Friday, December 17, 2010

Niagra Falls!

I just wanted to keep this around, as I find it fascinating. Here's the story and a sample photo.

Niagra Falls Dry in 1969

as you can see, this is a copyrighted image, do not abuse or use without crediting Russ Glasson/Barcroft USA like I just did!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

tax cuts? pomplamoose?

Totally random and not at all associated, so maybe I'll mess up some search engine optimization.

When are tax cuts not tax cuts? When not keeping the current tax rate will result in raising taxes. Simply put, Congress controls tax rates, and they chose to agree with Pres Bush that lowering them was a good idea, but in an act of tremendous political courage (psych!), figured a way to get some political coverage years down the road by making them "expire" which is hilarious since THEY CONTROL THE TAX RATES anyway and can raise and lower them whenever they damn well please.

So, by not voting to un-expire the current rates, somehow they aren't raising taxes? And these are tax cuts if they vote to maintain the current rates? No reasonable person could possibly believe this.

So, my question is this: are they liars or are they insane?


Totally unrelated, I've been really enjoying Pomplamoose these last few days, so go visit their youtube so they get lots of hits and stay successful!

Monday, November 22, 2010

thegraph.com

Well, conservative social media entrepreneur Brooks Bayne has launched thegraph.com and I think you should check it out! Now I need to write something to submit!

I have to say, I'm a little nervous about taking my family through the TSA screening this December, I don't really want:

A. to have my wife or daughter groped, much less either of my two boys,
B. to try to keep from asking very loudly "oh, this makes sense since so many terrorists have been white Methodist life-long residents of Ohio!"

Of course, it's very possible that like last time we flew (October, seriously, I should shut up, it's been a good year for travel for us), they'll be no issues at all, but still, that was before 'enhanced pat-downs' had entered the lexicon.

Let me be clear, I've always thought profiling was the way to go, even knowing folks that have been guilty of walking and/or driving "while black" it's the most effective. We know what to look for, and it ain't me.

Peace out, yo, gotta tuck a kid in.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Post: an annual re-telling

Here's the post from last year or if you don't feel like clicking, here it is again:

I've told this many times, more than my Dad did, probably. He never told this to me, or any of his kids, to my knowledge, but it got back to us nonetheless (one of the hazards of him being a tavern owner: bar stories got re-told).

When Gordon was 15, he wanted to serve his country. He believed in the cause and probably needed the money and experience, but he was too young, so he did exactly what anyone would have done: "borrowed" his older brother's SSN and enlisted in the Army. (He also lied about his age at 10 so he could sell newspapers to help out the family's finances: you had to be 12, I believe. Walked downtown from Mt. Auburn to do it, too). It worked, and his Mother worked to get him out, but by the time she was successful, he'd completed basic training. He'd also turned 16, old enough to join the Merchant Marines! Off he went into the Pacific.

The stories are vague: evading a U-boat on the Euphrates, spending a few days in the water after a ship wasn't as fortunate, ending up recuperating in Egypt (his big regret was not getting to see the Pyramids when there) and while waiting for transportation home (resources were involved in some big offensive) he was injured by shrapnel while watching a firefight from a Venetian rooftop. By the time the boat got him home he was healed and 17, old enough for the Army, and re-enlist he did, skipping basic as he'd already done it, and was back to post-treaty Germany.

The one story I got out of the horse's mouth was when I was in the hospital recovering from my spleenectomy (4th grade sledding accident, if you must know) and he asked a nurse with a unique, but typically Cincinnati German last name if she was related to a war buddy of his: it was her father-in-law. He then regaled us (to entertain me, no doubt) with a story of their wartime experience as MPs at a military hospital in Germany. Seems the locals showed their gratitude by donating kegs of beer to the soldiers, but they had nothing to drink the beer out of, so they grabbed the closest things that resembled steins: handles? check. Vessel? check. You might be be guessing what in a hospital has a handle, can hold liquid, and is handy, indeed, pretty much one for every bed? Yep, they scrubbed the bed urinal thingys and drank the beer from those. Now you understand the picture!

