Welcome to ToTG!

July 30, 2013

The Bike Test

You Are Confident

You've accepted yourself fully, and you're happy with where you are in life. You are extremely content.

Your gut reactions are neither negative nor positive. You tend to see both sides of issues.

You are efficient and savvy. You don't get tied down by unnecessary details.

You are very self sufficient and independent. You prefer to rely on yourself. 

Bubble Wrap Bike

I want one of these.

Fishy Fingernails

Did you know the pearly essence in many lipsticks and nail polishes is made up of fish scales? (usually from herring)

There are vegan-approved nail polishes which use mineral silica, synthetic pearl or particles of metal such as bronze or aluminum.

I Could Do This Bike Trick

July 29, 2013

Choose Your Own Title

For this post because I sure can't think of one.

This reminds me of a video game I used to play on Nintendo.

July 28, 2013

Joy for Breakfast

Did you know Mrs. Butterworth's first name is "Joy"?


dreck noun Slang.

1. excrement; dung.

2. worthless trash; junk.

I probably should have named this blog "Top of Texas Dreck", huh?

Slightly Phobic

Not too many things frighten me...at least to the point of being an irrational fear, making me run away screaming. I'm not fond of enclosed spaces and don't like being in large crowds, but I wouldn't say those fears are phobias. (maybe they are, but...) I don't like spiders, but I'm cool after they've been smashed. I don't care for snakes, so I just avoid them. How phobic are you?

You Are 24% Phobic

Scared? You? Not really. Everyone has a few normal phobias, and you're no exception.

It's okay to be afraid of a few things. You wouldn't be human if you weren't. 

July 26, 2013

Million Barrel Blowout

That's what they have touting on the online sports talk radio shows I have been listening to over the last week.  To be honest, it really went in one ear and out the other, my being of the TV age where I've learned to tune out the adverts until the regular show came back on.  Still, I understood it was to be some big concert in Monahans, Texas (Facebook page for the event).

Just as that information seeped into the far reaches of my brain, something else rose to the forefront of my consciousness;  I had read about the Million Barrel Museum several years ago, even taken some screen captures of overhead imagery in both Google Earth and Bing Maps and meant to make a post about it.  You can read more about it at RoadsideAmerica.com, but in a nutshell, it was a huge oil storage tank built in 1928 during the height of the oil boom in that part of Texas.  Here's the Google Earth screen shot: (click images for larger view)

That's the direct overhead imagery; here's the Bing Maps view from an angle:

According to the Roadside America article, the tank soon cracked under the weight of its own 315 million lbs. of concrete and most of the oil leaked out; the facility was abandoned until a local man filled it full of water to use as a small lake. Apparently the tank was no better at holding water than it was oil, so the structure was again abandoned and sat unused for decades, full of tumbleweeds and marked with graffiti.

The article also mentions that "Texas crude is about 30 percent gasoline, which means that 200 million gallons of 1920s vintage leaked gas may still be in the ground beneath the Million Barrel Museum."

I don't know about anyone else, but there's been something in common with EVERY concert I've ever been to, no matter if it was in a coliseum, an auditorium or open-air venue like this one, namely that there has ALWAYS been...well, let's say "flammable substances consumed".    I'm not sure I'd really want to go to that particular concert, especially sitting on top of 200 million gallons of gasoline.

(Edit to add:  As I mentioned in the comments, that was a joke. I really don't think there's "200 million gallons of gas" underneath the the old tank.  Depending upon how quickly they sucked up the oil after the tank cracked - and I'm sure they did, that was a valuable product just lying on the ground -  most of the volatile part of the crude oil evaporated into the air.  I've never read of any environmental disasters in regards to the area and online water quality tests for the city of Monahans show nothing more in the water that isn't in most other city water supplies)

Be that as it may, here's some more information on the site:


Overall View of the Million Barrel Oil Tank

Fan Page of the Million Barrel Museum


From the website:

Save your inbox from spam. Use MailDrop when you don't want to give out your real address. Make up your own e-mail address.

No signup required - MailDrop is free for anyone to use when you need a quick, disposable e-mail address.

MailDrop is a great idea when you...

...want to sign up for a website but you're concerned that they might share your address with advertisers.

...are required to provide an e-mail address to a mobile app that shouldn't be sending you messages.

...are making a one-off purchase from an e-commerce site where you don't want followup spam about their "latest deals" in your inbox.

