Another Fun Fact

By , March 31, 2012 9:31 pm
Did You Know?
Kentucky Fried Chicken was originally Kentucky Fried Tuna, and Colonel Sanders was actually an admiral in the Japanese Navy, but after World War II and the animosity between Americans and Japanese, it was decided to change the image of the popular restaurant. An idea for a spin-off of the cuisine, Kentucky Fried Sushi, was abandoned in development in 1997.

House Full of Riches

By , March 31, 2012 10:15 am

I don’t know how many of my fans are also Duncan Sheik fans, but I like his music, particularly his earlier stuff. One song of his that resonated particularly sadly for me is House Full of Riches, which is quite melancholy, and also serves as a warning to anyone inclined to take the good things in life for granted.

Abby and the Chihuahuas relax on a Saturday afternoon.

Abby and the Chihuahuas relax on a Saturday afternoon.

“I had a love of such beauty
I just can’t describe
I threw it all away
I could not tell you why

“But I remember her laughing
Drenched in summer sun
I’m not a worthy man
But I could have been one…”

When I listen to it, it reinforces my notion that no possession, and no other person, is as valuable to me as my wife Abby. I don’t ever want to sing this song about her.

“When You Get Your Billion…”

By , March 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Saturday Update
From the Mega Millions web site Saturday, March 31: Three tickets matched all six numbers in the Friday, March 30, Mega Millions drawing. Those tickets will split the jackpot, estimated at a record-shattering $640 million.  Those tickets were bought in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.
Update
According to msnbc.com this afternoon, the value of the Mega Millions jackpot has now climbed to $640 million.

When I was seventeen, my friends and I talked about being rich. I surmised, correctly so, that a million dollars would not be enough money, and I would need a billion dollars. In talking about what we would do with it, I mostly said I would invest it wisely, but I also talked about owning a Nissan 280 ZX, which I thought was the coolest car at the time. In my yearbook, my best friend in my senior year, we’ll call him “Skip,” wrote in my yearbook, “When you get your billion and your Nissan 280 ZX Turbo, you might (wait, let me flip this sentence) {which he wrote because he ran out of space in the right-side-up portion of the yearbook page} be able to keep up with me… (but) you’ll still be licking my ass because I have a Camaro Z-28 and that makes me better than you.”

Hey, I'm Richard from 1982. How the heck are ya?

Hey, I'm Richard from 1982. How the heck are ya?

It was a pretty funny thing to write, actually.

I thought of that today as I bought a Mega-Millions ticket after gassing up my car in Ada today. As I write this, the jackpot value of the Mega-Millions multi-state lottery has reached more than $500,000,000, which is a half a billion dollars. Yikes, that’s a lot of money.

Abby and I have our lottery fantasies just like everyone else, except that hers are generally more altruistic than mine. I imagine we would diversely invest the biggest part of it. We might set up a scholarship foundation for all the kids in the family. I doubt I would buy the Nissan 370Z, the grandchild of the 280 ZX, but I might go car shopping.

Some of my co-workers were kicking around notions of how best to play the lottery to win it, but statistically, the only choice that makes any sense is to buy just one ticket. Statisticians will tell you that when odds are astronomical, as they are in tomorrow’s jackpot drawing, buying more tickets may seem like doubling or tripling your chances, but the truth is that they remain statistically insignificant until you buy about 100,000 tickets. Even then, it’s a slim chance. So buy a ticket and dream your dreams.

Another neat statistic about lotteries is that nearly 50% of all lottery winners are broke after five years. Enjoy!

This picture, culled from the internet, shows a 1982 Camaro similar to "Skip's" Camaro. It was a fun car, but only a shadow of the former great American muscle cars of the 60's and 70's.

This picture, culled from the internet, shows a 1982 Camaro similar to "Skip's" Camaro. It was a fun car, but only a shadow of the former great American muscle cars of the 60's and 70's.

