Now gluten-free!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Another snowstorm is on its way. From the Star-Tribune:
    Second scoop of snow coming -- maybe a foot! In case you missed last weekend's snowstorm, the tape's been rewound and is about to replay today through Friday. As much as a foot of snow is expected across much of Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin, with the brunt of it disrupting this afternoon's rush hour as well as both rush hours Thursday in the metro area. Warnings issued: The National Weather Service upgraded winter storm watches to warnings across much of the state and west-central Wisconsin on Tuesday afternoon. In the metro area, Minnesota highway department crews were beginning to spread de-icing materials on bridges, ramps and other ice-prone areas. Ease off cruise control: The State Patrol has warned drivers to be cautious and, in particular, not to use cruise control during icy and snowy conditions. Drifting snow expected: High winds out of the southeast today will shift to the northeast Thursday and are expected to cause significant snow drifting, said National Weather Service meteorologist Tony Zaleski. The drifting will be a particular problem for drivers traveling north and south, he said. But the snow will be heavy again thanks to temperatures around freezing. Reminiscent of 1982: Zaleski said the second storm following in the first storm's footprints has reminded some forecasters of the combination that hit the Twin Cities in January 1982. The 17.4 inches on Jan. 20 to 21 set a single-storm record for the Twin Cities, but it was broken later that week when 20 inches fell Jan. 22 to 23. They now rank as the second- and third-greatest single snowfalls behind the 1991 Halloween blizzard. The Twin Cities received an official 9.1 inches of snow Friday through Sunday, paltry compared to the depths in surrounding areas in the state. Hewitt, about 40 miles west of Brainerd, claimed 17 inches, suburban Andover, 14.3, and Winona, in southeastern Minnesota, 28 inches.
Hey, who's complaining? I just LOVE not having a snow blower!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Aye, Matey! I Like My Toast Darrrrrrrrrrrrrk!

More on this "pirate toaster" here.

"Paging Dr. Moreau..."

From London's The Times:
    Scientists triumph in battle over ban on hybrid embryos Plans to outlaw the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos for potentially life-saving stem cell research are to be dropped after a revolt by scientists. The proposed government ban on fusing human DNA with animal eggs, which promises insights into incurable conditions such as Alzheimer's and motor neuron disease, will be abandoned because of concerns among senior ministers that it will damage British science. While ministers will not endorse the research in full yet, they are no longer seeking legislation to prohibit it, The Times has learnt. The Government will instead provide the fertility watchdog with funds for a public debate on the subject before new laws are drafted. ... ... Scientists are keen to use animal eggs to create cloned human embryos as laboratory models for studying disease. DNA from a patient with a condition such as motor neuron disease would be inserted into the shell of a rabbit or cow egg from which the nucleus has been removed. The embryo would be 99.9 per cent human, and would carry genetic errors implicated in the disease in question. It would then be split up to create stem cells, for studying the condition’s progress and testing new drugs.
It's always frightening when fact begins to imitate fiction.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Wrong Stuff

Ever since the Lisa Nowak incident, people have been speculating about what would happen if an astronaut came unhinged while in outer space. Well, now we know:
    Duct-Tape, Tranquilizers Part Of NASA's Plan for Mentally Unstable Astronauts in Space CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- What would happen if an astronaut came unglued in space and, say, destroyed the ship's oxygen system or tried to open the hatch and kill everyone aboard? That was the question on some minds after the apparent breakdown of Lisa Nowak, arrested in Orlando this month on charges she tried to kidnap and kill a woman she regarded as her rival for another astronaut's affections. It turns out NASA has a detailed set of written procedures for dealing with a suicidal or psychotic astronaut in space. The documents, obtained this week by The Associated Press, say the astronaut's crewmates should bind his wrists and ankles with duct tape, tie him down with a bungee cord and inject him with tranquilizers if necessary. "Talk with the patient while you are restraining him," the instructions say. "Explain what you are doing, and that you are using a restraint to ensure that he is safe." The instructions do not spell out what happens after that. But NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said the space agency, a flight surgeon on the ground and the commander in space would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to abort the flight, in the case of the shuttle, or send the unhinged astronaut home, if the episode took place on the international space station.
I'm reminded of that old adage, "In space, no one can hear you scream." That's especially true when your crewmates tie you up and duct tape your mouth.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


