April 2004 Archives

Dick Van Dyke

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Watched a classic Dick Van Dyke last night that Patsy had recorded earlier in the day. I did not remember that episode although I know I must have seen it. The first 5 minutes of it is comedy of the highest order. I defy anyone not to laugh. If you have TiVo or UltimateTV, set it to record that one. You will not be disappointed. Full moneyback guarantee from CrabAppleLane if you are.

I made the call to the insurance company about my stolen truck and gave them all of the information they needed. They said an adjuster would be calling. Patsy talked to the adjuster. So now, we wait. If itís not recovered in 30 days, I turn over the title and all keys for a settlement check. I have no idea how much it will be for. I would prefer the truck be recovered with only minor damage but that may be asking a lot. Temporary arrangements have been made for me to get back and forth from work.

Oh, and dialup internet access sucks!

CrabAppleLane will have to get an award case for its award. Thanks, Susie!

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďThere's so much I could say about this one photo -- but no explanation needed."

I agree. No explanation needed. Go see for yourself. -Rob

Bad Luck..........

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Sustained a substantial setback yesterday when my truck was stolen from work. I got a police item number and Iíll be calling my insurance company this morning. It does not look good. The only happy ending would be a recovery. I do hold out some hope for that for reasons I wonít go into here. If itís not recovered, I donít know what Iím going to do. To say this comes at a bad time is an understatement. I canít image a good time for this sort of thing but I can surely imagine better times than now. Weíll figure something out.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďAs you are all likely very well aware I make no attempts to keep my blog secret from anyone in my real life. My parents read it, my dad has been known to comment and hit on the forever lickable Erica, I have co-workers - both past and present - that read it. My best friends from my childhood read Kazoofus regularly. My sister has printed and mailed posts to my grandmother."

I havenít kept this one secret, either. Itís managed to do that on its own. Doesnít concern me either way. Posted about it here. -Rob



Interesting things theyíre doing with tickets to major events these days. The ticket below was scanned by a handheld device by the attendant at the gate, not torn as in the not-so-long-ago old days. This leaves the ticket intact for a collector (A group I do not belong to) and it probably cuts down on ticket fraud, too. It undoubtedly also gave them a much quicker and more accurate attendance count.

About the game: They pushed the start time back to 7:45PM to accommodate the Hornets-Heat NBA Playoff game being held in the New Orleans Arena right next door. Our group arrived in the 3rd inning and I could only stay through the 6th inning on a work night but it was a fun game and a pretty nice crowd. LSU and Tulane are old rivals going back to the 1890's. LSU has the premier college baseball program in the country and a large following. Tulane has a very good baseball program and that has made for a great series over the last few years.

Ticket to the game

Blog of the day (Courtesy of Sheila) here.

Quote from said blog: "Okay, so the fact that I got to a million without any bloodshed is surprising enough, sure, but the question is: what the hell am I going to do next?"

One million! Wow! Congrats! -Rob


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Yeah, this will be a lasting trend! What? Theyíre going to try to make it on talent alone? I doubt it. Except for Jennifer Garner, Iíd bet almost anything thereís a Janet Jackson incident in the future of many of those girls careers. Garner has a lot more going for her than just her beauty.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďWhat should have been one great movie ended up being one good movie and one slightly above average movie."

I disagree, of course. I think some expected too much. I agree with his assessment that Volume One was better but I would rate them as great and very good. -Rob

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday Dad

Miss you



This past weekend

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Watched Basic last night, starring John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson. Very, very difficult to keep up with but not as bad as Roger Ebert says. A movie like this is only as good as the villain. John Travolta can do bad guys. Samuel L Jackson can do bad guys. Letís just say they chose the wrong bad guy for this movie. Itís a movie best seen on DVD or with TiVo/UltimateTV because youíll find yourself going ďWhat?Ē a lot. Best to replay and ponder those moments. I think I enjoyed it anyway.

The Saints did me proud over the weekend. The first two players they chose were at positions where they already have good players. That is exactly what I expected them to do. Told you so! Still, it wasnít all bad for the Saints. The draft was strongest where the Saints are strongest (Assuming itís safe to say an 8-8 team is strong anywhere) so it wasnít likely to be a great draft for them anyway and they did make a good trade with the Redskins. Give credit where credit is due.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďIf you're like me, these benefits of easy living are as foreign to you as a layman's tour of Bangkok's Floating Market. In fact, it's so nice here that I got caught up in a quixotic moment of daydreaming about simplifying my life and relocating... until I ordered a "deli" sandwich from room service."

