Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Matters of Life and Death, You Can't Have It Your Way!, -and- Animal Kingdom

Matters of Life and Death - 1 million red envelopes deluge White House
You Can't Have It Your Way! - man fires shots into McDonald's when told he's early for lunch
Animal Kingdom - urban coyote attacks on the rise

On this day in history: March 31, 1991 - Danny Bonaduce arrested for assault after he fought with a transvestite prostitute. No contest, 750 hours community service.

Born on this day in history: March 31, 1943 - Christopher Walken (1943- ) Born in New York City, actor Christopher Walken made his Broadway debut at 16. His first big film role was in "The Anderson Tapes" (1971), and he won an Oscar for "The Deer Hunter" (1978). With an ability to play both sinister and comic roles, Walken has appeared in an enormous range of roles.

Scripture of the Day: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!Amen. - Ephesians 3:20-21

Video of the Day: The Perfect Crime - submitted by Chris

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while driving to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

The iPhone: We have been using our iPhones for several days now. The more I use my iPhone, the more amazed I am by its capabilities and its speed. There are thousands and thousands (some say 25,000) applications for the iPhone—a great many of which are free. I installed Bible and quickly became greatly enamored of it. It presents a very capable interface for a multitude of Bible translations. Another application I truly enjoy is Shazam. Shazam analyzes any song that is playing and reports the artist, title, CD, discography of the artist, etc. It is an amazing program. Visit iTunes and see for yourself the vast array of available applications. In addition to the applications to be found at iTunes, many private developers offer applications for the iPhone. The availability of applications is nearly endless.

Laura took this photograph of her cat, Thor, with her iPhone last evening:

The Wind: The wind that has plagued us unmercifully since last Sunday morning appears to have abated! This is wonderful. I loathe the wind. It serves to provide nothing—other than cold, airborne irritants, and general discomfort. I am pleased to see it gone!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fighting Back, Help Wanted, -and- The Worm Turns

Fighting Back - robbery suspect shot by store owner, dies
Help Wanted - sheriff runs classified ad to hire informants
The Worm Turns - Microsoft offers $250,000 reward for authors of Conficker

On this day in history: March 30, 1968 - Two children in the Bowery come across the body of a homeless drug addict later identified as Bobby Driscol, 31, the voice of Disney's "Peter Pan."

Born on this day in history: March 30, 1968 - Celine Dion (1968 - ) Born in Charlemagne, Canada, singer Celine Dion sent a demo tape at age 12 to manager and producer Rene Angelil, who immediately signed on to manage her career. Dion's breakthrough came in 1992 with the theme to Disney's hit feature "Beauty and the Beast," which was a No. 1 smash. She went on to international fame with hits like "The Power of Love" and the theme song for blockbuster film "Titanic." Dion has made a special name for herself in a showy engagement in Las Vegas.

Scripture of the Day: And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. - Ephesians 3:17-19

Video of the Day: Witness Protection - submitted by Cap'n Jack

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this dangerous hole in the sidewalk while journeying to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

There was a convention to discuss all of the achievements in science for the past decade. After their meetings, a group of scientists were talking and came to the conclusion that man no longer needs God so they picked one from the group to go tell Him.

The scientist approached God and said, "Listen, we've decided we no longer need you. Nowadays, we can extract stem cells, clone people, transplant hearts, and all kinds of things that were once considered miraculous."

God patiently heard him out, and then said, "All right. To see whether or not you still need me, why don't we have a little man-making contest!"

"Okay, great!" the scientist said.

"Now, we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam," God said.

"That's fine," replied the scientist and he bent down to scoop up a handful of dirt.

"Whoa!" God said, shaking his head in disapproval. "Not so fast, pal. You get your own dirt."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Somebody's Watching You, Weapons of Choice, -and- The Worm Turns

Somebody's Watching You - new cameras in police cruisers can scan thousands of license plates daily
Weapons of Choice - South Dakota gun owners glad to see waiting period go
The Worm Turns - Conflicter worm coming April 1

On this day in history: March 27, 1866 - Patent for a urinal is granted to Andrew Rankin.

Born on this day in history: March 27, 1963 - Quentin Tarantino (1963- ) Born in Knoxville, TN, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino sold scripts to fund production of "Reservoir Dogs" (1992), in which he was director, screenwriter and actor. Its success, and successor "Pulp Fiction" (1994), which won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, brought him celebrity status.

Scripture of the Day: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. - Romans 8:18

Video of the Day: Will It Blend? - iPhone 3G - submitted by Cindy

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while passing the lake on the way to my office! Click to enlarge.

Last Evening's Dinner: For dinner last evening, I made Sautéed Chicken Livers with Green Onions over Rice. I washed and dried a container of Foster Farms chicken livers. I seasoned a container of Mexican bread crumbs with adobo seasoning, granulated garlic, and a blend of ground chile de arbol and ground Cayenne. I poured the seasoned bread crumbs into a large Glad container, added the chicken livers, placed the lid on the container, and shook to thoroughly coat the chicken livers. I prepared a cup (dry) of Jasmine rice in the electric rice cooker. I sautéed the chicken livers in extra-virgin olive oil. When the chicken livers were fully cooked, I tossed chopped green onions over them, turned off the burner, and allowed the livers and onions to rest for two minutes. Laura spread the cooked rice on a serving platter. She placed the chicken livers and onions atop the rice and drizzled the olive oil remaining in the sauté pan over this. It was a very delicious meal.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Fats of Life, Soup's On, -and- Best Foot Forward

The Fats of Life - ballpark to sell 4800-calorie burger
Soup's On - Spanish police seize 42-piece dinnerware set made entirely of cocaine
Best Foot Forward - Chuck Norris to receive humanitarian award

On this day in history: March 26, 1830 - Joseph Smith publishes The Book of Mormon, after translating it from golden plates turned over by the angel Moroni. Smith maintained that the text contained in the tablets were written in "Reformed Egyptian" which he read by means of two magic stones from the Old Testament, the Urim and Thummim.

Born on this day in history: March 26, 1948 - Steven Tyler (1948- ) Born Steven Tallarico in Yonkers, NY, musician Steve Tyler and Joe Perry founded rock band Aerosmith in the 1970s, which is still popular today.

Scripture of the Day: The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. - Romans 8:16-17

Video of the Day: Hugs with Lions - submitted by Cindy

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this sign while journeying to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

iPhones Our 16GB iPhone 3G shipment arrived yesterday. I charged the iPhones and activated them. We kept our previous mobile telephone numbers. AT&T performed the transfer of the numbers from Verizon. It was a simple process activating Laura's iPhone. Within only two or three minutes of calling the AT&T activation center on my office land line, Laura's iPhone was activated. My iPhone, however, was another story altogether: Initially, the AT&T activation representative was unable to find my iPhone in the system. She transferred my call to another representative—one that would, she assured me, be able to resolve the issue and activate my iPhone. The second representative, however, was equally unable to assist me and said she would transfer my call to the "automated activation system." That concerned me, since I wondered how an automated system could perform a task that live support staff had been unable to accomplish. Nonetheless, I thanked the representative and proceeded to input the information when requested by the automated activation system. Once this was accomplished, I was told to turn off the iPhone, wait five minutes, and the iPhone would be activated. I waited twenty minutes. The iPhone still displayed, "No Service." I called the AT&T activation center again and somehow managed to get the same representative who initially took my call. She apologized and said that she now saw the iPhone in the system. She said, however, that since the automated activation had failed, it would be necessary to remove the SIM card and reinsert it. I did so, and the balance of the activation went smoothly.

