Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two of my Weight Loss Secrets


Depending on what my "frame size" is - that is, whether I'm big-boned, small-boned, or in the middle - the supposed ideal weight for a man of my height is 155, 165, or 175 pounds. When I was at my peak weight of 260 pounds - not really all that fat compared to a lot of people, especially most truckers - I said to myself that I needed to lose 100 pounds, mostly because it was a nice round number which was close enough to the truth. I dropped 56 pounds the first year without any serious effort, but then the weight held steady, and what's worse, I decided to stop driving, mostly because I was tired of getting ripped off by my company, but also because I wanted to put the finishing touches on my novel and then get it sold. I'd need a lot of time to study up on how to do all that, and driving (especially without getting paid for it) was wasting that time.

So consequently, I started regaining some of the weight I'd lost. I knew what the problem was: I was starting to over eat and my activity level had gone down. Finally, I managed to get it under control by making some minor changes to my diet and my behavior and the weight started falling off again. Then we took a trip out west and I stopped the diet, thinking we'd be extra active to make up for it.

Tip: Don't take trips with people who can't walk more than 2 miles in a day and who want to start the day at 9:00 and give up on the day at 4:00. You won't see much and you won't lose much weight from activity. I expected the guy twice my age and weight to cause a problem, but not the guy half my age and weight.

But anyway, I regained about 15 pounds in just those 3 weeks, so I had to drop them again.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!


Depending on what my "frame size" is - that is, whether I'm big-boned, small-boned, or in the middle - the supposed ideal weight for a man of my height is 155, 165, or 175 pounds. When I was at my peak weight of 260 pounds - not really all that fat compared to a lot of people, especially most truckers - I said to myself that I needed to lose 100 pounds, mostly because it was a nice round number which was close enough to the truth. I dropped 56 pounds the first year without any serious effort, but then the weight held steady, and what's worse, I decided to stop driving, mostly because I was tired of getting ripped off by my company, but also because I wanted to put the finishing touches on my novel and then get it sold. I'd need a lot of time to study up on how to do all that, and driving (especially without getting paid for it) was wasting that time.

So consequently, I started regaining some of the weight I'd lost. I knew what the problem was: I was starting to over eat and my activity level had gone down. Finally, I managed to get it under control by making some minor changes to my diet and my behavior and the weight started falling off again. Then we took a trip out west and I stopped the diet, thinking we'd be extra active to make up for it.

Tip: Don't take trips with people who can't walk more than 2 miles in a day and who want to start the day at 9:00 and give up on the day at 4:00. You won't see much and you won't lose much weight from activity. I expected the guy twice my age and weight to cause a problem, but not the guy half my age and weight.

But anyway, I regained about 15 pounds in just those 3 weeks, so I had to drop them again.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We're Better than Bacon


You guys remember the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing that was going around a few years ago? As the theory goes, we're all separated from each other by no more than six people. That's kind of like saying that one of my friends and one of your friends has a third friend in common who can complete the link between us and introduce us to each other, no matter who you and I are.

This was based on some research done nearly a century ago by asking people to hand-deliver parcels.

The BBC recently publicized a report that Facebook had analyzed their users' friendships and found that there were LESS than six degrees separating us all. There are a little less than FOUR. That's a lot like saying you and I probably have a friend in common, or at least we each have a friend who knows one of the other's friends.

How did they figure this all out?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dead in a Year

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA
What would you do if you knew you had only one year left to live? Would you muster up the guts to tell the girl (or guy) of your dreams how you felt? Would you tell your boss to shove it? Would you tell your false friends to find someone else to leech off of? Would you travel the world, do things you always wanted to do, but couldn't because you were afraid to or couldn't afford to?

Well now's your chance to find out what you'd do because in one year it will be December 21st, 2012, the day the world ends. Watch out, because there will probably be a lot of other people with less moral restraint than you or I doing all kinds of crazy things. Just in case one of them keeps you from seeing the end of the world, allow me to share with you how it might end.

Friday, November 11, 2011

One with Nature

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

Is it just me, or are there a whole lot of 1's going on right now?

I've been waiting for this moment all my life. 11/11/11 11:11:11, just like I waited for 10/10/10 10:10:10 and the ever fun 12:34:56 7/8/90 and 1987/6/5 4:32:10 from my youth. I'm tempted to ridicule numerology-based end-of-the-world prophecies, but there are just so many to choose from.

I will note, though, that every single end-of-the-world prophecy has been proved false and they keep having to make new ones. Some of them, like the narrowly averted Cuban Missile Crisis and the Y2K thingy, weren't exactly ridiculous at the time, they were very nearly disasters which were avoided by people taking action rather than simply waiting them out. That's the major difference between the comical end-of-the-world predictions and the serious ones. I don't ignore or ridicule things like Iranian-supplied nuclear terrorists or North Korean ballistic missile tests, because those are REAL concerns. Things like that are real and require action to keep them from happening. I'm really not sure why the free world allows Iran to even have a nuclear program. Sounds like a bud that should've been nipped.

Okay, that's all the rambling I've got for you. You may resume your regularly scheduled Friday, now that I have distracted the end of the world from smacking you upside the head while you read this. Hug a veteran too!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Road Trip 4 - 14,000 Shoeless Feet

from: Pikes Peak Toll Rd, Cascade, CO 80809, USA

A few years ago, I was heading south down I-25 from Denver, and I saw one mountain which seemed somehow different from the others. It occurred to me that Pike's Peak was in Colorado, and I wondered if maybe this was it. About a mile later, I came upon a pull-over, so I stopped and discovered that yes, it was. It was pretty amazing to see it, and to have guessed at what it was, since I had no idea where in Colorado it was. It's a nice-looking mountain.