Know the feeling. Pondered leaving Louisiana over the years. The thing I would miss the most is the food. Some of it simply canít be gotten elsewhere. -Rob

Happy, Happy


Happy Birthday, Patsy!



Things somber and not

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I went and saw Kill Bill: Volume Two last night. I think I liked the first one better but this one was also a hoot. This is film making purely for fun. Although I think it was a good idea to release this film in two volumes, it really is one story. However, the story, the action, the acting, and the dialogue is only incidental. This is a film about making film. I am waiting for the two films to be released as a Box Set DVD Directorís Cut Special Edition or some such before I purchase it but I will surely have them both. And if Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman want to make another movie together, I'm in.

Happy ANZAC Day to all my Australian and New Zealand friends! See Fi's lovely tribute to her grandfather to find out what ANZAC Day is about.

Yesterday I downloaded Mozilla. Iíve been told by some that it is the end-all of internet browsers. Iíve tried them all now, I think. I started out on the internet on Mozilla, then went to Netscape Navigator, and then Netscape Communicator. Each version got bigger and more robust. The last version I have of Communicator is Version 4.7 which I downloaded several years ago when it came out. That version just quits working, sends a trouble report, and restarts itself two or three times per session and I have never figured out why nor will I waste any more time on it. Two or three weeks of that were enough for me. I tried IE when that started and I have had no such trouble. I have been with IE ever since.

I started up Mozilla after I installed it and all was familiar to me. I pointed it at CrabAppleLane Blog. Everything was out of place. I tried a few other pages. Some looked the same as before, some didnít. Mozilla is now just taking up space before I delete it. I may tinker with it again in the near future but I may not. At least, it didn't quit working on me. Undoubtedly, some web pages donít look right because there are design problems on the page. The thing is those pages are not likely to change. They probably look fine to their author in his/her browser and it is most likely the author is using Internet Explorer.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďOr, I can write two blogs, but then I'd have two blogs nobody read, which is twice as many blogs nobody reads than I have now. (Lovely sentence structure, eh?)"

A little more on Iraq

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This photo is a topic for the last couple of days at two of my favorite haunts, Pitcherlady and Burnt Toast. The link came from Pitcherlady. I absolutely respect their views but mine are a bit different.

To me, this is simply ďbusiness is businessĒ. The photographer works for Maytag Aircraft. Maytag Aircraft has a undoubtedly lucrative contract with the Pentagon, which includes the no photos stipulation. The photographer violated the contract, which her employer probably sees as a threat to future lucrative contracts. Never, ever mess with the money! I canít imagine any company in any field not doing the same. Yet, I am a bit curious why the photographerís husband was fired from the same company. No reason was given.

That said, I also think the Pentagon is intentionally getting some mileage out of this. Letís face it. There is nothing undignified or disgraceful about the photo. Nothing! The Pentagon would have us believe that, ďSee, this is all weíre hiding.Ē. That, I donít buy.

The war in Iraq is a risky foreign policy experiment. I think it is a worthwhile endeavor and I know many disagree about that. The American people should be fully informed of the benefits and the costs and I would really like to see a little more honesty from the leaders, pro and anti.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďSomeone came to Spinneyhead from a Google search for nude umist, which I thought was going to be a bit scary until I clicked on this link (NSFW, it's an online portolio for a glamour model). Does anyone know this woman? Just out of, y'know, curiousity."


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Yesterday, the story was that as many as 3000 died in the North Korean train crash. As of this writing, the number is 54. By the end of today, the number will undoubtedly be different. Early reports from any major catastrophe/event are always so wildly off that I donít know why I read them at all but read them I do.

Remember the early reports of September 11, the first day of the first Gulf War, or the San Francisco earthquake of 1989? All ridiculously far off of the accuracy scale. I wonder why they feel the need to put numbers out even though they must know they canít be accurate. Who came up with 3000 and what could they have based it on? Is the 54 now somehow diminished because it isnít 3000? I think it is because now people will tend to say, ďIt isnít as bad as first thoughtĒ. A train collision with 54 dead or 22 dead or whatever the final number ends up being is bad enough.

Iím not a big fan of ďblogging about blogging" any more but I thought Iíd break that self-imposed rule and mention that one year ago, I ended an entry with the Blog of the Day for the first time. It became a daily routine a few days later. The idea was for the readers here (Most of whom only knew about CrabAppleLane Blog from me) to see what else people were doing with blogs. The BOTD generally is one I find unique, funny, profound, articulate, or not. Some have been named twice but I now deliberately try not to duplicate. Most of the blogs listed to the right have been named in the past year.

