Sunday, December 31, 2006

The New Year Baby Has Arrived

And damned if he's not another British teenager.
Before you comment, remember, he's not gay, he's English.
"I will survive" is my motto for 2007.

NOTE: I stand corrected -- Tom lives on the Isle of Man ("Mann" and "Manx"), which is not part of the United Kingdom, but is a Crown dependency. The Isle of Man is in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, and has oldest continuous parliament in the world, the Tynwald (Tinvaal), which dates from at least AD 979. The national dish of the island is Spuds and Herrin, boiled potatoes and herring. The Bee Gees were born on the island, where their parents ran a post office. Manx people are classed as British citizens, however, they have a special endorsement placed in their passports restricting their right to live or work in the EU. The Manx expression "Traa Dy Liooar", meaning "time enough," is said to represent the Manx attitude to life. I apologize for any misunderstanding. Jim

Friday, December 29, 2006

"Feed me or sell me!"

"Yes Virginia, there is a roast in the oven."

I hope you have a great weekend and New Year's Day -- and a terrific 2007!

Rooty mostly hopes for gravy with his roast beef, and world peace.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'm really tired of 2006!

I'm going to sleep until it's 2007. Be back then!!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Some bumper stickers from the mall parking lot!

Your kid may be an honor student, but you're still an idiot!

Not all men are fools. Some are single.

And, my favorite du jour:

Hey jerk, you are driving a car, not a phone booth

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ho Ho Oh

I'm doing all my Christmas shopping from spam. Everyone gets either a fake Rolex or fake Viagra, depending upon whether they need to know the time, or have time to spare.

Friday, December 22, 2006

a sparrow that beeps when it backs up

if I remember my high school biology, the birds that live in each Home Depot and Lowe's should evolve into distinct species at each store -- if Darwin was correct, they should also develop fake smiles, barcodes on their wings, and join unions

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Swatters needed

Why are supermarkets not full of flies in the summer -- the doors are usually open -- and it smells like food???

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

This does explain a few things...

Reuters - U.S. growers produce nearly $35 billion worth of marijuana annually, making the illegal drug the country's largest cash crop, bigger than corn and wheat combined.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A road too far.

I heard today that a college buddy is getting a divorce. This is someone I spent a lot of time with and traveled with to almost every out-of-town football game. Every time he saw a sign like the one above he'd say "Dead snake in the road." It was really annoying. That's probably why she's divorcing his sorry butt.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday morning parking lot bumper stickers:

"Jesus saves sinners...and redeems them for valuable prizes!"

"If you can read this, I've lost the trailer!"

"Gravity: It's not just a good idea. It's the law."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Didn't he used to be blond?

This is Prince William, the future King of England, who recently received his commission as an officer in the British Army. Probably just me, but the uniform looks more like he just joined the Russian Army.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Probably little point in buying a lottery ticket...

My sister, whose husband died unexpectedly in September, fell on an icy sidewalk earlier this week and broke her arm.

Friday, December 15, 2006


This is what happens to a Pepsi can if you leave it in the freezer too long.

You don't what to know what happens to the freezer.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Would a Marine by any other name still smell as sweet?

U.S. Marine sergeant Cody Baker, 29, thought he would sell naming rights to himself, like they do to sports stadiums and arenas.

The military thought differently.

Sgt. Baker put an online auction on his website -- the bidding got to $30,000. Some of the high bidders were:

Finest Freshest Fastest
George Bailey of Bedford Falls
and my personal favorite
Oprah Winfrey

The military wanted none of the above on Cody's military nametag.

His intentions were good -- to raise money for college and to "raise awareness about an orphanage for AIDS affected children in Thailand."

There is a rule against military endorsement of commercial ventures, however, which it was decided would include what would essentially be an advertisement on his uniform.

Too bad, Sgt. Oprah Winfrey would have been major kewl!

Here is his interview from CNN:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm hiding under the bed the rest of the day!