In a word, the iPhone is incredible. While I have a good deal of acclimation ahead of me, I quickly learned the basic functions of the iPhone (There is no manual supplied. There is a manual available online, however.) I sent and received telephone calls and emails—using the Contacts that were stored in the iPhone following syncing it with my main office computer's Outlook 2007 Contacts. I took a few photographs and marveled at the quality and low-light capabilities of the iPhone's camera.

I added Corning, CA, to the Weather application. Up-to-the-minute weather is presented for whatever city one adds. New York, NY, and Cupertino, CA, are the default cities.

I toyed with Maps—quickly obtaining Google-based driving instructions from my home to my office. Maps uses GPS technology to determine the current location of the iPhone.

I installed Bible—a truly impressive, FREE application that contains a dizzying compendium of translations—including all the popular versions, along with such niche translations as Conversational Japanese!

I installed Spell Check. This is an excellent application that spell-checks as one types, offers suggestions, and links to Google for more information on a typed word. This is a FREE application.

Our iPhones will replace our HP iPAQ hx2795 PDAs and our Motorola RAZR cell phones. Soon, I shall discontinue land line service for our home.

I must go. Mr. iPhone is calling out to me!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fighting Back, Animal Kingdom, -and- The Kids Are Alright

Fighting Back - armed customer kills robber at Burger King
Animal Kingdom - two komodo dragons maul fruit-picker to death
The Kids Are Alright - girl's lemonade stand earns $24,000 for cancer

On this day in history: March 25, 1967 - As part of Operation Green Mist, the U.S. Army detonates explosive warheads containing the deadly sarin nerve agent at Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve on the big island of Hawaii. The open-air tests are kept secret for more than thirty years.

Born on this day in history: March 25, 1934 - Gloria Steinem (1934 - ) Born in Toledo, OH, feminist and writer Gloria Steinem began as a journalist, attracting attention with an article, "I Was a Playboy Bunny," based on undercover work. In 1971, she joined other feminists in forming the National Women's Political Caucus, and took the lead in launching "Ms magazine" (1972). Steinem has been working for social reform ever since.

Scripture of the Day: Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. - Psalm 37:16-17

Video of the Day: Guitarist - the iPhone Guitar

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while driving to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

The Best Stir-fry Dinner Ever! I made stir fry last evening. In the wok, I stir-fried sliced white mushrooms, sliced white onion, slivered Jalapeños, grated ginger, minced garlic, bias-cut carrots, and bias-cut celery. I seasoned with adobo seasoning, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and the seasoning packets from two packages of ramen noodles. When the vegetables were cooked, I incorporated two packages of ramen noodles that I had cooked and drained while the vegetables cooked. I then added the ingredient that made this the best stir-fry dinner ever: I tossed a quantity of thinly sliced, grilled New York strip steak that remained from our Sunday dinner. I turned off the heat so that the steak would warm but not continue cooking and took the wok to the table. It was delightful. A quantity of leftover stir fry followed me to the office this morning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stupid Criminals, The Kids Are Alright, -and- Animal Kingdom

Stupid Criminals - gangster accidently shoots himself, in critical condition
The Kids Are Alright - teen scales fence, saves drowning girl
Animal Kingdom - parrot given award for alerting owner about choking baby

On this day in history: March 24, 1989 - Exxon tanker Valdez, piloted by a drunk captain, strikes a well-charted reef at Prince William sound, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil.

Born on this day in history: March 24, 1930 - Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) Born in Slater, MO, actor Steve McQueen became famous in TV Western "Wanted Dead or Alive" (1958), which led to a co-starring role in "The Magnificent Seven" (1960). He became the archetypal 1960s cinema hero/rebel.

Scripture of the Day: The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot. - Proverbs 10:7

Video of the Day: "Bullitt" - car chase scene

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while driving past the park on my way to work! Click to enlarge.

Anticipation: Our iPhones should arrive today. I say that without certainty, since of late my experience with next-day FedEx has not been particularly stellar. The iPhones were ordered last Friday. Theoretically, I would have expected them to appear here yesterday. There was an issue with the order, however, and this was not resolved until yesterday morning at 8:01 AM. Given that, I would expect the iPhones to arrive today. As I say, however, my experience with next-day FedEx has me musing the possibilities—only one of which (and not necessarily the most likely) is that the iPhones will arrive today.

I have several applications awaiting the arrival of the iPhones—including a Mah-Jong app, a guitar app, and a Bible app. Today, I shall continue investigating the available apps and prepare a few more for installation. I shall, of course, continue to stare trance-like into the live feed from the Web cam on my Desktop—waiting...ever waiting, for the FedEx truck to appear in there!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Heat of the Moment, Dog Fight, -and- Crime and Punishment

Heat of the Moment - "global warming" simply no longer happening
Dog Fight - non-kosher hot dogs spark unholy war
Crime and Punishment - teens facing possible 25-year sentence for brutal cat killing

On this day in history: March 23, 1997 - Heaven's Gate suicides leave 39 dead, all wearing Nike shoes.

Born on this day in history: March 23, 1908 - Joan Crawford (1908 - 1977) Born in San Antonio, TX, actress Joan Crawford began in silent and became a star in the 1930s and 1940s, winning an Oscar for "Mildred Pierce" (1945). After her death, adopted daughter Christine published a critical biography, "Mommie Dearest," which was filmed in 1981.

Scripture of the Day: Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!...For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. - Romans 11:33-36

Video of the Day: Water

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while driving to my office this morning. Click to enlarge.

iPhones: I ordered two iPhones. I intend for them to replace our Motorola RAZR cell phones and our HP iPAQs. Additionally, I intend to discontinue our land line.

The Weekend: The rain that was forecast for Saturday and Sunday did not arrive. It did rain briefly Saturday night, but otherwise the weekend was dry—albeit very windy and uncomfortably cold.

Friday evening, we enjoyed a Garlic Chicken pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. It was delicious. We watched the first four episodes of season 2 of "Boston Legal." We chortled merrily as we watched these episodes.

Saturday morning, I made sausage patties, potatoes O'Brien, fried eggs, and biscuits for brunch. It was an excellent meal.

I did not brave the wind Saturday. I grilled indoors—producing a nice charring on a package of Johnsonville brats. We made sandwiches with Colombo sourdough rolls, brats, sliced white onion, sliced Jalapeño, sliced cluster tomato, and condiments. Laura toasted the Colombo rolls under the broiler in the conventional oven while I grilled the brats. It was a very tasty meal.

