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April 30, 2012

Heil to the Cheap Laugh

I saw an article earlier about how today is the anniversary of the death of Adolf Hitler by suicide in his bunker in 1945. I'm sure it was just a coincidence, but Family Guy had an episode just last night with this clip:

Even as horrible as is the subject matter, both suicide and Hitler, I couldn't help but laugh.

Shame on me.

April 27, 2012


nosh  [nosh]

verb (used without object)
1. to snack or eat between meals.

verb (used with object)
2. to snack on: They noshed peanuts and cookies while watching television.

When I first saw this entry in this blog's Word of the Day feed (in the right-hand column), I had to laugh. It's not a word I would ordinarily use - and it's not one used in the circles I run in - but I do often use it, only no one hears it.

"No one" except the Beej, my old cat-varmint.  He's not the brightest animal I've ever been around and isn't even the smartest cat I've ever owned.  My old B-cat knew several words but he reacted the most to "chicken?" and would go nuts.  I swear, he could smell a pkg. of KFC takeout before I even opened up the car door.  He also knew "bird" and when I'd say it, he'd make that little sound most cats do when they see a bird, along with a quiver of the mouth.

The Beej knows "outside?" and will go to the door if that's where he wants to go and will run into another room if he doesn't want to go out.  He also knows "hungry?" and will go to his food bowl if I say that.  He also knows "nosh" and when I ask "Wouldja like a nosh?", he perks up because he knows he's getting a treat or two from a pkg. of Meow Mix "Ocean Explosion" seafood-flavored treats. 

They're something I've always bought him;  they're only a buck for a pkg. at the dollar store and I've found that it's a good way to get him to eat leftover food in his bowl at which he'd ordinarily turn up his nose.  I just say "Nosh?" and sprinkle a few on the perfectly good cat food - put out only an hour or two before - and he'll finish up the food. (mostly)

The Beej has always been wary of strangers; the first time my British friend Elle came over to see me, he would have nothing to do with her. I gave her a pkg. of the treats and told her to call to him, speaking his name and saying "Nosh?" I watched her coax him to her with the treats, then went to take a shower.  As I left the room, she was petting him and he was content with being fussed over.

About ten minutes later, I was rinsing off when she frantically called through the door "Come here...B's sick!"  I jumped out of the shower, grabbed a towel and went to see what was wrong with my cat.  He had thrown up several times and was at the door, wanting out, still retching.  I went ahead and let him out, then noticed the package of treats laying on the floor.  I picked it up and found it was empty;  she had fed the entire contents to him!

I knew he'd be all right and looking out the door, could see him eating a few blades of grass as cats (and dogs) will often do when their stomach is upset.  I told her she shouldn't feed him more than a few at a time, that they must be very rich. I figured it was probably the same as eating a box of chocolates, a couple of pieces of pie followed by a huge slice of cake washed down by a double milkshake....just too rich for him all at once.

It didn't turn him off the things, though;  he'd still eat the entire pkg. if I fed it to him.

April 26, 2012

The Weight - The Band

To celebrate slimming this blog down a little by deleting some modules and unneeded graphics and scripts (which decreased load time from 4+ seconds to a little over one second with my connection), here's a great classic tune.

I took a load off.  Not a big one, but some.

April 25, 2012

Footie & Football Fouls

I've got a good online friend from England - her nickname is "Minnie". She's a devoted fan of the Chelsea soccer (footie) team. A long time ago when we were chatting on IM, she asked if I followed soccer and if so, what team did I like. I allowed as I really didn't like soccer all that much, but if I did, I might follow Arsenal because that was such a cool name for a team.

Oops, wrong answer. I knew soccer fans were...well, "fanatical" about their teams, but I didn't know about the hatred they could have for other teams. (I like American football, but have grown less and less interested in all sports as I've grown older. I do follow the Dallas Cowboys and have been a fan since I was a young boy, but I don't watch them if they're playing badly. Why would I want to suffer through that? Personally, I don't "hate" other NFL teams, but will admit to disliking Philadelphia mostly because of their obnoxious fans) It wasn't very long until I got a pkg. in the mail from my British friend; in it were two Chelsea jerseys, one white and one blue. My allegiance to a particular footie team had been decided for me!

played Barcelona yesterday; I wasn't for sure what was at stake, but I did some research and found out it was an important match (the Champions League Semifinal) and that the team from Spain was the World Cup Champs. (was? were? The British form of singular/plural confuses me a little. Where Americans would say "Chelsea is a great team.", the Brits would say "Chelsea are a great team." I guess it's something to do with the former thinking of a team as a singular unit while the latter thinks of a team being individual players. Just always found that odd. It's almost like the USA being considered a union of individual states pre-Civil War - "The United States ARE..." and afterwards being thought of as a single entity "The United States IS....")

