Saturday, April 30, 2005

R/C F-18 Hornet

# Licensed by Boeing
# Tough, Durable, Clean and Quiet
# Includes Remote Control Transmitter
# No Assembly Required
# Fly Within Minutes!

The Air Tech US F-18 Hornet Remote Control Airplane is an exact, licensed replica of one of the most recognizable fighter aircraft in the world. The Hornet was designed to be a multi-role aircraft, suitable for air superiority as well as ground attack tasks.

This model features outstanding flight performance. It will turn and burn with the best of them. The aircraft can also be docile and gentle making it perfect for novice pilots. The Air Tech US F-18 Hornet is constructed of lightweight, durable foam and features dual electric motors driving safe, plastic propellers for full control and excellent maneuverability.

The included NiMH battery gives 5 minutes of flight time. The included portable charger lets your recharge in 15 minutes. The radio control unit gives the pilot precise control with a range of up to 300 feet or more. Price: $69.95

R/C F-18 Hornet

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Grass Is Always Greener

I was working on a few small projects around the house this week and thought to myself how pleasant it was to have a task that I can complete and see the results of my labor immediately and clearly.

Cleaning, painting, repairing, planting, building; all things you can do and see what you have done. I contrast those things with what we do as knowledge workers sometimes, and come up short on the satisfaction scale for the ethereal, fuzzy, abstract sort of tasks we sometimes are involved in as desk jockeys.

The fact that I read the "Death of Ivan Ilych" a night or two ago has colored my current thoughts. Here's a very abbreviated, summary of that story by Leo Tolstoy in the form of three quotes from the book -


"Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible."


"It occurred to him that what had appeared perfectly impossible before, namely that he had not spent his life as he should have done, might after all be true. It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false. And his professional duties and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false. He tried to defend all those things to himself and suddenly felt the weakness of what he was defending. There was nothing to defend."


"Yes, I am making them wretched," he thought. "They are sorry, but it will be better for them when I die." He wished to say this but had not the strength to utter it. "Besides, why speak? I must act," he thought. With a look at his wife he indicated his son and said: "Take him away...sorry for him...sorry for you too...." He tried to add, "Forgive me," but said "Forego" and waved his hand, knowing that He whose understanding mattered would understand.

And suddenly it grew clear to him that what had been oppressing him and would not leave his was all dropping away at once from two sides, from ten sides, and from all sides. He was sorry for them, he must act so as not to hurt them: release them and free himself from these sufferings. "How good and how simple!" he thought. "And the pain?" he asked himself. "What has become of it? Where are you, pain?"

He turned his attention to it.

"Yes, here it is. Well, what of it? Let the pain be."

"And death...where is it?"

He sought his former accustomed fear of death and did not find it. "Where is it? What death?" There was no fear because there was no death.

In place of death there was light.

"So that's what it is!" he suddenly exclaimed aloud. "What joy!"


Ivan goes from a life of conformity, striving for material things, and outward appearances of happiness to sickness, despair, redemption and death in a very short span of time. Tolstoy was a born again Christian of sorts.

Without a personal philosophy, considering what is "The Good Life" as you define it, where are we? The unexamined life is not worth living, so they say. You wouldn't want to get to the end of your life and figure out you hadn't really lived at all.

The country western song "Live Like You Were Dying" written by Tim McGraw about his dad Tug McGraw, who died of brain cancer at 59, says it a different way -

He said I was finally the husband
that most the time I wasn't
and I became a friend a friend would like to have
and all the sudden going fishin
wasn't such an imposition
and I went three times that year I lost my dad
well I finally read the good book
and I took a good long hard look
at what I'd do if I could do it all again

and then
I went sky diving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
and he said someday I hope you get the chance
to live like you were dying.

Like tomorrow was a gift and you got eternity to think about
what'd you do with it what did you do with it
what did I do with it
what would I do with it'


Which brings me back to the title of this post, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the mountain."

