Thursday, March 21, 2013

To upgrade or not to upgrade (it's not really a question)

I picked up my rotary dial phone to call my 5.25" floppy disc supplier only to discover they are now an online pharmaceutical sales company specializing in Cialis and Viagra.  I suppose discs have gone the way of the dodo but "floppies" (in one form or another) still have a market.
I guess I may have to consider getting a new computer.  Or go back to my Underwood typewriter.   I am not a dinosaur or a luddite - I'm perfectly willing to let a computer do just about everything for me.  I just don't adapt to change well.  Merely contemplating a new set of "user friendly" commands is exhausting and scary.  But even my five-year-old granddaughter, who thinks my Walkman cassette player is some new-fangled technology, is dragging me into the future.  She keeps trying to jam a flash drive into the floppy drive so I can watch the latest Disney Princess movie with her.
My friend Roger recently told me to man up and learn how to use my new Galaxy SIII phone instead of trading it in for a duplicate of my old phone (which gave up the ghost) I found on eBay.
Mean Eileen has the same technical instructions for all electronic equipment:  Just push all the buttons.  I pointed out that my new phone only has one button so she modified her advice to, just push all the buttons or the tiny picture that most resembles what it is you want it to do. 
What I want it to do?  I want it to call the person I want to speak to, when I want to speak to that person (as opposed to randomly calling when the phone is in my pocket).  

As for my computer, I confess I actually have one that was manufactured this century, although I really did own and use several of the Kaypro 4 Portable Computers (pictured above) in my advertising business in the 80s.  Mean Eileen asked if they increased productivity - I suppose they did.  At least they made us look like we were technologically savvy.

I will wait to upgrade my current computer until a mind-reader version is introduced - one that figures me out, not the other way around.  

problem exists between
keyboard and chair

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam Franciscum! The Cardinals have a Quarterback!

In December, I suggested if the Arizona Cardinals fire Ken Whisenhunt, they should replace him with the 85 year old Pope.
Pope Benedict XVI, who was obviously too pooped to Pope and too old to want a multi-year contract.  I reasoned that nobody could handle a bunch of over-paid under-inspired Cardinals as well as the Pope. So 25 days after Super Bowl XLVII, Benedict XVI shocks the world announcing he is leaving, the first Pope to resign in 600 years. The late night TV guys insist the former Pope was fired (but by whom?).  On 3/13/13 (a palindromic number, nothing to do with Sarah Palin drone), a 60 to 1 shot in Las Vegas, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is named Pope and immediately takes a name you can remember:  Francis I.
1 day later a headline reads: Pope Will Meet With All the Cardinals on Friday.  
Now my readers know I am clairvoyant.  It wasn’t just a guess. Why would an 85-year-old want to "pope" 1.2 billion people rocked by scandal and losing membership, when he could coach in the NFL (where less than a billion people have been rocked by scandal)?
During the season just ended, the Cardinals won their first four games, then tanked. After XXVback Kevin Kolb was injured, the experts said the Cardinals didn’t have a quarterback. Now they have too many. Kolb, Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton.  They also have a new coach in Bruce Arians and a new offense named the vertical offense.  The rumor is the Cardinals will probably send Kevin Kolb somewhere and add another quarterback in the draft. But let’s leave that up to the Papal.

So what is Francis I going to say to all the Cardinals on Friday?
“Let us pray!”  And drill. A lot.

Monday, March 11, 2013

39 Seconds Well Spent (Really!)

Paper is not dead !  (be sure to hit the "play" button)
I bet you know 10 people who will relate

courtesy of a forward to Larry Crevin that Larry forwarded to me :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Steaming Pile of DNA


Sick and tired of the Sequester shh..tuff, and goaded by this headline: Texas Apartment to Track Dog Poop Offenders Using DNA, I decided to revisit a subject that takes me back to 1995 and 2000, but has never been solved and has now gone international.

In 2000 I saw this movie about five dogs and handlers who traveled to Philadelphia for the Mayflower Kennel Club Show to compete for Best in Show. The movie rekindled an idea I suggested at a Home Moaners Association where #2 was #1 on the agenda. The problem was never solved. And it showed up again in 2011 in the February Newsletter under Old Business. And the newsletter claimed, nobody has made any suggestions.

Dogged by this never-ending problem, I recommended a new and more positive approach … that our next major Social event be a tribute to our homeowners who own and walk their dogs… 

Our First (and possibly last) HOA Kennel Club Dog Show.

It’s time we put #2 behind us, I wrote.
“Four in 10 U.S. households include at least one dog, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Several studies have found that 40% of Americans don't pick up their dogs' feces (women are more likely to do so than men). That means 60% do pick up their dogs doo-doo!

You've got to accent the positive, delineate the negative and don't mess with Mr. In-between”.

