April 30, 2010

Merry Economic Melodies...

Today I present three Merry Melodies...the first three of which were commissioned by the Alfred P Sloan Foundation to teach folks the joys of the capitalist/free market system...

I swear that the first one came up naturally in conversation after school yesterday...and I had to go hunting it down to prove that it existed.  Here's "Yankee Dood It".

It's from Wikipedia - of course - that I learned about the Alfred P Sloan Foundation connection...which lead me to "Heir Conditioned".  (The only embed I could find comes from a Russian website, and connection is pretty slow.  If you're interested in watching it, click play, pause it, let it load, and come back in a couple of minutes.)

I also found out that the Sloan Foundation's third commission was "By Word of Mouse".

Vezi mai multe video din Animatie

When I mentioned these three cartoons to Doug Studer - my neighboring teacher - to explain my reference to him perhaps leaving his broken shoes out over night for the elves to fix, one of his students mentioned the cartoon "I Love to Singa" as his favorite, so I close with that one. 

And, honestly, it's the most entertaining of the three because it doesn't have a thing to do with economics.

April 28, 2010

Things I've collected through the years

  • Comic books
    The collection that I was probably happiest about.  Took decent care of them - every one bagged and boarded - but certainly loved the collection enough not to let the comics sit untouched.  Nothing was worth a ton of money, and none of them were in near mint condition but they were certainly in very good.  Plus, it got my parents to take me on a ton of trips to Great Escape.  My favorites - from a distant memory since I sent the full collection off to the Action Auction a decade ago - Batman #339...#400...Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans...Action #583...Superman #423...Teen Titans annual #3
  • Teddy bears
    This one was a collection that was collected for me.  The maternal grandparents got me teddy bears - Humphrey Beargart, for example - and I did, admittedly, enjoy them as a kid.  There's still one or two of them in the guest room here at The Homestead.  Most of the collection got donated to Goodwill or somewhere from time to time.
  • Patches
    When I was a kid, I bought a patch from every place I went.  I was going to sew them on a backpack and carry a record of all my trips with me.  'Cause it was going to be cool.  I swear, inside my head, so cool...
  • Pint glasses
    When The Girl and I got our house, we tried collecting pint glasses on each of our vacations - "Who's on First" from the Baseball Hall of Fame, Elvis from Graceland - that didn't last long because the cabinets got too crowded too quickly and our adult life didn't need quite as many pint glasses as her college life did.
  • Inaction figures
    This one was pretty solid for a while as I'd grabbed the first three sets and variants of Kevin Smith's inaction figures.  The Kevin Smith ardor, however, has faded and I moved these along to Katydid a couple of months ago.  Sort of a repeating patterns to most of my collections.
  • Tick figures
    When we were in college, The Girl was a big fan of The Tick cartoon series on Fox, like a big, big fan.  At one point, I thought that introducing her to the comics and maybe the action figures would somehow be kinda cool, so I ordered a few toys, a few comic books, a steel box.  She thought they were neat - maybe because she's all polite and stuff, maybe because she really enjoyed having the toys.  So I bought more - pretty much all of the action figures they ever made.  This collection is still around but kinda stuck in the downstairs coffee table, only coming out when kids come over and find them.
  • South Park figures
    'Bout the same as The Tick figures.  Bought initially as gifts for The Girl, still hanging around on top of the cabinet in our current dining room.
  • South Park DVDs
    All thirteen seasons plus the movie...that's like $375 worth of Dvds which we admittedly loved the hell out of but pretty much don't ever watch a second time.  At this point in the post, I'm starting to wonder if these are solid financial choices.
  • Neil Young cds
    I come from a completist when it comes to music.  If you like an artists - a lot - you get all their music.  I swear that my mom has over 150 Bob Dylan cd's - obviously not all of which are official releases.  At one point I owned every Neil Young cd and was on the search for the missing six.  Since that point, however, I've sold or given off about a third of the Neil Young collection, keeping only the albums that I still really enjoy.  John Mellencamp is also in this category.  Queen came close.  The switch to digital just might save me from this physical collecting urge.  Of course, I did download two of the five parts of the absolutely complete U2 recently, so maybe the urge still exists even if its not for the physical products.
  • Fiestaware
    The Girl and I got started on Fiestaware when we were registering for our wedding gifts at Macy's.  The saleswoman gave us a few minutes to wander around while she set up our registration info, and we settled on Fiestaware.  It's a classic, simple line.  We both loved it.  When the saleswoman asked us what color we wanted, we said we wanted one place setting of each, something that the woman found...um...interesting.  Since then, we'd been picking up a piece or two of every new color release.  Somewhere along the way we realized that we had enough serving bowls and large platters for the two of us who don't do a whole lot of entertaining 'round The Homestead.  So we don't have anything in chocolate, ivory, or lemongrass (and no lilac or sapphire either, of course), but we have some awesome dinnerware that we use every day.  We just don't need to keep collecting it.
  • Baseball cards
    This was a very sporadic collection.  Whenever dad would visit Kaiser's tobacco - where he loved getting his cigars - I would get a pack of baseball cards, gum and all.  All I cared about was getting the full Reds team for that year.  Then I got enough money - allowances primarily - to buy a full set...and the binder and card pages to hold them.  And I was suddenly a collector.  Then I got a couple more full sets - the '88 Donruss, the '89 Upper Deck - and I was a full-fledged collector.  In all honesty, I have absolutely no clue whatever where those sets went.  I might've sold them, might've given them away, might've just lost them in a closet somewhere.
  • Beaker figures
    It all started with a Gift-of-the-Magi Valentines Day in which The Girl got me a Mega Beaker and I got her a Sam the Eagle figure (she was working at a school whose colors were blue and whose mascot was the Eagles).  From there I got a couple of Muppet Labs, a Bunsen Honeydew, even a Phil Van Neuter because he came with plastic glassware.  For a while, my students would take Beaker various places on their vacations - as would I.  Now, however, that seems to have drifted to the wayside.  Th figures are still around, however, in my classroom.
I think that's about it...I'm all good with not having other big lists of things I've collected.