Anyway....I watched a little bit of the match, but was confused a little bit by the Barcelona squad being able to keep the ball near the Chelsea goal as much as they were. I then found out that John Terry, a Chelsea star player, had been given a "red card" - being ejected from the match for a flagrant foul on a Barcelona player, Sanchez. Here's a video of the infraction:

Good Grief, that wasn't much more than a love tap.  Sanchez deserved an Oscar for that acting performance.  Terry could have shot him with a pistol and he wouldn't have gone down that fast. 

As said, Terry was ejected from the match.  I didn't know that a team would have to play short-handed the rest of the game.  That doesn't seem right.  Chelsea went on to play great defense and eventually knotted the score at 2-2.  I know next to nothing about the game and even less about how that can be considered a win, but that's what happened and Chelsea moves on into the playoffs.

(I also don't understand how the various leagues work - my friend Min tried to explain it to me once but I was more confused after the explanation than I was before.  I remember thinking at the time it would be like trying to explain the game of baseball to one of those remote Amazonian tribes. I did catch on that the worst teams have to "drop down" into another league and that sounds like a good deal to me and wish they'd try it in the NFL.)

The Terry "foul" reminded me of another foul committed by Albert Haynesworth, then of the Tennessee Titans,  against Andre Gurode of the Dallas Cowboys from a few years ago.

What Terry did paled in comparison, wouldn't you say?

Note: Doing a little dab of research on this post has made me much more knowledgeable about soccer.  I still don't know much, but I know more than I did yesterday.  Now I need to find out what the fans sing during soccer matches.  I watched a bit of a Liverpool match (scousers!) a couple of years ago and heard them singing "You'll Never Walk Alone".   Odd. 

I haven't asked her, but I bet my British friend Min might think Liverpool should sing the chorus of "Hair Of The Dog".

April 24, 2012

Firefox Make Link Add-on

I've had this new computer for a little over a week now and have been trying to d/l all my programs I like.  Some were free when I downloaded them and are now not free. -sigh- I guess I'll either have to fork over the cash or learn to live without them. 

I've also been trying to configure my Firefox browser the way I like it.  I hadn't noticed until the last post but when I tried to make a link, I discovered I hadn't d/l the "Make Link" add-on.

It's the most handy add-on, especially for blogging or posting in forums.  All you have to do is highlight the text you want to add a link to, then right click and select the type of code you want:

As you can see, there are several options; the html code works here in Blogger, but there are several forums I frequent that use the forum code or BB (bulletin board) code.  It's quicker than using a rich text editor.

A great add-on and I highly recommend it.

Make Link

A Texas-Sized Gripe

Since I first got on the 'net, I've been reading all sorts of memes about Texas.  Most are funny, some are stereotypes but true, but there are several that just aren't true.  I see people write that Texas is flat - not so, not even here in the Panhandle.  Part of Texas is called the Hill Country for good reason.  There are mountains in far west Texas.  Another misconception is that Texas is hot.  People who think that should spend a winter here in the top of Texas.  Another is that Texas is all desert.  Good grief.  Texas borders the Gulf of Mexico and has some lovely beaches; east Texas has loads of timber and from here to Lubbock is some of the finest farmland in the U.S.

That's OK, though...those ideas are from people who just don't know any better.  There's one thing, however, that's perpetuated by Texans themselves and I want to set the record straight.

There was a recipe post that hit my reader yesterday that finally made me decide to rant.  The post - The Texican Burger -  brought up the "what kind of coke do you want?" meme.

Me: Do you want a coke?
Not me: Yes.
Me: What kind?
Not me: Dr. Pepper.

This is such crap. I was born and raised here in Texas, lived here for over half a century and I've NEVER heard anyone say that nor been asked anything like that when ordering a soda.  If you asked for a Coke, that's what you got.  If you ordered a DP, they knew you meant Dr Pepper. (which originated in Waco, Texas, btw.)  If you asked a waitress for a strawberry coke, she would probably tell you they had Fanta or Big Red or maybe you'd get a Coke w/ strawberry flavoring added.

Maybe this all stems from the popularity of Coca-Cola and being asked if you would like a coke.  "Yeah, gimme a DP."  That's the only thing I can think of that comes close to "What kind of coke...?" meme.

I belong to a couple of Texas Facebook groups which have posted this among other Texas "truths".  Along with this (and that Texans all drive pickups with gun racks and school lets out during hunting season or that all the women are blonde and have "big hair"), they also state that "true Texans" don't say "soda" or "pop" or "soda pop". Like I said, I'm a native Texan and I say soda and pop and soda pop.

Do a search for "texas what kind of coke do you want" and you'll see thousands of posts that continue this idiotic idea.  Maybe there's something to the stereotype that Texans are stupid - maybe I've just grown up around the smarter ones and the rest of Texas is filled with dumb asses.


