THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: November 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

On Privacy Inadvertently Waived - Part 1

At work, it is generally my practice to shut my door before I let my fingers do the walking down (up?) to Booger Hollow. But tonight I'm in the office working a bit late (it was 8:30 or so at the time of this incident). I have a solidly-formed opinion that there is no one still around who is likely to barge into my office.

And I only had a teensy, tiny mission to complete (minor itch; didn't feel like anything of substance needed to be withdrawn). And I had my back to my open door. So I went for it. One quick poke in there, that's all I needed.

And suddenly (of course) there's a voice directly behind me. A woman's voice. Saying, "Hey" and then some other words of greeting/interruption. I gasp. She's polite. Either she didn't notice or she doesn't care. She asks for a wrench. I don't have one.

Maybe she thought I needed one ...
For my trip to Booger Hollow?

It Wasn't a Fly In My Soup ...

. . . but this might actually be even worse. And I shouldn't bother you kind folks about it, but I need to. I am having some difficulty moving past the event. And maybe sharing will help.

Yesterday, my assistant brought me a grilled chicken sandwich yesterday from a mesquite grill restaurant near our offices. The sandwich included lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. I didn't want the lettuce, tomotoes, or mayonnaise. (This particular sandwich I like with only about 40 dill pickle slices. No condiments.)

So I opened the sandwich and started to scrape off the mayo and pick off the lettuce and the tomatoes. When I lifted up the first layer of lettuce, I saw that the restaurant had also included a dead mosquito (see picture) in my sandwich. At first glance, I was fairly repulsed. But I was pretty hungry. So I just tried to put it out of my mind. I finished throwing away the lettuce and the tomatoes, and I finished scraping off the mayonnaise. Then I ate the sandwich. Well, most of it, anyway. When I was about 80% done eating it I lost control of my brain. I could no longer repress the memory of having seen a dead mosquito in the food I was eating. So I couldn't finish the sandwich. And I couldn't eat the fries either. Then I started to feel a little sick to my stomach. I still do feel a bit queasy, just typing these words.

It wasn't a fly in my soup, it was a mosquito in my sandwich.



Monday, November 28, 2005

See You in Mahwah, Boys...

I think I saw somebody vomit right around here sometime.

* * * * *

That's the Way He Rolls ...

All this talk about drunk guys and "the way they roll" has prompted me to want to recommend that each visitor to this here weblog download and enjoy the latest musical offering at Rose Polenzani's website. (A link to the song will be provided below.) That's the way he rolls!

Here's the lyrics (reprinted below for the lazy among us).

You Were Drunk
(right click, "save as")

Well, I thought I'd be okay,
Walking on my lonesome way,
Then you came to the neighborhood bar,
And while Timmy played guitar,
Won me with a smile so bright,
That I thought I'd be alright.

And you kissed me one sweet night,
And you pulled me close and tight,
Then you told me one sweet lie,
And I knew right then that I,
Was a poor man's answered prayer -

You were drunk and I was there.

Oh, my God,
Oh, my heart.
I'm no maiden fair,
You were drunk and I was there.

And a better girl than I,
Would have hung you out to dry.
But I took you to my bed,
And I crumbled when you said,
"Baby, please don't make me wait...please...."

Oh, my God,
Oh, my heart.
I'm no maiden fair,
You were drunk and I was there.

And a better man than you,
Would have seen the ugly truth.
Would have known that I really liked you.
Would have known,
Would have never come home,
Would have never tried,
Would have never lied to my heart.

Well, I thought I'd be okay,
Maybe good love would come my way,
Then you told me one sweet lie,
And I know right now that I'm,
Just a poor man's answered prayer - please ...

Oh, my God,
Oh, my heart.
I'm no maiden fair,
You were drunk and I was there,
You were drunk and I was there.
* * * * *

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Plebiscite - JESSICA ALBA

The sequence of words follows:

  • Do you get turned on by pictures of Jessica Alba sitting naked on a motorcycle or running naked on the beach?
  • Well then click here for a relevant Gizoogle search (like weight loss programs, results may vary).

But don't do it from your office computer!

The Blogpatrol Number at the beginning of the Jessica Alba Naked Fortnight is 1,236.

Friday, November 25, 2005


During the Geena Davis N*k*d Fortnight, the BlogPatrol counter on this blog increased from 1,101 to 1,236. That it not an impressive increase. Time to begin the Jessica Alba Naked Fortnight.