Update: One of our best and brightest. Damn.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďSee, my parents are cool.
Okay, not really.
They are just weird. But they know they are. So that's cool

NFL Draft


The NFL Draft is Saturday. I doubt seriously that I will watch much, if any, of it. My team, the New Orleans Saints, almost always frustrates or disappoints me on draft day but by Monday Iím trying to look at the bright side. Hope springs eternal for most Saints fans. I will peruse the first and second rounds afterwards for wide receivers and running backs taken to see if any of them merit consideration for my fantasy football teams. I will be sorely disappointed if the Saints grab any players at those positions in the first two rounds. Watch as they do just that! They need help at just about every position but those two.

The current Saints pundits all say the Saints have the talent to win in the NFL. If thatís so, why be optimistic about this season? If talent, alone, doesnít win and none of the other factors have changed, why expect a different result this season? Two years ago, they started fast and faded. Last year, they started slow and never caught up. What will it be this year?

A worthwhile endeavor from the Venomous One.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďBut, to my surprise, I still feel pretty peaceful though. I haven't hurt or even killed anybody yet, but that is only because nobody from the cable company came over....yet."

Wednesday Linkfest


Short on time this morning but here are a few links you may have missed.

Ilyka on September 11.

Goldie is back from vacation. A stellar cast filled in for her.

Resignation perhaps? Is that a step towards or away? Will it ever matter?

Oil for what?

Everybody off of blogspot now, please! Can't link effectively to you.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďOmigawd! I just heard that the Arabs Hate Us! Who woulda thunk it?"

Triple Whammy


Slow computer, dial-up internet access, and Windows 2000: Those three things conspired against me this morning. I started IE6 this morning and it went to the Microsoft Update page. I scanned for updates and found there were five available to me. This one was my personal favorite this morning:

KB835732: Multiple security issues have been identified that could allow an attacker to compromise a computer running Windows and gain complete control over it.

I reviewed the five and none of them were going to be outrageously long downloads so I proceeded. That was a 12-minute procedure via dial-up. It gets better. I closed all of my applications and waited for them to install. That procedure took 35 minutes on my poor 233-mhz machine.

OK, I admit that my computer barely has the minimum requirements to run Windows (Once nicknamed Windoze) 2000. I switched a few years ago because Windows 98 SE could not run on my machine for more than 20-30 minutes without freezing up, crashing (If you like blue screen, youíd have loved my computer on Windows 98 SE), or spontaneously rebooting. You have not lived until your computer reboots while its in the middle of a number-crunching application (Fantasy football programs).

Whatever happened to efficiency in programming? First, Windows tries to be all things to all people. Then, you add a few 3rd party programs and nine hundred Microsoft patches of one variety or another and I donít think itís possible for this behemoth to be efficient. Of course, A 3.0-ghz machine can run even inefficient programs quickly. I suppose a new computer is in order. As my former brother-in-law used to say, ďJust add it to the listĒ.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďA lot lately. And it's not good for me to get pissed off, so I sometimes avoid blogging about it. Composing a note being somehow more intense-making than simple reading a post on another blog and thinking, "@#$%>^<&*(?!""

Iraq & thugs

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From USA Today:

The cease-fire was called partly to answer Iraqi officials' concerns that the heavy casualties in the city were fueling anti-American anger.

This seems a bit unfair to me. It would seem that the people of Iraq should also be angry at the thugs who hide amongst the citizens but I also wonder how many citizens are harboring thugs against their will and how many are harboring them willingly. My only concern these days is for the safety of those marines.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďIím back, now sporting a fabulous Wordpress installation. I hope everything works as it should. I still have some tweaks to work out, plus I want to incorporate the extended entry hack, but for the most part all my stuff is converted."

Sunday Nothingness


This entry didnít start out as a LinkFest but somehow turned into one.

Anil Dash has an interesting take on new bloggers and blogging, in general below.

So when I see disparaging of "unpopular" or low-flow weblogs or the use of someone's readership as a barometer of their legitimacy, credibility or importance, and I have to strongly object. Popularity is easy. What matters is that you connect.

This hardly-read blogger will take it a bit further. I donít have a single reason for blogging and I donít really worry about connecting. As I said over at Ilyka Damenís: If they come, they come. If not, the echoís cool, too.

The BOTD has a different take on the same matter.

