7/29/2011What more needs to be said?
I've had the following picture for a long time. It's been sitting on my desktop waiting for me to decide what comment to put with it. There just SOOOO MANY possibilities that I just can't seem to sort them out. So I'll leave that to anyone willing to add a comment.
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7/21/2011Like a Lead Balloon
In the USA we use the cliché "Lead Balloon" to signify something that won't work well or be well received.
In the UK (and other countries) they express it a little differently…
From 1966 to 1968 Jimmy Page was in the Yard Birds. At the time he was personally experimenting with different band members until he arrived at the "formula" he was looking for.
He was working on a super group with John Entwistle, Jeff Beck, and others.
In the end, that group of guys decided not to go through with it., and John Entwistle commented that it would probably go over like a lead zeppelin...
That's how they got their name…
Of course, Lead is spelled "Led", that's still a mystery to me.
7/20/2011Words I Live By:
House on Being Wrong
Cuddy: How is it that you always assume you're right?
House: I don't, I just find it hard to operate on the opposite assumption...
6/24/2011I Use Way Too Much Solder
It's not very often I talk about the really important things in life, so let me start here. I want to talk about why I use way too much solder. A pipe in the basement sprung a pinhole leak the other night. The water that comes out of our well is very acidic. So we have an acid neutralizer in with our water conditioning system. Of course, there has to be some piping that leads from the well, through the pressure tank, and into the acid neutralizer (which is thankfully first in the chain). Consequently those first few pipes are extremely vulnerable to corrosion. This particular repair is probably the 4th or 5th time I've had to replace a section of pipe due to this problem. (you can find pictures of the various occasions under PROJECTS - PLUMBING).
So I broke out the ""Mad Plumber's"" kit and donned the persona of the Mad Plumber! I was demonstrating for my nephew my techniques and felt I had to explain to him that I use WAY too much solder. I told him that if a professional plumber saw what I was doing he would certainly ""harrumph"" over my technique. I've researched soldering extensively and I know what the proper technique is, I just choose to do it this way.
Then when my brother showed up, I felt I needed to say to him, ""I know I use too much solder, but it works"". Of course, after looking at me like ""what the hell are you talking about"" he said something to the effect of ""as long as it works!"". Which is the universal absolution amongst do-it-yourselfers. (along with another of my favorite absolutions ""You can't see it from my house!"")
So his look of ""what the hell are you talking about"" got me to thinking… I thought, ""what the hell AM I talking about?"" and of course in didn't end there. I had to analyze indeed what the HELL I was talking about (I guess obsess is probably a better word). I woke up early this morning and I think I have the answer!
Soldering plumbing connections is not something I can easily test. I am a person who requires a semblance of proof about things, generally I need confirmation that something works like I'm told it should. It's an interesting contradiction in the sense there is so much in life that we have to trust based solely on logic or worse yet FAITH! But then again, I am a ""walking contradiction"" in so many other ways. (No! that is not a euphemism for Hypocrite!)
So as far as soldering goes, you can't tell if you did it right or not until you are all done! It's not like you can solder one part and then turn the water back on to see if that one connection works. So my response is to overdo it! I realize there are risks in doing it this way, meaning that you can actually create gaps and layers in the solder that could end up leaking. But on the other hand it's also not good to re-heat the connection and add more solder if there is a leak. The lesser of two evils is to overdo the joint while you still have the solder flowing with the heat.
Lastly, I just have to add that when the excess solder drips from the pipe, it makes a very satisfying sizzling sound when it hits the floor. Which I have to admit is also one of the side-attractions of over soldering a connection. Actually, it also makes that sound when it hits your skin, but you often don't hear that because of the yelling and dancing around that ensues!
So there you have it! Is this a metaphor for life? I think it probably is, but for now I've simply gotten it off my chest. Hopefully I won't need to justify it much more in the future and I will just be happy with my unsightly yet functional plumbing repairs.
In the meantime, if I had any advice to give, it would be to buy stock in companies that make solder!
- The Mad Plumber
I know what you're thinking... or at least I thought I did! To me NFG has long stood for "NO FRIGGIN' GOOD" which is a moniker that I have know to be used for years to label items that are no longer useful. For instance, a Dead Battery, A Computer Monitor, a bottle of used motor oil, etc. Things that need to sit around for a while before they can be properly disposed of. Marking them with NFG distinguishes them from otherwise useful duplicates of the same item! simple enough, right?