On our trip, we came up from the south, which gave a much better view. Sam was still experiencing the thrill of seeing mountains for the first time, and to see this one in particular standing out from the rest.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Insecure Banking

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

I wrote a letter to one of my banks regarding the deplorable security of their online banking system. Then I scrapped it because I thought it was too mean and wrote another one. Here it is:

One of the concerns of the website I run is about security, be it personal or electronic, and I was wondering, is there was someone I could conduct a short email interview with for an article I'm writing about online bank security in the modern age?

As you're no doubt aware, electronic crime is on the rise, and banks everywhere are scrambling to keep ahead of the crooks, who are finding all kinds of new ways to break in and steal money, often without leaving much of a trace.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Funnies 11-10-30

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

It's funny: I started out this month thinking I had enough stuff to do two posts per week, and I could probably keep up that pace for a while, maybe throw a third article in there once in a while. Then I decided to add the Facebook page (LIKE it, or I'll give you a cat!) and kept bumping into some really good stories to share and things to talk about, so I've been posting FOUR articles a week and even feeling like that's not enough. Before too long, I may hit that magical seven per week, just you wait! If I can drop 60-some pounds with almost no effort, I can find a way to get a new article written every day. Of course, that pushed the book back, but that's okay, it can wait a few more days.

The site's numbers keep climbing faster and faster. Exciting! October was our biggest month yet, with the record being broken just a few days ago, leaving this last week as gravy to get the bar up there even higher for next time. If this keeps up, by the end of the year, we'll be hitting 35,000 visitors in the past 18 months!

And tomorrow is Halloween! Everyone got your candy and your costumes ready?

Here's some more stuff that happened last week; pay close attention:

Stimulus Money Used to Employ Foreign Guest Workers Instead of Americans

All sides should agree: down with the Big Banks - Most of our Founding Fathers warned us about them. Shoulda listened!

A new way to buy real influence - Like politicians need even MORE ways to embezzle without us knowing.

New York cops defy order to arrest hundreds of ‘Occupy Albany’ protesters

Not all GOP candidates opposed to Occupy Movement - There is one with his country's best interests at heart.

OWS's Beef: Wall Street Isn't Winning, It's Cheating

Iraq veteran hit with police projectile during Occupy Oakland demonstration - In the days since, a lot has happened, but here's the original report.

Ten Reasons Not to Bank On (or With) Bank of America - See if their list matches up with your list.

Denver PD hospitalize protester: Occupy Together - The scary thing is most of these police brutality events are inflicted on people who aren't even protesting, they're just there observing!

That's all for this week. Still cranking out plenty of articles, so keep checking the site daily, and if you haven't done it yet, you've still got a chance to be among the first 100 people to click the LIKE button or become a follower. Hurry, this offer won't last much longer!


Friday, October 28, 2011

You are a Peter

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

A system which robs Peter to pay Paul will always have Paul's support. What the majority of people don't realize is who Peter and Paul are in this story, or why Paul thinks he needs money.

The richest 1% own the media. They also own the governing bodies. Why? Because they have more money than the other 99% put together. Is that really equality under the law? (Hint: No, it's not.) For hundreds of years, the common man has fought for his right to be heard. God-emperors were toppled, Kings eliminated, Tsars banished, and so forth, because the public at large wants to be treated fairly by the law. Equal justice should be available to all who work for it, not just to those rich enough to corrupt the system.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Road Trip 3 - Meeting Wyatt Earp

from: Dodge City, KS, USA
The legend of Wyatt Earp begins in Dodge City, which is in south-central Kansas. The "Queen of the Cow Towns," Dodge City was a nexus for enormous cattle drives heading to markets like Chicago. Earp's history before then was rather speckled and inglorious, but in Dodge he started to make a name for himself, and the city celebrates that.

The first time I drove through Dodge City was in a truck. I happened upon a pull-over next to a huge cattleyard, so I stopped and took some pictures. Seemed to me, both while I was there and after I drove past the bypass, that there was nothing much to see in Dodge except a fancy town sign, that cattleyard, and a bunch of cattle-carriers filling the lot of a local truckstop which, at the time, served large, locally grown steaks. But later, I had another chance to go through town and discovered I'd been deceived. There's a whole, thriving, modern town to be found, not to mention a tourist trap around the original Boot Hill! I couldn't stop then, but some day, I could come back. That day was today. (You know what I mean.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Selling Ice to Eskimos

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

Eskimos live in cold places. They have plenty of ice sitting around, and they can make more any time they want it. Wouldn't it be great, though, if we could sell them our ice? We can carve it out of the same places they get theirs, and then convince them that our ice is better than their ice so they'll buy it from us. The only problem I foresee is that they'll only be able to pay us in fish, and I don't think Walmart takes fish as a payment option for giant-screen TVs, though I could be wrong. Even if they do, I'm not sure what the exchange rate is.

But maybe we can do something equally preposterous. Maybe we can sell water to people who are already paying for a residential water system. We'll bottle it up and sell it for ridiculous prices.