He finished High School, stayed in for a while, and started a family, then law school, but didn't finish as he got a good job offer and the rest is his story, just not this one. I salute you, Gordon P. on this and every Veteran's Day, because now I know what it means, and I'm sorry I didn't get it when I was younger.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The MidTerm Elections Mean What?

Well, the votes are cast and most are counted, and I have this pithy oversimplified comment to say as of 2:42PM the day after:

America is a Center-Right country and the government hasn't been behaving Center-Right, so the voters said loudly and clearly, "we like some of our extreme lefties and righties, certainly, but y'all have been spending too much money, so we want new people representing us that said they'll spend less."

I'll have more to say, but that's too long for Twitter, so here it is.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Drive-By Media" defined by Jon Stewart: didn't know he agreed with Rush!

In this New York Times article, the writer quotes Jon Stewart and observes:

“ 'The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous, flaming ant epidemic,' he said, to roars of approval from the crowd."


This, my esteemed readers, is EXACTLY what Rush Limbaugh means when he refers to the drive-by media, and it warms the cockles of my heart to see that both the speaker and the audience seem to agree whole-heartedly.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fixing stuff

Yep, felt pretty manly last week, fixed the washing machine all by myself. Sort of. I had help from the interwebby thing! You should know this my now if you don't: people that fix stuff like to share their knowledge, and they do it on the internet.

Car trouble? Google it. Appliance not working? Bing it. Roof problems? Ask it.

My top half of the agitator wasn't agitating, so I searched "washing machine agitator not turning" and found this guy's tutorial, the first result in Google. Bingo.

Called my favorite appliance parts store, ok, the only one I know of, and they were like, "yep, agitator dogs, $4.22, in stock." Lunchtime jaunt there and back from work in 22 minutes, and maybe 45 minutes in repair time (the most difficult part was putting it back together aligned correctly so the parts would snap together and not just push the parts out. As the guy at the store said, under 5.00 to save the motor? Good deal and smart engineering.

Good deal indeed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Foodies Battle Over Decomposition, Film At Eleven!

Well, I feel the need to wade into the McDonald's decomposition (or lack thereof) battle going on. I'll just say it first: duh. When did people stop thinking? Here's your chance to do some of your own, I won't tell you what or how to think.

However, I will tell you what I think: frozen patties with a lot of salt that are cooked well will last a long time, especially when they dry out. Buns with lots of preservatives will last a long time. French fries are bomb-proof. The recent "news" about it thanks to this one "artist" is the opposite of actual news.

Here are some links:
http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/can-happy-meal-meme-stand-up-to-the-scientific-method/

with my favorite comment (my emphasis)

"At issue here is the standing of fact in this country. While I would agree that it is true that a happy meal is not a good choice for regular consumption, the fact that it didn't rot under the conditions presented doesn't prove this. Sodium propionate added to a whole grain bun will inhibit mold (almost) as well as in a white flour one. A thin patty of grass fed, organic beef that is over cooked will dessicate rapidly, and show no visible signs of spoilage. Any food sitting inside is unlikely to suffer from infestation. You could have done this "experiment" 150 years ago using daguerrotypes of hard tack and jerky. Engaging in bad science only proves that you have an alterior motive and detracts from the very real issue of dietary quality. I don't like the facts being subservient to the message, regardless of whether or not the message is a good one. All this does is create a world where the truth isn't only irrelevant, but not even acknowledged; a ship adrift in a sea of B.S.

Cheers,

Bliss"
Clearly "Bliss" and I would get along. I like this comment from Sergio, too:
"Well, the burger dehydrated. It's not that surprising and is easy enough to accomplish with most dry-ish cooked foods at room temperature. The fact that it retained much of the same outward appearance as a relatively "fresh" burger off the line doesn't mean it's edible - it means, as Professor Nestle said, that it dried to the point that mold, etc could't survive. It has nothing to do with ammonia, or any of the other elements of McDonald's food that are supposed to render it unfit for consumption.