April 23, 2012

Not Eggzactly Right

You Are a Poached Egg

You are a competent and successful person. You are obsessed with making sure your life is well organized and scheduled.

You have an incredible sense of focus and determination. You don't let yourself make many mistakes.

You are a high achiever. You like to challenge yourself, and you get great satisfaction from being the best at something.

While you have high standards, you aren't really all that competitive. You only compete with yourself.

We're Having a Gay Old Time!

Updated original post from April '06. The links to the "Love God's Way" website seem to be invalid, now, sorry.

This blog has been getting quite a few hits on the "A Rather Queer Email" post I made a week or so ago, coming in from Google searches (we're #2!! If you can't be Hertz, might as well be Avis!), most likely from their having received the same email as I did.

I was thinking about writing a post on Phelps, that despicable Kansas preacher and his "God Hates Fags" website. It's beyond comprehension how someone can call themself a Christian, yet be so full of hate.

(as I said, I find him despicable for that, but I have trouble controlling my own hatred of him when I hear of him and his congregation picketing the funerals of our fallen soldiers. I believe I couldn't turn the other cheek if he attempted to do it here. Just a warning in advance, Phelps, you sunuvabitch)

Looking for some information about his so-called "church", all the while wondering if I even want to subject my readers to something so horrible, I stumbled across what seems to be another domain he owns or is at least associated with his.

It was a page within the website, one that listed the "Bands to Watch Out For", that had me literally laughing out loud. It's a long, long list of gay bands (and sometimes with a comment in parenthesis) and includes Twisted Sister, The Grateful Dead (drugs too!), Marilyn Manson (dark gay), The Doors, Queen, Phish, The Butchies (lizbians) (Huh? "lizbians"???), The Killers, Judas Priest, The Village People (duh--oops, that's MY comment, sorry), Kansas, The Indigo Girls, Boy George (duh again!), Nirvana, Nickleback, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wilson Phillips, Motorhead, DMX, kd lang (duh one more time) and quite a few more.

Elton John, apparently, is so gay he's listed twice.

Clay Aiken is listed, but that's not fair, because he adamantly denies it.


Britney Spears is listed because: (kissed Madonna) Madonna is listed, but nothing afterwards in parenthesis, because I reckon she's kissed everybody.

Ted Nugent is listed because...well, I'm not sure. He's been married twice and has fathered five children. "Cat Scratch Fever" seems to be about anything BUT gay sex. They also have (loincloth) after his name which puzzles me.

I guess that means Tarzan was gay, too. He WAS quite a swinger, come to think of it. He did seem to pay more attention to Cheetah than he did Jane. Always rollin' 'round with crocodiles, and spent a little too much time caressing elephant's trunks, too.

Frank Sinatra is on the list. Wow. I guess if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

Cole Porter is listed. It's not been proven he was gay, not that I know of, only innuendo. I guess the website thinks he gave himself away in his music with "Anything Goes", "What is This Thing Called Love?", "You've Got That Thing" and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow".

George Michael is listed, which comes as no big surprise. What DID come as a surprise was having (Texan) after his name. I guess Michael's accent is "Across-the-Pond East Texan".

There's another page, Safe Bands. More surprises there, mainly that Pat Boone and Amy Grant aren't listed. One surprise is that Cheap Trick is listed as safe. I like Cheap Trick, but never thought of them as "safe". Wonder what Phelps would think if I went up to him and said "I want you to want ME."

Not a long list on that page, though. Blondie is listed, but it's all right with the website that "she" (Debby Harry, lead singer) says anytime you're horny just to "Call Me".

The funniest listing was Cyndi Lauper. It's A-OK for girls who just wanna have fun, as long as it's not with other girls.

OR, by themselves. Again, that's OK because while the Bible mentions Onan, it says nothing about "she bopping".

I'm bumping this one up, because I just found the post again when searching for an unrelated one and wanted to update it. I found out something a few weeks after posting this and forgot to update it then: The gay/safe band posts were not made by a Phelps-type homophobic but rather by a gay guy who was using satire to poke fun at the "God Hates Fags" website and group. I'm pretty thick sometimes most of the time all of the time and didn't catch that. I guess I'm one of those idjits that needs a winking smiley to know when it's said in jest.

April 22, 2012

Highway Star - Deep Purple

Heard a bit of trivia on the radio the other day;  it's been 40 years since the Deep Purple album Machine Head was released.

Makes me feel old, but at least listening to this song makes me remember my youth.  It was one of my favorite songs out at the time (liked it MUCH better than the overplayed Smoke on the Water) and I loved to turn up my 8-track and put my foot down on the gas pedal.

