Friday, December 28, 2012

Call Me!

Call me! - Several years ago, Laura and I discontinued home telephone service. We determined that we rarely used the landline—choosing to use instead our Droid X Android cell phones and service from Verizon. Since we rarely used the landline, it seemed sensible to discontinue the service. We have never regretted this decision.

It was, then, with great interest that I read a report that stated that over half of the population of the U.S. had similarly chosen to discontinue landline phone service.

I have since discontinued cellular service on my Droid X and, instead, use it—along with my ASUS Transformer Prime and Google Nexus 7 tablets—to make and receive telephone calls using Wi-Fi and Google Voice. If you are unfamiliar with Google Voice, I highly recommend you try it!

Google Voice is a free telephone service that provides a free phone number, free calling to the U.S. and Canada, call forwarding, voice mail, etc. It is wonderful and FREE!

We keep our cats—Zeus and Thor—indoors and feed them only dry cat food. They are very healthy, robust, and playful.

At times, human food appears to look inviting. This morning, Laura noticed her cat, Thor, intrigued by her scrambled eggs. She took this photograph:

I doubt I would feel comfortable contracting someone to do work that he cannot spell!

Speaking of cats...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Frost on the Pumpkin

Frost on the Pumpkin - Actually, we have NO pumpkin. If we had a pumpkin, however, it would be very frosty this morning. This was the view that presented itself to me at 7:30 this morning, as I slouched in Mr. Nitro R/T and awaited the defrosting system to melt the icy carapace sufficiently to allow me safe passage.

Earlier this week, Laura and I completed our viewing of the 96 episodes of "My Name Is Earl."

Several years ago, we discontinued our DirecTV service and bought four Roku units. We have access to over 7,000 channels and pay only for Netflix—a mere $7.99/month! We dislike commercials intensely—not because of their content, but because they are so disruptive. We much prefer watching uninterrupted action. Once in the mood has been set by a television show or movie, few things are more hideous than having that mood shattered by a commercial!

We thoroughly enjoyed "My Name Is Earl," and I ferreted about yesterday at my office in search of a series that might serve to entertain us in the evening. The result of my search is a series called "Raising Hope." It was produced by the same man as was "My Name Is Earl" and features many of its cast, as well.

We had intended to begin viewing this series last evening. By the time we were nestled in bed and ready to watch the pilot, we were too fatigued. Hopefully, we will begin viewing it this evening.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Want My Netflix!

I Want My Netflix! - Laura and I had plans for Christmas Eve: We intended to attend the Christmas service at Harvest Christian Center at 7 PM. Following service, we planned to return home, enjoy a lovely dinner of grilled filet mignon, baby red potatoes, steamed green beans, and champagne. Following dinner, we planned to watch the three final episodes of "My Name Is Earl."

I happened upon this TV series and immediately fell under its thrall. I showed Laura the episode, "The Bounty Hunter"--in which Juliette Lewis plays a bounty hunter who is determined to capture "Joy" (Jaime Pressly).

Laura was immediately hooked, and we began watching the series from the beginning. We had three episodes remaining, and we were eager to view them.

The Christmas service was wonderful. Dinner was excellent. We took up our viewing positions in the living room and prepared to watch Episode 25 of Season 4, "Inside Probe: Part 1."

Unfortunately, just as this episode began to display on our 49" Vizio LCD HDTV, Roku reported a connectivity issue. Interestingly, all channels appeared fine except Netflix and Amazon.

Following nearly an hour of trying to access Netflix, I connected my laptop to the Vizio via HDMI, connected to our Netflix account via the Web, and we watched the two "Inside Probe" episodes.

We were sleepy and wished to fully enjoy the final episode, so we decided it would be best to wait until the following day to do so. Yesterday, we snacked upon smoked salmon, sliced Jalapeños, various cheeses, Triscuits, and champagne and watched the final episode of "My Name Is Earl." The Netflix connectivity issue had been addressed, apparently.