In five minutes, that is.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

On Hobbies of Other People - Part 1

"Road Sign Photographer." That's what this guy is, so he says. That's a new one on me. But I approve. Especially since, on the pictures appended to his "Fields" roadtrip, I found the picture on the right. Speaking of country roads. That'st a picture of good old exit 182 off Interstate 80. Hey it's good to be back home again. Many's the time I can remember trying to make it to that exit in 40 minutes or less from downtown Des Moines. Didn't get one speeding ticket. Operative ancient (?) wisdom: Better to be Lucky than Good, sometimes.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Plebiscite - GEENA DAVIS (revisited)


Friday, November 18, 2005

On Colorful Expressions - Part 2

Southerners have, of course,
amusing and descriptive phrases
for good things and bad,
hot things and cold,
smart things and not.

The Expression Of The Day
for today is one I was
introduced to by a
colleague here
at the office.

From time to time we will be visiting
with someone whose mental
acuity he questions.

And this is his favorite way to express his
belief that he's got 'em outwitted.

So without further delay, here is the expression of the day:

  • "He doesn't know c'mere from sic'em."


Thursday, November 17, 2005

On Another Not Retouched Photograph - Part 1

In no small part because I am rabidly envious of the favorable response that Erin gets for the pictures she posts on her blog, I decided today to make this post about the incredible thing I saw yesterday.

DISCLAIMER: Neither of the pictures in this entry have been retouched, altered, or modified, digitally or in any way. Each picture is a precise representation of part of what I was seeing at the time I took it.


* * * * * * *


I took both of those pictures in my backyard yesterday afternoon. In each case I was standing, leaning back, aiming my eyes (and the camera) straight up into what you can plainly see is a clear blue sky. I intentionally included the palm fronds in Photo #2 for a hint of contrast. It was a compositional decision.

What is most interesting, to me, looking at these pictures this morning, is what you don't see. I was inspired to take these photographs by something really interesting and fun that happened out there in the sky above my backyard a few minutes before I took these pictures. It was a pretty windy day (especially for Houston, Texas). And two very large turkey vultures were riding the wind, soaring back and forth just above the tops of the trees in my neighbor's yard and then soaring over my backyard. I like to watch birds of prey (or scavengers, I guess, in this case) soaring. They are pretty majestic. Very interesting to watch. It was pretty cool.

All four of us (in my family) were out there. And after watching for a few minutes it occurred to both my wife and I that these were vultures. Vultures gather at the scenes of unfortunate occurrences. My wife decided she was going to take the baby inside. Just in case. I agreed with her decision. The vultures were actually flying at an almost uncomfortable altitude.

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the birds themselves. That might have been more interesting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On Flamingo's Dreams Coming True - Parts 1 and 2

A friendly fellow who has a lot of bandwidth makes it available to jugglers the world over. His website is called Juggle This. You have my blessing to visit it and check it out.

To satisfy Flamingo's cravings to see me in action, I took advantage of that friendly fellow's generosity. I uploaded two videos to his site and am providing you a hyperlink opportunity to download them to your computer and enjoy them in the comfort of your own home or office.

Right click below and choose "Save As" or "Save Target As". You might be disappointed.

Backyard Juggler Does It With Six

Backyard Juggler Does It With Seven

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Swing's The Thing ...


How do you like to go up in a swing?
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside.

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown.
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

- Robert Louis Stevenson

This weekend my oldest daughter (who is about four years old) suddenly revealed to us that she can swing all by herself. We went out in the backyard in the late afternoon to play. She sat down on her cute little green plastic swing while we got the baby situated and generally settled in for some backyard relaxation. Then a few minutes later we looked over there at oldest daughter and she was pumping and pulling and pushing and swinging very high and very fast. She did it all by herself. She was so excited. Now all she wants to do is go outside and practice swinging.

It was exceedingly wonderful.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Maxine Speaks ...

Maxine is generally right. She is certainly right about this topic. Q-Tips should not be inserted into the ear canal.

See also this article, which includes this paragraph:
  • Unilever, the manufacturer of Q-Tips, sells a product it knows is used primarily for a purpose that any doctor in America will tell you is one of the most dangerous things you can do to your body from a standing position in the bathroom.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Plebiscite - GEENA DAVIS


Friday, November 11, 2005

The Plebiscite - Part 1

Sometimes in life there are questions. Some of these questions are matters of opinion. Some of these questions are matters of empirical fact/observation. Some of these questions are matters of opinion about which there really can be no reasonable disagreement.

