Saturday, January 31, 2009

What happened to all those Sambo's?

Anybody old enough to remember Sambo’s restaurant?

The restrurant was modeled after the classic kiddie tale, "Little Black Sambo":

Evidently, there is still one Sambo's left, celebrating their 50th anniversary . . .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Calynche horse scam

It has come to my attention that there are some scammers in England who have made-up a new horse breed! They call them Calynches, a regal sounding breed name pronounced “ca lynch ie”. I suspect that Calynche is a foreign word for "sucker".

The British Calynche horse tinkers have been having a field-day ripping-off the trusting public.

"MINATURE CALYNCHE HORSES Some are even smaller than a dog!!! These incredible fabulous rare/ exotic pets have outstanding temeraments, very easy to keep"

I have over 30 miniature ponies, and I detest these greedy breeders who make-up breed names like "Miniature Clydesdale” and now "Calynche Horse", all made-up breed names, intended to deceive people into thinking that inbred small Shetland ponies are somehow rare and expensive.

Here are some of the Calynche horse scammers.

Many extreme Calynche horses may suffer from congenital dwarfism, and they need super-expensive health care and surgery just to survive:

Greedy breeders don't care if the ponies suffer

Some of these miserable dwarf ponies are bred on purpose, causing extreme suffering. I adopted a deformed dwarf, and he had to use a wheelchair, all because of some greedy Calynche dwarf breeder:

Breeding for dwarfism should be a felony

If you find someone peddling a dwarf Calynche horse, contact your local police to file a fraud complaint and also contact your society of prevention for cruelty to animals. Deliberately breeding for dwarfism and congenital defects should be publishable by long prison terms. . .

If you can stand to see suffering ponies, check out this web site dedicated to horse dwarfism.

Don't support these evil Calynch horse dealers.

Income demographics of aging baby boomers

Many a frugal baby boomer is reaching the height of their incomes (ages 40 to 60), and according to income statistics, there are 12 million American millionaires (measured as any person having over $1m in assets, not counting their primary residence).

With housing prices remaining high, I often wondered who buys these new mega-homes. In my area, a upscale home in a gated neighborhood will set you back over a million dollars:

But the distribution of millionaires by State is quite interesting, with Hawaii having twice the per-capita wealthy as West Virginia. This link has some interesting data on 2006 income levels, organized by State:

Plotted, it looks like this:

For more on the changing demographics of the aging baby boomers, see my notes on the Billionaire Next Door. So far as I know, only one of my High school classmates is a billionaire, but just about everyone who got an advanced degree has earned over a million dollars in their careers:

When studying the projected earnings from an advanced college degree, I was surprised to learn that with inflation, the majority of yuppies will become millionaires.

But how much is a college degree worth? High school graduates can expect, on average, to earn about $1.2 million dollars in lifetime income, while those with a bachelor's degree earn an average of $2.1 million over a 40 year working lifetime.

Today, only one-in-a-million Americans is a billionaire, with less then 500 USA billionaires.

Monday, January 19, 2009

British go nuts over eating Squirrels

Squirrel and other varmints have been a staple of redneck cuisine for years, but now those Europeans have now discovered our treats. Everybody loves squirrel, but you have to admit, it's messy and the meat falls off of the bones.

Rednecks love gourmet squirrel, pre-chopped, seasoned just right to bring out the natural squirrely flavor, and served-up in its own butt.

This article reports that British people will give their left nut for squirrels and they eating these tasty tree rats in huge numbers. (It’s just a rumor that British people like squirrel because their jagged teeth are perfect for picking the meat from the squirrel bones.)

But it’s clear, the country that brought the world spotted dick and pork faggots now have a new delicacy:

“British bon vivants suddenly couldn't get enough squirrel. Television chefs were preparing it, cookbooks were extolling it, farmers' markets were selling out of it and restaurants in many places were offering it on the menu.”

