Friday, June 30, 2006


I'm really starting to like the World Cup fans (above). This guy's Dutch, who are among the most highly educated people on the planet.

Below is yet another photo of David Beckham at the World Cup. I tried this last night -- it took two neighbors and a crowbar to get me undone. I find that posting Beckham's picture every now and then keeps the wackos from leaving comments (wackos hate successful people).

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I wish I had one of those hats!

It's 1956 and, by golly, Missouri is going to be the first to start building an Interstate Highway. The guys in suits are standing next to US 40 in St. Charles, just west of St. Louis. They are at what is now the I-70 and 5th Street interchange.

The first contract for an Interstate was for a section of I-44 to replace US 66 in SW Missouri.

The first completed section was a stretch of I-70 in Kansas.

The image below is the Google Map of the area today. St. Charles (City and County) are to the left of the Missouri River. St. Louis County is to the right. The interchange is I-70 and 5th Street. That big thing that looks as if it were going to eat the two bridges is a casino.

The photo below shows I-70 westbound heading out of St. Louis County and into St. Charles County. These are the two bridges on the Google image above.

Oddly enough, and this is where this post is going, the two bridges are called "The Blanchette Bridge" -- I have no idea who Blanchette was or why the bridge/bridges were named after him (or her), or why the plural of "bridges" is not used. In true MODOT fashion, there are no signs that I've see that say "Blanchette Bridge." This does not stop the local traffic reporters from always calling it by name, of course, as in "Traffic is dead stopped all the way to the Blanchette Bridge."

It is actually the "Blanchette Memorial Bridge" but I'm not one to be picky. What you see above is the busiest section of highway in Missouri, a real tribute to Blanchette, whomever he or she might be.

Jim's Linksys Router

I found a hammer and a nail.

I nailed it to a 2 x 4.

And it should make a nice perch for the birdies.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Here is the little bunny that Rooty caught yesterday.

He seems to be none the worse for having been in the dog's mouth about 24 hours ago!
Rooty spit him out right away when I told him to.
He's a good dog.
He's a cute bunny.

(The wheelbarrow has a flat tire, in case one of you has a really small jack!)

Deadbeat Jim

Some of you may recall from a few posts back that the clowns in charge of Internet security at The University of Texas at Austin let someone steal the personal information of a few hundred thousand graduates, including me. So, among other things, I had to cancelled all of my credit cards.

Then of course, I applied for new cards from different issuers.

Got a rejection letter yesterday!

Reason: "Unable to verify home telephone number."

I just checked the online application, it asks for "daytime" and "evening" phone numbers. For both, I put my cell phone number. Again, some of you may recall that I do have a landline phone, but it only rings in one of the bathrooms and the FAX. There is nothing on the application asking for a "Home" number. My cell phone number is my day and evening number!

I guess I was supposed to divine what information they actually wanted. I just didn't realize that the issuing bank was the Psychic Friends Network!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Just how many times do I have to warn you about this?

Drink less, or get new friends!

It was a tough weekend here on the blog ranch!

Someone whom I thought of as a blogger-friend stole an idea for a post. Hey, we all borrow, but this was almost word for word. He has not been back since, and I hope that it stays that way!

Then there were the vulgarities and insults in some of the comments! I tried to delete them as fast as I could but I know that some of you saw them. They were beyond editing.

Then there were the comments and emails about David (second-cousin once removed) and 'how dare I replace him as the house sitter.' Again, the comments were beyond editing. David lives in St. Louis, works full time, has a fiancee who has two kids and two German shepherds (the latter whom David now calls Sodom and Gomorrah) -- he does not have time to house sit!!!!!!!

Then there was the newspaper writer who completely lacks people and public relations skills, and think hobbyist web sites are authoritative sources for government laws and regulations.

And, of course, there were the folks who do not like the photos of David Beckham. Say, here is an idea, remove your bookmark for this page and don't come back. And, of course, leaving a comment as "Anonymous" is pointless if you are a regular visitor since I can tell it's you from the server logs/IP trackers. Dah! And, before you leave, here's another photo of David. I hope you really hate this one!