A Hollywood director believes he has found the tomb of Jesus. From Time's blog:
    Brace yourself. James Cameron, the man who brought you 'The Titanic' is back with another blockbuster. This time, the ship he's sinking is Christianity. In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the startling claim that Jesus wasn't resurrected--the cornerstone of Christian faith--and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.
Come on! They can't possibly be serious:
    But film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family.
Riiiiiiiight. We're supposed to believe that these guys had a sample of Jesus' DNA stashed away somewhere and have now been able to match it to a body found in a 2,000-year-old tomb?

Uh, yeah. And I thought we Christians were supposed to be the wackos.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New Security Measures in Wake of Squirrel Attack

After yesterday's squirrel attack, I decided to take a cue from our fearless leaders in government and institute the Squirrel Security Advisory System (see right sidebar). This will be used to communicate with public safety officials and those living in and around the Shelton residence through a threat-based, color-coded system so that protective measures can be implemented to reduce the likelihood or impact of a squirrel attack.

The colors are defined as follows:
    GREEN - Low risk of squirrel attacks BLUE - General risk of squirrel attacks YELLOW - Significant risk of squirrel attacks ORANGE - High risk of squirrel attacks RED - Severe risk of squirrel attacks
The following precautions will also be implemented:
  • All visitors to the Shelton household will be prohibited from wearing fur. A squirrel can very easily blend in with a nice mink coat in order to gain entrance to the house.
  • All nuts and nut-related edibles (honey roasted cashews, peanut butter, corn nuts, Grape Nuts cereal, etc.) must be carried in a clear, sealed plastic bag.
  • Any suspicious, squirrel-like activity should be reported immediately to the nearest authority.
Security is of the utmost importance, and your cooperation is expected. You're either with us, or you're with the squirrels.

Thank you, and God bless America.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Ok, HEART ATTACK!! I walked into the living room, my black dog, Abby, walking slightly ahead of me. I was going to let her outside while I was talking to my boss on the phone. All of a sudden, Abby tears toward the front door, and tosses a gray SQUIRREL up into the air. I scream and apparently the phone cut off, but I don't realize it, so I am explaining what is going on to no one. As I ask myself, out loud of course, how a squirrel got in the house, I glance at the fireplace - the glass door is wide open.

Mr. Squirrel is now on the front bench, under a light blanket, hiding from the dog. I realize that he is already kind of trapped so I act fast! I got the biggest pot we have, and go on the prowl for something thin enough but hard enough to put under the pot, blanket and squirrel. I am going to trap him like a bug in a jar. So I slide a folder under him, and take him outside as quickly as I can! I lift the pot and he flies up the nearest tree. We are both still shaking! My poor boss finally gets the word that it is just a squirrel. He heard two screams and the phone went dead. He thought someone broke into my house and was attacking me!

So there is a little blood on the wall and on the front bench, but Mr. Squirrel seems ok. Thankfully, of all the places he could have gone, at least he went close to the front door! I had images of chasing after him all day! WHEW!! Back to work...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Brief Word about Home Security

When it comes to hiding valuables, many people opt for "diversion safes." These clever devices look like real, ordinary household objects, but are designed to hold whatever you might want to keep out of the hands of a would-be burglar.

