Friday, December 30, 2005

Hic!, Get Smart, Hey Flipper!, -and- Flooding

Hic! - pilot maroons drunken passenger on island
Get Smart - CIA couple outed by 5-year-old son
Hey, Flipper! - British woman marries dolphin

New Bubble Breaker High Score: 1002!

It is raining again today. Following a two-day hiatus, rain has returned to heighten the threat of flooding. The rainfall is fairly light, yet it is continuous and predicted to last for several days. Six inches of rain are predicted for this area during the next 48 hours!

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

ET?, Sieg Heil, Don't Stand So Close, -and- Flooding

ET? - couple claims abducted/probed by aliens
Sieg Heil - prison term for Hitler voice mail
Don't Stand So Close - middle school bans touching

It has been dry since early yesterday morning. There is another storm predicted for Saturday. Rivers in Northern California are swollen. They are at their highest level in seven years. The RV park at the Sacramento River here was evacuated yesterday afternoon. The county park there is closed. The picnic tables are partially under water. The river is lapping at Woodson Bridge. Another storm would undoubtedly bring about severe flooding in this area. I pray that this storm does not arrive.

I have DirecTV here at the office and at home. DirecTV recently added XM satellite radio--72 channels of music and no Howard Stern--at no additional cost to subscribers. When I read that XM's competitor, Sirius, is paying Howard Stern $500 million for five years of his vile spew, I could not contain my disbelief and had to re-read the article to ensure I had read it properly. Certainly, this will ultimately result in the financial ruin of Sirius! I cannot possibly imagine that anyone will subscribe to Sirius in order to gain access to Howard Stern--certainly not in numbers sufficient to keep the company financially sound!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Don't Soil Yourself!, Phone Home! -and- Flood Warnings

Don't Soil Yourself! - funniest news of 2005
Phone Home! - boyfriend charged in swallowed cell-phone case

The rain continues! Flood warnings have been issued for this area! Laura is researching alternate routes for her return home this evening, since Woodson Bridge, over which she travels to cross the Sacramento River, is expected to be closed! This is very unusual! The rain appears to be abating at the moment (9:30 AM), but only time will tell the tale!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Stop Thief!, Unwrap Me!, -and- Back to Work

Stop Thief! - thief steals Christmas Eve church offerings
Unwrap Me! - landlord rescues bound tenant Christmas Morning

It was difficult going back to work this morning! It was (and still is) raining heavily. It is not particularly cold (59 degrees when I arrived at the office at 8:15 AM), but it is certainly wet and dreary!

Saturday was a day spent lounging, watching movies, and snacking. The weather allowed grilling, so Laura grilled a couple of thick top sirloin steaks perfectly. I poached Brussels sprouts and white mushrooms. I sautéed white onions in extra-virgin olive oil, added the Brussels sprouts, the mushrooms, and seasonings and produced a delightful companion to the steaks.

Christmas Day, we went to Harvest Christian Center at 10 AM, anticipating a large attendance for the 10:30 AM service. By the time the service began, the church was filled well beyond its seating capacity. It was a glorious service.

Sunday afternoon, Mother visited. We dined on poached gulf shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce, spicy chicken breast strips with spicy dipping sauce and cool ranch sauce, small croissants stuffed with crab and bleu cheese, and champagne. We then watched Shrek 2. It was a lovely day.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Never Too Young, Say "Cheese," -and- Arf!

