Thursday, December 30, 2004

Thoughts on Silence

Good morning.

Things are slow in the old Cafe lately...I hope you had a good start to the New Year or at least have hope that things will be better.

This is a collection of pieces I've been reading, browsing or perusing that I thought would possibly be of use to you. I'm working on this at 2:55 am. Sunday January 2,'s nice and quiet.

It starts with Silence, moves to Thomas Merton, Prayers, Annie Dillard, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and ends up at - Why Babies Cry and How to Soothe Them.

I heard an aid worker, a Doctor, on the Seattle news tonight. He was leaving for Sri Lanka to help. He said he hadn't watched the news for a couple of days and had been praying in preparation for his trip. His point was that he needed to take care of himself in order to take care of other people...

That's sort of the point of this collection of pieces. How you can take care of your self and maybe eventually be available to help others. I hope to understand this a little someday. For now I'll continue doing what I can, like we all do.



Thoughts on Silence, by Kathryn Damiano - School of the Spirit "...When we have exhausted all our human efforts, experience the limitations of human justice, or the finitude of human relationships, we are left with silence."


Thomas Merton

The Thomas Merton Connection “… going home, to the home where I have never been”

When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature "... and his gift to us is what will save us-a sense of the sacred in nature."

Merton Center Occasional Papers "... Our minds seek what is beautiful, true and good as naturally as we breathe the air of this room."

Thomas Merton Daily Meditations from His Journals "....Actually whatever work is to be done is God's work and not mine, and I will not help matters, only hinder them, by too much care."



Interlude: Prayers "...We offer this eclectic collection of prayers for your inspiration."


Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard - For the Time Being "... Dillard is always (as she wrote in Living by Fiction) practicing unlicensed metaphysics in a teacup, always asking the fundamental questions about life and death."


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The Heart of Matter "...Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a Jesuit priest and paleontologist, who studied chemistry, physics, botany, and zoology and received his doctorate in geology. The author of several works of philosophy and religion, he is considered by many to be among the foremost thinkers of our time."

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Quotes "....We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. "


Seven Reasons Babies Cry and How to Soothe Them

For Babies Of All Ages "...I'm hungry. Change my diaper. I'm too cold or hot. I want to be held. I can't take it anymore. I don't feel good. None of the above. I can't figure out the reason. What should I do? Wrap her up and hold her close. Let her hear the rhythm. Put her in motion. Rub her tummy. Let her suck on something. Take care of yourself."

We Have No Home In This World

The old preacher in the novel "Gilead" is writing to his son about talking with people about death. He tells them,

"it's like going going home.
We have no home in this world."

For all the people who have gone home. We are, I believe, spiritual beings living on a mortal plane. I have faith that the suffering and pain, and joy, we experience in this world is only a step in a progression of our existence. Now you are a star, or a whisper in the wind, a bright ray of sunshine or a gentle rain.

There's A Ghost in My House

And it's me.

Up at all hours roaming, writing, sipping coffee.

I'd be a good neighborhood watch person.

I could take the 2 to 5 am shift.


I woke up this evening to the sound of laughter.

I'd gone upstairs to read Gilead and fallen asleep.

Rachel and Becca and friends were downstairs watching something funny...


It's going to be so ______ when they both leave

damn lonely
good for them

sad for me and Betsy
in a way
we'll get over it

that's life
I tell myself
that's life


Make Firefox Faster at Forever Geek

I found the link to this tip to Make Firefox Faster


Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things.

Note - It wasn't obvious to me at first but you change the entries by double clicking.

An Audio Retreat- Fr. Gillick, S.J.

I listen to this An Audio Retreat- Fr. Gillick, S.J. every so often. Fr. Gillick is a Jesuit priest with a nice voice, a sense of humor and some nice calm things to say about living a good life.

Versión española de CafeJack

He estado leyendo algunas páginas escritas en español usando Herramientas del idioma. La escritura puede ser muy interesante incluso con el crudeness de la traducción. Me pregunto de lo que CafeJack de miradas alguien fluido en español...

Introduction - Morning Prayer

Introduction - Morning Prayer

I imagine you may wonder what an old sinner like me would be doing with a morning prayer.

I've found reading a devotion or prayer, saying a prayer and thinking about some good things when I start my day...really helps.

When I get to work I try sit in my pickup for a few minutes and read a couple of small devotions for the day. Unless I have to rush off...

Sometimes it's the only thing we can do.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I Know a Man Who Saved a Fish

and other stories

My friend Anh has a Koi pond in his backyard. Once when the fish were little a small fry got stuck on the filter. He couldn't pry himself loose from the suction.

Anh spotted the trapped fish, pulled him out and gave him artificial respiration; saving his life.

Another time Anh filled his car up with chicken manure. But that's a story for another day.


I know another guy who saved a sheep by giving it artifical respiration.

That's it.


I finally figured out what's going on.

It's because my pupils are so big.

Can't see too clearly..but see way too much.

It's that and the midnight mass

I couldn't cry


I know another guy who's grandpa was hit by lightning

3 times

he's either really lucky or unlucky


Have you heard of ferry gnomes?

I heard a guy talking about them on the radio.

They make you smell good and sexy


Back on the non-fiction side of things.

I have recently (about 5 minutes ago) learned that Cash Isn't Trash.

Okay. I suppose not. Trash might be cash though...witness recycled angels or a friend of mine who makes money doing solid waste stream surveys. That's where you go to a waste disposal site and figure out what people are throwing away.

Speaking of dumps, when I was a kid there was a guy who took care of the dump who got hit by lightning. It burned his hand off and did something to his foot. As near as I could tell, his job was to sit in a car by the dump and watch you throw stuff away. That plus unlocking and locking the gate after they put a fence around the dump. He would also sometimes do a solid waste stream survey to see what he might take home (things were less scientific then).

Speaking of good municipal wife ran into a couple of cemetery employees in Forsyth whose job was to sit under an awning drinking beer and directing people to gravesites. Not for everyone but still possibly appealing.

Back to the cash is not trash article though...

The article mentions Hetty Green -

"Hetty lived from 1834 to 1916. She is a fascinating character who earned a fortune trading stocks, bonds, and real estate. Hetty was greedy, miserly, and mean-spirited. When her son badly injured his leg, Hetty made the rounds of the free clinics in Manhattan and Brooklyn, hoping to get him treated as a charity case. Still, she outmaneuvered the rapacious men who dominated America's 19th money frontier at a time when women were not welcome.

Here's the investment insight. Hetty always had plenty of cash on hand. Whenever the stock market went through one of its periodic panics, she had the money to pick up good companies and properties on the cheap....."

Well alrighty then.



Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I Love Kringle

Kringle is super tasty. Sweet and flakey with a just-right filling of almond paste and raisins.

Larsen's Danish Bakery is in Ballard Neighborhood, just North of Seattle Washington, or you can order online.

Livejournal has more information about the Ballard neighborhood.

One of my favorite spots (and my kids when they were younger) is Archie McPhee's a great place to browse, for funny gifts or toys, in person or online.

