Tuesday, May 31, 2005

MAY 2005

The posts below are from the original it's jim blog in May, 2005.
The original comments were not included in the backup files.

One Heck of a Big Nickel

One of the first things to notice after crossing the Mississpppi River from Missouri into Illinois is the system of Motorist Aid Call Boxes on the Interstates in Illinois. The call boxes are spaced about every mile or so and can be used to summon an ambulance, a tow truck, or a state trooper. I always thought they were a great idea and even used one many years ago on a hot Sunday afternoon in July before I had a cell phone. On the other hand, USA Today reports that each call at one of the boxes costs taxpayers $77.61. That's right, $77.61 per call, only slightly less than the cost to call Alpha Centauri in a galaxy far, far away! Oh well, it could be worse, image if there was also a Universal Access Charge and a Carrier Line Charge.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Googles Gone Wild!

When visitors find this page via a search engine, I can tell what they were searching for. Listed below are some of the searches that have led people here over the past few weeks. If one of them is from you, welcome and please visit often!

I have added a little comment in italics after each word or phrase someone has searched for. Remember, each of these searches returned my blog as one of the search results.

gnats in the kitchen <== a little scary that this would bring you here

interstate 10...eding tickets <== I have certainly been on I-10, but I do not remember any speeding tickets

lyrics "if you'... one you love" <== probably from Love The One You're With, lyrics by Will Young ("And if you can't be with the one You love honey, Love the one you're with)

oralgel <== Oral Gel toothache medicine, repeats below

kitchen gnats <== not from the same person as above, so even scarier

greens berets <== was not one, but I do have the black beret from some Swedish students

brick + city <== probably the result of my recent tirade about the crosswalks in town

austin, tx str...ing the street <== streaking, striking (and consequently being struck), stroking (as in a stroke of genius), no matter what you put here, I have definitely done it in the streets of Austin, and probably more than once

oralgel <== you people seem to have a lot problems with your teeth

uncooked h <== hamburger maybe?

law and govern...washing liquid <== I have no idea, except perhaps for a desire for clean government

gum removal in... clothes dryer <== I Googled this and got 47,700 hits, maybe if you folks chewed less gum you would have fewer tooth aches

places to visit in illinois <== This might explain all of the weekend guests

The Circle of Strife

I bought something today that was actually not made in China, but it soon will be, and then it will cost half as much, and have more features, and the same people will be making even more money, except for those put out of work.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A Moat in Time Might Save the Wine

I need to have fewer relatives visit, I'm running out of places to hide the liquor.

Friday, May 27, 2005

A Peanut Butter and Quandary Sandwich

I'll never understand the hot dog, frank, and wiener thing, but I think I've got this one pretty well figured out. Jelly is clear and quivers. Preserves are lumpy jelly. Jam is cloudy and thick. Conserves are lumpy jam. But what the hell are marmalades?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Spare-Tire State

We just got back from our five day visit in Missouri. Like many states, Missouri uses a silhouette of the state on its state highway signs. Unlike other states, however, Missouri distorts the shape of the state so three-digit route numbers will fit. That's right, they make the state fatter for the sake of the highway number. Keep this in mind the next time your kid flunks a geography test.

A Dog's Best Friend

Rooty likes to sit at the edge of the lake and bark. The sound travels over the water and echoes. Rooty thinks it is a dog barking back at him, so he barks back. He will just keep exchanging barks with the echo unless something else distracts him. It's something like the famous line from Pogo: 'We met found the enemy and he is us.' Rooty has found a friend somewhere out across the lake, and his friend is him.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Civic Improvements

They are repaving some of the streets in town. When they do, they often replace the painted crosswalks with solid patches of red brick. That's right. the streets are smooth and the crosswalks are brick. I guess it is a little joke we are playing on people in wheelchairs. Bump. Bump. Rattle. Rattle. Quiver. Quiver. Thump.

Signal When Colliding

There are big highway signs along I-270 west of St. Louis near I-70 that say “Accident Reduction Zone.” What wonderfully vague jargon-babble! Does the highway department want fewer accidents? Smaller accidents? Perhaps briefer accidents. Shouldn't they want all of those everywhere, not just in the "Zone." Is there something that they want me to do? I'll gladly help. Perhaps they want me to try to not have accidents while in the "Zone," as opposed to my trying to cause accidents on all the other highways in the state. They should have just put up big signs that say “We Designed This Stretch of Interstate So Poorly It Makes Everyone Crazy And Causes Frequent Unnecessary Accidents.” The short version would be "270 Drivers Ahead, God Help Us."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Liza Minnelli Supposition

Maybe the glaciers are not shrinking. Maybe the earth is swelling.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Fish or Faith

