Saturday, January 07, 2017

How I'm going to get rich - part 3

I've had a few other ideas for getting rich (here's one and here's another)  but this one is a sure fire way to do it.

Yesterday, I noticed that the air freshener in the men's room at work is called Lavender Embrace (see the picture to the right - I'm not making this up). What a manly fragrance! What guy wants to walk into a small room and smell that?

My idea is to produce a line of room sprays for real men. I'd call one Greasy Garage for the man with grime under his fingernails. Or how about Winning Locker Room? Then there is Bacon in the Morning. Ah, I can smell it now.

Yes, I know. There are many women who like to work on their cars and women have winning locker rooms, too. But I'll bet the winning women's locker room doesn't smell like a men's locker room (not that I would know - but I can imagine). And yes, women like bacon too (just ask my daughter). But women could use these air fresheners, too - if they'd like. It's just that men have few choices. We've had manly colognes and after shave for a while (although none like I'm proposing). It's time for air fresheners to catch up.

Don't forget - you heard it here first.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Our new puppy

It had been two years since our dog Charlie died. We missed him so much but it seemed like it wasn't the right time to get another dog. But the time was right in October 2016 and we brought Asuna home. That's a picture of her to the right. She is a Vizsla and she is wonderful. In case you don't know about Vizslas, there is a nice write up here. If you're wondering about her name, it comes from a character named Asuna in the Japanese anime Sword Art Online.

Asuna is a wonderful dog. She is very affectionate and quite smart. We knew she was going to have a high energy level but I don't think we were prepared for how high was high. We need to give her a lot of exercise and walk her a lot. She loves to play ball with us but at this point that mostly means that she keeps the ball away from us. "I've got it and you don't," is her usual way to play. But she is getting better. We have her in training classes but I think they are mostly for us. Asuna knows what she is doing and is waiting for us to catch up.

In case you are wondering, the picture on the left is the "original" Asuna from the anime.She has bigger eyes than the "real" Asuna.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

My Annual Apology

It seems that every year I need to write an apology for not writing more in this blog during the past year. This year is no different. I only wrote 48 posts last year but, on the bright side, that's more posts than I wrote annually in the previous three years. 35 posts in 2013, 26 posts in 2014 and only 22 posts in 2015! So, things are improving a bit.

The strange part is that I enjoy writing these blog posts. And I enjoy reading them later after I've forgotten that I wrote them. I do have to be careful not to repeat posts because I come up with ideas and start to write them down and then find out I've written about the subject before. But most times I'm able to add a bit of new thinking to the subject so it's not all that bad.

I have lots of ideas for posts. I just need time to write them so that they are understandable, offer some interesting information and are written well. That last point is more important than you might think. One of the original; reasons for starting this blog was to help improve my writing. I have a long way to go but it has definitely helped me in learning to organize my thoughts. As any writer knows, it's a long, hard trip from ideas in your head to a well written article. One of the harder parts of writing a post is finding a picture that helps illustrate the main theme for the post. Notice there is no picture or graphics for today's post.

There are many subjects to write about. The Pastor of our church continues to give insightful and entertaining sermons. I want to write about some of those. I continue to learn more about my faith in Jesus Christ and want to write about that, too. I continue to learn more about programming computers and would like to share some of the things I've learned. I've read some wonderful books I want to write about. I've seen some movies and TV shows I want to write about. I want to write about trying to get my piano playing abilities back and I want to write about the trials, encouragement, disasters, triumphs and ultimate sadness of helping my Mother during the last few years of her life. I think a lot of the things I learned while helping her may be helpful to other people who are going through similar things.

This could be the greatest year ever! There are reasons it might not be the greatest year ever but we won't go into that right now. I'll probably write about that, too.

Happy New Year.

Friday, November 11, 2016

"How Can I Keep From Writing"

My title is in quotes but it probably shouldn't be. I'm referencing the old hymn "How Can I Keep From Singing". The words are wonderful. They say that in spite of all the trouble in the world and the problems we may have, there is great joy in knowing that Christ is Lord. God is in charge and he loves us. He provides for us and will see us through our difficulties. Therefore, how can we not be happy? Indeed, how can we keep from singing?

We've just had a Presidential Election that has shaken many of us. Not only was it a complete surprise that the man who won the election pulled it off, many of us are shaken that he is now President-elect of the United States. He ran a negative campaign that was terrible in its use of lies and innuendo to attack his opponents both in the primaries and in the general election. His own indiscretions made him appear a fool but it never seemed to affect the people who backed him. He once famously said, "I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue [in New York City] and I wouldn't lose any votes." He claimed to know more about opponents on the battlefield than the generals in charge. He has never won elected office before and it seems like his entire appeal is based on his non-politician status and his being an outsider. His followers seem to like the fact that he doesn't know anything about how to be the President because it means he will do things differently. They feel he tells it like it is and he will help them where none of the career politicians ever helped them before.

He tells it like he thinks it is. He doesn't know more than the generals but he doesn't even know that. He has never done anything without the promise of making a profit from it and in fact is a pretty bad business man. He thinks he is a great negotiator but he couldn't even get a widow to sell him her property so he could expand a casino in Atlantic City. How will he negotiate with hostile foreign powers? I am worried about our country's future and worried about my family. So, with all of that on my mind, in spite of the fact that I haven't written in this blog since September, how could I keep from writing this?