To confirm that a question debated during a recent lunch I attended is one of this latter kind (a matter of opinion about which there really can be no reasonable disagreement), I have decided to call for a Time Out for a Plebiscite.

Here is the topic:
  • At lunch the other day Farm Kid was debating City Slicker about which of two famous women was more fetching (that's good ole' Farm Kid vernacular; City Slicker would use the more common designation - "hot") -- Geena Davis vs. Jessica Alba.

I have a view on this question. I suspect my view is consistent with the vast majority of persons in the blogosphere. To test this theory, I will insert certain sequence of words including the words "Geena Davis"into a blog entry which I will post at approximately midnight tonight and leave that post containing that sequence of words in this blog for one week (until approximately midnight on November 18).

At that time I will delete the post containing the sequence of words including the words "Geena Davis" from this blog and post a separate entry with the same sequence of words substiting the words "Jessica Alba" for the words Geena Davis. I will leave that post containing that sequence of words in this blog for one week (until approximatley midnight on November 25).

The Blog Patrol counter on this page will be the judge (or, more accurately, the jury). I will include in the post containing the sequence of words regarding Geena Davis the Blogpatrol count as of the time of that posting. I will include in the post containing the sequence of words regarding Jessica Alba the Blogpatrol count as of the time of that posting.

If the Blogpatrol count increases more during the week that the sequence of words including "Geena Davis" is in this blog than the Blogpatrol count increases during the week that the sequence of words including "Jessica Alba" is in this blog, we will know that the people think Geena Davis is more fetching than Jessica Alba. If the Blogpatrol count increases more during the week that the sequence of words including "Jessica Alba" is in this blog than the Blogpatrol count increases during the week that the sequence of words including "Geena Davis" is in this blog, we will know that the people think Jessica Alba is more fetching than Geena Davis.

Yes, these are exciting times.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

On Moments When Being At Work Is Pretty Much Just Fine

It's pretty much OK to be at work when ...

... your wife interrupts you during
a phone call to say that the
baby just pooped and
it is getting all
over the

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

On Church and State - Part 1

This blog entry was inspired by Gary North's brilliant analysis which you can read by clicking here and by this story on All Things Considered that I listened to this evening while driving home. There are those moments in life where if you read and if you think clarity and truth can emerge. Ideas coalesced for me tonight. If you are interested in truth and/or clarity or if you are at least interested in understanding what I have perceived as truth (for me) and clarity (to me), please read the above-referenced Gary North column and listen to the above-referenced ATC story before continuing.

Go ahead. Listen to it.

Here is my truth for tonight:

  • Churches should reject tax-exempt status.
  • Churches should reject ALL quid pro quos with government.

The tax exemption "given" to churches by relevant tax agencies (governments) is a temptation offered by agencies of evil. When churches accept the "gift" of tax-exempt status, churches sacrifice their freedom and their independence. The government requires that, in exchange for that "gift" of tax-exempt status, churches refrain from engaging in certain partisan political activities. (The law actually applies to all 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, I think. From the government's point of view, that's just fine. The broader the universe of people or institutions that can not engage in partisan political speech and thought the better.)

Governments are clearly brilliant at devising temptations. Gotta hand it to them. This particular gambit -- requiring churches trade the right to express partisanship ideas for dollars -- is especially clever. The old saw "separation of church and state" is even used as a justification for the rule (see this website). I think this is an inappropriate application of the phrase. The phrase, properly understood, implies that government should not be meddling with church affairs/religion. I don't think it's appropriate to interpret that phrase as meaning that churches should not have political views.

And apparently churches are more greedy than smart. This situation is pretty easy to understand. At least it should be. It should be pretty easy to see there is something sinister at work here. The government is giving handouts (tax exemptions) in exchange for promises (no partisan politicking). And churches have (apparently) ascribed more value to the tax exemption than to the freedom to take sides or advocate a position on political issues. The applicable ancient wisdom here is: "Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas."

This is a corrupt position to take. It has to be. The most important thing is serving the flock. That is the primary reason for a church to exist. Delivering the message. Any restriction on the freedom to deliver the message should be anathema to the ordained. Allowing the government to restrict the content of the message is a mistake. The government is the enemy of the church, remember?