There's an old children's/camp song that addresses the idea that the grass is always greener somewhere other than where you are -

The bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see.
And all that he could see, and all that he could see
Was the other side of the mountain, the other side of the mountain

Ivan Ilych spent a fair amount of his life figuring out he could never earn enough money. He, like a lot of us, thought the grass would be greener on the other side of the mountain.

The point being we need to live where we are, examine our life and goals, continually define and redefine a personal philosophy of what makes a good life and then follow that path. Tolstoy thought it was never too late to do that. It's a Christian thought that you can find redemption at any point in your life. It's never too late.


I'll close this off with the quote from that great thinker Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies that's embedded at the top of my blog -

"Everyday's a gamble. I figure if I wake up in the morning I'm a winner."

Wishing you a great Friday and fine weekend kind and gentle reader.


"Joy II" by James Campbell

"Joy II" by James Campbell

"Joy Joy Joy" by Laura Stamps

"Dance of Joy II" by Monica Stewart

"Dance of Joy II" by Monica Stewart

"Meditation II" by Chris Paschke

"Meditation II" by Chris Paschke

"Put on your Red Shoes" by Raymond Leech

"Put on Your Red Shoes" by Raymond Leech

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Sensational Beginnings

Sensational Ride On Toys Spring

A Few of Our Favorites!

Business Week - Blogs Will Change Your Business

Business Week Online cover story dated May 2, 2005 By Stephen Baker and Heather Green - Blogs Will Change Your Business.

From the article -

"If there's no clear business model, why are the Internet giants so bent on getting a foothold in blogs? Look at it from their point of view. A vibrant community that has doubled in size in the past eight months is teeming with potential customers and has a mother lode of data to mine. "Blogs are what's causing the Web to grow," says Jason Goldman. He's project manager at Google's Blogger, the world's biggest service to set people up as bloggers."

Is your website filling your piggy bank?

LinkShare - Join now

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Balzac - Coffee Addict?

Fascinating article from NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. Here's the summary -

"In the end, Balzac resorted to eating dry coffee grounds to achieve the desired effect. He died at age 49."

"For awhile," he wrote, "for a week or two at most, you can obtain the right amount of stimulation with one, then two cups of coffee brewed from beans that have been crushed with gradually increasing force and infused with hot water. For another week, by decreasing the amount of water used, by pulverizing the coffee even more finely, and by infusing the grounds with cold water, you can continue to obtain the same cerebral power."

He's not talking here about how great the stuff tastes. And although he used coffee to aid in his writing -- by stimulating his imagination and by keeping him awake and hunched over his parchment through the night -- he had no illusions that there were no drawbacks to his favorite drug: "Many people claim that coffee inspires them, but, as everybody knows, coffee only makes boring people even more boring."

It's not all bad though. The article goes on to say -

"At the same time, coffee and tea -- so-called "temperance beverages" -- managed to replace alcohol in many people's diets, markedly increasing productivity.

If coffee was the fuel of the Industrial Revolution, it's even more central to the information economy. It is, says Weinberg, "the cult drug of the computer world." Drunk in moderation, it provides "specific cognitive benefits that allow people to perform computer work better. It aids in visual spatial coordination, hand-eye coordination, and it helps improve your reasoning power."


I want to remember to read this book sometime.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress : A Novel

"Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" - From School Library Journal -