Never Too Young - police nab fourth-grade counterfeiters
Say "Cheese" - thieves identified by photographs they took of themselves
Arf! - dog listed as defendant in drug-deal lawsuit

Merry Christmas! With only two days until Christmas, I wish to take this opportunity to wish everyone Merry Christmas! I pray that all who are traveling arrive safely. While you enjoy the company of family and friends, delightful dining, and loving gift exchange, keep in mind the true celebration: Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The One That Didn't Get Away, Go Granny Go, -and- Good Kitty

The One That Didn't Get Away - trout with two mouths caught in Nebraska lake
Go, Granny, Go! - robbers mess with wrong lady
Good Kitty - tigers kill smuggler trying to hide among them

Rain, rain, and more rain! The weather report is, "Rain today, dark tonight"! I realize that we need the water, but a dry day or two would certainly be a welcome respite from all this rain! I suddenly felt great shame for complaining: I thought about the victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters; I thought about our brave soldiers fighting in Iraq and elsewhere; I thought about New Yorkers suffering from the transit strike; I thought about hunger and suffering in underdeveloped countries; I thought about victims of crime, terrorism, and oppression. I felt great shame. How fortunate I am! How God has blessed me! What, after all, is a little rain!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Frosty, Is That You? -and- Jane Fonda's Birthday

Frosty, Is That You? - neighbors build giant snowman in Anchorage

I read in the news this morning that today is Jane Fonda's birthday. I cannot imagine what makes this newsworthy, but there the story was--just under the story of Elton John's "wedding." Yikes! This all gave me pause to reconsider my choices of online news services. Fortunately, the Fox News Channel has (thus far, at least) made no mention of the event. Hopefully, they shall not. I really doubt that I possess the intestinal fortitude to view Hanoi Jane in a party hat, blowing out the candles on her birthday cake!

The timing of this event is interesting, however, in that it follows my recounting of the tale of the juvenile sea sprite!

It is raining yet today, albeit lightly. Yesterday afternoon, the rain was so heavy for a period of about fifteen minutes that the DirecTV satellite signal disappeared!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Wake Up!, What Is That Noise? -and- Monkey Business

Wake Up! - sleepwalking defense clears man of three rapes

What Is That Noise? - Eminem music used as U.S. torture device

Monkey Business - Chimp's painting fools art experts

New Bubble Breaker High Score: 958

I received a telemarketing call this morning. (Thanks to the National Do Not Call Registry, such calls are rare.) The caller wanted to send me a fax detailing the "...beautiful Web site..." that had been designed for California Technologies. He would not accept the fact that I am a Web designer as justification for my disinterest in his proposal. I regaled him, therefore, with the story of the juvenile sea sprite:

The juvenile sea sprite spends its formative days searching the ocean floor for a suitable rock or piece of coral to which to attach itself and make its home for life. To facilitate this process, the juvenile sea sprite is provided with a rudimentary nervous system. When the juvenile sea sprite locates a suitable rock or piece of coral and attaches itself, it no longer needs its brain, so it eats it.

The telemarketer was obviously entertained by the story of the juvenile sea sprite, since he did not disconnect until the story was completed--at which time he sighed softly and gently returned his telephone handset to its cradle.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Naked Plumber, That's Not Santa -and- Rain

The Naked Plumber - plumbing problem leads to naked man

That's Not Santa - man stuck in restaurant chimney

The rain has arrived. It was foggy Saturday, but it was dry. The baby back ribs roasted nicely on the grill, and Laura stayed dry while tending to them. A potato salad accompanied them, and the leftovers will be enjoyed tonight!

For brunch on Saturday, we had a DiGiorno Supreme pizza. We generally have pizza on Friday evening, but we were not sufficiently hungry at that time. Laura makes perfect pizza: She preheats the oven, places the pizza directly on the oven rack, and bakes several minutes short of the recommended time. The crust browns perfectly using this methodology, and the toppings are cooked to perfection. She lets the pizza rest on a wooden cutting board for five minutes before slicing.

Early (while we were sleeping) Sunday morning, the rain arrived. It rained all day and night, and it is raining still. Fortunately, it is a fairly light rain, and it is not particularly cold.

Although a good deal of time was spent playing Bubble Breaker over the weekend, I was unable to best Friday's score of 900.

Friday, December 16, 2005

It IS Delivery!, YOU Do the Dishes!, -and- FOG!