You Are Not Filthy (But Ought to Be)

By , March 26, 2012 10:58 pm

I have talked about this before. Germs are not only not bad, they are necessary for children. Without them, we don’t mount an immune response and end up with all kinds of problems as adults. I thought of this today as I read an article by Art Caplan, Ph.D. called In praise of germs: Why common bugs are necessary for kids. In it, Caplan adjudicates everything I believe about childhood cleanliness and the need to let your kids get sick, including, “The study strongly supports a growing body of evidence that you need to put away the disinfectant and expose children to the real world of germs and microbes.”

I also thought about an idiot named Heather who once posted on her Facebook wall, “If your kids are sick, please keep them home!” News flash, Heather: you are not only selfish, you are ironically making life worse for your own children as well as others. If you can’t take care of a sick kid or you can’t stand the thought of your little one running a fever, you really have no business raising a child in the first place.

Hey, I know you’re afraid. The media is constantly telling you to be afraid. A few people a year die from flesh-eating staph. A few children a year end up with autism because of a vaccination. It’s scary! (Never mind that about 16,000 children die every day from starvation and malnutrition.) Be afraid! Sanitize everything! Live in a plastic bubble! Raise a generation of fat, asthmatic, iPhone-twiddling wieners. See if I care.

Maybe you should let your kids play in the mud once in a while instead of smearing them with creams and gels from a bottle.

Maybe you should let your kids play in the mud once in a while instead of smearing them with creams and gels from a bottle.

Sentimental Toothpaste

By , March 23, 2012 8:47 am
Today is my lovely wife Abby's birthday.

Today is my lovely wife Abby's birthday.

Today is Abby’s birthday. I hope to take her to dinner if she is feeling up to it, but if she’s not, I’ll do whatever she wants and needs. I’m still sort of shopping for gifts for her, since I don’t exactly know what to get her. Like my parents for the last 30 years of their lives, Abby has everything in triplicate, so it’s hard to shop for her. Maybe something shiny.

The first birthday of hers we shared was nine years ago. Wow. I still remember those days like they were yesterday. At one point early in our courtship, she bought a tube of Close-Up toothpaste for me to use when I was at her house, and only today did I finally decide it was used up, and threw it away.

“We’ve sure been through a lot together,” she told me a few days ago. And I would add that we both feel that we have gone through a lot of great times together. It has been a great marriage. Happy birthday, my love.

I smiled every time I thought about this tube of toothpaste, which Abby bought for me to use at her house in the first few weeks of our courtship.

I smiled every time I thought about this tube of toothpaste, which Abby bought for me to use at her house in the first few weeks of our courtship.

Just Added: 32 Images

By , March 19, 2012 4:19 pm

In reviewing some of my images from my November 2006 Guadalupe Mountains/Carlsbad Caverns trip Sticks and Stones, I decided that when I created the trip report, I shortchanged my readers. There were so many great images from that trip that I added 32 additional images to the report. Check it out here.

This view, like so many from Guadalupe Mountains National Park, was spectacular, and I decided to add a number of images from this trip to The Traveller.

This view, like so many from Guadalupe Mountains National Park, was spectacular, and I decided to add a number of images from this trip to The Traveller.

Another Fun Fact

By , March 19, 2012 10:47 am
Did You Know?
The exclamation point was originally called the “explanation point”, and was intended to indicate that a statement was factual, as in, “Paris is in France!” The usage was eventually dropped because it seemed like everything being written was too exciting.

Cyriak vs the Coolness Police

By , March 18, 2012 11:51 am
This is our friend Kev, with whom I am planning an upcoming vacation to Canyonlands.

This is our friend Kev, with whom I am planning an upcoming vacation to Canyonlands.

This is Dennis, one of the players in last night's dream, and hopefully in a real upcoming trip to Canyonlands.

This is Dennis, one of the players in last night’s dream, and hopefully in a real upcoming trip to Canyonlands.

Dream about my planned trip to Canyonlands: Kev, Dennis, and Jane are ahead of me on the trail by about six hours. As I catch up with them, I find they have made camp in a long, narrow tunnel. As we settle in for the night, we all begin to sense something isn’t right, like we are being watched. Upon closer examination, we find that there is movement in the rocks beneath us, as though bugs were crawling right below the surface. We still weren’t willing to leave the area, since we might not be able to return for years.

