07 December 2009

Tom Swifty

So here's the Tom Swifty I thought of today when also thinking about Heidegger (long story):

"I sure do enjoy speaking ASL in the 21st century," Tom said digitally.

09 October 2009


Some of the plaster ceiling in the city building in Elkhart collapsed in September, and traces of lead paint were found in it. According to an article in the paper today,

"[The Mayor] said the city is being proactive to correct the problem."

Now, I'm not an expert on all things linguistic, but doesn't reactive more accurately describe this situation?

My mind turns to The Simpsons (episode 4F12).

04 October 2009

Copy Editing Fail

Another oopsie courtesy of the Elkhart Truth:
"These are clearly not racist issues," Moore said. "These issues have to do with principals."
When I was in elementary school, I was pretty sure the principles had too much authority. I'd rather not cede to them any authority over issues to boot.

30 September 2009


The Kroger near AMBS has a lovely little "Go Irish" wall of Pepsi products as one enters the store. But due to the angle at which I typically enter the store, the bottom of the "I" is obstructed. Every time I'm there, my first thought is, "Who's Trish?"

12 September 2009

September 12, 2008

I don't know about you all, but I'm looking forward to the Fall strawberry season.

28 August 2009

I Misspoke?

A quote from today's Elkhart Truth on Goshen's proposed anti-discrimination law revision to include gays and lesbians:

"We're definitely supportive of folks discriminating. What we're opposed to is the problems of religious liberties that come up in these situations."
- attributed to Ryan McCann of the Indiana Family Institute

I'm just waiting for the "my remarks were taken out of context" response to this one.


21 August 2009


From Inside Higher Ed:

In selling school-color beer cans near colleges and universities, Anheuser-Bush is "only trying to reach college fans who can drink legally and responsibly."

So AB is making special cans to target approximately 1/8 of undergraduates.

Pardon my skepticism.

29 July 2009

Friendly Encounter

Scissors Lift, meet Junction Box. Junction Box, Scissors Lift.

09 July 2009

Still More Lovely Things

08 July 2009

More Lovely Things

  • restored electrical power
  • the relative conservatism of philosophers of technology
  • the following phrases:
- feral philosophy
- legitimizing patina
  • loud televisions (ok, not really ... there's just one blaring outside my room right now)
  • UPDATE: nothing to watch on television so that loud televisions go silent

06 July 2009

Closed Monday

Everything in the Netherlands is closed on Monday. So much for wandering the city on my free day. Strangely, the bus system seems to think that the weekend is Saturday and Sunday, but the museums and shops take off Monday (at least Monday AM) as well. As does the tourist office.

The day:

  • 10:50 am - bus to Enschede Centraal
  • 11:10 am -wander over to Oude Markt
  • 11:15 am - look in vain for the VVV (tourist info) on the Oude Markt
  • 12:00 pm - still looking and wandering
  • 12:45 pm - found the VVV nowhere near where the map indicated. Closed.
  • 1:00 pm - dönor kebob time
  • 1:30 pm - start looking for Museum Jannink (fmr. textile factory)
  • 2:00 pm - walk through ALDI because I can
  • 2:05 pm - find Museum Jannink. Closed (and moved elsewhere).
  • 2:30 pm - ah, a library! They'll be able to help me find Rijksmuseum Twente.
Librarian: "Looks like the museum is closed on Monday during the school year - but school is ended so they may be open. It's a nice walk, why don't you try?"
  • 2:40 pm - start looking for Rijksmuseum Twente
  • 3:00 pm - see Rijksmuseum Twente
  • 3:01 pm - see open door in Rijksmuseum Twente
  • 3:02 pm - enter Rijksmuseum Twente.
Me: "Do you take credit card?"
Rijksmuseum Attendant: "We're closed. And, no."
  • 3:03 pm - sit on park bench and listen to mp3 player
  • 3:40 pm - buy bread in Oude Markt
  • 3:50 pm - buy cheese in Oude Markt
  • 4:00 pm - buy laundry detergent in Oude Markt
  • 4:30 pm - have a Grolsch at local restaurant
  • 5:45 pm - supper at same restaurant (one nuuuuuuursed-beer later)
  • 6:25 pm - catch bus back to Universiteit Twente
  • 6:30 pm - rain shower over; walk back to room
  • 7:15 pm - Skype Spouse
  • 8:00 pm - reserve room at Schiphol for Friday night
  • 8:40 pm - finish blog post
Yes, folks, that's me: world traveler.