Maybe you're wondering why people would buy our water when it would be so much cheaper and easier for them to simply drink water out of their faucet like they used to do even 10 years ago, or, if they don't like the impurities, why they don't buy a water filter and a reusable container, like a glass or a water bottle.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Funnies 11-10-23

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA
Welcome back for our weekly summary of everything important that you can't just scroll down and read! Just eight days to Halloween; do you have your house decorated and your costume designed and your party scheduled? If not, you'd better get it done quick.

We've had a cold snap here in Florida this weekend. Last Friday for my morning walk, it was so cold I felt like my brain was freezing. Still made about 5 miles, but I was miserable doing it. Fortunately it's warming up a little, and yesterday's and today's mornings were slightly less cold, so I'm not worried about Monday.

There were an awful lot of stories I thought were important enough to share over on our associated Facebook page, which you should check out and hit that big LIKE button at the top. So many, in fact, that I felt there was getting to be a bit of information overload, so I didn't share everything I really wanted to. Here are the most important things which happened last week:

86% of Bailout Money Used for Executive Bonuses -  How many times do we have to fall for this before we figure out we're getting ripped off by the corps AND the congressmen voting in favor of these?

5 Conservative Economic Myths Occupy Wall St. Is Helping Bust - Amazing. Simply amazing.

Awake The State November 1st! - All 50 state capitals are going to experience demonstrations.

The Artful Dodgers - How those who most need to pay their taxes get away with paying none.

Wall Street’s Second Occupation: The Rise of the NYPD's Homeland Security State - I believe they had something like this in Germany in the early 1930's.

Janet Reid's Most Terrifying Contest Ever! - I managed to get my entry in third out of almost 200. No idea when we'll hear who won, but if you pester Jet enough, maybe you can convince her I should win.

How to Regain Our Democracy - Very simple solution.

Presidential Candidate Buddy Roemer Calls for Withdrawal From NAFTA, WTO - These are basically illegal treaties in which we give away what we have and get nothing in return. They gotta go. Roemer is the only candidate who wants to get money out of DC to end taxation without representation.

Judge Judy - Here's Who You Support With Taxes - She's far more patient with him than I would be.

Stimulus Money Used to Employ Foreign Guest Workers Instead of Americans - Are you sure this isn't treason?

That will definitely keep you busy today. Have a great Sunday!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Church of the Almighty Dollar

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

Lately you've heard a lot about the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The first thing you may have heard was that it was being suppressed by the major media outlets, who have zero obligation to report facts no matter how important they are. Then you started to hear that the protesters were a bunch of hippies who didn't know what they wanted, except to tax the rich into oblivion. But when the Movement reached your city, you found that you couldn't dismiss them so easily because not only were there a LOT of regular people among them, but they were coherent and made a whole lot more sense than the major media wanted you to believe.

What Americans want is simple: True separation of Church from State. We want the Church of the Almighty Dollar to be expelled from the process of law-making and law-enforcement.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Road trip 2 - A Moment of Silence for those We've Lost

from: 620 N Harvey Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, USA

Not counting the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, what is the worst act of terrorism committed within American borders? Maybe Waco comes to mind. Or the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Or the DC sniper. Those were terrible events, but the Oklahoma City bombing, which took place in 1995, is what I'm talking about.

As a truck driver, I've been through OKC many times, and been across the state of Oklahoma even more. The roads through the state are designed such that you almost can't pass through Oklahoma without also going through its capital.

There's a lot to see in these pictures; take your time as you look at them.
On the morning of April 19, 1995, a pair of soulless men filled a truck with fertilizer and other explosives. One of them drove it to the front of the Murrah Federal Building, a nine-story multipurpose high rise in the heart of the city. He parked the van, fuses already lit, and walked away. A few minutes later, at 9:02 AM, a large explosion devestated the building and the parking lot across the street. At least 168 people died, including 19 children in the daycare center, and 680 more were injured. Within a 16 block radius, 324 buildings were damaged and 86 cars were destroyed. The bomb had to be enormous to cause so much damage; it was equivalent to 5000 pounds of TNT, or 1/4 the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Discount Cards


Thank you for letting me scam you last week.

Scams are awesome, aren't they? I've got a few of them I'd like to tell you about, and then we can work together and do what's morally required of us: parting suckers from their money.

A great way to part suckers and their money is to make them feel like they're getting a huge discount on what you're selling. And for eons, the traditional route to doing so has been to inflate the price and quote that to the customer, then let him haggle you down. It has worked well in the open-air markets of the world for millennia. Americans haven't directly experienced the joy of haggling in quite some time outside of a car lot, but if you'd like to see how it works, you can easily take a trip to Mexico and give it a try. I got my first experience when I was briefly stationed in San Diego. A couple weekends, we went down to Tijuana.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Funnies 11-10-16

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

A lot's happened this past week. First off, I found a nice intermediate step between the previous rendition of the site and the super-modern, user-reconfigurable version (which I really want you to have, just as soon as they enable the important stuff), and that is what you see now: nice lines and boxes and a very clean, professional look. I'm extremely happy with this, although it forgot to import all my keywords and meta tags; thank God I saved the code from the previous rendition! I've probably got 1000 keywords to help the search engines find the stuff you're looking for! The site should stay about the same for a while.

Second is that Biketoberfest is winding down today. There are a few things still going on, but come sunset, bikes will return to their normal level of ubiquity. Had wonderful weather for this extended weekend, and from the looks of my riding around, there were about as many people here as there usually are for my birthday party, aka Bike Week in March. (Bike Week always falls on my birthday, except, apparently, for next year.)

