Now gluten-free!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An undeniable truth (2/27/2011)

There is no such thing as too much peanut butter.*

* Those with allergies, of course, are the exception to the rule.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On parenting...


Monday, February 21, 2011

Short film: "Silencer"


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Protesting Wisconsin teachers getting fake doctors' notes when calling in sick

It's usually the students who skip school and turn in fake excuse notes to avoid getting in trouble. In Wisconsin, it's the teachers...


Doomed to repeat


Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why is the letter W pronounced "double-u" instead of "double-v"?

It has to do with its function, not its appearance. From The Origins and Development of the English Language, by John Algeo:
The history of the curved and angular forms of u -- that is, u and v -- was similar to that of i and j. Latin consonantal and vocalic u came to represent quite different sounds early in the Christian era, when consonantal u, hitherto pronounced [w], became [v]. Nevertheless, the two forms u and v continued to be used more or less interchangeably for either vowel or consonant. As its name indicates, w was originally a double u, although it was the angular shape v that was actually doubled, a shape we now regard as a different letter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tailgating cop rear-ends car; driver now faces prison time

Brian Hitchcock, driving home from work, was stopped at a red light. As the light turned green, motorcycle cop Anthony Parente pulled in tight behind Hitchcock's convertible and turned on the siren. Hitchcock instinctively hit the brakes, sending the tailgating Parente head-over-heels into his back seat.

Now, everyone knows who's at fault in these types of accidents: It's always the inattentive driver who rear-ends the car in front of him. But in this case, "Hitchcock was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of reckless driving and one count of reckless driving with injuries resulting. If convicted on all three, the writer, who is recently widowed, faces three years in jail."

You really have to read the full story to believe it.

Jack Daniels explains the deficit

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The 5 best toys of all time

From GeekDad:
  1. Stick
    This versatile toy is a real classic — chances are your great-great-grandparents played with one, and your kids have probably discovered it for themselves as well. It’s a required ingredient for Stickball, of course, but it’s so much more. Stick works really well as a poker, digger and reach-extender. It can also be combined with many other toys (both from this list and otherwise) to perform even more functions.

  2. Box
    Another toy that is quite versatile, Box also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Need proof? Depending on the number and size you have, Boxes can be turned into furniture or a kitchen playset. You can turn your kids into cardboard robots or create elaborate Star Wars costumes. A large Box can be used as a fort or house and the smaller Box can be used to hide away a special treasure. Got a Stick? Use it as an oar and Box becomes a boat. One particularly famous kid has used the Box as a key component of a time machine, a duplicator and a transmogrifier, among other things.

  3. String
    My kids absolutely love String—and when they can’t find it, sometimes they substitute other things for it such as scarves or blankets, but what they’re really after is String. Now, I should start off by saying that String is not intended for toddlers and babies: it is a strangulation hazard and your kids must be old enough to know not to put it around their necks. However, when used properly your kids can really have a ball with String.

  4. Cardboard Tube
    Ah, the Cardboard Tube. These are kind of like the toy at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jacks—they come free with a roll of paper towels and other products but you have to wait until you get to the end of the roll before you can finally claim the toy. (Perhaps this explains why my kids—who love the small size—go through toilet paper so quickly.) The small- and medium-sized are most common, but the large versions that come with wrapping paper can be more difficult to obtain—I had a roll of Christmas wrapping paper that lasted about three years before my kids finally got the Tube. There’s also an extra-large size that is sometimes sold with posters, and a super-sized industrial version which you’ll generally only find from carpet suppliers. (Of course, carpet stores aren’t toy stores, and while their product also goes by the name Cardboard Tube it’s hardly the same thing and probably shouldn’t be considered a toy.)

  5. Dirt
    When I was a kid one of my favorite things to play with was Dirt. At some point I picked up an interest in cleanliness and I have to admit that I’m personally not such a fan of Dirt anymore—many parents (particularly indoor people like me) aren’t so fond if it either. But you can’t argue with success. Dirt has been around longer than any of the other toys on this list, and shows no signs of going away. There’s just no getting rid of it, so you might as well learn to live with it.
I am really looking forward to Christmas this year!

"Go green" with this indoor outhouse

What's better than having an outhouse outside? Having one inside, of course!

These self-contained, composting toilets bring a whole new meaning to the term "going green." Choose from models like the Excel...

Long considered the standard in composting toilet performance, the Excel is the preferred self-contained electric model for heavy or residential use.

The Excel is not only our best-selling unit, but also the first self-contained composting toilet to be certified by NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) in 1989.