It IS Delivery! - the Robin Hood of pizza delivery guys

YOU Do the Dishes! - man kills family after argument over household chores

The HORROR of it all: It is foggy and cold and gloomy, and RAIN is predicted for the weekend! How can this be? We have pig ribs awaiting their fate on the grill. Whatever shall we do? I shudder to think of Laura barbecuing in the RAIN, but it is altogether likely that she will be required to do so! Yikes! The HORROR of it all!

I have become most enamored of "Bubble Breaker," a new game included in Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. There are game-play options, but there are no rules or help available--adding, undoubtedly, to the attraction the game holds for me. A bit of research using Google indicates that the game has quickly developed a large following. The only salient game-play hint I found suggests keeping matching bubbles at the bottom of the screen together as long as possible.

My high score is currently 478. I must go. I must play!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Don't Bet on It -and- Don't Go Fly a Kite

Don't Bet on It - 19-year-old bank robber hooked on Internet gambling

Don't Go Fly a Kite - fly a kite, go to jail

It is another beautiful day today. I became most fearful late yesterday afternoon, when the sky suddenly filled with threatening clouds. Today, however, the clouds are gone, and the sun is shining brightly!

Laura has been busy this week: She is the wardrobe manager for Harvest Christian Center's annual Children's Christmas Play. She washed and ironed all the costumes and created a beautiful scroll, on which she wrote scripture in shorthand. She maintains the costumes and helps the children dress. The general comment at last night's performance was that the shorthand looked like Hebrew. There will be a second performance of the play tomorrow evening. I shall attend this performance. As it is each year, the play is a great success, playing to capacity audiences.

CALLER update: The CALLER from earlier this week finally darkened my doorway this morning. She said she bought a modem at Staples and was unable to install it. I repeated to her my installation charge of $30.00. She reluctantly agreed, said she had her computer with her, and left to fetch it. Horror of horrors: Her "computer" was an elderly Gateway that was enormous and incredibly heavy. After a bit of investigation, I determined that it was a 386 with 8MB of RAM, a 40MB HD, no CD-ROM drive, and Windows 3.1! Great Scott!

I explained tactfully that this old beast was without value and asked her how such an ancient device came into her possession. She said she had purchased it at a yard sale for $50. She said she got "...the whole deal...keyboard, mouse, screen, and all the books and stuff." I was amazed. I felt great compassion for her. I explained that none of what she had bought was of any value whatever. Once she understood this she asked, "Well, what do I do now? I have to get online!" I determined that she could not afford a new system. I gave her a list of the minimum system requirements she would need for Internet use and wished her well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Real Thing, The Big Thing, The Big Bite

The Real Thing - Coca-Cola rival will include cocaine ingredient

The Big Thing - 500-pound man accused of fast-food scam

The Big Bite - lion bites woman at zoo

It is sunny and beautiful again today. This weather is amazing for mid-December! There will be pig ribs on the grill Saturday, I guar-an-tee!

Last evening, I made Garlic Chicken Linguine--one of Laura's favorites. It is particularly simple to produce and is uncommonly scrumptious. I simply shred leftover grilled chicken, add to a skillet containing a vast quantity of minced garlic, La Conda Ranch extra-virgin olive oil, and two Cayenne peppers, toss in cooked linguine, and sauté for 5 minutes on medium-low heat. At the table, a liberal sprinkling of crushed red peppers and grated Parmesan cheese complete the dish.

I realize that you are all waiting impatiently to hear an interesting story. Unfortunately, nothing interesting took place here yesterday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bad Dog, Bad Fish, and Bad Booze

Bad Dog! - boy gets nose back after dog eats and swallows it

Bad Fish! - man punches out shark to save son

Bad Booze! - moonshine kills 14

The sun is shining brightly. It is a beautiful day. Hopefully, this weather will last through the weekend. We have some lovely baby back pig ribs that are calling out to be cooked slowly on indirect heat on the grill. Saturday would be a perfect day for pig ribs and Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale!