Third is that I checked out the new Occupy Daytona Beach group last week. Fifty people showed up last Monday for its first meeting, and over 100 showed up for yesterday's informational/rally/demonstration, which itself was part of a WORLDWIDE event taking place in almost 1000 cities.

As I said at the meeting, it takes a lot of courage to show up at these things. When you see the attrocities being committed in New York City against these people, such as a cop running over an observer with his motorcycle and then beating and arresting him, it makes you wonder for your own safety. When you have hypocritical retards like Ann Coulter - a woman who lauded Timothy McVeigh's terrorist attack on Oklahoma City (which you'll read about later this week) - are slinging hateful insults and telling regular people to commit irrational acts of violence, you have to wonder for your own safety. And when you even have various elected officials calling for violence and even murder against the protesters, it's almost enough to go back to being a sheep, awaiting your turn to be fleeced and slaughtered.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Road trip 1 - Who Shot JR

from: Dallas, TX, USA

Back in May, I told you I had something special coming up. This is it. I got to take a trip around the country with my dad and favorite nephew. Somehow we avoided killing each other or getting too much on each others' nerves, and got to see a lot of great stuff.

For my nephew it was all new; he'd never been west of the Mississippi. Everything was new for him, everything a sight unseen, a sight to remember.

For my dad, it was reliving an experience he'd had when he was about 6. Back when he was a little kid, before the interstates existed, his grandparents took him and his older sister out west to Yellowstone. It was a trip he's been itching to repeat for almost 60 years. Additionally, about 12 years ago, just before I got out of the navy, he took a trip out to San Diego, where I had been stationed a year or two before, to visit an aunt of his he hadn't seen in a long time. On his way back, he visited the Grand Canyon. (Then a few days after he got home, his aunt passed away.)

And for me, I've been driving a truck long enough that I've driven past a lot of very interesting things, but for one reason or another couldn't stop at all of them. I wanted to get a closer look at a lot of things I was forced to drive past.

You, dear reader, get to come along for the ride!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is Change Good?

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA
Change for the sake of change is rarely good. It may be how Evolution works, but we as a society can't afford such luxuries. However, times change, and if we don't keep up with those changes, we stagnate and crumble. Even a brick wall needs to be remortared every once in a while to maintain its integrity.

When it comes to politics, there are two broad philosophies: keeping things as they are - Conservatism - and changing things - which goes by many names, such as Liberalism and Progressivism.

Historically speaking, the Conservatives are a more cohesive force than those wishing for change. So long as enough people are willing to put up with whatever the current circumstance is, change isn't needed. But circumstances change of their own accord, no matter how we might want to keep them the same, if for no other reason than because as we age, our needs change, and when they do, the number of people satisfied with the current situation decreases until change happens.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday funnies - 11-10-9


Since starting up the Facebook attachment (which I just spoke about in the previous post), I've found it's very easy to just throw up interesting links. However, Facebook doesn't have a very good history function, nor a good search function, so when those very important posts fall too far down, they're pretty much lost to all who aren't internet archaeologists.

So I just now sez to myself, "Self," I sez, "why not preserve the best of them thar linkies up in here in this website?" That might be funnier if you can imagine me doing it in my Mr. Turner voice. If you've had the privilege to hear it.

But anyway, here are the best links of the week, not counting the links back to here.

Bombshell: DOJ Considering Elimination of ATF

What’s behind the scorn for the Wall Street protests? - Jesse Ventura (yes, that one) pointed this out.

TrainStation - A very rare find: a Facebook game worth playing.

Daily Show: Parks and Demonstration - John Stewart's take on the Wall Street demonstrations.

Ohio Pork Industry Hurt by Prison System Decision - Political Retardation strikes again.

Bank On It: They're Scared - More on the Occupy Wall Street movement, just released today.

Quite a collection there. Once you're done checking them all out, how about heading over to our new Facebook page and hitting the LIKE button for us? Click here to see it. Do it. Do it nooooooow.


Good Numbers, Gooooood Numbers

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA
As you know, I added some Facebook love to the site. I then campaigned to get 1000 LIKEs. A lofty goal, no doubt, especially since I don't have even 1/3 that many FB friends, but sometimes if you shoot for the stars, you hit the moon. I did pretty good, considering, but the opportunity to set a record is gone.

I'd still appreciate a LIKE, if you don't mind taking a second to do it. The more LIKEs we get, the harder we'll try to be likeable. (In a manly, macho sort of way, not a toady, mealy sort of way.)

I also spent some time checking out some of the new ways available to display a blog. They've come up with an absolutely GORGEOUS front page, which I used briefly Friday, until I discovered that some critical functionality was missing and had to switch back. It's a shame, it was really awesome. Hopefully in the future they'll fix that and I can use it.

But there's some unmitigated good news, too. Not just that Sarah Palin has taken her misbegotten  pre-campaign donations and withdrawn from the Presidential race, but rather that the site's numbers are up big time!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Right lane allergy

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

I have lived near major interstates pretty much all my life, especially my adult life. By this I mean an interstate highway which has 3 or more lanes per direction which is within 2 miles of my house. A good example of this is the Bohrman Expressway in northwest Indiana. I-80/94, the fastest non-toll road into Chicago, has had 3 lanes for as long as I can remember. (A few years ago, they added a fourth lane to it.)

