Monday, August 29, 2005

Signs of the times

This sign was prominently displayed in the window of a business in Philadelphia. You are probably outraged at the thought of such an inflammatory statement. One would think that anti-hate groups from all across the country would be marching on this business . . . and that the National Guard might have to be called to keep the angry crowds back.
 But, perhaps in these stressful times one might be tempted to let the proprietors simply make their statement . . . .  We are a society which holds Freedom of Speech as perhaps our greatest liberty.  And after all, it is just a sign.
You may ask what kind of business would dare post such a sign?
Answer: A Mortuary

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

back to school

Wow, this summer went by very fast. The kids started school again today. It is a little nice to have some peace in the house for part of the day but we do miss them!

Happy Birthday Shelby

Shelby got some new wheels for her Birthday. It's her first official bicycle. Our worst nightmare, now she is truly mobile. Do they make lojack for bikes? Heaven help us.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Book Review: American Sphinx

American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson

Having just finished this 367 page book by Joseph J. Ellis I thought I would write down a few thoughts about it.

I don't remember ever having spent more than a few moments studying Thomas Jefferson until now. I frankly don't even remember the times in my school years that I learned about him. I'm sure that in some history class sometime his name came up. So, I was looking forward to spending several hours studying his life. For the most part I learned a great deal. That however, is relative. Relative to the little that I previously had known about him. While learning a great deal and enjoying the increased knowledge about one of history's greatest characters, the reading of this book was not enjoyable. The 367 pages read more like 800. It is ironic since Ellis takes the first 100 pages of the book assuring us that the only reason he is writing this piece is so that the 'common man' can have something to learn about Thomas Jefferson. So that people wouldn't have to get bogged down with literary analysis etc. Well, personally this book read exactly like the author was saying it shouldn't. He also spends significant time in the first 100 pages trying to convince us that EVERYONE is or has written about Thomas Jefferson, but he doesn't give a good reason just why he is choosing to do so. This theme is present throughout the entire book and gets very tiresome.
Inbetween all this conflict between the author and himself one can learn a great deal about the man Thomas Jefferson. I especially appreciated reading about Mr. Jefferson's side of the now famous decades of written communication between he and John Adams. Having recently read an excellent treatment on John Adams by David McCullough. Evidently the written correspondence was so excellent that the information in both books was nearly identical save the specific info available from each man and their private thoughts on the other.
I also learned a great deal about the history of slavery from the inception of our republic. I didn't previously know how much of an issue it had been and how deeply Thomas Jefferson was involved. His hatred of slavery that was evident from his writings and actions was diametrically opposed by the fact that he owned well over 100 hundred slaves until his death. Even at his death he only freed 5 slaves in his will.
I had heard some about the Sally Hemings controversy but it was nice to have that tied up in a neat little bow by the information now available and provided in the book. It would now be interesting to know who the people now alive are that are so directly related to Thomas Jefferson the 3rd President of the United States.
In summary: while full of information and well written this book is not an 'easy' read and would require some dedication by a reader to push through it. That being said, if you can get past the first 100 pages you can learn a great deal about a man that is very much worth learning.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Math through the ages

Here is a story about math forwarded from a friend of mine. Kinda funny and puts things in a little bit of a humorous perspective. It isn't politically correct so it may offend 'someone' on the face of the planet. (oh no!)

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58.  The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

Teaching Math In 1950
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80.  What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is $80.  Did he make a profit?

Teaching Math In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20
Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and
inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the
preservation of our woodlands.  He does this so he can make a profit
of $20.  What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for
class participation after answering the question:
How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their
homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math In 2005
Un hachero vende una carretada de madera para $100. 
El costo de la  producción es $80...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Irritable Male Syndrome

Take this QUIZ to see if you have Irritable Male Syndrome. This is a new diagnosis for grumpy men. It's real.
If you still don't believe then read this article to see the research.

What you don't see

You won't see this on TV. You won't see this in the pages of the New York Times. You won't see this on the CBS Evening News.

