Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Lights, Christmas Love

Each year right after Thanksgiving I haul down the icicle lights from above the garage, check to make sure they are still working, brave the extension ladder to the peak of the roof and hang those lights in what is generally cold weather. Then shortly after Christmas I reverse the process and brave the extension ladder in what is generally cold icy weather, try to remove the lights without breaking the plastic clips that attach them to the gutters or shingles, try to get the lights back into plastic bags (the light strands have become stiff from being in the cold and do not like to bend quite so easy) and then haul them back up into the storage space above the garage.

The lights look so nice on the house during this season and the reason I do it is because I love....Barb. Even though they look nice on the house, I seriously question whether they would be up if it were not for the fact that I love Barb and want to please her.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Monday, December 24, 2007


Saturday morning I turned on the TV and watched TV5 for a bit. It was children's programming in French. Then on came a music video. It was called Funny Bear. It became and earworm. I walked around the house singing it. Come to find out it's also known as Gummibar and Gummie Bear. It's been recorded in several languages and has been popular on the web. For those who have not yet had the pleasure, here is the short French version.

If you have trouble with it playing here on my blog, here is the link to You Tube.
Funny Bear

There is also a longer version on You Tube that has different video.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stalking Tannenbaum

I just had to post a video from three years ago. By the way, live trees are more environment friendly than artificial trees. Oh Christmas tree, oh green Christmas tree

Auto Entertainment Rewind

The other night on my way home from work I followed a van that was playing a dvd for the kids in the back seat.

Rewind 3 years. Harold buys his first car that has a CD player.

Rewind 4 years. Harold buys a portable CD player that will connect to his cassette player in his mini-van.

Fast rewind. Harold buys a car that has a cassette player.

Rewind. Harry buys a car that has AM/FM Stereo.

Rewind to 1968 Harry buys a car that has an AM radio.

Rewind a couple years. Harry is trying to figure out how he can play his LPs in the car without the needle skipping every few seconds due to bumps in the road. He never figured it out. But his thinking was forward thinking.

Fast forward to present. I no longer play cassettes in the mini-van...but I do connect my mp3 player to the car stereo via a cable from it to the cassette player.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Got to see my lawyer when he leaves this world

What has our society turned into? My previous post discussed the song lyrics of a young man who lost his girlfriend in a tragic accident. This mornings news writes of daughter who lost her father along with his wife, " Who Died First". The daughter is trying to make the claim that in the car accident her father's wife died first therefore her estate should pass to her father where it would then be divided amongst her and her two siblings.

It gets worse.
Her father's wife has two children that would be deprived of any inheritance if this were to occur.

It gets worse.
The accident was the result of her father's drunken reckless driving.

It gets worse.
Initially she was content with the way the estate was going to be settled. These legal proceedings didn't begin until 18 months after the accident.

Can it get any worse?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Got to be good

Oh where oh were could my baby be
The lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven so I've got to be good
So I can see my baby when I'll leave this world

We were out on a date in my daddy's car
We hadn't driven very far
There in the road
Straight ahead
A car was stalled the engine was dead
I couldn't stop
So I swerved to the right
I'll never forget the sound that night
The screamin tires
The busting glass
The Painfull scream that I heard last.

Oh where oh were could my baby be
The lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven so I've got to be good
So I can see my baby when I'll leave this world

Do you recognize those lyrics? Ah, but from what artist?
Pearl Jam
Ozzy Osbourne

If you answered Cavaliers, then you're probably a baby boomer.
If you answered Pearl Jam then you're much younger than a boomer.
If you answered Ozzy Osbourne, then it's time to expand you need to see a therapist.

I heard this song "Last Kiss" on the way to work this morning listening to the Oldies station. Of course, at this time in life you tend to evaluate the lyrics more than when you were in your teens.

We were out on a date in my daddy's car
Obviously not current day. Who drives their "daddy's" car these days. It's probably a mini-van anyway. And "daddy"? Who today would refer to their father as their "daddy" when talking to anyone other than perhaps the closest of family?

The screamin tires
The busting glass

I can sympathize with the fact that there was a stalled car in the road, but I'm going to guess he may have been going faster than he should have been. the stalled car was straight ahead. It's not like it was on "deadman's curve". He's a teenager right? He has a girl in the front seat. Back then the front seat on daddy's cars went all the way across the front. They called them bench seats. My guess is that his "baby" was sitting right next to him and I doubt that she, or he, was wearing a seat belt. I even question if they were available back then (1964). I'm wondering if some of the responsibility lies with him for the accident.

I'm a little hesitant to agree with him that "The Lord took her away" but I'm going to have to downright disagree that "She's gone to heaven so I got to be good so I can see my baby when I leave this world." I have no basis of knowing whether heaven was her final destination, but he is mistaken that for him to also get there he has to "be good". I'm probably being too hard on him. My position is that it's faith not works that yields the end result. I should be glad that he concedes that there is an after life and it does involve heaven and another not named possibility. That's better than trying to imagine an existence where heaven and hell do not exist.

With all that said, I probably prefer the lyrics of yesteryear.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dream On

I love to dream. I even realized the other day that I do dream in color. I just wish I could remember the dreams better.

This morning I was awakened by my lovely wife Barb in the middle of a dream. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to have a "Do not disturb - dreaming" indicator that would delay an alarm clock from going off or your spouse from awakening you until the dream is over? Dreams can't last that long...can they?

While we're on the topic of dreams, it would be fantastic to have the ability to record and playback dreams. Just think what it would be like to share some of those great dreams with others, and maybe a few nightmares as well.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sleeping My Way to Weight Loss: Dream On

Maybe you didn't buy in fully to my initial theory on sleeping your way to weight loss. Perhaps this one will be a little more convincing.

