Friday, November 30, 2007

Where went all the water.

When Lewis & Clark went up the Missouri, the river was three times as wide and carried three times as much water.

When Robert E. Lee, before the Civil War and when he was in the Corp of Engineers, built the levees and dikes that keep the Mississippi out of E. St. Louis and the St. Louis waterfront free of silt, the river carried three times the water it does now.

There is a creek near where my mother lives in Missouri. When Missouri was Spanish territory, before the Louisiana Purchase, the Spanish considered it to be a river, a rather important one that required them to build a fort at its mouth. When I was in grade school, it was waste deep. Today, you can wade across it in most spots and never get the top of your socks wet.

When I was a kid, we would visit my aunt and uncle in the country many times every summer to swim in the wonderful creek that flowed through their farm. There were several clear, deep swimming holes, with fish of considerable size who were less than thrilled to share their home. I saw one of my cousins recently and asked if he and his kids still swam in the creek. "Nope," he said, "it's been dry for years, the swimming holes have all filled in."

Where went all the water?
:P fuzzbox said...

Did it become Budweiser?

LOL LOL even Rooty laughed!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Further proof that guys can turn anything into a sport.

"Blair Matheson wins the cheese during the Whitestone Cheese Rolling New Zealand championships at Waikaka, near Invercargill.

Competitors chase large cheese wheels that are rolled down a hill."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I is so confused

I do not understand the point of taking leftovers from the dinner table and switching them from the bowls they were served in to other bowls to put in the refrigerator. Why not just put the bowl they's in in the frig and not dirty two bowls.

Of course, it's not just two bowls, since when they get served again they will have to be put into yet another bowl. For some things, this can be an almost endless process.

Monday, November 26, 2007

TUMS are made of ground-up marble... why do the bottles have expiration dates? What does marble become when it goes bad, Formica?
David Amulet said...

And here I thought Tums were made of ground-up quaaludes.

-- david


David -- I know not what of you speak, but don't the good ones come from Mexico???

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oh sure, you're full of turkey...

...but how much will it cost you to get home!

Click HERE or the image for the AAA Trip Gas Price Calculator.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

gobble, gobble, whack

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving Day!
I don't have to bring nothin' since last year's
Jello & Peanut Surprise.

(Give the photo a little thought, it will come to you.)

And, the holidays are just beginning...

1. A woman in Dierberg's (regional supermarket chain) was berating a cute, young clerk because she didn't know if the Dierberg's price on some stupid thing was higher or lower than at Shop 'n Save (another regional chain).

2. The driver ahead of me in the drive-thru line at McDonald's at lunch time was putting her hair up in curlers, in the drive-thru line.

3. It was 75 yesterday, 74 today. Some time overnight the highway department sprayed the road into town with salt, lots of it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Never a donor nor contributor be

Giving away money is not easy, perhaps because the amounts that I have to give away are so small.

As most of you know, I taught for many years. When you teach, your employer is your principal charity -- there are always fund drives going on plus incessant student bake sales and other annoying ways to pick your pocket.

A few years ago, it was discovered that the BIG CHARITY is St. Louis was spending 90 cents of each dollar it collected on overhead. Since the BIG CHARITY does not itself engage in any charitable activities that mean that only 10 cents of every dollar was being given to an actual charity. Since some of those charities, in turn, spend up to 50% of income on overhead, for your buck you got something between a nickel and a dime of actual good. (After the publicity, the BIG CHARITY changed it ways.)

More recently, one of the St. Louis TV stations reported that one of the Catholic Charities in St. Louis had raised $100 K on a trivia night. Very impressive -- until it was revealed that the head of the charity was paid $115 K per year. They were still down $15 K before they even covered his salary.

A few years ago I started to send small, very small, contributions to rural churches that I would see when driving around. Usually $50, and never more than $100. I stopped doing that when I finally realized that not one of the churches had acknowledged my gift or send a thank-you note.

So recently, all my giving has been going to various groups that support either active duty troops or disabled veterans. There are a lot of these so I have been giving a little to as many as I could (in effect, spreading the risk or increasing the chances that my few dollars would be used for some good purpose).