Rooty the Dog and I just went to McDonald's for lunch. There is a series of S-curves on the highway into town -- a two-lane road with a double yellow strip. I was not going slow, but some guy in a pickup passed me on one of the curves and sped on. What those of us who drive the road everyday know, and the pickup guy apparently didn't, is that it make no difference what speed you go through the S-curves. There are ten, twelve, fourteen, traffic signals just ahead, depending on which turn you take. They are not synchronized. He gained nothing by passing me. By the second signal, I was right behind him. Since I made a left turn and he didn't, I actually passed him as I turned.

Then there was the SUV that was directly ahead of me after I turned. In town, the highways are either three lanes or five lanes, with the center lane being a left turn lane. The SUV drove all the way through town, including through at least six traffic lights with left-turn lanes, straddling the yellow line. Even when it crossed through an intersection, it continued to straddle the yellow line marking the left-turn lane in the opposite direction. This produced many very startled looks on the drivers sitting in those left-turn lanes, and on the oncoming drivers in general. Basically, the driver kept the yellow lane under the drivers seat the whole way. I turned so I never did see who was driving.

Then there was the driver in the dedicated right-turn only lane who went straight ahead instead of turning, in the process almost crashing into two of us who were doing the right thing.

Maybe I'll make some popcorn and watch Oprah!

Gift Cards Have Become The New Fruitcakes

Stores really like to sell gift cards to you, primarily because a relatively high percentage of the ungrateful bums that you give them to never bother to redeem them. The recipients of your benevolence, when they do get off their lazy butts, also tend to buy more stuff than the value of their cards.

On the other hand, can you really spend $100 at Just Bulbs or The Licorice Store?

Well, to the rescue!

Where you can buy gift cards at a discount!

Where you can sell your gift cards for a small fee!

Where you can trade gift cards with others who don't want theirs!

And where you can sell your gift cards directly to Plastic Jungle at a discount!

It's terrific! Plastic Jungle has figured out a way to make money off of your greedy but u
nappreciative relatives and friends!!!!

Is this a great country or what?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Bed That Ate Cleveland

Rooty the Dog's bed has gotten completely out of control. It started out as a single pillow in the family room, now it fills about 25% of the family room. There was an entire single-bed feather bed in it that I threw away because the feathers were escaping -- getting rid of something that large barely made a dent. His bed has swallowed old sofa cushions, guilts, blankets, pillows, and at least one of my old bathrobes. It's the Black Hole of the Doggie Universe, sucking in anything fluffy or cozy, snuggly or warm.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A less than silent night

One of the Catholic Churches in town has a life-size nativity scene on the corner of a very busy intersection. When we were stopped at the signal, Rooty looked to his right and mistook the floodlit Three Wise Men for carjackers. They were only about 15 feet away. Rooty went dogie-ballistic! Myrrh may have been thrown.

The very fine print

You've probably seen the ads -- post your resume on and you double your chances of getting a job.

Sounds good.

But, it's double your chances of getting a job compared to Monster users who do not post a resume, not compared to all job seekers.

Here's the fine print: ComScore Networks, Inc. custom research 10/05 shows that Monster users who posted a resume
were twice as likely to get a job offer as Monster users who didn't post.

Thus raising the interesting question as to why you would be a Monster user and not post a resume, isn't that the whole point?

People with way, way too much time on their hands!

Unless they're Ameren Electric customers.

Click HERE for the complete story of the hamster-powered light.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"Is that your Hoover, or are you just glad to see me?"

It's a device for treating
erectile dysfunction!

"Once the user becomes manually stimulated, he depresses a switch with his foot or any other means to turn on the vacuum pump. The vacuum pump creates a negative pressure within the chamber that increases blood flow into the penis that produces an erection."

A more complete explanation, including what you do with the rubber band, and other wonderfully wacky patented contraptions can be found at patently silly.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Just kill me now...

Desperate times call for desperate pleasures.

If it gets any colder, I'm going to start wearing underwear!
If it goes subzero, I'll even wear socks!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Up periscopes

A math professor that I had at UT-Austin was Japanese. Every December 7th he gave a pop quiz. I always thought that was in bad taste, funny, but in bad taste.