I poke around in the cave for a few minutes, hoping to find something interesting to photograph. I found a rusted iron monument in the wall, with a small coal fire visible through a glass window. I ask if anyone knows what this is. “I think it’s an eternal flame kind of thing,” Jane answers. I examine it closer to find it is a cremation oven from Auschwitz.

This is a "Cyriak" cow.

This is a “Cyriak” cow.

At this point the signs of evil became more obvious. While trying to light a fire, flies emerged from Dennis’ lighter. After hearing a commotion, we stepped out of the cave to see a cow. It starts to morph into something, and I yell, “It’s gonna Cyriak!” It then morphs into dozens of smaller cows in the fashion of Cyriak’s cartoons. The cows morph into a single cow, and someone (I don’t know who) brings up a Paladin tank (from the video game Unreal Tournament) to destroy it.

Someone used the Paladin to kill the Cyriak cow.

Someone used the Paladin to kill the Cyriak cow.

Back inside we debate leaving. Kev says, “Okay, we leave first thing in the morning,” but I disagree and start packing, only to discover acid of unknown origin had burned through my backpack. We talk about the fact that we only have a couple hours of daylight remaining, but conclude we should take our chances and get out of the evil place.

Finally we get our gear together and move out. At the exit of the tunnel there is now an office. A park ranger comes out of the office and says, “Hold it! Coolness police!”

I sarcastically say, “Coolness police?” Then Dennis and I look at each other, and we both intuitively know that one of us is going to have the shoot the ranger.

This is a Photoshop alteration of an image I made in the Devil's Pocket section of Canyonlands two years ago. Although I don't believe in "The Devil," apparently my dreams have a place for him.

This is a Photoshop alteration of an image I made in the Devil’s Pocket section of Canyonlands two years ago. Although I don’t believe in “The Devil,” apparently my dreams have a place for him.

One Again, the Porn Industry Shows Us the Way

By , March 17, 2012 9:27 am

“I find it ironic that Republicans (like Rick Santorum) are out there wanting less government and government intruding into our lives, but when it comes to moral issues they want government to legislate morality. It doesn’t work. It will never work.” ~Steven Hirsch, founder and co-chairman of Los Angeles-based Vivid Entertainment, one of the largest makers of erotic movies.

Another Plum Bites the Dust

By , March 14, 2012 6:55 pm
This crane fly was alight on my shower curtain, but they are everywhere right now, much to our annoyance.

This crane fly was alight on my shower curtain, but they are everywhere right now, much to our annoyance.

I didn’t have any late afternoon or evening assignments at work so I was home by about three. It is cloudy and warm out, so by five I decided to get some yard work done. I pondered digging the garden. When I told Abby that I was planning a garden this year, her face lit up, so I know she is looking forward to having it. (Last year I just seemed to know not to plant, and the summer was one of the worst drought seasons we have ever experienced.) As I started to work, I discovered I had other priorities, like removing the elm saplings from the Rose-of-Sharon bushes, and pruning some of Dorothy’s peach trees. I took most of the branches

The usual suspect: Buxton the Goat checks out some peach branches I threw over the fence for him.

The usual suspect: Buxton the Goat checks out some peach branches I threw over the fence for him.

and gave them to Buxton the Goat, who seemed so excited by my presence that he couldn’t quite make himself eat them, and instead ran around and chattered at me.

I discovered that my suspicions that one of my plum trees had died were true, so I dug it up and threw it on the burn pile. I grabbed a camera to illustrate it, but found better things to photograph, like some of the flowers down at Dorothy’s. If I get the chance in the next day or two, I should cut some and take them to her.

I noted that all the trees and pastures and flowers and clover patches and everything else doesn’t grow larger in any predictable fashion. This late winter season has been much wetter than the last few years, and there is a thick, straight grass that I’ve never seen before growing thickly in all the pastures and our back yard . We are also seeing an amazing number of crane flies everywhere, like we have never seen before.

Like life itself, the only consistent thing I have observed about the life on our little patch of green is change.