Have you ever had a dream, possibly even a nightmare, where you were physically active and awoke exhausted? Your body exhibiting attributes of what you would expect if it had actually happened. Let's say you're fighting a fire breathing dragon. It's a dream. We need a little fantasy. You battle the dragon with all your might. Imagine the amount of calories you would burn fighting a dragon. Well, It's my theory that you actually did burn those calories. Calories burnt = weight lost. All we need to do now is to harness what it is we dream about. Some of you may opt to actually dream about exercising. Boring. Me, I'm going to dream about flying, soaring high and then swooping down and pulling up just before reaching the tree tops. This will be my warm up during my first REM period. I'll slay a dragon and rescue a damsel in distress for my main work out. For my cool down, I'll ski the virgin slopes of a snow covered mountain.

I am not responsible for any injury incurred during dreamercise.
Please consult your wellness program before recording points for exercise during dreamercise.
Nightmares could occur.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sleeping my way to weight loss

I need to loose a few pounds. How I do that is the problem. We all know that to loose weight you must exercise more and eat less. What a choice. I think though, that I have discovered another way, sleep more. I have observed on a consistent basis that each night I loose about two pounds while I sleep during an eight hour period. The problem is that I gain those two pounds back during the day. Here's my plan. If sleeping eight hours causes me to loose two pounds, then sleeping an extra 4 hours will cause me to loose an extra pound. That will be a loss of three pounds per day and then my normal routine will at the most cause me to gain back two pounds providing me with a net gain of one pound per night. I might even loose more since I've less time to gain it back during the day. Now, if I could just combine listening to books on CD while I sleep, I'll be smart and fit.

Do not disturb.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fin de la Fruit Fly

Recently a number of fruit flies decided to show up uninvited. We couldn't identify any specific reason they were there, but they were not welcome.

Had they been chipmunks, they would have quickly met their demise pursuing what they thought to be a bucket of seeds. Moles, the Juicy Fruit worm or loop trap. But fruit flies? How do you get rid of fruit flies? A quick internet search provided a possible solution. A paper funnel leading into a jar with red wine vinegar. Before long, there were fruit flies in the jar...but they were still alive. And when I went to dispose of them, they outwitted me and made their escape.

It was Barb who arrived at the successful solution. A small jar with a bit of apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish detergent to break the tension of the vinegar. They flew in, landed on the liquid and soon drowned. Much like my chipmunk trap. If I was a fruit fly, I would have found the jar appealing to the eye as well as the nose. Do fruit flies have noses? They must. They smell. Unless of course they smell with a different part of their anatomy.

Beware all ye varmints who enter here.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Big Oil Conspiracy

I like the convenience of having my oil changed by someone else. I like it better when it's only $9.95. That's what Gates Chevy World charged me the last time I got my oil changed, which happened to be the first time I got it changed there. I had heard that they offered a great deal on oil changes. I imagine they make up the difference in finding other things to do with your vehicle like...changing your disk brakes. Anyway, my philosophy on oil changes is 3 months or 3,000 miles, which ever is longer. Well, the 3 month's ended a week ago. So did the 3,000 miles. On the same day. That has never happened before. Usually the 3,000 miles is longer. I'm beginning to get a little suspicious. Ten dollar oil change, 3 months and 3,000 miles arrive on the same day. Maybe this is a dream, or reality is being controlled by ... the auto industry? No, it must be BIG OIL. It's not possible that it's just a coincidence that gas is currently $3 a gallon and that September is the 9th month (3x3=9) and that the oil change is now $9.99. Something big is about to happen! It's all coming into alignment! That's why I'm delaying my oil change. Maybe I can disrupt the forces.

(Okay, I fudged when I just said that the oil change was now $9.99. It just seemed to work so well into my conspiracy theory. But it doesn't mean that my conclusion is wrong. Right Dan? Or would you rather not say?)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

Labor Day. For many it's a day away from labor. That's what I had intended. Sleep in a little, go for a 13 mile bike ride, relax. For the most part, that's what I did. That's what I had hoped for my lovely wife Barb as well. She started her day with a three mile run. Then she went with me for a 13 mile bike ride. Then we were to return home and work for an hour doing some reorganization in the basement. Saturday evenings washer malfunction made this a good time to begin working on organizing the storage room in the basement. Friday night on my way to bed, I noticed that there was water on the laundry room floor. I quickly got some towels to clean up the water. I also noticed that it was going down the floor vent. A trip to the basement showed me where the rest of the water went. The discharge hose on the washer had come apart so instead of going down the waste pipe. It went on the floor and into the basement. Barb's hour turned into four or more hours. For her, it was indeed a Labor Day.

Blast From the Past

This is a photo from the mid 70s while I was at Bethel. As a commuter I sometimes would play a little table tennis between classes. This was in the Acorn which was then located in the basement of Shupe.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Off to College

As we drove home from work the other day, we saw Bob Evans advertising "Off to college gift card". And I thought to myself, "What college student is going to want a Bob Evans gift card?". Wouldn't Best Buy, Circuit City, McDonald's or even Goodwill been a better option for gift cards? I'm sure there are a few college students out there that would have made use of it, but when I think of Bob Evans, I think of the older generations. Give them something they will use. It's like me giving Barb a gift certificate to The Vicker's. It's something I would use, but she wouldn't get much use out of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Black is Black

Black is black, I want my baby back.
It's grey, it's grey, since she went away.
Oh-oh, what can I do??
'cause I-I-I-I-I,
I'm feelin' blue.

So the song by Los Bravos in 1966 went.

My version...

Black is black, I want my black socks back.
They're blue, they're blue, what shall I do?
Oh-ho, what can I do??
'cause I-I-I-I-I,
I'm seein' blue.

