Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Another flight another tree...

Please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the captain has given the two bell signal that it is safe to stand and walk about the cabin.

And remember that any items in the overhead compartments may have shifted as we are now nose down in a giant tree.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Poinsettia (Brand) Milk - I see the gallon in our fridge. Isn't Poinsettia poison? Or is it just poison to dogs? Interesting marketing. How about GREAT MILK? Or HAPPY COW MILK? What's next? Poison Ivy Milk?


I got a call the other day declaring me recipient of a National Leadership Award. I was supposed to call back right away to arrange details. I passed. Scamaliciousness! I assume they wanted a contribution or were selling certificates framed for all to see the grand glory of the award. Uh huh. Meanwhile I have won a few more lotteries I never entered ("of all the email addresses in the world, we chose YOURS!") And the South Africans are after me big time to help them transfer the estate of the poor family killed (tragically, even the grandkids) in a plane wreck. I'm not clear why they would want to get the money out of the country, but they'll give me 20% of the 26 million just for caring (and providing some personal details.) Do you get these things? I get many - sometimes several a week. "Dear Kind Person..." "Generous citizen"... "Be informed that a member of the South Africa Export Promotion Council (SEPC) who was at the Government delegation to your country during a trade exhibition gave your enviable credentials/particulars to me." ----
maybe enough of these add up to a National Leadership Award?

Get this one:
"After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address attached to serial number 25-6565 drew the lucky numbers 6-13-18-24-33-39 which consequently emerged you as one of first fifty (10) lucky winners in this category." First fifty (10). Hmmmm.
This one wins me 1,000,000 Euros, which are worth more than a buck these days. A buck .3240 to be precise. (The .0040 doesn't matter to you, but to me, I get to multiply by a million!)

And when it rains, it pours!
"Happy New year Congratulations to you as we bring to your notice, the results of the First Category draws of THE LOTTO NL. PROMO INT. We are happy to inform you that you have emerged as a winner under the First Category, which is part of our promotional draws. The draws are being officially announced today 18th,January 2007. Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 5,000,000 email addresses of individuals and companies from around the world as part of our International Promotion Program.

Your e-mail address, attached to ticket number 70985, with serial number 002-7877 and lucky number P-23517-H91/A6 consequently won in the First Category. You have therefore been awarded a PRIZE sum pay out of 2,500,000.00 (Two Million five hundred Euros)"
Imagine - it tokk the e mail address to get the ticket number, then the special serial number, and then the winning lucky number. That's like infinity to one odds! I think I'll keep the two million and give the 500 to the lottery model at the check presentation.


I am Barrister Rose Adams personal Attorney to Ronald Lake, On the 31st of January 2000, my client and his wife Joyce Lake were involved in a Plane Crash (Alaska Airlines Flight 261) all passengers unfortunately lost their lives, since then I have made several enquiries to locate any of my client's extended relatives but this proved unsuccessful.

Since it is not compulsory that the Next-of-Kin must be a blood relation to the deceased, hence I contacted you, be informed that a Next-of-Kin can be anybody, friends or organization etc.

Presently, the Bank where the deceased (my client) had a Deposit valued at US$8, 34700, 000 000 Million issued me a notice to provide the Next-of-Kin to my client to receive its benefit or have the account confiscated... Lettsee, that's 834, 700,000,000 Million which is 834 billion million (rounded off.) That would be
834,000,000,000,000,000. Scrooge McDuck stuff.

I am so lucky. It all began with free AOL CDs... I'd get them in the most unexpected places... with lots and lots of free hours, just for me!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I can see three of them from just up the street. One looks like homes are endangered, but I am told they are not. When you see the plume against a bright blue sky, you immediately think, uh oh. Or I do anyway. Maybe becAUse we saw some incredible UNcontrolled fires when we lived in San Diego. One later came within 25 feet of our old place, and did take out a number of development residences!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


I need a thumbtack. The nose of my Air Hog (real name) needs just a touch more weight to keep it from porpoising.

Today we had a pretty calm morning and so I took the advantage to learn the R/C controls as I could actually fly for minutes at a time before hitting a tree, or crashing.