...publish your e-mail address in a place that it could be picked up by address-harvesting spam bots.

...give your address to companies that have a track record of less-than-stellar security.


July 25, 2013

The Date of Sodium Carbonate

Or, How I Nearly Got My Soda Ash Kicked.

Back when I was roughnecking, it was common for the guys who worked on the rig to take home some soda ash (aka Sodium carbonate) to use when washing our "greasers" - our work clothes. It did for the washing machine water the same as the reason we mixed it in the drilling fluid, it softened the water, allowing the chemicals to better mix in the fluid and making the soap work better in the washer.

The laundromats charged .25 cents per cup and it was "free" on the rig. (I suppose it could be called stealing, but more was spilled or wasted from broken sacks than what we took home. I justified it as since we were also taking home "their" grease, pipe dope, oil and mud from the rig on our clothes, they could contribute to getting them clean) Even if you had a washer and drier at home, you still took your nasty work clothes to a laundry; otherwise, you would ruin your machines. Laundromats had designated machines specifically for these filthy clothes with big signs over them "Greasers Only!". (and I've learned to never, ever use any machine adjacent to those for regular clothes - some people don't care and will wash their work clothes in the closer machines if they can get by with it.)

I had used my wife's car (now ex-wife) for a couple of days when my boss's car was in the shop and had put what was left of a bag of soda ash in the trunk, probably about 10-15 lbs. of the stuff remaining in the bag, and had forgotten to take it out. I was working 6 days on, 2 off, at the time and we were going to make a quick trip to Denton on my short "weekend"  to visit my in-laws. As I was loading our suitcase into the trunk, I saw the bag and grabbed a-hold of it and it broke, spilling nearly all that was left in the sack. I didn't have time to clean it up, so I went ahead and threw the case into the trunk and away we went.

After a six hour drive, we got there. We visited with my wife's family for a few hours and I was ready to get out of the house for a while, so with the excuse I was going to clean out the car, I drove to a nearby car wash. I washed the outside, then pulled up to the vacuums, sucked up the dirt inside the car then remembered the spill in the trunk. I decided I probably should try to get the bulk of the soda ash out before I used multiple quarters so I picked up the mat to take it to the trash by the vacuum machines.

As I was gingerly walking it over, though, I dropped one corner and the wind picked up a good bit of the chemical and it just so happened I was upwind of a big black guy vacuuming his nice, new Pontiac Firebird (Like the Smokey and the Bandit car). In horror, I saw the white powder settle all over his recently washed car, but even worse, some got in his eyes.

Did I mention he was huge? He was also wearing a green football jersey,the color of the local University of North Texas Eagles, the Mean Green.

(the alma mater of “Mean Joe” Greene. The two guys looked alike, and I don't mean that as a white "they all look alike" thing. They certainly resembled each other from the neck down, at least in size. To be honest, I was more than a little afraid to look the guy in the eye, not that I could anyway, since he was rubbing it with a fist the size of a dinner plate)

If he didn't play for the school, he was so big he should have. In fact, I could have passed as a mascot, I was certainly green around my gills, although I was anything but an eagle at the time, more of a frightened chicken.

The guy was not only one of the largest men I've ever seen, he was one of the angriest. "Hey man!" he yelled at me, rubbing his eyes. "What was that ****?!?!" I might have been scared nearly to wetting myself, but maybe the adrenaline coursing through my veins sharpened my mind, gave me some quick thinking.

"Aw man, I'm sorry." I replied. "I'm SO sorry, here let me give you some money to wash your car again." I said while reaching for my wallet. "Just don't call the cops on me." He looked at me in a strange way as I started dumping the rest of the soda ash into the trash.

"Nah, thass OK." he said. He waved off my offer of money and with great relief I waved goodbye at him while I got in my car and drove away. I glanced at the rear view mirror and watched him digging the rest of the soda ash out of the trash.  I stomped on the gas and hurried on back to the in-law's house and stayed there until it was time to head home.  My ex wanted to get a soft drink before we left, but I insisted we instead stop at the next town.  I did NOT want to run into that guy again.

Did I mention what soda ash looks like?

July 24, 2013

Petal to the Mettle

I love it when these quizzes result in how I like to think of myself, but this is one of those that are SO wrong, they're funny.  Well, it's true I don't make lists, but "powerhouse"?  "Wasting time isn't in my nature"? "Very productive"?  Makes me think I should have made another choice.