April 27, 2010

Alphabet game: C is for artists

The third in a series that may end up being twenty-six members long...maybe...

April 26, 2010

The buddha is dead. Long live the buddha...

Transbuddha disappeared a while back, and there was much sadness.

But the buddha has reappeared as Dad's Big Plan.

Check it.

April 25, 2010

Frozen Falls

I happened upon this photo from the Wikipedia article about the Journey Behind the Falls attraction on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and it just reminded me how much I desperately want to see the frozen Niagara Falls some winter.

That is all...

April 24, 2010

Dunno what to call this week...any suggestions?

No videos this week...instead, just a cartoon...

April 23, 2010

Happy YouTube 5th Anniversary

Holy crap...it's only been five years (to the day) since the first YouTube video was uploaded.

Wow, how the world has changed.

What the Fonk?

Thank heaven for the combination of the intertubenet, YouTube, and low budget, local advertising.

Check out all the Vern Fonk commercials over at their website.  I particularly enjoy Shapoopi!

Thanks to Warming Glow for pointing out these works of cinematographical genius.

April 22, 2010

Endorsing the Tweakers

I got a set of speakers for my laptop a while back - Philips SBA220 - mostly because they were half off when a store in Kenwood Mall was going out of business.  I think I paid around $15 for the two connected speakers, and - once I started using them, roughly when I blew my laptop's tiny speakers - I was pretty happy with them.

They produce pretty good sound for their size.  They light enough and have a decently long cord so they can sit on each side of my admittedly larger laptop easily enough.  But there is one significant drawback to them. 

They take six AAA batteries.

And they use those batteries like nobody's business.

And it sucks recharging a half dozen batteries over and over again and not being able to listen to music for the few hours it takes to charge 'em back up.

So I went and stole The Girl's laptop speakers instead because they don't take any batteries (technically they run on one internal, rechargeable battery but I've yet to kill the full battery after having used them for months a couple of hours at a time).  Admittedly, the sounds a little thinner, but the speakers are smaller, more attractive, and have way awesome battery life.

I'm all down with and can officially endorse the Tweakers.