And when you’re done eating the squirrel, they can be mounted into an attractive wall ornament:

We all remember this article in the New York Times titled Kentucky Doctors Warn Against Eating Squirrels' Brains, where they note that squirrel brains can cause a fatal variant of Mad Cow Disease, known around here as “Mad Squirrel Disease”, and at least six people have died.

It's no joke, there is a moratorium on eating squirrel brains in North Carolina, and many a redneck has had to switch to less desirable organs.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The cost to rent a cruise ship

People ask "how much does it cost to rent a cruise ship"?

We know someone who arranges the rental of large cruise ships, and the price for a 4,500 passenger ship (in this case, the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas) rents for 9 million dollars per week (in 2007), plus a bar tab of three million dollars.

If you can get 4,000 paying customers you can make millions of dollars in profits by renting a whole cruise ship, but the risks are also high.

There are cruise ship rentals to suit every budget, anywhere from 2 million dollars per day down to $9.95 for a redneck cruise ship:

Redneck riverboat cruise ship rentals

See my full notes on redneck cruises here.

U.S. Army comic book manuals!

The U.S. Army published a comic book manual titled “Preventative Maintenance Monthly”, an extremely well done Army Manual disguised as a comic book. It’s written by men, for men, can you tell?

The baudy Army comic book manual!

You can buy these Army Comic books here on eBay. Here are some sample pages from this comic book manual. It’s sort of like those Sad Sack cartoons:

Sad Sack - The WWII Army Standard reading

It’s like the “Manja Guide to Database Management” where a fairy teaches you database:

Learn Database from a fairy!

With Johnny Bunko, this may be the future, graphic novels for technical matter.

Technical information in comic book form - The wave of the future?

I really like this Vietnam-era Armt Manual on caring for your M16-1A. The title is "treat your rifle like a lady", and the pages on“ How to strip your baby!” are quite funny!

But the point is that people are visual critters, and illustrated manuals are a great idea, especially for highly technical information . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jumping maggot cheese

I’ve eaten many strange sthings, and I've heard of "inhabited” cheese, delicacies with live critters inside, but this cheese is almost beyond belief, Casu marzu cheese, which contains live leaping maggots, yum:

Leaping maggot cheese

Hey, it’s on Wikipedia as maggot cheese, so it must be true. The maggots are quite good jumpers too, and you must shelter your eyes, while eating the maggot larvae alive:

“Because the larvae in the cheese can launch themselves for distances up to 15 centimetres (6 in) when disturbed, diners hold their hands above the sandwich to prevent the maggots from leaping into their eyes . .

The larvae have powerful mouthhooks which can lacerate stomach linings or intestinal walls as the maggots attempt to bore through internal organs”

This maggot cheese should be reported to the cheese enforcement agency:

Thanks Boing Boing!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Presidential pardons

It’s only a few days until the executive branch changes hands. When the parties exchange power, they start all sorts of gerrymandering; passing last-minute measures, all intended to keep their positions intact. Every year the president pardons one turkey or another:

Plan on Bush pardoning a bunch of turkeys on January 19th

Presidents even pardon other presidents, as when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon:

Pardon me? I guess "The King can do no wrong" . . .

On the last day of a presidents’ last term, they pardon all sorts of convicted felons. Here is a history of presidential pardons, by year:

A history of presidential pardons - 1789-2001

I’ve never fully understood why the founding fathers wanted this, and why they chose to give this power to the president.

Well, I can sort of understand it; George Washington was a world-away from George Bush.

Outgoing president Bush says that he will not pardon anyone who has not yet served out their sentence, but January 19th should be a very interesting news day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gourmet Gizzards

One Southern treat that everyone loves is a heaping helping of southern fried gizzards. While some gourmets say that the breast is the best part of the chicken, I disagree.

I’m waiting for the top chefs to discover the wonders of gizzards. The flavor is rich and chickeny, a tad gritty, with a chewy, tasty cartledge.