You Are Determined

You are a powerhouse when it comes to getting things done. You are very productive.

You aren't the type who needs to make a lot of lists or plans. You just dig in.

You are a naturally organized person, and you let your intuition guide you in determining what's most important.

Wasting time just isn't in your nature. Even your hobbies tend to be of the more profitable variety.

People may be surprised to see how quickly you find success in life, but they don't know how much you're working behind the scenes.

While others are taking a long lunch or afternoon off, you're getting important stuff done. You only rest when you feel like you deserve it. 


July 23, 2013

Fun Trivia Scoreboard

Is back.

That is all.

I Ran - A Flock of Seagulls

A "bump" from 11/22/08 because I just read this: Flock of Seagulls Robbed. Before I clicked on the link, I figured it was the band that got robbed, not literally a flock of seagulls. (or a truck full of seagulls heisted) The old video wasn't working, blocked "in your country".  That always sucks.

July 22, 2013

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry
 - Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 75–77

I really hate borrowing money;  the hassle of going to a bank diminishes the excitement of buying a car and I never have liked borrowing money for other reasons, even a few dollars, from a friend.  I've loaned money to people and found out they'd avoid me afterwards.  There's something about being beholden to someone that makes for resentment from some folks. As evidenced by the above verse, Shakespeare realized it, too.

Flashback:  It was a weekend during the school year;  I was barely sixteen and hadn't had a car or my license for very long and had a date for that Saturday night.  Since it wasn't the summer, I didn't have a job and consequently didn't have much money, only a couple of lonely dollar bills in my wallet.  Even though gas was about .32 cents/gallon and the cost of admission to the movies was only a fraction of what it is today, I still didn't have enough money...oh, I could probably pay to get in the theater, but popcorn would have been beyond my budget, forget about a pizza or burger afterwards. 

So, I swallowed my pride and asked my dad for a loan.  "Sure, how much do you need, son?" he asked, getting out his wallet.  I had in mind about five bucks, but thought I'd ask for more and would settle for five if I had to. "Uh...how about ten dollars?" I tentatively asked.  "Sure." said my dad, pulling the bill out and holding it out towards me.  I reached for it, then he pulled it back a little.  "Of course, there's the interest."

Great, I thought.  What the heck, I asked what the terms were. "100% interest." said pop.  Sheesh, even though bank loans were fairly expensive, that seemed outrageous, more what a Mafia loan shark would charge.  Still, I was in a bind and needed the money, maybe I could renegotiate the interest later or maybe he was just kidding.  I nodded my head and reached for the ten-spot.

"Well..." said my father.  "The interest is due right now." and he put the bill back in his wallet.  "You can pay the principal back anytime."

My mother had been listening and after I had cleaned up and was changing clothes, resigned to the fact that I was going to have to tell my girlfriend that I couldn't afford to take her out when I saw a five dollar bill sticking out of my wallet.  As I was leaving, my momma winked at me, so I knew she had given me the money behind dad's back...or at least talked him into giving me some.

Still, seven dollars total wasn't going to go all that far, but at least I could buy a couple of gallons of gasoline and get into the movie and afford some refreshments, although I would have to let her eat all the popcorn so she'd fill up on that and not want a candy bar, too. I'd also have to make sure she only got the medium size cup of the Dr Pepper she so loved.  Before picking her up, I stopped at the family-owned service station I traded at.  Waving off the old man coming out the door when I pulled into the drive, I pumped a dollar's worth of regular into my little Tempest

As I got a one-dollar bill out to pay, he said "That all the gas ya gonna get? On a Saturday night?"  I sheepishly admitted I couldn't afford any more and related the attempt at borrowing money from dad.  The old man laughed and shuffled out to my vehicle and filled it up.  "We'll just open you up a charge account." he declared.  "You can pay it off when you work this summer."  I was flabbergasted, but was nearly floored when his son opened up the cash register and handed me a five dollar bill. " Here's some money for your date." he said. "We'll just put that on your bill, too."