I must ferret for viewing fodder now. Fortunately, there are hundreds of shows we have never viewed that are candidates!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beyond 2012: Why the World Won't End in 2012

- What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?
The story started with claims that Nibiru—a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians—is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012—hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.
- Does the Mayan calendar end in December 2012?
Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then—just as your calendar begins again on January 1—another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.
- Is there a planet or brown dwarf called Nibiru or Planet X or Eris that is approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with widespread destruction?
Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.
- What is the polar shift theory? Is it true that the Earth's crust does a 180-degree rotation around the core in a matter of days if not hours?
A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. There are slow movements of the continents, but that is irrelevant to claims of reversal of the rotational poles.
- Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?
The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids large enough to be of concern. All this work is done openly with the discoveries posted every day on the NASA Near-Earth Object Program Office website, so you can see for yourself that nothing is predicted to hit in 2012.
How do NASA scientists feel about claims of the world ending in 2012?
For any claims of disaster or dramatic changes in 2012, where is the science? Where is the evidence? There is none, and for all the fictional assertions—whether they are made in books, movies, documentaries or over the Internet—we cannot change that simple fact. There is no credible evidence for any of the assertions made in support of unusual events taking place in December 2012.
Is there a danger from giant solar storms predicted for 2012?
Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most solar storms. But there is no special risk associated with 2012. The next solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame and is predicted to be an average solar cycle, no different than previous cycles throughout history.

Then there is this:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Lawyers, Guns, and Money - "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" is a song by Warren Zevon—the closing track on his 1978 album, Excitable Boy.

The narrator says he, "went home with a waitress" who is "with the Russians, too." Later, he says that he is "gambling in Havana," and requests that "Daddy" send "lawyers, guns, and money " to "get me out of this." The narrator claims to be an "innocent bystander" who is "down on my luck." Later, however, he relates that he is "stranded in Honduras" and is a "desperate man." His plea is, "Send lawyers, guns, and money", with the final comment that "The s**t has hit the fan."

Before you say, "It's just a song," allow me to suggest you read the entirety of the lyrics—twice. Following that, listen to the song with your eyes closed. Imagine yourself as the "innocent bystander," the "desperate man," etc.

Ultimately, none of us is innocent! Our inaction defines our culpability as clearly as does our action.

Consider this:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Let It Snow! and The Deadliest School Massacre in American History

Let It Snow! - The weatherpeople are forecasting snow down to 475 feet. Corning is perched at an altitude of 276 feet above sea level. It would require but a very short drive to reach snow—should the forecasts be accurate. Laura and I may drive to the snow and allow Mr. Nitro R/T to cavort about in it, should the snow fall as near to the city as is predicted. I doubt either of us would care to exit and would, instead, remain ensconced within the aegis of Mr. Nitro R/T.

The Deadliest School Massacre in American History - The recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, have led many people to characterize school violence as a modern affliction—a byproduct of our national obsession with guns and media violence. But the deadliest school massacre in American history happened in 1927 at an elementary school in Bath, Michigan. A school board member named Andrew Kehoe—upset over a burdensome property tax—wired the building with dynamite and set it off in the morning of May 18, killing 45 people—38 of whom were children.

The school explosion took place 8:45 AM on May 18. After killing his wife and destroying his farm, Kehoe entered an explosive-laden truck and drove to the school. Thirty minutes after the initial attack, Kehoe detonated the truck bomb—killing himself, the superintendent, and a few others. Later, investigators found that a short circuit in Kehoe’s wiring prevented the attack from claiming more lives. If the explosion had gone as planned, Bath’s entire downtown might have been destroyed.

An inquest eventually determined that Kehoe had acted alone. In the ruins of Kehoe’s farm, investigators found a sign that read, "Criminals are made, not born."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gun Control and Gun Laws

Gun Control - "Gun control" is, in my opinion, best defined as "target acquisition with rapidity, accuracy, and consistency." Gun control is possible, necessarily, only as the result of practice and training. There can be no credible nor reliable gun control without training and practice.

Safe firearm handling must precede target acquisition with live ammunition. Safe firearm handling must precede all other facets of the firearm training process.

Target acquisition is key—following the safety training process—since it is at the very center of gun control. If one has substantially learned the various guidelines of safe firearm handling, one must then become practiced as regards target acquisition and "learning to hit one's target," as it were.

Safety training ensures one will handle one's firearm safely—thus ensuring the global safety of the shooter and those within range of the projectiles fired by him from his firearm. Accuracy, then, must follow closely, else one's target acquisition will be unpredictable, at best, and dangerous, at worst. If one's accuracy is not good, the target will not be properly acquired, and one's fired projectile may well pose a significant threat to bystanders.