During the day, we watched several episodes of "DEA" on Spike TV.

Saturday evening, we watched "Fireproof." This starts with Caleb, the fire captain, (Kirk Cameron) chewing out a trainee at the fire station for leaving his partner behind during a house fire. Caleb was most emphatic, you NEVER leave your partner behind. It then shows him going home and how horrible his married life is now. He argues with his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea), over money and how chores are divided (he does none). She fires back with his time on the computer, not family-friendly Web sites, and how he has saved $24,000 for his boat, not a common goal. Caleb calls his father who tells him he will come in the next day to see him. His dad does and tells him that he needs Jesus in his life and Caleb disagrees, but agrees to hold off on the divorce for 40 days. His dad promises to send him a package. The next day, Caleb gets a hand written book from his father called the Love Dare. The movie ends with them retaking their vows as Christians. We thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, following service at Harvest Christian Center, I made biscuits, sausage patties, and fried eggs.

During the day, we watched several episodes of "Planet Earth" on HD Theatre. This is an incredible series. I highly recommend it.

I braved the gale-force wind and grilled outdoors. I grilled two huge New York strip steaks until they were perfectly charred on the outside and rare in the center. I baked two large russet potatoes and made a vegetable dish, consisting of corn, thinly sliced carrot, julienned white onion, diced Jalapeño, and seasonings. We had sour cream with chopped chives on the potatoes. Laura used teriyaki sauce as a dipping sauce for her steak. I enjoyed wasabi with mine. We enjoyed an excellent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a wonderful meal.

Sunday evening, we watched "The Ultimate Gift." Drew Fuller plays Jason Stevens, the spoiled grandson of a deceased billionaire (James Garner) whose expectations from the will are put off while he is led through several tasks designed to make him a better person. Along the way, he meets and befriends a young girl named Emily, played by Abigail Breslin (just before "Little Miss Sunshine" hit the theatres and made her a big star). Her mother, Alexia, played by Ali Hillis. The movie is entertaining, albeit predictable, and evocative. I recommend it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stupid Criminals, Along Came a Spider, -and- The Nose Knows

Stupid Criminals - car thief nabbed after calling 911 to brag
Along Came a Spider - world's deadliest arachnid found in Whole Foods produce section
The Nose Knows - Michael Jackson plans more plastic surgery for comeback

On this day in history: March 20, 1968 - The U.S. goes off the gold standard.

Born on this day in history: March 20, 1928 - Fred Rogers (1928 - 2003) Born in Latrobe, PA, TV personality Fred Rogers became famous as host of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," a show for preschoolers that debuted in 1965. Rogers’ distinctive manner made him a national institution.

Scripture of the Day: "Who has stirred up this king from the east, who meets victory at every step? Who, indeed, but the LORD? He gives him victory over many nations and permits him to trample their kings underfoot. He puts entire armies to the sword. He scatters them in the wind with his bow. He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground. Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD—with the first of them and with the last—I am he." — Isaiah 41:4

Video of the Day: "Spring" - Vivaldi ("Four Seasons")

Spring is NOW! Click to enlarge.

SPRING IS HERE! Spring begins on the Vernal Equinox (usually March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere) and lasts until the summer solstice (usually June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere).

In spring, the axis of the Earth is tilted toward the Sun, and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing new plant growth to "spring forth," giving the season its name.

I recently bought a battery-powered alarm clock called "Night Vision." It is called "Night Vision" because of the backlit LCD that provides illumination for viewing the time in a dark room. The clock has a sensor on top that activates the backlighting when the sensor determines that the room is sufficiently dark to require this. Additionally, a bar atop the clock increases the backlighting when pressed. Unfortunately, none of these backlighting features operated when I installed three AA batteries in the clock and set the time, as directed by the instructions.

I emailed the manufacturer and was told that a new clock would be sent to me.

[While I slept] The new clock arrived at my office. I had anticipated its arrival and had placed three AA batteries in my pocket. I installed the batteries, and the clock did not illuminate the LCD readout. I thought perhaps the room was too well lighted. I placed my finger over the sensor. No backlighting took place. I took the clock into the bathroom, closed the door, and turned off the light. No backlighting occurred. I emailed the manufacturer and explained that this clock was faulty. I was assured a new clock would be sent. Several days elapsed, and no replacement clock arrived. I emailed the manufacturer, voiced my disappointment, and said that my patience was quickly evaporating. I was assured a replacement clock would be shipped overnight FedEx. The next day, the FedEx driver appeared at my office with a very large package. When I opened it, I found a full case (144) of clocks, a box containing 432 AA batteries, and an apologetic letter from the chairman of the board of directors of the manufacturer. Throughout the day, I inserted batteries into clocks. None of the clocks illuminated! At 4 PM—in unison—the alarms on the clocks sounded loudly. I scampered about the room, turning off the alarms. It was a laborious task, but I finally completed it. When I quieted the last clock, I awakened.

Hopefully, when the replacement clock arrives, it will work properly, and there will be no need to live out this nightmare.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just Looking, Get the Lead Out, -and- The Devil and Daniel Webster

Just Looking - suspected robbers freed when court cannot tell twins apart
Get the Lead Out - National Park Service proposes banning lead in national parks
The Devil and Daniel Webster - dictionary redefines "marriage"

On this day in history: March 19, 1957 - Elvis Presley tours and then immediately agrees to purchase the 14 acre Graceland estate from Ruth Moore for $100,000.

Born on this day in history: March 19, 1955 - Bruce Willis (1955- ) Born in West Germany, and raised in New Jersey, actor Bruce Willis became known for his role in TV show "Moonlighting" (1985?9). He made a film debut in "Blind Date" (1987), and achieved star status in the "Die Hard" series, starting in 1988.

Scripture of the Day: The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment. - Proverbs 10:21

Video of the Day: Elvis Presley - "Heartbreak Hotel" (1956)

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this apartment fire while driving to my office this morning! It appeared the man had things under control, so there was no need to alert the fire department.

The Americans With No Abilities Act
President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress are considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

"Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society," said California Sen. Barbara Boxer. "We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability (POI) to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing."

In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack any job skills, making this agency the single largest U.S. employer of Persons With No Ability.

Private-sector industries with good records of non-discrimination against the inept include retail sales (72 percent), the airline industry (68 percent), and home-improvement warehouse stores (65 percent). At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons with No Ability (63 percent).

Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million mid-level positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability (POI) into middle-management positions, and give a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the Americans With No Abilities Act contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, "Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?"

"As a non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Mich., due to her inability to remember righty tighty, lefty loosey. "This new law should be real good for people like me." With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Sen. Dick Durbin: "As a senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

21st Century Digital Boy, Weapons of Choice, -and- Stupid Criminals

21st Century Digital Boy - computer programmer replaces lost finger with USB drive
Weapons of Choice - Feds undercut civilian ammunition supply
Stupid Criminals - Starbucks Peeping Tom records himself

On this day in history: March 18, 1980 - A significant percentage of the Soviet space program's scientists are killed when a Vostok rocket explodes on the launch pad. Fifty people die at the Plesetsk Space Center.