Now, what really surprised me about their generosity was that this family was known for their "frugal" ways. I once wrestled their huge Coke machine away from the wall because the old lady said she had dropped some money under it.  It was a nickel. They were open on Sundays, even though I bet they didn't average a half-dozen customers during the day.  I know they used a bank, but since the old man and his wife had lived through the Depression, they kept a goodly amount of money on hand.  Later, when I started roughnecking, they often cashed my entire crew's paychecks for them if it looked like we weren't going to get back before the banks closed, several thousand dollars, without even blinking.  (I always worried that some of the less reputable guys I worked with would come back and rob them, but it never happened)

That charge account really helped me out;  from then on I didn't have to always use "drip gas" and especially burn it in my next car, a Ford Fairlane with a much bigger engine than the Tempest, one that didn't run too well on the unrefined fuel.  They helped me out in other ways, letting me use their tire machine to fix flats w/out charging me for anything other than the materials I used. (a valve core was five cents, a patch was a dime and a valve stem was a whoppin' .25 cents!) I could also wash my car for free and in return, I would sweep their drive or clean out the wash bay sump pit and take their trash out to the dump for them. (In a sweet old '55 Chevy pickup which I'd LOVE to have now)  I later helped out with the business when the son got cancer. 

I've had others help me since then, friends have offered help w/out me asking (bless you!), my banker has approved loans without embarrassing me, even my dad grudgingly gave me money when I was in a bind, but what happened on that long-ago Saturday afternoon still warms my heart.  I got to take my date to the "picture show", bought her the biggest bucket of popcorn, a big box of Junior Mints and one of those tanker-sized soda pops PLUS a pizza afterwards along with a pitcher of Dr Pepper!  I even had more than enough money for the Elton John tunes on the pizza place jukebox. (I think my "big spending ways" were what made her so "grateful" later, if you get my drift. I got my first charge account that day and managed to lose *something* else later that night I really didn't want at all.)

But, since that time, I've over-extended myself with credit, especially with credit cards, particularly gas credit cards.  It was too easy to be able to fill up without spending "real money" and then be overwhelmed when the monthly bill hit.  Even though my pop could be a cruel jokester, he also passed along some nuggets of wisdom: "Don't ever charge gas, groceries or booze and you'll do all right in this world." he would tell me. I later understood exactly what he meant;  borrowing money for a car or home was different because you still had the thing, even though it might not be paid off yet, but with gas, groceries and liquor, those things were gone fairly quickly and all you were left with was debt.

July 21, 2013

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton is the only 3-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the first as a member of The Yardbirds, the second as a member of Cream and the third time for his solo career.

I like Clapton and could post any of his solo videos I like or from his days with the band Cream, but I'll just link to one of my favorite all-time songs. (I like it so much, I've posted several versions of it!)

July 20, 2013

Most Manly Movie

The highly regarded 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, winner of seven Oscars, has no female speaking parts.

Streetside Classics

I've found a new favorite website;  it's Streetside Classics. According to the site, they're the "nation's top consignment dealer of classic and collectible cars" and they wouldn't get an argument from me. With dealers in Charlotte, Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth, they have a huge selection to peruse. They also have a YouTube channel, but most of their listing's videos can also be viewed on the site. Each listing also has a full set of detailed photos.

Navigation is fairly easy on the website;  personally, I click on "New Arrivals" because I've pretty much explored every other listing.  If you're wanting to see if there's a particular model, the Quick Search drop-down menu has plenty of options.  If you're looking for - say - a '57 Chevy, that's easy enough to find. (and they're really expensive now- when I was a kid, you could buy one of those for a few hundred bucks.  One fully restored now can set you back in the neighborhood of $80k+) You can also input any range of years, which showroom and price from high to low and vice versa.

While they have all types of cars for sale at their three locations, the videos are similar and all that I've seen have been in HD. The soundtracks differ, from an appropriate generic heavy metal tune for the muscle cars, to a jazz accompaniment for the really slick and sexy vehicles, to a more "bluesy" type sound for the classics. (although I have heard some mainstream tunes used in the videos, such as AC/DC for this older listing of a  1954 Chevrolet Pickup) The format for the videos is basically the same, with a pan and scan of all sides, the trunk,  then shots of the interior from different angles and of the engine compartment. All the ones I've viewed end with the music stopping, someone starting the vehicle and revving the motor, then slowly driving by the camera and away to be parked with other great looking vehicles.