...the Compact...
The Compact is an elegant low profile unit with the looks to complement any bathroom.

Sun-Mar engineers designed this low profile toilet by developing and patenting a new variable diameter Bio-drum which is small at the front and large at the rear. To maintain the uninterrupted lines of the Compact, a patented Bio-drum handle recesses into the body of the unit to mix and aerate the compost.

...and the Space Saver...

With a width of only 19" and depth of 22", even a closet or small corner can be turned into a bathroom!

The Space Saver is a standard three chamber unit designed specifically for situations where space is extremely limited.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

An undeniable truth (2/10/2011)

No matter how long a freeway on-ramp is, the typical Minnesota driver will never accelerate to a speed above 40 mph when merging.

(Excerpt from page 70 of the 2010 Minnesota Driver's Manual with the appropriate section highlighted.)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

"Goodbye Yellowstone Park..."

You're probably aware of the huge volcano lurking just below Yellowstone National Park. Well, a recent study has shown that during the past several years the volcano "has been rising at an unprecedented rate."

Volcanologists, however, aren't saying anyone should change their vacation plans just yet. Eruptions are usually preceded by warning signs, like more frequent earthquakes, changes in gas emissions, and an increase in escaping steam and heat. You may recall that in 1980 Mt. St. Helens had been acting up for about two months before erupting.

Rejected cover for Donald Rumsfeld's memoir

Donald Rumsfeld's memoir, Known and Unknown, hit the bookshelves yesterday. The current cover, which shows the former Secretary of Defense in a casual, macho, cowboy-like pose, was chosen over the original design, which hearkened back to one of the highlights of Rumsfeld's career as a special envoy for President Reagan...

Apparently Rumsfeld wanted this to remain filed in the "unknown" category.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Have no fear; Marijuanaman is here!

Grammy Award-winning musician Ziggy Marley, son of reggae legend Bob, is entering the world of comic book super heroes. Marijuanaman, the character conceived of by Marley (and I can probably guess what he was doing at the time), will be written by comic veteran Joe Casey and illustrated by Jim Mahfood.

According to the book's publisher, Image Comics, this "promises to shatter all expectations -- this is not the comic you think it is! The oversized deluxe hardcover graphic novel tells the tale of a noble extraterrestrial champion, who has arrived on Earth to deliver an important message and at the same time save his own planet."

As Marley explains, "Marijuanaman represents the hope of the future...the hope that we will utilize all of the power that the universe has given us to save our planet." I'm not really sure what any of that means, but I guess we can find out when the 48-page hardcover book hits the shelves on April 20.

Oh, and Ziggy, if you're reading this, I have the perfect name for a sidekick: Munchy.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Confession app available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

You know you're living in the Information Age when you hear about things like this. Last month, a company called Little iApps announced the release of its first application for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch entitled Confession: A Roman Catholic App:
Designed to be used in the confessional, this app is the perfect aid for every penitent. With a personalized examination of conscience for each user, password protected profiles, and a step-by-step guide to the sacrament, this app invites Catholics to prayerfully prepare for and participate in the Rite of Penance. Individuals who have been away from the sacrament for some time will find Confession: A Roman Catholic App to be a useful and inviting tool. ...

... Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for January 2011 was, “that young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society.” Little iApps developer and co-founder, Patrick Leinen, said, “Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology. Taking to heart Pope Benedict XVI’s message from last years’ World Communications Address, our goal with this project is to offer a digital application that is truly ‘new media at the service of the Word.’ The app has already aided one man in returning to the sacrament after 20 years. We hope many more will take advantage of this new confession resource.”
And yes, it's Catholic Church-approved.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Poignant image from the protests in Egypt

This, according to the person who took it, is a picture of Christians protecting praying Muslims from police violence.

Cool stroboscopic effect on a helicopter

If you've seen an old western movie in which a stagecoach rolls into town with its wheels appearing to spin backwards, you're familiar with the stroboscopic effect. It has to do with the movement of something with a consistent pattern (like the spinning spokes on a wagon wheel or the rotors on a helicopter) in relation to the shutter speed of a film or video camera. When the synchronization is just right, you get a cool effect like this...

The Scooby Gang spotted at Target!

This is one of at least two Mystery Machines I've seen patrolling the Twin Cities.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

If these walls could speak...

Few things are as mysterious and eerily beautiful as a derelict building.

Oregon house

New Jersey diner


Berlin hospital


Detroit library

Japanese theme park

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