Lovely Things

Apart from credit card PINs, here are other lovely things:
  • the Lenovo S10
  • fans
  • unseasonably warm weather in Holland
  • travel power adapters
  • equipment that accepts 220V without power converters (see Lenovo S10, above)
  • free time before a conference
  • city maps
  • public transportation
  • setting one's watch by the train

Adventure Travel

Travel math: if your plane to Schiphol leaves O'Hare at 4:15pm, what time should you take the South Shore (assuming nothing goes wrong) in order to clear security at 3:07pm to meet the 3:15pm boarding call?

Answer: 11:40am. This allows for a brief stop at the Chicago Cultural Center to verify that you know where to get the Blue Line (Washington and Dearborn), and assumes that your flight is leaving from gate M9 or thereabouts. Had I needed to walk any further I would not have had time to use the facilities twice or to refill my water bottle.

You're welcome.

The flight was just fine. The train system in Holland was relatively straightforward, though, upon further reflection, I should have been more worried about not being able to purchase a ticket with my credit card--the little ticket thing asked for a PIN, which I did not know. So I used cash. This created a bit of a problem when I got to the hotel and asked, "Do you accept credit card," and they said, "Yes," and I asked "Will I need a PIN?" and they said "Yes," and I said "Can I use American dollars?" and they said "No, only Euros ... how much do you have?" and I said "Thirty-five," and they said, "That won't even purchase one night and you have to pay in advance," and I said, "What other options do I have?" and they said, "None that we can think of."

Unnerving, that. Fortunately it was about 6:15am at home and I was able to use the hotel wireless to Skype my spouse who was able to call the credit card company from our home phone to reset our PIN. A lovely thing, Skype. Or, more precisely, Skype-out.

As it turns out, I was able to pay without needing a PIN. Still, I'll probably be grateful for the PIN later today when I visit downtown Enschede for lunch, tours, and whatnot.

28 June 2009

Beverage Triumph

The delicious recipe I made up last night:

Approx. 1.75 cups black raspberry puree (picked from your own patch)
Juice of 10 Mexican limes
Approx. 2 cups simple syrup
Approx 1.75 liter club soda

Add half the puree and half the lime juice and half the syrup to one pitcher. Add the remainder to another pitcher. Fill each pitcher w/club soda. Chill. Serve over crushed ice. Or not.

In my limited experience this tastes even better the next day.

EDIT: a handful of mint leaves (crushed) per pitcher. And you should probably strain when serving.

04 June 2009

Something New

Today I learned that it is possible to get through airport security without a boarding pass, provided you are given a visitor's pass, which, if the self-check kiosk are working, you'll never get because it requires talking to a person.

31 May 2009

This Just In

According to today's Elkhart Truth, Dwight Howard was 12-for-6 from the free throw line last night. He truly is Superman.

(Since the paper went to press, Howard's free throw ability has become a more pedestrian 12-for-16.)

28 May 2009

Bolts from the Blue

A couple of memories, both triggered by a Damascus Road event at AMBS.

1. 7th grade. Mr. Cataldo's (EDIT: My sister reminds me that he was Mr. Capaldo.) Social Studies class. Someone did something they shouldn't have done (sorry, details escape me). Mr. Cataldo threatened the entire class with detention unless the culprit came forward. No one volunteered. So I approached him and said I'd stay for detention so that others could go home, even though I'd done nothing wrong. He told me that wasn't the point. I wondered what the point was.

2. Probably around 7th grade, possibly a bit earlier. From time to time my family would go to town to watch the MPHS Panthers play boys basketball. Among the players on the team was Paul Tinder, the only black person I knew of in Mt. Pleasant. I'm pretty sure he wasn't the best on the team, but I could hardly wait for him to get in the game. Maybe I could relate to the rec specs.

24 May 2009


Yesterday we got another dog.  Oreo.  A lab-ish critter.

The humane society did not let us adopt her directly, due to her having the beginnings of kennel cough, so, for the next 10 days, this is strictly a fostering arrangement.