Here's a car I drooled over when I was in high school, a 1972 Dodge Challenger. (the closest thing to it I ever considered buying could afford was a '67 Barracuda, but wound up with a '67 Fairlane)  It makes me a little sad to think that a car from my youth is now considered a classic...and more than a little sad to see that it's in a lot better shape than I am. (I'm sure the restoration on it didn't cost as much as the one which would be required to get ME back in tip-top shape)

Not every vehicle is of the high-dollar variety, witnessed by this 1962 Ford Galaxie 500 Mayberry Tribute Replica going for $12,995. I would love to have that car to tool around town in. (although I'm not sure who I would be when I drove it around - Sheriff Andy or Deputy Fife)

The other day I went through the newest listings picking out the cars/trucks I'd love to own.  I kept a "running total" of the cost and then went out and bought a lottery ticket.  I'll have to win the lotto in order to afford the vehicles I want...unless someone wants to loan give me a half-million bucks?

July 19, 2013

Not Just My Inner Fruit Flavor

But the shape of my body, too.

Your Inner Fruit Flavor is Pear

You are an idealistic soul. You're the type of person who still believes in changing the world.

You are compassionate and generous. You get joy from giving to others.

You feel deeply and freely. You don't put bounds or limitations on your thoughts.

You have a vivid imagination, and it's so deep that it's hard to express with words. 

July 18, 2013

Two Minutes of Hate

From the 1984 British dystopian film Nineteen Eighty-Four (also known by the name 1984), based upon the iconic novel of the same name by George Orwell.

That scene reminds me of the current discourse amongst Americans these days, getting all riled up in forums and on message boards over some so-called "controversial" issue, all while ignoring the things our "leaders" are doing while we're distracted.


poetaster po·et·as·ter [poh-it-as-ter] noun

an inferior poet; a writer of indifferent verse.

Poetry I never could master
My poems were quite the disaster
The art of the rhyme
Never was mine
Which makes me a poetaster.

Death Clock

Originally published 7/31/07

From the website:

Welcome to the Death Clock(TM), the Internet's friendly reminder that life is slipping away... second by second. Like the hourglass of the Net, the Death Clock will remind you just how short life is.

Darn, I won't make it to the New Year's party.


They say time flies when you're havin' fun.

It goes pretty fast when you're just goofin' off, too.

I was looking at a post I had linked to and saw this and decided to take the test again. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I'm gonna live a little longer than when I first took the test.

It's great what the loss of a few lbs. will do as well as a change of attitude, huh?

Topical Typing Trivia

Today is my h.s. typing/business teacher's birthday and in honor of her, here's this bit of trivia.

From The Old Farmer's Almanac:

What is the fastest speed on record (words per minute) for typing text?

There are three different words per minute (wpm) records -- for the manual typewriter, the electric typewriter, and the personal computer keyboard. On a manual typewriter, the world record is 176 wpm, and on an electric typewriter it is 216. In an official test in 1991, Gregory Arakelian of Virginia set the personal computer record with 158 wpm.

Sure beats my puny 54 WPM

July 17, 2013

Baby Please Don't Go - Them

I was just listening to Powerage, an online radio station in Paris that plays nothing else but AC/DC and this song came on. I had forgotten AC/DC covered it, but I remembered other groups and musicians who had. (more information after the video)

From Wikipedia: "Baby, Please Don't Go" is a classic blues song which has been called "one of the most played, arranged, and rearranged pieces in blues history". It has become a blues and rock standard and has been recorded by a variety of artists.

After reading the Wiki article, I discovered that this version by Them was on the "B" side of a single they had released in 1964.  The "A" side tune?  Gloria, one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. (thanks to the first garage band I was ever around) From the Wiki entry for the song: Humourist Dave Barry joked that "You can throw a guitar off a cliff, and as it bounces off rocks on the way down, it will, all by itself, play Gloria."

The Keyword is "Generally"

Because the Lord, my family and friends know I'm sometimes NOT good natured.  My good nature goes out the window sometimes with spammers, trolls and partisan hacks from either side.

You Are Generally Good-Natured

Like everyone else, you have your ups and downs in life. You try to keep going and remain positive though!

You know how easy it is to see the downside of any bad news. You do what you can to lift your spirits when times are tough.

You're not just a good-natured person - you're a proactive one. You solve your problems whenever you can.

Even in the worst of times, there's something you can do to make things better and less stressful... and you find it.

You aren't overly optimistic or pessimistic. You think it's best to take a wait and see approach to most things.

Whenever there's a crisis, your friends and family appreciate your levelheadedness and realism. You keep your cool. 