You can hear the fact of this corruption in the voice of the rector of the church in the NPR story. He is talking about how wrong it is that the IRS is taking the position that a sermon delivered by a guest paster in his church was prohibited political speech. He is fighting the government to continue to receive the benefit of the tax exemption. He should, instead, focus on what -- to me -- is the clear problem: the government is telling him what he can and cannot say to the members of his church. That should be an unacceptable imposition. Churches should prefer to pay taxes than sacrifice freedom in the content of their message [1].

You can also see evidence of the corruption here [2] in this legislation introduced before the U.S. House of Representatives. Again, they are fighting the wrong fight. You don't bargain with the devil. That is not the moral high ground. They are trying to get the benefit of the tax exemption without the burden of the restrictions on political speech. This is a mistake. Better to take the high ground, pay the beast and fight for its destruction/reduction. Applicable ancient wisdom: "You can't have your cake and eat it too."

Time for the next picture. Look closely at this one. This is a great picture. It's a little unclear whether the man between the two circles is trying to keep the state out of the church or vice versa. I interpret that picture as demonstrating the relentless pressure of the state. To expand the scope of its influence. I believe those who act for the state would like it to completely eclipse the church. That's what the government does.

That's what governments have always done.

* * *

[1] This is not to accept that the present tax burden imposed by the crooks and moral bankrupts in our government is acceptable. My position on that is clear: an enormously excessive amount of private wealth is taken and wasted by the government. That's a different entry, however. I would note, however, that one possible excellent outcome of churches refusing the tax exemption is that if churches had to pay the overly onerous tax burden imposed on non-exempt members and supporters, they would probably very quickly become an extremely vocal proponent of reducing taxation and reducing government. That would be a good thing. Call it Exhibit "B" for why churches should reject the tax-exemption poison carrot.

[2] I was interested to see Ron Paul is a co-sponsor of this bill. I'd like to understand why. I suppose it could be the theory of not making the perfect the enemy of the good. I don't know. Ron Paul did author the words quoted below in this article however, so I'm willing to believe he had a good reason:

In modern America, however, most religious institutions abandoned their independence long ago, and now serve as cheerleaders for state policies like social services, faith-based welfare, and military aggression in the name of democracy. Few American churches challenge state actions at all, provided their tax-exempt status is maintained. This is why Washington politicians ostensibly celebrate religion – it no longer threatens their supremacy. Government has co-opted religion and family as the primary organizing principle of our society. The federal government is boss, and everybody knows it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On Being Merely Fairly Decent - Part 1

Click on this link to be whooshed to a Yahoo Group from which you can download a video of your host at this here weblog juggling seven balls. Barely.

That performance was, at the time, a personal record. That performance was, is, and will forever be light years and galaxies away from a world record.

Your humble host is a fairly decent juggler. He is certainly not the best in the world.

He is also not the person pictured in the jester costume at the right.

On the Best In the World - Part 1

Here is a video (right click and "save as") of Anthony Gatto juggling seven clubs (at the same time) for a very long while.

This performance is a world record.

Anthony Gatto is a very good juggler.
He is the best in the world.

Follow-up to "Worst Blog Ever" - Part 1

Let's have a show of hands.

Who clicked through to be disgusted by the vile putridicity publicized by the author of The Worst Blog Ever?

Be honest with yourselves.
Be honest with me.

Personally, I have looked at it at least four times (including once when I was typing this entry). Every time I am disgusted with it. And I am disgusted with myself for looking.

Monday, November 07, 2005

On Interviewing Blunders

Just a quick bit of advice for those of you out there interviewing for jobs. Never, ever confess (or even worse, boast) to your interviewer that you are participating in an extra-curricular activity purely to pad your resume. And especially don't do this more than once.

I conducted an interview of an second-year law student from a law school; he was applying for a position with my firm as a summer associate. His resume boasted of his involvement in the "Moot Court Board" at his law school. When I asked - as we interviewers are coached to do - as to the nature of his involvement and how and why he decided Moot Court Board was for him, he replied, "Oh, I don't really know what it is. I just thought it'd be something good to have on the resume, you know?"

And then, although I was perfectly willing to leave this topic for something that might give him a chance to show me he had something to offer other than banal jocularity, he repeated this point two or three more times during our 20-minute conversation.