Ballard is also home of Scandanavian Specialties, a bakery/gift shop. My wife and I used to drive down there to buy frozen Norwegian Torsk (cod) which we boiled and had with potatoes and butter.

Speaking of cod, some of us like to eat a fair amount of lutefisk around Christmas time. We had lutefisk, Swedish meatballs and lefse, as always for our holiday dinner. Oh yes I can't forget the pickled herring. I love good pickled herring (not the big mushy stuff thank you). We get it from a store in Everett that used to be owned by a Norwegian and was taken over by a man from Korea. He kept the recipe for the pickled herring and it's as good as ever.

According to the Ballard News Tribune the popularity of Lutefisk is on the rise. I'm sure you skeptics think this might be a Ballard media conspiracy promoting lutefisk, but I'm buying into it.

Lutefisk gets a bad name. Cooked right it can be very good, light and mild. It's not for everyone, of course nothing is.

Reading And Dreaming

I've collected some things for those of us (like me) who have some time off for reading and dreaming.



Thoughts of exciting new fruits and vegetables for Spring 2005 abound in the Burpee catalog.

The Site as Self - Swarthmore College Bulletin is oldish now (September 2001) but still interesting to led me to Justin's Links.

Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction has some short short stories. I bet I could learn something there about writing in a more Hemingwayesque style...instead of my usual rambling.

We could look at some nice covers at the Fence edited by Rebecca Wolff. There's some great writing behind those covers...I really like these two -

Fence v.6 n.1 | Jeff Johnson

Fence 13 | Lisa Beskin

BIGSMALLPRESSMALL has more information about Fence and some other small publishers. Of course Utne Reader is a good source for niche publications.

No lazy reading day would be complete without the The New Yorker. Online web magazines are fine but I like the paper copy of magazines that have good reading material, like the New Yorker, that takes any time to read.

I used to like to read paper copies of The Village Voice that I would buy at Poor Richard's, a good bookstore in Bozeman Montana.


Speaking of Montana....

This Montana Historical Society pamphlet is provided for your walking tour of Bozeman Montana. I like the black and whites of Charlie Russell's paintings in this Family Guide to the MacKay Gallery of C.M. Russell Art. It's intended for Grades 2-3 children to - "Uncover stories about cowboys, Indians, and animals in Charlie Russell's art, as well as how paintings can express emotions and communicate sensory messages."

Other pamphlets for guided tours can be found at Montana Historical Society - Guided Tours

For when you get tired of reading, here's a colorful Montana is for Kids! page and a Live controllable Sky Cam in Bozeman Montana to play with



It's fun to dream about being a writer or an artist of some sort. What would be really cool for a writer or artist?

Here's some dreamy things -

Being chosen as an Artist-In-Residence for the National Park Service.

If the National Park Service isn't your cup of tea there are a lot of other Poets & Writers Conferences or Residencies you could look into.

Here's another good list of potential Artist's Residencies.

How about a Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia?

It's fun to dream, but I'll keep my day job and take some mini-breaks when I can. I love what I do, whatever it may be. I'm afraid I'd be overwhelmed by my insecurity if I ever got around real true artists or writers.

I think I'll go dream about fishing or being a cowboy for awhile now.

Have a good night.

HOW-TO: BroadSnatching to a Portable Media Center

If you like to fool around with stuff this article at describes how to auto-download random video files from the web.

I've found some cool stuff using this technique and a PC....although the Creative Labs - Zen Portable Media Center looks way cool.

There's a great video from Jean Paoli, one of the co-creaters of XML, that came out yesterday. It's a nice explanation about the use of tags (in this case XML) to save, interrelate and retrieve information (in this case documents). It's much more interesting than I make it sound....he's talking about the future use of information by our children.

Interesting Thing of the Day - Saturna Island

Saturna Island in British Columbia sounds like a nice place to take a break.

I got this link from Joe Kissell's "Interesting Thing of The Day". His work is a well written compilation covering diverse topics ranging from "The Story of Ketchup", "Crows that Make Tools", "French Butter Dishes", to "Eye Language". Very interesting things...for any day you have some time to read a little.

It's A Small World After All

Small World Project - Columbia University -- Main Page

Here's the Lyrics and Music.

Monday, December 27, 2004

"Good Shall Triumph over Evil"

I heard a Mr. Smarty pants sort of guy saying how much he dislikes TV...including NPR because it promotes what he deems the middle mind.

You can read a little if you like about Mr. S.P. at Dinty W. Moore's page.

I like some things about TV, radio, comic books, movies, magazines, computers, you name it....if it has some message that I think is worthwhile, in my middle minded way, I'm into it.

Like it or not the majority of us regular folks learn something about life from popular culture.

I've been thinking about the idea of morality plays in popular culture; on TV, in movies, and in books - where good wins over evil.

The Comic Book Code of 1954 is an interesting historical piece of the popular culture puzzle. I think it is well meaning although it could use some updating to include appreciation of personal diversity for the 21st century.

I went for a walk today I would like to share some pictures
with you.


m35 - A flower and her bud are out today

m36 - Backyard Bird, Bath and Beyond - Cartoon

I have 60 or so more from today over at Pretty Colored Stuff.

You need a big pipe to load that page it's about a zillion Giga bytes right now.


On Sarpy Creek

Here's an article about the book "On Sarpy Creek" by Ira S. Nelson from The Capital City's Newspaper Online.

It's a good book. Lot's of character development.

If you'd like to have a look at the Sarpy Creek area of Montana, take I-94 exit 72 and head South or check out the pictures at DCP: 46 degrees north, 107 degrees west.

Some of my family lived, farmed/ranched, taught school and were real cowboy's in that area of Montana. One of my grandmother's brother drown while taking horses across the Yellowstone river (she told me he couldn't swim and intended to ride the horse across..but the horse fell..or the water got too deep). One of her other brother's Con Williams was a fence rider. I have some spurs her brother made that she gave me that I'll take a picture of sometime. They aren't fancy but they are handmade by a real cowboy.

Speaking of cowboys, this Ben O'Connor - Mint Bar Photo, show's one cool neon cowboy. Dang it but I'd like to be in Sheridan about 30 years ago..when I had a good liver and a penchant for drinking.

At my stage of geezerness I'm content thinking about how cool that sign looks...

Good Experience - Interview: Ze Frank,

Good Experience - Interview: Ze Frank,

ze's page

ze's page is a fun place to play.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas Greetings - From The Hardy Boys

I know it's late but here's the Christmas Greetings! from the Hardy Boys.

Everything Hardy Boys and Toby Tyler

The Missing Chums is a good one. I used to love checking out the Hardy Boy books from the library when I was a kid. They're a good bunch; clean, upright, they appeal to my fantasies of being a good spy (ala John LeCarre or Robert Ludlum) or a food detective. I mean good detective.

While I'm reminicising over my sometimes mispent youth...I was thinking about the 1959 Disney movie "Toby Tyler". I loved that movie. I remember my Gram took me to see it on the opening day, when I was five, and there was a line around the block (at least in my mind). It's a story about an orphan who runs away to join the circus and becomes friends with a monkey. I've always really liked monkeys, the circus and thoughts of running away. I wish Disney would re-release it.