I'm not defending McDonald's food. I have been known to eat it a few times a year, but I'm under no illusions that it's good or good for me. That said, if I prepare fritters at home, and roast a relatively lean cut of meat until it's well done, and leave these out on the counter for months, they'd probably come out the same way. Once enough water has left the food and pathogens can't survive in it, you can leave them out for 137 days, a year, two years, whatever, and they're not going to change shape all that much.

Critiques of food safety or nutritive content should be based on science, not pure visual rhetoric."

That article references this, someone else I would get along with:
http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/10/the-burger-lab-the-myth-of-the-12-year-old-mcdonalds-hamburger.html
He's doing an actual experiment that might actually explain some causes and not just take photos,

and a friend sent me this: http://www.naturalnews.com/030074_Happy_Meal_decompose.html
in which some granola-eaters (just kidding) expound on the meme.

Seriously, people, are we this stupid or are just some of us?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Talent and Politics

I'm not gonna breach any trust here and actually post the agreement, but I had to note somewhere how I feel and think about this: in this season of political commercials, my agency has sent out a pretty good number of audition notices for jobs in these commercials, and the most current is for a Dem issue ad against the Republican running for Governor.

It's the first time they've had to do this:

"Conflicts: Any Political spot running in the state of Ohio for the past year. Also need to know what other spots talent is in that have run in the last 3 years. Be prepared to submit the attached "Political Screening" form, the "Audition Form" and the "Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Agreement" form." 

None of the NRA ads, Coal ads, or anti-incumbent (D) governor ads have asked for this.

I'm just sayin'

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cars I Want (and some from my pre-driving days)

Funny how the experiences of your childhood show up in interesting ways.

I know that my current desire for old Sport Utility vehicles is a direct result of my Dad's work when I was a kid coupled with some cars owned by folks I thought were cool back in the day. I also think the whole nostalgia factor is huge with many men my age, so let's not pretend I'm experiencing anything unique, ok?

On to the cars.
When I was little we had International Harvester Travelalls, as my dad sold for them until I was about 9. They were huge to me, perfect to go sit in and pretend to drive, and I blame them for my propensity for firmly shutting car doors: those doors were heavy! I have worked to break that habit as an adult, seriously.




We once had a bird fly in the front passenger side window and out the rear window (electric in the early 70s, baby) on the way to a Feis. Memories are dim, but sliding across the huge bench seat sticks firmly.


Maybe once or twice Dad brought home a Scout, my first car crush and the aforementioned origin. For me, compared to the Travelall, that was coolness.

My oldest brother was college age and was a VW bug driver, then a van driver, so of course I wanted one of those, but that wish has been granted many times, so no need to linger on that. A back street neighbor, Greg Janeck, had an older brother who drove what is now my dream car, a 73 VW Thing. Yes, you heard me correctly! Any of these will do....


I'd even take one like this, as long as I can take the kids to get ice cream....
The lovely and talented wife calls me obsessed, but after replacing an engine computer on a 2004 Town and Country, oh, I'm sorry, PAYING to have it replaced, an air-cooled vw sounds good to me.

I'll take any of these as well, if I was doing the Jay Leno thing...better check my lottery ticket!

Now, on to other vehicles!

Like everybody, I think, I have wanted a jeep,


but I've also wanted a Wagoneer ever since a High School friend drove us around in her parents'
and the Cincinnati Zoo had cool zebra striped ones like the CJ above.

Pretty much any of the classic 4x4s are on my want list, realistically or not: who wouldn't want to drive around in a legitimate safari Land Rover or Land Cruiser?



Of course, since the FJ Cruiser came out, I've been wanting one:


That makes perfect sense, right?

Also, I've been saying since the VW bus that my "next car would be a convertible," and while the Thing fits the bill, there are several others I would consider from classic:

Austin Healy, natch,

Porsche, duh,

MG, obviously, or

Triumph.