Thump thump thump

The round ceramic or plastic markers used by some states to mark lanes on highways and streets, creating rumble strips, are called Botts' dots (above). They are named after Dr. Elbert Dysart Botts.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Avalanche buries local OfficeMax

I thought I would let those of you who live where it doesn't snow see what the awful stuff looks like after a few days. I took this picture today when I was over in Missouri. The snow is extra dirty because it had been plowed off of a Wal*Mart parking lot. The good news is that dirty snow melts faster because it absorbs more energy from the sun. The bad news is that it's only the start of winter!

Monday, December 04, 2006

the power is back on

the toilet seats will soon be warm again

a tunnel at the end of the light

the electric company says it will have almost all the power on by
sometime Wednesday, the key word being "almost"

power still out

still no expected restoration time, but there are electric company
trucks to be seen in the general area -- many of the neighbors have
bought generators so the street has a roar to it -- the seawall guys cut
up the limbs in my yard, about a pickup full -- warmer today so maybe
more will melt

Sunday, December 03, 2006

my first cell phone to blogger post

|There are still almost 9,000 customers (households and businesses)
without power in my Zipcode. My little part of the electric grid serves
397 customers. The power went out Thursday evening.

|Restoring power in electric-company talk progresses from /order
received/, to /order assigned/, and then finally to power /back on/.

At present we are at "Order is being investigated" -- I'm assuming
that's something before "order received."

The cause of our particular outage is still unknown and there is no
estimated restoration time.

We lost cable before the electric went out but the landline telephone
has always worked.

Because of the windows on the south side, the house gets quite warm
during the day (about 70 degrees F). It will start cooling again when
the sun goes down.

I got out the sleeping bag so we could sleep closer to the fire tonight,
Rooty thinks we're going camping and immediately went and got his leash.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


SATURDAY AFTERNOON: lost power Thursday due to ice storm -- major tree damage but house ok -- keeping warm with fireplace -- limb crushed on car and three house roofs on my street -- 500,000 without electric in Illinois due to storm -- will post pictures later -- Rooty and I are ok
SATURDAY EVENING: power still out, 78% of my ZipCode still out -- fireplace keeps family room about 65 degrees so that's fine -- I drained water from pipes in all but basement (I know it's cold but I'm still going to shower!!!!), and put antifreeze in all the drains except in the basement -- candles in bathroom and kitchen, powerpak keeps one lamp going in the family room -- I have a battery-operated TV with a 2 inch square screen -- the good news is that both McDonald's in town have power so we won't starve -- the street are clear, as are the highways, Illinois does a terrific job on snow/ice removal -- some photos of my yard are below.
LATER SATURDAY EVENING: spent enough time in Missouri to charge the powerpak and cook Rooty some warm food, heading home now with a couple cases of logs in the trunk.

This poor pine lost all its limbs except on the south side. It's a big tree so I'll have to give some thought to whether or not it gets removed.

The white birch got turned into a weeping willow, hiding the front gate and the mailbox.

This is a close up showing how the ice bent the white birch over. Only one broke, but we won't know if the rest can be saved until the ice melts.

The line of maples on the west side had little damage, go figure!

I wanted to show the ice damage to the trees around the lake, but the phone cam just wasn't up to that. Send hot coals! Jim

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yesterday was a high stress day!

Rooty the Dog and I went to McDonald's about 11:30 last night. When it was my turn in the drive-thru, I ordered "two pickles and an extra-large Coke."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

There has to be a really simple explanation for this..

Perhaps they needed someone old enough to buy the beer???

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just a guess on my part...

...but I would image that anyone who has to be reminded not to set himself on fire would probably not be avid readers of signs.

What do you call this thing: @

Germs don't stick to stainless steel and porcelain, that's why they are used to make sinks and toilets. This is called minimal bacterial adherence.

The first time a John Wayne movie was shown on TV, more people saw that movie than had seen all of John Wayne's pictures in theaters. This is called reach.