Some time ago, I bought a pair of black socks to go with my black shoes. In fact I bought a few pair of them. I also purchased blue socks to go with my blue pants somewhere along the line.

Now the other day, I put on my black socks, black pants and black shoes. Later on that day, Barb commented on my wearing Navy Blue socks with black pants. Huh? I didn't want to admit it, but they did look Navy Blue with my black pants. I hadn't noticed this before. So, the next time, I wear the same socks with my blue pants. Now they looked black. ??? What's up? Is this some kind of chameleon sock that I have that changes it's color so as not to match what I'm wearing? I'm not sure what to wear these socks with any more.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

iPod Nirvana

An iPod is a great way to pass time, particularly on a long trip like a train ride to or from Chicago. The trip between South Bend and Chicago is a 2.5 hour trip with numerous stops along the way. About 35 minutes before arriving in South Bend with only the Hudson Lake stop between us and the end of the line, a young man removed the iPod ear buds and asked the conductor how far to the Michigan City Carroll Street stop. The conductor explained that we had already passed that stop and asked if the young man fell asleep. The response was no, he was listening to his iPod, so he did not hear his stop announced. His only option now was to complete the trip to South Bend and wait for the next train towards Chicago and get off in Michigan City. I hope it was a good artist he was listening to. It cost him 2 additional hours to what is an hour and a half trip from Chicago.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

33rd Year of Honeymoon

Barb and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary this weekend. I had been attempting to plan a trip that we could take, but it never got off the ground. Barb's brother Tom was celebrating his 50th birthday the day before our anniversary, so we combined the two celebrations and met him in Indianapolis. We arrived late afternoon. At 8:00pm we dined on the rooftop of Dunaway's. I ordered the salad that came with Hazelnut Crusted Goat Cheese. Magnifigue! We dined as the sunset over the city skyline. Tres romantic!

The next morning we biked the Monon and Fall Creek Greenway trails. The 26 mile ride was enjoyable particularly the Fall Creek Greeneway.

After the bike hike we walked to City Market for lunch and then on to the Circle where the Jaguar Clubs of North America was holding it's Challenge Championship. I think I'd look good driving one of these.

While at the Circle, we decided to take the elevator to the top of the State Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. It was hot! (Not the Paris Hilton definition of hot, but the weatherman definition of hot.) All the hot air from the monument traveled to the top where there were no vents to let it out. Maximum time for staying at the top would be 1-2 minutes unless you were into the sauna experience.

Then a trip to Boca Loca Beads for Barb. I was unable to find any Czech pressed-glass coins, but Barb found some Afgan Jade.

Finally an evening dinner at the Canterbury. Tonight I ordered the Heirloom Tomato and Chevre salad. (More goat cheese.)

The trip home included a stop at Bailey's Discount Center in North Judson. An interesting stop. I might describe it as a Sam's Club for rednecks. (No membership required.) We did walk out with some great deals. I got an $18 value for $0.99 and it's something I will use!

The final stop on this trip was the Rodger's Reunion in Knox where we renewed friendships and had an enjoyable time. Somehow, my father has managed to make him and myself the official auctioneers of the reunion. I'm not an auctioneer! I didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night! The auction is a way to fund the reunion. Items from Whoopie Cushions to old family photo's and memorabilia are donated.

When we pulled into the garage back home, our trip odometer read 333.3. Coincidence on this our 33rd anniversary...I think not.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gas Jack

Within 1/1000th of getting a Gas Jack.


I'm one of those guys that mows my lawn in a different direction each time. I alternate between vertical, diagonal, horizontal and diagonal | / - \. I also divide my lawn into 3 zones for mowing; front, back and side. This last Saturday was the day for diagonal heading to the south-west (/). I had finished the front and a quarter of the back yard when I decided that I would take advantage of the way the shade was falling and do the side yard before completing the back. As I was navigating the 19 trees in the side yard I realized that what I had mowed of the back yard I had done diagonal to the south-east (\). Now what was I going to do?
1) mow the entire back yard diagonal to the south-east
2) mow the back yard diagonal to the south-west going over what I had already mowed
3) mow the remainder of the back yard diagonal south-west
What would you have done and why?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gas Jack

In Las Vegas they have Black Jack where you can loose large sums of money. Here, we have similar entertainment where you loose large sums of money. I'm not talking about the gambling sites that are in the area, I'm talking about hundreds of locations that you pass everyday. You are already spending big bucks when you visit them, why not have a little fun at the same time? I'm talking about gas stations. It's a little game I call Gas Jack. All you need to play is a credit or debit card which you probably already use to get your gas, a car that's in need of some fuel and a pay at the pump gas station. Here's how you play: 1) pre-determine a gallon or dollar amount that you are going to attempt to stop the pump at. Only whole dollar or even gallon measurements allowed. 2) Start filling the tank without using the auto shut off. 3) Only the first stop of the pump is allowed. 4) No fair slowing the flow of gas to make it easier to hit your pre-determined goal. Here is an example of my recent play. My goal was 8 gallons. I overshot my target by .004 which isn't bad. Send me your entry that comes closer than mine and I'll post it. I'll set up two categories to play, gallons or dollars.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

First Love

She was eight years my senior. She wasn't as attractive as others, in fact she was a little larger than most. The other guys would snicker when we came around, but I still loved her. I affectionately called her Snow White. There were times our relationship needed a little push to get going nevertheless I was always willing to give it my all. Even though it's been over thirty three years since we parted ways, I think of her every now and then and wish that I'd never let her go. She was a 1960 Studebaker Lark station wagon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Amish Spice? Week 2

Day 8 - Prepare a candlelit bubble bath.