Thereís a spirited debate going on over at Miss Apropos on copyrights, file-swapping, and the like. I already had written some stuff on the subject here so posting it there was fairly easy. She did ask for opinions. If youíve read this blog before, you know I have opinions.

Posted some old photos yesterday at My Family Blog of the time I rode on the Goodyear Blimp. They could have been posted here but I had already posted a lot of pictures yesterday.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďWhat a dreary day. The lack of readership is depressing Mr Mouse, Miss Kitty has opted out for the time being, and Bill Bulldog is still recovering from this traumatic episode. I have not found anything on which I feel compelled to comment. However, I am of the opinion that there needs to be some kind of new content in this blog if it is ever to amount to anything amongst the millions and millions of other blogs that also clamor to be seen."

At further risk of alienating my blog friend from Chicago, I offer these pictures taken this morning here at CrabAppleLane. The most charming thing I have heard all week is that her mom didnít know how to play Solitaire. Thatís someone whoís had a rich life.

The bush below, referred to last Sunday as a ďbottle brush bushĒ, is in full bloom now.

Bottle brush bush?

Below is a Louisiana Iris that was given to me by my sister, Katie. Previously, these were planted on the spot where the BBB (See above) was. I dug them up and planted them in the pond where they are much, much happier.

Louisiana Iris

The roses below have it going on!

Roses are not necessarily red, my love

The big leaf magnolia below is also a gift from my sister, Katie. If and when it grows up, it will have banana tree sized leaves and punch bowl sized white flowers.

Big leaf magnolia

Below are some chives that somehow survived my tiller. This is the first time theyíve ever matured to bloom.

Chives in bloom

And, finally, below are two bird houses (Upper right and lower left) I built several years ago. They are both occupied at present. One has a pair of bluebirds nesting and the other has a pair of chickadees. I donít know which is which and apparently, neither do they. They are constantly squabbling. Since they both pay the same rent, I think it best that I not get involved.

Bird houses

Afternoon Update

Below is a rose basking in the sun. Whereís Bette Midler?

The Rose basking in the sunís love

Below is the final stop later this afternoon. Just waiting for the sun to go behind the trees in the west.

Final destination

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďWhen I was sure she was gone, I rolled over and tried again, only to be pounced upon by a very large, very heavy, very demanding Gryff."


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I'm not easily pleased when it comes to reading books. Some time after I had read The Vampire Chronicles, I picked up a book that looked interesting (Yes, I judged the book by its cover). About a third of the way through, I discovered this was a book about vampires. Boring. Iím tired of vampires. I donít need to read another book about them, see another movie about them, or see them on a cereal box. Itís been done. However, I loved Dracula. It is the best book I ever read. Jonathan Harkerís chilling account of the Count leaving the castle by the window terrified me. And, I also enjoyed The Vampire Chronicles but I no longer care about vampires.

Hard not to like the weather weíve been having here for the last few days. It is expected to continue through the weekend and I hope to find things to do in it. The hammock hasnít been used in a few months and the grill hasnít been used in a few weeks. Hate to have things and not use them. Might be time to finish that book that Iíve picked up and put down many times over the last year.

Happy, happy to Burnt Fuse!

Congratulations to SilverBlue!

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďSo today this dream sort of became reality, if you substitute "fancy hipster clothing store" for "really fun water park.""

Kitty Zen

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About 7 years ago, some new neighbors moved in up the highway. Their house is about a quarter of a mile away from ours. They are animal lovers and have rescued many cats and dogs over the years (They had 24 cats at this time, I think). They also had a horse. One day, we saw a little gray cat in our yard. She had a pink collar on but it had gotten tangled on something and was now around her leg and neck. It was a while before we could get close to her but finally we did and we discovered she had a name tag. Her name was Priscilla. We called the numbers and discovered she belonged to the new neighbors. They came and got her and there was a joyous reunion. They really did love this cat and it was easy to see why. She is adorable.

A few days later, there she was again in our yard. We had two cats of our own then so we had cat food in the house and Patsy always fed her and gave her water after we called the owners. They came and got her again. This cycle repeated a few more times and we all just gave in. She wanted to stay with us. It turns out she is quite cantankerous with other cats but also quite meek so she really wasnít getting enough to eat or enough attention when she was around bigger and stronger cats. The neighbors had lots of cats.

Weíve had her about as as long as those neighbors did now. Today, she is 15 years old. She is still quite feisty. She is also quite charming , quite playful, very spry, and eminently scoop-able. She has gotten a little round since weíve taken care of her. She likes to eat and now she gets to. She also goes for nice walks with me. Sheís part of our family.