The Wizard of Oz was made in 1939 but did not make a profit until it was shown on TV in 1956. This is called creative accounting.

If you took all of the gold ever discovered throughout history and today it would fit into the bottom 1/3 of the Washington Monument (which is 555 feet/159m tall). This is called a good investment.
@ was originally the abbreviation for the word amphora, a unit of measurement, although it later became a symbol for the word "at" (as in two dozen @ 50 cents a dozen).

Monday, November 27, 2006

Clearly a decision made on a Monday morning!

Source: Anders & Christians Big Adventure in Aussieland (Some of you will remember Anders/Andy. He and another Swedish university student sent a cap to me a few years ago. The cap went on many adventures of its own but has been mostly resting lately. Maybe I'll bring it out for the dedication of the pool. Yes, I finally gave in and am putting in the pool. It's actually already in the ground. Now aren't you glad that you read this footnote. :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

If you run the left-turn signal, while not using your blinker, and not wearing your seatbelt, they make the state bird!

My mother's neighbor, in Missouri, got a traffic ticket for not using her turn signal, in Missouri. Yes, in Missouri. I would have thought she'd had a better chance of getting a ticket for using her turn signal and, you know, scaring the other drivers.

Before anyone whines in a comment about how law-abiding Missouri drivers are, keep this in mind: Since installing their red-light cameras in May, the St. Louis suburb of Florissant has issued more than 6,660 tickets and collected more than $165,000 in fines (and that's 165K after the company that installed the red-light cams got their 1/3 off the top!). Sourse: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Friday, November 24, 2006

Well at least they weren't garish about it...

Subtle it's not!
The folks at Charmin have installed free toilets in New York's Times Square, just in time for the holidays.

Each of the 20 stalls is larger than most New York apartments, are cleaner, and have better plumbing.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hope you are having a great Thanksgiving Day!

Rooty likes to sleep late at Grandma's.
It's about 1:30 in the afternoon (13:30).
He'll get up when he smells the turkey cooking.
Yes, that's a fan blowing on him, he likes to have a fan when he sleeps.
(He's on a foam mattress on the floor -- he always sleeps with a pillow.)

Hope you are having a great Thanksgiving!
If you're in Canada, hope you had a great Thanksgiving Day in October (and will have a great News Years Day in July???)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Decoy, duck!"

Famous people have body-doubles, called political decoys for political officials. The political decoys for John and Jacky Kennedy were said to be in Dallas on November 22th. I've always wondered what happed to them.

How scary is this...

In Illinois, you have to be licensed to be a roofing contractor or a timber buyer, but no license is required to be an electrician or a plumber.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Took the trash out about an hour ago, Tuesday is trash day. Did not know that the workmen had dug a trench through the front yard, which is only about 6 feet wide to begin with. Being nighttime, it was dark. Dark. Trench. Jim carrying trash bag. Kerplunk. Jim crawling out of trench. My life has become a Laurel and Hardy movie.

I added a picture of the trench -- this is what I fell into/over last night in the dark. It was quite a surprise, I thought I was being sucked into the bowels of hell.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I say so little about IDOT

It does seem that I'm always picking on MODOT so I'd thought I'd do a post about IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation).

The image above is from IDOT's "real-time" traffic-camera system. It shows the Poplar Street Bridge that carries I-64, I-70, I-55, I-44, and US 40 across the Mississippi River. You can see the St. Louis Gateway Arch to the right in the picture (in front of downtown St. Louis). The time stamp is 3:55 AM -- I know it looks as if the sun is rising in the west but I think that's just the glow from the street lights.

No, I'm not up at 3:55 AM. Actually, it's 4:21 PM (16:21) in the afternoon. I don't know why the camera is showing a picture from this morning -- all of the cameras on the IDOT site are. It's probably some kind of IDOT joke, those wacky guys.

As I have mentioned before, there are no roadside signs anywhere that say "Popular Street Bridge" or "PSB" so, I guess, the "PSB" label on the picture is just more IDOT whimsy.

