Jim leaves tomorrow with the rest of the team for Hong Kong. I'll miss you while you're gone, bro. And I'll be praying for you guys.

jim drives and laughs... now that's multitasking.


I consider myself reasonably tall. Don't get me wrong, I'm no giant. I'm just a little taller than average. My little brother, on the other hand, is real tall. About 6'5". I look up when I talk to him, but just slightly.
I met a guy today who is easily over 7 feet tall. That's right. He's enormous. I felt like I was looking straight up at him while we were talking. It was ridiculous. The standard joke with tall people is, "How's the weather up there?" But all jokes aside, this guy probably really does feel subtle changes in atmospheric pressure when he's not busy dodging low-flying aircraft. Standing next to him, I felt like a small child. Tiny. Seriously, like a preschooler. It was all I could do to not laugh during the conversation. I don't know what's wrong with me, but it's obviously something serious because all I could think was, "So what time is recess? I'm gonna hit up the monkey bars today!"
If you have never met someone this tall, do so immediately. Drive down to your local freak show and demand to see the tallest guy they've got. You're life might never be the same. Or it might. You really never know with these things.


Teen critical after second shark attack

Down in Florida, the sharks are angry. And attacking people. And hurting them. Badly. Why is this?

The number of shark attacks rises in the summer because that's when the animals come closer to shore to search for food and there are more people at the beach, said John Tyminski, a senior biologist with the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

"It's a sharky time of year," said Tyminski.

A "sharky" time of year. Springtime has its blooming flowers and cute baby animals. Summer is "sharky."


Everyone in the creative department at work is getting brand-new G5's. Well, everyone but me. I guess they think that I can't be trusted with that much raw, unharnessed computing power. So I get to keep my trusty, rusty G4. As a special treat, though, I will get to upgrade to OS X Tiger. You know, so I can keep up with everybody on their shiny new G5's. Theoretically. Right now, it looks as though my G4 is even too geriatric to run the OS X installation disc. Maybe they'll give me a slide rule instead. Or perhaps I'll get two rocks that I can bang together. Let's hope they spark...

On this day in 1964, the Federal Trade Commission announced that, starting in 1965, cigarette makers would be required to include on the packaging of their product warning labels describing the harmful effects of smoking.
On this day in 1965, citizens of the United States began ignoring the labels, lighting up whenever they darn well pleased.

And you kids better stay off his lawn, too.

Grandfather kills leopard with his bare hands

A 73-year-old Kenyan grandfather reached into the mouth of an attacking leopard and tore out its tongue to kill it, authorities said Wednesday.
Peasant farmer Daniel M'Mburugu was tending to his potato and bean crops in a rural area near Mount Kenya when the leopard charged out of the long grass and leapt on him.
M'Mburugu had a machete in one hand but dropped that to thrust his fist down the leopard's mouth.

Now, I was pretty impressed by the pizza guy who got shot and fought back, but he may have some competition. The pizza guy was young. This guy is old. Really old. 73-years-old in Kenya is like 150 in the U.S. And instead of using the deadly piece of steel (standard issue killing tool for the Rwanda Militia) he had in his hand, he reached inside the leopard's mouth (which, may I remind you, was full of razor-sharp, flesh-tearing, life-ending teeth) and ripped out the animal's tongue. That's a killing method you only see in the movies. And only in the really sick, twisted ones.

Sweet. Cinnamon. Gravy. If the pizza guy deserved a movie deal, so does this guy. And someone to tend his garden for him.

I had a meeting today at lunch. It was an important meeting, with an important person. It was also my first meeting with this person. And it would take place over a table of food. Clearly, this was a recipe for disaster.
Now, I understand the practicality of scheduling a meeting during lunch. Everyone needs to eat, after all, and why not get some business accomplished on the side?
I'll tell you why. The first impression lasts the longest. Do you really want the new people you meet to think about the piece of spinach you had in your teeth or the tea dribbling down your chin on to your shirt every time they see you? Of course you don't. You want them to remember your confidence, poise, and sophistication. Instead, they'll keep replaying in their mind the point at which they asked you a question and your mouth opened up to reveal a full palate of mush, which, as you speak, jumps out of your mouth and plops on to the table.
Of course, you could be cautious, reminding yourself constantly about table manners and etiquette. Although, nearly invariably, you will screw something up. Trust me. You will. It may be something minor, and it may not be noticed by the other party, but you will do something wrong. If you're lucky, you drop your fork. If you're not, you drop your fork, and it slides across the floor, tripping the waiter, who sends his tray of red bull vodkas flying across the room, where the alcohol is ignited by a small table candle. The flames then spread quickly across the restaurant, ignite the propane tanks in the kitchen, and kill everyone in a six-block radius. But that's worst-case scenario.
The other thing about lunch meetings is that you're there to talk. And you talk the entire time to avoid those awkward silences that make you want to talk about the dreams you've been having, just so that you'll have something interesting to say. And, since you're talking the entire time (hopefully about the subject and not the dream where your boxers turned into a mob of angry ferrets), you will be unable to finish your meal. And nothing says, "I'm the man for the job," like having to ask for a box to take home your food.