Monday, June 26, 2006

We HAVE to stomp this out!

The locals have started to use "Me bad!" instead of saying "My mistake!"

I don't know which of you started this, but I want it stopped immediately!

More people gets their news from...Oh!

There are arguments on many blogs about the political-orientations and relative audience size of CNN and Fox News Channel.

Actually, among adults 18-39, the Cartoon Network has higher ratings than either CNN or FNC.
Source: Business Week

Sunday, June 25, 2006

So, he likes to wear fingernail polish, get over it!

A quiet evening at home with the Beckhams.

David Beckham, our favorite international sports superstar and metrosexual, did something important today for the English team at the World Cup. If you're a soccer fan, you know what is was. If you ain't, you just don't care. Beckham is pictured above with his wife Posh Spice. Lucky Dave.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Party's at Jim's House (Probably)

Rooty and I are in Missouri.

This is the first weekend for the new house-sitter to sit, at the house, alone.

Please don't pee on the furniture.

Apollo Belvedere, the Vatican Museum

How much would a 10-year long erection cost?
$400,000, marked down from $750,000
Only you get paid! Go figure.

According to CBS News, Charles "Chick" Lennon, won more than $400,000 in a lawsuit over a penile implant that gave him a 10-year erection.

A jury awarded "Chick" $750,000. A judge cut that to $400,000.

He had the Dura-II model installed -- which consists of a series of plastic plates strung together with steel surgical wire, like a roll of wrapped coins. Springs press against the plates, creating enough surface tension to simulate an erection. The Dura-II is designed to allow impotent men to position the penis upward for sex, then lower it. But Lennon could not position his penis downward. He said he could no longer hug people, ride a bike, swim or wear bathing trunks -- although he probably wore Speedos the whole ten years just to annoy the rest of us!

Friday, June 23, 2006

"Program nonduplication has been discontinued on all networks."

The sign above is on the menu/order boards at the local McDonald's, below the speakers. I have no idea what it means.

[The title is from a sign that was on the cable in Austin. I also never knew what it meant.]

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The very definition of stupid!

I have a water sprinkler running under a tree at the end of the driveway. The bird feeders are in the tree, and the bird bath is nearby, so all of God's feathered and fuzzy creatures like to congregate under that tree. Every now and then, the whole area needs a good soaking to freshen it up some!

I turned the sprinkler on and then Rooty and I went to McDonald's.

When we came back, I talked a while on the phone.

Then I decided to see if the mail was here. We have rural type mailboxes, up at the street.

So, Rooty and I headed out the garage door and up the driveway, in the opposite direction of the sprinkler.

The sprinkler always hits part of the driveway since the grassy area under the tree is small.

When we left the garage, the water drops hit us immediately.

As we got farther up the driveway, they kept hitting us. I thought "Gosh, the city must have upped the water pressure."

When we got to the front yard, not a great distance, we were still being hit by the water. I thought "Wow, that's the best sprinkler that I have, I'll have to use it all the time."

It was raining.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Some of you will know where this is going

Stan's seemingly random wanderings in southwest Missouri and eastern Oklahoma reminded me that I needed to get back to planning this summer's vacation. Since no one has invited me anywhere, I decided I would visit California -- since according to the Discovery Channel and the History Channel it is in imminent danger of being crumbled by an earthquake, wiped away by a tsunami, or becoming uninhabitable because of Hispanic gangs.

While actually meeting people that you meet online is clearly not a good idea, I have toyed with the idea of arranging a meeting with the blog's most frequent visitor, who resides in Sunnyvale, California. While some of you visit twice or more a day, my Sunnyvale visitor drops in almost every hour on some days. Besides, Sunnyvale is just a cool-sounding place to visit.

Since the visitor from Sunnyvale has never left a comment, I knew it was going to take a little thought as to how to identify who it was, and how to set up a meeting -- all somewhat delicate undertakings. I started by searching for information about Sunnyvale -- I knew that it was mostly fruit factories before it became part of Silicon Valley. It has a giant fruit-can water tower (photo above). I live not far from a giant catsup-bottle water tower (photo below). That's not enough to build a friendship on, but it would get us through one or two courses of dinner.