Candlelit is the only way we take baths, and if I was to make bubbles in it, I'd be in a heap of trouble.

Day 9 - Leave a trail of Hershey Kisses to a secret rendezvous spot. She will enjoy the hunt for YOU! When your spouse arrives give her a foot massage.

The Hershey Kisses melted in the heat. When she found me, her bare feet were covered in chocolate. No way was I going to massage those feet. She made me pick up all the little foil wrappers.

Day 10 - Write your sweetie a love letter. Give it to her with a hug and kiss before going to work.

I'm not much at writing. I'll skip this one.

Day 11 - Book a bed & breakfast for a surprise weekend getaway.

We are a bed & breakfast. Why should I pay for what we have every weekend?

Day 12 - Spend a night without TV. Spend time with each other. Play cards or a board game. Work a puzzle.

What's so special about this? This is what we do every night.

Day 13 - Resolve to go one day without arguing, nagging, etc. Grab your spouse for five or ten minutes.

She won't get any work done if I hold on to her that long.

Day 14 - Pack a picnic dinner, go to a romantic spot together and watch the sunset.

I guess we could do this. Those english. Always wanting to be like us.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Amish Spice? Week 1

Back in May I created a post about a motivational seminar I attended. At that seminar was an Amish family. Everyone received a "Get Motivated" workbook. In that workbook is the article "How to Spice Up Your MARRIAGE In Two Weeks." I want to put myself in the place of the amishman as he reads this article.

Day 1 - Ask your spouse out on a date. Make the destination a surprise. Dress up and put on cologne. Go outside and ring the doorbell to pick up your date (or get a limo!)

I'm not much into dressing up. I don't have any cologne. Doorbell? Maybe I better start with day 2.

Day 2 - After a night of romance, get up early and make your spouse's favorite breakfast. Now make your dramatic entrance as you serve your spouse breakfast in bed!

I get up early every morning! It's not a man's place to make breakfast. Why would she even want to eat it in bed. Maybe I better start with day 3.

Day 3 - Put sticky notes inside her car that say "I love you."

Car? We don't own such a thing. I wonder if the buggy would work? Maybe I better just go to day 4.

Day 4 - Buy tickets or a gift certificate for you and your spouse to do something that your spouse really loves.

Don't need no tickets to have Floyd drive us up to Granger for the Garage Sales. I do this every weekend. I better move on.

Day 5 - Give your partner a full-body massage. Play soft music and concentrate on being slow and gentle.

She already has a full-body. No need making it any fuller by giving her a massage. I never thought about playing the "juice harp" slow and gentle. Most of the music I know has a little beat to it.

Day 6 - Send flowers.

Why she has all the flowers she needs in the garden. She would think I was some kind of fool to pay somebody to bring her flowers she already has.

Day 7 - Look up your partner's favorite show and turn on the TV before she even approaches the remote control.

Looks like today is shot. It's been a whole week and all I've been able to do is play my "juice harp". Maybe next week will be better.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Private Lives

I know that many of you could care less about what's happening in France, but a recent news piece caught my attention and has applications to where we are as a society.

France and the United States have more in common than you may think. We have an immigration problem, they have an immigration problem. Our politics are sharply split between right and left, theirs is split sharply between right and left.

Within the last month they had their presidential elections. On the right, Nicolas Sarkosy. On the left, popular socialist Segolene Royal. France electing a woman president was about to happen. Fortunately for the United States, Nicolas Sarkosy won a decisive victory. Now, less than a month after the elections, Segolene Royal and her "partner" are separating. In addition to the fact that Segolene and the father of her four children never married is the fact that he, was also the leader of the Socialist Party. I've always thought that to be a conflict of interest.

Now that you have the background, here is a quote from Francois Holland (Segolene's ex-partner and father of her children) from news source Expatica
"I have always sought to separate politics, which must have principles, rules and foundations, from private life which must be protected," Hollande said in a radio interview.

When I read that I thought "If Francois had treated his private life with 'principles, rules and foundations', he might not be in the situation he is in now." As a side note, not too long ago Segolene and Francois had contemplated marriage.

We must swim against the tide of the left and instill our private lives with principles, rules and foundations and in doing so we will protect our private lives.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Love & Money

Since my Jr. High School days I've attended church. I've seen my share of offerings over the years. The term "Love Offering" is nothing new. But yesterday when I heard the term again on the radio during an advertisement for a singing group at a local church, I got to thinking. Why do they call it a "Love Offering"? Should I only give if I "Love" the performance or "Love" them? What if I only liked it? Wouldn't it be better to call it a "Like Offering"? If it's a "Love Offering" and I really don't "Love" them am I lying if I give? Why can't they just call it an "Offering" and leave off any adjectives?

Maybe I misunderstand it all. Maybe it's "they love offerings" so it's a "Love Offering".

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Flying The 'Not So' Friendly Skies

After a few hours of sleep I was up and on my way to the airport at 4:00am for a 6:00am flight. We're suppossed to be there two hours early for domestic flights right? I guess I should have checked this out. I arrived at the airport at about 4:20am and the airline's check in was not open yet. About 5:00am the kiosks came to life and I got my bording pass. No need to check my bag since I had emptied my travel case of all the shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion I had accumulated during the last week and a half of vacation. I was going to be Mr. Efficient this morning. No need to wait for my luggage at the other end. In and out....Wait a minute. I still had a can of shaving cream. And it was larger than 3oz. If you know where I can get a can of shaving cream that is 3oz or less, let me know. I could do without the shaving cream. I'm still good....ooops. My hairspray bottle is larger than 3oz. But there was probably less than 3oz of spray in it. Should I chance it? Could I do without the hair spray...Mmmmm, better not. So back to the Airline desk which now had a healthy line. I figured it was better to check my bag. Finally back to the concourse. Coins, cell phone, shoes and belt into the little container to go through X-ray. There I was, holding my bording pass in one hand and my pants up with the other. The TSA agent asked for my boarding pass before I could pass through the metal detector. "Hold it boys. This guy's in the wrong concourse. Send his stuff back." What? South Bend Regional Airport has more than one concourse?