Accordingly (ironically?), it turned for this guy that having Moot Court Board on his resume was actually a very, very bad thing. After the interview my evaluation of this aspirant included the following sentence: "This was the worst candidate I have ever seen at this firm."

I hope and trust he will not be made an offer from our shop. He really was a terrible interviewee.

That is not a picture of the actual interview. I found that picture here on the Iowa Cattleman's Association website. The Ghost of Cattleman's Bureaucrat Future is something of a frightening spectre. Just as an aside, looking at that picture just got me thinking. Should people choosing their life's work perhaps spend a little more time: (1) studying the people that interview them for jobs in their chosen field; and (2) evaluating whether the job they're trying to get will make them look like the person interviewing them after 20-30 years?

In this case, I suspect bureaucrats for the Iowa Cattleman's Association spend a fair amount of time at potluck suppers. In church basements. My personal experience is that the food they serve at potluck suppers in church basements will likely turn the trim young man on the right in the photo into the hulking, well-chinned gentleman on the left over the course of 20 years.

As for lawyers - look at the eyes of the people interviewing you. Lawyers, especially those who work in large firms, are a very fatigued bunch. This job ages you. No exercise. Long, long hours. Guys in their late 40s (e.g., Flamingo) in this job look like they're from the 13th century.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Any one brave enough to click through to the hyperlink that follows deserves what they get. If there was ever a blog that merited zero comments, that (hyperlinked below) is it. Thankfully, that is how many comments it has received to date - zero.

So. Moving on. Now presenting:


Seriously. It's awful. If you click through, vaya con Dios, friend.

But don't do it. Please.
Don't click it.

You will regret it if you do.

Friday, November 04, 2005

On Bodily Fluids - Part 1

This post is for Bizarro Garrett, whoever you are (it is not me). When I saw this sentence, I thought of you:

"I could urinate two liters for you right now."

Please enjoy the rest of the article here with my compliments.

It's all about corporate might.
It's satirical.
It's rich.

Yes, that is a picture of a bladder stone.
Looks a little jagged, doesn't it?

On Things That Feel Simply Fabulous - Part 1

There's just something special about hitting a set with a low or middle pair in hold'em. I know it's just math that does it (you will flop a set about twelve percent of the time when you are dealt a wired pair for your hole cards). But it's definitely one of the best feelings in poker. If you're so inclined, it can give you a real (undeserved) sense of accomplishment. It can make you think you are clairvoyant sometimes.

One thing that I think contributes to making it such a wonderful feeling is the surprise factor inherent in the situation. When you've flopped a set, you've got a great secret. You've got just an absolutely wonderful surprise (from your point of view) for anybody who is unlucky enough to be in the pot with an overpair or top pair with a good kicker. Flopping a set with low or middle pair is generally a very profitable situation to be in. Just make sure the price is right before the flop to try for it. Of course.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

On Stuff From Simpler Times - Part 2


I was never too fond of the Hamster Dance or spinoffs on that theme. But in simpler times (say, 1998 through 2002) there were some fabulous items available on the internet that office dwellers the world over enjoyed shooting back and forth to one another.

Communicating at the speed of light can be extremely entertaining.
And this was one of the best:

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

I tracked that down again in a nostalgic mood the other day. Please enjoy the above URL (again) with my compliments. (If you click it and nothing happens, remember it's a shockwave movie so it has to download before it starts. Hang loose, blood. Give it some time.)

A shout out Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister!!
She's Amsterdam 3-0 today.
Way to go, Buells.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

On Curious Matters - Part 1

There's this guy that has this website where he posts scanned images of candy bars. I actually found it mildly interesting to browse. Anyway, while looking around on there, I began to wonder:

Why is Snickers plural and Butterfinger singular?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Poker Chip Riffling - Update #2

A friend of mine achieved something miraculous at a recent home game (OK, it was really two somethings). He successfully combined two stacks of 11 poker chips ("riffling"). And then he did 12. It was extremely impressive. I am way behind that. I've improved to where I can riffle two stacks of 8 fairly regularly, and one time I managed to accurately riffle two stacks of 9 enough times to mix them up and completely separate them.

It was very exciting.

I can also report that a neighbor here at the office (I do my chip riffling in the office. During conference calls.) fumes at the noise. Apparently the sound of that clicking carries pretty good off my wood desk. She sends me emails with subject headings like "STOP THAT" and "CLOSE YOUR DOOR." She leaves the body of the email blank.

She's economic with her commands.