If you're in need of speakers for you iPod, laptop, whatever, get yourself a pair.

They frickin' rock.

Happy Anniversary

10 years ago today...

Thanks to everyone who was there and involved, especially to those of you who I know read this blog - Gamer, Smamy, Sully, Ame, The Mater Familias. Is there anybody else lurking out there who was at our ceremony?

And I am not getting The Girl something in tin.

April 21, 2010

The new photo home

I'd promised a while back that I would find some other place to post Princeton photos, and I apologize for having been slow to share what that new place would be.

It's up but skeletal at this point, I warn you.

I'm using Picasa's Web Albums for now, mostly because the uploading is so phenomenally easy from Picasa which I was already using to organize the photos.

Wish they had tags, but that'll be something to hunt for in the future.

For now, though, feel free to check out what's up over there.

Over the coming summer, I'll get all the old photo albums uploaded for viewing - probably just as highlights of each album, but it'll be something.

April 19, 2010

The news in awesome science

John McPhee would be so proud.

Every so often we are lucky enough to be reminded that nothing we can do, nothing at all can ever keep nature in check.

The grounding of air transport all over Europe due to volcanic eruption this past week...

Scientists finding life in "Pitch Lake...filled with hot asphalt and bubbling with noxious hydrocarbon gases and carbon dioxide"...

Australia dealing with a locust plague the size of Spain...

I swear, man, there are things in science that continue to amaze me every minute of every hour of every day.

April 18, 2010

Chicago, here we come...

Just bought tickets to see the White Sox host the Tigers on June 10 and Cubs host the White Sox on June 11.

The Girl has placed our request to stay at an apartment up in Wrigleyville, allegedly a three-minute walk from Wrigley.

With The Girl taking some classes this summer, we didn't have a big window to hit if we were going to fit both in.

So it look like we'll be in Chitown from Wednesday, 6/9 through Saturday, 6/12, and we'll get to see a part of the city we don't normally stay in.

Good times...

April 17, 2010

The Leekly Winks


 Check 'em...

April 16, 2010

The new hotness

Florence and the Machine "DOG DAYS ARE OVER" Music Video from LEGS MEDIA on Vimeo.

It's not the video - that's awful.

It's the music.

I grabbed Florence + the Machine's album Lungs from the library a few days back and have been playing it fairly constantly at school and in the car since then.  Generally good feedback from the students - not that it always matters to me - makes me think that there might be a few other folks out there who might also enjoy it.

Check the video (thanks to coilhouse) or head over to their/her website to stream four of the album tracks or stream the full album on the garish Artist Direct site.

As pretty much always, thanks to NPR for pointing Florence out to me.

A modester proposal

I like the slight adjustment, and I feel sad if you don't know what's being adjusted.

April 15, 2010

Movie Confessional

I have never seen the following movies:
  • The Sound of Music
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • The Ten Commandments
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • Avatar
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • Titanic
  • The Crying Game
  • Vertigo
  • The Deer Hunter
I have seen but don't enjoy these movies:
  • Star Wars
  • 40 Year-Old Virgin
  • The Departed
  • Little Miss Sunshine 
If these movies are on television, I won't turn them off:
  • Hoosiers
  • Heat
  • Roadhouse
  • Almost Famous

April 14, 2010

Let's play global thermonuclear war

There's the carrot, and there's the stick.

I greatly prefer the carrot, and I really like the concept of the carrot requiring a little bit of a game to get to it.

I'm curious about the toothbrushing game that's mentioned in the article.  Would the toothbrush actually somehow measure whether its in a mouth?  If not, I'm gonna just end up leaving my toothbrush on.

Curiously, do any of my readers play Foursquare or use Green Goose?

I think I'm going to start reading about the Gamepocalypse.

April 13, 2010

Alphabet game: A is for artists

We begin today with my favorite songs from artists beginning with the letter A...

And, just in case you were curious, yes, I do have the next twenty-five entries in this series entirely completed.  Publishing them on a week, I'm done with Tuesday posts through October 5th.

April 12, 2010

The week that was...

It's never boring 'round here...