This conversation took place yesterday: ME: California Technologies. CALLER: I'm looking for a modem. ME: I have Lucent internal V.92 modems in stock at $24.95. CALLER: Wal-Mart has modems for $19.95, but they are all out. ME: When I do not have any they are $19.95 also! CALLER: So the ones you have are $24.95? ME: Yes. CALLER: Is that installed? ME: No. Installation and configuration would be a half-hour labor charge of $30.00. CALLER: That makes the modem over fifty dollars! Wal-Mart has them for $19.95! ME: If you pay Wal-Mart $19.95 for a modem they do not have there will be nothing to install, so your only cost would be $19.95. CALLER: Why do you want to charge over fifty dollars then? ME: I have the modem in stock and I can install it! CALLER: If I put it in myself can I buy one for $19.95? ME: Yes. CALLER: Okay. I'll be right there. ME: I will be right here.

24 hours later, I am still waiting for this creature to darken my doorway!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Are You Talkin' to Me? -and- Crossword Puzzles

Are You Talkin' to Me? - taxi driver bites off customer's fingertip

I do crossword puzzles online. Some people gamble and play violent games online. I do crossword puzzles. On Monday, I do four crossword puzzles (NY Times, USA Today, and two at the Toronto Star); on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I do three crossword puzzles (USA Today and the Toronto Star; on Saturday and Sunday, I do the two crossword puzzles at the Toronto Star.

I neglected to do any crossword puzzles over the weekend. This sometimes happens when I find myself otherwise occupied. Today, I have eight crossword puzzles to do--the four Monday puzzles and the four from Saturday and Sunday.

While Jamie Foxx and Bianca Jagger impatiently await Governor Arnold's decision regarding Stanley Williams' clemency, I will be doing crossword puzzles. I must go now and begin this!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Desperately Seeking Chelsea

Desperately Seeking Chelsea - White House jumper wanted Chelsea Clinton

Drunken Bunnies - Playmates arrested after flight lands

Bad Santa! - man in Santa suit drops his pants at mall

In the "just when I thought I had seen everything" department: When I arrived at my office this morning, my attention was drawn to a vehicle parked at the curb--just out of Web cam view, unfortunately. This vehicle wore the paint scheme of the General Lee of "The Dukes of Hazzard." It was not the paint scheme itself, however, that made me question the accuracy of my vision. It was the vehicle to which the paint scheme was applied that caused me to stare in disbelief: The vehicle was an elderly Nissan 4-door sedan!

I am a fan of "The Dukes of Hazzard" (the television show, currently being rerun on CMT at 4 PM and 8 PM Pacific Time daily--not the abhorrent movie version!) and can certainly understand an avid fan's desire to pay homage. The choice of car, however, is a disgrace! What next, I wonder--a Batmobile created from a Ford Pinto? Yikes!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Rehabiliitation, Crime Does Pay, -and- Good Cop, Bad Cop

Rehabilitation - inmate steals van three minutes after release

Crime Does Pay - rapist wins legal aid to study what made him commit crime

Good Cop, Bad Cop - officer tasers partner during argument over soft drink

The sun is shining! (see Web cam) It is a beautiful day, and the weatherman predicts this weather will last through the weekend. Can you say, grilling weather?

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in a private meeting in Sacramento this morning, hearing final testimony from both sides in the clemency hearing for Crips gang co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams, who killed four people 26 years ago.

Williams is scheduled to die December 13, but with clemency he would spend life in prison without parole instead.

Schwarzenegger's decision will be announced shortly. I believe he will deny clemency. I believe he should deny clemency.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hey, Pizza Man! -and- Philomena

Hey, Pizza Man! - customer gives pizza man his own card

Philomena, my new HP iPAQ hx2970 Pocket PC, is awesome! Those interested can use the link for a full review. I will limit this post to a few salient observations.