One such group offered a free t-shirt with each $30 contribution. I sent them $50. The receipt of the $50 was acknowledged through PayPal but the t-shirt never arrived. It has been about a month since they got my cash, so I sent an inquiry last night. Today I received an email that said "Clearly its got lost on the way." This, I assume, is the charitable equivalent of "My dog ate my homework!"
The Phoenix said...

You should still get your t-shirt, though.

Foen -- what would I do with it, not exactly a charity that I would want to promote. The quote in the post was a copy and paste, odd grammar and all. The guy also wanted me to resend my address -- which suggests that they are not even keeping records of what money comes in!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It was deja vu all over again.

I have not really kept in touch with the people that I went to college with, and not just because I probably owe some of them money. Three of them, however, have popped up on TV.

The first was the crabby next door neighbor who caused grief for a cute young couple building a house (with help from a TV show).

The second was a witness in a criminal case involving several of his relatives, so he was interviewed on one of those cable crime shows.

The third, I found out today, was on a reality TV show, one so obscure that I never heard of it, nor could I find its web page.

The third was a real wheeler-dealer when I knew him, and apparently still is. When last I heard of him he had left his employer and started a business in direct competition. What I read today was that he had left his most recent employer and, surprise surprise, started a business in direct competition. Surprise, Surprise!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Comments about comments

Moni left a comment about my post about the Here Comes the King jingle:
moni said...

Oh my yes, Anheiser-Busch is such a part of St. Louis as are the Cardinals. We use to ride out to Busch Farms and we'd see old man Busch riding his little horse drawn buggy down the road and this was before Busch Farms was open to the public. My uncle was a batboy for the Cardinals and my grandmother had large framed pictures of the Cardinal teams back in their very winning days. Good memories.

Grant's Farm, operated by Anheuser-Busch, is in St. Louis County. It's "ancestral home" of the Busch family. The important part ==> there are baby Clydesdales. Jim
Fuz questioned by claim to inventing the radio:

:P fuzzbox has left a new comment on your post "How I reinvented radio.":

Sure you weren't smoking anything?

Fuz, I didn't receive your package last week, be sure to include a Whataburger!!! Jim
Here's what Moni said about my question about babies dreaming, Moni major sweet:

moni has left a new comment on your post "do babies dream?":

I think they dream about food, mommy and kisses.

Nothing I can add to that! Jim
Foen commented on waiting for service people:

The Phoenix has left a new comment on your post "Do a little, crappy, charge a lot.":

It's not as bad as furniture or appliance delivery people. "We'll be there between 7AM and 7PM."

I will tell all about that day. Here's a hint -- he started at 9:30 AM and finally left at 10:45 PM. Jim
"Way past due" drew three comments:

sleepyrn has left a new comment on your post "way past due":

I was stopped last week on the way home from work. It was around 9pm and I was exceeding the posted limit by about 14 mph. Add to that I was in my husband's car and had NO earthly idea where he had his registration, insurance... The officer comes to the widow all ready to tell me the errors of my ways. He shines his light in and sees me in scrubs and my work ID badge and his whole attitude changed - instantly. He asked for my license, reg, ins... I told him I couldn't find the second two. When he came back with my license I was still rooting around.... He said not to worry about it - "no big deal", and just told me to slow down. SInce when is not having a registration card and proof of insurance "no big deal?" He said he wasn't worried so much about me but I was "encouraging the other drivers to speed also." We talked about my work for a few minutes and he sent me on my way.

Officers will not give tickets to nurses in uniform. I swear - it's true. I've had one officer tell me that they know that their life may be in our hands one day and they want them to be friendly hands.

The moral of the story is that everyone should drive around in scrubs and have a hospital ID.

sleepy, I only wear scrubs around the house haha

Metal Mark has left a new comment on your post "way past due":

I got a ticket once for turning on a red light. I was exhausted and not paying attention. That's the only ticket I have ever gotten.

Everyone who wants to turn MM into the cops raise your hand.

Amy in StL has left a new comment on your post "way past due":

My car attracts way too much attention for me to speed more than 9 MPH over the legal limit. Guys always ask me how I avoid getting in more trouble and I always tell them, "I pay for my own insurance." I leave out the part about being a cheapass.

Amy, what the hell do you drive, an Enzo Ferrari????? If so, I will marry you.
About ASCII self art, Stan wrote:

stan has left a new comment on your post "ASCII self art":

I can't quite make out the face. Is that Matt Damon or a young Frank Sinatra?