April 18, 2012

936 Little Blobs

An interesting graphic showing an average US citizen's life expectancy measured in blobs.

Click on the graphic or the link below to go to the site to see some interesting facts about how the colored blobs could relate to your life and have to others.

I've spent around 36 blobs on this blog. I wasted about 72 blobs on a failed marriage. The Beej has been in my life for over 122 blobs.

Heck, I've pretty much been a blob all my life, come to think of it.

936 Blobs

April 17, 2012

I ♥ Hearts

After getting a new computer, I've had to d/l my favorite games again. When I was younger, I used to be an arcade freak, but now that I'm older I find I don't care all that much about those sorts of games, even though there are PC versions of most of my favorite ones. No, I have come to love my computer card game versions, such as Hearts.

I've previously posted my best games from my Hearts games on my last computer - I'm sure they were thrilling posts to this blog's readers. I probably won't do that again, but I'm going to post a couple of screen shots from this new version of Hearts. Sorry. This will most likely be a one-time deal.  Maybe not.  I might do an update of my win/loss record after a thousand games;  that will probably be in five years or so.

I really like this new version; I didn't think I would because it, like this computer, was different and I'm getting to the age where I don't really like new things, preferring the things I'm familiar with...broken in and comfortable, like a favorite pair of sneakers. It didn't take long to get comfortable with the new Hearts game and I'm of the mind that it's programmed to be more "fair". (With the last Hearts game it seemed as though I didn't just play the three computer opponents individually, but that they ganged up on me!)

What's really cool about this new version are the sound effects: a little "doom" sound (for lack of a better word) when the queen of spades is played and a breaking glass sound when Hearts are "broken". It also keeps a running tab of how many points you've taken during the trick and you also get a congratulatory message if you catch all the tricks. "You've shot the moon!"

The neatest thing is when you win a game and get all the little floating hearts which explode when they float upwards:

The only thing I wish I could change in it is my player name; it goes by what I named the computer when I first booted it up.  It did allow me to change my computer opponents to Huey*, Dewey and Louie - not from the Disney ducks, but the names of the robots in the old sci-fi flick Silent Running. I really liked that movie and so did my British friend Elle.  It makes me think of her when I play the game.  I also think of my good online friend Barb's dad when I play the game, even though I never met him, but she once told me he loved to play cards and esp. Hearts. 

* I need to change that to the proper spelling.  I always get that wrong when I spell it.

It's also cool that you can save a game and also that it keeps a running count of games played/games won.

I've already played more games than that shows, though, and have won half of the games played.

Yep, getting old. I used to get enthused about going out to the bars and getting drunk or making a road trip on the spur of the moment. Now? I'm happy to play Hearts and listen to online radio.

April 15, 2012

A Crock of Kroc

This was the Today in History entry from the widget in the right-hand column:

I've been to McDonalds less than half a dozen times in my life.  A couple of times was when I was with my sister and her then-husband when we were in Amarillo. He loved the franchise and I never understood why.  OTOH, he thought macaroni grew on trees, so.... Another time was after work and a co-worker asked if I wanted to go eat breakfast and that he'd buy.  I jumped at the chance, but would have turned it down if I had known he wanted to go to McDonalds.  Another time was when I was going to go the the movies but knew I didn't have time to eat anything but fast food.  The McDonalds was just a few hundred yards from the theater so I got a burger there and wolfed it down in time to catch the flick. 

I also ate there a few months ago when I got a craving for french fries and a chocolate milk shake.  (I like to dip the fries into the shake - better than ketchup!)  They DO make good fries and shakes, but I prefer burgers from just about anywhere else. Pampa has a couple of locally owned hamburger joints that make MUCH better burgers than McD's.   I stopped at Sonic the other day and asked the girl who brought me my food if they were always that busy.  She mentioned that McDonalds hadn't finished their new building - I then remembered they had torn down the "old" one (probably ten years old or so) and was building another one.  It looks like the same size as the last one.  Hmmm....

It wasn't the quality of their food that kept me away from  McDonald's, though, but rather a political reason.    It was the early 70's and I was becoming politically aware.  Nixon was President and I was starting to work my first real, paying jobs.    When I first started working, the minimum wage was $1.90/hr. then it was raised to a whopping two bucks an hour.  Whoopie!  I worked for the county mowing the graveyard and courthouse lawn- we were allowed to put in 50 hours/week, but the county, being a govt. entity, was exempt from having to pay overtime.  That meant we could make a hundred bucks a week.   Even back then that wasn't a lot of money. (At least it didn't seem that much then, but it could probably buy as much as three times that amount now.  Gasoline was .28 cents/gallon and you could rent an apt. in my home town for fifty bucks/month)

I was in the school library during study hall and was reading the paper and read an article about Ray Kroc having Nixon on his yacht.  The article said it happened quite often and questioned their relationship.  It made me question it too and made me do some more research. 