I very nearly have purchased both an MG in need of help and a Spitfire (brown, like the photo) but practicality won out both times. Cursed practicality!

I wouldn't say no to one of this era, either; thanks to all the Batman comics read as a child, I love this era of autos:

or even a giant Cadillac Convertible like an old musician friend had, he kept towels in the trunk to wipe the condensation off the seats when he got off work at bar closing time.
 
 Of course, there are some modern convertibles I'd drive, first and foremost the BMW Z3


Monday, September 27, 2010

Cars I've Owned (and some I want...)

I've never been really into Fast. Everybody likes to go fast, at some point, and I have had my moments, shoot, I was just doing e-brake drifts in some gravel with the boys this weekend (whoo hoo, that's a Camry memory for sure!). I've pedaled hard down a hill even as an adult to see just how fast I could get the Specialized Mountain Bike going, (Hard Rock, circa 1990, another guy had a speedometer thingy and said we topped 35mph if memory serves), gunned it on a straightaway or three, you know how it is.

All of this is to say that you won't see any Ferraris or Lamborginis on this list. I've owned one fast car, but the iffy suspension precluded any racing, and there's only one "sportscar" on my wish list. I admit to having mellower tastes, but that's okay.

(all the remaining photos are samples, not my actual vehicles: the photo above is probably the only photo I have of my 73 VW bus)


This was what I learned to drive in, for the most part, only not nearly as nice and with a dead power steering unit (which i always visualized as a lifeless tentacled thing hanging from the steering assembly): a 1975 Chevy pick up we bought to haul crap for our pub, etc., (this is a '72, though: you think you can find everything on the internet? I couldn't). We kept a spare tire in the back in case we got a flat at the landfill hauling all kinds of garbage. As anyone that has ever owned a truck knows, if you have one, people come out of the woodwork asking you to haul stuff. It's amazing what a cold twelve pack could get you at the dump weigh-in office.... I can still smell the dump in my brain. Learned how to parallel park downtown on the left side of the street in that truck, too. The maneuverability test was a breeze after that.

Learned how to drive a stick in a bug like this. With 5 kids in the family, we went through a lot of VWs, the price was right, you know? As you'll read below, we went through a lot of used cars, period.

Jim took me around the neighborhood and we got stuck on one small hill, and I finally got it. He and I drove together a lot, as we we're 11 months apart and he had a knack for doing things like u-turns in the middle of nowhere where a cop was watching. I did most of my Learner's Permit driving with Jim on a suspended license as my "licensed driver" in the passenger seat.

We bought our older brother Danny's baby blue bug to share for 250 bucks, on payments (no interest) as our first purchased car (Dad strongly believed in providing vehicles, but you have to break free occasionally, right?) and my second in a long line of Volkswagens.

We also drove a van very much like this Chevy in high school, and it was not very popular with the parents of my senior year girlfriend. There are many possible stories and comments, but I'll only tell two. First, though, you should know the origin was a small business venture of my sister and her manfriend, driving to Florida, buying seafood off the docks and driving it in heavy coolers back to Cincinnati to sell. That didn't last too long, and my dad bought it from them (before it got repo'd I bet).


Two stories: I saw ET at a drive-in with 13 girls (and 2 guys) in this van, on an off-night from performing at the 1982 World's Fair in Tennessee. Not as cool as it sounds. Drove to Florida with 2 brothers, a friend that is still practically a member of the family, and the girl next door. That, my friends, is what you call trust, as the age spread was from me, 14, my 15 year old brother, Gina, 16, to Danny and Joe, 21. We did discover what time the busses stop running from the Contemporary Hotel to the parking lot at Walt Disney World after the two eldest decided that if the Magic Kingdom had no alcohol, they were finding beer somewhere. It's a long walk from there to the main lot.