To add a little punch to Poop, I quoted an article from USA Today that declared: Dog Waste Poses Threat to Water…

By Traci Watson, USA TODAY ... (my summary)
Science has recently determined that dog-doo is an environmental pollutant.  At some beaches, dogs help raise bacteria levels so high that visitors must stay out of the water. Goaded by such studies, some cities have directed as much as $10,000 in the last few years to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets. A few municipalities have started issuing citations to those who ignore pet clean-up ordinances.  Many dog lovers are in denial about their pooches' leavings.  

But researchers have named the idea that areas used by dogs pump more bacteria into waterways — the "Fido hypothesis."

Dogs generate disease-causing bacteria that make people sick. It doesn't take a Ph.D. to figure out that dog do is nasty. But it took science to determine how nasty it is.  All dogs harbor so-called coliform bacteria, which live in the gut. The group includes E. coli, a bacterium that can cause disease, and fecal coliform bacteria, which spread through feces. Dogs also carry salmonella and giardia. Environmental officials use measurements of some of these bacteria as barometers of how much fecal matter has contaminated a body of water.

The environmental impact of dog waste went unrecognized for decades. Then scientists developed lab techniques to determine the origin of fecal bacteria contaminating water. One method is a variant of DNA fingerprinting. Another method looks at the antibiotic resistance of microbes from different species.

And to add frosting to the poop cake, I talked with a friend of mine who was an expert on DNA and wrote that dog feces will soon be tracked to the dogs by DNA. Bingo! January, 2013:

Texas Apartment to Track Dog Poop Offenders Using DNA 
Careless Lone Star state dog owners, you’re on notice: Your pooch’s little front lawn “accident” could come back to haunt you if you don’t clean it up.
That’s what’s in store for residents of an apartment complex in Plano, Texas, anyway, where a local CBS affiliate reports stray dog poop is enough of a problem that the management company is deploying high-tech DNA tracking to keep “poo-prints” of its canine residents.

The common element: A company called
PooPrints, which specializes in testing canine feces. The company offers DNA kits that include an oral swab, which owners then submit to a global pet registry. The company sells a corresponding test kit that’s used to gather errant fecal matter, which PooPrints then checks against its registry using parent company BioPet Vet Lab, a biotechnology outfit located in Knoxville, Tenn.

In Plano, it works like this: The apartment complex requires that dog-owning residents bring their pets in to be swabbed, free of charge, after which they’re liable to be fined $250 if their dog’s leavings show up in a test.

 This thing is certain to spread

Gadzooks! A Kazooks Rebuke

say it isn't so!
Years ago when the costs of creating TV shows forced producers and networks to develop low-cost “Realty” shows, I had to watch some of them because one of my advertising clients was Planned Parenthood. Over the years in buying media, particularly TV spots, we always considered the content of shows.
With our target market being women 18-24, shows like The Bachelor and Bachelorette, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, and older shows like Cheers, Friends and Sex in the City appeared to be perfect for PP, but many crossed the line when it came to political correctness or sexually appropriate behavior.
I don’t know if you, dear reader, watch The Bachelor. Maybe they watch The Bachelorette. I promised myself that I would watch neither. But Monday night I was taking care of my little grandson and stumbled on

I wasn’t sure it was smart to let a 9 month old tyke watch a 28-year old man dating 16 women on TV, but the other viewing options involved grizzly murders, hoarders, pregnant teenagers, blood sucking teenagers, blood sucking politicians, obnoxious chefs and haricots verts.   I learned recently haricot verts are just skinny green beans, but haricots verts (pronounced harry-ko-vair) sounds more impressive. I guess. 

Kaz and I watched the Bachelor, Sean Lowe, face 14 rejected ladies, most of whom inexplicably cheered the man they had hoped to marry.  Maybe they were just relieved they didn’t actually have to stand at an alter and say, “I object.”
All but one was easy on The Bachelor. She insisted that Sean told her that he had no feelings for the contenders, Catherine and Lindsey. I was puzzling over why attractive women would bother with a man who was simultaneously dating twenty four other potential wives and wondering why there were no Wheaties or Viagra commercials airing, but Kaz seemed fascinated so I put the remote down.
I explained the show to Kaz. “The series revolves around a single bachelor (deemed eligible) and a pool of romantic interests (typically 25 of them to begin with), which could include a potential wife for the bachelor,” I said.  
Kaz, a bachelor himself, acknowledged my explanation with a nod and carefully bit the leg of a stuffed animal, which I took as his way of asking me to continue.  
“Each new Bachelor episode contains a rose ceremony during which one or more contestants is eliminated. Eliminations are based upon “date performance” (i.e., how the women relate to the bachelor on the dates). The bachelor must follow a process of elimination wherein his pool of bachelorettes is narrowed down week by week by presenting a rose to each of the women he wishes to keep.” 
Kaz pointed excitedly at the rose and jumped up and down in his KCS (Kaz containment system).  At first I thought, Wow! He’s really into this!
Then I realized the rose reminded him of food.  Shoes, books, clouds, mail boxes … well, pretty much anything he sees also reminds him of food, so it’s hard to tell if he was championing any particular woman.
I’m not going to comment further on this season’s event. I don’t want to ruin the ending for you. But in case you’ve successfully avoided this accident-you-can’t-look-away-from addiction, The Bachelor is an American reality television dating game show that debuted 11 years ago on ABC and spawned two more similar tear jerkers: The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad.
In the end, (next Monday night) the bachelor may select only one woman for the final rose. In previous seasons, several of the bachelors have proposed, and one bachelor selected no one.
After 10 years of ABC matchmaking — 16.5 completed seasons of The Bachelor and eight seasons of The Bachelorette, three out of 24 “official” couples are still together.  That’s 12.5%. Not good! As of the end of season 16, none of the bachelors has married the woman to whom he presented the final rose.