In a place like northwest Indiana, where the traffic is thick and the exits are only a mile or two apart, or over in Chicago where it's considerably worse, I can see why people might develop an allergy to being in the right-most lane. That's where the entry and exit ramps are, and keeping out of that lane means you're not in anyone's way.

But here in Florida, on the stretch of I-95 that I live near where there are 3 lanes to travel in and the exits are few and far between, I still see people exhibiting this allergy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Favorite Rip-offs


Recently, some pretty ridiculous things have been assaulting me from the TV, from friends, and even my own family. I've shared a handful of them with you from time to time, but of late, it seems like there's a lot more than usual going on. It occurred to me that Snopes.com has a good thing going on: they expose fakes and the like, and they're pretty much the authority about that kind of thing. They've branded themselves well. I've always liked debunkers, which I suppose is why I have a lot of respect for Snopes, Mythbusters, and the Amazing Randy and Johnny Carson. Yep, I like Adam and Jaime for more than their ability to blow things sky high.

I came up with a great idea on how to rip off people while making them think I'm doing them a favor. Actually, I thought of a few ways, and I'll share them now and then. Today's idea has to do with on-line auctions.

Imagine for a moment that you wanted to run an auction website. How do you cut in on giants like Ebay? You have to come up with something different, of course. Like so...

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Few Small Changes


Now that we've had a month of rememberance, it's time to get back into the swing of things.

Over the past few months, I've been a little sparse. Part of this is due to Facebook sucking up some of my time (it seems even more well-designed at helping people get the word out to the masses than Google's blogging system), part of it is due to getting some writing done on three different books, and part of it is that I was focusing a lot on some personal issues, such as my weight-loss efforts (going well; I'm down 60 pounds from my peak). I also spent a lot of time with friends.

Last weekend, I took a trip up to Jackson to see my favorite niece graduate from college, and then got whooped up on by her little boys at putt-putt, who are 5 and 3 (and don't really like to putt). Good to get to spend the day with them and to hook up with some other friends whilest up there.

Riding in the car, I had a few hours available, and most importantly, the inspiration, to crank out a handful of articles, and in the past week since getting home, I've been doing a lot of reading. So basically, I've got some things to say over the next few weeks/months to keep you entertained. I've also got a slightly different direction to take the site in, a new angle to see things from.

Be here first thing Monday morning.

(And while I'm thinking of it: happy birthday to my lady-friends in Mississippi: one turned 17 yesterday and another turned 29 today.)


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forgetting

from: New York, NY, USA

It was a Tuesday like any other. I had just gone on Terminal Leave from 6 years in the Navy - I was technically still in the military, but about 3 weeks before, I'd taken my first and only helicopter flight off the Bataan (LHD-5) to get on my way back home to Northwest Indiana. I had a total of 6 weeks of Leave stocked up, and I was ready for some major decompression before getting into a new job. I'd spent the past 3 weeks having some fun, and that morning was in my room, doing some writing when, at 9:00, I received a phone call from my Aunt Kitty.


"Are you watching TV?" she asked.

Both buildings struck

"Naw, I pretty much lost interest in it while I was in the Navy," I answered, thinking maybe she was going to ask me to spend the day with her.

"Turn it on. Any channel."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Better to Have with no Need

Four Chords & Several Years AgoWe've all heard it. I'm sure Huey Lewis wasn't the first to say it. Every time you need something you don't have, someone's sure to say, "It's better to have but don't need, than to need but don't have."


Is that why you've got all that junk in your garage? All those little toys and baubles and sundry, you got that because it was better to have it so you wouldn't need it?

Okay, I can see where sometimes that's good advice. It might rain today, so take an umbrella. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. The power might go out so you can't get in through the garage door, so you'd better bring your house key on your walk. The Russians might develop nuclear weapons, so we'd better develop some too.

But it doesn't work for everything. For example:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Antarctica Visits Indiana


The car screamed! So loudly, I had to shut it off, for fear of waking the entire neighborhood. Not something you want to do in Gary, Indiana. It was never too late at night nor too cold to shoot someone who desperately needed it.

I shivered my way back up to the house in the 40 below, midnight air. "The car screamed when I started it!" I told my dad. "I've never heard such a sound before!"

"It did that last night too. It eventually warms up. Get it started, we have to get going," he told me.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Speed up Your Computer for Free


You bought a computer a few years back, and now it's blazingly slow. It takes forever to get it turned on, and it's getting so bad you can't hardly even load this website without wondering if it's locked up. It's so bad, you're considering throwing it away and buying another one.

FEAR NOT! Help is on the way!

In my nearly 30 years of using computers, I've picked up a few tricks which will help you restore some of your computer's lost horsepower so you can get back to staying up to date on my goings on, which is something all red-blooded Humans should be doing. So prepare yourself to be amazed and eternally indebted to me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Getting Branded


No, I'm not talking about getting the ol' Circle-J red hot and burning it into your hide so everyone knows you're my property, I'm talking about what you want people to think of when your name is mentioned.

When you hear the name Oprah Winfrey, certain things pop into your head. Same for Michael Jackson. Same for Xerox and KFC and Honda and Coca Cola. That's the power of a brand. What pops into people's heads when YOUR name is mentioned? What do people remember about you? What do you WANT them to remember about you? That's your brand. You can also think of it as your reputation. It's better to pick your reputation than to have it pick you. Here are some of the things people think of when my name is mentioned. (Depends on who it is and how they know me, too.)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

False Advertising


Bacon Bits. We've all heard of them. However, there's not a bit of bacon in them. False advertising. Another example I recall from an episode of the Simpsons. Bart and his friends were on a wild summer vacation and one of the things they did was go to the theater to see the movie, Naked Lunch. They come out and Nelson says, "I can think of two things wrong with that title."