Turning downwind, even with a whisper of a breeze, speeds the plane up dramatically, and it's not yet intuitive to me how to get out of a turn cleanly (or even which way the stick moves the plane, since the tiny motors don't have much power, and in any wind, the turn is relatively unresponsive!)

My last flight was exciting... at full throttle it climbed and climbed and climbed. I kept it in tight circles over my field on our property. Then the wind turned it and as I 'corrected' I found it had passed the boundary of my R/C control. Leaving our property, passing over the barbed-wire-encircled very private community behind us.

When last seen, it was maybe 100 feet or more up and going away,as they say, "thataway."

I walked the fenceline but couldn't see it over in what's called The Preserve.

But I know of a place where the barbed wire is just stretched enough that you can crawl between two strands of it to access the forbidden zone. You can't miss it, it's almost behind the sign that says Stay Out You Lower Class Citizens. Carefully, thinking tetanus thoughts, I snuck.

Busted! One of the residents waved me an "I see you and we'll fix that gap right away" friendly wave. I hoped he'd see my R/C antenna and realize what I was doing.

So I trespassed. Forgive me my trespasses. As we forgive those who.... well, you know how that works out. I roamed the neighbor's field and there was no sign of flying machine. I searched the ground, the trees, but nothing. Then I tried turning on the motors by R/C as maybe I could hear them and locate it. No luck. More no luck (I was like the "Can You Hear Me Now" guy on TV, except the answer was NO. But then I did finally faintly hear a whine off in the distance. Somewhere over THERE and UP.

Another tree magnet. Happily I could shake the branches enough to free the Air Hog and beat feet, retrace my steps, my fence squeeze, and declare the day's flying over.

I could grow up to own Jet Blue.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I admit it. I crave sweets. And it seems that, after dinner, especially, if I don't have something sweet, I show the symptoms (I assume) of addiction: nervousness, restlessness, a gnawing need that doesn't go away until filled.

Over the years I have found that even as little as 3 Hersheys Kisses will serve me. Or a few marshmallows. It's like our dog: she expects the treat after she goes and does her business. I expect a treat after dinner.

Well, last night I sunk to a new low. Here is my confession. Let it serve as a source of a feeling of superiority for you. My weakness is my shame.

There was nothing sweet in the house. I looked in all the prime places, then the secondary ones: nothing sweet in the kitchen drawers, not in Terri's office drawers (no pun), and she assured me there were no more hidden Girl Scout cookies or treats in her bag. Relentlessly I roamed the house. There's ALWAYS something. I found a few hard candies, but they don't work for me. Hard candies are the lowest form of sugar: time consuming, often fruity and never satisfying.

I prowled on.

Couldn't eat a bowl of sweet cereal - we were out of milk. Didn't want it dry - the milk releases the sweetness.

I reached BEHIND things in cabinets. This is not normal behavior for any man.

Nothing lost, nothing forgotten, no remnants. There were a few white tips from Halloween candy corn in the corner of the empty candy drawer, but not enough of them to satisfy. Besides, they were petrified. If they broke a tooth, I wouldn't know which was the tooth and which was the corn tip.

Again I checked the freezer. And there, facing me at eye level, was a plastic brick of uneaten Gelatto that was old enough to have a historical marker on it. A challenge! But it should be sweet. Shouldn't it? All I have to do is get around the crusty icy crud.

And so, with spoon in hand, I dug in. I mined the goop for unspoiled Sweet, yes? Maybe a little suspiciously textured, but maybe that's the way they intended it.

Later, I was instant-messaged by my intestinal department that perhaps my entry into Old Gellato was a faux pas. In fact, even today I expect an explosion at any moment. That's as graphic as I'm going to get.

The moral of the story is I need help. In so many ways. And Gellato doesn't age well.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Last night our TiVo died. It died at the promise of life. Which is to say that the screen said POWERING UP. Then, three minutes later, the screen went dark. And the Powering Up began again. I figure this happened at least 250 times.

I tried the fixes on the forums. I unplugged and replugged. I unplugged and waited 20 minutes and replugged. Terri and I were distraught. We are TiVo addicts. There's no question about this.