As anybody who has ever cleaned a chicken knows, the gizzard is a meaty sub-stomach of tight muscles, pure meat and clear gristle:

Chicken gizzards are made for grinding grain and insects

The gizzard is made for grinding grain for digestion, on its way to becoming chicken shit:

A fresh gizzard

Before Wolfgang Puck and Jeremiah Tower get wind of the wonders of southern fried gizzards, many country folks know of the pleasures of deep fried chicken gizzards:

Chicken fried gizzards are a gourmet delight!

The perfect gizzard sauce

As every gizzard gourmand knows, you need a good gizzard sauce to bring out the rich gizzardy flavors.

My gourmet Gizzard sauce recipe is simple. Just take some Apple Cider Vinegar, Coleman’s dried mustard, some honey and hot chili, and mix it to taste. These gourmet flavors combine into a sweet-sour sauce that accents the natural flavor of the gizzard, pure ambrosia!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Declining American Values and the Economic Crisis

Everybody is pointing fingers at the global recession, blaming Wall Street, Mortgage Brokers, the Banks and Uncle Sam, while forgetting the real cause of the crisis, amoral, greedy Americans.

News flash, it’s NOT greedy bankers who caused this economic meltdown:

While Obama is assembling a team of the world’s best economists to dig us out of a recession, to address the core problem we must re-visit the failure in core American values.

I hate the self-entitlement of lazy Americans. The late night infomercials say “Get the money you deserve”. Who says that you deserve anything?

Most of these people are only entitled to a swift kick in the ass.

These values of hard work, thrift and perseverance are what make America the best country in history, and we are losing ground:

Frugality – The USA savings rate hovers around zero. Everyone is compelled to spend every cent they earn and leverage themselves deeply in credit card debt.

Loyalty – America has lost enough jobs to overseas foreigners. Let’s bite the bullet and enact tariffs to keep American factories competitive. America cannot complete with developing nations where workers earn fifty cents an hours.

Honor – I saw a 60 Minutes show awhile back where a woman talked about why she let her mortgage go into foreclosure. It was all about her lost property values, and NOT A WORD about her personal responsibility to keep her word and honor her mortgage contract.

It’s time to bring-back personal responsibility to bloated, lazy self-entitled Americans, even if we must legislate their compliance:

Force contracts – All homeowners who abandoned their mortgages should be forced to return and re-negotiate the mortgages. Those who welsh should be arrested, and jailed if necessary.

Force thrift – Make it a Federal Crime for anyone to lender to give someone debt that takes them over half of their disposable income.

Let’s place the blame for this mess squarely where it belongs, on the shoulders of those Americans who have lost their scruples. . . .

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Beware of telephone call credit card scam!

Dee’s inbox has this scary report of a new credit card scam, done over the phone:

“The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him.

After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he’ll say, ‘That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card.”

Friday, January 09, 2009

The perfect putting stroke

Developing the perfect putting stroke is not trivial!

Any coach who can take two sedate, overweight, arthritic folks and turn us into competitive golfers is a remarkable teacher, and these are my notes on developing the perfect putting stroke. Janet and I are very lucky to have a PGA Master for your coach (Brad Clayton, author of the book Puzzleduck Golf and 2009 PGA Instructor of the Year for the Carolinas).

People travel from all over the world to take lessons from Brad Clayton, and for good reason. Janet and I play daily, and Brad has allowed us to get glimpses of what it;s like to be a scratch golfer. Even Janet shot a birdie last week on a long par-5 hole!

Make no mistake, golf is the world’s second hardest sport, and it requires constant practice, rain or shine, sun or snow:

Aim Small, Miss Small

When practicing putting it’s important to aim to win. Beginners often imagine the cup as being five feet wide, and that great for getting into the neighborhood, but not so good for consistent two-putting.

Don't visualize a large cup - Aim small!

The aim-small, miss-small is also great advice for sharpshooters, and it really works in putting too. In addition to the putting tops below, Brad stresses that you must practice until you can putt like a machine, consistently and without any variation.

Here are my swing thoughts on the perfect putting stoke:

- Examine the breaks - Like Ben Dover says, get down there and see where your breaks are.