"West" also appear over the eastbound lanes. I'm certain that means the view is to the west. I'm pretty sure that's what it means.

The photo below is of the Chain of Rocks Canal Bridges on I-270 near where I live. Darn if it isn't still 3:55 AM. The legend on the picture says "I-270 at IL 3" -- but Route 3 is actually a little east of where the camera is pointed. The canal takes river traffic around a "chain of rocks" in the Mississippi. There actually was a naturally occurring rapid called the Chain of Rocks visible during very low water conditions but it has been piled high with big boulders to make a cascade (below) and damn up enough water to make the canal possible (give that a little thought).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Catch 22.1

I downloaded a password manager, to make it easier to enter passwords.

The password manager requires a password before you can get to your, you know, passwords.

Keep yourself busy...

There will probably be no new posts until after Thanksgiving.

Local Traffic Only

This will only interest the folks in the St. Louis area (and then probably only marginally).

The Missouri Highway Department (MODOT) is going to close the busiest freeway into St. Louis for up to three years while they rebuild it (from three lanes in each direction to three lanes in each direction (yes, you read that correctly).

Almost all of the area's major tourist attractions are located along the highway -- the Zoo, the Science Center, the Art Museum, plus Washington University and Barnes, Jewish, and Children's Hospitals.

The highway also connects the wealthy western suburbs with downtown St. Louis.

MODOT wants us all to call the road I-64 -- but almost everyone calls it Highway 40 -- a few call holdouts still call it "the Express Highway" -- and only one or two holdouts call it by its formal name: "The Redbird Expressway."

The St. Louis Post Dispatch website asked readers to submit Top Ten Lists: "The top 10 reasons to rebuild Highway 40" -- so I did. Mine was #51 and is below:
The top 10 reasons to rebuild Highway 40
10. Science Center will be forced to show Omnimax porn to attract enough visitors.
9. Zoo animals will get first good night’s sleep ever.
8. Unable to reach most of the City, Channel 2 can just make up the news.
7. MODOT finds missing World’s Fair Ferris Wheel buried under Clayton Ave. exit, mistakes it for a really big nickel.
6. To keep the ER busy, Barnes will sponsor naked hockey at Steinberg Rink.
5. Work on 40 justifies extending dead-end center lane on eastbound 44 so it dead ends closer to downtown.
4. Unable to reach Busch, Cardinal players can sign with River City Rascals. LaRussa will be happy to be closer to LA.
3. Vandeventer Overpass will make a fine place for a picnic.
2. One more excuse for not going to the Galleria now that the Famous is, you know, a Macy’s.
And, the Number One reason to rebuild Highway 40:
1. Worth a billion dollars just to get people to call it Interstate 64.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Blood-shot eyes bring traffic to a halt1"

There is a growing belief among traffic engineers that the best way to cut down on serious traffic injuries, and actually get you to your destination faster, is to get rid of traffic signs, traffic signals, lane markings, and even the distinction between sidewalks and pavements. Stop signs and crosswalks would be the first to go!

There is a theory for all of this: that government has assumed responsibility the safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians but that responsibility should be the individual's. I'm not sure if the explanation is blue-statish or red-statish.

The idea started with the Dutch, who love social experimentation, and spread to Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US.

It practice what this means is build or rebuild roads that seem dangerous but thereby end up being safer. The technical terms is psychological traffic calming -- but a good analogy is a camp ground where cars, bikes, and people all mix freely in the same space with few if any accidents. In redoing existing intersections, traffic circles are usually installed, with no lane marking or signs telling anyone what to do. Vehicles, bicycles, and people all use the same circle -- drivers slow to gauge the intentions of crossing bicyclists and walkers. Negotiations over right-of-way are made through fleeting eye contact.

The pictures below are from the Dutch city of Drachten -- they are of the same intersection before and after the traffic stuff has been removed -- resulting in what are called naked streets. Oddly, cross-town travel in cities that have done this is quicker or about the same. Accidents still occur but they are less severe because of the slower speeds.To save time, please insert your own Missouri-driver joke here ______________

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I feel sooooooooo oooooold!