As it turns out, Sunnyvale is also home to Yahoo! and my most-frequent visitor is not a people but a bot, one of the little devils that search engines send out in order to index the web. Bots find page content, which is then stored on the search engines computers -- when you use a search engine, you are searching its index and not the web per se. All of which means that I have no actual person in Sunnyvale with whom to share the Chicken Tikka Massalaa and some Kebabs. Oh well, maybe my second most-frequent visitor will have chromosomes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Trails of Seeds and Deeds

Mark Twain was from Hannibal, which he considered to be part of the The South. All along the Mississippi River, in both Missouri and Illinois, farms were called plantations and tobacco and cotton were the cash crops. Slavery was illegal in Illinois, but widespread. People thought of themselves as southerners.

Close encounters with two mid-summer plants reminded me of all this. The first is my annual battle with the volunteer tobacco plants what pop up in my backyard (photo above). I nuke them every year but there must be seeds in the soil from some long-forgotten farmer's field.

The second is the annual appearance of chicory along the highways in Illinois and Missouri (photo below). Chicory is what was used in The South as a substitute for coffee during the Civil War. It likes poor, heavily compacted soil -- so the shoulders of highways are its favorite place to grow. The plants are there, the blue flowers will start to appear as we get closer to July 4th.

So, I guess, if you're in the neighborhood, you could drop by for a smoke -- be prepared to roll your own, and for the nasty after taste of Roundup -- and for a tasty cup of hot pseudo-coffee brewed from the roots of the chicory plant. Ah, gracious southern living!

Monday, June 19, 2006

What has Monday been like so far...

How to get 'Rockin Chair Money' in Missouri

[The following is from the state website.]

The basic requirements for collecting unemployment are:

You must be determined to be unemployed through no fault of your own as defined under Missouri law. <-- I promise that I will conscientiously and diligently, tirelessly and tenaciously, do my best to stay unemployed under all circumstances which are beyond my control, so help me Kato Kalin.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stop the world, I'm getting dizzy!

Kazakhstan launched its first communications satellite into orbit on Sunday. The satellite will be used for television broadcasting and other communication services in Kazakhstan and elsewhere in Central Asia. And, now for the surprising part: Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world, and among the top 20 oil producing countries. Yes, Kazakhstan. Source: Reuters

A man in Wisconsin is building a memorial to Adolf Hitler, in Wisconsin. How this guy even got into this country is unclear: He was a volunteer in the German Waffen-SS during WWII. The Waffen-SS was the fighting branch of the Nazi party’s dreaded paramilitary unit, the Schutzstaffel. Commonly known as the SS, the unit acted as a special police force and was involved in some of the worst crimes committed in territory under Nazi control during World War II. He says his goal is to clear up what he describes as inaccuracies about the war and Hitler’s role in it. “I like the U.S.,” he says. “I can’t understand why people don’t know the truth. This is for understanding, not hate.” Some veterans groups might disagree. Source: MSNBC

Dustin Diamond, best known as Screech on "Saved by the Bell," is selling T-shirts with his photo on them to raise $250,000 so he doesn't lose his house in Wisconsin under a foreclosure order. He needs to sell nearly 30,000 shirts — at $15 or $20 (autographed) each. The T-shirts have a photo of Diamond holding a sign that says, "Save My House." The back of the shirt reads, "I paid $15.00 to save Screeech's house." (The third "e" was added to get around copyright laws.) He's selling the shirts on his Web site: Source: CBS News

The photo is from -- Italian World Cup fans.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

This is what I want for Father's Day!

It's a cap with 4 ultra-bright LEDs (2 red for night vision, 2 white for versatility). $14.99 from Sears Craftsman. It actually says: " Lighted Cap eliminates the need for headlamps."

You can also get a two-light version from for $19.99 or their camoflauge version for $24.99.

And, keep in mind, give a tie and you're out of the will!

Amazon's headquarters in Seattle, Washington

Doesn't it look like a hospital, one built in the 1930's?

