Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Berkeley: A Trip

I went tripping this weekend in Berkeley, CA.

I mean... I took a trip to Berkeley.

Back in my Navy days - the 1970's - I was off the coast of Vietnam in a destroyer while kids my age were stomping and smoking and doping and protesting at the University of California, Berkeley - Cal Berkeley. A "hotbed of liberalism", according to the conservative sages of the day. Yesterday, I found a quiet town, much of which has gone to seed - and not marijuana or poppy seed, either.

I was there not to dis the denizens, nor to drive over any hippy leftovers from the 60's and 70's in Big Ride (although come to think of it...). No, I was there to visit a premier art supply store. I bought canvas, paint brushes, acrylic and oil paints, etc. I have the urge to paint a couple of landscapes. The interesting thing now is the restricted space I have in the 5th wheel trailer. I got an odorless turpentine substitute, and a small jar of gesso (a material used to prepare a base coat on canvas), and other acknowledgements of the fact that I don't have a room to dedicate to this project! I also have orders from my sister and from a cousin, so my creative wheels are starting to churn!

Next, a mural on the side of the trailer? Nah, that would be too... Berkeley!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

It's Not a Beta Version Anymore

Tropical storm Beta is not a beta release. It's now Hurricane Beta 1.0.

Improve the Gene Pool

Check out the new Darwin Awards:

"(September 2003, Minnesota) The main purpose of a demolition derby car is to smash into other cars in competition. Crash, repair, repeat. As a result, the cars tend to become more fragile than the average car. So you would think that Scot would have taken this fact into account, when he had to crawl under his derby car for repairs. But why take the time to put the car up on blocks? It would be a lot faster and easier to use a handy Bobcat-type skid loader and just lift the car up from its bumper. When the car was raised, Scot slid beneath. Then the bumper broke off. Help was immediately summoned, but it was too late. Scot had lost his final demolition derby."

Friday, October 28, 2005


(Say it Joe Pesce style: " uKay uKay uKay")

Bush will nominate himself for the Supreme Court.

Then, all the other cards will fall, one at a time. Think about it.

Monday, October 24, 2005



Not long ago, I'd have poked fun at this picture. The caption said this woman was looking out her trailer window this morning in Punta Gorda, FL, at the storm.

She has good reason to be frightened. Not funny; she needs a prayer from me, not mockery, for her and her dog. Just wish she'd left before this.

Odds 'n Ends

This was supposed to be a get-the-accounting-caught-up weekend, but instead it turned out to be:

a. Get excess stuff outta the trailer.
b. Clean the stains off the trailer carpet (trailer parks are mostly gravel with sprayed tar to keep the dust down, so the dirt and the tar get everywhere).
c. Clean the congoleum floor (true, a frequent job in most households which doesn't need to be listed). Here, it's a Big Thing. A chemical engineering project.

d. Normal weekly laundry. (I've learned to hang up the shirts and the trousers right out of the dryer for no ironing.)
e. Clean out the junk inside the truck.
f. Wash the truck.
g. Bake a cake.

The RV park's WIFI died (or was murdered) Friday night, so by Sunday I had to get my email and blog fix. I went back to McDonald's, got some food, and logged in. Not bad at all. My new neighbor at the park offered to let me into the satellite internet link they are putting up, so the nonsense may be ending!

Finally, had a great conversation last night with son Tom. The east coast is like deluged. After two weeks of rain, they got a four day let up, and then rain last Saturday and Sunday again. Here in northern California, we've had ten minutes of sprinkles in three months.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Thanks, Gentle Readers

Check out the site count meter thingy at the bottom of the page. Thank you for being one of 30,000 to read this stuff! It's been up about 10-1/2 months.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Up to Date ... Almost

Online banking is THE way to go. I just went through my second month of paying bills online, and I don't think I'll every go back. Sure, there is the occasional written or printed check, when one needs to put a special note on it or send it in with a form. But by and large, 90% of mine go electronically.

Not such good news on the income tax front. On the advice of the accountant, I extended filing until October 15. He's had my stuff for three weeks, and in the past they've done a great job. Now, today, he sends an email and says I should file it myself because he thinks he needs more information and he can't work on it now. THREE DAYS AFTER THE DEADLINE! Says he'll send me a list and we can amend it later. Like, fer sure, Batman. You'll never see the inside of my 1040 again! In fact, we'll be talking about any penalties I get for late filing, won't we?!