I noticed I'm the only member of the Blogger community who has listed Toby Tyler as my favorite movie. It's a small club I belong to....sigh.

Eastenders Christmas, 1917

More video Ipodding......

You may find the black and white video of Eastenders Christmas, 1917 from Scott Wills page amusing.

And this Review of the Day After Tomorrow pretty unusual...

It's The Space In Between

I think my style is more is better rather than
less is more.

That's why I'm no good at flower arranging.
Have you ever been to the Filling Station in Bozeman Montana? It was (maybe is) a bar that is full of license plates and other assorted stuff.

I like a bunch of stuff around me...prefer it to be neatly arranged. Maybe with some interesting color or texture or history to it.

The New Atlas Bar in Columbus, Montana where I worked as a bartender was such a place.

John Smart took that picture of me in my apron and tie many moons ago. He takes other pictures of things too, like The Jersey Lilly Bar in Ingomar Montana. That's where my dad's family lived at one time. Not in Ingomar but on a sheep ranch in that area. Ingomar was the nearest town. The picture of the Jersey Lilly was taken during a parade :-)

I see Ingomar's population is 19. That's a small town even for Montana. The town where I grew up had over 1000 people...still plenty of space in between in good old Montana though.

The New Atlas Bar was full of animal heads, a two-headed calf, an albino deer, old cigar lighter, old books, old pictures and old people.

That's sort of my style; more is better, rather than less is more.

That's why I'm no good at flower arranging. I can't see the spaces.

Some people say it's what's not there, or the space in between, that's important.


The text above is an example of a color pull quote I got from Mandarin Design.

Time for Blogging



Your Dreams Will Come True

one of the surprise images



I forgot to mention Unusual Side Effects aka Dr. Ursa's Serendipity Centre the other day when I was listing blogs I find interesting.

Dr. Ursa has links to places like Dancing Bear's Fireside Tales and Cancergiggles.


Which flower are you?


You are simple and lovely. You have a caring heart that your friends cherish.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Pretty Colored Stuff

I have a new blog of Pretty Colored Stuff I'm collecting.

I'm finding lots of colorful things can be made, or picked up in your beak, at typoGenerator.

I'm sort of crow-like in that I love shiny things..bits of color.

new sign

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas to Everyone

I Got a New Mahalia Jackson CD Set with a booklet inside.

And These Three Books

And a New Red Sweater

And Best of All a Loving Happy Healthy Family (they got new red sweaters too)

About the Blog Sisters

I found the Blog Sisters while reading TIME Person of the Year 2004: 10 Things We Learned About Blogs.

Very interesting....

Pretty Watercolors

Painted by an artist named Chris Crossen. This one is called After Chuck Close


I can't capture it, but ang's blogg!!!!!: BANJO strikes a funny chord in me.

Sure I'm easily entertained and it's 3:09 am but there are some funny bits of stuff on ang's (with a backward g) blog....I should probably grow up someday. nahhhh

All together now let's sing it boys and girls -

BANJO BANJO BANJO!!!!!!!banjo, banjo, banjo...a little higher now - banjo banjo banjo banjo!!! a little lower now - banjo, banjo banjo...a little LOUDER now BANJO BANJO!! BANJO!!!!!!!!!!BBBBAAAAAANNNJJJJJJOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Cool Video - The World in Jeffrey Tan's Pocket - Celcom

Streaming video of a cool PDA from Malaysia. Those guy's in Asia get all the cool stuff first.

It's a big vid so you need a big pipe. Sorry for anyone still tied to dial up, it won't be too long before everyone has access to broadband.

I auto-downloaded the video (and a bunch of other ones) using iPodder on a PC. You can set up iPodder to download wmv or other video formats as well as mp3 files. Check out Boing Boing for instructions.


If you don't feel like fiddling around with iPodder, or aren't sure about getting a bunch of random vids downloaded, you can always find something like Santa Green Day, by Googling for funny videos or something like that. I noticed the reindeer are bigger in Explorer than Firefox.

It's Always Something - This Time The Fourth Circle of Hell

As Dante and Virgil descend into the Fourth Circle of the Inferno, they meet Plutus, the god of Wealth. At a word from Virgil, Plutus falls to the ground. Entering the Fourth Circle, Dante notes that "more shades were here than anywhere else."

Wikipedia tells us the fourth circle is where Dante finds, "The greedy who hoarded possessions and the indulgent who squandered them."

I don't know much about old Dante but Gilda Radner playing Roseanne Rosannadanna had it right with her line, "It just goes to show's always something."

This something falls in the category of automated phone service hell with a little large corporate greed and indulgent squandering on my part, which qualified it for the fourth circle nomination.

We have an investment plan where I work that is managed by a large financial services firm on the East coast, you may have heard of, called CitiStreet. In my case it's mostly an IRA deal but I put some bit of money in there after taxes as a savings method for short term/immediate needs.

If one reads the CitiStreet PR for their money management arm you'd think they were a nice kindly friend that just wants to help you with your finances. As they say, "That's why, at CitiStreet, your personal retirement planning specialist, we want to help you learn why it's important to save for retirement, how much you need to save, and how to optimize your savings. "

Last night I decided to draw out a little of my after tax money for Christmas holiday expenses. For anyone not into investment/IRA's; after-tax money is money you already paid income taxes on and then put in a bank, or under your mattress, or on the Seahawks +6...or whatever you like. You can also pur money in an IRA before-tax. If you withdraw that money before you retire there will be substantial penalties..up to and not excluding a firing squad.

You can do a lot on this particular CitiStreet website, but not ask for a withdrawal. I have no idea why that is since it's a secure site similar to one you would use to do any other online banking or purchasing but for withdrawing your money you have to call.

Actually I'll get to why I think it works that way a little later, please bear with me.

A good example in my mind of a secure website would be or any of a million or so similar, although maybe not so sophisticated as to have created a special "Jack's Gold Box" for me to peruse crap they would like to get rid of.

A good example of a automated phone system is the one pharmacies use. You call, enter your prescription number and a couple of minutes later you are done and they will mail you your drugs....simple no problem. And it works for something as life critical as Prescription Drugs. One would think a similar service could be set up by CitiStreet for something so non-life critical as withdrawing funds.

Here's the drill for getting at your money managed by CitiStreet -

Go to the webpage. Look around for instructions on how to withdraw funds. Find that you can transfer, buy, sell and do a bunch of stuff with stock/money market funds on the web...but not actually request they send you a check, or maybe in this age of electronic fund transfers actually put the money in your bank account.

Get the number to call to withdraw money from the website.


Enter ID.

Enter password.

Wait for a lengthy explanation of what you can do online. It's actually a digital voice saying v e r y s l o w l y "you can go to h t t p colon forward slash forward slash w w w dot......"

Grrrrrr. I just came from the stinking webpage. I know what I can do there. Okay deep breath.

Go through several levels of automated phone purgatory.