- Set-up in a uniform fashion - Make sure that your eyes are directly over the ball and that your elbows are open to facilitate a machine-like stroke.

- Drill the line - Walk an imaginary ball backwards from the cup to the club head, and back again. When putting uphill, resist the temptation to come-in "jot" with less break. Plan the arch at the highest point.

- Set the stroke distance - While you always aim small, you want your second putt to be a tap-in, so you gauge the amount of swing to use to get you where you need to be.

- Last minute checklist - Just before initiating the putt, remember to follow through exactly the same distance that you draw-back, accelerating into the ball, and remind yourself to keep you head down until the ball is well underway.

This last point is especially important. If you commonly miss to the left, it may be that you are "peeking", watching the ball leave the putter face. It takes practice to keep your eyes stationary, but it's worth it!

See my full notes here on mastering the perfect putting stroke.

Respect Are Country! Death to all Juice!

Am I the only one who is uphauled at this?

And this:


Evaluating written language levels

For years, schoolteachers have used formulas to determine the “reading level” of text, using factors such as the required vocabulary for words, grammar, sentence length and structure.

This technique has been proven to be statistically valid for printed material, and it's interesting to see that the technique is now being applied to the web.

Check out this web readability evaluation tool

It does not disclose the decision rules, but in my limited testing it seems to be quite accurate.

In my tests it rated web sites and blogs as “junior high school”, "high school", "college level", "graduate level" and "genius". It liked my web site:

It also seems to have uncanny insights into the value of some blogs:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Will Obama start another golf craze?

Will Obama start another golf craze?

Ike was a 5-star golf addict, and he played wherever he could, even in combat areas:

Golfers Like Ike

When Eisenhower ruled the free world, all of America want golf-crazy with him. New courses popped-up everywhere, and virtually every military officer took up golf. Golf was part-and-parcel of American life and everything revolved around golf.

Celebrities (Bob Hope), crooners (Bing Crosby), and everybody who was anybody looked forward to dressing-up like clown and heading out to the golf course.

We all remember the day when Eisenhower suffered a mild heart attack whole golfing and the stock market plunged!

The last 5 presidents have been really lame golfers, but a charismatic president with athletic ability might be just what we need to re-start the golf craze. Obama knows how to dress on the golf course:

Tall and lean, ideal for the perfect swing

I love his saddle oxfords, just like I wear:

Chatting with Obama

Obama does not disclose how good he is at golf, but some say that he has a 16 handicap, but there is lots of speculation. Our son, who knows everything (by virtue of being a young grad student!), said that he thinks that Obama was built right to pound a ball 300 yards.

I could not let that one go by, and I challenged him!

Andy casually said “Yeah, I’ve met Obama. I chatted with him backstage for quite awhile”.

As our jaws dropped, Andy flipped-out his phone as showed us this picture:

Evidently, the boy was backstage manager when he spoke at ECU.

I’m impressed. The closest I ever got to a charismatic president was watching John F. Kennedy roll by in his motorcade, riding in the same open-top Cadillac that he was assassinated in a few years later . . .

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Uniform of the surgeon general

It’s funny, there are some appointed political positions that come with generals uniforms! In many states, the governor appoints a crony to be in-charge of the state national guard, and they become instant 2-star generals!

These "appointed generals" are the object of much ridicule in the Pentagon, I'm told . .

Traditionally, some Surgeon General’s like Koop wore a ridiculous uniform, I assume because a “general is a general”.

The uniform of the surgeon general

It’s stupid, the surgeon general IS NOT a general officer! It would be like the Secretary of Defense dressing-up as a secretary:

Should the secretary of defense dress like a secretary?

Evidently, the Surgeon General has lots of latitude when choosing their uniform. I wonder what type of uniform someone named Sanjay would choose?

Something traditional?

Since the presidential appointments appear to be based on popular news media people, there are all sorts of possibilities:

Attorney General – I’m a big Judge Judy fan, and I’m hoping that Judge Judy gets nominated to be Attorney General!