Tabitha is not dealing particularly well with this.  Her territoreolism is evident.  She is probably not helped by the fact that the lab has considerably more energy than she, and is thus encroaching into her space willy-nilly.  There have been barks, snarls, baring of teeth, and, yes, a little blood.

The car ride home was no problem.  But the house.  Oh my.  We've tried the "let the new dog in, take the new dog out, let the old dog in, take the old dog out, take both in together" trick (maybe this has helped, but we haven't seen it), the "go on a long walk together" trick (that actually works pretty well until one of them finds a morsel), the "get them into neutral territory so they get acquainted with each other" trick.  And, yes, we took Tabitha to meet Oreo at the shelter.

Our neighbors have had two dogs for three years, and they still don't get along with each other.  This is not an option.

20 May 2009

Passing Thought

Last night, while conversing with a neighbor, it occurred to me that three people I know/knew as well as anyone in the neighborhood were all convicted felons.

My parents would be so proud.

19 May 2009

Philosophical Musing

Courtesy of Ubuntu Linux:

"Checking integrity. This may take some time."

02 May 2009

These Days

Kids these days grow up so fast. Exhibit A, this snippet of conversation I heard between two kids at the park today:

4-year-old: "C'mon, hurry up!"

5-year-old: "I'm not as young as I used to be!"

14 April 2009

Quiz Time

"He got killed because somebody couldn't be a man. It's unreal. It's sad that this is what our society consists of.... What happened to the days when people fought with their hands instead of with guns?"

- Shazzar Mack, as quoted in the Elkhart Truth on 14 April 2009

Quiz time. Choose the best option to complete the sentence:

Technology ____
is not
the problem.

07 April 2009

Hatchbacks Rule

Reasons #s 1-18 that hatchbacks rule:

This worthless drivel, by the way, is my 200th post.

02 April 2009


I was late for work today, but I had a good excuse--that is, a good excuse beyond the normal excuse of leaving late. While walking I glanced over and saw a couple of men trying to roll a Jeep up a slight grade. So I dropped my backpack and lent a shoulder.

Turns out, the Jeep needed to be moved to the other side of the street, and was not merely parked on a slight uphill grade, but also had one completely flat tire and two tires that were low. But Jerrol, Jerry (yes, real names), and I got the deed done, and I continued on my way. Just a bit more late than usual.

Jerrol, the Jeep owner, I learned, is the brother of my seminary-student-neighbor who lives two houses down. It's a good thing to walk to work.

01 April 2009

First Day

Though officially it happened 10 days ago, I am considering today the first day of Spring. Today I heard the annoying jingle of the ice cream truck for the first time of the season.

25 March 2009


Today, in Gmail, I was notified that a friend had left a comment on a blog post. The ad that appeared: "www.CordBlood.com - Choose Only The World's Largest & Most Experienced Cord Blood Bank".

Usually Google is pretty good about placing relevant-ish ads in Gmail. This one was badly off the mark.

19 March 2009

Adventures in Math

Overheard (on the TV):

"From 14 points down, an 11-point run, and now 'Nova leads by three!"

And it was true, but not quite the whole story, obviously.

08 March 2009


A few weeks ago I did some mapping of the breakers in our house, thinking two things: (1) maybe I could update some of the wiring this summer; (2) maybe the 15-amp breaker that services the garage could be replaced with a 20-amp breaker. Much to my dismay, every electrical cable in our house is 12 gauge wire save one 14 gauge cable. That's right. The only 14 gauge cable in our house is the one that goes to the garage. So no upgrade there. And that's irritating.

03 March 2009

Hidalgo Restaurant

Every Tuesday in 2009, with one exception (a Friday), I have eaten at Hidalgo Restaurant in Elkhart. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the house of Luis, one of the owners, was for sale. Then today, on my way to work, I read this sign in the window of Hidalgo's:

Due to hard times, we say goodbye.

The local paper, in an article today, interpreted this as Hidalgo Restaurant closing. I take the sign, coupled with the big For Sale post in Luis' front yard, as indicating something considerably more, and am saddened.