"This beautifully presented novella tracks the lives of two teens, childhood friends who have been sent to a small Chinese village for "re-education" during Mao's Cultural Revolution. Sons of doctors and dentists, their days are now spent muscling buckets of excrement up the mountainside and mining coal. But the boys-Luo and the unnamed narrator-receive a bit of a reprieve when the villagers discover their talents as storytellers; they are sent on monthly treks to town, tasked with watching a movie and relating it in detail on their return. It is here that they encounter the little seamstress of the title, whom Luo falls for instantly. When, through a series of comic and clever tricks and favors, the boys acquire a suitcase full of forbidden Western literature, Luo decides to "re-educate" the ignorant girl whom he hopes will become his intellectual match. That a bit of Balzac can have an aphrodisiac effect is a happy bonus. Ultimately, the book is a simple, lovely telling of a classic boy-meets-girl scenario with a folktale's smart, surprising bite at the finish. The story movingly captures Maoism's attempts to imprison one's mind and heart (with the threat of the same for one's body), the shock of the sudden cultural shift for "bourgeois" Chinese, and the sheer delight that books can offer a downtrodden spirit. Though these moments are fewer after the love story is introduced, teens will enjoy them at least as much as the comic and romantic strands."

Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA


Millions of dollars in online sales every day. Get your share.

No-Bake Cookies - Homemade Power Bars

I've been fiddling around with raw oatmeal lately to see if I can come up with something tasty that doesn't require cooking.

I think somewhere in my dim memories there was a time my older sister made no-bake cookies learned either from her 4-H or Girl Scout experiences. They tasted pretty good. There's a number of no-bake recipes at Scouting Web Cooking.

Here's what I'm using right now for the base of my no-bake cookies which could also be called homemade power bars -

Peanut Butter

Use whatever proportions you like.

I'd recommend using a good honey and peanut butter. It's amazing the difference in tastes of honey. I had some regular commercial grade honey that was called "clover" honey. I did a side by side taste test with some local "fireweed" honey and some "blackberry" honey. Both the locals tasted better to me (sweeter with a flower after taste maybe?).

I'd use a good peanut butter too. Not one with partially hydrogenated oils. Something like Adams or one you grind yourself at a grocery store.

You can add whatever might taste good to you to the base mixture. Maybe chocolate? Berries?

I added some frozen blueberries, strawberry preserves and water. I would have used fruit juice but I didn't have any handy. I put the mixture on a piece of tinfoil, stuck it in the oven to warm up, so the ingredients were nice and pliable and the blueberries would melt. You could skip the oven step if you were more patient.

After I mush all that stuff together I'm going to wrap my bars in individual squares of waxed paper and probably keep them in the refrigerator (although they should be fine sitting out given the ingredients).

Magic Cabin

Logo 8

Outdoor 14


I wake up and do some Scribbles , every so often to get some ideas out of my brain. Need to clear some out to start some new ones perking.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Henry Builds a Cabin

Henry Builds a Cabin looks like a great book for young and old folks. Inspired by the life of Henry David Thoreau. Did you know Thoreau's cabin on Walden pond was 10 by 15 feet?


Garden 19


Free Trial Static 2

Land in Montana

Dorothea Lowe is a realtor in Red Lodge, Montana. Her webpage is interesting to look at, not only for the Montana real estate she sells, but also the spiritual and motivational links she has as you scroll down the page.

Right Now is an example of one of the links.


I was watching Wayne Dyer on PBS tonight talk about the Power of Intention. His daughter sang the PeacePrayer of Saint Francis. That prayer, although very beautiful, was not written by Saint Francis but more likely by a French priest in the early 1900's.

The Canticle of Brother Sun written by Saint Francis is relaxing and inspiring to view (the link leads to a Flash presentation with nice nature pictures).

Saint Francis of Assisi is known as the Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment, founded the Francisan Order, and is the name patron saint of San Francisco California.

Great Gas Mileage For Your SUV

I've been thinking about an after market conversion kit for large SUV's lately.

I read an article awhile back about automobiles in Cuba. Because of a shortage of parts and materials the Cuban people have found ways to keep old cars going. The article said there were quite a few old classic American cars on the roads of Cuba that have been kept going in creative ways. For example -

Making brake fluid out of some odd mixture of fluids. I think it was maple syrup and kerosene or some weird concoction.

Using the engine out of a forklift to power a car.

That second item was the one that got me thinking about the after-market kit for SUV's. That and being at parades watching the Shriners drive their little clown cars powered by lawnmower engines.