End up at the "withdraw after tax funds". Listen to a long spiel that Federal law requires you have received and read a tax information letter 90 days prior to making any withdrawal. If you have received and read the Federal...blah blah blah, press one to confirm you have received and read the Federal...blah blah blah.

Grrrrrrr. This is after tax money. I paid taxes on it already. Deep breath.

I enter the amount I want to withdraw and the automated voice says "you may elect to have a check mailed to your home address or have a direct deposit to your credit union". It then gives 4 or 5 credit you have to listen to the voice say...or "have a direct deposit to your Philadelphia Can Workers Employees Credit Union" or blah blah blah 4 or 5 times.

I have an account at one of the credit unions. (I've tried this before and it never works but I thought maybe it was fixed.) I go through the steps to have the money direct deposited, but the automated system keeps looping back through the "you may make a direct deposit to your Philadelphia Can Workers Employees Credit Union etc." spiel.

I double starred my way out of the 4th level of hell and got a human. The conversation goes like this.

Me, "I'd like to make a direct deposit to my savings account but your automated system doesn't work."

Human, "I'm sorry."

Me, "Can you help me with that?"

Human, "No that's an automated system. We have no control over it here at the customer service center."

(I've had it happen before where the human at the "help" center tells me I have to call the machine back to get whatever I wanted done, but never anyone that was so honest to say..."yes we know that doesn't work but I can't fix it.")

Me, "I've tried this direct deposit before and it never works."

Human, "I know. It doesn't work. It only works for a few people."

Me, "But can someone fix it?"

Human, "No it's an automated system."

I swear to God this is the true gist of the conversation. Finally I ended up agreeing to pay 35 bucks to have a check sent by UPS.

Here's what I think the deal is with those slimy bastards (sorry). I don't mean the call center guy. He's just doing his job. I think what they like to do is use your money for the float. Hey those nickels and dimes add up when you have thousands of people's savings and retirement funds under your control.

The scam is they like to cut you a check. That way they can screw around with your money for a day or longer and not have to have it invested earning you money...they can have it invested earning them money.

I wrote to the SEC about this one time (not the exact scenario it was a dividend check) but same idea..and same company (different name last year). The SEC sends copies of those letters to the company in question and they cut my check loose in a matter of hours. The only problem was they had the money in limbo (skimming interest/earnings off the top) for a week or more. Bastards.


I need to get into a more Christmasy spirit. At least I have a job and some money and some people who care about me. It's really not what you have but who you know and love.

Yesterday I was talking to my Beirut friend. We were discussing airport security and how he get's tagged because of his appearance sometimes. I was grousing about getting what I perceived as being hassled one time because I didn't take off my shoes. I thought it was optional and the uniformed security guard was upset because that required he wand me (that sounds weird).

Brief aside about airport security - I think Dodgeball is funny where they mention in passing that the slow kid worked at an airport before he went to work at Average Joe's. When the guy from the dodgeball team who dresses and acts like a pirate runs off..his buddy says to the kid, "Steve the pirate is gone." The kid says, "We have a pirate on our team?" You have to see it to appreciate.

Back to that conversation yesterday. So I'm griping about getting wanded. My Beirut buddy says yeah that airport security can be tough. A few times they've insisted I take off my artificial leg.

True story.

Thank God for small problems.

God Bless You and Yours

A balloon for you and 21 Crystal Shots mostly crap...but a few interesting

Catch a falling star and put it in your it for a rainy day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Good Time To Take on Some Bad Habits?

I was thinking about taking up smoking, drinking, cursing, recreational drug use or some other bad habit this week so I'd have something to give up for New Years.

The beauty of the plan is that you would only have 8 days to get hooked on your vice, making it relatively easy to give up for your New Year's resolution.

I'm always thinking. That's what one of my principal's in school used to tell me. I'd do something wrong and then say, "But I thought...." then he'd say "That's the problem you're always thinking."


Here's another idea I came up with. I'm thinking about applying for a patent for this one.

It came to me while walking by the people on the loading dock who are smoking and visiting and having fun while the rest of us have our noses to the grindstone (ouch).

I thought...Jack you should start smoking. Except with your being overweight, out of shape and a lover of all things fat-filled you would only add to your probable demise by heart attack. I had a related idea awhile back to start smoking a hookah out on the loading dock with some friends but that was really just a pipe dream.

Here's my new invention -

"The Steam Pipe"

It's a battery powered pipe that creates a fine mist of moisturized air that looks like smoke. Sort of like a baby vaporizer only small and shaped like a pipe. It could be adapted to a cigar or cigarette shape as well.

I'll make it so you can add menthol or something natural that helps you breathe and market it as a healthy alternative to smoking. All the coolness of real smoking with none of the cancer/lung/breathing drawbacks from smoking tobacco.

If you like to get in the ground floor send me some cash or I'll sell you the idea and you can work out the details. The downside would be if we get a lot of these steam pipes into the market and then find out they have some bad side effect (like in the Jerk where the opti-grab made people cross-eyed). At least we might have money to buy a hat with a big feather and some drinks with little umbrellas before we go broke.


I woke up about 3 am this morning. My wife was still up since she was waiting on one of our daughters and she is off this week so she can stay up really late. I was leaning on the counter in the kitchen and said, "Betsy I could really go for some "Hawaiian music right about now."

We don't have any, nor have we ever listened to any Hawaiian music...unless you count Don Ho's Tiny Bubbles. I have no idea why I said that. Not too unusual for me. Odd things strike me as least I keep myself entertained.

And finally.

We are Number 1.

Well a Lynnwood bar No. 1 on DUI list. There are four bars in the top ten for the state in Snohomish county. That's amazing to me. Sitting in my little room clicking on my keyboard somehow I'd assumed that drinking in a bar and driving a car was just not happening. Bar's or taverns as they are called in this area pretty much stink. There are some decent brewpubs or eateries that serve alcohol but the plain old taverns are pretty skanky. Maybe it's my rose colored glasses but I thought in the old days that when I went into a bar in Montana or England or Minnesota or San Francisco that it was a pretty fun place where you might meet some sort of wild or funny people, and not a place for a bunch of sad souls to commiserate silently or watch TV together....which is my recollection of a fair number of taverns in this vicinity. It's probably just me.

Mom Blogs

Lately I've found that blogs written by moms are some of the most interesting to read, as well as being stylishly laid out. I'm guessing that's because there are some technically savvy, smart and creative moms who are home and can get on a computer every so often while the little one(s) is otherwise occupied, or maybe there aren't any little ones and they are home with some time and need an outlet for some creative talent.

The Scheiss Weekly falls in that categorty and it's links will lead you to some of those other mom blogs. I have to deduct 1/1000 of a point for style though..since the page doesn't look right in Firefox, but it's fine in it's no big deal.

Aussie Mama is another good mom-link blog.

Using the next blog button is fun but it gets a tad old when the next blog is a picture of a teddy bear or an angel and snowflakes with tiny writing full of abbreviations or just bad spelling, from some lovesick adolescent...or some bot constructed ad blog e.g. Cancun Goto.