For the past couple of weeks, LeRoy - our elder dog, somewhere around a dozen years old now - has been desperate to head down to our lower level rather than to stay upstairs where we've been locking him for the past few years.  It's not like we trap him in a cage; he gets the run of three rooms - with a couch, water, toys, two big windows that he can see out without even jumping.  But that's not been good enough for him for the past couple of weeks - no idea why.

He's been knocking down the baby gate that we use to trap him and heading downstairs to lie on the couch and the carpet - rather than the laminate floors upstairs.  No idea why.  Maybe it's the warmer temperatures - it is cooler downstairs, after all, and he is getting older by the day.

On Monday we'd headed to Home Depot to order a new water heater - hoping to qualify for the Ohio Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate program.  That meant we'd have to switch from our 80-gallon electric hot water heater (which has been slowly leaking for the past year or so while we hoped to avoid catastrophic failure through sheer blind faith) to a smaller 50-gallon gas model, something more in line with our two-person household.

We got to Home Depot, answered the needed questions, scheduled the delivery and installation for Tuesday morning while The Girl was home, and dropped a few bucks for an extended warranty meaning we'd not have to buy another water heater for a long time.

As I headed back to school on Tuesday after Spring Break, The Girl began her break by stinking up the house with paint and primer - the kitchen walls and trim on Tuesday before tackling the bedroom trim and doors for the next few days.  She'd used up the sage green for the kitchen walls and headed to Sherwin Williams for a quick resupply.

She left the dogs upstairs.

I called to check in on the way home and found out that the conversion of our electric to the new gas hot water heater would take an extra six or seven hundred dollars - new piping, new venting, an expansion tank, a pressure release valve, a flux capacitor - and that we'd actually be better off to just buy a new, same-sized electric tank - both in the short run and the long run.  Lucky us.  So we needed to head back to Home Depot and change our order.

As I drove home through the neighborhood - our suburban, uneventful, white-bred niehgborhood - three police cars - one undercover - rolled to a stop, and the police ran out, chasing someone down the street.  I've no idea who, no idea why.  Just a little excitement to start the week.

When I got home, I found that LeRoy had broken into the barricaded kitchen, gotten into the wrapped up paint tray and tracked paint across the laminate floor after apparently trying to eat the plastic paint tray while The Girl was restocking and I was hearing the sirens.  The Girl took the floor cleanup.  I took the dog cleanup and hopped into the shower to scrub his feet and mouth.

Once everything was under control and as cleaned up as we could imagine, we headed to Home Depot to switch our gas for an electric hot water heater, our 50-gallon, energy efficient tank for an 80-gallon energy monster.  No worries, they said, since we'd never actually gotten the gas model in the first place.  All we had to do was call the installers back and tell them to change what they were bringing our way.

So homeward we headed.

To a dog that had been trapped upstairs.  And who had ruined our upstairs couch.

He'd apparently gotten freaked out and peed all over the thing, urine dripping into places that we would never be able to clean.  Admittedly, the couch had been through the wars, having been with us for a week longer than LeRoy had been.  The cushions were ripped in various spots, and we'd extended its life by covering it in a rotating pair of king-sized sheets so the dogs and The Girl could still enjoy it.

So, out to the garage the couch went, replaced with what The Girl spent the next three days referring to as our doggy opium den, three separate palates of dog beds, piled so that the two dogs and the aged cat could enjoy them.  Heck of a start to the week.

Thursday, more painting by The Girl.  LeRoy again broke free to downstairs but without incident.

Friday, more painting and the installation of the $600, 80-gallon hot water heater - which, of course, cost $1200 after still-needed expansion tank and pressure release valve.

Friday evening then was a trip to Ikea to see the couch that The Girl wanted to replace the destroyed couch with.  She'd sat down in every couch in the store and chosen the one that felt best and was also washable and relatively inexpensive - for a couch, anyway.  I wasn't immediately sold on the couch but didn't see any better options at Ikea, so we headed onward to Ashley Furniture, Costco, and Value City Furnitue to see if there were any better options.