This is about a young man that gave his life fighting for Liberty. Not just for his own but unselfishly for 50 million people he had never met before and had no blood relation to. It's sad that this has happened. He 'lost' his life in Iraq. He 'gave' his life for freedom. Our liberal left wing Brothers and Sisters don't want this to ever happen. They are blind to the fact that there are people out there like Saddam Hussein who will never sit down and 'talk' about the bad things they are doing. People like Osama Bin Laden that will never use 'diplomacy' to resolve their differences. Unfortunately violence is sometimes necessary to protect liberty and a certain way of life. I think there were a group of men and women who lived in our 'vicinity' in 1776 that realized they had to resort to violence to claim their life, their liberty, their pursuit of happiness. At the time there wasn't another 'superpower' around that could do it for them. We have a right because of what we have been given to help others obtain what we have. The media doesn't see it this way. That is why you will never see the deep respect that the average American really has for giving one's life for the pursuit of liberty shown by the mainstream media. Whether it be here or on foreign soil. They don't want you to understand that most of us really feel the same way and support these actions. They would like you to think otherwise and they use their power to deceive and mislead.
I pray each day that another young man or woman will not have to give their life. That they can all come home. However, until the evil and conspiring men both here and in Iraq and elsewhere are quieted or killed this sacrifice will be necessary.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bend over

Microsoft is at it again. In the same way they have destroyed and trampled on competitors in years past in the software sector they are now sticking it to the 3rd party hardware vendors in the gaming sector. Until now 3rd party peripheral developers for gaming consoles only had to pay royalties to Microsoft if they wanted to display the XBox logo. Now the geniuses behind XBox 360 are requiring 'all' 3rd party vendors to pony up if they want to make peripherals for Microsoft's new Trojan horse into your living room. The risk is nobody can afford to make peripherals any longer and Microsoft suffers from a lack of hardware offerings.
Traditionally game console makers take a loss on their hardware but make it up by charging royalties to the game software makers. Microsoft just can't see straight if you are taking a loss on 'purpose'. Sure, if you're trying to make money and you lose billions that's ok, (ie; MSN, MS Bob, PhotoDraw etc. etc. etc.) but if you are planning on losing money on something out of the chute they just can't swallow it. So, they are trying to change the rules that have been played by for decades. Maybe they can do it and it's time for that to change. Or, maybe their idiots and they will piss people off and fail miserably. You know where my money is.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Send PETA to Iraq

Terrorism has gone to the dogs. Literally. The 'insurgency' in Iraq has turned to using canines to carry their 'suicide' bombs. They strap some explosives on Fido and say "fetch" in some Arabic dialect and then they remotely detonate the bomb. Nice huh? I have a solution to this. The PETA folks should be outraged by this. Let's get em on a plane and send em over to protest. What do you think? Could be interesting.
Oh, and here is the line from the linked article that really got me going. "Our religion does not permit us to hurt animals," said Abdel Salam Kubaisi, a spokesman for the Muslim Scholars Assn. So, evidently their religion is against hurting Rover but innocent men, women and children are fair game. Idiots. Now, I know some of you 'anonymous' people out there will be thinking hey that's not true it's only a fringe extremist element that are the bad guys and they don't represent the Islamic world in general. Woh. I hate that argument because if that were true then the main stream Islamic leaders would be coming out in force to debunk this 'lunatic fringe' but here's the reality, they aren't. For the most part they are silent about it. When it comes to murder and terrorism silence is agreement in my book.

Friday, August 05, 2005

If you knew sushi

Leave it to the Japanese . Yes these are USB drives in the form of sushi. Pretty expensive sushi however.
But still it's pretty cool albeit a little weird. Can you imagine a piece of sushi sticking out the side of your laptop or your keyboard? I'm afraid to even ask what other form factors are out there.

Indian Wars

It looks we're not done fighting the Injuns. The Cowboys at the NCAA have decided to ban all Indian nicknames and mascots from any post season play. Teams will have to cover their logos or come up with something new. All this in the name of getting rid of 'offensive' and 'inappropriate' nicknames etc. This is just another in a long line of happenings in this modern world that just don't make sense. College team nicknames and mascots are one of the few mainstream visible things left of our native americans. I say that there might be a few teams that should make a change and some already have, but by and large I think this practice is a good thing to remember the heritage of this land. After all, they were here first.
Now, this being said, I do have to say that the University of Utah would be one of the teams that definitely should make a change. Because, of course, anything about the U is offensive and inappropriate ;)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Extreme Home Makeover is in Utah this week! The cast and crew are rebuilding a home in Bountiful. Check out the link above for details. So, to those that live close by, should we take a drive to Bountiful and see if we can say 'hey' to Ty?