Okay, now off to the lesser known concourse. There a little old lady was trying to combine three plastic bags of 3oz liquids into one. As I walked by her and the TSA agent to strip down and go through the metal detector, the TSA reminded me that "she" had to see my id and boarding pass. So I step back into line behind the little old lady shuffling 3oz's of liquid from plastic bag to plastic bag. Finally though I made it through the check point and was able to put myself back together.

Now, I'm sitting in Concourse C, the lesser concourse, and decide to read the little boarding pass holder that the ticketing agent gave me when I checked my carry on bag. Under the CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT it says, '"ticket" means this passenger ticket..."Carriage" is equivalent to "transportation," "carrier" means all air carriers...' Why couldn't they just use "transportation" to refer to "transportation"? Why do they need to use the word "carriage"?

Some examples of it's usage.
Carriage hereunder is subject to the ruls and limitations...
...unless such carriage is not "International Carriage" as defined by...
An air carrier issuing a ticket for carriage...
...whose aircraft is used by carrier for carriage and its agents...
This ticket is good for carriage for one year from the date of issue...
The fare for carriage herunder...

Read it again and this time replace the word "carriage" with "transportation". Wouldn't that be more readable? Do they really need to make it hard to understand?

No nail clippers. Take your shoes off. Take your belt off. Only liquids less than 3oz and then they have to be in a clear plastic bag. Is this really making carriage safer?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Get Motivated

This one's for you Jonathon. (Yes, there actually are people who read my blog.)

Recently I attended a "Get Motivated Seminar". I learned that you have to believe that you already have what it is you want. Why should I be happy in my current position as Director of Administrative Computing? I should aspire to higher levels. How about CIO? Well, Bethel doesn't have a CIO position. (Negative thought, discard) So, here's my plan. I'll start dressing like a CIO by wearing one of those expensive Italian suits. Then, I'll get a Mercedes Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series Coupe which represents the synergy of racecar performance and roadcar driveability. It's a sanctuary of speed and luxury. Oh yeah! Check it out. CLK63 AMG Black Series Coupe

Then I'll buy a home in Granger...wait a minute. I already have a home in Granger. I'll come in to work an hour late, leave for the afternoon to play a round of golf, schedule a trip to Hawaii to check out options for connectivity for a possible future campus. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Harold! You're going to get yourself fired and find yourself in incredible debt." The seminar addressed that. I was able to enroll in a program that would make me incredibly wealthy. Normally the cost would have been $10,000. But I got it for a mere $1,500. Okay, so there's a $600 annual cost. Not to worry, I'm going to be rich! All I have to do is to pick a company that represents something I'm interested in, log on to this web site wait for three green arrows then BUY!, wait for three red arrows then SELL! And keep doing that over and over and over. Hold on. If all I need to know is green arrow, red arrow, why does this company have to be something I'm interested in?

Okay, so I didn't really go for the stock market class. They had a backup. How about real estate? That was another offer that I could pay to learn how to make money.

There were enjoyable and entertaining speakers, but even before it was done for the day, I felt like I had just encountered a bait and switch. Should I have been surprised? The conference cost was something like $50 per office, which included a free lunch (with motivational water), free DVDs from Zig Ziglar (I've yet to look at them) and a "Get Motivated Workbook" with numerous pictures of the seminar promoter with his picture with individuals like Zig Ziglar, Rudi Giuliani, George Bush (41), Naomi Judd and Mother Teresa. Bye the way, the workbook value was $20 (I don't know who would have paid that price for 25 articles and a place to take notes.) After the session by Phil Town on Investing, I felt like I had been sucked into a QVC audience. Then during Peter Lowe's (Seminar founder) session, I felt like I had wandered into an evangelistic service. I wonder how that Amish family attending the seminar felt? I wonder if they feel motivated?

Perhaps it's like going to Goodwill. There's a lot of stuff there I really don't care about, but there is probably something there I could use. I just need to look for it. At a minimum, there's the article "Health & Diet Myths You Need To Know" that I can read for 15 wellness points. (My employer gives me wellness points that I can cash in for money towards my Health Savings Account) Maybe that Amish guy is reading "How To Spice Up Your Marriage In Two Weeks". (I think this is going to require another post.)

Just in case you're worried when you look at the post date and wonder why I was taking time to do this on Mother's day rather than seeing that Barb had a good Mother's day, she is enjoying Mother's day and she's taking a well deserved nap at this moment.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

2 Cheap

My father, who will be turning 77 in a couple of weeks, is looking for a cane that would help give him a little stability for occasions when he might be on his feet for awhile. He alerted Barb and I to keep our eyes out for a wooden cane at garage sales.

I've been checking out Goodwill stores also for canes without much luck. That is until Thursday of this last week. I walked in and just as I had experienced in other stores, there were no canes in the front of this store either. (The front is where they would place them if they had them.) I decided to quickly peruse the store to see if anything else might catch my attention. As I passed the golf clubs, there was a wooden cane with a plastic putting head attached to the bottom, and a plastic golf ball attached further up with a card that said "Old golfers never die, they just loose their balls." With my ability to see more than what is there, I visually removed the plastic ball and card along with the plastic putting head that was attached with a screw. I then visualized a rubber cap on the end, something that I thought I might be able to pick up at a drug store, and voila! A wooden cane appeared before me.