But I know everything is in God's hands. As the hymn says, "No storm can shake my inmost calm, While to that refuge clinging; Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, How can I keep from singing?" I can live with that.

Here are the words to the hymn.
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation,
I hear the sweet, tho' far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Thro' all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What tho' my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho' the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it,
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his—
How can I keep from singing?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Another of my neurotic problems

"Another neurosis. How does this guy cope?" you ask. Well, my wife and I have been binge watching Sherlock (with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) and Sherlock Holmes describes himself as a high-functioning sociopath. So, I guess I could describe myself as a somewhat-functioning neurotic. I get by with a lot of help from God, my family and friends.

Anyway, the neurosis I'll talk about here is my fear of using the telephone. It's not the phone itself that bothers me. It's the act of talking on the phone.

The worst thing is having to call someone. I know I'm bothering them - even if I'm calling them with good news. I am absolutely certain they are about to leave for a long anticipated vacation or they are in the middle of a conversation with someone else or they just don't want to talk to talk with me. No matter how they answer the phone, I am convinced I've interrupted them. Yes, you may say that they always have the option of just not answering the phone but my neurosis has an answer for that. They've probably been waiting for an important call and feel they must answer the phone. Lots of people have Caller ID but how many people really look at it? And how much can you tell by the short, cryptic characters that you can barely see in that little display? No, I'm bothering them.

The other problem is being called by someone. That covers all the bases doesn't it? For all the reasons I don't want to call anyone, I don't want to be called by anyone, either. I have yet to get a call saying, "You've just won a million dollars!" If I did, I wouldn't believe them anyway.

The final problem I have with the telephone covers both being called and calling. The problem is having to come up with things to say without time to think about it first. They always ask me a question that I might be able answer if I had time to consider all the possibilities. The worst kind of call is the argument. I never know what to say. Not that I want to argue with people but I can't think of the right thing to say to diffuse the situation. I can't even come up with a good apology without some time to think. And if you're talking with someone face to face, you may not have time to consider all of your answers but at least you have some body language to go by. You can see their face and know if they are mad or happy. And I'm a terrible conversationalist anyway. I think I'm working myself into another neurosis about talking with people.

I much prefer email. If I receive an email, I can handle it when I have time. I can think about my answers. When I send an email, the other person doesn't have to respond right away. Or they can just not respond at all.

I vividly remember the first time I had trouble with the phone (I've written about this before here). I was just a kid and I was going to call a friend. I had called relatives before but for the first time, after looking my friend's number up in the phone book, a saw a phone number with a zero in it. Well, one of the first things I learned about the phone was that if you needed the Operator, you dialed zero. I dialed the first part of the number and got to the zero. I paused. What do you do? If I dial the zero, the Operator would come on and I'd have to talk with her! I dialed the zero and, probably because I'd paused so long, something clicked on the line and I panicked and hung up. I tried to dial again but gave up when I got to the zero. I don't remember how this ended up but it's been downhill ever since.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Misheard phrases

I've talked about misheard lyrics in the past (at this link) and about the site Am I Right and it's section on Misheard Lyrics. But in the past few days, my son and I have had a two instances of misheard phrases from the news (my son) and from a commercial (me).

There was a tragedy in Boston recently where the driver of an SUV (sport-utility vehicle) lost control of his vehicle and drove into a restaurant killing two people. My son was just waking up and was not quite in the TV room room when he heard, what he thought was, the announcer saying, "An SOB drove into the restaurant." I'm afraid to say that for as sad as the story was, we had to laugh. In a way it was true. It turns out that the driver, the SOB, is being charged with vehicular homicide.

My misheard phrase came from a commercial for a bank. The announcer says that their bank offers "hassle-free" loans. I was busy in the kitchen making noise and I was sure he said, "ass-hole free" loans. No one else thought he said that, though, so I guess it really is hassle-free loans.

A long time ago, I also misheard a commercial about a hospital for children in Boston associated with the Tufts Medical Center. They were touting their Floating Hospital for Children but the way the announcer said it made it sound, to me, that they were talking about their Exploding Hospital for Children. I know kids like exciting things and enjoy going to action movies but this seemed to be taking it a bit far. I was wrong, of course, but you try saying, "Tuft's Medical Center and it's Floating Hospital for Children" and see if it does sound a little bit like, "Tufts Medical Center and Exploding Hospital for Children." See what I mean?

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

How an automobile differential works

You probably already know all about this but I just learned. I've always been interested in how the differential of an automobile's rear axle works. It seems like magic and, surely, it must be very complex. Just look at the picture on the right!

I happened to be looking up another mystery (to me) - What's the difference between All Wheel Drive and Four Wheel Drive? The site I found explaining that had this video from Chevrolet. It was made back in 1937, it's not in color and it starts with a precision motorcycle team and you wonder, "How is this going to explain a differential for four wheel vehicles?" Well, just watch. It's very well done and makes it seem so simple.

In case you have trouble playing the video, here is the link to the original.

By the way, the original article I was looking for, explaining the difference between AWD and 4WD, is found at this link. It's really good, too.