There weren't of course, so we headed back to Ikea to pick up the last Klippan four-seat sofa in the building along with two washable covers and head home with the flatpacked couch hanging a foot out of the back of the station wagon.  An hour later, we were sitting on our new couch, long enough for both of us to lounge at the same time.

If LeRoy pees on this one, we might have a dog to offer around.

He did, of course, greet us when we got home with the couch with a thoroughly destroyed book that I'd borrowed from my principal.  $38 plus $10 shipping to replace that one.

It's never boring to be a home owner.


In an only vaguely related note, we got our taxes finished this week and owe like $2500.


April 10, 2010

Anybody wanna go to a yardsale this morning?

April 9, 2010

Red on Roundball

I can't imagine a modern video made like these, with NBA stars from various teams (and various eras) getting together for an instructional video about the fundamentals.

And my favorite...

April 8, 2010

Instant CSI

Go ahead, click the link and click the sunglasses.

It's too fun not to.

April 7, 2010

The Rat Pack Rides Again

We're going old school today...enjoy the ring a ding ding...

Sadly, I don't have this one to include...

April 6, 2010

Grilled Cheese Academy

Yeah, the sandwiches look great, but the familiar voice is why I'm sending you to the Grilled Cheese Academy website.

I think I know who it is, and I'll leave my guess after the jump (sorry, DanEcht).

April 5, 2010

Yard sale for a good cause

This Saturday, WGRR (one of the Cincy oldies stations) is holding a yard sale with all proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Check out all the details and head over to Bechtold Park from 9am-1pm on Saturday to make a donation and maybe get something you need.

For this man, I would've screamed

I mentioned recently that I don't yell at sporting events.  I will, however, admit to yelling "Shoot It" for a guard with unconscious range, a hair trigger, and a lack of fear.

For Pete Maravich, I would've blown out my vocal chords.

April 3, 2010

This space for rent

    Happy spring, folks

    Get out and enjoy the gorgeousness...

    In terms of blog redesigns...

    I'll be dropping my use of "after the jump" 'cause it bugs DanEcht.  I'll probably still use them when I'm posting a bunch of YouTube videos, but other than that, I'll cut it out.

    The current design (dark wood) will hang around a little while, mostly because I haven't been able to find a better version that I like.  Eventually I'll play around with something more in the black palette since that's apparently what I'm thought of as being.  Sorry for the background image, Ame, but I dig it, and I was getting pretty tired of the plain, flat background.

    And if you are going to be indoors, check out Kyle's self-indulgence for a cool cover of INXS's "New Sensation" from Beck's record club.

    April 2, 2010

    Take your spaghetti tree and shove it

    I hate April Fools Day.

    Hate it.

    I don't like practical jokes, and I especially don't like practical jokes played on me - thankfully there weren't any of those this year.

    Every frickin' day, I wake up and head to the intertubes to check out what's up in the world.  And on this day, this frickin' day, I get tired of every website posting something that's a stupid joke.

    A twenty-cd collection of NPR fundraising announcements?  Dumb

    Google renaming themselves to Topeka?  Dumb

    Rob Neyer's Thursday links being all hoaxes?  Dumb

    When there were fewer media outlets, the occasional practical joke was funny.  Now, however, that there are countless media outlets - that every company and person has its own blog - and they all feel the need to write or post or read or tell something that they think is funny, it's simply April Fools overload.

    Cut it out, folks.

    There has been one funny April Fools gag.  One.

    April 1, 2010

    A white man's book about the black man's game

    It's been a fair while since I've been this willing to gush about a book.

    It's also been a while since I've gotten halfway through a book and decided to buy it rather than try to force my way through before its return deadline to the library.

    And now that I'm about to finish the book up, I'm not feeling even a single iota of regret for the purchase.

    This is, quite simply, the best basketball book I've read.

    No qualifier ("this year", "since this other book", "about the NBA")...no conjunction ("but for the...", "if not for...")...no disclaimer at all.

    This book is awesome.

    If you have any interest in basketball in the least, read this book.

    Whether you have any interest in the NBA or not (and I have very little, in all honesty), read this book.

    Ok, enough gushing and empty platitudes.  Let's get to why this book is awesome.