Born on this day in history: March 18, 1970 - Queen Latifah (1970 - ) Born Dana Owens in Newark, N.J., rapper, record producer and actress Queen Latifah issued her first album in 1989, "All Hail to the Queen," which sold over one million copies. In 1991, she became CEO of her own record company, and went on to star in films like "The Bone Collector" (1999), with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, and in "Chicago" (2002).

Scripture of the Day: Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. - Psalm 37:5-6

Video of the Day: Living with the Land Greenhouses

This is the greenhouse my brother, Phillip, built. Here is his description:
Pictured is a hand-crafted 12' x 20' greenhouse. Framing is constructed of
heart redwood. Sheathing is polycarbonate. Roof sheathing alternates clear
and translucent panels for enhanced light diffusion. The first 6' of floor
from the door entry is done in pavers to form a sitting area. The remainder
of the floor is pea gravel. Temperature is currently (3-17-09, 1:00 PM) 62
degrees outside and 93 degrees inside. The power vent opens at 96 degrees.
Mist system activates at 98 degrees. Click to enlarge.

I want a greenhouse! The photograph of the greenhouse my brother constructed, and the photographs he sent of pepper plant beginning to blossom, caused me to daydream of a greenhouse. I spoke with Laura concerning this, and she excitedly agreed. We certainly do not require a greenhouse of the epic proportions and exotic construction of my brother's greenhouse. I have been researching available units at Home Depot, and this unit would nicely fit our needs.

The HobbyGrower® MiniPro™ 8 x 10 greenhouse provides exceptional performance, ease of use, and value. Using patented technologies and state-of-the-art design, the MiniPro greenhouse kit offers tremendous strength and durability. Best of all, SnapGlas™ single layer polycarbonate panels are as clear as glass, yet light weight and virtually unbreakable. Double doors provide convenient, easy access to the spacious interior where you will enjoy earlier seedling starts and later harvests. Eight manual roof vents and two rear-wall intake vents allow customized airflow and cooling. Orchid lovers and collectors of other valuable plants will appreciate the MiniPro for its ability to protect against mild frost and other weather. Gardeners of all varieties will appreciate the value of this attractive and functional greenhouse built to last for years.

* Easy assembly – approximately 1-day set-up time
* Uv protected polycarbonate panels: glass-like clarity, but virtually unbreakable
* Excellent ventilation – 8 manual roof vents and 2 rear-wall intake vents increase airflow and cooling.
* 5 year limited warranty.
* Accessories available.
* Rust-proof design: aluminum components and galvanized steel base.
* Maximum safety: no glass to shatter or break
* MFG Brand Name : HobbyGrower® by Palram
* MFG Model # : 700291
* MFG Part # : 700291

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Animal Kingdom, Caveat Emptor, -and- Lot Rot

Animal Kingdom - wild turkey knocks motorcyclist off bike
Caveat Emptor - family sues real estate agent for not disclosing murder
Lot Rot - hybrid car sales stagnate as gas price concerns diminish

On this day in history: March 17, 1966 - A U.S. midget submarine located a missing hydrogen bomb which had fallen from an American bomber into the Mediterranean off Spain.

Born on this day in history: March 17, 1972 - Mia Hamm (1972-) Soccer player. Born Mariel Margaret Hamm on March 17, 1972 in Selma, Alabama. Largely considered the best female soccer player in history, Hamm played with the United States women's national soccer team for 17 years, building one of the biggest fan bases of any American ahtlete.

Scripture of the Day: Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. - Romans 8:14

Video of the Day: St. Patrick's Day Parade 2008

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while driving past the golf course on the way to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

Spring will soon arrive! Spring will begin in three days—on Friday, March 20th! The forecast for today is a high of 70°. Tomorrow and Thursday, it is forecast to be warmer yet. I have long awaited the cessation of winter—although our winders are not particularly cold or wet. The wind that has plagued us for several days has abated. It is calm today and promises to be a beautiful day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fighting Back, Fighting Back 2, -and- Basic Instinct

Fighting Back - man unwisely tries to rob Tae Kwon Do studio
Fighting Back 2 - 71-year-old man fights off would-be robber with ice scraper
Basic Instinct - inmate murdered when put in cell with killer against whom he testified

On this day in history: March 16, 1994 - Figure skater Tonya Harding arrested for obstruction of prosecution during the fallout from the Nancy Kerrigan figure skate clubbing.

Born on this day in history: March 16, 1926 - Jerry Lewis (1926 - ) Born in Newark, N.J., comedian Jerry Lewis worked one-night comedy stands until he partnered with singer Dean Martin in 1946. The team made 17 films and toured nightclubs together before splitting up. They are among the most famous comedy duos of all time.

Scripture of the Day: You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. - Galatians 3:26-27

Video of the Day: Guns, Guns, Guns! - submitted by Frank

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this coconut crab on the way to my office this morning! The Coconut Crab (Birgus latro) is the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world. It is known for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers in order to eat the contents. It is sometimes called the robber crab because some coconut crabs are rumored to steal shiny items such as pots and silverware from houses and tents. Click to enlarge.

The Weekend: Friday, my brother—visiting from Southern California—came to our house for dinner. We had a green salad, with cluster tomatoes and white mushrooms, and two Freschetta pizzas. The first pizza was a supreme, and the second was a pepperoni. Remnants of the pepperoni pizza followed me to the office this morning.

Following dinner, we viewed "My Super-Ex Girlfriend." Matt Saunders(Luke Wilson) is uneasy when he meets Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman), who comes off to him as a shy, needy librarian type. But Jenny has a secret. Everybody in the town knows G-Girl, who constantly manages to single-handedly keep New York City from trouble. Little does anybody know, G-Girl is really Jenny Johnson. When Matt introduces Jenny to his long-time work friend Hannah (Ana Faris), Jenny begins to act jealously and controlling, which leads to him dumping her. But that upsets her greatly, so she decides to get her revenge, using her powers to make his life a living hell. For a film that is so silly, it is surprisingly well-executed. Everything gels, and director Ivan Reitman catches us off-guard with moments of absurd hilarity. Performances are likable all around, with Uma Thurman portraying G-Girl with believable ease. Luke Wilson is well-cast as the guy in over his head. Writing is solid, and direction keeps things breezy.