Tomorrow, I will hit the road at 5:30 am to drive 100 miles to San Jose, CA (yeah, do you know the way...?) to try to fit 12 hours of package testing into one working day. Why get a hotel room if I don't have to? This way is easier on Lacy and on me. But, it's a long day. I'm glad that Big Ride is all fixed up - new brakes two weeks ago, and a very expensive bunch of preventive maintenance last Monday.

I got some new updated prescriptions last Friday. I've been out for a while, but now I'm back on them. But, Sunday night, I got some very blurry vision - the eyes refusing to focus. I stopped all the prescriptions, and now (Tuesday evening) the eyesight is coming back slowly to normal. When I start up again, I will take one at a time until I see the problem. That is very unpleasant.

Lacy is still doing very well. She waits daily for news of Riggs, her dog friend from a distance in Atlanta with Stew Magoo. We hope that Riggs will have a full recovery and a long, long life - even if it IS with Stew! (Did I actually write that?)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

What I Like Is, It's So REAL


Not only are the cars of NASCAR anything but “stock” cars, now they don’t behave well on roads which are too good.

Saturday night‘s race in Charlotte NC at Lowe’s Motor Speedway had a rash of exploding tires.

Track president Humpy Wheeler (no, I did not make that up) used a grinding process not once but twice on the asphalt as a temporary fix until he could repave it. It created a surface that was too fast for the custom tires Goodyear provided.

There were 15 cautions, including 12 for accidents, and most were the result of blown tires. Half of the Chase for the Championship drivers had tire problems, including Tony Stewart who crashed hard into a wall while leading the race.

So, non-stock cars (which we can never own) with exclusively expensive special tires (which we cannot afford) do poorly on too-smooth roads (which we will never drive on).

Which is the "stock" part?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"California State Required Harassment Training for Supervisors"

I saw this on a company intranet, and I figured it was Arnold's way to extend the Terminator style into companies.

Then I read the article, where they supplied the word missing in the headline: "prevention". Oh, well, guess I won't go after all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Political Viewpoint: COWS


I have always enjoyed the Cows series by Gary Larson, The Far Side.

Here's a different take on Cows:

Lesson In Political Science

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.

You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.

You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

You have two cows.
Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the
other, and then pours the milk down the drain.

You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised
when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you
have downsized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.

You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and
produce twenty times the milk.
They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.

You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent
quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.

You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

You have all the cows in Afghanistan, which are two.
You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.
You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to
milk production but use the money to buy weapons.

You have two cows.
They go into hiding.
They send radio tapes of their mooing.

You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote
for the black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is
the best-looking cow.

You have millions of cows.
They make real California cheese.
Only five speak English.
Most are illegal aliens.
Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.

Monday, October 10, 2005

New York City Subway


I find that it's easy for me to read the news, and not register what it said.

The subway rucus in New York last week was traced to threats in Baghdad. It disrupted the travel plans of the 4.5 million people who use the NYC subway every work day.


Combine the entire population - men, women, and children - of Pittsburgh, Albany and Rochester, and you get 4,450,000. So, put ALL of them on trains each day. The folks in Pittsburgh (2,400,000) split up, and half go to Albany and half go to Rochester. EVERYONE in Rochester (1,050,000) goes to Pittsburgh, and so does everyone in Albany (1,000,000). The Governor and the legislature too. Then, do it again each day for the rest of the week.

That's a lot of people.

It really puts the Pittsburgh people at a disadvantage, though. Imagine all of those New Yawkers endlessly complaining.

Earthquake v. Osama

This from Wikipedia:

“(Osama) Bin Laden is the "most wanted" man in the western countries with a reward for information leading to his capture of US$50 million. While his current whereabouts are unknown, the most popular assumption is that he is hiding in Pakistan's unruly tribal region of Waziristan bordering Afghanistan, or, more specifically, near the small Pakistani market town of Chitral. ”

This is from Chitral News, October 9th:

CHITRAL, 09 Oct 05: “The large scale damage caused by earthquake in the northern region of Pakistan miraculously did not effect Chitral as there were no reports of any worth mentioning damage from anywhere in the district till filing of this report. ”

From Kashar News, Pakistan:

“Gilgit-Chitral highway was closed after land-slidings triggered by tremors. Several houses were razed in Kohistan and Buttgram districts. People injured in quake incidents being transferred to hospitals for medical aid.”