Happy Birthday, Priscilla!

Priscilla, 15 years old today, likes to stay on the stepping stones.  How irresistable is that?

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďForty ounces of semi-frozen goodness makes the noggin solidify at an alarming rate."

French Quarter Fest


French Quarter Fest is this weekend and I hope to be able to spend some time down there. I love the French Quarter and that festival. Local restaurants (Most French Quarter restaurants are pretty expensive) set up booths offering samples of some of their signature dishes and sometimes even things that are not on their menus at all and at very low prices. All of the dishes run $3-4. For about $20, you can sample five or 6 restaurants. Lunch entrees at Murielís, for instance (Iíll frequent this place when I win the Powerball), start at around $12. We got a got a goat cheese ravioli last year for $4 from Murielís booth. It was out of this world. Iíll be looking for their booth this year.

Got an email just now from Michael Holden. In the body of the email, it starts

Hi, My name is John,

Is it Michael or John? It got through my spam filters. Another enlargement ad.

The dryer won Round One last night. The heating element was not the problem. The guy at the supply house checked mine (Very nice of him. He was under no obligation to do so) when I brought it in to make sure I got the right new one. Discovered the real problem last night so Iíll be at the same supply house today. I wouldnít consider going anywhere else now.

Todayís BOTD compliments of KiwiFruit.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ď1. My acquaintance is not really a robot! She has feet, not casters."

Repair job


Entered the exciting world of electric clothes dryer repair last night. I hate moving the washer or drier. Wondrous things are found under it and behind it. I think the heating element is not working. I hope thatís what it is. The thing has one single screw holding it in. It is one that you can hardly see and is extraordinarily hard to get at. About an hour after starting, I got it out. If I can find the element today somewhere, I should be able to install it in half the time it took for me to figure out how to remove it. Surely, a man can dream.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďWell its Passover
and I, being devoutly masochistic have decided to prepare a seder for 9 folks in my apartment

New Monday

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Watched The Missing on PPV yesterday. I think Cate Blanchett is one of the best actresses in film today but this film is only ordinary and is way too long. If it aint on the page, it aint on the stage. Fine performances all around in this film but it just wasnít enough. Additionally, the movie struck a chord of gritty 19th century realism early with an outhouse scene and another scene where a womanís last, rotting tooth was pulled but then went off in a supernatural direction later. Bummer.

Truly a lazy day yesterday. The idea was to recharge the batteries after about 10 days of non-stop. Got a good nightís sleep Saturday night but a short nightís sleep last night. Still, Iím not as rundown as usual.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďIn view of recent events and all the publicity about the present terrorist threat I expected some delays due to increased security checks. To my surprise I found no signs of any extra checks on this side of The Channel; in fact I found no signs of any security whatsoever. Both the British and French frontier posts were unmanned. I just drove straight through and onto the shuttle."

Not a comforting thought. -Rob

Happy Easter

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Some Easter Sunday pictures from CrabAppleLane for your dining and dancing pleasure. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter. The subjects of todayís images are all glistening from the raindrops that accompanied the all night thunderstorm we had here in Bush.

The bush below was not blooming when I planted it last year and I had no idea what it would look like. I just wanted a medium-sized bush that wouldnít block the sun from my tomato garden. I have no idea what it is. My sister-in-law called it a bottle brush bush (Say that three times real fast) but I donít know if thatís what it really is. Another very pleasant surprise! Does anyone know what this thing is?

Who knows?

Speaking of tomatoes, the bushes below are doing great after only two weeks in the ground. Some have flowers.

Robís tomato garden

If the camellia bush below could talk, I think it would say, ďOK, the showís over, whatís with the pictures?Ē I just like the new green leaves. This is it in bloom.


Below is a catnip plant. I like to plant these in my garden every year. I admit it. All of our cats are junkies.


Below are some double impatiens I planted a few weeks ago. Around it are the regular impatiens that come up every year by themselves now. I love impatiens. They like poor soil, shade, and water. We have all of that in abundance here in Bush.


Below you see a moth. He has eyeball-shaped markings on his wings to fool predators. I had a whole how-he-met-his-end kind of entry in mind when I stepped into the garden to take his picture. However, as I bent down to get to do so, he moved a wing. He probably fought the thunderstorm all night and was exhausted.


Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďI also hate that I have to work inside when it's nice outside. I hate stupid drivers. I hate the uncoordinated traffic lights in Harrisonburg. I hate that The Apprentice and CSI are on at the same time. I hate bills. I hate allergies. I hate that gas costs roughly $150 per gallon now. I hate not being able to sleep. I hate getting up early. And I hate that today isn't Friday, so I still have to get up early and go to work tomorrow."

Guest who's coming to dinner

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I guest posted from Australia just this morning courtesy of dramaqueen but Iím back now. That was great fun but the jet lag is another story. Thanks again, Goldie.

This figures to be a long day but I started the morning with a couple of cups of coffee so it is already a better day than yesterday.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďHow to get here"

No coffee

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A half-awake attempt at making coffee this morning resulted in my coffee bean grinder breaking down. It was a two-pronged attack. First, I put the whole beans in the coffee maker instead of the coffee bean grinder. The filter was wet. I read somewhere that you should wet your coffee filter before adding your grounds and I have been doing so ever since. I have long forgotten the reasoning but it made sense to me at the time. I should have just thrown those beans away. I didnít. I took those slightly wet beans and put them into the coffee grinder. That was the fatal error. Do not put wet beans into your coffee grinder. My guess is the ownerís manual says that, too. Iím hoping that it will work again after it dries out. Iíll try it again tonight. If it doesnít work, Iíll be out looking for a new bean grinder tomorrow. This is a coffee-less morning and Iím not real happy about it.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďSo, I have this shirt. I don't have any clue how to describe it to you. The texture and thread count of the shirt aren't really the important part."

Sports silliness


Some silly sports commentaries that caught my eye this morning:

Today, on behalf of Major League Baseball fans everywhere, the New York Times (Registration required) took the Yankees to task for opening the season in Japan with a corporate logo on their uniform. The Times didnít mention the name of the company.

Excerpt: But Major League Baseball crossed an emotional line recently when the venerable New York Yankees showed up in Japan wearing uniforms festooned with the logo of a company that makes photocopiers.

A company that makes photocopiers? I imagine naming the company would have required the Times to receive their usual rate. Something about pots and kettles springs to mind. You know, I wasnít always this cynical.

ďTiger facing most crucial Masters of his careerĒ according to Jim McCabe. Somehow, I think Tiger Woods will survive regardless of how he does in this or any other golf tournament. Heís already won more tournaments than most golfers will ever win and he is quite financially secure. This is a non-story.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďAnd the next person who says I shoulda got a Mac will get hit with a water-ballon attack by my faithful Ninja Bat bomb squadron."

Let's merge

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Note to the ditzy doodle in the gray Taurus that gave me the dirty look when I went around you this morning: The speed limit right there where we got on the interstate is 70mph but the traffic tends to be in the 75-80mph range. If you insist on merging with that traffic at 30mph, I will get around you any way I can. I don't want to be an impact absorber. The pay is lousy and there isn't much future in it. Sorry.

Kill Bill: Volume Two

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OK, Iím stoked for Kill Bill: Volume Two. I didnít really need to hear a great review on it because I was committed to seeing it anyway. I loved Volume One. Ebert and Roeper did their ďThumbs Way UpĒ spiel about Volume Two and showed some clips. Iím usually a little wary of certain directors getting great reviews. Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee canít seem to get a bad review but I generally donít care for their movies. Tarantino is another one who the critics always love but I do like his movies. Unfortunately, this is one Iíll have to see in the theaters while itís still hot because my entire universe will be talking about it almost immediately after itís released. Generally, If Iím going to the theater for a movie, I like to catch a matinee a few weeks after itís released. Saves money and sometimes you have the theater almost to yourself. That theory didnít work for me for Volume One, however. We were there with one other group who brought an infant. I donít think the content of the movie bothered the infant too much but the blaring soundtrack did. Volume One was incredibly and appropriately loud.

Big crowds at theaters have at least three loud talkers and the rule is that at least two of them must sit near me. I hate that rule.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďApparently, no one told Mr. Paul "F'Bomb" Anka that his one-week notice was up -- about twenty-five years ago

Congrats to the UConn Huskies. I had them on one of my entries to go all the way but I missed way too many early round games to be in contention in the CrabAppleLane March Madness Pool. My three entries finished 7th, 12th, and 32nd. It was a fun pool this season mainly because of the early upsets.

Now that March Madness is over, CrabAppleLane turns its attention to football. What? Too early? I think not. Noticed how I skipped right over baseball? I still love the game but I hate the business. The business side of the NFL is threatening their game, too. MLB owners mostly squabble with the players and umpires and that results in strikes. NFL owners mostly squabble with communities so there havenít been many strikes. I hate strikes. Considering MLB working conditions, they are ludicrous.