To the web. Research. I found a TiVo - same box as I had - for free. Circuit City. (And would you believe ther special is over tomorrow?) Yup. Cost: $219.99 - rebate $220. Too good to be true? Apparently not. Bought it on the spot. Called TiVo when I got home and 'cancelled' the contract on the old box and started a new one on the new box. I put the new box under the old one and swapped connectors. This time, Powering Up meant what it said. I went through the setup and all seems good.

I suppose there's a little irony here, in that we only need this standard definition TiVo till (I project) this fall, when major advances will be common in all HDTVs and associated gear (receivers, etc.) AT that time, or shortly after, we will jump to high definition. So at that point I will immediately buy a high definition TiVo. They list for $999. I doubt there are any great deals out there. Certainly no free ones.

You might think TiVo is a toy or an excuse to watch more TV - but it's actually not -you watch LESS TV because we skip the commercials. Takes about - oh, I don't know - maybe 5 seconds to skip all of them. A half hour show is about 18 minutes. An hour show is about 40 minutes.

You might also think all DVRs are the same. But no, that TiVo interface is WONDERFUL.

Example: We love "24." TiVo knows to get all the new episodes. But the other day FOX played a TWO HOUR run of new shows back to back. No sweat. TiVo knew, and got them. Schedule changes? No problem. TiVo knows.

I have evangelized about TiVo over the years. Other than the fact they break after a while, there's just no going back to real time tv and that's that.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


He must have a condo here.

Yesterday I bought a new toy - it's part of a new class of remote controlled airplane. New class: cheap, electric, rechargeable, very light (the box felt empty!), and apparently, highly maneuverable. I write 'apparently' because I await my maiden flight.

I am sitting at the keyboard watching the sun come out and warm up what was the start of gloom.

So why the devil?

Wind is bad. These planes are so lightweight that I could lose it in a tree or a horrible crash. I figure, despite their ruggedness-assurance, that this plane isn't good for many hits. But it is 'certified' for ages 8 and up, so I'm just under the wire!

The devil wants me to fly it in the living room.

Terri is out of town.

What harm would there be in a test flight?

I have a pilot's license from way back when.

How hard can it be?

I struggle: the living room or the wind... Devil says either, or even BOTH.

Mine has bad decal application by Bob, it's quite ugly compared to this beauty shot

- to be continued -

Devil won. I was headed out into the wind just now. But when I initially charged the battery I must have forgotten to turn the switch off. The tank is dry. The volts'n'amps are empty. She's charging.

I've had limited experience with model airplanes that fly, or should fly. I had this yellow thing - a Piper Cub - when I was about 12... you'd start the .049? gas engine with a battery hooked to the glow plug and then control it by turning in a circle holding onto a U shaped controller from which twin lines went to the plane.

Trying to start the engine was an iffy chore. You'd hook up a battery, endlessly mess with the needlevalve, and spin the propeller with quick get-out-of-the-way-because-if-it-starts-you-will-be-very sorry. You'd flip that prop over and over, then charge the cylinder again, spill fuel on your fingers and everything, then cut your fingers trying to spin the darn prop-with-sharp edge, then the fuel would sting as it found the cut.

Maybe the Cub would start. Then you'd again adjust the needlevalve (fuel/air mixture, I guess), disconnect the battery, then get someone to hold it while you ran to the controller and untangled the strings then yell "let go!" The plane would just as likely immediately take off, go ten feet, and crash. Start over.

One time after much fingering, I got it started, but the engine was running backwards somehow. Not good.

I did finally have a few flights and learned that you get pretty dizzy turning in a circle over and over.

Later, when I was a teen, I spotted a great model airplane that my friend had built of balsa, sitting on a high shelf in his room. Authentic fighter. With engine. "Hey, did you ever fly it?" I believe the answer was no. I also believe the Devil was with me as I persuaded him to take it out for a spin.