These are some other blogs I've bookmarked thinking I'd return and read more. I liked something about them...the name, the links, the tone, the content. Maybe you will too.

meow now brown cow


Cherry Coloured

MY WAR: Mass Media & Society

Dancing Bear's Fireside Tales

3 Dimensional Interactive Movies


buzzing like a fridge

Blogywood: Your daily eye on the web!

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things isn't a blog but it's a heck of good place, as far as internet places go, to spend some time and find out interesting stuff.

Technology and Happiness

James Surowiecki writes in an article in MIT's Technology Review -

"There is, though, one group of Americans that is imperturbably sunny: the Amish. Their depression rates are negligibly low relative to the rest of society’s. Their happiness levels are consistently high. The Pennsylvania Amish, when asked how much they agree with the statement “You are satisfied with your life” (using a scale of 1 to 10), turn out to be as happy as the members of the Forbes 400. The Amish, though, do without most of what we think of as modern technology. They don’t rely on the automobile, don’t need the Internet, and seem to prefer stability and permanence to the heady growth that propels innovation and the U.S. economy. The comparison is a little facile (the Amish have a lot of other characteristics that make people cheerful, including strong community ties, stable families, and religious faith). But it suggests an interesting question: is it possible that technology, instead of liberating us, is holding us back? Is technological progress merely a treadmill, and if so, would we be happier if we stepped off of it?"

Monday, December 20, 2004

Mistletoe, Las Posadas and Winter Solstice


I learned from the Origin of Mistletoe Tradition that mistletoe is -

"Also known as the golden bough. Held sacred by both the Celtic Druids and the Norseman.

Once called Allheal, used in folk medicine to cure many ills. North American Indians used it for toothache, measles and dog bites. Today the plant is still used medicinally, though only in skilled's a powerful plant.

It was also the plant of peace in Scandinavian antiquity. If enemies met by chance beneath it in a forest, they laid down their arms and maintained a truce until the next day".

Las Posadas

The Mexican Las Posadas celebration lasts for 9 days beginning on December 16th. Sounds great. It would be nice to spend the Christmas holiday's in Mexico one of these years.

Here are some tasty sounding and healthy Las Posadas recipes. Warm apple empanadas sound good.

How about if we have some warm apple empanadas for desert and some real tamales as a main course?

My sister gave me the cookbook Firehouse Food: Cooking With San Francisco's Firefighters a few years back. It contains a recipe for "Mom's Tamales" that look marvelous.

I think I'll try making some for Las Posadas or maybe New Years.

Winter Solstice

I learned from Ancient Origins: Solstice that the "Winter solstice for 2004 will occur at 4:42 am PST on December 21."

That page has some cool information on Stonehenge and other ancient structures used to sight in on the sun to determine the date. One of the other ancient structures is called -

"Newgrange, a beautiful megalithic site in Ireland. This huge circular stone structure is estimated to be 5,000 years old, older by centuries than Stonehenge, older than the Egyptian pyramids! It was built to receive a shaft of sunlight deep into its central chamber at dawn on winter solstice".

Cookin Up a Mess of Cuttlefish

A friend of mine gave me a bag of frozen cuttlefish awhile back. I cooked them this weekend outside in an electric frying pan. It was fun.

I learned that cuttlefish are members of the Cephalopod family. Their cousins are the octopus, squid and nautilus. After reading some articles about how intelligent and friendly the cuttles are I was a little sad to think I was going to eat them. Mine were already cleaned, sliced and frozen anyway so their pet qualities were pretty limited.

If you don't know how to cook with cuttles I'd recommend you use them the same way you would a nautilus ;-)

or rattlesnake. They taste just like chicken, except with a sweet seafood taste (a little like lobster and calamari to my taste) and, like calamari, a more or less rubbery texture depending on how you cook them.

I learned that cuttlefish are used in Italian, Greek, Chinese and Australian cooking. Like they say over at Seppie: That's Cuttlefish, and means wonderful versatility. I didn't name my cuttle, although Seppie does sound like a nice name.

I just made up a cooking technique after browsing through a few recipes -

Soak frozen cuttle fish in cold water seasoned with Johnny's Seasoning Salt (you can make a great smoked salmon by mixing Johnny's and brown sugar and layering it on salmon fillets, let fish soak in the brine, air dry and then smoke using alder...yum)

Heat up a pan filled with a 1/2 inch or so of good oil (have you ever wondered what that means? "a good oil"? Basically I guess one that won't intended for cooking...okay use a bad oil I don't care)

Cook some seasoned curly fries. This has nothing to do with the recipe, but I thought they would go good with the cuttle.

Get some Dragon sauce, garlic or garlic powder, hot sauce, and hot pepper flakes together to season your cuttle. Dragon sauce is some combination of soy and sweet...I had a bottle left over from somewhere that I wanted to use up.

Drain your seppie. Pat dry with paper towels. Be sure and wash your hands after you finish draining your seppie. It's a state law.

Fry your cuttlefish, add some garlic, hot sauce, dragon sauce and hot pepper flakes.

Eat warm with seasoned curly fries.


Johnny's Fine Foods Inc. is located in Tacoma Washington. They offer a variety of items; spices, juice, tea, preserves and alder chips (among other things) on their webpage. I thought their prices looked very reasonable.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Walk To The Park

Grand Avenue Park is in Everett Washington USA. It's at about 48 degrees North latitude. Here's a topo map that gives a general location of Everett and an Aerial Photo.

Everett at one time was known as the City of Smokestacks. Not many smokestacks anymore though. It's primary economy in the 19th and early 20th century was timber and timber products. Here's a link from the Everett Public Library - Northwest Collection with lots of cool old black and white photographs from that era.

Everett was the scene of the Wobblie Massacre. This quote is from the Everett Public Library

"Sunday, November 5, 1916 marked the bloodiest battle in Pacific Northwest labor history. On that day, about 300 members of the Industrial Workers of the World (the I.W.W.) boarded the steamers Verona and Calista from Seattle and headed north toward Port Gardner Bay. The I.W.W. (or Wobblies) planned a public demonstration in Everett that afternoon, to be held on the corner of Hewitt and Wetmore, a spot commonly used by street speakers. Hoping to gain converts to their dream of One Big Union, the Wobblies began street speaking in Everett during a local shingle weavers' strike, encountering brutal suppression by local law officers. Free speech soon became the dominant issue. The number of demonstrators and the violence of the response from law enforcement grew as the weeks wore on."

Of course things have changed considerably in the 88 years since the IWW and local law officers clashed. The only wobbly around here now is a fat guy named Jack.

Everett is a nice place to live. Lot's of water, good food, mountains, and mild weather. It's about 30 miles north of Seattle so you can always get down there if you want some big-city things. It's a city that is developing it's core with a new Events Center, Performing Art's Center, Childrens Museum and plans for people friendly development along the waterfront.

I took these pictures this afternoon on a walk over to Grand Avenue Park. The park sits on a bluff that overlooks the Puget Sound. Hat Island, Whidbey Island, and Camano Island are all visible from the bluff.


City of Smokestacks

Everett Marina

Looking Southwest From Park

On the way

Tree and Sky at Park

Pretty House Across From The Park

New Pictures

I added some new pictures to Christmas Around Here.