I copied the profile below from BEBO.COM, a UK social networking site. I have no idea what this says!

Alryt im adz n am 16! i lyk 2 av a laff wid me m8s n go out on weekends n get steamin! sound 2 all me bezzies u no hu ya r! n also all my m8s!! wich ain many cz im a norman lol! well dno wt else 2 say so js av a luk rnd init!! inabittt

Can anyone translate from English to English?

I might be overdoing this....

Remains of old seawall on left. Mud flat where lake used to be on right.

The new seawall will go on top of the white line of crushed rock.

I've cornered the brown concrete block market! Each block weighs 123 pounds (about 56 kg).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

You just know how this conversation started...

"Say Joe, what are we ever going to do with all that blue paint?"

Friday, November 10, 2006

oh! offers a free Personality Profile. It turns out I don't have one.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Perhaps the most inconsequential information ever, perhaps

This site calculates how old you would be on Mercury, Vensus, Mars, well, you get the idea.

It also tells you things like when you'll be 300,000,000 seconds old.

You also find out how many times you have blinked, how far light has traveled, how many people have been born, how long your uncut fingernails would be, and how far a human sperm could have swam since you were born!

Well, this is just fun...

Billionaire businessman Eli Broad and two other really rich guys have teamed up to submit a bid for the Chicago's Tribune Co., which owns 11 daily newspapers, 25 TV stations, and the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Its newspapers include the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune, Newsday in New York, The Baltimore Sun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.

Broad has an estimated net worth of around $5.8 billion and is ranked by Forbes as the 42-richest person in America.

And now for the fun part: In 1994, Broad purchased Roy Lichtenstein's painting I...I'm Sorry (above) for $2.5 million at a Sotheby's auction -- he used his American Express Card to pay for the painting (true), and earned 2.5 million frequent-flyer miles (also true)!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I voted early, I voted often, I fell good about myself.

My favorite thing about voting has always been seeing the Migratory Election-Day Ladies. Like their migratory farm-worker counterparts, the Migratory Election-Day Ladies move from city to city, state to state, wherever there are registration rolls to be checked and ballots to be handed out, and then they disappear into some distant horizon only to reemerge again whenever the next election day rolls around.

Perhaps there is a Migratory Election-Day Ladies winter circuit that parallels baseball's winter leagues. The Migratory Election-Day Ladies could work the polls in sunny places and still have time to let their arthritic limbs soak up the Caribbean sun.

Take care of yourselves Migratory Election-Day Ladies until the next school-bond special election, or the next recall drive, or the next high-school prom king vote. We'll keep the folding chairs ready for your safe return.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Best Headline of the Day

Poll Worker Allegedly Chokes Voter

and threw him out the door, twice!

Monday, November 06, 2006

If you see this man, don't call Fox

Vanished is a TV show that was on Fox following Prison Break. The show is a drama about the search for the wife of U.S. Senator who vanishes. Following the popular Prison Break, the show was doing quite well in its first season until, well, the star, sort of, and this is where it gets tricky, he seems to have vanished! What's left of the cast is above.

In one of the strangest moves in TV history, the show killed off its lead character played by actor Gale Harold after only five episodes. That's right, they snuffed the star of the show in a hail of bullets just before the World Series break. He's toast. He's history. He's supposedly a prima donna that no one could stand. So they got a new star, the writers were told to wrap up the central story line pronto, and Fox moved the show to a really bad time slot and cut the total number of new episodes ordered for this season from 22 to 13. This might be the ultimate in being unpopular with your co-workers!

[Before he vanished from Vanished, Gale Harold's only other starring role in a TV series was in Showtime's Queer as Folk. He is shown below with QAF co-star Randy Harrison (left).]

It must be nice to have actual talent

The drawings in the photo above, and those below, are sidewalk art by Julian Beever. While they look 3-D, they are "anamorphic illusions drawn in a special distortion in order to create an impression of 3 dimensions when seen from one particular viewpoint." There are more examples on his website.