Anyway, the NFL Draft begins on April 24 and concludes on April 25. The draft is still the cornerstone of a successful NFL franchise and it is an area where the Saints traditionally do poorly. All eyes should be on the New England Patriots. They have something going there that everyone should try to copy. It is the first successful franchise in the free agency age. Theyíre not successful because of the dollars at their disposal. They are successful because of the brains at their disposal. I measure success in terms of wins, losses, and championships, not in dollars. Not surprisingly, wins and losses have a major, positive impact on dollars and the Pats are doing just fine there, too. Of course, to hear an unsuccessful NFL owner (Particularly the unsuccessful New Orleans NFL owner) tell it, itís the other way around. The Saints conducted a very successful campaign to drive up season ticket sales last season but then produced a lackluster team. I just donít know how many more times they can exploit the Saints fans love for their team.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďTwenty-five percent of students who take the SATs refuse to identify themselves by race or ethnicity. The growing number of "non-responders" has undercut the validity of data on the achievement gap between races and ethnic groups. In fact, "non-responders" are now the largest minority among SAT takers. I'm a lover of data, but I have to sympathize with young people who refuse to be categorized."

Championship Monday


It says here that the UConn Huskies men and women will be going home with basketball national championships.

I donít think I like that everyone is starting to take credit cards even though Iím not a person who carries much cash. It will be a bit more convenient for me. I think prices will go up because of it and I think businesses will find easier justification for raising prices. Businesses that had to keep their prices in line with their customers cash-carrying habits no longer have that limit. Excerpt from this USA Today article on New York taxis:

People who jump into one of New York City's 12,000 yellow taxicabs will be able to pay their fare with a credit card under a plan announced last week in conjunction with a 26% fare increase.

26% increase! That's OK. You can charge it.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďAppeasement never works. You think Europeans would have learned that lesson after World War II, but apparently not. They don't hate Spaniards because Spain has troops in Iraq (but it's interesting that Spaniards have focused on that while still denying that Iraq had any connection to the terrorists); they hate Spaniards because they have occupied al-Andalus for over 500 years. They hate Spaniards because they're not Muslims, just like they hate Americans, and Brits, and even the French, who have had their own Islamofascist threats against rail systems to resolve."

Oh Four Oh Four Oh Four


Todayís number is 4. If youíre writing todayís date, itís 04/04/04. It is a windows open kind of spring day here on Crabapple Lane. CrabAppleLane Blog has the evidence to prove it.

Below left is my first rose this spring. I spotted it blooming Friday but couldnít get a picture of it until this morning. Not the best image (Need a better camera bad) but it gets the point across. Below right is a bonsai tree that our friends, Guy and Sandra, gave me in October on the occasion of my dadís death. It is doing surprisingly well and has new growth on it this spring. If I could just keep the raccoons from knocking it over all the time. They dig in my flower pots for something. Iím hoping the new placement next to our stairs away from the flower pots will solve that problem.

First rose bonsai tree

The Waldheim blueberry orchard is about a quarter of a mile from our house. Heís retired from some other occupation and has taken up growing things. Iíve bought a good many plants from him over the years. The blueberry bush you see below to the left was planted two or three years ago. When it was planted, it was covered in big, luscious blueberries (Probably two or three pints worth). It was the last bush I planted that day. I went inside and showered and came back out to water it again (Blueberry bushes like water but they canít soak in it. You have to water them slowly). In the 30 minutes between planting it and coming back to it, all of the blueberries had been picked. I donít know what kind of critters they were but they had a sweet tooth. Thatís OK because I bought them to attract the wildlife although I have been known to pop a few in my mouth every now and then. Below to the right is some white clover we have planted in a good many spots in the yard also in the hopes of attracting wildlife. It doesnít seem like anything eats it, though. I might have been scammed. I like it anyway.

blueberry clover

When we were in New England many years ago, whirly gigs were all the rage. That and saltwater taffy. The whirly gigs were mostly wood and we bought three or four. Because they were wood and cheap, they didnít really weather very well. Theyíre all gone now. Below is a whirly gig I bought Friday afternoon. This is probably the first time his wings have stopped whirling.

whirly gig

I saw doctors, nurses, and patients smoking outside a hospital yesterday. Well, you canít smoke inside the hospital! It seems they got that message but not the other one. Iím not an anti-smoking crusader by any stretch of the imagination but it just seemed to me that something was out of kilter with that image. Itís probably just me.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďIrishtown - A little town up north west on the Island state of Tasmania. A few houses and gentle winding roads"

Another great photoblog. -Rob

Saturday Morning Linkfest

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Some blog links for your Final Four Saturday morning. Should be two great games. Doubt I'll see either. Got things to do this evening. It says here UConn and Georgia Tech will advance with UConn taking the big one Monday night.