Oh and by the way, I'm sure you understand when I use the word "friggin'" what I really mean. The distinction is because these are typically items that have caused confusion, frustration, or even anger in the past. I'm sure you can cite your own example.
So when I recently saw an "equipment case" at work marked with an official round yellow label that said "NFG" in big bold letters, I laughed and thought "that is one bold person" who would order labels like that! Then I looked closer at the label and saw in small print there was a place to fill in "Flight Number". This seemed to be more evidence that this was NOT the intention of the printer. I looked it up and sure enough it is the Airport code for Nefteyugansk Airport in Russia. Oddly enough in an area that borders Siberia from what I understand.
So I am sure you are wondering why I am discussing this particular acronym (I hope you are, otherwise you've stopped reading a while ago). Well I have 2 reasons.
1 - As a colleague walked by I pointed it out to him. His reaction was essentially "Is that funny or something?" I was stunned that he had never seen or heard that expression used, and this is a fairly "worldly-wise" gentleman (that does NOT mean OLD). I can't describe how that made me feel, maybe a little like when an Englishman visits a convenience store in America and asks for a pack of "fags". I'm sure they get a similar look from the clerk.
2 - The second reason is much more serious. I've begun to feel enormously guilty for the role I've played in contributing to the pollution that must exists now at Nefteyugansk Airport. To the residents of Nefteyugansk and the nearby sister city of Surgut I sincerely apologize for all the dead batteries, monitors, tires, used motor oil, antifreeze and so on that have been sent to you on my behalf. I sincerely thought they would be recycled!
I want to give a Gold Star to a woman who was putting her makeup on behind the wheel.
The award is given because she was doing it in the PARKING LOT and NOT while she was driving.
6/15/2011Bicycle Rules of the Road
(originally posted as part of a discussion @
Failure to Detect Sarcasm)
Sorry I'm late, busy week (which I am sure we can all relate to)
couple of points
1 – I had a friend in High School (23 years ago! OMG) who was an avid bicyclist. After High School he and his father rode across the United States over the summer before he went to College. Anyway, for many reasons his example always stuck in my head about the cooperation between cars and bicycles. I always kept that in mind when encountering bicycles on the road and tired to give them the respect they deserve.
2 – I’ve been a motorcyclist since I was 17 (24 years ago! OMG) and I can relate to bicyclist from that perspective. And YES it ticks me off when I see some idiot doing a wheelie or a stopie in the middle of traffic, because it REALLY does give bikers a bad name! (However, I love watching guys and gals do it in the relative safety of a parking lot or back road, THAT is at least trying to be responsible)
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5/31/2011You Walk Like You Drive
Or is it the opposite? I’m not sure if “Miss Manners” has ever covered this before, but I’m going to give it a shot. There is a certain etiquette, I think, to walking. I’ve worked in relatively large companies over the years. Which means I’ve had to walk through large buildings filled with,,, PEOPLE! (I know, it’s pretty scary, but it can be done) Of course, these rules can still be applied to small places, like the local convenience store or grocery store. They can also be applied to walking in the park or on a busy city street.
I’ve always taken the approach of driving because it just seems natural. I can imagine this would get confusing if you are in a country that uses right hand drive, but the principals still apply. So take some of the basic rules as follows:
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5/30/2011What if the Other Driver could hear you?
Imagine for a moment the aspects of your typical daily commute. I am sure there are certain places where you run into the inevitable “idiot driver”. Alternatively you can just think of an example of a day where you were in a bad mood and everyone was getting on your nerves OR maybe there is an example of something that someone did behind the wheel to really make your blood boil!
Are you there, are you imagining it? So here is my question… what did you say (or yell) to that person? I know, you are a nice person so you weren’t THAT hard on them right? You probably said something like… “Oh, Gee Willikers! That person almost caused an accident, dontcha know!” I know what it’s like, I’ve used words similar to that quite often! Don’t blame yourself for getting out of control, all of us throw out the “Gee Willikers” time and again.
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5/26/2011I Have Something in Common with George Clooney!