Stan, it's Matt Damon, from the Google News page, making it 60x50 distorted it some.

ASCII self art

At you can upload a picture and turn it into different types of ASCII art. Be sure to resize your photo to 60 x 50 pixels before you upload. The site will even generate a HTML page for you. Note: You must allow popups for the typorganism page.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

way past due

I got stopped the other night, by the Illinois State Police (Highway Patrol). The trooper looked like Opie, he was 27 (I asked him). I was going to make an Aunt Bee joke but thought better of it.

I was breaking the sound barrier, at night, on I-55, in a 65 zone. I had been exceeding the speed of light in Missouri, on I-44, in hills north of Pacific, just a short time before so I had actually slowed down some.

The cop was polite, professional, and somewhat confused by Rooty (who loves all cops and thought one had come up to the car to play). Beside avoiding any Opie references, I restrained by self and mentioned neither 'what was he doing out after curfew' nor Ovaltine.

I have always found that if you're friendly, cooperate, and use your turn signals you'll usually just get a warning, and so I did.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

do as jay do

Years ago, I heard Jay Leno, as part of his stand-up act, say that you should buy yourself whatever you bought for your parents. This he said would save untold amounts of time as you tried to explain to them over the telephone how to cook something in a microwave or stop the VCR from flashing "12:00" incessantly.

Over the years, this has proved to be excellent advice, saving an Everest of port sausage links from being turned into charcoal brickettes and enabling countless baseball games from going unrecorded.

And then there was TIVO.

There is no way to explain TIVO to a parent -- they either get it or they don't. My mom don't!

Just when you think you've gotten her pointed in the right direction and back to live TV, she'll press the TIVO button at the top pf the remote, probably because it's big and shiny. Once into the TIVO menu, she might as well be lost inside a Medieval maze.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Do a little, crappy, charge a lot.

My attitude towards work has always been "Don't do, over do." That has served me well over the years, the folks who have gotten more than they thought they would have been very generous with praise and with referrals. If you focus on the work and not the money, the money becomes the easy part.

On the other hand, the satellite TV guy was supposed to be here between 8:30 and 9:30. He did call, to say he had the wrong equipment -- insert your own 8th grade joke here -- and would be 45 minutes late.

Meanwhile, the new lawn sprinkler people were supposed to be here at 8:00 but, of course, have not been seen. I had the sprinkler system put in this summer because of the the drought and because of the lake full of free water just sitting out there. The sprinkler system has never worked properly -- every time I turned it on, it spring a leak leak or two. The last leak rivals Old Faithful. It case the Yellowstone caldera blows, at least we'll have a back up geyser. The sprinkler people, had they arrived, were not going to fix the leak. At this point, there seems little point in that. They are just going to "winterize" the system and then in the spring tear the whole damn thing out and start from scratch. I certain they'll show up eventually, after they down a few extra Sausage McGriddles.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How I reinvented radio.

You have probably seen pictures of families sitting around listening to the radio. Mom might be knitting, dad might be reading the newspaper, but usually they are just sitting there staring at a big piece of furniture, apparently engrossed in some story or news report.

My parent had such a piece of furniture, as did the parents and grandparents of every kid that I grew up with, but the glory of network radio was well past before I came along. To me, the big, elaborately carved, inlaid-encrusted thing was simply something else to play with. It played records, but big clumsy things that contained music that no one under 90 would want to listen to. Besides what was then just "radio" and now called "AM," the big thing also received shortwave and "ship-to-shore." The latter was a bunch of beeping that I now know was Morse Code.

I was a TV kid, and have always looked upon those photos of people staring at a radio with great amusement and, as some of you know, nothing amuses me more than Edgar Bergman becoming a multi-millionaire back when that meant something by doing ventriloquism on the radio. The whole thing has always seemed to me to be nothing short of sheer idiocy.

Enter books on tape, actually books on CD, now actually books downloaded to my ipod.

I spend a lot of time in the car, hate commercial radio, and dislike the tight rotation of satellite radio (meaning they play the same playlist over, and over, and over on any given channel).