This was long before the Internet, so I had to dig through all sorts of periodicals, but I eventually found that Nixon had vetoed several minimum wage increase bills sent to him by Congress.  I also found out that the largest employer of young people was McDonalds...young people who also comprised the vast  majority of minimum wage workers.   It didn't take a genius to figure out that there was more to the Kroc/Nixon connection than appeared on the surface. 

Since that time, however, I've come to conclusion that the min. wage isn't necessarily a good thing.  A free market should set wages, not Congress or unions or Presidents.   Even if there has to be a minimum wage, I think there should be a provision for training wages and an exemption for the youngest workers.  (the young me would be furious at the me I am now) The best thing of all would be for government to stay completely out of regulating prices or wages or subsidizing any industry.

A Helluva Lot Smarter

Me? According to the quiz I am. I've read posts by atheists who seemed to be smarter than me, but what always struck me about most atheists is how hateful they sound when accusing organized religion being full of hate.  I always found it amusing how self-righteous most atheists were in regards to their superiority over the righteous, how hypocritical they were when speaking of religious hypocrisy and their unwavering faith that religious faith is foolish.

From the quiz:

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups in a 32-question survey of religious knowledge by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. On average, Americans got 16 of the 32 questions correct. Atheists and agnostics got an average of 20.9 correct answers. Jews (20.5) and Mormons (20.3). Protestants got 16 correct answers on average, while Catholics got 14.7 questions right. How will you do on the quiz?

I think I did fairly well ; here are the questions I missed:

When was the Mormon religion founded?

I didn't know, so I took a guess.   I did mull it over for a while and started to choose the correct answer, but didn't.  I'll admit I don't know much about the Mormon religion, but I suspect we'll all learn more about it if Romney gets the Republican nomination for President.

Which one of these preachers participated in the period of religious activity known as the First Great Awakening?

Totally clueless about this one.  Took a guess and was wrong.

Which of these religious groups traditionally teaches that salvation comes through faith alone?

I was annoyed that  I missed this one but what the hell? (pun intended)

Free Clocks for All !

Oh wow, a double-goody! Lots of hosted clock scripts for a blog or website and they're free!

One of my personal favs:

Many more at their clock gallery.

Visit CSalim.com

April 14, 2012

New Computer

The day started out as usual; checked email, reader, Facebook...the usual. I bumped the cord to my desk lamp and it went off, so I checked the plug and when I did that, I bumped the PC power cord and the computer just quit. I tried and tried to get it to come back on, but no joy. I figured I must have triggered a power surge and fried the power supply.

The thing was getting pretty old - over five years - so I bit the dust and went to WalMart and bought a new one, another HP. This one is great as far as hard drive capacity and memory, but it's Windows 7 and there's a steep learning curve for me on new things. I'm having problems getting used to it, but I'm sure I'll eventually get it sorted out.

 I had some problems getting it to boot at first, dunno why that was. I had bumped the power cord again and I was afraid I had fried something in this brand new one. I did opt for an extended service plan, though, but I was starting to get annoyed that I was going to have to pkg. everything up and take it back. Setting it up - connecting the cords, etc., didn't take long at all, but I spent a good two hours trying to get this thing to work. Since I had been saving files to an external drive, I didn't lose too much - just the stuff in the April "work" folder. Not a great loss, just a little annoying.

 I've also d/l a free a/v program, immediately deleting the Norton's that came w/ this machine. (just a 30 day trial, anyway) I've also d/l a few programs I always like to have: CrapCleaner, HijackThis, etc. and of course, I d/l Firefox.

It's the behavior of this new OS that I will have to suss out somehow. For example,I opened up Notepad to save some information (and I use Notepad several times a day, really handy program) but I don't know where it goes. The icon shows it's there, but I can't get it to come up. Oh well. I've also got to figure out how to get downloads to save to where I want them.

Another program I really don't like is the Windows Media Player. I liked my old one (some old version - I had upgraded once, then rolled it back) I had bare bones processes on my last PC - something like 20 processes at the max, but this one has 60 going. Since it has a lot more RAM, it doesn't seem to slow it down but I still want to cull down the running processes to just those that are necessary.

The one thing I need to really get used to is the new keyboard. This post has taken me twice as long to compose because the space bar doesn't work as well as the last one and I have to really make sure I'm hitting it for a new space. I tried signing in to my ATT/Yahoo homepage but kept having problems, even though I KNEW I was using the right password - then I saw I had spelled my email/sign-in name wrong "sbcglobtal.net" Oh well, again.

April 9, 2012

Perceptive Ink Blot Test

Sometimes these quizzes are off the mark and others - like this time - are so spot on it's scary.