"Gun laws" should—in my opinion—be defined as "structured laws and regulations regarding the sale, storage, transportation, carry, and use of firearms and ammunition."

Under this definition, gun laws are, then, a means of structuring the conditions under which one is allowed to obtain and use a firearm.

The danger, in my mind, with any laws enacted for the purpose of providing such guidelines is that the danger is significant that the rights of law-abiding citizens might be unduly constrained while, concurrently, the intent of the legislation is not met. In other words, placing unwarranted restrictions upon all firearm owners does not differentiate between law-abiding citizens and criminals. Thus, the law-abiding citizen's firearm ownership and use is limited equally as it is for criminals. This has the effect, unfortunately, of unnecessarily and unconditionally limiting the rights of the law-abiding while imposing no significantly greater restraints upon criminals. It is, in my opinion, of no benefit whatever to impose equal restraints upon all people. The law-abiding citizen will, of course, follow the law and, therefore, have his rights severely restricted—whereas the criminal will pay no mind whatever to the impositions, since his intent is the breaking of laws that are, certainly, of a considerably greater level: For example, a law-abiding citizen will follow the law. He will purchase a firearm from a licensed firearm dealer, complete the requisite paperwork, and await delivery of the purchased firearm only when the waiting period has been met and he has been thoroughly vetted. The criminal, on the other hand, will likely sneer at waiting periods and such restrictions, since he intends to use the firearm as a tool in his employ while committing a crime of significantly greater stature: If a criminal intends to rob a liquor store or bank, perpetrate a home invasion, or murder someone, he will certainly not be inclined to obey gun laws!

The very best gun laws, then, would impose no undue restrictions upon law-abiding citizens while providing an environment in which the acquisition and use of firearms by criminals is limited as much as is reasonable.

I would recommend the following:

  • A background check of purchaser
  • A waiting period of 10 days
  • Sales denied to those convicted of any felony crime or violent misdemeanor
  • Sales restricted to a maximum of three firearms per quarter—excepting collectors
  • No transfer of fully-automatic firearms
  • No transfer of suppressors/silencers

    I see no justifiable reason to constrict the acquisition or use of military-style weapons. There are, in my mind, no definable separators by which such definitions might be reasonable. Often, civilian versions of military/law enforcement firearms are well-suited for predator/pest control, competitive shooting, etc.

    I see no justifiable reason to restrict magazine capacity.

    Most states and cities have gun laws, and it is only the lack of enforcement that precludes these laws from being efficacious.

    Traditionally, cities with the most restrictive gun laws (Chicago, Detroit, D.C., Miami, etc.) have the highest incidence of firearm violence. Conversely, cities with the laxest firearm laws have the lowest incidence of firearm violence.

  • Monday, December 17, 2012

    The Weekend

    The Weekend - The weekend seemed to end very quickly—much too quickly! Laura slow-cooked a pork shoulder with onions, a head of garlic cloves, tomatoes, Jalapeños, habaneros, and herbs and seasonings all day Saturday and for several hours on Sunday.

    She announced that it was done at 3:30 PM on Saturday. She froze a large quantity of this wonderful pork birria and refrigerated a portion of it for dinner this evening. We shall stuff small flour tortillas with birria, add fresh salsa, and roll into burritos. We shall serve this with refried beans and spicy Mexican rice.

    Saturday evening, we dined upon orange chicken. Laura cooked it to perfection, and we ate it from bowls, sitting on the futon, watching Remains. This was an excellent zombie movie. I highly recommend it. It concerned a group of non-zombies trapped within a Reno casino.

    I made teriyaki chicken stir-fry with curry rice last evening. It was delightful. Leftovers followed Laura to Chico this morning for her lunch.

    Last evening, we watched an episode of "My Name Is Earl" in which Earl produced a movie that used show regulars as the cast. It was particularly hootable. We have come to be great fans of this show.

    This kitty has a talent for getting down, but I am left wondering how he got <>em>up there!

    Friday, December 14, 2012

    Desperately Seeking Warmth -and- The Handle Bar in Chico

    Desperately Seeking Warmth - The outside temperature was 33° as I enjoyed the wonderful breakfast that Laura prepares for us each weekday.