Simon knows some Americans I know but I must know a great deal more Americans that he doesnít. Since neither of us have exact numbers, suffice it to say that I think there are more than a ďvery few exceptionsĒ and that I donít consider that a ďgross generalisationĒ

Ilyka Damen was inactive for a time just recently. Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging. I can relate because it's starting to happen here, too. However, Ilyka is back now and in top form.

Kiwifruit talks about paths taken. Sheís a great storyteller.

Flowers and kittens from So Very Posh.

The always reliable LeeAnn and her great readers having some fun.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďI'll write a few New Orleans stories in the days to come."

A New Orleans blogger with stories of the city! Slam dunk BOTD. -Rob


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A year ago today, CrabAppleLane Blog was launched with this less than articulate or profound post. The blog was powered by Greymatter then and only a handful of people were told of its location (It wasnít linked to the websiteís main page until a few days later). I originally envisioned it as a group blog for my friends and family to post whatever was on their mind. Unfortunately, hardly anyone knew what a blog was just one year ago and I had no idea about how to explain it to them (Have you ever tried to explained a blog to someone?). That original idea for a group has been somewhat abandoned although any invitations for posting accounts I sent out may still come to life. This is and has been a very rich and quite humbling experience for me. Iíve made quite a few new friends and Iíve learned a few things. That was not anticipated and they are quite pleasant developments. As I told one of my new blog friends just recently, this is a nice and effective way to chronicle. This modest chronicle is still evolving and Iím still learning.


Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďThe low-fat, high-bandwidth solution to your networked cooking needs is finally here. The George Foreman USB iGrill conveniently connects to your home or office PC using USB 2.0 technology, and provides a sophisticated web-based cooking interface."

Gallstone Pancreatitis

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Besides being male, this dweeb and I have something else in common. I also had gallstone pancreatitis. Mid November 1995, 2AM: A severe case of what I thought was indigestion wakes me up. I go downstairs and take an Alka Seltzer but the pain doesnít go away. It had started in the center of my chest but now it was side to side and front to back from my neck down to my waist. After about an hourís worth of pain and throwing up, the pain subsided a bit. When I tried to lie down, the whole thing started over again. The pain subsided again just in time for me to get ready for work. I had the same problem the next night only more severe. We decided something was wrong and went to the hospital emergency room.

Hereís the fun part. I have my health insurance through Patsyís employer. Her office had been closed in July and we had no health insurance while she looked for another job. She found her current job in October and signed up for the health insurance as soon as she was able. When I had those attacks, all she had was her plan number which was on her check stub where they had deducted the premium. We had no handbook and no one had told her when the plan took effect so we thought we were covered as soon as they had received the premium. After two days in the hospital where they ran every test they could think of, we found out the plan did not take effect until December 1. We were on the hook for the whole, very substantial amount. After building our house, buying a tractor, and having Patsy out of work for a couple of months that year, we didnít have any money to speak of. And, after all that, they mis-diagnosed me. The attending physician ignored the ultrasound which indicated the gallstones and decided the attacks were due to alcoholism (I'm not an alcoholic). I still get livid when I think about that and it took us a little over a pretty good year to climb out of that hole.

I had a couple of attacks after that in November but I learned if I sat up perfectly still, the pain would go away after about 30 minutes. After seeing another physician in December with the same, very expensive test results, I had my gall bladder removed in December (The insurance company covered that procedure in full) at another hospital (I will never go to that other hospital again except to visit someone else. If I were to slip and crack my head while there, I swear I will ask to be taken somewhere else.) . Gallstones were the problem. The Ashcroft article mentions that some people are given dietary restrictions after having their gall bladder removed. The dietary instructions from my physician: ďDonít do anything stupid.Ē. Iíll admit I still have trouble following those instructions sometimes.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďThe internet is such an open environment that it will drive the driven to success. The problem is the success can be crushing and confusing...cause great inner conflict."

Another great-titled blog. -Rob



Happy Anniversary, Chuck and Karen!

20 years ago today, I served as Chuck's best man at his wedding in Chicago. I have not been back to Chicago since. I hope to remedy that one day soon.

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