Here's the deal - Assume you have a large vehicle (SUV or 4 wheel drive pickup) and don't really need to use it to haul heavy loads or for freeway driving. Instead you use it for in town driving, picking up the kids, cruising main street; that sort of thing. Your general top speed is 25 mph.

Remove the engine and transmission from your vehicle. Get a 5 horse Briggs and Stratton engine and a gearing device to connect directly to the drive shaft. You end up with a car that will go about 25 mph on a straight level road with a tailwind. You might have a bit of a problem climbing hills fast but there's always tradeoffs.

The plus side is you can continue to drive your huge rig around town and afford to buy gas. A downside might be the looks people give you when they hear the sound of your 1 cylinder engine. At least you'll look good.

Tomorrow's article - "Install a sound generator for your Briggs and Stratton powered Ford Excursion, that will give it the sound of a Kenworth diesel."


Maybe trade in the old rig for a brand new

JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank

The Badonkadonk has a 6 horse Tecumseh engine and an advertised top speed of 40 mph.

MSN Dating & Personals - Celebs reveal: 'My best date ever'

MSN Dating & Personals - Celebs reveal: 'My best date ever'

Some of these sound really nice. I've been thinking how cool Airstream trailers are lately and lo and behold Matthew McConaughey says,

"Let me just say that it's very romantic when you wake up in the morning after spending the night in an Airstream trailer. The birds are singing. Deer are outside your door and your backyard is as big as you want it to be."

Friday, April 22, 2005

Guardian Unlimited - Email Worse Than Marijuana For Intelligence?

Here's the link to the Guardian Online article, and comments from Slashdot readers

From the Guardian Article -

"The distractions of constant emails, text and phone messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration than taking cannabis, according to a survey of befuddled volunteers.

Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus reached "startling" levels in the trials by 1,100 people, who also demonstrated that emails in particular have an addictive, drug-like grip.

Respondents' minds were all over the place as they faced new questions and challenges every time an email dropped into their inbox. Productivity at work was damaged and the effect on staff who could not resist trying to juggle new messages with existing work was the equivalent, over a day, to the loss of a night's sleep."

Yes indeed. I trust the government will address this before more people become addicted. Just say No and all that. It's funny but oddly true if you think about how attention deficit, short attention spanned we tend to become with email, vmail, IM and that sort of thing.

Pssst Hey Buddy wanna try some dynamite Email?

Like so many things there are multiple sides to this Email story. Electronic mail and IM can be distracting and a time waster. On the other hand it can increase our efficiency and ability to coordinate activities with our friends.

An email can be a good way to collect our thoughts, share jokes, IM can be used to arrange spontaneous outings with friends.

For some complex discussions that involve collections of facts and people, Email can be invaluable in sharing information and getting work done.

The fact that there is a lot of distracting Email is a fact of life. The nice thing is we all have good filters (brains) that allow us to quickly determine the usefulness of most Emails.

Indoor Gardening - Grow LIghts


Name Brand Indulgence

Mother's Day Sale - FREE 2nd Day Shipping!

Mother's Day is May 8th!


Banned Books for Mom.

Here's another interesting headline from last weeks news -

"Police said three pachyderms barged into a nearby restaurant." - Elephants rampage through Seoul - Apr 20, 2005

I wish I could find a picture I saw a couple of days ago that showed one of the elephants wearing a fancy hat inside the restaurant. It was cool. I just hope the elephants weren't too scared about the whole thing and glad no one got seriously hurt.

You can find Latest news about elephants at

After the elephants had a bite to eat at the cafe they took a plane ride -

"Babar en avion" by  de Brunhoff

"Babar en avion by de Brunhoff"

Then met up with some friends -

"34 Elephants" by Sarah Battle

"34 Elephants by Sarah Battle"

Bless all God's Creatures Great and Small -

"Bless The Creatures" by Barbara Mock

"Bless The Creatures by Barbara Mock"