Perhaps the most original one I've seen is the Underwear Diversion Safe from
    The "Underwear/Brief Safe" is an innovative diversion safe that can secure your cash, documents, and other small valuables from inquisitive eyes and thieving hands, both at home and when you're traveling. Items can be hidden right under their noses with these specially-designed briefs which contain a fly-accessed 4" x 10" secret compartment with Velcro closure and "special markings" on the lower rear portion. Leave the "Underwear/Brief Safe" in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room - even the most hardened burglar or most curious snoop will "skid" to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn't you?) Made in USA. One size. Color: white (and brown).
What gets me is not that someone dreamed up this idea -- as crazy as it is -- but that there are people out there willing to pay between $30 and $40 for it. I mean, why pay for something you could make yourself?

The Original Game Cube

Here's a six-year-old kid who can solve Rubik's Cube in under 38 seconds:

But here's someone who can do it in under six:

And here's a guy taking more of a "hands-off" approach:

No small feat, eh? But wait! Did you notice that he was a film director?

Here's how he did it:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Not-So-Shameless Plug

I am blessed to have married into a very musical family, and my lovely wife, Dawn, happens to be a wonderful singer. With that, I would like to invite you to check out her debut CD, Because I Love You.

This collection features her interpretations of such all-time favorites as "Pennies from Heaven" and Gershwin's "Our Love Is Here to Stay" (where she is joined by yours truly), in addition to refreshing renditions of Norah Jones' hit "Come Away with Me" and Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." Dawn also demonstrates her song-writing talent on the album's title track.

Here is a track listing along with a few audio samples:
  1. My Love Song to You
  2. 'Deed I Do
  3. Come Away with Me
  4. Pennies from Heaven
  5. But Beautiful
  6. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
  7. Embraceable You
  8. Let's Stay Together
  9. Our Love Is Here to Stay
  10. Because I Love You
  11. Let's Fall in Love
  12. Someone to Watch over Me
  13. Everything Happens to Me
  14. They All Laughed
One of the reasons I mention this is that everyone appreciates great music (and since you're reading this blog, you obviously have pretty good taste), so I know you will enjoy this CD immensely. The other reason is that Dawn and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from China, and all proceeds from CD sales will go to fund that adoption.

So, if you'd like to help out a good cause, if you're looking for a perfect Valentine's Day gift, or if you just like good music, check out Because I Love You. Click here for ordering information.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ending Drunk Driving a Piece of Cake?

I can appreciate the lengths to which some people will go in dealing with the problem of drinking and driving, but this is a little bizarre:
    Talking Urinal Cakes Offer Drinking and Driving Advice

    SANTA FE - New Mexico has taken its fight against drunken driving to men's restrooms around the state.

    The state has ordered 500 talking urinal cakes that will deliver a recorded anti-DWI message to bar and restaurant patrons who make one last pit stop before getting behind the wheel.

    The top of the devices feature the state DWI slogan - "You drink, you drive, you lose."
Talking urinal cake? Sounds like a new South Park character.

Frankly, I find this is a little disturbing. Does the phrase "Go in peace" mean anything anymore?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Eye Toons 2

Okay, I couldn't resist. That horse ain't dead yet!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Eye Toons

Never one to let a dead horse lie (not even if it's Barbaro), here's another spin off the pun. Identify the following cartoon characters by their eyes:

OK, now what do I do in this airport for another hour?

Apple's Trifecta




Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Free Market Solution

The New iCane
Here's a solution to the problem with people using iPods while crossing the street, and it doesn't require any new laws. Just count on good ol' capitalism and American ingenuity to come up with a new product! This is the new iCane. It stores up to 2000 songs, has 24 hours of battery life, and warns approaching drivers of your reduced sensory capacity while you enjoy its high fidelity sound.

Firefox Rules!

I'm a huge fan of Firefox. (No, not the Clint Eastwood movie.) It's my Web browser of choice. In fact, the only time I use Internet Explorer is when I encounter a site that has not yet entered the 21st century. (Sure, I'm given the obligatory apology that their poorly designed site just can't handle Firefox, but it's still annoying.)

Many of you know what I'm talking about. It can be frustrating when you're cruising along the Information Superhighway and suddenly run into a "No motorized vehicles allowed" sign.