I saw a chrome emblem on the back of a car today that was a cross between a “Happy Face” and a “Jesus Fish.” Bad taste or idolatry, you'll have to decide for yourself! Besides, I think it winked at me.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

If at First You Don't Succeed Make the Same mISTAKE aGAIN

You will be able to see this one coming. There is a new kind of dishwasher detergent -- tablets made of detergent powder and an embedded marble of spot remover. Each table comes individually wrapped (I told you that you would be able to see it coming). In my defense, it does not actually say on the wrapper that it needs to be removed before putting the tablet in the dishwasher. I could not figure out why the dishes did not get clean, so I rewashed them. Yes, I added a second wrapped detergent tablet. The second try was no better than the first! Yes, I eventually realized that you have to remove the wrappers when I found the two stilled-wrapped tablets in the bottom of the machine. For regular readers, I know that you will be absolutely amazed that I only did this twice.

Dyslexia Perplexia

It is difficult to explain dyslexia to people who do not experience it. Sometimes words and sentences look like they are written in random letters in the Russian alphabet, making them essentially impossible to read. Other times, individual words simply morph onto something else. There was a headline in the newspaper last week that read 'Tornadoes Descend On Iowa' -- I thought it said 'Tomatoes Descend On Iowa.' There was a listing in the TV Guide a couple weeks ago for 'The Complete History of the Greens Berets' -- I thought it said 'The Complete History of the Green Bean.' That's what it looked like to me, I swear to Dog.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Center Square to Blog

The spellcheck built into Blogger thinks "Blogger" is a misspelled word. It wants to change it to "Blocker." It wants to replace "blog" with "bloc." Probably some kind of inside joke amongst the techies.

Perhaps the Chair of the Wee Bear

I bought six little chairs from a mail-order catalog. They are each about seven inches tall and about four inches wide – yes, 7 inches tall, about 17.8 centimeters. Each has a little tag that says “For decorative use only.” You have to wonder about the need for the little tags. Were they having trouble with people trying to sit in seven-inch tall chairs?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Making the Poplar More Popular

Illinois and Missouri are planning on spending $1 billion dollars to reroute Interstate 70 and build a new bridge over the Mississippi River. Their goal is to reduce the traffic congestion on the Poplar Street Bridge, which carries Interstates 70, 55, 44, and 64 -- plus U.S. 40 -- into downtown St. Louis. I have a better plan. If they give me $10,000, I promise that I will never use the Poplar Street Bridge again. Ever. I'm willing to sign papers.

They could also give another 49,999 people each $10,000 if they promised never to use the bridge again. Ever. That would save half a billion plus permanently remove 50,000 cars from a bridge that normally carries 120,000 vehicles per day. Not only would my plan eliminate the congestion and save money, it would make 50,000 of us very, very happy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

No one goes to McDonald's more than Rooty the Dog and I. I don't care how often you go, we go more. Last summer I hurt my neck and I could not drive for a week. The local McDonald's put what you see above on its readerboard. You will note that Rooty got top billing.

Two 500 Thread Count Sheets to the Wind

I went to buy sheets this morning. The last time that I bought sheets I had my choice among several attractive decorator colors of sheets. This time I had my choice among several endless aisles of sheets -- there were more types of sheets than General Motors has models of cars.

The big issue in sheets appears to be "thread count," with price rising geometrically as thread count increases. I assume any sheet with a thread count above 1500 would be both luxurious and bullet-proof.

So, clueless about the cornucopia of cloth that confronted me, I did what any guy would do, I left and went to Sears and looked at lawnmowers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Ties That Bind

The late author Alexander King had a theory that the end of the world would be by paper, that the insurance forms, credit card receipts, purchase orders, and the rest of it would simply pile up and smother us all.

My newer theory is that we will all eventually smother but it will be by men's neckties. I was cleaning out a closet last night and I have 74 ties, including a tie-it-yourself bow tie that I'm sure I never knew how to tie myself. And, this does not include the ties that were so outlandish that I have given them away over the years to be used as assorted parts of Halloween costumes. I seldom wear a tie anymore, except to funerals, and then I always wear the same black one. The leaves me with 73 spare neckties and clearly way too much spare time.

As of today, the world's population is estimated to be 6,374,453,044. Assuming one-half are men and that each has 74 neckties, there would be about 236 trillion neckties out there -- that's about 4,075 neckties per square miles of the earth's land surface. As I said, way too much spare time...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Is it just me or do a lot of the new cars look like props from Lost in Space?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Would A Girl By Any Other Name Still Smell As Sweet?

