55-year old human resource director - Mrs. Winklestein. Even so, with her at the meeting, I figured my long hair wouldn't attract much attention. The investors would spend more time reflecting. So to speak.

Still, my boss gently suggested - "gently" on this side of threatening unemployment - that, if the powers-that-be ever consider pay-raises, I could be a hair's width away from having my extra efforts, my unpaid overtime, and my subtle attempts at ass-kissing wiped out.

As I got up out of the chair from our little chat, I felt very light-headed. My blood pressure was "You win this time" over "This isn't over".

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Giving Drunk Sailors a bad name.

Tonight, the talking heads on TV ranted about Congress and Obama spending money like drunken sailors. Really?

I have many friends in Navy. They drink. They know to stop when they ran out of money.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy new calendar day!

Last night, I watched some of the craziness on television: a sparkly Ryan Seacrest covering for Dick Clark, an aging Jenny McCarthy attacking anyone in a uniform, and the highly-hyped performance of Justin Bieber. I listened to my neighborhood erupting into a combat zone of celebratory explosions. And, of course, I read the overflowing repetition of Twitter's obvious trend for the evening - "the fiscal cliff". Sorry, "Happy New Year".

Were the Mayans this enthusiastic when they changed their 2 ton stone calendar? I'm sure someone started their new year with a hernia. Not to worry though. The Mayan priest/doctor easily fixed that painful hernia at sunrise when the calendar changer had his heart sacrificially ripped out.

Of course, these days we don't have to worry about those kind of heart breaks at year's end. We have the more agonizing holiday ritual of "Sorry. It's not you, it's me."

I'm not saying that the Mayans didn't get worked up last night. At least one group wet themselves when the year's number increase by 1 - that party pack of girls named Maya. (Or Maia. That missing "I" in team has to go somewhere.) Justin Bieber's appearance may have helped their fervor a little too.

Anyway, this year I resolve not to make any resolutions. What's the point? When I break the word down, I get re-solutions. "Re" as in "again". And, "solutions" as in "something that you've already fixed". Why would I spend time fixing something all over again? Do we really need to live by motto, "if it's not broke then ... you didn't try hard enough."?

Maybe that's why we make "resolutions". We didn't fix it right the first time. Maybe that's why the ancient Mayan civilization disappeared. They didn't make a resolution to meet Justin Bieber. And fix him. Hopefully, our modern group of Mayans (and MaIans) have a better chance.