Of course it’s all scripted. It’s ridiculous.  It’s vapid.  It’s Kaz’s secret shame.  He and I have a boys-night-in date for next Monday night.  Kaz has just got to find out whether Sean is going to propose to Catherine or Lindsey. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Slippery Snope

The whole thing started this morning when I was going to work on my golf manuscript and I made the mistake of opening the Monday morning email.



I read it. Laughed a lot. Then went to (sort of an online urban legends Mythbusters) to see if this very good website had anything to say.

The headline on Snopes read: THE HIND-LICK MANEUVER … maybe funnier than the story.   I couldn’t resist republishing the cartoon:
In the middle of the site page, Snopes informed me that a version of this story appeared in Herb Caen’s column in 1964.  Herbert Eugene "Herb" Caen was one of my favorite columnists … a San Francisco journalist whose daily column of local goings-on and insider gossip, social and political happenings, painful puns and offbeat anecdotes appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost sixty years. (Description compliments of Wikipedia). 

I still don’t know who I’m stealing from, but the story is so funny and I have spent at least 50 cents worth of my valuable time doing research, I’m going with it. Herb Caen died in 1997 and I have no idea what happened to the people from Sweetwater, which bares (bad pun intended) the name of the street that runs adjacent to where I live in snake country.  Apologies to the cartoonist, and to you for his far too detailed cartoon.

And thank you (I think) to my dear friend, Ron Solomon, who's email started this whole thing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Do you know the Muffin Man?



In the summer of 2011, my brother-in-law, Floyd, a mogul at Binghamton University, took me to Endwell, NY to meet Tony Roma. Of course I thought I was going to have the best ribs in town. Instead I met another culinary Tony and his lovely wife, had a bagel or two at their Best Bagels in Town bakery, and was introduced to a large, fresh and mouthwatering Zuchini Muffin. A Roma family recipe.

Floyd sent me a dozen for my next important occasion. I took one out of the freezer each month.

Abracadabra Alicazam. I needed no butter. I needed no jam.

Best muffins I ever had. Better than Bagels. Better than Donuts. Better than Krispy Kremes. I took the last one out of the freezer after 12 months, put it in the microwave and took it to Starbuck’s where it was taste-tested by the world’s foremost muffinovours. Their score: a perfect TEN all the way around.

I looked up zucchini on Wiki and found the following: Zucchini or courgette is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. Along with certain other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbitapepo. Zucchini can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color.

In a culinary context, the zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovaryof the zucchini flower.

I tested zucchini muffins at several zucchini muffin shops, but none could compare … even a minute fresh to several days frozen. And truth is I can get all of the delicious bakery delicacies I want or need. But these Zucchini Muffins are as hard to get as a consensus in Congress. Even if you could find one, you couldn’t find one like this … one that would be as fresh as the day it was baked after 12 months in the freezer. I even found an alleged sure-fire recipe tried to make them myself.

There are baked goods, and there are baked bads. The product of my attempt at muffinery definitely fell into the latter category. 

My friends (both of them) and family held an intervention to get me off my addiction to the Romas' muffins.
I’m happy to report; it didn’t work.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The New Lexicon (Requestering a Sequestering of the Festering Loophole Pestering)

Many years ago I read two newspaper headlines side by side;
Jone’s Chicken Farm Burglarized
was posted next to Junior Chamber Chicken Fry On Tonight
This morning’s headlines :
Today is the First Day of the Sequester
adjacent to

Sinkhole Swallows House

I was familiar with the words “sequester” and "sinkhole", but had never seen the two intertwined, so I looked them up in my Funk and Wagnall’s.
se·ques·ter (səˈkwestər) is confusing. There is no correlation between the verb and noun. Verb: “Isolate or hide away (someone or something) as in “the artist sequestered himself in his studio for two years.”

Noun: “A general cut in government spending.” The verb could be “the taxpayers voted to sequester the House of Representatives in a sinkhole for two years.”
Segregate - sequestrate - seize - isolate - impound - insulate
I was pleased to hear that due to the sequestration, Joe Biden intends to put Air Force II in the hanger and take the train.  Then I wondered, does Joe Biden go anywhere?

To add insulation to injury, Mean Eileen is sequestering my keyboard (I assume, until the sequester is resolved). 

Is dis ambiguous?