Devils Tower

Earlier I had written about Bing and their fantastic, changing daily page (see post just under this one) and was pleased to see Devils Tower as today's theme.

If you're a movie fan, you'll immediately recognize it as the geological feature which is prominently featured throughout Close Encounters of the Third Kind, one of my favorite flicks.

Here's a montage of most of the scenes from the movie with Devils Tower in them...or recreations of same, painted in water color, modeled in dirt and chicken wire, even sculpted in mashed potatoes!

There's not that many places in the world I want to see before I die, but Devils Tower is on my bucket list. I'd love to include it in a tour of that part of the country, also visiting Mount Rushmore, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (Custer's Last Stand)and Yellowstone National Park.

July 16, 2013

Bing Things

I've recently started using Bing more often, not especially for search (because Google pretty much does it the best) but because I enjoy their daily interactive and informative page, and also because they give points for visiting and for clicking on links. Granted, it looks like it would take a LOT of points to get anything worthwhile, but I imagine that after a year of using it the points would add up to some substantial total.

My problem is this: often, when I visit the page, I see I'm not signed in. The good thing is all I have to do is click on the "Microsoft account" and I'm signed in. (I certainly don't want to connect my Facebook account to anything!)

What I don't understand is how I'm not signed in, but it knows my points total. Strange. What's really odd is this next message after signing in:

You HAVE to click "Continue" to continue because if you don't, you're sent to a blank white page.  Yeah, that's great;  if I wanted a blank white page, I could just go to Google and put in "blank white page". -snicker-  I know enough HTML to where I could make my own!

Another reason I started using Bing is that Google is doing away with the iGoogle home page I've used for years.  I really liked it; I had various modules on it for news and local weather and sports headlines along with a Gmail preview.  I don't understand what's up with Google lately;  they did away with file storage a couple of years ago which was annoying but understandable, but their explanation for ending Google Reader didn't make much sense. 

The 'net is great, but it's also frustrating as hell.  It could also be described as fleeting, because as soon as you get used to something, get it the way you like it, it changes or disappears. 

All The Young Girls Love Alice - Elton John

One of my favorite songs off of one of my all-time favorite albums: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I wouldn't say it would be the only album I'd take if deserted on an island (honestly, who would want only ONE album to listen to all the time?) but it's definitely in my Top Ten of all time. It helps that it's a double album (twice the tunes!), but there's not a song on it I don't like.

I was thinking of what music video to post and I first thought of Social Disease, but a quick search showed I had posted it not long ago. (glad the Blogger search works better than my memory!)

This song doesn't have any personal meaning to me, other than it was quite controversial for its time and I don't remember it being played on the radio...while at least a half-dozen of the other tunes off the album were. I'm fairly certain I didn't know what a lesbian was and certainly didn't know any. (which, come to find out much later, wasn't true) I like that it tells a story, even if it's a sad one.

If I had a gripe about Elton John's singing, it's that the lyrics are sometimes hard to understand, so here they are, along with interpretations of them.

"With a double barrel name in the back of her brain
And a simple case of Mummy-doesn't-love-me blues"

July 15, 2013

Two Offical Languages of Israel

The two official languages of Israel are Hebrew and Arabic.

Here's that sentence in Hebrew:

שתי השפות הרשמיות של ישראל הן עברית וערבית

And in Arabic:

اللغتان الرسميتان إسرائيل هي العبرية والعربية

July 14, 2013

Gerald Ford Trivia

Did you know Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, was originally named Leslie Lynch King, Jr. when he was born? He was also the only President not to be elected by the Electoral College, having been appointed to the Vice Presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned, then becoming President upon the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Ford was also a star football player for Michigan and in 1934, against the University of Chicago, "became the only future U.S. president to tackle a future Heisman Trophy winner when he brought down running back Jay Berwanger, who would win the first Heisman the following year."

July 13, 2013

Nights in White Satin - Justin Hayward

Summer Sense

Your Summer Sense is Sight

You are very visually oriented. It's likely you're an artist - or at least a good photographer.

You are good at taking in a lot of visual stimuli at once ... the more the better.

Your eyes love the bustling scenes of summer. You could spend hours at a crowded beach people watching.

You are equally moved by the sights of nature. You can be endlessly entertained on a quiet hike. 

July 12, 2013

Mr. Speaker to Mr. President

James K. Polk was the only former Speaker of the House (1835-1838) who also served as President. (1845-1849) Photographs of him are the earliest surviving taken of any President while in office.