Dorothy's Daffodils caught my eye from 100 yards away. I didn't know until I looked it up today that they are the same flower as the Narcissus.

Dorothy's Daffodils caught my eye from 100 yards away. I didn't know until I looked it up today that they are the same flower as the Narcissus.

Fire in the Sky, and in the ‘Hood

By , March 14, 2012 8:17 am
Aunt Carol and Uncle Wes were in my dream, but I only got a glimpse of them.

Aunt Carol and Uncle Wes were in my dream, but I only got a glimpse of them.

Dream: Abby and I are visiting her hometown. My aunt Carol and Uncle Wes are there, despite Carol being dead for nearly six years. Abby is having an allergy attack. I go outside and see dozens of kids returning from “the hunt.” To stay busy while Abby naps before dinner, I clean out a dog’s bed, where I find dog toys plus small appliances like toasters. In the end, I decide the toasters belong to the dog, so I leave them in the bed. I hear sirens, so I go outside to see a patrol car go by, then a fire engine. I see flames at the end of the block. I walk toward it, but then want to get a camera, so I go back inside to get it. When I come out, I find the whole block on fire, which I photograph. When I get to the house that was the source of the fire, all the fires go out and it is revealed that the whole thing was part of a surprise birthday party for a neighbor. I photograph the party. We all go outside to find we are in Park City, Utah. As the last evening light wanes, we hear an intense roar from the west, where we then see a smoke plume we first think is a mushroom cloud. A missile lifts off. It appears to be a Titan IIIe, except that it is clearly as long as the length of Salt Lake City. As it passes overhead on its way to what we assume if Russia, a small blue Command Module falls off into the woods nearby.

The fire ravaging Abby's hometown was apparently a ruse.

The fire ravaging Abby's hometown was apparently a ruse.

Little Trucks in the Big Picture

By , March 12, 2012 1:12 pm
Not only did I shoot cameras well this weekend, I shot targets well. Plus, I was having a really great hair day.

Not only did I shoot cameras well this weekend, I shot targets well. Plus, I was having a really great hair day.

Robert made it down for the weekend, which cheered up Abby immensely. Abby looked great and definitely seemed to feel better.

Robert lifts the back of this Daihatsu HiJet mini-truck we test drove in Ada today. It's only 11 feet long.

Robert lifts the back of this Daihatsu HiJet mini-truck we test drove in Ada today. It's only 11 feet long.

Robert and I made meals, talked about imaging, made some pictures, put a few bullets downrange at the pond, and even made time to drive a vehicle Robert is toying with buying, a Daihatsu HiJet, which is a tiny little van-truck he saw for sale in Ada.

It was a short visit, but we all had great fun.

Robert makes pictures at sunset down by the old Walnut tree.

Robert makes pictures at sunset down by the old Walnut tree.

Another Fun Fact

By , March 8, 2012 11:09 am
Did You Know?
Aretha Franklin had a younger, less-successful sister named Urethra.

The Last Winter Rains

By , March 8, 2012 8:46 am
Gloomy skies and the rhythm of rain on my windshield escorted me to work this morning.

Gloomy skies and the rhythm of rain on my windshield escorted me to work this morning.

Abby didn’t feel much like going to work today, and with rain and wind waking me up two hours before my alarm, neither did I.

Rain is forecast through the entire weekend, accompanied by a cold front. There are few things in the world colder than cold rain. Even snow seems warmer and more inviting somehow.

I encouraged Abby to go home at midday if she wasn’t able to work the entire day. Her recovery from last month’s serious illness is still coming in fits and starts, and she is still weak.

This is winter’s last breath. Spring is coming.

This eery tree stands fast against the gathering clouds. Soon it will be green.

This eery tree stands fast against the gathering clouds. Soon it will be green.