We walked over the a big parking lot across the street from his house, got it fired up... he took the long tether and I let it go. Around it went - quite fast - a few times. Then up. Almost straight up. Okay, completely straight up. He shouted: "What do I do?" Me: "Run!" We did. He let go the tether and we beat feet. The Hellcat nosed over and quite spectacularly crashed into the asphalt. I still feel guilty.

My new toy should be charged by now.

- to be continued -

Outside we have maybe 3/4 of an acre of cut grass/prairie.

First flight: 5 seconds. Crash.

Second: one second: crash.

And so it went, but amazingly the plane is so slow and lightweight that it always seems to be okay after the NTSB investigation.

I lost count of the quick flight and crashes, but one was pretty cool, because it was circling and going higher and higher and higher (maybe a minute?) (and then the wind took charge.) It flew out of sight. And possibly out of range of the transmitter. It came to rest upside down in a cedar, luckily in a spot I could FIND, and reach.

And so it went, till I gave up, because the wind really was making any straight flights impossible. But I know enough to already see how much fun this will be in calm air. May be the best $30 I ever spent.

- to be continued -

Wind: bad. Gentle wind: still bad. Trees: magnetic. The plane is almost uncontrollable in the wind (depending on direction and wind speed.) I've had maybe two or three flights where I thought I was affecting things. Wind and rain predicted for the rest of this week.

- to be continued -

Thursday, February 08, 2007


"Phototropism is a growth movement induced by a light stimulus. Growth towards a source of light is called positive phototropism, that away from the source is termed negative phototropism. The tips of shoots are usually positively, that of roots negatively phototropic." I think that makes me a plant.

The idea is I need sunshine. When it's a gloomy day (like today) I become moody and depressed. Hard rain isn't so bad - it's more of an event, a show put on by nature and it's nice to look outside and be thankful I'm not there.

I have discovered that, contrary to their claim, Florida Orange Juice is not like a glass of sunshine. Also that Sunshine crackers don't work. Sunsweet Prunes do work, but not the way I intend.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Now for about $300 you can buy a pocket taser in designer colors. It's about the size of a cell phone.

If you don't know what a taser is, it's a high voltage/ low amperage device which shocks the victim/target. It's quite a jolt, but due to the low amperage, doesn't kill.

But gee, another thingie for another pocket?

By the way - the range is about 15 feet and... here's the best part - you only get one shot.

You can use it in the close up mode, where you shock the bastage through his (or I suppose her) clothes. Not sure how long that works before the batteries die. But you can count on the perp going down.

Unless they are drug crazed. Then you have an even more crazed problem. At that point, try the knee - it's the original homeopathic taser, and some say, still the best.)

But I think the electronics giants are missing a huge opportunity - CONVERGENCE! Yup, why not build it into a cell phone? It could shock, take a picture of the bad dude AND call 911 all at once. The GPS would tell the cops where you are too.

Again, I miss out on a huge opportunity.

I come up with these ideas but can't move them into the real world.

Gotta go - I need to invent some more excuses.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Wow. I'll bet many self congratulatory meetings were held today in the companies that forked over $2.6 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl airtime. These people are, for the most part, deluded, talentless, and lost in space of an alternate reality. The reason I write this is because so many of the commercials were horrible.

Now I know, taste is subjective and demo targeting might make the commercials more acceptable to some.

A few come to mind:

The Jessica Simpson one... in the words of so many others... WTF? She jumps back in the limo to get a pizza. Clever? Don't think so, Paco.

The Garmin man vs map monster... what a colossal waste of money. So it was supposed to look cheesy, right? Sure hope so. I can think of so many better ways to promote that map vs tech idea!

BTW: Prince is god.

Several spots did work for me. My favorite was actually just text... for Coke, highlighting black milestones. Classy. Understated. Deserved.

There was another Coke spot which started with the money rolling into the slot (excuse me, though, where can you get a coke for a COIN?)... many fanciful moves later the bottle is delivered. Great animation. Sort of Rube Goldberg meets Busby Berkley meets the Tribbles.

Who could hate the Budweiser down-and-out dog which gets gets splattered, then onto the wagon? Cute. Nice end, with the beauty queen hugging the dog and getting muddy!

The Bud spot with paper rock scissors was funny in its starkness.