I missed the vote that decided it was all right to call grown women 'girls.' After having that beat out of us during the 70's, it seems to have crept back into the vernacular. The last time I took the Rooty-dog to be groomed, the woman who waited on us said 'The girl who usually does him is not in today.' The girl of whom she spoke is about 35! A couple weeks ago, as I was leaving an office in St. Louis, one of the people hollered out to me: 'Be sure and have the girl stamp your parking ticket on the way out!' Trust me, in 1978, he would have been stomped to death.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Three Inches Left of Center

Bought a new pair of windshield wipers today. The left one (driver's side) is 21 inches. The right one (passenger side) is 19 inches. So size does matter, even in the rain

Doppler This

I've never heard of a tornado hitting a liquor store. You know they would put something like that on TV. What station could resist it: booze running out the front door, cans of Zima embedded in walls, dazed yuppies trying to rescue the cheap white wine. No great conclusion here, I'm just trying to think of more places to hide.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Chicken of the Sky

Feeling low? Until Sonny explained it to her, Cher thought the Moon was the backside of the Sun. Feeling better about yourself now?

Give Peace & Quiet a Chance

Okay. Here are the new rules: No cutting your grass if the neighbors can still see your house. Weed-wackers are hereby found to be harmful to the ozone layer and hence declared illegal. No one has ever died from crabgrass, so please stop whining.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Take the Slauson Cutoff...

Not to far from where I live is Bluff Road. But, it's not on the bluff, it runs along the bottom of the bluff. Shouldn't it have been called 'Just-Over-The-Bluff Road' or 'If-You-Fall-Off-The Bluff-You-Will-End-Up-In-The Middle-Of-It Road?' Both 'Parallel-To-The-Bluff Road' and 'Parallel-To-The-Mississippi Road' would have made sense. Bluff Road ends at New Poag Road, which oddly enough does not go to Poag. So, the road that is not on the bluff takes you to a road that does not go to Poag. New Poag Road ends at the site where the Lewis & Clark Expedition began, except that the actual site is now lost someplace out in the middle of the Mississippi River. So, the road that is not on the bluff takes you to the road that does not go to Poag that takes you to a historic site that is not really there. That's pretty much all you need to know.

It's a Guy Thing

I have no superstitions, except for my lucky underwear.

Would You Like a Billion Fries with That?

The sign at McDonald's says they have sold 90 billion burgers. That's pretty impressive, until you realize the Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen could have bought all of them (and had money left over).

Monday, May 09, 2005

Big Bucks for Bountiful Burrows

There should be a federal subsidy for raising moles and gophers in your yard. There is a federal subsidy for raising tobacco. That makes as much sense as my rodent-subsidy idea, and I could sure use the extra cash.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Sour Grapes

Now this is sad and pathetic: About a week ago I decided that I needed to meet some new people so I signed up at an online singles site. (Wait, that isn't even the pathetic part.) I filled out all of the online forms about interests, etc. I may have shaved a few pounds but otherwise it was all the truth. I also uploaded a picture of myself from the webcam. Then I waited. And waited. Nothing, not a single response all week. (Still not the pathetic part.) So, this morning, I deleted my picture from the site and posted one of my second cousin, age 21. The only other things that I changed (downward) were height and weight. That was at 8:30 AM. (Get ready, here comes the pathetic part.) By 10:00 AM, I had over 20 responses. By noon, it was close to 50. They were pouring in so fast I could not even keep up responding to them. And, how was your Monday?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

No Plane No Gain

Flying must be the best exercise. Except for turkeys, you hardly ever see a fat bird.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Auto Absolution

I don't know what a lumbar is or why it needs support. (Like most guys, I also do not know what a duvet is -- or why it needs a cover.) I bring this up because I discovered a button on my car that says Lumbar Support. When pressed, it makes the driver's seat very uncomfortable. Maybe it's like penance. If you're bad, you press the button and all your sins go away as a reward for driving around in great discomfort, the mechanical equivalent of a hairshirt. Maybe not.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

One Nick Lachey Over the Line

We have way too many celebrities! The new rule: to be a celebrity you have to have some demonstrable talent other than having good hair. There is also now a limit, there can be no more than 132 celebrities at any point in time – no new celebrities unless someone dies or disappears into a sitcom on UPN.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

An Ounce of Prevention

The city put a street light above a sewer pump station not too far from my house. Why? Are they having a theft problem?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Be Careful What You Wish For

Oddly enough, the good people in Duluth, Georgia who prayed for the safe return of the run-away bride now appear to be very, very angry because she has returned, you know, safely.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

"Could Ya Hold It Down Up There!"

There is a family of raccoons living under my deck. That makes me the noisy, upstairs neighbor.