Saturday evening, my brother came to our house for dinner. I grilled two large pork tenderloins. They had been marinated with an Italian herb marinade, and I sprayed them with a mixture of 1 part extra-virgin olive oil and three parts balsamic vinegar will grilling them. I made dirty rice and beans, using Tony Chachere's dirty rice, julienned red onion, minced garlic, fresh cilantro, diced cluster tomatoes, and kidney beans. The meal was delightful. Following dinner, we watched "Transporter 2." In Miami, the professional driver Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is working temporarily for the Billings family, transporting their son Jack (Hunter Clary) while his driver is on vacation. Mr. Billings (Matthew Modine) is an important member of the government and Mrs. Audrey Billings (Amber Valletta) trusts on Frank, who promises to protect the boy. When Jack is kidnapped by a mercenary hired by the Colombian cartels, Frank faces the criminals and the Miami police force trying to rescue the kid. When the boy returns to his family, Jack discloses the real and lethal intention of the abduction of Jack. "Transporter 2" is a great action movie that certainly will never be indicated to an Oscar or discussed by intellectuals at a table in a bar, but very entertaining and recommended for fans of James Bond, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and movies with car chases and explosions. The story is full of adrenaline, funny most of the time, with very hilarious sequences. The performance of Matthew Modine and his grimaces is the negative point of this film.

Sunday afternoon, Laura and I watched "The Skeleton Key." The background story is textbook "New Orleans' voodoo vengeance;" the characters' motives are obvious from the second they appear on screen, and the solid but pedestrian cinematography means that the locations are massively underused. Kate Hudson is really switched-on and not your average dumb heroine. John Hurt is surprisingly effective, really working his eyes and body, considering he's had a stroke (in the film). Gena Rowlands and Peter Saarsgard are fine, but their performances are hampered by the all too obvious script and direction. Joy Bryant is gorgeous, but her character is nothing more than a device to give Kate slightly more personality and a convenient person who can explain about hoodoo/voodoo. Although the film as a whole is predictable and does not quite live up to its potential, the final scenes wrap up the story nicely and will put a grin on your face.

Sunday evening, my brother visited again. We had chilled Oriental chicken salad (ramen noodles, diced chicken breast, peas, sliced celery, diced red bell pepper, sliced and poached white mushrooms, chopped green onions, chopped cabbage, grated ginger, and shredded carrots—dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar, and the Oriental seasoning packets that came with the ramen noodles. It was a delightful meal. Following dinner, we watched episodes of "Street Customs" and "Monster Garage."

The Bathtub Test

During a visit to the mental asylum, I asked the director, "How do You determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized?"

"Well," said the director, "ee fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," I said. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

"No." said the director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gone Fishin', ASAP, -and- Grand Theft Auto

Gone Fishin' - man snags marlin from surfboard, jumps fish via helicopter
ASAP - scientists develop cell phone battery that charges in 10 seconds
Grand Theft Auto - 3 executives, 81 cars missing from Nebraska dealership

On this day in history: March 13, 1923 - Twenty-two persons killed in a poison rice episode, China. Five cooks are blamed.

Born on this day in history: March 13, 1950 - William H. Macy (1950- ) Born in Miami, FL, actor William Macy appeared in numerous stage and TV productions before becoming famous in TV series "ER." His films include "Fargo" (1996) and "Seabiscuit" (2003). Macy still works on stage.

Scripture of the Day: And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. - Romans 8:11

Video of the Day: Chainsaw Illusion - submitted by Chris

This is how twins are made! Click to enlarge.

Spring will soon arrive! Spring will begin next Friday. I am eager for this. Spring is without doubt the season that presents the greatest natural beauty: The blossoming of trees, flowers, and plants, the luxuriant growth of grasses and wildflowers, and the awakening of creatures all herald the beginning of spring and the welcome warm weather, blue skies, and singing birds.

Yesterday, the temperature reached a very pleasant 73°! It was wonderfully restorative, and I luxuriated in the sunlight and warmth. I encountered the stirring of God's small creatures—moths, butterflies, honeybees, and a lone wasp—during a brief expedition through a back yard near my office. These creatures are just beginning to appear. Soon, they will be abundant. This is a wonderful season.

My friend and visitor/contributor here, Chris, wrote in his blog (Click his name to visit his blog.) of the Pink Floyd album, "Dark Side of the Moon." That prompted me to recall an event in my life that centered about this album.

I managed a music store and had received the album earlier that day. I had just begun playing side 1 when I got a call from my drummer. He wished to have our usual rehearsal two hours early in order to amend a conflict in his schedule. I left "Dark Side of the Moon" playing while I gathered my music and guitar and exited my house. A girlfriend came to visit me while I was gone. Since she had a key to my house, she let herself in. It was a very dark, stormy night. It was raining very hard, and the thunder was extremely loud. My girlfriend settled into the sofa with a glass of wine. The combination of the sounds of the rain and thunder and the wine created an atmosphere wherein the music caused her to become very frightened. Each time the record came to the end of the music tracks, the turntable arm rose then descended upon the beginning of the album, and the music began anew. By the time I returned two hours later, she was in a catatonic state. It was not until the following day that she fully recovered. At that time, she mentioned that she had nibbled some hallucinogenic mushrooms prior to coming to my house. That relieved, to a great extent, my fear that Pink Floyd would cause people everywhere to go mad.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Crime DOES Pay, No Barking Please, -and- Poor Loser

Crime DOES Pay - Mexican drug lord makes Forbes richest list with $1 billion
No Barking Please - hot dogs used in weapons heist
Poor Loser - defeated candidate charged with bat attack near polls

On this day in history: March 12, 1980 - A Chicago jury finds John Wayne Gacy guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. The next day, he is sentenced to death; after years on death row, Gacy is finally executed in May 10, 1994.

Born on this day in history: March 12, 1922 - Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) Born in Lowell, MA, writer Jack Kerouac is best known for "On the Road" (1957), a semi-autobiographical tale that spoke for the Beat Generation. Trying to escape notoriety, he drank heavily and lived out his final years back in Lowell with his mother.

Scripture of the Day: Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request. - 1 Chronicles 4:10

Video of the Day: OFASTS Gun Apocalypse - submitted by Frank

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while passing the lake on the way to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

Creatures! One of my brothers and I met with a real estate agent yesterday at a house he and I and our younger brother inherited and wish to place on the market. While there, I saw that there are many plants, trees, and flowers blossoming, and I spotted several bees and dragonflies among the blossoms. I shall return this afternoon and seek out photographic opportunities! It is forecast to be 72° this afternoon. The possibility of finding suitable creatures to pose for me should be excellent. My Nikon D3 DSLR and Micro-Nikkor 105mm AF-S VR f/2.8G IF-ED lens cry out for subjects!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Beware of Woman, He's Alive!, -and- Brave New Schools

Beware of Woman - woman bites police after dogs taken
He's Alive! - man stages own funeral to make certain it is right
Brave New Schools - 13 students arrested after caffeteria brawl

On this day in history: March 11, 1958 - A B-47 bomber drops a nuclear bomb in the town of Mars Bluff in South Carolina. While it did not detonate a nuclear explosion, conventional explosives within the bomb left a 75 foot crater, destroying one house and damaging five others.