What false advertising have you encountered?


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Give Peace a Chance


“It is no longer good enough to CRY peace, we must ACT peace, LIVE peace and LIVE IN peace.” - Unk, probably Dalai Lama

All throughout the Cold War, there were people saying things like, "Give peace a chance" and "make love, not war". These sayings continued and mutated until it became popular for people in movies making a wish to "wish for world peace".

Oddly enough, many of the people who say they want world peace make very little effort to attain it. Maybe they go to a demonstration or something, but often peace demonstrations turn violent. People protesting abortions have been known to threaten and kill those who perform them. Is this really living up to the ideal?

I'm not talking about complete and utter pacifism here. Even the Dalai Lama has no compunction about defending himself from harm if some beligerent fool should make it necessary, I'm talking about living up to the ideals you espouse.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sugar Rush

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA
Some friends of mine are discussing Skittles-filled doughnuts and I cringed at the thought. "Too much sugar," I'm tempted to scream as I run away. "I'd get one heckuva sugar rush. I prefer my sugar to be a little more subtle, like half a pound of chocolate, or candied peanut butter, or soft chocolate chip cookies. Skittles are pure sugar."

It then occurred to me that a good chocolate bar probably has as much sugar as a bag of Skittles, so what was the difference?
Well taste, obviously. I won't get a sour-cringe from chocolate. But I realized there are other sweet foods I prefer which give me less of a sugar rush.

For instance, I've always prefered clear soft drinks like Sprite and Slice over the darker ones, like Pepsi and Coke. Even root beer, my favorite, isn't as sweet as a cola. I've also never much cared for fruit-flavored drinks. On the Bataan, when I wasn't drinking water or paying for an overpriced can of pop, I'd drink Red from the galley. Not sure what flavor it was supposed to be, but it wasn't as tart as Orange, and much more appealing to look at than Yellow or Green. We sometimes used it for cleaning brass.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Turtles with Warm Butts

from: Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA

Similar style to the truck I drove, you can
see the space between mirror and cab.
This one's decked out like Optimus Prime!
I was watching an episode of American Dad a little while ago in which a rabbit and a tortise are having a race, and it reminded me of once when I was driving my semi-truck and, in the middle of the highway, there was a turtle trying to cross. He was just moving into my lane and I saw him just in time to dodge a little to the right. I wasn't sure if I'd miss him or not, but I looked in my rearview mirror at my trailer tires and saw them fly past the turtle closely enough to warm his butt without hitting him.

I was elated to see I'd managed to miss him when I didn't think I would. The feeling lasted about two seconds, until the car behind me ran him over.

And this reminds me of seeing birds performing death-defying dives at vehicles and flying out in front of them. One event in particular happened while I was driving a Peterbilt 379P, which has a boxy frame, narrow cabin, and prominent exhaust pipes on the sides. This bird flew right in front of my cabin as I was rolling at speed down the highway.

In the first instant, I thought, "That's gonna be close!" Next, it flew BETWEEN my mirror and the windshield, and I had an instant to think, "WOW! What a lucky bird!" Unfortunately, an instant later, the truck's wind shear trapped the bird and slammed it into the exhaust pipe with a clang. I don't expect he walked away from that one.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Atlantis Airborne

from: Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA

Space Shuttle Atlantis has blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center just a few minutes ago on its final launch! The weather around here wasn't all that great - too many clouds and the possibility of continuing storms - but the weather around Titusville was good enough that, with only a minor delay, the shuttle launched. I imagine the million or so people who came to see it would have preferred a clearer sky, but I doubt any of them regret their cross-country trips to witness this historic event. It was a very emotional moment for a lot of people.

I didn't go down there, nor did I head over to the beach. When you watch it on TV, you get the best views and you get to see the view FROM the shuttle! Having attended several launches from multiple locations, I know how awesome it is to watch a launch without benefit of the TV, even when the clouds swallow it immediately. If you're close enough to see it, you're also close enough to feel it. You'll also hear it, although if you're far away, it will take a while for the sound to reach you, and hopefully you're not in a loud place.

Up close, it's the biggest blowtorch you've ever seen. You can FEEL the heat from the engines, even from several miles away. (I'll swear up and down that you can feel it from 50 miles away!) Then comes the rumble, loud enough to overwhelm any other sounds.

As the shuttle climbs on a pillar of fire, disappearing far faster than you can really imagine, that sound slowly fades, but you can still feel it pulsing the air. It takes only about two minutes before that gigantic burst of light is so far away that you can't see it any more, and the world resumes moving.

If you're farther away, you can watch the launch, and it's incredible to watch it move across the sky so rapidly, but then when the sound reaches you, it's like experiencing it a second time.

But, no more will you be able to experience this. Maybe in the future there will be a replacement vehicle, but in the meantime, we will have to tide ourselves over with smaller rockets.