Next was one of 2 Thunderbirds, a 2-door that Jim and I drove in High School, too, given to my Dad by the widow of a bar patron. Actually they were both patrons, a cute little elderly couple, definitely from a bygone era. The hood flew open on me twice, but it was fun to drive. Faded green 2 door 67 similar to this:
I had a 4-door (suicide doors!) in college that was this color, so just switch colors of these photos in your brain to have a better idea of the 2 T-birds.
The 4-door cream colored 69 had a 427 "Thunderjet 4v" in it and it was sink-you-into-your-seat fast, but I had neither the money nor the know-how to fix the window motors, headlight switch, wheel well rust, or rear suspension. Especially the money. This is one that I really wish I could get back. I know where one for sale is...and it needs a lot more that just paint, I bet, it's pretty rough, but one can wish!

Next on memory lane are some cars of Dad's that I drove a lot:
The Cordoba was the ride around 83-84 after the truck, van, and t-bird gave out, and everybody loved the blue and white two-tone exterior and the foot switch to search the radio stations (only upward) in addition to the 10 (yes, ten) preset buttons. Stylin' baby. The Buick Century was a car, no more, no less, I drove it mostly in college when my car wouldn't run. Let's see, there was also a green Delta 88, a silver Cutlass, a black Bonneville, and a Cavalier. We went through a lot of used cars.

What, pray tell, is "my car?" A 1973 VW bus! The vehicle most of my friends of that time period will identify as Dave's vehicle, dubbed the Magic Bus by Doug Clark.
It had a pancake motor in it with a Weber single carb and the steering was tack welded by the scheister we bought it from, but it was faster than your average bus and fun. It went to Florida once, all over Ohio, and was the proud recipient of one shining moment when i popped the accelerator cable and had a friend manually work the throttle on the carb while I shifted to get us home. I rigged it with wire and drove it that way for a while! Good times. Burned up an engine, replaced it, never ran right again, tried the single carb, dual carbs, finally gave it to my brother Jim so he could trade it on a used convertible rabbit (may have been a Cabriolet by that year, can't remember, he had 2). The second vehicle I wish I still had and my favorite one ever.

Also had a green bug with the driver's side front fender missing, a light brown AutoStick that had been my sister's and a cherry cream bug that I ended up wrecking one wet wintry day because of the lack of usable tread on the front tires. That was a bummer.



That marked the beginning of a brief era of new cars, however, where I discovered the joys of car payments and air conditioning. My to-be-spouse's family had a very different car philosophy at the time, and her first brand new Camry led to my brand new Tercel, quickly followed by a brand new Corolla in 92 after she traded in for the new bodystyle. That marks a giant mistake in our car history: I should have bought her traded in Camry, it was a great car.

Too many words, time for pictures.
should have bought that Camry, but everybody makes mistakes!
by this time I was married, so we have to include the wife's 92 Camry: first year with this body style, a stick, very dependable for many years, traded it to her brother Dirk at his dealership for a used 98.
In 1996 we made another dumb car decision and traded the black Corolla to lease a 4 runner, which we loved, but couldn't afford to buy when the lease ended. Another one I wish I still had.
We ended up buying a used minivan, did the Dirk trade for the last one on the list. I am not a fan of American Made minvans, but I'll not bash them here.

Useful, yes. The 04 has cost us entirely too much in repairs and the process of ditching the 99 and getting the 04 was not pleasant, but the players have realized it was a bad move for several reasons and have made peace with it. Strange to be a non-player in the car buying process for my family, but when the in-laws are feeling generous (if misguided) it is best to step out of the way. It won't happen again, we've agreed (well, my wife and I have!).

That brings us up to date! 18 cars not including the 5 I've had as a married man (and those are all in her name anyway).

***Update December 2012**** The Chrysler Town and Country is gone. History repeats with "you can't drive our grandkids around in that thing, and why wait till we are dead to start on your inheritance, here's a 2012 Toyota Sienna."
So much for not repeating that scenario again. It's a very nice van and they are very generous. I still get to drive a 98 Camry, however. Blech.

Now, those ones I wish I had....