Philomena operates under Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. This new version has considerable improvements and enhancements over previous versions -- particularly regarding security and wireless technology.

Philomena's case has rubberized sides. This makes her easy to grasp firmly and comfortably. Her 1440ma battery is removable. Extra batteries -- including a 2880ma battery -- and a battery charger are available. CF and SD slots are included for increased storage capacity. The touch screen is soft and comfortable and eases handwriting. The wireless antenna is fully contained within the case, yet signal strength is stellar.

Philomena is calling out to me. I must go.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Is That You, Chupa? -and- Philomena

Is That You, Chupa? - the mystery beast of Borneo

Philomena has arrived! I am salivating copiously, longing to feel her power throbbing in my hand, but I must wait! First, I must charge her battery. I am quivering with anticipation, my pulse is rapid and irregular, my vision is blurred, and my right hand clutches at her and must be restrained by my left. Soon, she will be ready to be put into service!

I took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday and grilled a large chicken. I cut a whole roasting hen in half and gave it a very spicy dry rub. I grilled the halves for fifteen minutes on each side on high, charring the skin and melting away the fat. I then placed the grilled halves on a baking sheet and placed in the oven for two hours at 200 degrees. It was incredible. Steamed spaghetti squash accompanied it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sleep Tight -and- Violent Video Games

Sleep Tight - and don't let the bedbugs bite!

We have beautiful sunshine again today. It was cold this morning (49 degrees in the office at 8 AM), and there was frost on RAMMMMM's windshield, but the sun quickly raised the temperature. It was beautiful here all weekend.

I find the level of violence in today's video games very disturbing. I recall enjoying "Space Quest," "Leisure Suit Larry," "King's Quest," etc. There was a certain level of violence in these games, of course, yet it was not realistic and always promoted good over evil. Even truly violent games such as "Doom" allowed the player to represent a good force fighting evil. The moral was sound.

Much of today's video-game violence is disturbingly realistic. More disturbing is the glorification of the triumph of evil over good! The player often is put in the position of car thief, drug dealer, murderer, etc., and the player's score is advanced by how well he performs criminal acts. The moral is unsound.

There are greater limitations and restrictions placed upon the content of television programming than there are placed upon the content of video games. This is very disturbing, in particular given the age group of the market audience these games attract.

Friday, December 02, 2005

No, Rocky! -and- Sunshine!

No, Rocky! - squirrel pack kills dog

SUNSHINE! The sun is shining brightly (look at the Web cam image!), there is no wind, it is warming (65 degrees at 8:30 AM and quickly rising!), and this weather is predicted to last through the weekend. There will be grilling done here tomorrow! I am envisioning flames licking at thick, juicy top sirloin steaks, and this has caused me to salivate copiously!

Our computers and cameras have names. I feel that naming them enhances their functionality greatly and gives them personalities, as it were. My current ASUS A600 Pocket PC (Laura will become her new master December 6) is named Penelope. The HP hx2790 Pocket PC, which will replace Penelope, will be named Philomena.

The other "girls" are: Phaedra, my main office system; Pandora, my secondary office system; Liberty, my office system dedicated to DOJ background checks; Persephone, Laura's system; Phoebe, my laptop; Monique, my Nikon D1 digital camera; and Nikki, Laura's Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera.

It is now 9:35 AM, and the temperature has already reached 71 degrees! YES!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday! - tycoon spends $10 million on 12-year-old daughter's birthday

I received an email complaint last evening from a woman who said our city is unfriendly. She said she was shopping on Market Street, stopped for lunch and received poor service. She said that when she returned to her car she found that she had been given a parking citation. She used the Corning Chamber of Commerce Web site to send her scathing message. As webmaster of that site, I received a copy of her message.

I politely explained to her that she was lost, since Corning has no Market Street and does not issue parking citations.

I have not received a reply.