Most of them were taken walking around my neighborhood this foggy night. A few are inside shots.

A couple of keepers out of 70 or so pictures. I love digital photography. I'd never consider taking 3 or 4 rolls of film just playing around, but with a digital camera, NIMH batteries and a good sized memory card I can click to my heart's content.

Hope you are having, or had, a good Saturday night wherever you may be.


Friday, December 17, 2004

Wendell Berry - The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

These three pieces struck my eye this early morning. I think they may be related. If not they are at least interesting or inspiring to me, and hopefully my daughters or other women or men who might pass this way.

A piece by Wendell Berry

The Looking Glass - A Woman's Creed by Robin Morgan Robin Morgan, in collaboration with Perdita Huston, Sunetra Puri, Mahnaz Afkhami, Diane Faulkner, Corrine Kumar, Simla Wali, Paola Melchiari, at the 1994 WEDO Global Strategies Meeting. Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)

The Real Woman Creed author unknown.


I hope you, dear, kind and gentle reader, will find those links interesting or inspiring, however they bring to mind another thought I've had a few times when my mind was engaged for a moment.

It's sort of a "you talk a good game" thought. I have known people who never espouse philosophical or spiritual baloney (unlike me in that regard). But they are much closer to being a good person than I'll ever be.

One of those people is my wife. Another that comes to mind is a friend of mine named Paul. Kind, calm, loving, kind hearted, good hearted, caring people. But they don't talk about it and they don't (as far as I know) read about it. It being how to be a good person.

There is something here I can't quite put my finger on, an idea that can't be grasped straight-on. Maybe like having to look a little to the side to see a dim star. It's not as simple as hypocrisy, but is there something about claiming, or explaining, or writing something that makes it less true?

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle, as I crudely understand it, says that by measuring or trying to observe some things we disturb them and can never get a true picture. Maybe other things in life, beyond the quantum physics realm, are like that?

A couple more links...

Heisenberg - Quantum Mechanics, 1925-1927: The Uncertainty Principle. You can jump to the end to get a description if you are in a hurry.

And this SJAA Etiquette for star parties (the real thing not the Hollywood variety) mentions using averted vision to see a dim star,

"You can gain a couple of magnitudes by using averted vision, which means that you look slightly away from your target, above or to one side as works best for you."

I think I need to go someplace where it's perfectly dark and clear and stare at the sky for awhile.

For now, being a bit lazy and not totally unencumbered by other responsibilities I'll imagine I live in the desert, or on a mountain or I'm on the ocean, relaxing and looking up at the billions and billions of stars or that I have a bedroom with a big skylight/window over my bed, that gives me a view of the stars.

Anyplace that didn't have light pollution I suppose would do, although even a view of of city lights would be cool, but not in the same way of course, being human-made and all.

I think I'll go outside and look up.


I'm back. It's cloudy and I can't see my neighbor's motion sensor light came on. I'll just hang here a little longer drinking coffee and using tobacco products.

Mentioning Paul makes me think of the most important Paul - in my world-view.

That Paul was known as Saul until he met God on the road to Damascus. Saul was human all too human. He was a bad man. He persecuted other people.

He was completely transformed after his encounter with God, and became the author of many loving letters. You don't have to be a Christian to appreciate Paul's letters or the basic concept that any person no matter how evil, cruel, mistaken, hurt, or otherwise screwed up can be forgiven, forgive themselves, and change...sometimes, as in the case of Saul/Paul most dramatically. It's a good story.

It's Our Mistakes That Make Us Human

I've been reading "The Woman Who Knew Gandhi" by Kevin Heller this week. Interesting piece of fiction based on an entry in Gandhi's autobiography of a relationship with an English woman.

One part that struck me is a passage where Martha (the married woman who had the relationship with Gandhi) is talking to one of her disapproving, and maybe somewhat jealous, daughters.

"No it's just that you children are still young, and the young are forever ready to criticize. When you are older" she predicted, "you'll learn that it's our flaws that make us what we are and, in the end, make us even more lovely and worth forgiving."


The inside cover of the book has a quote in a similar vein -

"The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up in life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals. No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth are things a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid."

George Orwell, "Reflections on Gandhi"

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Forrest Gump Diet

I had an idea for a quick weight loss plan that I would start over the Christmas holidays. It's pretty simple.

I'd start out walking from my house on day one of my vacation and see how far I could walk in the 11 days I have off. I thought I'd stay in cheap hotels or whatever I could find. I'd walk as far as I could each day and then rest up for my continuing journey.

I mentioned to my wife that my first day would probably get me to a cheap hotel over on Broadway about 6 blocks from our house.

Second day maybe I'd walk some and then get on a bus for awhile so I could get some miles under me. I might change the name to the Rosie Ruiz marathon diet on day two. Actually riding a city or other bus would be better than sitting at home because I wouldn't have an endless supply of food and I'd be occupied keeping an eye on my busmates.

I like to watch.


A less Walter Mitty like plan would be to start out slow and just try to move more and eat less.

How exciting is that?


Another way to lose weight without really trying is to get really sick.

I contracted some mysterious illness on a trip to Singapore about 15 years ago. I lost 20 or 30 pounds on that diet.

My theory was that I got some weird bug from a gray water drain on the bottom of an airplane. I'm not blaming Singapore. I was in Hong Kong, Taipai, San Francisco on that trip.

I still think it was fiddling around with that gray water drain and then putting my fingers in my mouth (I was chewing tobacco and working underneath an airplane). Good Lord only knows what was in that drainage from sinks used by people from all over the world to wash their hands, or whatever else people use the lavatory sinks of a 747 for.

I couldn't stand the sight or smell of food for a few weeks. Got some weird bacterial growth on my tongue as a result of a compromised immune system. Doctors kept treating my symptoms but had no clue what the cause was. I thought I was going to leave this earth for awhile. Then as quickly as it came went away.

I have to digress for a moment.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between blue and gray water? Who hasn't?

Here's the deal. The toilet's on an airplane don't drain overboard, but the sinks do. Toilet water is called blue water(held in tanks onboard) and sink water is called gray water. Gray water is drained out of the airplane via a heated mast..the mast is heated so the water doesn't freeze and sticks out a ways so water/ice doesn't attach to the fuselage.

Let's get back to the diets.


Maybe the elevator diet? That's where you get drunk, force open the doors on an elevator shaft, step into the elevator (shaft), fall a few floors to the bottom of the shaft and stay there for a week until someone rescues you.

That happened to some poor blighter in Seattle.

In researching this diet I found the Seattle elevator diet is not without an element of risk. Early attempts occasionally met with disasterous results as in this HistoryLink Essay: Albert R. Bruce steps into an elevator shaft and plunges to his death on March 5, 1910.

As my mother used to tell me "nothing in moderation"...or was it "everything in moderation". The elevator diet should only be used in moderation and under the supervision of a Doctor or trained EMT.


I bet a homeless diet would work too. Just leave home without your American Express or any other source of cash and forage for food like the other people on the street.