Friday, June 16, 2006

How to be rich, famous, and unknown in America!

What Brad Pitt is to the National Enquirer, David Beckham is to the world press.

He is an English footballer who plays for Real Madrid and is captain of the English national team. [I know, I don't care either.]

He has tabloid-style marital problems.

He's Motorola's Global Brand Ambassador (photo above), plus being a spokesperson internationally for IMB and Coca-Cola.

Every change in how he wears his hair causes headlines. There was actual serious betting on what hair style he would have for the World Cup -- on actual serious sports betting sites. ["The biggest betting interest in any World Cup market outside of match or tournament betting ... is on what hair style David Beckham will be sporting when England line up to play Paraguay in their opening match on June 9 - ... the odds about Beckham being bald when the game kicks off from 5/1 to 3/1 favourite and also seen a surge of support for a Mullet, down from 10/1 to 6/1, ... wearing an Alice Band - from 3/1 to 4/1 second favourite; and also offer 5/1 Spikey; 6/1 Mullet; 8/1 Pony tail; 8/1 Quiff; 12/1 Pudding Bowl cut a la Beatles; 25/1 Flat top style; 33/1 Dreadlocks 100/1 Wig."]

I was watching a documentary last night about the building of luxury resort islands in Dubai in the UAE. They keep building more islands because the multi-million dollar homes are sold before the islands are even above the surface of the sea. The only person they felt worthy of announcing as a buyer was -- you guessed it -- David Beckham.

What sits this guy apart, besides athletic ability, is his Madonna-like instinct for generating publicity:

First. He is very affectionate on the field, even by soccer-player standards:

Second. He likes to pose without his clothes, for magazines, for calendars, for almost any occasion.

Third. He married someone who was at the time more famous worldwide than he was -- Spice Girl Victoria Adams. They gave their children dutifully celebrity-children names: Brooklyn, Romeo, and Cruz.

This guy is so incredibly famous -- every place but here! He earns an estimated $32 million a year. In contrast, Tiger Woods is pretty much unknown anywhere but here, never takes off anything including his cap, but earns more than $92 million a year. Such are the rewards of being famous in America. Beckham plans to move here next year. He has to be asking himself "What would Madonna do next?"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

World's worst job...

It's 12 o'clock, do you know where your brains are?

"It's just temporary, I'm really an actor."

The nation reaches 'full employment.'

"The want-ad said 'Clapper Needed' -- I thought they were hiring someone to sit in an audience and applaud."

The post post-industrial economy, humans replace technology.

"The sundial guy gets all the babes, as if that's really a second hand!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Can't Fix Stupid

#1 -- I was at a four-way stop yesterday, where two four-lane roadways cross. There are left-turn lane for each direction, and paved shoulders. A woman was stopped at the stop sign, in a righthand lane. She was putting on her makeup. She did not have her flashers or blinker on. She was just sitting there, using her rearview mirror, putting on her makeup. Drivers who pull up behind her, thinking she was going to move, had to back up and move to the left lane. It's one of those instances when a paint-ball gun or some eggs would have come in very handy.

#2 -- There was some kind of picnic in the city park over the weekend. The park is actually just the block that the library sits in the middle of. People park on the side streets and in the drug store parking lot and walk to the park. There are three state highways that come together at the traffic signals at northeast corner of the park. When there is an event in the park, people tend to bunch up a little on the sidewalks at the traffic signal waiting for the WALK signal to light up. Rooty and I just happened to be at the traffic signal on Saturday evening, just about dusk. There were a bunch of people waiting for the signal to change. A twenty-something guy decided not to wait for the signal and weaved his way through traffic -- everyone else followed him -- including parents pushing babies in those canvas strollers. Cars weaved! Brakes stretched! I guess if you're unable to read the instructions on a pack of condoms we can't expect you to understand the meaning of DONT WALK.