You Are Balanced and Thoughtful

You view people with suspicion. There is a lot of interpersonal conflict in your life.

You had more conflict with your father than your mother. Your relationship with him was difficult and possibly unhealthy.

You deal with stress in an effective and competent matter. You are able to remain calm.

You require a lot of calm in your life. When things get too hectic, you need to step back and reassess things.

April 8, 2012

Hunger in Motion

As my regular readers know, I love recipes and collecting them.  When this recipe: bacon asparagus frittata hit my reader earlier, I thought it might be a good add to my collection.

Most recipes sites will at least have a photo of the finished product, but many will post a pictorial of step-by-step directions. Go to the site and check out the third graphic. I've never seen anything like that!

Taken Out of Context

Of course I know it's Easter, but I still had some confusion when I saw this post on Facebook from a recipe site I follow as well as subscribe to in my reader:

Not trying to be snarky or sacrilegious here, but I for a few seconds I couldn't understand why she'd refer to dough as "He"

April 6, 2012

Surprising Snake Spike

I had noticed an increase in traffic when I checked in Wednesday; most of the new visitors were coming from two different website forums that linked to the post Rattlesnakes in Palo Duro Canyon.

I kept an eye on the Feedjit Feed but unless I want to count each visitor, I had to wait until the Flag Counter totaled up the day in the early evening(around six p.m., i think)  I was semi-shocked to see that the blog traffic had tripled the average.

Usually when this pathetic excuse for a blog sees such a "large" increase in traffic, it's because Cast Away aired somewhere in the world.

I signed up for Google's AdSense a few years ago, but never followed through with the process.  I always figured the hassle to me and the extra loading time for my visitors wouldn't be worth the dollar a month - or less - I'd make from the few dozen visitors I get each day. 

While this blog doesn't get all that much traffic, the Flag Counter says that 169 different countries have visited. While most visitors are from the U.S., followed by the U.K. I did notice there had been one visitor from Iceland.  One visitor...and they, like most of the others, never came back.

Lindsay Lohan's Changing Face

25 Years in 60 Seconds

April 4, 2012

Skiing on Sour Milk

Reading this article earlier: 101 Uses For Soured Raw Milk, it reminded me of my once skiing on sour milk. No, I didn't ski ON sour milk but I skied BECAUSE of sour milk.

It was a long time ago, the late 70's. I was roughnecking for a man who lived in my home town of Miami. I lived in Pampa and had to drive to his house every day. There wasn't much of a drive after that, thank goodness; the rig was just outside of town, not even a five minute drive from my boss's house.

Still, I had to leave home fairly early in the morning in order to get there by shift change - 6:30 a.m. At the time, the speed limit was still 55mph and I gave myself 30 minutes to drive the 23 miles to Miami. One afternoon driving back home, however, my muffler fell off and I knew driving through town and on the major highway that I would most likely get a ticket, so the next morning I went the back way along Farm-to-Market Road 282, passing right by where I grew up and my folks still lived.

Thank goodness there was a small convenience store on the outskirts of town;  it was where I stopped every morning and bought my usual breakfast of a sausage/egg biscuit and a pint of chocolate milk. (Breakfast of champions - or that of lazy bachelors)

I was running behind a little later than I liked;  this drive added close to ten miles more to my usual route and I hadn't factored that in when I left that morning.  The road was deserted as it is most any time of the day, so I stepped on the gas when I got outside of town, my pickup sounding like a race car on steroids.  It was so loud I didn't even bother trying to listen to the radio as I usually did.

Trucking along at around 70 mph, I remembered my breakfast - I grabbed the sack and keeping one eye on the road and another trying to unwrap the biscuit sandwich, I started with my morning nourishment. I noticed a shimmer on a normally dry playa lake on the south side of the road, still off in the distance, probably a mile or so away. Must be some water in the lake, I thought, remembering that it had rained during the rig move and making the location a mess.

Here's a Google Earth screen shot of the playa lake I was talking about.  The "X"  will play a part in the story - give it a minute. (I'm traveling left-to-right on the road)

I took a bite of the biscuit, chewed a while because it was a little dry. It made me wonder if it was cooked a little too long or was left over from the previous day. I made a note to myself to complain about it the next morning. With one hand on the wheel, I used the other to pry open the container of milk   I took a swig, swallowed the liquid and what was left of the breakfast sandwich. I put the carton to my mouth again for another swallow and that's when I realized....

It was sour.  No, more than sour.  Sour would be delicious compared to the putrid fluid I had just taken in.  I started gagging and one memory will stay with me forever - the date on the carton, barely visible by the dashboard light, was two weeks ago.  (I'm about to barf thinking about it.)  The chocolate flavor had disguised any smell that might have tipped me off.