Prison diet or a Navy bread and water diet. Eat like a kid diet. All might work. When I was on a ship they actually could give you the brig and bread and water as a sentence. I'm glad I stayed out of the brig. Not that I don't like a good piece of bread mind you.


Oh what the heck. No diet is going to work...especially not around Christmas. I'm going to keep repeating that "move more eat less" mantra and see if it starts to sink in.

A big part of my problem is I've become enamoured with a couple of things that require absolutely no movement over the last few years. First it was the online sports betting and then blogging/web page fiddling around.


I watched Dodgeball the movie a few times this weekend. In the movie Ben Stiller owns Globo-Gym (evil). He is trying to take over Average Joe's Gym (good). In one scene Ben Stiller tells the owner of Joe's, "I like that whole I'm not okay, you're not okay, but that's okay, thing you got going." It's a funny movie partly about people who are obsessed with fitness and how they look. Good old Average Joe's is about having some fun, losing a few pounds and being happy.

I can live with that.


Here's some Dodgeball links -

Here's a clip of one of a variety of spots in the film where White Goodman (Stiller's character) talks funny...Mr Jokey Jokemaker.

A reviewer at the The New York Times who liked it.

and a bunch of different comments at about Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Monday, December 13, 2004

Taking Care of Yourself Over The Holidays

A nice summary of basic things (like eating, sleeping and breathing) you can do to take care of your self at Tom Barrett's Interlude: Meditation of The Week.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The last part of the The Rime of the Ancient Mariner -

"Farewell, farewell ! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest !
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small ;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone : and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

monkey's christmas (aka holidays on nice)

Monkey gets around. He visits NPR, has Tibeten monks visit him and is just generally a nice terry cloth covered primate. monkey's christmas has some good monkey stories for anyone in your life that's a kid or kid at heart.


Today's service at CafeJack for those of us who are unable to attend church is from Matthew 18

It's a short sermon, "Act like a child, have faith, be good to other people particularly those that make it hard for you to love them."

Easier said than done.

If you like here's a longer Interpretation of Matthew 18.

Go in peace.

Today's Breakfast Special

Good morning fellow traveler.

I know a man named leg who doesn't have any legs.

He's a happy good fellow nonetheless.

He gave me a dozen fresh eggs from his chickens.

They are nice and yellow. Very rich my wife says.

I was thinking maybe I'd make a quiche with the eggs but wasn't sure how to spell it. So I decided to make something up called Odd Kitsch Eggdish instead, in honor of the Norwegian painter and Kitsch activist Odd Nerdrum. Maybe while your waiting for it to bake you would like to look at some of Odd's Paintings?

Here's the recipe -

You'll need -

Fresh eggs

Diced onion

Slices of cheese

A crust (I made mine with flour, Crisco and water). I didn't feel like the mess of rolling it out so I cut the flour/Crisco/water together with a fork and then pushed it around the bottom of my Kitsch pan with my fingers.

Browned link sausage, Perhaps you can read All About Sausage while you are thinking about it. You could use ham or SPAM. I was watching Chris Rock on Comedy Central last night. For some reason when I woke up this morning I feel like swearing a lot m)*)(^^)er. He's funny. He was talking about how we have too much food in America. How people in other countries would love to have some of what we consume. Red meat kills? Some hungry person thinks, "Hell no if you can find a good piece of red meat eat it." "Red meat don't kill meat might." But back to the recipe.

So you beat up some eggs, make a crust, put in the eggs, browned sausage links, some cheese, diced onions, salsa on top for color, pepper and parmesean cheese. I think that's it. Don't forget to bake it for an hour or so at about 350F.

While it's baking let's read a little more Odd Nerdrum on Kitsch.

Odd's so bummed he's going to become a citizen of Iceland instead of Norway. Read more in the Aftenposten Norway, Norwegian news in English. Plus they have a picture of pretty girl in a sweater..

Okay let's run through the steps. This ain't no Betty Crocker: Quiche Lorraine. Not that Betty doesn't have nice Quiche thing going.

Whip up the eggs, make the crust in the bottom of your baking container. I put butter around the edges of the pan.

Put browned links on top of your crust. I poured the sausage grease on the crust because my Doctor told me my cholesterol is too low...can you believe it?.

Then pour the eggs on top of that.

Add slices of cheese and diced onion.

Salsa for color.

A little parmesean cheese and pepper.

Can I get you a slice?

Maybe with a nice cup of fresh ground Peet's Coffee or tea?

Have a great Sunday.

Peace to you and yours.

Note - My wife also tells me my writing "I know a man named leg he doesn't have any." isn't clear. Here's some clarification - I work with a man named Leg and he doesn't have any legs. He did give me the eggs I used. He is a nice funny guy. Never complains at work. His legs are missing up to his hips, but he walks well on two artificial limbs. I didn't even know he didn't have legs until one day I saw him sitting in a wheelchair without the artificial legs on. He must of been having them repaired. Anyway he's a great example for anyone who thinks they have some thing to complain about...

Saturday, December 11, 2004

My New Blog for Christmas Pictures

I decided to move Christmas pictures to a new blog. Christmas Around Here is a growing collection of pictures I've taken around the house. My wife has been a teacher or pre-school teacher most of her adult life. She has collected lots of nice Christmas things given to her as gifts from students. They are all over our house.

Wishing you a peace filled holiday wherever life finds you. Remember to take good care of yourself so you can take care of others.


Slow down.


It's a beautiful time of year.


Maybe do your shopping on line?

Who wouldn't like a copy of Mel Torme's Christmas Songs? I know I would...sing it Mel,

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.


I ordered a few new books from good old Amazon tonight. I love that place. So homey and smells so good..I love the free tea samples they give you and the fresh baked cookies.

Never mind that's my place. I don't even know where Amazon is. Somewhere in Seattle maybe.

Still I like the convenience. From what I've been reading in weblogs and reviews, I think these three books will be good -

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

Letters to My Daughters by Mary Matalin.

Can I Interest You in a Christmas Cookie?

Maybe Some File Gumbo?

Or some Red Beans and Rice?

I Love My Laptop

Christmas Decoration Betsy Has Been Working On

Waiting For Some Lights and Decorations

Christmas Tree is Here

Dying for Consumption

A thought-provoking article by Paul Campos a law professor at the University of Colorado.

Bill Moyers

On Receiving Harvard Medical School's Global Environment Citizen Award

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Wow! What a beautiful place.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Anil Dash - Beautiful Food Photos

These beautiful food pictures are cool.

Reminds me of the Pike Place Market. One time on C-Span they had a person walking around with a video camera picking up the sights and sounds at that market. No commentary just the market for a half hour or so. That was cool.

EW and Radar Handbook

Lot's of good practical general information on a variety of engineering and scientific topics in the EW and Radar Handbook compliments of the USN.

The Table of Contents.

The table of constants, conversions and characters is a convenient summary. The Mach Number and Airspeed vs Altitude is well written. I haven't had time to browse through it all but it looks like a good resource or refresher for people looking for some general technical information about aircraft dynamics, radars, databusses, antennas and things like that.