#3 -- This is actually the second time I have seen this happen, at the sesame intersection. It's an intersection where two busy streets cross, but not at right angles to each other. One street runs due north and south; the other runs northwest to southeast. I was at the left turn lane on Tuesday afternoon waiting to turn from the N-S street onto the NW-SE. When the signal changed, the car ahead of me started to turn, but stopped in the middle of the intersection. He started out when we had a green arrow -- but looked up when he got to the middle of the intersection and saw the red light meant for traffic on the cross street, and stopped. I almost hit him. The car behind me almost hit me. All of us had to go around him. You would have thought all of us honking and cursing at him would have made him reconsider coming to a complete stop in the middle of the intersection. When the light turned green for through traffic on the N-S street, he was (of course) blocking two lanes of traffic. I heard honking but did not go back to see how it all turned out.

Just in case you doubt that the locals would do these things, consider this: They have been reconstructing Route 66 in town for what must be coming close to two years. It's a major project, rerouting the highway and widening it from two to five lanes. Today one of the construction crews cut through three copper cables and one fiber optic cable belonging to AT&T, plus a city sewer line. Oops. At last word, 10,000 customers and the local university were without phone service. In case you're wondering, they fixed the sewer line first.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Go nuts!

It's that time of year again, time for the

Mount Sterling Testicle Festival
June 18, 2006
Mount Sterling, Illinois

[Am I the only one who thinks it's inherently funny that they're holding the "Testicle Festival" on Father's Day?]

You may know them as Mountain Oysters, Rocky Mountain Oysters, Prairie Oysters, Calf Fries, or huevos de toro (bull’s eggs). They are the balls of the bull that are peeled, coated in flour, pepper and salt, and then deep fried. In Mount Sterling, they calls them what they are -- testicles -- and they have a big party every year.

I updated my Top Ten List from last year's festival:

Top Ten Things Overheard at the Mount Sterling Testicle Festival
10. "I told Dave, 'Catch the bull by the horns, by the horns!'"
9. "Lost mine in the divorce."
8. "Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't."
7. "I don't care what those emails promise, it ain't gonna happen!"
6. "I'll have a 'Big Man on Campus' sandwich."
5. "Envy has nothing to do with it Janet, I just think referring to your sandwich as "Antonio Banderas" is in bad taste."
4. "What do you mean, you wonder if the mailman is here?"
3. "Putting them in your pants was only funny the first time George!"
2. "We're eating WHAT!"
And, the Number One Thing heard at the Mount Sterling Testicle Festival:
1. "No wonder them cows were contented."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Someone always comes up with the great ideas first...

1000 Gallons of Dehydrated Water
for $39.95

Free samples are available.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Make mine in the shape of the Golden Arches

What are they?

You can order any airline, Coca-Cola, or your favorite brand of running shoe!

I kind of like the fish best!

They're coffins in Ghana.
Where you can get any kind you want!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It's going to be a bumpy night...

Rooty and I are at the right of the radar map (the dot above the X).

The thunder from the first storm is just now reaching us.

As you can see, there is a line of storms stretching to the left/west -- storm 4 is about 70 miles away.

Rooty does not like loud thunder -- he hides on top of the sofa.

The local VFW Hall is for sale.

Unclear whether the heavy artillery is included!

Friday, June 09, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation, Thursday

Went into town today to have new tires put on the car, as opposed I guess to having old tires put on the car.

I called yesterday and made an appointment for 2:00 PM (14:00).

The tire-place is next door to Walgreens -- Walgreens is actually where the tire place used to be.

The bank is across the street from Walgreens.

When I talked to him yesterday, the tire guy said it would take 45 minutes to put on the new tires so I planned my little adventure accordingly.

First, I took the car to the tire place. Then I walked across the street to the bank.

The present bank and office building replaced a building that had been a local landmark for decades. The new bank was built just before that second in time when (1) local banks were being bought up by nationwide banks and (2) people stopped automatically going to the "main bank" to conduct their business.

The result is a bank lobby that is mahogany and marble wonder, half a block wide, and essentially completely empty. There are 12 teller stations, but usually only one teller. When there are two tellers for some reason, they spend most of their time talking to one another. Almost all of the offices are empty, as are almost all of the desks sitting out in the open. It's now just another branch of a multi-state conglomerate, and appears to have the same size staff as the branch at the local supermarket.