Trail mix:
Has lots of nuts.

I was enjoying some trail mix this morning when it ocurred to me that trail mix has raisins. While the raisin is inarguably beneficial, given its inherent vitamins and micronutrients, I could not help but wonder why it is included in most forms of trail mix. My particular favorite is the mix consisting of peanuts, almonds, cashews (sometimes), m&m's, and raisins. Now, to make myself clear, this mix is my favorite due to its delectable nut/m&m combination. It just so happens that when those two are present, raisins are almost always also included. How did this happen? Was someone sitting in the lab one day, munching on some nuts and chocolate, thinking to themselves, "This stuff is pretty darn good. I quite like it, actually. But there's something missing... You know what? I think that shrivelled, dried-out grapes would make this treat absolutely delicious." Or is there a darker side to the story? A sinister deal perpetrated by organized crime? Perhaps the makers of the original trail mix had settled on the candy-coated chocolately deliciousness of m&m's for their mix, but couldn't convince the company to give them licensing rights for the candy. They would have turned, of course, to La Cosa Nostra, who could pull the strings to get them m&m's, but would ask one small favor in return. Cousin Luciano in California had harvested his grapes too late, and they had dried in the hot sun. His vineyard was about to tank, thanks to the loss of the entire crop. And so, the first trail mix had raisins thrown in, and the imitators followed suit.

So it might not have happened. But I'm pretty sure that something similar led to the persistent flossing demands of dentists everywhere.

watch out

Tom Cruise squirted with water

The London premiere of Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" turned into a war of words after Tom Cruise was squirted in the face by a man posing as a reporter.
The actor was outside a movie theater in London doing press interviews Sunday when a man squirted Cruise with a water pistol disguised as a microphone, London's Metropolitan Police said.
Cruise appeared to laugh but then asked the prankster: "Why would you do that?"

Well, Tom, it's most likely because he thought it would be fun.

The prankster tried to walk away but Cruise reached across the metal barrier, held his arm and said: "Don't run away. That's incredibly rude.

Careful, dude. Tom might have gotten some scientology on you. You should get that looked at.

The actor grew increasingly irritated and told the man: "You're a jerk."

He then ran home and cried to his momma. Katie Holmes wanted to help, but was busy having her brain sucked out at scientology headquarters.

bad news

Teen acne tied to better heart health in men

The activity of male hormones, androgens, can give rise to acne during adolescence, but may also protect against coronary heart disease in adulthood, UK researchers report.
However, androgens also appear to be associated with an increased risk of dying from prostate cancer, the study in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests.

So, if you have or had acne, you can look forward to probably not having a heart attack. Unfortunately, you will still die.

The vegetable innovation we've all been waiting for:
onions that you eat like an apple.

The world's tastiest onion.

Please try to quell your enthusiasm.

More cartoons here. Enjoy.

As usual, I went to the gym during my lunch break today to pick up heavy things and move them around. As I was walking towards the bench I wanted to use, I noticed a tall, rather skinny man adding a sixth 45 lb. plate to the bench press bar. Now, 315 lbs. is a lot of weight for anybody to bench press. And here was this guy, who weighed at the most 190. This was, of course, something I wanted to see as I was inclined to believe that only ants could lift that much more than their body weight. I began my workout, keeping an eye on the megalifter. It turns out that it's really easy to work out with that much weight. Much easier than I ever would have imagined. Even I could do it. The trick is to never actually lift the weight.
You heard me right. Don't lift it. Just sit on the bench, talk to your buddies, drink some water, walk around, swing your arms around like you're stretching, sit on the bench some more, and then put the weights back where you got 'em. Then you can proceed to your next exercise: the dumbbell press. Pick some ridiculously heavy weights, pull them off the shelf, let them drop to the floor since you won't be able to actually carry them anywhere, roll them over to the bench, and sit around. If you're feeling really motivated, you can grab some weights off the rack that you can actually lift. While no one's looking, hold them above your chest, drop them two inches and repeat about eight times. Then put them away, walk to the water fountain, and sit on the bench where you're guarding the ridiculously heavy weights.
I'm thinking about marketing this innovative fitness plan: Come to the gym! Don't lift weights! Enjoy none of the benefits of exercise!