So, the rumors that George Bush has no evangelical connections were wrong. Chitral is a couple of hundred mountain miles west of the epicenter. Pretty close. And when one mountain moves...

He IS connected. Praise be.

It's just that his aim needs some work.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

From "The Far Side"

A favorite Gary Larson cartoon:

The Wonder Dog

I took Lacy in for her annual checkup and shots at noon on Friday. She was great! Got a three year rabies shot, and some antibiotics for a little infection I told the doc about. He is Hispanic, name of Dr. Angel A. which he pronounced "An-hel". But after he was so gentle with Lacy and fixed her right up with five shots, cleaned her ears and other orifices, and played with her, I called him Dr. Angel, and he liked it. I had them use their electronic doggie scanner, and we verified that the chip I had put in last year in Kansas City is still working. Doggie gets around!

She met her first cat at the vet's - one of his - and gave it a close up Lacy inspection, whereupon the devil cat promptly whipped out a claw and scratched Lacy in the eyebrow of the left eye, and on the edge of the eye lid. Yikes! A little blood, so I took the cat over to the operating table until the doc put some medicine on it.

I got a call last night from my daughter-in-law's Mum in Dublin, Ireland. Wonderful surprise! I called back today and left a long message, and then Margaret called me back ("rang me up") and we had a splendid, delightful conversation! Especially about our shared grand daughter, who took a few first steps last week in Hawaii, where John is stationed now. I told her that my client has a plant in Ireland, near Tipperary, so I'll call if they send me there!

After Lacy's checkup, I went back to work and found out that the client wants to send me to Germany for an equipment check out in November. I did the exact same thing for another client a few years ago - Germany in November for an equipment checkoout - and I was able to get the greatest Christmas gifts for the family on the trip. I hope this comes true. I will miss Lacy, but now with her shots up to date, she will be welcome in any of California's pet hotels. She's already looking through the brochures. "Swimming pools" are high on her list...

Finally, I ordered three new trousers from a favorite store on the Internet, and of course I have to hem them. The cheap sewing machine I got a few years ago (fits in a suitcase) has stitched its last, so I went to Wal*Mart and got a decent one today. Come to think of it, I also have three pairs of blue jeans to hem, so it will be getting a work out. I'll do it tomorrow, after my other domestic chores (laundry, and washing the RV exterior. I think it's supposed to be white.).

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I Made Myself An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ignoble Prizes

The Nobel Peace Prize did not go to Bono. It was their one chance to make up for giving the prize in the past to such non-luminaries as Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat and Le Duc Tho. To recognize the non event, I offer you the Ignoble Prizes (http://www.improb.com/ig/ig-top.html).

The Ignoble Prizes for 2005 were announced (these are highlights from the web site):

AGRICULTURAL HISTORY: James Watson of Massey University, New Zealand, for his scholarly study, "The Significance of Mr. Richard Buckley’s Exploding Trousers."

PHYSICS: John Mainstone and the late Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland, Australia, for patiently conducting an experiment that began in the year 1927 -- in which a glob of congealed black tar has been slowly, slowly dripping through a funnel, at a rate of approximately one drop every nine years.

MEDICINE: Gregg A. Miller of Oak Grove, Missouri, for inventing Neuticles -- artificial replacement testicles for dogs, which are available in three sizes, and three degrees of firmness.

LITERATURE: The Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters -- General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others -- each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share with the kind person who assists them.

PEACE: Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of Newcastle University, in the U.K., for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie "Star Wars."

ECONOMICS: Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for inventing an alarm clock that runs away and hides, repeatedly, thus ensuring that people DO get out of bed, and thus theoretically adding many productive hours to the workday.

CHEMISTRY: Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota and Brian Gettelfinger of the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, for conducting a careful experiment to settle the longstanding scientific question: can people swim faster in syrup or in water?

BIOLOGY: Benjamin Smith of the University of Adelaide, Australia and the University of Toronto, Canada and the Firmenich perfume company, Geneva, Switzerland, and ChemComm Enterprises, Archamps, France; Craig Williams of James Cook University and the University of South Australia; Michael Tyler of the University of Adelaide; Brian Williams of the University of Adelaide; and Yoji Hayasaka of the Australian Wine Research Institute; for painstakingly smelling and cataloging the peculiar odors produced by 131 different species of frogs when the frogs were feeling stressed.