I took a look at the price tag. Four dollars. Not bad. In fact a very good deal, but wait. Saturday was going to be 50% off. That means that the cane would be $2. An excellent deal. Dad would be proud. Dad would never guess how little I paid for it. It was Thursday and Saturday was only a few days away. No one would buy this in the short time that existed between then and Saturday.

Saturday I arrived at Goodwill at a little after 8:00 am. The parking lot was empty. As I drove by the door I saw that it didn't open until 9:00 am. It wasn't a tragedy. It gave me time to run by my office and pick up a screwdriver to remove the putting head. I meant to bring one from home, but forgot.

When I returned at about 8:40, there were a half a dozen cars now waiting for the store to open. I was still not worried. What would be the chance that one of these individuals was waiting to purchase a humorous birthday gift for a golfing buddy? I settled back and caught up on some periodicals related to the informational technology industry.

The time finally arrived. People had exited their cars and were standing outside when the doors open. I sauntered in and headed directly back to the golf clubs. All my eyes could see were metal shafts. What happened to the obvious wooden shaft that I has seen only two days ago? It wasn't here any more. It must have been moved to another part of the store. I wandered the store for the next little while to no avail. It was gone. I lost an excellent deal by being $2 too cheap.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Step 1

We purchased a trailer bike that connects to an adult bike and allows a child to ride behind with his own seat, pedals and handlebars. I pried the 5 large metal staples off the box in order to open it. I looked inside, no instructions were easily visible. I pulled some parts out and found a plastic bag that was attached to the rear wheel with a plastic cable tie that had to be cut with a utility knife. I opened the bag, removed the "Owners Manual" (looked like instructions to me). The front page had three sections; Prior to Assembly, Important Safety Information, Tools Required for Assembly. On page 3 under Assembly And Operating Instructions was "Step 1 Open carton, remove contents..." Isn't it a little late for that? My recommendation for wording, "Now that you've opened the carton and removed the contents, let's start with Step 1 Compare contents with part list"?

Important Safety Information: This section is comprised of 16 "WARNING" items each ending with an exclamation point. Have you ever noticed that the more "Warnings" there are, the less apt you are to pay any attention to them?
Warning 3 - "This trailer bike is designed to attach to an adult bicycle with 26:, 27" or 700C wheels!" Wouldn't that have been good information to have on the outside of the box?
Warning 4 - "This trailer bike does not have a brake. Make sure the adult bike brakes function properly!" Really? I was hoping a child age 4-9! weighing less than 75 lbs (warning 5) would be able stop the both of us.
Warning 6 - "Make sure the child riding the trailer bike understands how to operate it correctly!" What's to operate? He can't steer it or brake it.
Warning 14 - "Do not ride barefoot!" I'll vouch for that one. I lost a big toenail as a kid when riding a bike barefoot and the toe got caught between the pedal and the curb as I rode from the street up over the curb to the sidewalk. ("Warning 9 - Do not ride over curbs!" I wish I would have known that as a kid. Like it would have made a difference.)

Tools Required For Assembly:
Adjustable wrench
6mm Allen wrench
I like it when the tools required are few, but you need more tools than what they tell you. Here's my list.
* Adjustable wrench
* 6mm Allen wrench
* Flat blade screw driver (to remove the staples that hold the box together. Of course, you already know this since you got the box open.)
* Pliers or second adjustable wrench (To hold the bolt head while you turn the nuts with the adjustable wrench.
* 2 Allen wrenches smaller than 6mm (To hold the other end of the swivel pin not mentioned in the Parts List or Instructions, but part of the assembly.)

Step 3 Attach the handlebar
3A Unscrew all two Allen-head screws....
3D ...and tighten all two screws securely. IMPORTANT NOTE: As you tighten the screws, alternate among all four to make sure they are tightened evenly.
(It was amazing! You should have seen it. One moment there were two screws and as I started tightening them...BAM! there were four. Just kidding. I wonder if that is what was supposed to happen?

If anyone out there has the second Allen wrench, of the size which I have no idea, I need it to secure the swivel pin (not mentioned in the Parts List or Instructions). We've violated "Warning 9 - Before riding, check that all parts are assembled correctly per the manufacturer's instructions!" Wait a minute, the swivel pin wasn't mentioned in the instructions. I haven't violated it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Your body's here...

Employee safety from individuals planning harm is a concern these days. Recommendations like "Find the closest office that locks and has a phone. Then call security." Sometimes it may be necessary to use a code phrase when calling security to signal them to come to your location. This is a fairly passive methodology.

Consider a methodology a little more active. Put guns in glass cases like fire extinguishers and locate them in offices at regular intervals. Now the instructions for employees in danger of physical harm are instructed to "Find the closest office that has a gun." When the situation is resolved, call security with the code phrase, "Your body is here and ready to be picked up."

(This post is intended solely for entertainment purposes and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the poster.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How many (Fill in the blank) does it take to change a light bulb?

With the recent Don Imus controversy, I'm afraid to insert any specific population group in the well known "How many...does it take to change a light bulb?" question. So, how's this as an alternate question?

Q: How many trips to the home improvement store does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Nineteen

Okay, so I did more than change a light bulb. I remodeled the bathroom. But I did change the light bulb!

Every weekend handyman knows that one trip to the hardware store results in another trip. As we know, something evil always lurks in a home improvement project. This one was no exception.

The man impetus for the remodeling was the counter top. We had decided to go with a counter with a molded sink. The old counter top came out with little problem. But we had discovered that they had feathered in up to about a half inch of drywall compound to make the wall come out to the edge of the counter. The wall bowed slightly. Well, the new counter top wouldn't fit in (or so I thought) with that drywall compound. So I removed the drywall compound. I still had trouble getting the counter top in. I had to remove part of the trim around the door to finally get the new counter top in. Now the back of the counter was too high for the mirror, so that had to be adjusted.