July 11, 2013

Forever and Ever, Amen-Randy Travis

Hope you get well, Randy Travis.

One of my favorite Travis tunes.

I still like this song, even though it reminds me of a relationship gone very badly. (not the song;  it's about a long-lasting love, but it was on the charts when we were dating) The woman was a huge Travis fan and it was a long while after the breakup before I could listen to him again.  His previous hits remind me of just after my divorce a few years earlier;  I'd go to the bar and sit and nurse a few beers and play "Diggin' Up Bones" and "On the Other Hand" on the jukebox...and go home alone.

My mom called me on a Sunday after one of those nights at the bar.  "Where were you last night?" she asked. "Dad and I went out to eat and wanted to take you out."  When I told her I was at the bar, she wondered "Why were you there?  You don't hardly drink!"  I told her I was hoping to meet a woman there. "Oh Michael," she sniffed in only the way mothers do when they WANT to chew you out but don't. "You won't meet a nice woman in a bar.  You should go to church, meet one there."  I allowed as that was probably the right thing to do. (and mommas are always right; even if they're not, you certainly don't tell them they aren't)  Somehow I doubted I would meet the type of woman I really wanted to meet - at that point in my life -  in church, but what the heck?

So, I started going with them to a small church they attended.  ("small" is almost too generous - the entire family, my sister, her sons and their families went one Sunday and we nearly tripled the attendance) There WERE some single women that went to the church, too.

I think the youngest one was around 70 yrs. old.

July 10, 2013

Four-Eyed Fish

Did you know there's a Four-eyed fish? The Anableps anableps is the most common type. (there are two other recognized species in the genus, the Anableps dowei and the Anableps microlepis ) Actually, the fish doesn't have four eyes, but the pupils of both eyes are divided giving the surface swimmer the ability to search above for food while watching for predators below it.

What Religion is Your Bra?

This joke came in a weekly newsletter I get and I started to post the text version and while looking for some bra clip art to accompany it (not a very good selection; I thought maybe a Madonna pointed type would be funny to go along with the joke)I found the video.

It reminded me of when this was posted somewhere in an MSN Group - the joke was semi-funny, but the comments under it were even funnier. Several of us made additions to the list and they were better than the original ones. I didn't save the comments (or if I did, that was several computers and failed hard drives ago) but maybe we can get some more contributions.

One of my entries was the Pentecostal bra with two pockets - one for the snake and another for the strychnine.

OK, not all the comments were funny.

July 9, 2013

Just Don't Push My Buttons

You Are Relaxed

You're not just patient, you are on 'island time' no matter what you happen to be doing.

You refuse to be in a rush or anyone or anything. It's not worth the stress. You'll get there when you get there.

Despite your seemingly lackadaisical attitude about rushing, you often get to places early. You leave with enough time.

You take everything that happens in stride. As far as you're concerned, very little is worth getting worked up about.

If you were a TV channel, you would be Discovery, BBC, or PBS. If you were a cheese, you'd be mozzarella.

If you were a store, you'd be Brooks Brothers or Banana Republic. If you were a wine, you'd be Shiraz. 

Sad Survey Stats

This was the survey question today on StartSampling; I voted for "No, not at all" but it was sad to see the "Yes, absolutely" percentage and even sadder to see the "Not familiar with the issue" numbers.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

 - Ben Franklin

July 7, 2013

Smiling Faces Sometimes - The Undisputed Truth


yawp [yawp, yahp] verb (used without object)

1. to utter a loud, harsh cry; to yelp, squawk, or bawl.
2. Slang. to talk noisily and foolishly or complainingly.
3. a harsh cry.
4. Slang.
a. raucous or querulous speech.
b. a noisy, foolish utterance.

That's a great term for most comments under articles here on the 'net.

Cheesy Trivia

Did you know Blue Stilton cheese is a trademark protected name and can only be produced in three English adjacent counties? They are: Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Oddly enough, it cannot be produced in the village that gave the cheese its name because it's not in the three permitted counties.

July 5, 2013

Superstitious Sailor's Stone

Superstitious sailors used to carry the gemstone Aquamarine to ensure safe passage at sea.


blighter blight·er [blahy-ter] noun British Slang.

1. a contemptible, worthless person, especially a man; scoundrel or rascal.
2. a chap; bloke.