NUTRITION: Dr. Yoshiro Nakamats of Tokyo, Japan, for photographing and retrospectively analyzing every meal he has consumed during a period of 34 years (and counting).

FLUID DYNAMICS: Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow of International University Bremen, Germany and the University of Oulu , Finland; and Jozsef Gal of Loránd Eötvös University, Hungary, for using basic principles of physics to calculate the pressure that builds up inside a penguin, as detailed in their report "Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh -- Calculations on Avian Defaecation."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Assisted Suicide

Controversy in the new Supreme Court already: Oregon's assisted suicide law is up to the Supremes again.

The Bush administration went after Oregon under Ashcroft's tenure. Personally, I am against suicide, but I am also against intruding on a person's personal decisions as long as they don't interfere with someone else's rights.

If Oregon is convinced their law is safe, protects the feeble minded and the young and everyone else, and is humanitarian, maybe it needs some testing to prove to everyone that it's a good idea.

I happen to have a list of notorious individuals, in government, formerly in government, in the news, some just generally in the way. You may have a list of your own. We can send these folks to Oregon, and they can test the law for us on live TV. Give 'em all the assistance they need. No, I did not say I expect them to "volunteer". We just volunteer them. Then, after ten or twenty or a hundred some tests, we can throw the Oregon law out on its ear, bury our mistakes and go back to normal.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I helped a friend move on Saturday.

She and her husband live about an hour's drive from work in Vacaville, CA. She works at my client, and he works at a medical laser company. They bought a larger house with a bigger backyard about twenty minutes away from the first house. So, last Saturday was moving day. I jumped right in with Big Ride and some of my moving tools: hand truck, etc.

Their house is very, very similar to the house we had in Chula Vista for my last tour in the Navy. Even to the steep slope going up from the house to the border of the back yard. The developer, it turns out, last worked in San Diego. It brought back good memories.

It was a long day. Got there about 8:00 am, left about 8:00 pm. Begged off dinner, since I had left Lacy at home (the husband has allergies to pet dander) and needed to walk her and feed her. Dinner was cut fruit, which I really enjoy.

Sunday, somewhat stiff, I got up early and after Church, I visited a new appliance store and finally found the small drop in freezer! Bought it on the spot, loaded it with help into Big Ride, and managed to get it into the trailer myself. It's as big as a washing machine, but not as heavy. I loaded it with chicken, ground beef and pork from Costco last night, and it is great!

Net effect? I cannot move any more. Even my eyebrows ache. Oh, well.

No sighing. Conserve energy.

Monday, October 03, 2005

G'Day, Doc!

Australians Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren have won the 2005 Nobel Prize in medicine. They worked out the role of bacteria in stomach aches and ulcers.

Now you know why they call it "Down Under."

Denmark Pays: Santa's Rudolf Murdered

The Danish Air Force paid $5,000 to a part-time Santa Claus after two fighter jets buzzed his farm, and a reindeer died of heart failure.

Hey, Dane guys! Lacy heard about this, and she’s quite upset, looking pretty green around the gills. We need some compensation, too.

Toolin' Around the Park

Two female gorillas have been photographed using sticks as tools to get through swampy areas, the first time the apes have been seen doing so in the wild.

"This is a truly astounding discovery," said Thomas Breuer of the Max Planck Institute. The findings can help shed light on how human beings came to use tools.

Breuer seems to be astounded pretty easily.

Well, I say, “Thank goodness.” When I read, “Gorillas Use Tools!” I was afraid they got hold of a megohmeter and an oscilloscope, and got hired by NASA.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tour Bus

Brenda said that her #1 type of RV is Shania Twain's tour bus. An impressive vehicle, I think:

There is a large stencil of Shania on the bus sides now. The interior is probably sumptuous, though I could only find one picture. Paul Simon visited once to remind himself of his days "...counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike:

"We've all come to look for America."

If I were to make a RV from a bus, I'd start here:

The Freaks Are Back

The spammers have returned. Those who come up short in the wit department, and simply weave in and out of expository traffic with their cloying babble and adolescent honking. They are pleased not at recognition of their talent, for there is neither recognition nor talent. Like a four year old peeing himself, the spammer just enjoys getting attention by being a jackass. His perspective is limited by "where his head is at", as we say.

So, the annoying word verification is back on. Cleaning up the spam is just another job, like cleaning up after Lacy on our walks.