    I feared that when I clambered into Mr. Nitro R/T, his windshield would be encrusted with a thick, icy carapace. Surely, the temperature had been well below freezing earlier, I thought.

    When I entered Mr. Nitro R/T at 7:30 AM, however, there was absolutely NO ICE on his windshield!!! Praise God!

    Mr. Nitro R/T has every conceivable option and accessory—including Remote Start. It would seem a simple enough matter to use Remote Start to warm Mr. Nitro R/T for a few minutes prior to exiting the house. This would warm his interior and defrost his windshield and rear lift gate window. HOWEVER it would be necessary to set the heater and defroster controls when exiting him the previous day in order for Remote Start to be utile, and this is something I have never managed to accomplish!

    The Handle Bar in Chico - My friend, Carolyn, and her fiancé have opened a new drinking and dining establishment in Chico—The Handle Bar. It is located at 2070 East 20th Street, Suite 160, and the telephone number is 530-894-2337. You can see more information, photos, and chatter on their Facebook page at

    Surely, Santa could use just one more reindeer!

    Be careful out there, Santa!

    Thursday, December 13, 2012


    BRRRRRRRRRRR! - Weatherpeople universally proclaimed 36° as the LOW for this morning. YIKES! It is after 8 AM, and the temperature has just now reached 34°! Obviously, the temperature fell below freezing earlier, since moisture on Mr. Nitro's windshield had turned to ICE by the time I clambered into him and prepared to drive to mine office! Oh, well, it could be worse!

    Just a few miles north of here, one would encounter this:

    Earlier today, I was compelled inexorably to awaken and find the time to be palindromic.

    Drop the egg nog and move away from the kitty!

    The dark side of pet adoption!

    The top fails of 2012!

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012


    12-12-12 - Welcome to December 12, 2012, which is either lucky or the end of the world as we know it. Today's date, 12/12/12, is considered auspicious by some, doomed by others, and just plain easy to remember by many. The number certainly holds significance in human existence throughout history—a fact of which there is indisputable evidence:

    Apart from there being 12 hours of day and night, and 12 months in the year in the Roman calendar, there 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 Apostles, 12 days of Christmas, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 Old Testament prophets, etc.

    Some say the day symbolizes love, others completeness or fulfillment.

    The New York Times wrote that many couples consider it lucky to get married on repetitive dates, with 07-07-07, 10-10-10 and 11-11-11 each breaking Las Vegas records.

    Mmany doomsdayers believe the date 12/12/12 heralds the end of the world—mainly owing to an interpretation of the Mayan calendar. More pedantic believers in the end-of-the-world, meantime, are convinced that the actual doomsday is on 12/21/12—when the Mayan calendar is set to end.

    Mathematics fanatics are excited by the sheer number of ways the number 12 can be divided: halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, and twelfths.

    The number 12 brings harmony to the yin and yang of Chinese numerology: The number 1 is a yang number ruled by the Sun, while 2 is a yin number ruled by the Moon.

    Numerology experts say 12 — considered a "three" number because the digits add up to three — corresponds with the largest planet, Jupiter (to the Sun's No. 1 and the Moon's No. 2), which means wealth.

    Well, there you have it!

    Laura Is Mirthful - Laura sent me this photograph of herself. She took it in response to my forwarding to her an invoice for a chain I ordered for her. She is pleased!

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    The Fog - How Babies Are Made Quickly - Grease


    The fog was all-encompassing this morning, as I drove to mine office—very slowly and very carefully—feeling secure in the knowledge that Laura is easily one of the most cautious and safe drivers with whom I have ever traveled. She drives to Chico each day to work, and when the fog is present here in downtown Corning I know that it will be VERY DENSE on the highway—particularly in the area near the Sacramento River. Laura must pass the Sacramento River at Woodson Bridge on her way to Chico, and were it not for the certainty of Laura's driving expertise, I would be concerned for her safety. She is, however, an excellent and very safe driver. And, certainly, God is guiding her and has His angels riding with her and keeping her safe!

    "The fog comes on little cat feet.

    It sits looking
    over harbor and city
    on silent haunches
    and then moves on." - Carl Sandburg

    How Babies Are Made Quickly - If you are desirous of having a baby and wish to avoid the pain and wait, here is an alternative methodology!