I started slowing down because I knew I was going to vomit and hoped I could come to a stop before I did.  Cleaning up the mess would make me puke again, I was sure. 

Slowing down probably saved my life, at least that's what I've always thought.  Still, I was going at least fifty miles per hour when I hit the water on the road.  The playa lake had overflowed across the road and there was probably six inches of water on the pavement.  The water immediately slowed me down from whatever speed I was going, but my truck started hydroplaning.  I was out of control in a second.  My vehicle did a 180 and I was suddenly going backwards. I don't know what sort of G-forces I encountered, but it nearly made me black out.   Then, just as soon as I noticed I was looking at the road I had just traveled, I did another 180 and was out of the water and onto dry pavement. 

I stopped, got out and emptied my stomach.  I'm sure the sour milk was the main cause of my being sick, but I think I also would have vomited from fear.  Ever been scared nearly to death? I have, quite a few times, especially from working on drilling rigs.  The taste it leaves in my mouth is like sucking on a penny - a copper and acid combination that must be the result of pure adrenaline rushing through my body.  I've never thrown up from it...or the scare...but I spit for an hour afterwards.

Here's another screen shot of the road and low spot.  The "X" is the place in the above graphic where I hit the water.

I learned a couple of things that morning:  One, to not speed on the way to work, even if it is on a deserted road.  I'd rather people say "That damn Mike is late." than "My, don't he look natural?"

The second thing I learned?  Well, it's a two-parter:  to always check expiration dates on food and to always....ALWAYS....smell milk before drinking.

Wanna know something funny? (or strange or stupid or whatever adjective you want to use, I wouldn't be offended.) Through that scary few seconds, when I was whipped around worse than an astronaut in a centrifuge, all through the time of trying to regain control of my vehicle, I didn't drop the milk. 

Grammy Trivia

Looking up above my computer desk, I noticed I was a day behind on tearing off the calendar sheet; I have a "Fact or Crap" calendar I got from one of my sisters for Christmas. She always sends me calendars like that for Christmas or my birthday - last year was a Jeopardy calendar.

Since I love trivia, I've liked them all, but this one is much easier, having a 50-50 chance of getting it right, fact or crap. (most facts I know could be considered crap) I tore off yesterday's sheet and saw the one for the day I missed asked this question: "What do these groups have in common?" It listed some well-known bands, some of them my favorites, some legendary. The answer on the back said they had never won a competitive Grammy.

I did a search to find out what was considered a competitive Grammy, but didn't find the answer in the first few search results. (I'm sure it means a Grammy that wasn't a lifetime achievement or contributions to the industry type- honorary, in other words) Instead, I found a quiz about the Grammys so I tested my Grammy knowledge.

How well do you know your Grammy history?

Here's my score - click graphic for larger view

To be fair, some of the answers were on my calendar sheet, so I didn't do nearly as well as it seems.  This was one of those quizzes, though, that I still enjoy even if I didn't do as well as I liked because I learned something with my wrong answers.

What that's good for...well, maybe one of these days I'll get on Jeopardy.

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April 2, 2012


From our Word of the Day module:

pyknic \PIK-nik\


1. Having a rounded build or body structure.


1. A person of the pyknic type.

One might say it's no picnic trying to keep from being pyknic.

Reading Again

For the longest time, I hadn't read a book.  There were several reasons why - my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be and my eyes grow tired more quickly;  I've also not read books as much as I did before I first got a computer.  I still read, but it's mostly news articles and forum posts and comments. 

It's also been hard for me to find something to hold my interest.  I've always enjoyed good fiction, but I haven't checked many books out of the library that engaged me. Most of the time I start them, then simply cannot finish. I then forget about them and have to pay a late fee because I forget to take them back. I never minded paying for an overdue book if I enjoyed it, but I hate to pay a fine for a book I didn't read, much less one I didn't even like.

I was at the library the other day to pick up some tax forms and decided to peruse the new releases.  I saw the newest Stephen King novel 11/22/63 and reading the flyleaf, decided I wanted to give it a go. (WARNING:  Spoilers at the Wiki link)

I can barely put it down, it's so good.  The book is about an English teacher who is teaching a GED class and reads a horrifying essay by the school janitor, an account of his father murdering his entire family and nearly killing him as well back in 1958. The teacher is emotionally moved by the tale but then gets the largest shock of his life;  a friend who owns a diner shows him a time portal in the diner's pantry that leads to 1958.  The teacher is urged by the diner owner to go back in time and try to change history, namely to stop the assassination of JFK.  He decides to take on the task, but also thinks that the portal goes back to '58 because he is supposed to stop the massacre of the janitor's family.

I'm at the point of the book where he's been back in time for a few weeks.  The storyline is derivative of most time travel tales, namely the sci-fi question: If you go back in time, can the future be changed?  That question seems to be cleverly answered so far, but I'm anxious to see what will happen. I expect there will be several twists and turns along the way.