The first thing that I did at the bank was to deposit my Lotto winnings ($38.00, I'm considering buying a Porsche). Then I went over to one of the three empty sofas and sat down. There was no one within 30 feet of me -- at least until I pulled out my cell phone -- then employees started appearing from everywhere! They would check equipment that I could see was not plugged in; look for missing items on desks where I've never seen anyone sitting; stroll past and just look and smile. One finally asked "Can I help you?" I was going to correct her grammar but decided it was best not to.

Oddly enough, the person that I was talking to on my cell phone, with my butt on the bank's sofa, was an employee of the same bank at a branch in Missouri. She had called me and left a message. The local branch seemed to me to be a logical place from which to return the call.

I finished my call and walked across the street to Walgreens, probably seconds before the police arrived.

At Walgreens, all I wanted to do was buy some allergy pills. I have not done this lately -- it now requires the same process as buying a car, only it takes longer, and requires more ID. Given one hundred years and unlimited resources, I could not make METH out of a sinus pill. I tried to cut an aspirin in half the other night and cut my finger instead. I hope all that paperwork does reduce the amount of drugs out there -- it certainly brings everything at the Walgreens pharmacy counter to a screeching halt.

While I was in the process of buying the allergy pills, the woman from the bank in Missouri called me back. I told here where I was at and that I would call her in a few minutes.

Can you see where this is going?

That's right! I went back across the street to the bank lobby to place the call. I really do like that sofa.

Enter branch manager stage left.

"Can we help you?" (I really would like a refund of my school taxes!)

"No. I'm fine."

"Do you have some business to conduct?"

"No, I already made my deposit."

"Can we be of any further assistance?"

The woman at the branch in Missouri was yelling ”Let me talk to her!" in my ear.

I was going to ask where the Men's Room was but thought that might be pushing it.

It was becoming a boring game, and I could see through the window that my car was ready at the tire place, so I told her who I was talking to, and why I thought the bank lobby was the logical place to be doing that.

She walked away.

I finished my call and walked across the street to pick up my car.

If it wouldn’t have required yet more paperwork, I would have closed my account.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I almost forgot to tell you what happened in the last episode of 'Everwood'

They killed off the only Black man in Colorado (back row center) in the second last episode because he was the smart one and could have easily fixed the two-hours of misunderstandings in the last episode with a couple phone calls.

Obvious from the first episode, the brain surgeon (front, checked shirt) proposes to the pretty blonde at the front left.

Ephram (center, behind the little girl) ends up with Amy (to immediate left of the brain surgeon). This was also obvious from the pilot.

Bright (front right) will end up with girl right behind him. This was obvious for the last couple seasons.

The little girl has a Bat Mitzvah, the first in Colorado history, centered (I guess) around the ancient Jewish symbolism of the merry-go-round.

UPS delivers a baby by mistake to Bright and Amy's parents (guy with jacket, woman behind him), they decide to keep it and have the jacket-guy's mother (to left of the Black man) move in to help raise it.

So, the odd-man-out was Scott Wolf (back far left) who, like all short guys, leaves on a jet plane for the coast.

Fade to black.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

My post on Monday --My own little corner of the USA, no Canada, no the USA... -- seems to have attracted the attention of the C_$toms people, hard-working, dedicated true-blooded Americans that they be. (See above)

This has actually happened before. An April post -- Army Announces End to 20-Year Cloning Experiment -- perhaps the silliest single post that I've ever did, generated a visit from the D3p@artm3nt of H0m3land $3cur1ty. I still find it odd that they use the real department name for their server.

The SuperSize Gates, with fries

This is where the local McDonald's keeps its dumpster -- you can kind of see it through the crack between the gates.

The sign says:


That seems a tad harsh doesn't it?
Are they afraid people will steal their trash?

Is the recipe for the secret sauce in there?
Are only friends of Ronald allowed inside, like the world's more pathetic rav?

ps. You can actually get to the dumpster by walking through the opening to the right of the gates.