So I bought a book on CD from Amazon. A mystery. Great for driving, it makes the time just fly by on the Interstate. Bad for in-city driving since I find myself sitting in the driveway just to hear "just a little more."

Books on CD are a nuisance, however, since a single book often arrives spread across 17 discs. Arg!

Then I discovered that they can be downloaded directly to the pc, and even more directly into the ipod. Wow! The dealer was able to install an ipod adopter in the car, an option that I had ironically declined when I ordered that car.

Meanwhile, a truck knocked down the cable wire that crosses the street and enters my house. It's happened before. What has also happened before has been my being annoyed with the cable company. Charter! For many of you, that's all I have to provide in way of explanation. I promised myself that the next time they annoyed me would be their last. I had already switch the Internet connection to ATT when the Charter tech people annoyed me for the 100th time. I called about the down wire and, cutting out the unpleasant part, the
satellite TV system is being installed on Tuesday.

So I sat in the family room last night, Rooty sleeping in a chair with his four feet straight up in the air, me with my ipon headphones in place, and I listened to a mystery that I had downloaded. As I sat there listening, I realized that I was staring at the TV set, just like those long dead people in the pictures had been staring at their 3 1/2 feet tall radios.

It may have just been the trance from staring so long at a single object, but the characters in the detective novel came alive, really alive, and their world and the objects in their world became real. I was amongst them as they talked, and moved about, shaved and showered, and merged lies and truths and possibilities. This morning I actually had trouble realizing that I had only heard a description of one piece of evidence and not see it (although I can still see it vividly, in detail, in my memory). Network radio must have been grand, sorry I missed it, but glad that I reinvented it again.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Please raise your hand...

Does anyone know how to say
"Stop using lead paint!"
in Chinese?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There's a reason for this, that need not concern you.

There are some things that are very St. Louis, like explaining where you live by parish even if you're not Catholic. Another is the Here Comes the King advertising jingle written for Budweiser, the flagship brand of Anheuser-Busch.

The song is played at the top of the eighth inning during all St. Louis Cardinals home games and during the third period at St. Louis Blues home games. Saint Louis University plays it, and the students sing the lyrics, during half-time of home basketball games. [Note: It's St. Louis and St. Louis Blues, but Saint Louis University.]

The first ad was in 1976. Below is that spot, and the the song being used during the 2007 Cardinals opening day festivities at Busch Stadium.

Welcome home Timmy.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

do babies dream?

if so, what about?

Some idiot called me at dawn...

...on my cell phone... was a wrong number... I took a picture of Rooty sleeping...
...yes, it does freak me out some...

...especially when he sleeps that way in the car.

Monday, November 05, 2007

no title needed

Some Monday morning things to think about...

Native Americans in the western U.S., at the time called Indians, were scandalized by skinny-dipping soldiers. Not because the soldiers were naked but because many of them had been circumscribed. It seems the Indian men walked around naked much of the time but that was okay as long (no pun intended) as their foreskin stayed in place. To stay politically correct, the braves (and this might be why they were so called) used "string" made of thin strands of tree bark tied in knots to keep them foreskins in place

Cowboys in the west were called "Pikes" because, when asked from whence they came, many replied "Pike County." There are Pike Counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania -- which appear to have collectively contributed more than their fair share of native sons to the cowboy calling.

The Great Plains Indians called a double tornado "a dead man walking" (see photo at top).

And, yes, I do watch way too much TV.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Kick 'm the coin purse

You might have read about the father of a Marine killed in Iraq who won a multi-million dollar judgment against a Kansas church whose members protested at his son's funeral -- carry signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers." There will be appeals, and it is unlikely the father will ever collect a nickel, but good for him!

The best way to stop fanaticism is to make it costly for the fanatic. The Salem witch trials -- 150 people were arrested and imprisoned, 29 convicted, 19 (fourteen women, five men) hanged, 5 accused people died while in prison and one man was crushed with large stones because he refused to enter a plea -- finally stopped when one of the accused filed a counter suit for libel and slander. Whoops, suddenly calling your neighbor a minion of the devil could cost you a few chickens and your cow.

My last boss once said among a group that my eccentricities were thoughtfully developed and carefully rehearsed. What he was saying of course was that I was a fake wacko, with the 'fake" part being what I objected to. Although I could use the eggs and milk, I didn't sue.