An Adjudication in the Woodpile

By , March 6, 2012 7:23 pm

Just a day after I deactivated my Facebook account, I read this article, which tells of a situation that is nothing short of Orwellian oppression. The second paragraph states…

Employers and colleges find the treasure-trove of personal information hiding behind password-protected accounts and privacy walls just too tempting, and some are demanding full access from job applicants and student athletes. In Maryland, job seekers applying to the state’s Department of Corrections have been asked during interviews to log into their accounts and let an interviewer watch while the potential employee clicks through wall posts, friends, photos and anything else that might be found behind the privacy wall. Previously, applicants were asked to surrender their user name and password, but a complaint from the ACLU stopped that practice last year. While submitting to a Facebook review is voluntary, virtually all applicants agree to it out of a desire to score well in the interview, according Maryland ACLU legislative director Melissa Coretz Goemann.

I don’t know who else reading this thinks this is dangerous and obscene, but I think it’s yet another excellent reason to get the hell out of Facebook. Make a stand against this kind of bullying. If a potential employer asks you for personal passwords or other very personal information like that, tell them you feel it is inappropriate, which it is.

It's not the government that's become a fascist regime, it's the business world.

It's not the government that's become a fascist regime, it's the business world.

Right Out the Box

By , March 5, 2012 12:38 pm

Moments after I deactivated my Facebook account, I navigated to WordPress.com, and clicked on a “Freshly Pressed” blog my an artist named Diane Foug. Check out her site to find out why it is better than any Facebook page by a factor of about 60.

I'm telling you, and I'm telling you from the truth-telling tree.

I'm telling you, and I'm telling you from the truth-telling tree.

Another Fun Fact

By , March 4, 2012 7:28 pm
Did You Know?
When John F. Kennedy supposedly said we should go to the moon by the end of the decade, he actually said we should, “go to the mood,” referring to his penchant for prescription painkillers, but due to his accent, the United States entered the moon race instead.

Sunday Best

By , March 4, 2012 3:54 pm
I let Buxton the Goat into the front yard to eat on it for a while.

I let Buxton the Goat into the front yard to eat on it for a while.

Michael called me the other day to complain that I sort of left everyone hanging about Abby’s condition in my last entry. So let me say that Abby is much better, and may be returning to work tomorrow.

Sierra and Max the Chihuahuas bask in the morning sunshine in the living room today.

Sierra and Max the Chihuahuas bask in the morning sunshine in the living room today.

Over the past year or two our marriage has gotten even stronger than before, and one thing I am enjoying very much is the intimacy of Sundays. We piddle, we get little chores done, I sometimes work outside, we sometimes shoot our guns down at the pond. If we can’t avoid it, we make a Wal Mart run, which is always easier together.

Today Abby is printing out dozens of recipe cards for a big book of recipes she is assembling, many of them dating back to her grandmother’s era. “You can see our German lineage,” she told me, “since nearly half of the recipes are desserts.”

Another Sunday is here.

Fair Warning: I’m Out of Facebook

By , March 4, 2012 2:00 pm
Facebook was already full of holes. I just illustrated it.

Facebook was already full of holes. I just illustrated it.

Mmmmm. Chocolate Colt .45 combined with symbolic suicide of Facebook...

Mmmmm. Chocolate Colt .45 combined with symbolic suicide of Facebook...

As the years of my chronic dissatisfaction with Facebook have progressed, I am deciding, finally, to get out of it all together.

If you want to keep up with me, which as a rule you do not, this is where you can find me, at richardbarron.net. But I know that with a few exceptions, you don’t have me as a Facebook friend to keep up with me. You have me as a friend because you want to imagine yourself as the center of attention.

I also feel like I am being bullied. Every company posts their web site at the end of their television ad, plus the words, “Find us on Facebook.” With literally millions of websites on the internet, we are given the possibility of such creative diversity, and yet we are all funneled into just one web site. Popularity is mediocrity.

Done with Facebook
As of midday Monday, March 5, 2012, I have deactivated my Facebook account.

Bookmark richardbarron.net and any or all of the blogs here at richardbarron.net. For most of you, The Giant Muh is the best choice to keep up with our lives, but all the richardbarron.net blogs are good. This is where you can find me.

Happy Facebookless Richard looks happier than unhappy Facebooky Richard.

Happy Facebookless Richard looks happier than unhappy Facebooky Richard.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy


Hit Counter provided by criminal attorney Orange County