Becca's 18 Today

Today is my daughter Becca's 18th birthday. I can't believe how time flies. She was just a little baby yesterday.

Becca has a great sense of humor, is smart, good academically in school, and is a fine athlete. She loves to spend time with her friends, loves to talk and can type about 60 wpm on a cellphone keypad, text-messaging her buddies.

I am blessed to have two great daughters.

I put a collection of photo's of Becca over at Becca's 18.

I Like The Quiet and the Cold - Sometimes

I do wish we could get some snow. I miss the crystal cold air sometimes that we'd get in Montana or Minnesota. Other times not so much.

A few years back I was on a test flight where we flew over to Glasgow Montana in the winter months. It was a balmy 50 or so in Seattle area. I was in my shirt sleeves on the plane. When I stepped off for a minute in Glasgow and that cold wind hit me I thought maybe I don't really miss this weather that much.

I remember the coldest days in Fargo when it was almost painful to go out to your car. The seats would crackle with the cold and it was hard to breathe the cold dry air. That wind would cut through you. People say there's no bad weather only bad clothes. I agree for the most part but when it's 30 below and the wind's blowing you need some darn good clothes.

The hassle is; say you are going to the movie, you don't really feel like dressing up in arctic gear to run out to your car.

I like weather extremes to a point, as long as they don't blow the roof off my house, flood me or freeze me. Love a good thunderstorm or nice big snow or the smell of a rain. The quiet after a snow.

I found San Diego weather pretty boring when I was down there in the Navy. No real seasons. Seattle is a little like that although it's weather can surprise you every so often. I can't complain it's really a nice place to live.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Orange Sweet Rolls

I slow cooked a sweet small orange, a lemon and a peeled apple, in sugar water and honey for a long time. This is the orange.

I was trying to make a confit or orange glace I'd seen on a TV show. Not sure of the correct name. It was a family operation in France. They slowly cooked clementines or small oranges in sugar water, then dried them. The end result looked like the orange with a nice shiny glaze. It took a couple of weeks I believe to go through the whole process.

I didn't have the patience to slow cook mine over a period of a couple weeks or to let them dry. Still turned out good though.

The best part was the syrup. The combination of lemon, orange, apple, honey and sugar was good and refreshing. I used the syrup to pep up some warm from the oven Pillsbury Sweet Rolls With Orange Icing. They were good.

Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents

In case you were thinking of printing a few bills on the old laser printer today.

Yahoo News reports on Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents from a article.

Small scattered yellow dots, identifying the printer serial number, are printed on every page. Invisible to the naked eye but visible with a blue LED and a magnifying glass. Making the document you print traceable back to your printer.

ThinkGeek :: Stuff for Smart Masses

Some interesting looking trinkets to buy the geek in your life over at ThinkGeek.

The one-item-a-day Woot! looks like a good spot to pick up some crap as well....or maybe something you need...I guess?

Molecule Harvests Water's Hydrogen

An article about extracting hydrogen from water using sunlight and a super molecule made up of ruthenium and rhodium from the Technology Review. Maybe fuel cells will become a practical reality someday.

I knew that investment in the ruthenium mine would pan out some day ;-)

This article from the Technology Review is interesting too. The Light Clock Promises Finer Time in fact it's so accurate that it won't lose a second in the lifetime of the universe.

On the practical side it may help improve the accuracy of GPS.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


I'm not sure what Incursoes means but you can look at a Picasso picture of dancers and listen to George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" there.

Here's the English translation Translated version of


Holiday Candles

Holiday Candles 1

Holiday Candles 2


THE NIGHT OF THE CHILD is the night of hope, all hopes. We await the coming of this Night with all our hopes bound up together
somehow, both our hopes for ourselves as individuals and our hopes for others as well, both those who are known to us and those who
are unknown....

We hope there will be things to treasure in our hearts, things to ponder, hold, and remember, and that we will be thoughtful enough
to see those things and wise enough to hold onto them.

-- Robert Benson

YMCA Minority Achievers Program

I was lucky to be invited to a dinner last night honoring people associated with the YMCA Minority Achievers Program.

Really great to see people who look out for, devote time and money to ensure the excellence of the next generation of leaders.

It's a win win situation. Interesting to think about how much some of us take for granted (like me). For some young people, just having a place to do your homework, access to a computer, an adult mentor or friend; can make so much difference for our future.

Hat's off to the great people that participate and make that program a reality.


A Funny Sort of Story and a Few Political Stories

Nightmares in the light


Not to be a name dropper but I met the mayor last night. I only mention that because it's a lead in to a few stories.

This morning a light came on in my head. Why? please tell us more you say?

Here's the deal - A few years ago I got tagged with a minor speading ticket just down the street from my house, on my way to work in the early morning hours. It seemed odd at the time because of the location where the policeman was stationed. I've lived in this neighborhood for 20 years now and I've never seen a cop at or around that spot with a radar gun. It's a residential street with a 25 mph speed limit. I imagine if a policeman were to be stationed there he or she could probably tag about half the people who drive by for speeding. Not that speeding is right mind you. I don't like it at all when people zoom by my house. Especially since there are kids in the neighborhood. Anyway I was coming down the hill a few years back and got up to maybe 30 or over...and the cop gave me a ticket. I just thought it was odd that he was sitting parked in front of a house on a residential street with a radar gun going (usually the Everett P.D. is busy with higher priority activity). Turns out the mayor's house is right about at that spot.

Postscript - Come to think of it this guy wasn't the mayor a few years ago when I got that ticket. So much for that theory. Maybe that cop had a quota to meet...or maybe it just wasn't my lucky day. May all my troubles be that small. Aside from getting the ticket which was a minor annoyance, the thing that bugged me was that for whatever reason we had a city policeman devoted to a speed check on a neighborhood residential street where well-off people live and no small children were in site. To be equitable with taxpayer money, I hope we can get some devoted policeman to set up a speed check in some of the less affluent areas of our fair city as well. I'd recommend some of the areas where there are lot's of kids playing around or near the street as a start.


About 30 years ago I was working as a bartender in Montana. A couple of goofy old guys came into the bar. They weren't locals and they were pretty scruffy. I'm not sure how they were getting around the country or what their source of income might have been. In the course of the conversation they asked me if there was any work available. I told them (honestly) that the town was looking for a mayor. They thought that was funnnyyyy. It was funny, but you would have had to have been there I suppose to appreciate it fully. Those two guys were having a ball talking to each other about which one would be mayor.


And finally another political story.

My sister in law from Minnesota is a sweet and gentle soul. She can be a bit goofy about some things. She's smart, just kind of ditzy or naive sometimes (I mean that in a good way..hopefully we can all be a little ditzy or naive sometimes and not too pompous). Anyway a friend of hers had married a politician, who happened to be the governor of North Dakota. The friend had told my sister in law this of course, because she was pretty proud of it.

Sometime later my sister in law was at a dinner of some sort and ran into her friend and her hub. She says something like, "Oh hi Ann so good to see you. And your husband...aren't you involved in politics?". He says (I imagine in a bit of a huff), "Yes I'm the governor of North Dakata."

Oh yes of course.