Born on this day in history: March 11, 1931 - Rupert Murdoch (1931 - ) Born in Melbourne, Australia, media mogul Rupert Murdoch inherited "The News" in Adelaide and went on to build a publishing empire in Australia, the U.S., Hong Kong and the UK. He became a U.S. citizen in 1985, and then bought Twentieth Century Fox film studio and the Fox television network.

Scripture of the Day: Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. - Psalm 37:4

Video of the Day: Science of "Watchmen" - submitted by Danica

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while photographing valuable antiques for a client.

It is good there is very little wind today! It is cold! If the wind were howling—as it often does—the chill factor would be cryogenic, certainly! The exterior temperature display in Mr. Nitro showed the outside temperature to be a mere 34° at 7 AM this morning, as I drove to my office! Apparently, it was colder yet earlier, since a patina of rime glittered upon Mr. Nitro's hood! The sun is shining brightly, so (unless the wind increases significantly) it should soon be warm.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fighting Back, We See You!, -and- The Burning Bed

Fighting Back - would-be rapist stopped by snarling dog and victim's bouncer son
We See You! - Google Earth uncovers British nuclear sub base, missile facility
The Burning Bed - tanning bed burst into flames, man escapes

On this day in history: March 10, 1974 - Second Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army surrenders to Philippine authorities. He believed World War II was still underway and continued a 30 year guerrilla battle with other islanders. His final capitulation came when his senior officer, Maj. Taniguchi, ordered his surrender. Upon return to the Japanese homeland, Onoda was treated as a hero, but had difficulty coping with his "postwar" life.

Born on this day in history: March 10, 1958 - Sharon Stone (1958-) Born in Meadville, PA, actress and producer Sharon Stone began as a model in the late 1970s. Her first notable film part came in "Total Recall" (1990), opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stardom arrived when she landed the role of bisexual murder suspect in blockbuster "Basic Instinct," with Michael Douglas.

Scripture of the Day: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23

Video of the Day: Irena Sendler vs. Al Gore - submitted by Chris

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while passing the lake on the way to my office this morning!

I often get phishing emails purporting to be from eBay. No doubt, everyone gets these—along with emails professing to be from banks, credit card companies, and people needing assistance accessing millions of dollars held in foreign reserves.

This morning, however, I received a telephone call from someone complaining about my inattention to the delivery of a purchase made by the caller from an eBay auction. The caller began the conversation very rudely. Nonetheless, I maintained civility and told him politely that I currently had no eBay auctions extant and suggested that he had made an error in calling this issue to my attention.

CALLER: I know this is California Technologies, cause that's how you answered the telephone.
ME: Now that we have established my identity, shall we address yours?
CALLER: This is xxxxxxxxxxxx [I shall not expose his name here. As always, I am operate with great kindness toward others.] and I had the high bid on the brass ship's bell.
ME: I have never owned such an item. Additionally, I have no current eBay auction, as I said. Certainly, you have contacted me in error.
CALLER: I got your company phone number from your name in your auction.
ME: Give me the auction number, and I shall research this for you.
CALLER: xxxxxxxxxx [auction number withheld]
ME: Please hold.

At this point, I checked the auction, saw that it had closed, and noted that the seller's name was listed as "David Harter."

ME: I am not the person who held that auction. You should direct your complaint to eBay. All auctions I have held on eBay have been listed under my company name and have been completed with full satisfaction to the buyers.
CALLER: I talked to eBay, and they said I should contact you first and try to settle this.
ME: I am certain that eBay did not suggest that you contact me. No doubt, they told you to contact the seller. I am not the seller for that auction. I noticed a link to email the seller. I suggest you do that.
CALLER: I sent three emails and never got a response.
ME: I suggest, then, that you follow my advise and file a complaint with eBay. Have a wonderful day, and I hope this issue quickly and satisfactorily resolved.


I have heard nothing further.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fighting Back, Fighting Back 2, -and- Fighting Back 3

Fighting Back - Australian man wrestles kangaroo intruder
Fighting Back 2 - homeowner strikes back against burglar
Fighting Back 3 - bank employees and customer chase, tackle bank robbery suspect

On this day in history: March 9, 1997 - Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) killed in a drive-by outside the Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles. The murder has never been officially solved.

Born on this day in history: March 9, 1964 - Juliette Binoche (1964 - ) Born in Paris, actress Juliette Binoche got started on stage as a teenager and went on to stardom in "Rendez-vous" (1985) and to international success in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1988). Later films include "The English Patient" (1996), for which she won an Oscar.

Scripture of the Day: For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live
according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. - Romans 8:3-4

Video of the Day: MercyMe - "Finally Home" - submitted by Laura

Imagine my surprise Friday morning, when I saw this new menu item at the deli near my office. On the menu, this is named, "The Perfect Meal." It is a double bacon cheeseburger on a glazed doughnut. I shied from this and opted for the seared ahi with wasabi aioli on toasted sourdough bread. Click to enlarge.

The weather was really pleasant throughout the weekend. It was sunny, dry, and warm; the sky was blue and clear; and the birds sang with great merriment.

We watched five episodes from season one of "Boston Legal" and chortled greatly.

Friday evening, we enjoyed a Roasted Garlic Chicken pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. It was delightful, consisting of roasted garlic, grilled chicken, Mozzarella cheese, mild onions, and Italian parsley, with a white wine and garlic-shallot butter sauce. Visit the California Pizza Kitchen Web site to view their menu. It presents a dizzying array of pizzas, pastas, appetizers, etc. The local market at which we shop offers only the Roasted Garlic Chicken pizza. While this is disappointing, it is not nearly as disappointing as it would be were they to offer no pizzas from California Pizza Kitchen!

Saturday morning, we made a wonderful brunch: I sautéed New York style pork sausage links (quartered), 8 large garlic cloves (rough-chopped), diced green onions, and a large Jalapeño (diced) in a large sauté pan. I seasoned this with adobo, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. When the sausage was fully cooked, I added 8 large Eggland's Best eggs (beaten, seasoned with adobo and ground black pepper) and cooked until the eggs were fluffy and fully cooked—stirring often. Laura produced a batch of petite biscuits in the conventional oven. At the table, we added Crystal Louisiana hot sauce and made tiny sandwiches. It was a delicious meal. I enjoyed a quantity of leftovers this morning while composing this blog entry!

I grilled rib eye steaks Saturday. It was perfect grilling weather. The steaks were succulent, and a baked potatoes with sour cream and chives and a vegetable medley of corn, baby broccoli florettes, and diced red bell peppers in a butter sauce accompanied them.

I had intended to grill Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breasts Sunday evening. Laura, however, voiced great interest in having a pasta dish. I created a wonderful sauce with diced Italian sausage, diced red bell pepper, slivered white onion, a quantity of rough-chopped garlic, and 8 large white mushrooms (sliced). I sautéed these ingredients in extra-virgin olive oil. When this was fully cooked, I added a can of tomato paste and slowly incorporated it into the sauce. I cooked a package of spaghetti until al dente, drained, and folded it into the sauce. It was excellent. A quantity of leftovers followed Laura to Chico this morning.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Fighting Back, The Will of the People, -and- Stupid Criminals

Fighting Back - gun store clerk shoots would-be robber
The Will of the People - supporters of traditional marriage buoyed by arguments
Stupid Criminals - man used debit card to buy drink in alleged holdup

On this day in history: March 6, 1836 - The Alamo was seized by Santa Ana.