There's nothing like a nice, big bowl of cereal to start your day. That is, unless you're pouring cereal into a bowl only to discover that there's not enough to fill the bowl. You're pouring, and suddenly, nothing. The flow of cereal stops. What's next?
Do you throw out the portion of cereal in the bowl and start afresh with a different cereal?
Do you eat a smaller portion than normal?
Do you find something else to eat?
Do you mix the already poured cereal with another type?

You could toss the cereal in the trash, but then, what kind of person does that make you? I'll tell you. As soon as someone has not met your expectations, you toss them aside and look for someone new. Jerk.
If you eat a smaller portion than normal, you'll be hungry later. Possibly, and probably, before lunch. And then what are going to do? Sit at your desk and eat pencil shavings? You could, but the side effects are not entertaining. Trust me.
If your lack of cereal problem coincides with a lack of milk, then you're really up a creek. You've got to find something different. So you turn your back on the cereal, and find a bagel or a donut. You probably talk about your friends behind their backs, too. Jerk.
Mixing: No. Not ever. You're sick just for thinking it.


Record-Setting Speeder Remains Anonymous

A motorcyclist captured on film by German police racing at 155 miles per hour on a road near Berlin has set a new unofficial national record for speeding, Bild newspaper reported Monday.
Travelling more than twice the speed limit, the motorcycle rider was caught on film in a police radar trap near Bad Freienwalde outside Berlin but authorities don't know who the speeder was because motorcycles have no front license plates.

Mysteriously, thousands of German citizens across the nation applied today for financing on brand-new sport bikes.

Suspect Escapes from Los Angeles Jail

Los Angeles police are trying to figure out how a robbery suspect managed to cut a hole in the wall of a cell and escape through a 15-by-9-inch hole in the space of an hour.
The suspect, described as a 20-year-old homeless man, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds, escaped from a holding cell at a police station early Thursday morning.
Police said he appeared to have cut or torn a hole in the cell's drywall and ripped up a metal security mesh sandwiched inside the wall before crawling out and leaving through a fire exit.

Mysteriously, thousands of petty hoods in L.A. rushed into hardware stores today and stole drywall hammers.

Police Lt. Carlos Islas said, "Clearly there's a hole in the wall."

Thanks, Lieutenant. You can call dispatch and tell them to send the detectives back to the station. They won't be needed.

To the foreman of the construction crew next door,

Let me begin by thanking you for gently rousing me from my slumber this morning with the orchestral musings of the BH-23. I'm quite convinced there's nothing finer than the sweet symphonic sounds of such a fine tool at 5:30 in the morning.
I would also like to take this opportunity to commend you on the selection of such a fine group of construction-minded individuals, who were so committed to tearing the concrete patio asunder that they completely ignored my attempts to speak with them. They clearly saw through my facade, knowing that while I was trying to appear angry and upset, I was in fact more than happy to hear their melodies outside my window.
I don't mean to assume so much as to tell you how to do your job, but I will make just one small suggestion: why not begin the work even earlier? I am sure that nothing would be better for my slumbering daughter than the sounds of a jackhammer at 2:00 or 3:00 AM. I'm sure that her squawks this morning were a signal of her demand for a higher volume from the constructional chorus. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,


p.s. Eat some poop.

Now this is dedication.

Man delivers pizza after getting shot in the leg

Thomas Stefanelli, 37, said dedication to his job at Hungry Howie's Pizza kept him on the job after a struggle with a robber Saturday night left him bleeding from a bullet wound in his left thigh.

Most people would see the gun and think, "Okay, he has a gun. I think I'll offer him everything I have in the bleak hope that he'll find some shred of kindess in his coked-out mind and spare my life."
The delivery guy thought, "Hey, I work as a delivery guy for some dude I only met once. He pays me minimum wage and lets me keep the tips. I'm gonna take this guy on. So he has a gun. Big deal. I heard guns are for pansies. Let's throw down."
And then, after being shot, he proceeded to beat the would-be thief so badly that the dude and his backup ran away like scared little girls.


This guy deserves a national holiday. And a movie deal. And probably a new pair of pants, 'cause you know the ones he got shot in are all bloody and nasty.

A notice from the Department of Homeland Security:
Watch your own back.

Man with bloody chain saw allowed to enter U.S.
BOSTON - On April 25, Gregory Despres arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Calais, Maine, carrying a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood. U.S. customs agents confiscated the weapons and fingerprinted Despres. Then they let him into the United States.