Next we replaced the light fixture only to find that there was just a hole in the wall and no junction box. Well, my new light fixture really needed a box to attach it self to. We started out thinking we would go with a "tumbled bronze" look and then changed to a "brushed nickel".

I removed the back of the toilet so that we could easily paint the wall behind it. While it was out, I removed the cabinet drawers to make it easier to install the counter top and paint. I should have remembered to put the drawers back in before putting the toilet back together. There wasn't enough space to put them back in with the toilet tank installed.

Well, nineteen trips, five stores, twenty one returned items later, the bathroom is finished.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Box it UPS

Barb orders three items from Arbonne all on the same day. Can you guess which shipping container the three items arrived in? Did you guess the large box? Wrong. Try again. The envelope? You know better than that. The small box. Wrong again. Actually, each one came in it's own separate shipping container when all three could have been easily shipped in the small box. With plenty of room for bubble wrap. From left to right, each product corresponds to the shipping container it came in. No wonder this Arbonne stuff is expensive.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Excited pedometer

My participation in a recent fitness challenge at work qualified me for a free pedometer. I'm not sure though if I should wear it. I'm afraid I might "arouse" it. This can happen if I "false" mounted it or possibly my "walking way". My walk isn't that strange is it? (And don't stare at me when I walk.) Maybe I just need to make sure I attach it securely to my "waistband orbelt". What is my "waistband orbelt"? I'm able to program a DVD recorder, but I'm not sure I can program this pedometer.
"Note: 1) Precise instrument it is and be sure operated and maintained properly." You'll notice also that all the measurements are in metric. I guess the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 is finally kicking in. I'm also thinking that the manufacturer of this pedometer is not proficient in English.

* (Click on image to enlarge it. Items in quotes can be found on Features: 3rd line, 2nd line. Note: 1.)

Monday, April 2, 2007

Born To Be Wild

You're never too old to begin a new hobby.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


The following is from an e-mail I receive from Barb's cousin Paul Schultz who is translating the Bible for Chadian people. At first I was just going to send it to dad but then I thought perhaps it would be a good alternative to my light hearted posts. Something a bit more meaningful.

The first part is taken from his newsletter. The second part is part of his e-mail which refers back to the section from the newsletter.

A recent survey by Barna found that 45% of all adults (USA) are “born again.” That number is up from 31% in 1983. The percentage hovered in the 36% to 43% range from 1992 through 2005. The current figure represents the largest single-year increase since 1991-1992. That’s awesome news...but personally, I don’t see it. I look around my community and I don’t see nearly half of my neighbors even going to church let alone acting like Christians. And I don’t see the media responding to such a huge ‘block’. Another survey by Barna showed that God was the highest priority in only one out of seven...however, that was just a verbal response...financially-speaking, only 6% tithe. I wonder what the statistic is of those who made a disciple in 2006. I wonder how different America (and the world) would look if just 10% of those who call themselves Christians, committed to making a disciple in 2007.

In the newsletter I refer to George Barna ( and his statistics concerning the "born again" population in the United States. To me, his statistics are incredibly high. But even if they are half right, there is a fundamental problem with how many Christians there are and how little difference we seem to make. I didn't have the space to spell it out clearly in the newsletter...but I think some of the problem stems from the fact that we are selling a 'cheap' Christianity. A 'Christ' without commitment...for instance (and I am only using this since it is easily quantifiable) Barna believes that 45% of all adults (USA) are "born again", but only 6% tithe. If 6% tithe, what do you think the percentage would be of those who make disciples? But even more importantly...what would the world look like if each of us made a commitment to disciple one person a year? What would your world look like if you discipled someone else this year?

If You Have To Ask

March 3rd South Bend Tribune article title
... jury: Define 'reasonable doubt'

Now if you ask me, if you have to ask what reasonable doubt have it.

(The jury went on to convict the individual on 4 of 5 counts. It was Scooter Libby in case you were interested.)

I Eat, Therefore I'm Hungry

It was nearing lunch hour the other day and I was checking with Barb to see what her lunch plans were. I was getting hungry. Hungrier than I get on a normal morning. Normal mornings I grab a glass of juice and I'm fine till noon. This particular morning I had eaten a breakfast of eggs, bagels, cream cheese, fruit. A plate full. And because of that, I was getting hungry about 11:00. Seems odd doesn't it? I don't eat, I don't get hungry before noon. I eat, and I'm chomping at the bit mid morning to get more to eat.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Postman's Secret

Isn't it great how our postmen (or postpeople) keep secret the strange things they know about us? You can tell a lot about a person by what they receive in the mail. The catalogs/magazines that one receives gives insight into who they are. For example, Barb receives a number of apparel catalogs as well as magazines like Better Home & Garden. From that you would know that she is into clothes and things about the home. But then what about the Critics Choice catalog she receives? It's a DVD retailer. You might think she's into movies. Wrong. Just like me receiving the Victoria's Secret catalog. You might think I'm into women's lingere. Wrong. You buy one little gift at Christmas and Bam! you start receiving mailings. Oh well, I'm glad the postman can keep secret what mail we're receiving. Hmmmm I wonder what I'm going to do with this postcard for a pair of free delicates.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Polite Bathroom Scales

My bathroom scales are polite. They're the digital kind of scales. You step on them and in a second the digital weight to the closest half pound displays.

Every morning when I step up on them they display my weight, 186. I step off and say "That can't be right." My scales are just trying to be nice, kind of like when you ask your spouse or a friend ... "Do these jeans make my butt look big?". "Nahh".

