Saturday, August 28, 2010

New standard for pain at the checkout

The acronym OMSB (Outer Mongolia State Bank) and the scope of its concept as a euphemism for the person in front of you taking an inordinate amount of time to checkout has become inadequate. I now laugh in the face of a mere OMSB time increment as incidental.

The new standard of infamy is OSSB (Otis Sistrunk State Bank). Otis was a great football player for the Oakland Raiders. When introduced before a game, he declared his alma mater to be “The University of Mars” (Otis had proudly served in the Marine Corps but had no college affiliation). I have learned that our retail data processing systems have even slower access to the Martian financial systems than to those of Outer Mongolia.

I personally belong to a peculiar arcane cult that still utilizes slips of paper and metal disks to pay for most purchases. For any youth reading, this is called “cash”. Although I believe that “cash” will eventually go the way of the wooly mammoth, for now it is still acceptable.

There is nothing wrong with the debit card concept. The fly in the ointment is bandwidth. A swipe followed by the Final Jeopardy tune in its entirety prior to approval is ludicrous.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the magnificent State of Illinois Department of Transportation IPASS system. IPASS incorporates a transponder in your vehicle that is detected by a receiver when you drive through a station. Your account is debited by a specified amount, and you don't even have to slow down. We are “encouraged” to use the system because cash payment is double the passthrough amount. Probably the increased fare for cash is necessary to pay for hands on labor costs.

I will keep you apprised of any breakthroughs in this area as I become aware of them.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's deja vu all over again

A whopper this time. Three topics

In my last post, I described the frugality of my friend Margaret, noting that she bought 8 pork roasts because they were $1.19 per pound. 6 of them went into pulled pork sandwiches, the two remaining were secured in my freezer. A week later we cooked one of the roasts. Delicious!

Now, Margaret has attacked the shortage of zucchini bread in our area. Starting with a recipe that called for 4 cups of zucchini, she decided that there was enough for a double batch. The result was 6 full size loaves, and 3 minis. Margaret also fell in love with my immersion blender (aka boat motor, according to Emeril Legasse). See exhibit A to view a full LARGE bowl of batter.

Earlier this year, the only 2 goldfinches that I have seen were luckily captured in a photo. This week, a yellow flash went bye. Soon, a goldfinch was perched on the bird feeder. If only I could figure out why they visit so infrequently. See Exhibit B.

My dear sister recently lamented in her blog Communication Exchange about the failure of companies to back up promises regarding services that they provide. While I agree that this is a problem, I also just had a wonderful experience to the contrary.

My 2001 Civic needed new tires all around, so it was off to Walmart. The clerk asked what size was needed, and discovered that there were two models in stock that fit the bill. I selected one and was handed a printout and directed to the tire and lube area.

When I arrived, a courteous young man took the the paper and escorted me to the waiting area. He drove my car into the shop. As soon as it stopped, four employees descended on it like a swarm of locusts. They efficientrly (and cheerfully, it looked like) went about their business. Twenty minutes later, my car was back out front, freshly shod. If the outfits my sister dealt with performed similarly, she would be singing their praises, not cussing them out.


Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Protein plentitude

Two interesting tidbits from the last two days.

My friend Margaret is hosting a party for her son's high graduation. She decided to serve pulled pork sandwiches to the guests. Margaret is a very frugal shopper, so when she heard that Schnuck's had pork roasts for $1.19 a pound, she cornered the market. See exhibit A.

I had an endoscopy today. By all accounts, my internals are at least in pretty good shape for a gentleman who recently passed the 6 decade marker. See exhibit B.

We Cornhuskers and thrilled and delighted to become members of the Big Ten Conference, and look forward to many spirited contests with our new neighbors.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kenabeck and Social Networking

A couple weeks ago, I encountered an old work buddy of mine. The subject of Facebook came up, and we agreed to be friends. Subsequently, I have been reunited digitally with others who I had lost track of, but were "friends of friends". Now, we're back to being friends directly. Yay!

I previously had reserved my friends list to relatives, but have cautiously added people who I have known for a long time, and who are disinclined to reveal personal hygiene matters on line.

Spring has brought new arrivals to my bird feeder. I have seen but not captured photographically hummingbirds. Here are the other newbees, including Iowa's state bird.

No new holes in one to report, but I've been busy trying.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring has sprung

Spring is in the air. And a young man's thoughts turn to...GOLF.

I played for the first time last Wednesday and albeit a bit rusty from the long layoff, my game was pretty good. I'm looking forward to the season with anticipation, just like every one of the last 35 years. With an eye toward practicality, I invested in a cart bag. This type is intended to be strapped to the back of a cart, not carried on your back. If I decide to walk, I can always rent a pull cart from the course.

Over the winter I became interested in photographing birds for the first time. I got a bird feeder and suet block. Soon birds appeared that I not only didn't realize that we had, but couldn't identify . Some quick internet searching remedied this woeful lack of knowledge on my part. Here are a few pics. You guess the bird.

My one non bird picture is a daffodil with special significance. My mom planted it over 20 years ago, and in spite of total neglect, it has bloomed every spring. It even survived a total relandscape . Here it is.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bad Dog

I have a calendar named Bad Dogs. One of the features is "Early Bad Dog Warning Signs." I offer exhibits A and B. Exhibit A is a partially munched dog biscuit lying in the hallway. Exhibit B is the DOI (Dog Of Interest). I rest my case.

Exhibit A Exhibit B

Saturday, January 16, 2010

White Chocolate Macadamia Biscotti and Battle of the OS's

Today we have a 2 part entry. Our 1st is a wonderful biscotti recipe I found on It's called Murietta's White Chocolate and Macadamia Biscotti. I halved it, because it calls for 4 cups of flour, and that's a lot, even for the KitehenAid. My only advice is to cool the logs for an hour or 2 prior to slicing, as they are quite soft, and tend to crumble. They don't last long.

Now for the heavyweight showdown you've been waiting for: Spaghetti OS vs. Ubuntu OS.

A couple days ago, my nephew Nick commented on Facebook that the creator of Spaghetti OS had passed on. As a former system administrator, this was disturbing, even though I had no experience with Spaghetti OS. I guessed you stuck electrodes into a plateful and somehow there was an organic/electrical phenomenon. Since I was already considering adding an OS to my PC, I decided to install Ubuntu OS, which Nick and his dad Pete both seemed favorably impressed with it. Success!!

I'll continue to update you on my doings with Ubuntu, and may even open a can of Spaghetti o's to celebrate.