So far, the novel seems to be one of King's better efforts, especially of the last 10-15 yrs. (I haven't liked much of anything he's done over that time, but that's just a personal opinion) He does a great job of bringing the characters to life and adds in some bits of humor.  The account of a much simpler time in the late 50's is also appealing. If I have a gripe so far, it's that he interjects his own personal politics a bit too much, but it's not anything too annoying.

Think I'll get off of here, go kick back and read some more.  I haven't been this enthused about a book in years.

April 1, 2012

A Slice of Life

Quite a few years ago, I was roughnecking for one of my best friends. Besides me and the driller, the rest of the crew consisted of my friend's brother-in-law and a guy who I knew, but not very well. I knew his family, though, because his dad had worked for my grandfather in the oil field.   For the life of me, I can't remember the guy's name...but that's not important for this story.  I'm sure he would want to remain anonymous and I can't say as I'd blame him.

We worked nights - morning tour (pronounced "tower") and on the way home, the guy, like many of the guys I worked with, liked to drink beer.  Before you gag, remember that night shift workers have their days turned around and 7:00 a.m. is like 5:00 p.m. to everyone else.   I've never been much of a drinker and especially when I worked that shift.  Drinking upsets my sleep and it's hard enough getting rest during the day, what with the usual daytime noises.

The guy whose family I knew liked to drink any chance he got, though, and that morning when he cracked open his first beer I got the impression that he had started drinking even before the shift was over. (really stupid thing to do on a drilling rig - they're dangerous places to work even when you have all your senses about you)  By the time we dropped him off, he was sloshing drunk.  We watched him stagger up the sidewalk to his front door and as we drove off, made wisecracks about his wife being angry with him and hoping he wouldn't have a hangover that night at work.

The day passed, I got what rest I could trying to sleep during the day and when my boss picked me up, we headed straight on to work without picking up the guy.  I asked where he was and was told his wife had called and said he couldn't make it, that earlier he had suffered an accident at home and had been forced to go to the emergency room.

We guessed at what had happened - his wife had hit him with a frying pan when he came in drunk, he had slipped in the shower or maybe he had continued his drinking when he got home and was just too drunk to go to work and the ER story was just an excuse to keep from being fired.  Even though we were short-handed, we thankfully got through the shift without too much trouble.  Another day went by and it was time to go to work again. This time, however, the guy was ready to go to work and on the way to the rig, told us why he had missed the previous night.

"I was really drunk when I got home." he started his story with an obvious fact.  "My old lady woke up when I fell down in the living room and gave me hell for a while." (That was something else we had figured would happen, duh.) He went on: "I really needed to pee, so I went into the bathroom and started peein' like a Russian racehorse when I noticed a loose thread hanging from my fly.  I pulled on the thread but it wouldn't come loose.  There was a piece of broken mirror on the toilet lid (probably the result of a previous drunken episode, I thought) so I picked up the jagged glass and slashed at the thread."

Get the picture?  Do I need to spell it out for you?  I don't think I will.  When we got out to the rig and started changing clothes, he showed us his injury.  It was close to the top of "it" and had required 27 stitches to close. 

Made me cringe then, makes me cringe now.  There's a moral to the story, but you can supply your own, I'd wager.

I quit that job after a while, then a few months later I came back to work for my friend.  In that time, the guy had also quit and and had also come back to work on the rig, but on a different shift.  We passed by an ambulance on the way to work and nervously hoped it wasn't coming from our rig....but it was.  The injured party was the same guy!  He had to go up in the derrick and must have been semi-drunk when he did because he forgot to put on his safety belt and fell out.  He slowed his fall some by grabbing onto a cable but still hit hard enough to break several bones.  That was lucky - in a way - but even though he didn't hit as hard as he could have, he landed a-straddle the drawworks guard.  He managed to avoid crushing "anything important", but he was split from his rectum to nearly his belly button.  That makes me cringe even worse than thinking about his other injury.

That's not really funny, not unless you have a sadistic sense of humor.  Maybe I do have a sadistic sense of humor because it reminds me of an old joke:

Johnny's mother sent him to the store for a loaf of bread.  He was walking home, the loaf of bread under one arm and the hand of his free arm stuck deep in his pocket, when he bumped into the pastor of his church.

"Afternoon, Johnny!" said the preacher. "I see you have the staff of life in one hand;  what do you have in the other?"

"Oh," sheepishly replied Johnny. "That's a loaf of bread."

NASCAR Self-Driving Car

Well, they DO have a self-driving car, but I'm sure this is their annual April Fool's hoax.

They started early with an 8-bit thing in Google Maps.

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.
 - Charles Lamb