Apart from no longer being served lunch by Mayra each Tuesday, apart from not eating any more tasty chalupitas, apart from no longer experiencing the excruciating waits on the rare busy day, I have lost the one good, local place to eat within reasonable walking distance of AMBS. We now have Popeye's, Wendy's, Long John Silver's, Subway, Little Ceasar's, and Leo's -- a barely adequate taqueria. Ricky's, a considerably better taqueria, is within walking distance, but not easily walkable due to the sad lack of sidewalks along Mishawaka Road.

So today I headed north to Miranda's, a little El Salvadoran place at the corner of Benham and Indiana. Tasty food, but eating there at lunch pretty much necessitates driving. I'll probably shift my dining out lunch to Wednesday, when I drive to work anyway.

A shame.

25 February 2009

Solar Flares?

I'm wondering whether there's some strange atmospheric anomaly going on that someone knows about. Today I started the process of trying to recover the data from a fourth failed or failing hard drive this week. What's the deal?

11 February 2009

Mother's Wisdom

My mother used to make anise mints for weddings. Once, when I watched her making a batch, I noted that there were only two colors of mint. When I inquired as to why she only made two colors instead of three or four, her response was "Because people take one of each color, even though they all taste the same. If I made three or four colors, that would just mean I'd need to make more mints."

I thought of this today when trying to decide which and how many of the about seven different types of candy to take from the dish in the Development Office.

08 February 2009

Huh? Wha?

Update 2009-02-10: seems I'm repeating myself. Since one of my first posts was titled "Huh?" I am retitling this one.

According to TurboTax™, I can "...deduct the loss of property resulting from a theft. To qualify, the theft must be illegal and must be done with criminal intent" (emphasis theirs).

Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but this indicates that theft, in certain circumstances, might be legal. What would those circumstances be? Is this just some TurboTax™ employee being a little cheeky about the role of the IRS?

06 February 2009

Unknown and Related

Two back-to-back Facebook status updates today from two of my friends who don't know each other:

JM [w]onder[s] if I will someday tell my grandchildren, proudly, that I resisted the "25 Things" meme on Facebook.

admits it. He likes the "25 things" meme and says keep it coming. If you don't like it, don't read em. Like anything else on the Web.

05 February 2009

A Memory Stirs

The door to the computer lab at Mount Pleasant (IA) middle school was inset from the wall by a couple of feet. Once, when in seventh (eighth?) grade, I was in a hurry to leave the computer lab, and, though I knew the door was inset, I made a hard right immediately after clearing the threshold. The impact knocked my glasses off and gave me a small bump on my head. I think of this because today in the seminary dining hall I saw someone leave the kitchen and run headlong into a support beam. And I discovered that such collisions are funnier when they aren't you.

31 January 2009

American Idol

Here's the real American idol. And, Craig N, Alan S, et. al., there are things and there are devices. This is a device. I couldn't be happier.

24 January 2009


I have discovered why our heater has to work so hard to keep the house warm.

No, the problem isn't the hole itself, as the house was cold before I made the hole. The problem is what there is no hint of in the wall behind the hole.

I also discovered how our porch is supported.

15 January 2009


A line from a sales pitch I sat through yesterday. Delivered with nary a hint of intended humor.

"Of course, this has a movable arm so you can lower it or higher it or whatever."

10 January 2009

Not an Actual Image

I'm pretty sure that this image isn't meant to be surrealist, but I'm happy to take it thus:

(image from http://estore.fox-international.com/house_.asp?groupid=53&page=5)

06 January 2009


I agree with Dan. Though I wonder if I could get $240K from El Al for the harassment they gave me when I showed up for a flight with a scruffy beard, long hair, a duct-taped duffel bag, and a T-shirt that said "No Fear" ... in Hebrew. That was 1996, two months after the assassination of Rabin. I'm guessing the statute of limitations is long expired.

02 January 2009


Today I baked a bunch of bread for the neighbors. I also wrote yet another draft of an abstract for a conference. Hence my mind is full of technology and community and my nostrils are enjoying the leftover scent of fresh-baked bread. So, after Esther edits my abstract, I'm going to empty the mind and do I-don't-know-what with the nostrils.

01 January 2009

The Year So Far

Woke up, got up, showered, took dog for a walk, relaxed, had breakfast, left Bloomington, drove, drove, drove, arrived in Elkhart, took dog for a walk, started watching football.

A good year so far.

(Should also add that technically I "rode, rode, rode," while Esther "drove, drove, drove." A good time to get some reading done.)