Good luck, Atlantis crew!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Only in Ohio can you not Fly the Flag

Being from northwest Indiana, I have a natural distrust for all things Buckeye. As a truck driver, I found justification for this when Ohio's laws required trucks to drive dangerously slow on the interstates. I felt like I should be using my flashers and orange triangle to warn cars that I was in a slow-moving vehicle because of how much slower I had to drive. And it didn't seem to be for any purpose other than as a money grab - either you spend an extra hour crossing the state, and are that much more likely to have to buy food and gas there, or you get a thousand dollar speeding ticket for trying to be less dangerous to the people around you. I'd heard the governor was even declining federal highway funds because the state made so much money off the truckers! And as a writer, I'm finding a disproportionate amount of wacky fans coming from Ohio.

And now, Ohio residents are attempting to forbid a man his right to fly a flag in front of his house.

Normally, something like this might spring up out of some hypocrite insisting he be allowed to blow up American citizens doing whatever he can to make everyone around him as miserable as he is, but this time, it's for a much more mundane reason: it's against the rules.

Who made a rule IN AMERICA that you can't fly the AMERICAN flag in front of your own house?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Three Miles, Island not Included

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA

This morning I ran three full miles.

Ok, jogged. Whatever.

My previous record was 2.1 miles. My record before that was 1.5 miles, then 1.2 miles, then 0.7 miles, and then 0.3 miles. These are jogs, with no break. They're rather slow jogs, yes, but they're jogs. Finding the proper speed is important.

Last Friday, my 80 year old walking partner and I walked 7.5 miles. Our previous record was 6.6 miles. He didn't feel like walking today, so I decided it was time to see how far I could run, and you see the results.

I'm not doing intense training here, folks. I'm just getting out there and doing it, putting in practice some techniques and habits I've developed over the years, and which are finally paying off. Here are some of them:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Genetics Relegated to Poor Excuse


"I'm genetically predisposed to be fat," you say. Or whatever your malady is, be it boring, annoying, stupid, tired, bald, poor, irresponsible, et cetera. People have used their learned helplessness - that gut reaction that says, "I have no control over my life and therefore should be pitied and given free stuff" - for quite some time as an excuse for why their life isn't the way they want it to be. "I was bullied in school," "The Man is oppressing me," "I was raped," "They put addictive chemicals in it," and so on are brandished like weapons to justify collective laziness and refusal to take responsibility for one's own life. The most powerful of these excuses has been, "I'm genetically predisposed..." It's the ultimate in having no control over one's destiny.

Attitude determines altitude. It's not just true for airplanes, it's also true for people. Whatever problems you've had in your life, they can be overcome and you can find your happiness. And just today, I've learned of definitive evidence that the tired old excuse for mediocrity - genetic factors - is just that: an excuse.

In this study, 30 men with prostate cancer changed their lifestyles instead of undergoing the "normal" treatments, and in ONLY THREE MONTHS, genes which fought disease had flipped on and genes that caused cancer had flipped off.

They had changed their genes!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Expose Yourself #5 – Cool Cat


Don’t know what Expose Yourself is all about? Check this out.

Today’s guest has done a considerable amount of work for public TV station WJCT, such as public affairs, producing documentaries, reporting, fundraising, and for eight years he produced the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. The local CBS affiliate also had him working as a cameraman and assistant director!

Writing has always been his passion, and he’s done a lot of it, including three award-winning young adult novels about an extraordinary cat named Windrusher, a multiple-award-winning murder mystery set in northeast Florida, Matanzas Bay, headlined his own humor column in a community paper, and has even been published in Florida Trend Magazine. I met him when I attended one of his speaking engagements, which he does several times a year at libraries, book festivals, and conferences because he’s a regional director of the Florida Writers Association. Please welcome Victor DiGenti!

JC: Vic, good to see you again! You look like you’re having more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Something Big Coming Up


You've probably noticed that lately, I haven't published as much as I usually do. Things have been pretty busy with my writing, updating some of the site's content, making new friends in the Ohio Police Department, and a couple other projects that may change the world, so I haven't deluged you with as much excitement as I normally would in this particular channel. And with something new coming up for the next few weeks, I'm still going to be a little rare for a little while. I'll definitely have some interesting stuff for you, it just won't be quite as frequently as you're used to until next month.

Before I sign off for the day, I've got something special for you coming up in the morning which will keep your gigantic brains occupied until I can be here full time again.

See you soon, and thanks for all the support!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Allah be Praised


Praise Allah for finally deciding to clean up his house! With Obama bin Laden dead at the hands of American soldiers - Navy SEALs no less - this is pretty clear proof that Allah wants nothing to do with the bastard. Together with all the upheavals going on in the Middle East and North Africa, it seems to me that blaming wholesale murder and personal greed on an all-powerful entity was a bad idea.

Let's look at this. When someone tells you to kill other people and live in abject poverty because he claims some all-powerful being told him to tell you to do it, shouldn't you stop and wonder at his proof? How do you know Allah told that guy to tell you to kill people in the most horrible ways imaginable? Why should you live in misery while he lives in a palace? Isn't Allah capable of obliterating anyone he wants obliterated?

And so he has.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Politically Retarded


I saw a news item the other day in which some idiot claimed it was "politically correct" to refer to Easter Eggs as "Spring spheres". Naturally, I was abhored at how assinine someone had to be to demonize chicken eggs delivered by a bunny rabbit, but also a bit pleasantly surprised and shocked that such a thing had made news. Had someone finally had enough of this ridiculousness? Was a major news organization going to take off its Radical blinders and report on the mass-murder of common sense?