Well, my scales are just trying to make me feel good about myself. So I say, "Be honest" and step back on the scales...187.5. Now that's more realistic. I thank my scales and step off. Every morning, the same thing. My first ask is provided with a polite answer. My second one the realistic one. Hmmmm I wonder what "polite scales" go for on E-bay...Nah, I couldn't do that to my wonderful scales.

(The actual weight in this blog has been changed to protect the overweight.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

TAC Eeeee!

I just found out the other day that my 3 year old grand-daughter has already done drugs. Cocaine to be exact. I about drove off the road when I heard it. Here's how it came about. Recently she ran into the corner of a door and put a gash in her forehead. She was taken to the emergency room where they treated her and stiched her up. She slept through the stiches (4). She's a tough cookie. Well, they used a topical anesthetic called TAC to numb the area before stiches. TAC stands for tetracaine-adrenaline-cocaine. I'm wondering, since the gash was like a crack would you say that she's done crack cocaine?

The good news is that she's been in rehab with her parents and has been drug free for over a week now.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Now I Remem.......ber

I'm noticing that my memory isn't functioning the way it used to. It's not that I forget things. It's just that they take longer to ...... remember sometimes.

Sunday, my friend ..... Dr. Bradley Smith (I like to throw names around) suggested we do lunch later in the week. There was an eating establishment, I'll remember the name later, that he wanted to check out in downtown Mishawaka. We agreed on Tuesday. At that time I thought to myself about an errand that I should do while downtown with Bradley. Tuesday arrived. I remembered that there was something that I wanted to do while downtown, but ..... I couldn't remember what it was. I thought and I thought. Traffic must have been re-routed in my brain or there must have been a huge traffic jam. We finished our lunch, which took exceptionally long considering the small number of diners at Carol's Downtown, and I still had not recalled what it was that I wanted to do.

Well, finally Wednesday morning, in the bathroom (I must do some of my best thinking in the bathroom as I'm waking up) the traffic in my brain flowed freely and I remembered that I wanted to pick up some vacuum bags at Advanced Cleaning. Oh well, I'll have to make a special trip now. I wonder when I'll remember to make that special trip?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Batteries not included

The grandchildren were visiting over the weekend and they were enjoying the multitude of toys that Barb has been able to acquire from her weekly garage sale adventures. Barb has saved a significant amount of money building up our toy holdings that way.

Jackson Dean was playing with a police helicopter and we noticed on the bottom side a door about the length of AA battery and about the width of two AA batteries. Wanting our grandchildren to be able to enjoy the toy to it's fullest, we decided to remove the door and load it up with batteries.

Surprise, surprise! When we removed the door (that was representative of so many other doors we have removed to insert batteries) we were greeted with a little compartment that contained a sticker saying "This is not a battery compartment". That's strange. It looked like a battery compartment to me. The plastic even had raised images of AA batteries showing which direction they were to be inserted. It did not have any metal contacts, the only thing missing for a batterycompartment. So if this was not a battery compartment then what kind of compartment was it? A place to hide your wedding ring, an extra key, M&Ms.

Take a look for youself. Doesn't it look like a battery compartment to you? Click on the picture to get a closer look.

Actually, I think a lawyer is behind this. Here's how it probably went down.

(Board Room with Product Marketing, VPs and the company lawyer)
Marketer: So, here we have our new toy helicopter. It uses two double A batteries and the helicopter blades rotate just like a real helicopter.
Lawyer: You'll put some kid's eye out. You can't have the blades rotate.
VP: But we've already manufactured 50,000 of them.
Lawyer: You'll get sued when some kid get's hit with the rotating blade.
Marketer: So we're just going to dump this project and all the money we've put into it?
VP: There's got to be a way that we can recoup our investment here.
Lawyer: Take out the motor and the battery contacts.
Marketer: But people will see the battery compartment and then return the merchandise thinking it's defective.
Lawyer: Put a sticker in there telling them this isn't a battery compartment. It's either that or get sued.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Shampoo Warning Part II

Still intrigued by yesterday's observation, I took another look at my shampoo bottle again this morning. It's worse than I thought. It's not lawyers behind the warning...It's the government! That's my current position. This morning as I took another look at the backside of the bottle I noticed the heading of all the information was labeled "Drug Facts". Whoa! My dandruff shampoo is a drug? I really haven't meant to be doing "drugs" in the shower a couple of times a week. Do I need to go to re-hab? Nah. I'm not hooked. I can give it up anytime I want as long as I don't start using it "internally".

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Shampoo Warning

Not long ago I purchased some shampoo. I was feeling in the mood for a little pampering, so I purchased two types of shampoo. Both were the same brand designed for men and one was a dandruff shampoo with conditioner. Well, this morning while showering, I noticed the warning on the dandruff shampoo. "Warning: For external use only" I'm thinking to myself that is strange. Who would use shampoo internally? I then wondered if both shampoos had the warning so I checked the other bottle. Nope, just the dandruff shampoo. Who would think of using a dandruff shampoo internally? Are there internal areas that struggle with dandruff? Did someone actually do this and therefore the need for the warning?

One thing is fairly certain. There are one or more lawyers that are responsible for this, but why?

Monday, January 1, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now

I can see clearly now, Comcast is gone.
There are no obstacles in my way.
Gone is the bad reception that drove me mad.
It's gonna be a bright, bright TV watchin day.
It's gonna be a bright, bright TV watchin day.

Since having the Dish installed two days ago, my reception of TV5 has been outstanding. Not only that, but I have DVR (Digital Video Recorder) as part of my receiver. I can pause and playback live TV. I can record to DVR and then transfer to DVD (DVD recorder not included.) if I decided I like the program and want to keep it. I guess it's one of those things that once you're made the change, you don't want to go back.