Born on this day in history: March 6, 1947 - Rob Reiner (1947- ) Born in New York City, actor, director and producer Rob Reiner became famous on TV show "All in the Family" (1971 - ?), which won two Emmys. He made his directorial debut in 1984 with "This Is Spinal Tap," and went on to produce and direct other films, notably "When Harry Met Sally" (1989).

Scripture of the Day: Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. - Psalm 119:1

Video of the Day: Easy Nerf Gun Hack - submitted by Darin

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while passing the park on the way to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

What a Way to Start the Day! While driving to my office this morning, I saw the flashing lights of a patrol car several blocks ahead. As I neared the scene, I saw that two patrol cars had a vehicle stopped across from my office. I entered my office and watched officers administer field sobriety testing to one of the occupants of this vehicle. Ultimately, this woman was handcuffed and taken away in one of the patrol cars. I thought how sad it was that someone would be impaired at 6:45 AM through the use of alcohol or drugs! While driving while impaired is certainly unacceptable and threatening to other motorists, someone being intoxicated at 6:45 AM is truly disturbing. I prayed for the deliverance of this woman from the demons that possessed her.

The Old Man
An old man and woman were married for many years, even though they hated
each other. When they had a confrontation, screaming and yelling could be heard deep into the night.

The old man would shout, "When I die, I will dig my way up and out of the grave and come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!"

Neighbors feared him. They believed he practiced black magic, because of the many strange occurrences that took place in their neighborhood.

The old man liked the fact that he was feared. To everyone's relief, he died of a heart attack when he was 98.

His wife had a closed casket at the wake. After the burial, she went straight to the local bar and began to party, as if there was no tomorrow.

Her neighbors, concerned for her safety, asked, "Aren't you afraid that he may indeed be able to dig his way up and out of the grave and come back to haunt you for the rest of your life?"

The wife put down her drink and said, "Let him dig. I had him buried upside down."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Fighting Back, Freedom of Speech, -and- All Shook Up

Fighting Back - NYC deputy mayor foils mugger in downtown Manhattan
Freedom of Speech - professor calls cops when student mentions guns in speech
All Shook Up - Southern California feels mysterious shaking

On this day in history: March 5, 1982 - John Belushi found dead at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood from a cocaine and heroin overdose. A sketchy woman, Cathy Smith, is later charged with administering the fatal injections.

Born on this day in history: March 5, 1958 - Andy Gibb (1958-1988) Born in Manchester, England, youngest of the Gibb Brothers, singer Andy Gibb belongs to the world-famous Bee Gees group. The group personifies 1970s disco music, and has sold more than 100 million records.

Scripture of the Day: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. - Romans 8:1-2

Video of the Day: Kitten Loves Faucet Water

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this water-dancing kitty as I passed the lake on the way to my office this morning! Water-dancing kitties are very rare, so I was fortunate indeed to espy this one! Click to enlarge.

The Weather: I was communicating with my long-distance friend and regular visitor of this blog, Chris, from Michigan, and told him our weather was cold and wet. Last night, it was. I had not peered outside yet this morning when I made that statement to him. Imagine my very pleasant surprise when I did look outside and saw that it was dry and sunny! The forecasts (if they may be believed, of course) indicate sunshine and temperatures in the 60s through the weekend. There shall be flesh tossed upon the grill this weekend, I am certain.

I thought I was at Burger King! This morning, when I answered a call—the Caller ID for which read, "PRIVATE NAME," I thought momentarily that I was at the drive-through window at Burger King. [See yesterday's video.] The caller's "English" was nearly completely indecipherable, and it was only as a result of carefully listening to a phrase that the caller repeated when I said, "What, in the name of all that is good and free from evil, did you say?" was I able to determine that this creature was saying that the call was being made by him in response to a call that I had made! This, apparently, is a new ploy being used by telemarketers. It was my first encounter with this ruse, but I am certain it shall not be my last such encounter. I quickly ended spiel of this entity by saying, "Due to the volume of calls, please expect a five to six hour delay. Your call is important to us. All calls will be taken in the order in which they are received." At this point, I replaced the receiver. Ten minutes later, the telephone rang. The Caller ID once again said, "PRIVATE NAME," so I assumed it was Mr. Unintelligible calling again and let the call go to voice mail. The telemarketer left a 30-second message composed of words which are, for the most part, unrecognizable. Should he call again, I am prepared to answer, "You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Fighting Back, Going to Pot, -and- Brave New Schools

Fighting Back - granny chases purse snatcher, hits him with her car
Going to Pot - Pasadena class teaches how to legally dispense marijuana
Brave New Schools - elementary blots out "In God We Trust" from student-made posters

On this day in history: March 4, 1991 - 1991 - The U.S. Army destroys an Iraqi bunker holding 7 tons of sarin nerve gas. It is later determined that 24,000 troops in the 82nd Airborne may have been adversely affected by this toxin release.

Born on this day in history: March 4, 1958 - Patricia Heaton (1958-) Born in Bay Village, Oh., actress Patricia Heaton made her Broadway debut in gospel musical "Don't Get God Started." In 1996, she landed the role of Debra Barone on hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," which won her an Emmy. Heaton has now branched out into film.

Scripture of the Day: Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off -- for all whom the Lord our God will call." - Acts 2:38

Video of the Day: Burger King Outsources Its Call Center - submitted by Jay

Can you believe it? Man wins Georgia lottery on Wednesday, finds love of his life two days later. Talk about luck! Is America great or what? Click to enlarge.

Sometimes, my business day is routine and without event. Sometimes, it is fast-paced and exciting. Sometimes, it is frighteningly bizarre. For example, yesterday: A male and a female entered my office just after 11 AM. This exchange took place:

Male: You sell the Internet?
Me: If you are questioning whether I offer Internet access, yes, I do. Good morning. Please be seated.
[The female sits. The male continues standing.]
Male: How much?
Me: We offer dial-up at $15 per month, with a $15 one-time sign-up fee. We also offer DSL.
Female: We just want whatever's the cheapest.
Me: That would be dial-up. We offer dial-up at $15 per month, with a $15 one-time sign-up fee.
Male: Is there any charge to get it started?
Me: There is a $15 one-time sign-up fee.
Female: What all does that include?
Me: It includes a $15 one-time sign-up fee to cover sign-up. It is a one-time charge in the amount of $15.
Male: [Looks inquisitively at female.] Well, what do you think?
Female: [Looking at male.] Okay.
Me: Great. I will print an invoice for the sign-up fee. You will be billed quarterly for the monthly fee.
Male: What does that mean?
Me: To what are you referring?
Female: I think he means what does billed quarterly mean? When do you send a bill is what he means I think. Right, honey?
Male: Yeah.
Me: As the phrase might suggest, "billed quarterly" means that the $15 monthly fee for Internet access if billed four times a year. Each billing would represent a three-month period.
Male: Okay, now I'm getting confused here. What's it going to cost to get us hooked up today?
Me: In order to begin service, you must pay the $15 one-time set-up fee. You will then be billed quarterly for the $15 monthly fee.
Male: [Turns to female.] What do you think?
Female: Okay.
Me: Great. I will print an invoice for the sign-up fee.
Male: Now let me get something straight first. We don't have no credit card.
Me: That is not an issue. No credit card is required. You may pay the quarterly billing with personal check or money order.
Female: Can't we just give you the money every month?
Me: The billing is quarterly, and payment must be made to the Internet service provider.
Female: [Looks at male.] What do you think?
Male: Okay.
[At this point, the printer spews forth an invoice for the sign-up fee. I hand the invoice to the female.]
Female: What do I do? Do we got to fill this out?
Me: There is nothing requiring your input. It is simply an invoice for the sign-up fee.
Female: What do I do with this then?
Me: You may do with it whatever you wish.
Male: So we're all done then? That's all there is to it?
Me: You must pay the $15 one-time sign-up fee. Then, you may depart and install this software [I hold up a CD containing the Internet access software.]. It will take only a few minutes to install, and you will be able then to enjoy all the Internet has to offer.
Female: Okay. [She grasps at the CD.]
Me: There is the matter of the $15 one-time sign-up fee.
Female: That's okay. When do we got to pay that?
Me: [I am a very patient person, but it is quickly becoming unduly burdensome to continue patiently.] Now.
Male: We don't have that much money right this minute.
Me: That is no problem. [I grasp the invoice from the female's hand.] When you have secured the funds, simply return. [I turn to Outlook 2007, which I have neglected completely during this discourse. I begin replying to a client's email message.]
Female: But we got to have Internet now. We're expecting some email.
Me: And just what do you imagine this email holds in store for you? Possibly even more exciting than the very nature of the email would be the answer to the question of how this email was sent to you, since you do not as yet have an email address.
[The couple exchanged glances and muttered to one another. I continued the reply to my client. When I had completed and sent the reply to my client, I looked to the places previously occupied by the couple and saw that they had gone.]

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Let's Make a Deal, The Star Treatment, -and- Weapons of Choice

Let's Make a Deal - trio swaps two children for cockatoo
The Star Treatment - paparazzi turning lenses on politicians
Weapons of Choice - Illinois arguing over concealed carry permits

On this day in history: March 3, 1934 - John Dillinger escapes from an escape-proof jail in Crown Point Indiana, using a wooden pistol he carved himself. It's his second escape.

Born on this day in history: March 3, 1962 - Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1962 - ) Born in East St Louis, Mo., track and field athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee is considered one of the greatest female athletes in history. She has won numerous Olympic medals from 1984 to 1992.

Scripture of the Day: Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. - Psalm 37:3

Video of the Day: The Crevasse - Making of 3D Street Art - submitted by Danica

Imagine my surprise when I encountered these steam-powered cars while driving past the lake on the way to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

Recommended New Site: Ishi Archery Club I just completed the construction of this new site and invite all to visit and see what the club offers!

The Weather: Weather forecasts have been in a continuous state of flux lately. It is difficult to place any credibility on weather reports. It is more realistic to simply look out the window and propose—based upon what one sees outside that window—what the weather shall be for the balance of the day. This methodology was not particularly successful this morning, however: When I looked through the window of our home and viewed the sidewalk outside, I made the forecast that today would be dry. The sidewalk was dry, and it did not appear that it had rained recently. 30 minutes later, however, I peered at the live feed from my Web cam on my desktop and saw that the rain was descending amain! The wind that howled all night has not abated. It is a fierce wind that accompanies the rain. My new forecast is for a truly hideous, wet, windy, dark, dismal day! Nonetheless, I shall rejoice in the day, since it is the day the Lord has made for us!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Watch Where You're Going!, Matters of Life and Death, -and- Every Move You Make

Watch Where You're Going! - bus driver accused of falling asleep at wheel
Matters of Life and Death - lawmakers in two states declare fetuses are people
Every Move You Make - radio chip coming soon to your driver's license?

On this day in history: March 2, 1968 - Syd Barrett leaves Pink Floyd, after melting his mind with various extremely dangerous drugs. He spends the following years mumbling about pork chops and refrigerators.

Born on this day in history: March 2, 1977 - Chris Martin (1977-) Born Christopher Anthony John Martin on March 2, 1977 in Devon, England. The son of a teacher and an accountant, Martin attended University College London where he met Will Champion, Guy Berryman and Jonny Buckland who would go on to form the band Coldplay.

Scripture of the Day: Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. — Psalm 37:1-2

Video of the Day: wow tenspace - submitted by Cindy

Imagine my surprise when I spotted this bumper sticker on a car this morning while driving to my office! Click to enlarge.

Recommended New Site: Ishi Archery Club I just completed the construction of this new site and invite all to visit and see what the club offers!

The Weekend Friday evening, we watched a DVD containing four episodes from season one of "Boston Legal."

The weather was dry and grill-friendly Saturday. I grilled a pork tenderloin and made a batch of Cajun black beans. The tenderloin came from Sav-Mor Foods vacuum sealed and seasoned with Italian herbs. While grilling it, I sprayed it with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For the beans, I sautéed a large white onion, diced; two large Jalapeños, diced; a medium habanero, diced; a handful of fresh cilantro leaves; two large cluster tomatoes, diced; two tablespoons garlic, minced; 1/2 bottle of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale; the juice from a can of black beans; two tablespoons of Gebhardt's chili powder; a tablespoon of red pepper flakes; a tablespoon of ground black pepper; four tablespoons of brown sugar; and a handful of jasmine rice in a medium saucepan. When the onions became translucent, I placed the lid on the saucepan and reduced the heat to just above low. This cooked for an hour. I added the black beans, stirred, and reduced the heat to low. This continued to simmer while I grilled the pork tenderloin. It was a delicious meal. Following dinner, we watched a DVD containing another four episodes from season one of "Boston Legal."

Sunday, the weather was most foul. My plans for grilling outdoors could not be realized without great fear of drowning from the torrents of water falling from the sky or being carried off by the fearsome wind. Therefore, I grilled Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the indoor grill. I seasoned the breasts with chicken Monterey seasoning and sprayed them with a mixture of one part extra-virgin olive oil and three parts balsamic vinegar. I grilled five large white mushrooms—spraying them with the olive oil-balsamic vinegar mixture. We also had a salad: Mixed greens, sliced cucumber, sliced white mushroom, julienned red onion, pear tomatoes, and diced red bell pepper. It was a delicious meal.

Following dinner, we watched another DVD containing yet another four episodes from season one of "Boston Legal."