The newspeople did have a protest, much to my delight, but when I found out what it was, I was appalled. To my intense disappointment, the newspeople were NOT protesting the fact that "political correctness" has gone too far, nor that its purpose is to deceive the masses. No, they were protesting something much more mundane.

The factual error of calling an egg a sphere.

A sphere is a perfectly round object, like a ball. Basketball, baseball, tennis ball, ping pong ball, even the Earth itself is more or less a sphere. An egg, however, is a spheroid. Those three letters make a big difference.

And that's all they cared about: mislabeling a spheroid as a sphere. Not that someone was mislabeling Easter as a mere "Spring Celebration", and certainly not that there are so many people with nothing better to do than invent ridiculous, even obscene language conventions so as to deny all Humans their basic right to free speech and free thought. Goodbye Easter, goodbye Christmas, goodbye Ramadan, goodbye Hannakuh...

Wait a minute!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Tax Man Cometh


Hope you've got your taxes done. Today's the day. If you don't have it done, even though the Constitution says you don't have to pay taxes, you'll get thrown in jail to serve as an example to the rest of us. We wouldn't want our able Congresscritters losing their paychecks, now would we? This ain't a land of laws, it's a land of guns, and if you don't do what the guys with the guns tell you, regardless of whether it's the law, you're the one who gets in trouble. So be sure to get your annual tithe in and hope the people you're paying to do their jobs will actually do them this year.

As you were.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy Computer Basics


In my browsing the internet, I came across this little gem. For those of you who love to complain that you barely even know how to turn your computer on, this guidebook has the basics of how to use Windows 7. It looks like they've published the whole book, and it covers a lot of basic topics in plain language. Check it out!

Easy Computer Basics for Windows 7.

There could be a test.


Stuff that's way cooler than sliced bread:
Loud TV commercials to be CALMed
Did you vote?
Trucks trucks everywhere! Part 1


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gas Thieves


Outrageous! Gas prices continue to skyrocket, with nothing but more bad news in sight.

When you go to the gas station, chances are you've seen a sign there warning you that gas thieves will be prosecuted and have their driver's license revoked. (Not that it's possible any more to pump gas without paying for it first.)

Back in 1995, I worked as a cashier at a gas station/truck stop. (This one, in fact.) I usually worked on truck side, but there were a couple nights I was on gas side. I remember one night, someone came in, got on one of the non-prepay pumps, gassed up, and drove off as fast as he could. It really ticked me off, and not just because I got in trouble for it.

But today, when the gasoline cartels have a stranglehold on our economy, I'd bet most of you get absolutely livid, because THIS is gas thievery.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Put the Cat Down


A branch of my family just lost their cat. Seems she was getting old and it was time to put her to sleep.

Hidey, as she was known, because she liked to hide when she was a kitten, was a very nice cat. Big and fluffy and fat, and very happy to let you pet her all day long if you wanted. She didn't know how to not purr.

But as she got older, she started showing signs that she hurt too much, and they didn't want her to suffer, so they took her to the vet and stayed with her until the purring stopped.

Now she's in kitty heaven.

Most people don't want an animal to suffer needlessly, and so when there's not much hope of relieving that pain, when the animal's life is obviously at an end, most people have no qualms about putting that animal to sleep. But for some reason, when a loved one wants to die with dignity, their family often becomes selfish and won't let them go. Why is it that sometimes ending suffering is justified and sometimes it's not?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

To Your Health - Part 5


Chocolate Bar Variety Pack - 30 ctI hadn't expected to write a fifth part to this series, but with the recent developments, I think it's a good idea, and I feel like I have to share the good news: Over the past two weeks, I lost eight (8!) pounds by eating all the junk food I wanted!

Okay, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking my calendar broke and I still think it's April 1st and you're still upset that Mopjockey.com isn't actually the official website of Florida (yet). I couldn't possibly have feasted on chocolate and Doritos for the past week, could I have?

After you've petitioned Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio on my behalf, check this out:

Friday, April 1, 2011

We are the Official Website of Florida!


Good news! In a press conference this coming Monday, Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio will announce in a bilateral agreement that we, Mopjockey.com, are the official website of Florida!!! OMG! Senator Nelson just called me up this morning to give me the good news and I had to tell you all about it right away! After I gushed for a while, I asked him why we were receiving such an honor, and guess what he said?

Go ahead, guess!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Immaturity makes a Good Movie but a Crappy Life


I just watched a movie called Baby on Board. In it, the main characters, Jerry O'Connell and Heather Graham, have a huge misunderstanding. Each thinks the other is cheating on their marriage. Both are given bad advice by their friends. Neither wants to talk about it to each other and get it worked out. Both are willing to let their marriage and lives be destroyed because neither has the most basic level of maturity needed to do the one thing needed to save it: Talk like adults.

If they had talked like mature adults, it would've taken about five seconds until they figured out they were both wrong, and worked it out. Of course, then we wouldn't've had a movie to watch.

The sad thing is, the movie isn't that far-fetched. There are a lot of people who would rather fight than figure out what the problem is and get it taken care of. But there was a lot more ruining their relationship than the two of them not talking.

You're Wondering what this Place is all About

Ever have one of those days? Ever felt like mouthing off to the world? What would it be like if Andy Rooney, Dennis Miller, and an angry teenager shared a brain? Let's find out. We're the scissors you shouldn't run with, the matches you shouldn't play with, and the dog you shouldn't tease.

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