Don Beeler, writing for, has some tips on enhancing and protecting your computer with Firefox. Here are a few:
  • Download Firefox. [GET firefox HERE]. Do it NOW. Never use Internet Explorer (MS IE6 or IE7) again.

  • The following Firefox add-ons are critical to simplify your Internet browsing experience: Download "adblock" at ADBLOCK. You can clear out tons of junk off web pages. And while you're at it download the "adblock Filter update" from [GET IT HERE]. You can make ads and images on web pages disappear.

  • "Fasterfox" is a must. Get it: [GET IT HERE]. It will speed up your surfing.

  • For Windows XP, add "Keyscrambler." [GET IT HERE] This is a "must have".

  • "Flashblock" is perhaps the greatest add-on. It replaces flash animations with a button that you can choose to click. It cuts way down on the amount of Flash crap you have to wade through to view a site. Get it here: [PRESS HERE FOR Flashblock]
Be sure to read the full article, "Computer Tips and Privacy," here.

Your Best Teeth Now

(A nod of acknowledgement to the ¡Theo Amigos! for this.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Welcome to the Iowan Alps

Here's a cool story from south of the border:
    CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - As temperatures drop to 17 below zero in the frozen plains of Iowa, those looking for excitement bring a mountain sport to their farms by showering the silos with water, which creates an ice field of sorts.

    "You're not supposed to be ice-climbing in Iowa, but we're doing it," said Don Briggs, who admits it feels like "cheating" somehow.

    Briggs uses garden hoses and some jury-rigged shower heads to water the silos every evening, and the wind and cold create towering stalactites that stretch 70 feet straight up.

    This bizarre marriage of agriculture and extreme sports was the brainchild of Briggs, who teaches physical education at the local university. The idea came to him while working on a neighbor's farm.
Come on, Chris, admit it. This looks way more fun than your vacation to Disney World, right?

Climbers brave the icy peaks of Silo Summit The Iowan Alps at night

Politicians to the Rescue...Again!

First, we had politicians reminding us that we might need a jacket when going outside in sub-zero temperatures. Now this:
    Ban Proposed On Cell Phones, iPods In Crosswalk

    NEW YORK - A state senator from Brooklyn said on Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation that would ban people from using an MP3 player, cell phone, Blackberry or any other electronic device while crossing the street in New York City and Buffalo.

    NewsChannel 4 reported that Sen. Carl Kruger is proposing the ban in response to two recent pedestrian deaths in his district, including a 23-year-old man who was struck and killed last month while listening to his iPod on Avenue T and East 71st Street In Bergen Beach.
Senator Kruger might have a point. After all, New York had not had a single pedestrian death in its history until the iPod made its first appearance.

The article continues:
    "While people are tuning into their iPods and cell phones, they're tuning out the world around them," Kruger said. The proposed law would make talking on cell phones while crossing the street a comparable offense to jaywalking.
One cannot help but wonder how the human race managed to survive for millenia prior to this kind of leadership and guidance.

I think a better solution would be sidewalk toll booths. However, instead of paying 75 cents at a crosswalk, pedestrians will be forced to pay attention. That seems to make as much sense as any other piece of legislation that seeks to save us from ourselves.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I'm Too Stupid

Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, wanted to remind me to that it gets cold in Minnesota in the winter:
    "Minnesotans know that our winters can be unrelenting, but the show must go on. We are asking the public to take common sense precautions to ensure a safe Winter Carnival experience for all," Coleman said.

    The Mayor asked the public to follow common sense cold weather precautions for adults and children including wearing a hat, a scarf or knit mask to cover the face and mouth, sleeves that are snug at the wrists, mittens (they are warmer than gloves), Water-resistant coat and boots, and several layers of loose-fitting clothing.
I'm grateful for politicians because I'm too stupid to figure these things out on my own. Had I not read this, I might have gone to the Winter Carnival in a t-shirt and shorts.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor. You just may have saved my life.

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