Police believe the dispute between the neighbors boiled over in the early-morning hours of April 24, when Despres allegedly broke into Fulton's home and stabbed to death the musician and 70-year-old Veronica Decarie.

Fulton's daughter found her father's body two days later. His car was later found in a gravel pit on a highway leading to the U.S. border. Despres hitchhiked to the border crossing.

And in other news, the Canadian government withdrew its recommendation that all drivers pick up hitchhikers whenever possible, a suggestion made in the hopes that the effort would make Canadians seem less aggressive.


There's widespread panic in the streets and overwhelming apathy indoors...
The sky is falling in!

Two stars poised to merge
Two dense stars whipping around each other at breakneck speed may be the strongest known source of Einstein's space-trembling gravity waves.
The double star - called RX J0806 - was discovered in 1994 in X-rays. Later shown to be blinking on and off every 5.4 minutes, the two-star setup is believed to be a pair of white dwarfs - the dense ashes of burnt-out stars - rotating around each other. Strohmayer, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, presented data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory that shows the time between the X-ray blips is decreasing by 1.2 milliseconds every year. The implication is that the dwarfs are orbiting faster and faster, as they gradually fall into each other at a rate of one inch per hour.

Strohmayer said the two dwarfs should continue losing energy to gravity waves and merge between 500,000 and one million years from now.

Watch out. The stars are movin'. An inch an hour. Wow. Kind of like UPS.

And in an unrelated story, every citizen of the United States will tomorrow receive from the federal government a sum of money totalling between zero and 500,000 dollars. Enjoy.

On Monday, I ordered the Nikon ML-L3 remote for my D70. When the time came to select the shipping method, I chose the UPS "3-Day Select" because it was only about fifty cents more than the standard ground shipping and FedEx was crazy expensive. On Tuesday, June 1st, I received confirmation from the store that my remote had shipped. Now, you would think that the day something ships is Day One. And, if you have selected "3-Day Select" shipping, the item would arrive on Day Three. Maybe on Day Four, if the shipping description is just slightly misleading. As it turns out, you would be wrong in either case. Apparently, "3-Day Select" shipping actually means that once UPS has the package for three days, they will select a time in the near future to deliver it to you. The UPS site says my package is scheduled for an "on-time delivery" on June 6th. If I told my boss that I would finish a project in 3 days, end up taking twice as long to do it, and then trying to convince him that the completion of the project was actually on schedule, despite the timeline he had envisioned, I would probably be fired. Or at least recommended for psychiatric consultation.
All that after I had already ordered (and cancelled the order for) the same remote from Best Buy, who told me that the product would have to be backordered. Given the fact that they said that it would ship (backordered status) after three to five days, I was willing to wait. After three days, I received an email saying, "Sorry, we don't have the product your ordered. In fact, we're not even quite sure what it is. But, if you'll let us keep your money, we're almost pretty sure that we can find one for you sometime in the next 25 days. Maybe."

"Where'd that cap land?"

Great speech, James. I'm real proud of you.

A Tuesday night. The sun has dropped behind the purple mountains of Smalltown, New Mexico and left the moon to conduct the stars acoss the inky sky. The wife and I are driving down one of Smalltown's more major thoroughfares, minding our own business, trying to get the bean home before she cries out all the water content in her body and shrivels up like a raisin. Suddenly, a cop car comes flying down a side street on the right about 25 yards ahead without lights or sirens. I see him leaning to his right, changing the radio station or spilling his coffee or wiping his boogers on the passenger seat. He notices the glow from our headlights flooding the interior of the car, and hits his brakes like a juiced-up Jose Conseco. Only his trunk remains outside the intersection. While swerving around him, I notice that he can't bring himself to look at us, and think about what it would be like to get into an auto accident with a police officer. Not good, I'm sure. Of all the police officers I've met, there are many that deserve that kind of inter-departmental embarrassment, but few who would deal with it better than a housecat facing bathtime.

Couple reveals secrets to world's longest marriage

Percy (105) and Florence Arrowsmith (100) married on June 1, 1925 and will celebrate their 80th anniversary Wednesday.

Her secret: Saying you're sorry.
His secret: A well-placed "Yes, dear."
The real secret: Not dying.

Also: their last name is Arrowsmith. Rock and roll.

Finally, after more than a week of being unable to publish, the blog is back. It just stopped publishing when I tried to post the news release. It published that post the next day, and then promptly stopped publishing again. But I think it's back. While I am confused as to why this blog wasn't working while the bean's was working fine, I'm glad that this one is up and running again. I spent the down time learning about html, and making some revisions to the site's colors and minor tweaks to the layout. As always, comments are welcome.

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