An aside: we watched the beginning of the show that followed - criminal minds, into which they inserted the postgame standups between Jim Nance and Phil Simms... and it really did seem like it was from the game broadcast since they talked about turnovers and rain. Nice trick!

The Blockbuster spot with the little animals squeezing the mouse was hilarious!

Go Daddy must have looned out - that spot was so sexist and simply dumb... maybe only men buy their service (I do) but again a cheaply done dumb concept.

I liked the spot the viewer thought up... the one with the guy and the girl... he's in a car... the frames would freeze, then colorize then a word would describe the product feature (but I can't remember the product - was it Doritos? That's not a good thing. But I did laugh. Like the spot, like the product - until you know better!

A good game!

CBS has awful audio for the most part, whenever anything is complex, especially at the beginning of the proceedings - teams come out, coin toss - they simply can't get a mix right. At least you could hear Prince, though his guitar did go out right at the end (and you couldn't really hear the backup musicians, not that that really mattered because his Purpleness is that good.) But ya know, it's just another thing.

We don't have HDTV yet and I was thinking we didn't miss much in all that rain as the cameras were soaked and splattered. CBS says they were continually wiping the lenses and I believe it.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Punxutawney, Pa., February 2, 2007

Tragedy struck Gobbler's Knob this morning after Groundhog Phil mounted the leg of the Mayor and began humping him. Fearing rabies, the mayor tried to free himself but the claws were sunk deep into his calf. Other council members attempted to pry Phil off the leg but were bitten on the hands and fingers. Onlookers, some who had been drinking to stay warm, became loud and unruly, and several grabbed snow shovels and began to beat Phil. Once he let go of the mayor, the frenzy continued.

Later, in the recovery room of Punxutawney General Hospital and Grille, the mayor said that, "...fate had dealt the cards, and that Punxutawney would play them. From this day forward, we will base our winter/spring prediction on my pretty niece, 18 year old Bambi, who will camp out in my RV on the Knob for 30 days before emerging to see or not see her shadow."

"This fits with our new initiative to drive tourism beyond one day a year. Our new slogan is Punxy is Sexy and after the public sees Bambi, I'm certain they'll get the message."

"It used to be, if Phil saw his shadow, it meant 6 more weeks of winter, and if Phil didn't see his shadow, it meant spring is around the corner. But seriously, who wants to be around a nasty, smelly, and might I add, oversexed rodent? I'd much rather spend the pre-prediction hours with Bambi in her RV, the Knobmobile, helping her choose the appropriate wardrobe for the occasion."

Bambi: Punxy is Sexy!


New York - Fallen beauty queen, Miss USA Tara Conner, said she had witnessed amazing things as a child and that may have driven her into a life of alcohol and drugs - but she still believed she could be a good role model.

Conner, 21, came close to losing her crown last month because of her wild behaviour but was given a second chance by real estate tycoon and reality TV star, Donald Trump, owner of the Miss USA contest, after she agreed to enter a rehabilitation program.

'Faced her demons'

In her first interview since emerging from a month in rehab, Conner said she had come to terms with the fact that when she was a teen, she had a romantic relationship with a neighbor boy. "The Kents were the nicest people, but Clark, their son, was just - I don't know - special somehow. The day we moved to Kentucky I felt like my heart just stopped beating!"

But she said she had faced her "demons" and came to realize that men in the world outside Smallville were not as strong or loving as her early experience showed.

"I will not deny that I have witnessed some remarkable things, but out of respect for my neighbors back then... it's something I would like to speak with my family about first," Conner told NBC television's Today show in the interview broadcast on Thursday.

"Later on, maybe I'll feel more comfortable about speaking on these topics, but right now not so much."

Addictive personality

She said what had happened in the past may have contributed to her alcoholism and addictive personality. "After Clark, nothing would satisfy me."

Thursday, February 01, 2007


A tough, old cowboy once counseled his grandson that if he wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gunpowder on his oatmeal every morning.

The grandson did this religiously and lived to the age of 110.
He left four children, 20 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren, 10
great great grandchildren and a 50 foot hole where the crematorium used to be.