There are many influences to this writing. Chief amongst them the current privacy issues that surround the internet. People ask me quite a bit why I don’t use Facebook, Twitter, or other such social media. My general response is to quote George Clooney on the subject of having a Facebook page.
""I would rather have a prostate exam on live television by a guy with very cold hands than have a Facebook page"" (that could be a little inaccurate because of “paparazzi down the alley” but you get the idea)
I do realize that this is not quite the answer they are looking for.
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B.O.A.T. - Bust Out Another Thousand
9/11/2009Tuning OUT to the radio
How many times has this happed to you?
I get in the car with the idea of listening to the News Station on the radio for the weather.
So the announcer says "The Weather Forecast is coming up right after the break!" and they proceed to a stack of commercials.
Well as soon as the commercials come on I start to tune OUT!
Then when the weather comes on after the commercials I completely miss it!
In the case of going to work I go the whole 20 minute drive, get out of the car and think "Damn!, I missed it again!". Even when I had an hour drive to work the same thing would happen.
Thanks to MT for pointing that one out!
9/11/2009B O A T is a 4 letter word!
9/2/2009The Freight Train Effect in Traffic
When a freight train moves away from a stop, it takes a while for the slack in the couplers to be taken up. In one example of a longer train the front engine had moved 120 feet before the rear car moved an inch.
The same sort of thing seems to happen in traffic. The most glaring example is at a traffic light. How often have you been many cars back and seen the traffic light go green only to remain still for an excruciatingly long time before you are able to move.
I see people who let more than a full car length open before they even take their foot off the brake. It's not just the people who simply aren't paying attention either. Those people I could almost excuse for dozing off at a traffic light.
Are they even watching the light? Are they being that cautious? Or are they simply grabbing the tail of the elephant in front of them and hoping they make good decisions about how to drive?
Just imagine how much time you would save on a daily basis if you could reduce this effect even by half!
9/1/2009House on First Impressions
House: (after looking up the patient's nose) It's beautiful! If my lawn were half as well maintained as that, pigeons wouldn't have the nerve to poop on it.
Patient: Good grooming is important.
House: Is that a shot?
Patient: People do judge you on your appearance. When you entered, I noted your shirt hadn't been pressed, you hadn't shaved in quite some time, I extrapolated you were a person for whom detail was not a major concern. I was worried you might apply that same standard in your work.
House: Do you use toe-nail clippers up there?
Patient: They're longer, so they allow me to better reach the upper hairs.
House: I'm wearing a rumpled shirt, and forgot to brush my hair this week. You've got athlete's foot in your nose. … I'm ready to be judged.
9/1/2009Parking for Pride?
What does it say of someone when they park their car across spaces? Not that I haven't done it myself one or twice for reason of vanity or pride. However, there are people who do it who's cars don't necessarily deserve the attention.
I'm not necessarily criticizing anyone who would park their car across spaces to display it, I am mostly just curious whether there is a common thread amongst people who would do it. Because I am willing to bet there are a ton of different reasons beyond the obvious and the practical.
Boat - A hole in the water where you throw your money
8/24/2009Q - What are the 2 best days for a boat owner?
A - The day you buy it and the day you sell it!
8/24/2009The automated signs that show your speed… I like to see how high they will go and how fast they will blink! God help me if they ever decide to track those things!
8/24/2009Why do people slow down (sometimes slam on their brakes) when A cop has someone pulled over on the opposite side of a divided highway?
I've heard it said that "Sarcasm is the recourse of a weak mind". First of all I am a huge fan of sarcasm. In my belief sarcasm is an art form in literature and in life. I think the ultimate achievement for a "sarcasist" (sarcasm artist) is being able "zing" someone and have everyone get it but them!
That doesn't mean I enjoy being mean to people. In fact I think sarcasm gets a bad rep, it can be entertaining, ironic, and playful as much as it can be used to be mean.
Something tells me that the person who would identify with sarcasm being the recourse of a weak mind has either been zinged one too may times in a demeaning way, or simply cannot appreciate good humor. I do understand that, sometimes it's hard to be able to take being the brunt of a joke, but it's important to be able to take it if you want to give it.
1/1/2003In Jest, there is truth.
- S H