Secretary of Defense – Get the terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger!

New laptops without a keyboard

It's about time that keyboards became obselete. This new innvovation from Apple is amazing the new "Apple Wheel", the first laptop computer sans keyboard:

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Browsing the web is just a few hundred clicks away . . .

The Assumption Song!

This assumption song is very clever, somebody with a good sense of humor.

Very Bob Dylan sounding:

And there's more:

And yet another one, not as good, by some foreigners who talk funny:

Monday, January 05, 2009

The best soil for growing carrots

Carrots like light, sandy loam that's fine in texture and rich in organic matter. They need a soil that is loose and free of rocks to grow straight roots. Rocky soil or too much nitrogen can cause forked roots. The ideal soil pH is 6.5 to 6.8, but 5.5 to 7.5 is acceptable. Dig in several inches of compost and some sand if you have heavy soil. Loosen the soil with a spading fork as deep as the length of the carrot variety you intend to grow.

Carrots do best in sandy soil but few of us have sandy soil. So even if your soil is healthy loam and contains lots of organic matter, if you mix a few handfuls of builder’s sand in every square foot of the soil where the carrots will be planted, you will have fewer problems with misshapen roots.

Soak seeds in warm water overnight before planting and cover seeds with sandy loam.


Make sure soil is well-draining and has a pH of around 6.5

Giant Pumpkins:

Pumpkins like nitrogen-rich soil. Start with a pH test in fall and adjust your pH to between 6.5 and 6.8 by adding sulfur to lower the pH or lime to raise it. Apply three to five yards of composted manure per 30-foot-diameter circle where you expect to plant next spring. Plant a cover crop of winter rye in fall to be turned under in early spring, broadcasting one to two pounds per 1,000-square-foot area.

Is Bill Gates Autistic?

I found this query “Bill Gates is” to be enticing:

The notation that caught my eye was “Is Bill Gates Autistic”.

This TIME Magazine article makes a convincing case that Bill Gates is indeed autistic.

Maybe he’s not gay after all, just retarded? Nah:

Bill Gates, looking Gay

Bill used to work less than a mile from my childhood home, I even met him once:

Bill Gates in Albuquerque, 1977

Autistic, Hmm . . . That would explain a lot . . .

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dog Warfare

Here at the ranch “take your dog to work day” is chaotic, and lots of hounds gerrymandering for dominance. . . .

Here, Noel and Sweetie fight over a toy:

You also have to keep an eye on the Christmas presents. Here, Noel was caught taking presents from under the Christmas tree:

Friday, January 02, 2009

Real life Far Side cartoons!

I loved the Far Side cartoon series, and Boing Boing has this great note on Far Side cartoons.

These photos are very cleaver, reenactments of popular “Far Side” cartoons:

Far side cartoon re-enactments:

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Why the racial skew in prison populations?

America is chided worldwide for having the highest number of prisoners per capita (1 in 140), and the absolute highest number of people behind bars in the world (over 2 million people).

Wow. The U.S. accounts for 22 percent of prisoners worldwide, but holds only 4.6 percent of the world population. In wonder, is the prison population high because convicts don't want to leave their friends behind?

Many American convicts are reluctant to leave their friend behind

But there is also a racial skew with a disproportionate number of minorities in American jails.

Why is more than half the prison population minority? Hispanics and blacks make up only 25% of the USA population yet they constitute over 60% of the prison populations!

Could it be that institutional racism is responsible for this skew in prison populations? Consider these disturbing statistics:

- Nationally, 44 percent (about 800,000) of prison inmates are black even though blacks make up only 12.3 percent of the population.

- Over 18 percent of inmates (about 350,000) are Latino, but Hispanics make up only 12.6 percent of the population.

- One in nine USA black males ages 20 to 34 is behind bars

- Over 10 percent of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 has been in prison at some time.

All these people in jail, so sad. . . .