Having "met" several fantastic British friends since I've been online, I've increased my vocabulary of British slang. (I've also become used to the way certain words are spelled with a "u", such as labour, humour, etc.) I've even adopted a few of the more humourous humorous ones, like "chuffed" (proud) "shattered" (extremely tired), "tosser" (an unpleasant person, although it can also be used in the same context as "wanker" - go look that one up yourself), but I haven't adopted saying "Blimey" yet.  I might start using "blighter", though because I know plenty of them...but not well enough to know if they're wankers or not.

I'm Definitely No Rose

Your Birth Flower is a Lily of the Valley

You have a pure happiness, joy, and goodness that others lack in this modern world.

You are a truly humble and sweet person. Your humility is not an act, and you feel very blessed in your life.

The Lily of the Valley symbolizes protection, and you are fittingly protective of those close to you.

You care deeply about what happens to those you love. You often put their interests ahead of yours.

The Lily of the Valley often represents luck in love. It's likely that you think you have been lucky in this area.

And if you haven't been lucky yet, you are still good at facilitating the luck of others. You are an excellent matchmaker. 

July 4, 2013


dandy dan·dy [dan-dee] noun, plural dan·dies, adjective, dan·di·er, dan·di·est.


1. a man who is excessively concerned about his clothes and appearance; a fop.
2. Informal. something or someone of exceptional or first-rate quality: Your reply was a dandy.


3. characteristic of a dandy; foppish.
4. Informal. fine; excellent; first-rate: a dandy vacation spot.

Not a word that's in use much these days,except around here in a reply to "How ya doin'?  "Oh, fine and dandy, thanks for askin'."

I suppose that, on this day of all days, the first song I should have thought of to add to these word definitions (as I like to do when I can) is this one from the musical of the same name:

I guess I'm showin' my age, because this one was the first to come to mind:

Jim Dandy - Black Oak Arkansas

Flags on the Moon

There were six American flags planted on the moon; all are still standing except for the one left by Apollo 11, having been planted too close to the lunar module and knocked over by the blast when the craft left the surface.

All of them would not be recognizable as an American flag today, however - the Sun's rays, unhindered by any atmosphere, have bleached them white. (and a flag left outside here on Earth for 40+ yrs. would also be bleached white)

Buzz Aldrin saluting the flag

July 3, 2013

No 8-Track Tapes Now, Though

I'm certainly no Luddite, but I think I'm the last person in the civilized world to not have a cell phone. I haven't been any significant distance from home in years and no one calls me on my land line anyway. (except for telemarketers, wrong numbers and the infuriating political robo-calls) I always figure that, if I ever do take a trip and needed to carry communications for a roadside emergency, I'd just buy one of those Tracfones from the dollar store.

You Are in the Early Majority

You aren't the earliest adopter when it comes to technology. You like to wait things out a bit.

You love new things, but you want to wait until they are proven. Being on the cutting edge is expensive!

You may feel like you're the last person you know to get on board with a new idea or thing, but you're still rather early when compared to the general public.

It's likely that you know about something a while before you decide to go for it. You like to do your due diligence.

You are open to new ideas, and it's likely that you're quite active in your community. You have your ear to the ground.

If someone recommends something to you, you'll probably check it out. And if you like it, you'll pass on the recommendation.

The McGurk Effect

This was interesting;  I can only imagine how hard it is to have to read lips all the time.  I've worked in noisy environments, so I've had to decipher what someone is saying by watching their mouth, but it doesn't always work.  I've been told having a mustache also hinders their lips being read. (that didn't come out right, but I hope you understand what I meant.)

If you're hearing impaired, click the little white "CC" icon on the video tool bar at the bottom to enable captions.

EDIT: After posting, I tried the closed captioning and as often is the case, many of the words don't match up with what's being said. Oh well, sorry.

Great on Beef!

Did you know the horseradish capital of the world is Collinsville, Illinois? The small town in southern Illinois produces 60% of the world's supply.

This is my favorite store-bought brand (made-from-scratch is the best!) and I not only love it on a nice slab of prime rib, but also on cheap sardines.  That, and some pickled okra with cheese crackers washed down with a good Chinese beer used to be one of my favorite late night snacks.

I don't eat that very often these days, but oddly enough, the strange dreams I had on those nights have also stopped.

Collinsville is also known for the tallest catsup bottle in the world.